What would make you think it's not like most everything else on the market where you can mix and match forever?
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Classic Spectral gear features an ultra-wide bandwidth design (from DC to 200 Mhz.) that must be used in all Spectral systems featuring networked MIT cabling that filters out certain types of RF and RFI to prevent the componentry from going into oscillation. Only recently have they started to offer a few components (e.g., a "universal" amplifier) that can be used with other components and non-MIT cabling.
I have recently A/B'd a McIntosh CV31 with a Spectral DMC 10. Both preamps were powered by a spectral DMA 80 stereo amp. I used MIT T2 interconnects, and MIT CVT 750 speaker cables, a Theta Miles CD player, and PROAC Studio 200 speakers. The MIT cables are definitely NOT the ones required by spectral. How ever since the DMA 80 and the DMC 10 were both built before the advent of this requirement (circa 1980) I dont think I was in serious danger. I don't doubt for a minute that I wouldnt love the right cables. I just don't think it is that critical for Spectral units that were built before the spectral/mit cable requirement even existed. I could be wrong about the dates, Im not an expert. I wouldnt try this with a brand new pair of 360s. I digress. I compared the preamps on a spectral amp because I had the opportunity and I want to move to an all Spectral system, and I will have to do it one piece at a time. I wanted to find out what I should by first amp or preamp. In my opinion the DMC 10 preamp sounded better if you are real detail fanatic. I am a real detail fanatic. I could see that some might feel that the DMC 10 had to much high frequency or brightness, I didnt mind this since I heard details that were new to me on my reference CDs. As far as the phono stage is concerned the spectral DMC 10 clearly wins. The McIntosh phono stage did not even come close. CDs were a very different matter. The DMC 10 was better but not by a huge margin. The McIntosh was a little warmer and a little less detailed. It was close enough to the DMC 10 that I knew that I could keep it for awhile longer and get the spectral power amps first.