Spectral audio today


Hi guys, been a Spectral fan in the early 90s but couldn't afford the gear at the time.I'm wondering how good are the latest Spectral pre-power compared to much more recent top SS brands like Gryphon, CH Precision, Dartzeel, Soulution, Audionet, Boulder, D'agostino, Burmester and so on.Is Spectral still competitive vs modern high end brands ?It is very difficult to audition Spectral gear as they have very little distribution now days.Thanks.
B5b450ad 8377 4fe3 83d0 be5c17500604thieliste
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All of those brands are top notch and would more than likely give you different presentations more than one besting the other.  That said, since satisfaction with Audio Equipment is so subjective - it will be vital to audition before purchasing. 

Unfortunately, with the COVID affecting most business areas - the Audio shows will be postponed until a later date to be determined at a later date.  In my opinion this leaves the customer with a reduced pool of products depending on where he or she lives.

So far, the best tool other than flying all over the country is Youtube; and from that tool I find D'Agostino Amplifiers to have the best sound quality.  Would it be nice to hear it in person?  Yes!!  But in light of the current circumstances - that would be my choice if I had to choose without the benefit of an in person Audition.

Check out the D'Agostino Classic Amplifier; very nice.

Studio1
@studio1  Yes with Covid the best way is to drive many hours for an audition.For Spectral it will be a 6 hours drive for me same for Audionet audition.I have already done the job for CH Precision, Dartzeel, D'Agostino, Gryphon and Ypsilon.Right now i need to know if the latest Spectral gear is still capable of competing against the above brands.If some of you have heard the latest DMC 30SV DMA 300SV combo please share your experience.

NO Spectral is not as good as the above its dead last.Good luck though.
@ebm Did you at least audition recent Spectral gear before saying it's dead last ?
No, ebm just drops his little bombs and moves on. No actual facts needed. Pay no attention thieliste.
I had Spectral in my system years ago the sound was just ok.The build quality is just ok Pass is a much better amp at less money and the service on Spectral is just ok.The light went bad on the front of the unit and i had to get it replaced as it was not LED..I had the amp for about 6 months and got Pass which is a much better company with better sound.My friend has CH it sounds wonderful and another friend has the Dartzeel monos at over 150k they both sound wonderful however the Dartzeel on MAGICO M6 is some of the best sound i have ever heard.I am using now using the Audiaflight Stremento #4 which has a very open sound with great detail,stage,bass detail and deep soundstage with MAGICO.Yes i also had MIT cables and Avalon speakers with the Spectral.But this being said it is also individual taste and system compatibility as well that will determine the final verdict.Everybody stay safe and be well as this is more important then Audio.
Roxy54 pay no attention as i was not given a chance to answer.Stay well!!
D’Agostino is a wonderful sounding and great built amp that i would certainly recommend over Spectral for better build and sound quality and much better service.I had 2 Krell KSA50s with Maggie Tympani 1Ds even today these are wonderful sounding amps.Thanks be well!
sorry to hijack. Just received my M2 to replace focals and yes me verly verly happy.  Looking for that signature Krell sound that I’m getting from my 403Evo.  Any good suggestions on an amp to upgrade to. Thinking about solution 7 or 5 mono series. 
D'Agostino mono amps would be a better choice Solution is accurate but very dry sounding and very overpriced. D'Agostino has better stage,bass detail,and depth and is far more musical.Its your money good luck. 
I must agree with listening impressions posted by ebm. I’ve heard Soulution amplifiers on about 4 or5 different occasions (Audio shows) and the overall sound was consistently dry and clinical. It’s hard to determine how much contribution the Soulution electronics provided. This sonic character was consistent in different rooms using different speakers. Some would say that they’re accurate.

 I’d say their presentation was sterile and lacked a musically emotional connection.YMMV. On the few occasions I’ve heard Spectral I had a similar impression. Hearing the exact same Avalon speakers driven by Jeff Rowland components was far more enjoyable and emotionally engaging. This was some time ago but the contrast was strikingly stark. 
Charles
From what i know for Spectral to sound right you need to get the preamp, the poweramp and the matching MIT Spectral cables.You also need to get the right speakers, Wilson Audio does work well with Spectral just like Avalon.Unfortunately many Spectral dealers around the world never managed to setup properly a Spectral system in the past, this gave a bad image to the brand.Today they have very little distribution even in the US.If things get better with COVID i will try to visit Audio Graffiti in Italy for a listen.
When I heard Spectral at CES years ago it was an all Spectral system driving big Avalon speakers.  The room demonstration was conducted by Dr. Keith Johnson demonstrating his own Reference recordings.  He seemed quite pleased with the sound.  I wasn't.  Different people prefer different sonic presentations. Thieliste it's very possible you may love their sound. It just wasn't appealling to me.
Charles 
Well Spectral is not on my shortlist but who knows if i have a chance to audition in the next few months.My next planned audition in november is Audionet Humboldt and Stern-Heisenberg combo, let’s see how that goes.
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I have Been comparing two preamps the Spectral SV ($15k) and the Gryphon Pandora( $32k)  for almost a month. I don’t have a complete Spectral or Gryphon system yet. I have DCS Rossini and Wilson Alexia 2s. Both transparent and mit cables. I went back and forth between the two and my wife and I both preferred the Spectral SV. I couldn’t believe how good the new spectral gear is. The new SV series is so much better than the older stuff,  (back in the day I owned the DMC 20). Very organic and real sounding. Textures and wood tones are especially good. The Gryphon may have a little more Bass and larger soundstage but not by much. However over all I found the Spectral to be more involving.  I bought the Spectral DMC 30 SV. They now have the 30SV s2 and I hear it’s really something. I know they don’t have the really nice expensive cases but I think that is why they compete with Way more expensive gear. With the Spectral you are paying for the design and parts inside not the box. If you haven’t heard it you need to.  They don’t have the cult following they have for nothing. 
@carey1110 Thanks for your feedback, yes the SV series is the one i'm looking at i also hear it's a big step forward compared to the older series.If you paid 15k for the 30SV well i would have to pay 26k for that same preamp here in Europe that's the sad part.The DMA 300SV is 34k here same goes for d'Agostino gear way over priced.

Since the new SV series 2 has been released you may start to see the original SV coming up on the used market. The SV is way better in my opinion than the older stuff. More organic and natural no brightness at all. The older spectral could sound a little clinical and dry if the setup wasn’t perfect.  The SV series I can listen to for hours. It’s a very clear clean window into the music,  very real and I don’t even have the Spectral amp yet. 
If the new Spectral SV series is much better sounding and more organic (Per carey1110 "way better" ) than the older models I heard that is good news.  I wonder what changes were implemented with circuit/part selection to eliminate the pervasive dry clinical character.  Good for Spectral. 
Charles 
There is some info online about it has to do with a new transistor designed by spectral eliminating “thermal tails”. It’s very technical and way over my head. Has to do with how the value of transistors can change during the heating up when a signal is introduced. IDK? All I know is the smoothness in high frequencies is amazing. Almost a life like warmth to the sound.  Night and day to me from the older gear I had. I’m very excited to get the Amp down the road. 
@carey1110  are you going to get the DMA 300SV ?I talked to someone who auditioned the DMC 30SV DMA 500 Anniversary combo, he said it's pretty good but but also said CH Precision and top of the line Gryphon is much better.
Buy CH Precision its sounds wonderful.
It sure is but my top 2 contenders are Audionet Heisenberg and Gryphon Mephisto.I would put CH M1.1 in third place in my shortlist.
Forget CH you should get DARTZELL NHB 468 MONOS great amps for the high rollers.Get them ASAP!!
Sure I understand. The top of the line Gryphon Mephisto MSRP $60k is a fine amp and not typical of the Gryphon line. Not doubt this is quite an amplifier I’ve heard it. I’m not familiar with the CH precision but hear it’s in the same camp as spectral in many ways. Like I said I preferred the Spectral over the Gryphon Pandora preamp In my system. I’m sure there are others that prefer the Gryphon. Depends on what the setup is, what cables, speakers etc. if you can get the Mephisto I’m sure you’ll be happy with it. At this level is all good just a matter of preference. I enjoyed the Mephisto and have nothing bad to say about. When I had the Pandora in here comparing to the Spectral I was disappointed in the Gryphon. I was prepared to shell out the extra for the Pandora. I tried very Hard to like the Gryphon After all it was twice the price. It had a bigger soundstage but the instruments within it didn’t seem as real and tonally correct. The Spectral made me want to sit and listen. Now I’m sure the Gryphon could be taken to great heights if you’re willIng to put it all together, they also have their own cables too. I have a friend that has put it all together with the Gryphon Mephisto and it sounds great. 60k for the amp and that much again on cables not counting the Preamp. It sounds great. Even after hearing that I’m satisfied with the Spectral. For me it just works. It sounds right. Yes I’m thinkIng of Getting the 300 SV. The question becomes which will give the most musical satisfaction,   for me  it’s the Spectral,  Price may also play a part lol!  Spectral is a fantastic value.  It was a no brainer. 
@ebm  Thanks for your suggestion but unfortunately 1 don't have 160k+ budget for amps.The ones i can afford are Mephisto stereo, Audionet Heisenberg, CH M1.1 stereo and Spectral DMA 300SV + DMC 30SV.Speakers are Borresen 03s therefore my guess as best amp match is either Audionet Heisenberg, CH M1.1 or Spectral DMA 300SV.I really don't know about pairing a Mephisto with Borresen speakers.

I'm going to add Spectral DMA 400SV in the battle.
My best friend had Spectral gear. It was seriously unreliable. So bad that he switched over to Mcintosh! He has developed tinnitus with some hearing loss so reliability has become more important to him than the highest sound quality. 
Next, Dan D'Agostino is a jerk of immense proportion. He couldn't care less about his customers and has no intention of standing behind his products. I owned Krell gear in the 80's. KMA 100 amps and Ref 2 preamplifier. It was great sounding stuff. The volume pot in the Ref 2 started getting scratchy. At about the same time the above mentioned friend and I went to the New York Hi FI show late 80's early 90s and bumped into Dan so I asked him how much it would cost to have the preamp repaired. The pot he used was a custom job and so many of them had failed that he ran out of spares. He had no intention of placing another order for them as there was a minimum more expensive than he cared to spend. With a smile he told me to go to radio shack and pick up a pot and mount it on the outside of the preamp. The preamp was so low profile that no standard pot would fit. This was a $6000 preamp in 1986 or so. His Marketing said "Last a Lifetime."  My backside. 
The only problem  I ever had with spectral over the years was with the phono section of a 30 year on DMC 20. It was returned repaired for $200 foe the repair and I had it back in two weeks. 
@ebm  Current Soulution 701, 711, 511 .... have SET tube purity.  Very different from previous series so anything from dry to my ear.   At this level, what price not insane?  LOL DUDE!
@carey1110 I have checkout latest Spectral.  Always find them too clinical, thin ....
@thieliste By now your list must be thousands deep.   Pull the trigger.  Jump on it dude!
The new spectral has really changed. I felt the same way about the older stuff. I finally broke down and let a dealer send me the latest 30 SV.  Even compared to the 30ss I found It so different,  very Rich and full bodied. The midrange is now one of its stronger traits. Almost sounded like a different company. However it still retained the speed and dynamics and detail Spectral is known for.   I can only tell you my personal experience,  not hearsay,  not what I heard someone say but what I heard myself. I come from a long history of tube gear so I can’t stand bright or edgy. I’m using a very revealing Wilson Alexia 2 speaker too. If you get the opportunity check it out,  I did and I’m glad I did. I hear solutions is good too but I haven’t heard it. 
I've heard most Soulution gear even the latest and at the end i much prefer CH Precision sound.I yet have to hear the latest Spectral SV series.
@carey1110 Have you try Spectral without network cables? 
I’ve used Cardas and Transparent but preferred the MIT
Hi i have had Spectral for the last 20 years, and not a problem ever, at the moment i have a DMC 30ss pre,and DMA 360 mk 2 mono's, we have not had a dealer here in England for many years, which is a shame, they are not cheap what hifi is , but people put them against gear costing 2-3 times as much, and they still do well, we are not all lottery winners, trouble is when Spectral comes to England you can add a third again, from USA prices, i would love to upgrade but the pricing now is just too great 
Hi if we could get Spectral here in England  at USA prices, i would upgrade 
@graystoke I have the same problem here in France, no more Spectral distribution since many years but i can go to Italy for an audition.Spectral pre-power with ATC speakers could be an option for me.
Been a long time Spectral user. I had the 2C3D Avalon/Spectral/MIT system.  I think my 2003 review is still on Audiogon. I sold it many moons ago. I have had over the years many Spectral products.  Loved them all.  Funny thing...the Hong Kong audiophile club and the high end dealer, Audio Exotics, visited many audiophiles and listened to many systems in China recently. At the end , one of the systems they loved was an old pair of Acoustats 2+2s with DMC-10 and DMA-50.  Mine still plays great...of course, it is still my go to system....BTW...had a problem with my SDR 3000, they serviced it and i had it back in house in 3 weeks. I will probably never buy another audio system.....but if I ever did it would be the Alsyvox Cavaggio double  panel ribbon speaker with Wadax Atlantis and either a Robert Koda K15ex and K160 or an all Spectral set up. I always have the need for speed.
@shubertmaniac I don't think you can compare a Spectral system to the Alsyvox-Koda-Wadax system that you mentioned.This is an ultra high end rig for people with unlimited budget.
thieliste , get in touch with me, and we can talk spectral, playing it now great stuff, if you have the time come over to see and listen to my system esoteric k01x cd and wilson sashes mit cables, i am not on this site every day amd.2112@hotmail.co.uk 
Spectral is a system approach which will always make it niche. Has always sounded dead to me, similar to Soulution, Boulder, and some others mentioned. Dartzeel is my personal high end favorite as it nails decay and flow but with an incredible natural yet extended top end. I would also hear latest Nagra.
Keith,
In regard to the sonic character of the brands you described,  I've have consistently found them  to sound dry, sterile,  clinical and lifeless. Your summation (Dead)  is impressively  succinct, 
Charles 
thieliste
I am looking forward in reading about your continued Audio journey.Take the time to enjoy the ride.
Happy Listening!
theiliste.
Wonderful to hear of your opportunity to buy some Spectral.
I've been an owner since the mid 90's and have zero complaints.
I feel those who dis Spectral or claim others are significantly better have an agenda.
Top flight reviews confirm Spectral quality exquisite sound and I would rely more on them than hearsay on this site.
I've auditioned and appreciated many other fine products but have not felt the need to change. I also use MIT Oracle PC's and high level interconnects and speaker cables. 
I'm sure your own listening will lead to a happy purchase :)
Cheers. Pete

There’s no question that there are people who  love the Spectral Audio products or they’d be out of business. Some will like their sound and some do not. This is true for every audio brand on the market. I have no motivation for any agenda. I’m simply expressing my listening impressions from a few encounters. There are listeners who wouldn’t enjoy my 300b SET amplifiers. Completely understood.
Charles
Guys Spectral's most recent SV series is in a complete different league compared to what they've done in the late 90s early 2000.They have made huge progress in the midrange frequency, it is now very organic and natural sounding not thin or analytical like some might say on the older series.As mentioned above Spectral is a system approach, you really need to purchase the linestage, the amp or monoblocks and the MIT cables otherwise it will not sound as it should.Also speaker choice is very important with Spectral.Obviously Spectral will not suit everyone's taste.
Hi, and kindly let me jump in.
Some 25 years ago I chose the Levinson ml7 over the Spectral....
because that Spectral pre-amp lacked midrange 'substance'.
Recently I upgraded to the Levinson 523 pre-amp, a reprise of the ml7 with greater clarity, and still with midrange 'punch'.
I ask if the newest Spectral pre-amp will 'energize' the B&W 802d3 speakers.  The Levinson523/B&W 802d3 combination is very pleasing, but compromised....to my ears...by a 'veil' over the midrange and upper midrange sound.
Can I improve on this combo at 'reasonable' cost ?
Do the Rockports or Magico's offer the 'missing' upper midrange detail ?
Does the Levinbson 523 'fatten and veil' those frequencies ?
Is the B&W 802d 'continuum' midrange intentionally 'plumper' and less resolving than the Rockport and Magico midrange drivers ?
Would the newest Spectral pre-amp resolve that perceived loss of upper midrange detail ?
Thanks for any opinions.