Why do so many people seem to hate this combination. I've rarely read more vindictive posts here on Audiogon compared to reports about other stuff. I listened to an all Spectral/MIT system ( 360 amp and 30 pre) the other day with big Sound Lab speakers and found it very musical and easy to listen to. No HIFI here, but a very easy, relaxed, but also, if needed, a highly dynamic presentation, coherent and well balanced. So what's up? Should I have my ears examined or the Spectral distractors go see a shrink?
Well I've auditioned Spectral in my house and I'm thinking about buying it, Spectral is the most detailed stuff otu there and it is the MOST neutral stuff on the market. The problem is people are used to hearing Krell and Levinson's bumped up bass and midbass that they think the Spectral is lean, when in reality Spectral is just accurate. It really shows off a speaker and most speakers aren't flat to begin with and people just blame it on the electronics (My speakers can't be the problem no...) Thats why Spectral is so good with Avalon, which is just slighty on the rounder side the "leanness" of the Spectral really helps loosen up the Avalons, and the combintion is to die for. I also find Spectral to be excellent with Martin Logan. I currently have a pair of Prodigys and won't be selling them for quite some time.
I heard a Spectral/MIT/Avalon Eidelon system at Progressive Audio in Columbus, Ohio, and it was definitely the best system I have ever heard. Granted, I have only heard the Avalons once before, but the Spectral electronics seemed to be far more neutral, quick and balanced than the Krell electronics that I have also heard with the Avalons. If I could afford Spectral electronics, I would buy them myself, but you just can't replace one item at a time with Spectral. Since their amps, wires and preamps require the correct matching components, I guess I'll have to wait a few years. Oh, well...

kurt: if you really want to hear what avalon eidolons sound like, try 'em with fim cables/ic's on boulder electronics. side-by-side comparisons with a spectral/mit combo will make you think that you are taking off a several layer sheet of heavy gauze when you replace the mit/spectral with fim/boulder. yes, I have made these direct comparisons. more than once. (I own eidolons and have been listening to them in various systems since before their “official” introduction in 1998.) BTW, you need not use “all boulder” or “all accuphase,” etc. electronics with the fim wire.

in response to the original query: i have nothing against either spectral or mit. IMO, tho, there is much better stuff available at the price point of that combo. and if you're considering spectral, it is, indeed, an inextricable combo. that, i think, is why most rational objections to it arise. -kelly
as always YMMV ! the room matters, the speakers matter - the type of cable matters. i have had the best experience of my entire audiophile product career matching spectral pre (dmc20 Mk II) with the SDR2000 and SDR3000Pro with a krell FPB600c, MIT 350 Ref Balanced ICs and MIT Oracle V1 cable. sheets of heavy gauze ? not here. this system is fast, delicate and nuanced with amazing bass and incredible mid-treble and mid balance for voice and strings. the boulder amps i listened to ( in another room) were flat and lifeless through the same sonus faber speakers..
Thanks for all the posts so far! Kelly, could you please clarify, what do you mean by "inextricable" ? What cannot you get out of? Did you have the "forced marriage" of gear and cables in mind? Any experience of Spectral with other than MIT cables around? Thanks.
katharina: spectral and its dealer network recommend the use ONLY of mit cable with their electronics. the use of any other wire is strongly discouraged, since it may (presumably) cause frequency oscillations that will damage the gear and even void the warranties. for additional information, you may wish to do a few searches on audio asylum and read some of the other threads on this site, if you haven't already. good hunting. -kelly
Laugh Laugh. The Eidolons are very very overrated with what
ever they are with, Spectral or otherwise. A box is a box is
a box....... Now with Electrostatics, now you are talking.
Big ole' Electrostatics(not hybrids like Martin Logans), Spectral electronics are fantastic!!!! Maggies are another excellent choice for Spectral, but you need the oomph. I recommend the DMA-200 and the DMC-10 preamp(used). Great combo: a pair of DMA-50s in mono mode and DMC-10 are also excellent values. The DMC-10 and DMA-50s make my Acoustat 2+2s really come alive!!!! It is a shame the Audiokinesis guy does not carry them with his Sound Lab M1s; I think big electrostatics and Spectral would make a great combo. I own ARC too, good 6550 tube amps are also a good combo for electrostatics and Maggies. As far as cables are concerned, the older SPectral stuff sound great with just about any good cable, just experiment. Avalons are salon fluff,STAY AWAY!!!!!!!
Hey Kelly - Since the start of my high end "obsession" I have become increasingly desensitized to the prices of this stuff. While I'm sure the Boulder gear is as amazing as they say, they have raised the price bar into the stratosphere. It's a place I best not go. So I will just have to resign myself to my humble little Spectral/Avalon/Accuphase system.
czapp: let's not get unctuous here! your system is anything but "humble." too bad, tho, that you, like me and any number of other folks i know, were deluded into buying "salon fluff" for speakers. we coulda bought some big ol' electrostatics like the ever-popular acoustat 2+2's. but then, my ears get hot real quick having to wear those earmuffs. BTW, Boulder is adding (somewhat) less expensive stuff to their line, starting with the 1012 pre/dac, which i'm buying to replace my accuphase dc-330. - kelly
No offense intended. I think its just envy
czapp: no offense taken. i was expressing, perhaps, a too obscure allusion to uriah heep.
I have avoided making comments up until now, as I am very prejudiced about the topic here. I met the owner of Boulder Electronics at a CES show, back when he was showing with Soundlab. It only took 10 Min. for us to get into an argument that made me so angry, that I had to leave the room before I lost it. I hope Cornfedboy gets along better with him than I if he really has purchased product from them.