You are probably already aware that the input impedance of the Spectral amps is VERY low. This means that if you were to go to a tube preamp, you would have to be careful to choose one that has a low output impedance; absolutely below 100 ohms -- not an easy thing to find in tube preamps -- you might check into ARC. Also, you'd need to keep the interconnect from pre to amps below 2 meters in length.
BTW -- you may want to check with Spectral to see if your warranty on the amps would still be valid if you went in that direction.
Best of luck,
Not recommended at all! If you are inkling for the tube sound it is better to get a tube amp to mate with your DMC-30. Or get the DMA-150 II Studio version with the proper input protection and then you can use your tube pre-amp of choice and with any interconnects you want.
I can't imagine mating any Spectral unit to any tube unit, amp or preamp. Besides, if you like Spectral, you won't like tubes, and vice versa; if you like Spectral, then any tube unit will sound slow to you. If you favor tubes, then Spectral sounds harmonically lean and spatially sterile. I'm a tube guy, so I'd replace both if you want to go to tubes. If not, stay where you are. Also, you have a package system tuned to work together and the the MIT, in particular, sounds best with SS.
Given the widely divergent musical presentations between Spectral and any decent tube gear, with due respect, I think you need to ask yourself why you liked Spectral enough to buy it (apart from the package MIT/Spectral/Avalon reason, assumably) and why you would now like to move so far away from that perspective.
Joe nice to hear from you. Advice well taken
Kw6 I didn't there was a way to have some other inpout protection at all.
I am just exploring the possibilities of a hybrid sound or maybe just some "tubing" of the vaunted spectral sound.
Don't be so concrete. Sometimes Ilike some things, sometimes I like to hear the music form a different perspective. Best of all is this web site where you can concievable buy and sell used equipment just for "trysies"
If you are looking for minimal change, you might try a tube dac to feed the preamp. One of my friends has the full blown spectral/mit system. I loaned him my ARC ph-3 phono preamp (which we connected to his dmc-20), & noticed that it did give his system a little bit of tube glow. Didn't have the full on tube magic of my ph3/ref1/vt100 tube system but gave a glimpse. Spectral gear is so accurate that you hear those three 6922 tubes in the ph-3 all through the system. In my listening I hear the most tube magic from swapping the amplifier, followed by amp/pre, followed by amp/pre/source. That's with fairly limited trials using pass aleph amp/pre, arc amp/pre, bat pre, conrad-johnson amp, and mccormack dna amp.
Due regards to Asa, but the character of spectral vs. tubes in context of the Eidolon is less absolute. The Eidolons are warm enough and harmonically full enough in the mids/upper bass to mitigate some of spectral's leaness. And ARC reference can be fast and neutral enough to sound like solid state with more bloom - enough to offend some tubeophiles (and, yes, better imaging).
Like Jdwek, I would like to hear how dmc30/ARC Ref300's and ARCpre/DMA150 II Studio's combine.
Good point flex.
Actually the reason I started thinking about this was while in a stereo store I happened to hear some audio research stuff with eidolons. The cables in use were actually the cables they usually use for the spectral setup.
That got me thinking about when I first listened to this stuff about 5 years ago and I heard an audio research preamp and an older spectral amp. I liked it but at that time in my novitate I only knew about the spectral amp and preamp combo (as Asa implies). Now I am a bit more curious.....and maybe more sacrilegous.
I tried a spectral pre with a cary tube power amp. It ended up being about as detailed a sound as I've ever heard in my system - but not my cup of tea even though I could've lived with it. I do agree with the above post that you should sort of decide which character you prefer and go that route - spectral and tubes are just apples and oranges - rather than trying to combine them. Perhaps if you went for the more neutral, less 'romantic' tube gear (CAT, ARC), you'd be happiest.
I suggest you listen to a complete tube system and then see if it's worth trying to compromise - find a dealer that will let you try the various options.
Beside ARC, I would listen to some Cary combinations or other tube options a good dealer can provide. It's hard to beat the sound of female jazz vocalists on a Cary system.
Good luck and good listening!
Hello J, we've exchanged thoughts before....I use both the gear you have and tube stuff in my rather complex system. As was said above, you should not mix your kind of Spectral gear with tubes. It will sound just plain awful. The advice given above, to listen to an entire tube system is excellent. I'd also lend the Jadis gear an ear. By the way, should you ever want to discard your 360's, drop me a line. I'll buy them from you, if we can agree on the price.
I'm not being concrete (read: rigid), simply giving you my honest advice in a concise form. That you did not like its consequences in flexibility for your next purchase does not reduce my advice in the same manner.
Yes, flex, Eidolon is more harmonically rich to balance out people who buy SS, and particularly units like Spectral. The MIT does the same thing. At that, assumed, level of system balancing such divergent balancing in equipment profiles, in my humble opinion, is regressive.
This is an arranged system without the flexibility to move in as many directions as other systems because it designed to appeal to the audiophile who wants it done for him by a grouping of manufacturers working together in the first instant. This philosophy, while effective in the first instant, reduces flexibility thereafter. Flexibilty is not impossible, but tubes are incongruent with this system's balancing parameters. If the system still sounds sterile (even after the harmonically enhanced Avalons and MIT's...) then I would agree with the person who says to go with a tubed DAC.
Again, we need to know why the questioner finds his system needs changing and in what regards (a sudden move towards tubes assumes, usually, deficiencies in harmonics and spatial presentation, although the questioner never specifies this). Perhaps I wasn't being, er, concete enough in my first response...
Mixing and matching Spectral and ARC is fun!!! I have done
it for over 15 years. This was before they changed the input
impedence on their more recent amps(really stupid move).
Their best amp by far was the DMA-200(pure class A, none
of this class AB bullshit). The best ARC amp was the D-150
or the D-79(absolute bulletproof tube amp).Spectral's
signature is their preamps(more so than their amps). The
DMC-10,12,20,30,30SL, are sonically very similar, very
high rez, low grain/low noise, particularly in the highs.
Violins are not etched at all. The DMA-200 was a real
muscle amp(probably in response to Krell). High current,
very high rez, very neutral. Curiously everyone thinks
Spectral as "dry" I think in terms of being neutral and low noise. The current batch of amps DMA-150/360 are excellent
amps but a notch below the DMA-200. ARC had its peak in the
mid 80s with the SP 8/10/11 preamps and the D79/115/150/160/250 servo amps. Lately I have taken a liking to the Reference 2 preamp and the Reference 300 amp. Their best designs in years. My current collection includes an
ARC SP-6, SP-8, D-79, D-115, D-150. Spectral DMC-10, DMA-50(bridged), DMA-100(old-style Class A), DMA-200(class A). I mix and match all the time, every combo possible, some
work, some don't. Some observations: classical(chamber)SP8
and DMA100, classical(large scale) SP6 and DMA200; jazz
SP8 and DMA50s or DMC-10 and D150.
One note: perhaps it is not the tubes vs solid state
argument but the dynamic speaker vs nondynamic speaker argument that perplexes you. Perhaps you are a candidate to move upward in the world to the sublime nature of electrostatic speakers. Do not get me wrong Avalon speakers
are the best dynamic speaker I have ever heard, but just
not the best speaker. The Spectral might deserve better.
Right Shubert! The Spectral DOES deserve better!
Mixing spectrals with Jadis is fun too.
I agree with you about the 200 ! I run two of them, besides a pair of 360's.
I have an AR sl15 & spectral dma 200, with transparent cabling
it is nice but not a spectecular match
I uses the krell 250p before and it gave a far bigger, deeper soundstage, but a bit harsh
any suggestions? other cabling? krell 280p spectral preamp? from shubertmaniac I understand that i should keep the spectral dma 200....