Spectron amplifier - new black faceplate?


Spectron Audio web site states that they have new black faceplates and I wonder if someone has Spectron amp with this look? I am considering to get their monoblocks.

It seems (from their web site) that they are on the rise - hiring new people, getting new reviews, even new Remote Sense cables... interesting

Hello Mike,

Spectron website master will place photos of new faceplates next week. They look identical to the silver one but anodized. Basically, it is an optional choice for the people who have black stereo equipment and want to be consistent.

Thank you for your kind words, Spectron Audio indeed received a couple awards and we expect a few reviews (one - next month).

Except new faceplate there is no substantial changes with our flagship, Musician III - hopefully at next year CES we will debut some other product.

Thank you
" I am considering to get their monoblocks"

Hello Mike,

What are you looking for in the amplifier? What is your speakers etc?

All The Best
Hello Rafael and all other owners of Spectron amps,

My system: Esoteric X-03 CD Player, Capri by Jeff Rowland , Mackintosh MC2102 and my speakers are Watt/Puppy 8. Cables by Purist Audio Design and power conditioner is Thor by Nordost.

I am looking for more power but I don;t want to be without "tube sound" and I have read that Spectron monoblocks are not only powerful but sound like a good tube amp. I am not sure if I need v-cap and Bybee upgrades.

What is your opinion of Spectron from point of view of musicality? Can it "grab" you?

The Spectron is very musical and with the V-Cap upgrade it sounds even more harmonic and rich. These amps would be perfect for your speakers and have tremendous headroom, soundstage and dynamic response. The M2 is also stable to extremely low impedances; many speakers may be nominally rated at 8 ohms but can dip to 2 ohms or lower.

Mine is with the V-Cap upgrade and I've heard many amps and I can't say I've heard better (at least in my system) anywhere near this price point.
Hello Mike,

If you like tube amplifiers then I am sure you will like Spectron. I am also tube lover and I have compared Musician III Signature with VTL Zeigfried and I liked Spectron more.
See - http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?aamps&1180897750&read&keyw&zzspectron

I am aware that Wayne Donnelley, reviewer of The Enjoy The Music sold his VTL ( Siegfrieds or one level down) and keeps Spectron as well. And its all about older Signature model and stereo configuration. New Mk2 is much better, not to mention monoblocks

So if you need power, have a difficult load (Wilson speakers dip below 2 Ohms as far as I remember) and like tube amplification then Musician III Mk2 should be ideal, particularly if you can afford two units and run them in monoblock configuration

All The Best

"Tube amps" cover a lot of territory. Some are great; others have been less so. But let me assume that your experience is with the best of the breed. No doubt what you appreciate is the sense of palpability and immediacy that the best tube amps can provide, and the spaciousness they can reproduce from a high caliber recording. That certainly is what I have appreciated.

I've had several of the Spectron amps, including the SE (currently being upgraded to Mk.II) and the Musician III has had the remarkable effect of making me utterly uninterested in searching further for the mythical, holy grail amplifier. My budget had plenty of room for car-priced amps, but the Musician III is so extraordinary that I simply can't drag myself out to compare amps anymore.

As a former symphony musician, I think I have a pretty good idea of what real instruments in real space sound like. The Spectron amp gets me closer to that than anything else I know of. Tube like immediacy and palpability, coupled to absolutely ruthless control of the drivers by the amp, so that the speaker and amp act as one. The delicacy of well-recorded strings is, well, like the delicacy of well-played strings. Voices have heft and presence. Bass is as tight as it was in the recording venue. And if the recording engineer captured the space of the venue, there you are.



The Spectron amp is utterly indifferent to tricky loads. Its an amp for all seasons.

Get one, and you can go back to listening to the music, which is what this is all about, no.

you hearing consisten views from happy Spectron owners and I am in the same camp. Like Jonathan now I have the monoblocks with Byee and V-caps there is no reason to even think about anything else - and there is plenty of nice gear out there to tempt you.

Like others I have replaced tubes (SF Power 3's) with Spectron and I was able to get drawn into the music even more.

I don't think you can go wrong with Spectron - and the communications and service is great as well, if you should need it. I can't compare the Bybee / Vcap mods against the regular version, but I don't regret paying for these upgrades as I know I have the best amp (for me) against anything out there I would compare it with.


All I would say audition it at home B\4 u buy.

It all depends on the type of music u like.
I audition one at the dealers, liked it, bought one and it gave me listening fatigue setup in my system. I could not listen to my system for more than an hour. I ended up with a Cary 500 for half the price of a Spectron and really enjoying it.

The opinion of others is not as important as yours.

TRY B\4 U BUY, simple as that.
Hello Ajackson,

I totally agree with you. If you can try the amp IN YOUR SYSTEM then you must do it. I am not sure how easy it can be done with speakers but with amp - ABSOLUTELY!

The problem, as I see it - when you try to buy used amp or whatever - seller rarely gives you opportunity to return the component if you don;t like it. Right now - there are three Spectron "demos" here at Audiogon and these dealers better will give their amp for trial.

Still, let me share my observation that Spectron appears better and better when you move to more and more difficult load. I have B&W802N and I tried many, many amps and Spectron was the best - may be because my speakers are extremely difficult to drive (correctly that is).

How you said? "TRY B\4 U BUY" - I like it !

All The Best
I live in Sydney, Australia. I was a friend of John Dunlavy and visited him several times in Colorado. On my last visit before his death we were using Spectron amplifiers and he said "These are the best I have ever used". If they were good enough for John Dunlavy they are good enough for me.

The new Spectron monos are marvellous, wonderfully musical, great rhythm and played through my Dunlavy sigmas (in his range they are between SCivA's and SCv's) they make a great sound. I also have a set of Aletha loud speakers from Dunlavy. They are powered by one amplifier - Musician III and the signal comes through my Sonos system. It also makes great music.

John Dunlavy and John Ulrick were great admirers of each other and it shows in the quality of their products which I am using. It is like having the Sydney Opera House in your lounge room.
To each his own. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
It did not work for men.

When one buys expensive component and after installation into his system does not like the resulting sound its great disappointment.

There are only two explanation to it: either component is bad or there is system mismatch.

Well, with bad component you can do very little and have to get rid of it. However, before you do so I urge everybody to examine your system first. Sometimes, older component (which you wanted to remove) creates euphonic coloration which overshadow some deficiencies in the rest of your system and new component can be more neutral, have more resolving power and will simply reveal the truth.

For example, overly dark preamplifier will cover bright CD Player and then you buy new neutral and resolving preamplifier you may discover that your SYSTEM's sound became bright and you blame this "innocent" preamplifier.

My point is very simple - when you get components which is generally recognized e.g. has "Best Sound at CES" , few prestigious awards etc and you don;t like it - call your dealer who must be the system matching expert (or the manufacturer)and discuss your specific situation. It is possible that one small and relatively inexpensive cable or vibration control device will makes huge difference in the RIGHT direction.

While, I am happy with my own system - I heard rumors that very new fuse design will improve certain aspects of my system behavior and I ordered a few to test.

Thank you
New Recommended Fuses for Spectron Amplifier:
As I promised a few days ago, I have just compared new Furutech fuses with HiFi Tuning treated by E-SST silver suspension. The result is very clear: The new fuses have small bit clearly noticeable advantage.

I listen to female voice, Spanish Guitar, Symphonic Music and Piano both left and right hands (piano is my instrument). With Furutech fuses there was more liquidity and delicacy as well as more palpable 3D presentation. With bass - I did not detected any significant changes I can be sure of.

So if you have already HiFi Fuses then it may or may not be worth for you to change your main Fuse (slow blow 10 AMP) to that of Furutech.

If on other hand you use stock fuses which are very good with silver wire, ceramic etc but not as good as HiFi Tuning then you will gain substantially by getting one main Furutech fuse.

I called and made arrangement with Brian Kyle of xtremecables.com (where I bought fuses for myself) to arrange a discount to Spectron owners. Brian kindly agreed If you buy them then for discount coupon write word "SPECTRON"

Finally, neither Spectron nor I personally gain financially in this recommendation and just provide it as a service to our customers

Thank you
Dear Simon,

What about internal fuses, is worth to repalce them for HiFi Tuning's as well?

Dear Guma15;

As most things in this hobby its the question of the budget. The rail (internal) four fuses effect music in lessen degree then one main fuse. So, if you want you can get better internal fuses four times the price of one main with about 20% improvment. I did it but others may choose to invest the same money (about $120 - $150) into other tweaks. For example, vibration control devices like Acoustic Revive QR8 for about $138 set of 8 or Aurious. set of 3 (about $200 - $250) to put under the amp will do more help in improving the system's sound.

Still, if you want to install better quality rail fuses then rather good stock please note: Fast Blow, 10 AMP, 1.25" size, 250v and Furutech does not have, at the moment, fast blow fuses. So it leaves only HiFi Tuning Fuses (as far as I know). A few years ago, I also made arrangments with Cable Company for discount for Spectron users. John Pharo is salesperson to get in touch rgarding HiFi Tuning Fuses.

Thank you
Dear Simon,

Thank you for your kind replay. I think I will go for HiFi Tuning fuses also internally. My both fully upgraded Spectons already seating on Herbie’s Audio Lab Iso Cup’s. If this tweak choice is the best I do not know but works.

Best regards,

I bought Musician III SE Mk2 with Bybee and VCap upgrades -slightly used but in good shape. I am listening to it for a second day and for my WATT/Puppy the sound is better then with McIntosh 2102. May be in midrange tube amp slightly better may be its my imagination - so close they are both. I will get HiFiTune Fuses and that will settles it. However, overall sound - soundstage, imaging, dynamic range, bass - all is better with Spectron. Even highs are silkier - no question about it!

I will not buy 2nd amp. I am sure that two monoblocks are better then one stereo - however I am happy with what I have.

Thank you all for your advices
Hello Mike,

I would express my personal opinion but from my experience I believe that pair of stock of Musician III monoblocks will sound much better then one Musician III with all upgrades.

Better in three-dimensionality, better in finesse, liquidity. To my surprise I do not hear so much improvement in dynamic range and bass or more correct - I do hear improvement there but not in a degree of the improvement in three-dimensionality and finesse.

John and Simon from Spectron explain it that when you use their monoblocks - all distortions originated in the amplifiers cancel each other completely and you listen to music without (amplifier induced) distortions.

All The Best
The rail (internal) four fuses in both Spectrons are now replaced with HiFi Tuning’s. Results are more than pleased. Any kinds of sibilants gone, highs become cleaner, bas tighter, focus stronger, stage excellent… music simply shine. Everything moved near to reality. So, I would say that replacement of rail fuses is something worth to be tweaked.

Best regards,
Hello Boris,

Actually you are correct. About 8 months ago, I helped to introduce, in Spectron amps, ceramic silver Audio Acme internal (rail) fuses because four-five HiFi Tuning were way too expensive and people who wanted them could upgrade their amplifiers by themselves.

A few days ago, I have learned that Spectron Production found that Acme Audio fuses fail a lot and they started to use regular (like in Radio Shack) fuses.

While I don;t know if you replaced four ceramic ACME Audio fuses or regular ones - for the owners of recent Musician III Mk2 or Hybrids Mk2 I would definetely recommend that you did - exchange their rail fuses for HiFi Tuning Fuses. The main fuse is HiFiTuning Fuse.

Let me remind that you if you go for this upgrade then you need Fast Blow, 10-12 Amp, 32 mm fuses and Cable Company (salesperson is John Pharo) is giving Spectron discounts.

Thank you again Boris for drawing my attention to this matter.

I just checked my Spectron main fuses in my 2 amps and they were Hi-Fi Tuning, but to my horror one of the fuses had "leaked" the internal damping material into the fuse holder - it was a sorry mess to clean up. At first, I thought maybe a cap had leaked, but it was just the fuse. The fuse was obviously still working and until I replace it I assume the fuse itself is OK, just the ceramic damping oozed out.

I am moving to Furutech and I recommend all Spectron owners to check their amp(s)

Before upgrading were both Spectrons equipped with regular fuses and after upgrading they come with 15A ceramic internal fuses! So, I replaced ceramic fuses for HiFI Tuning’s Fast Blow 10A. I can only hope the between 10A and 15A is not any huge sonic difference.

Regarding HiFi tuning fuses, I newer found any failure or quality issue despite that my system benefit from total of 30 pieces.

Regards, Boris
Hello RadicalSteve,

There is no leakage. It is E-SST silver suspention for better conductivity. Perhaps, production gave it a bit too much... its fine.

Hello Boris,

So you comparison was between HiFi Tuning rail fuses and ACME Audio (also ceramic) fuses?

Thank you - very interesting results.

Review of the Spectron amp over at Stereomojo, http://www.stereomojo.com/Spectron%20MusicianIII%20SE%20Mk2%20review.htm/SpectronMusicianIIISEMk2review.htm

My own personal experience is that the Spectron needs 1000 hours of playing before its' full potential is reached. It is a pretty good review but at 300 hours the amp was not near to being broken in.
Thank you Bill. I love stereomojo review, specifically:

"Recently, a friend of mine bought a new car – a Bentley Continental GT.....engine was silent and silky smooth and provided the sensation of taking off in 747... That is how I would describe listening to the Spectrons; quiet and luxurious with no sense of effort at any volume level... More than most other amps, the Spectrons allow you to feel the music (not the sound) as well as hear it... Like the Bentley, you don’t think to yourself, “Wow! This is powerful!”, you are not conscious of the power at all. You are conscious of the music in all its pristine glory without much of a perception of electronics at all; the music just is...Like the Bentley, the Spectrons excel at speed..."

Now, I know for sure that to request from John Ulrick as a Christmas bonus!!!!!! John owns Ferrari - (see his photo in this plane on out web site), me wants 2 !

Good Night!
A Spectron to a Bentley, LOL, I beg to differ. I own this amp and & in my opinion it is like comparing apples and oranges. Just my two cents.
You don't like reviewer comparison Spectron performance to that of Bentley? OK, to the best of my knowledge - next week or so will be another review published. Spectron amp is compared there with the best TUBE amplifiers around. I been told that one or more reviews are in pipeline.

Who will be doing the review.
Hello Koiman,

We have three reviewers who have our amplifiers for their examination. One review is ready and will be published very soon in Positive Feedback, second one - I just this morning read proofread and 3d one I don;t know yet.

By tradition or is it by law - we cannot disclose the name of reviewer(s) and quote the review in question publicly.

I can say only that I , personally like what I read.... Also, we do not solicit reviews (at least last couple of years) and all reviews come from the reviewers who requested samples for the review or wrote based on their own Spectron amplifier(s)

As much as I love (good) reviews nothing can substitute personal experience and we are discussing to introduce a "demo" amp which we can send to [serious] audiophiles.

Thank you.

Simon Thacher
Senior Engineer
Spectron Audio
Reviews don't mean a thing. Sometimes, I wonder what these reviewers were smoking when they review a product. It is foolish to buy based on a reviewers point of view, and I have done my fair share of buying on impluse. I have grown wiser, my friends. A reviewers taste is his or her taste, not mine. We all know many companies send out freebies to these reviewers.

Spectron could be the GREATEST AMP on the face of the earth, but it is not for me; I am not saying it is a bad product, it just did not meet my taste.
Reviews do mean a lot !!!! If I am looking for the amp - I can't auditioned all available on market - Only what my local dealer has (and he dos not have much). Reviews help immensely to narrow options to educate about company, engineering approach, some weaknesses etc.

Ajackson1 - you even wrote me privately with advise not to believe this or that A-goner, nor to buy Musician etc.

Well, I bought used one - with condition that if I will not like it I will return - .... but I liked it and I did not return. As a matter of fact I LOVE it! Very close to some very good valve amplifiers in midrange and simply the best everywhere else.

The more time I use this amp the more I love it. I think I will save some money and trade-up this one for the pair of monoblocks, people are saying that midrange became much, much better not to mention dynamics and I believe them.

to Spectron Audio - great job, guys. Thank you.

haha had that coming
I feel the same as you the more time goes by the better it sounds, and the better I like it. Mine only has about 300 hrs. on it at this time.

Everyone have their taste and if you love the Spectron that is you; I did not and I am entitled to write about my dislike for this product just like you are for your love of it.

I do, however, have an issue with you posting a private email exchange you and I had on this post. What I said in my email to you is to audition the product before you buy and not to take everyone one who post positive reviews on Agon for their word. I never told you not to buy this product.

Please lets be adults who can have fruitful discussions and leave tattle tails to high schoolers.
New great Spectron review - http://positive-feedback.com/Issue44/spectron.htm

Note that "At first listen....I found them a bit dry and uninvolving. Figuring a little run time would help things out, I broke them in by feeding the amps cable radio night and day for about a week....

Forget what you think you know about Class D amplifiers. The Spectrons combined incredible speed with the kind sweetness and musicality usually reserved for good tube amps. They conveyed harmonic colors with incredible precision and rather than blending distinct tonal colors into a “sound” they rendered each color as distinct, bringing it to life, intact and true to the source..."

Interesting the units reviewed did not have the bybee caps and other upgrades? What changes would those two upgrades mentioned in the article would have on the sound?
I changed the power fuses from the silver filled Hi-Fi tuning to the Furutech and found it hard to discern any definable improvement. Maybe, the amps sound a little more effortless.

However, I also changed the internal rail fuses to very inexpensive, but cryoed fuses from CryoParts and that made a noticeable gain in clarity and precision. At already outstanding performance levels from these amp, any changes are by definition just minor 'delta' shifts, but I do recommend going the cryo route for the internal fuses (without busting the bank) for a noticeable improvement.

Would be interested to hear anyone else's experiences ......... I love these amps!

Hello Steve,

You are absolutely right. Furutech fuse brings a bit of "effortless" presentation [ as I observed in my own system] and the degree of it would depends on your speaker impedance behaivor (phase in particular) and if you use one or two amps, obviously.

Your observation is very interesting - I believe you have two monoblocks and thus the most powerful amp in the industry - yet the fact that you can hear a bit more "effortless" show that we are not at the limits!

Indeed, our peak power is 7kW (over period of 0.5 seconds). The measured/estimated peak power to produce creshendo of classical music in B&W 803 requires 7 kW (published work by Keith Howard) and we provide it. However, that means that for more difficult speaker loads like that of B&W 802 and 801 - we do not provide enough power co represent musical peaks WITHOUT DISTORTIONS i.e. effortless.

Thank you very much
I don't understand this statement. please explain..

we do not provide enough power co represent musical peaks WITHOUT DISTORTIONS i.e. effortless.

Hello Lee,

It is not big deal to create hugely powerful amp. Just place biggest transformers you can find into power supply, give bazzilion farads filtering capacitors and place into output stage hundreds of FETs , for example (plus heatsinks and few more small things).

With such amplifier you will get as much power as you desire. The problem of course is that you are not after power but after music. Music is sweet, seductive, warm etc. To hear it you need to remove all garbage (distortions) which amplifier will add. You done it and you have best amplifier in Universe. Its not terribly easy, as I am sure you are well aware of it. The problem increases with increased output. The greater output the greater distortions both in absolute sense and also proportionally -particularly in tube amplifiers. Its very difficult for me to find amplifier which does not produce huge ear-piercing distortions at musical peaks. [ tube is more pleasant for ear but its still distortion]. Note as some manufacturer describe thir amp as having "soft clipping" i.e. they say , yes sure we distort ...but so pleasantly that most of you will never hear it.

Spectron is not exception. While, I believe, its the most powerful amp in the industry and with lowest distortions at full output (at least as far as I know) when you provide more and more difficult load - Spectron will start produce measurable and audioble distortions too. Some customers of ours have one stereo, some two monoblocks, some three amps (one stereo and two monobocks) and some four monoblocks - with 14 kW peak power. All for one reason - to reduce distortions at peak and near peak and enjoy low or ultra low distortion (as the case with our monoblocks) music. Martin-Logan, Audio Analyses are a few of speakers with 4 monoblocks driving them.

I hope it helps.

I ordered some magnetic levitation isolation devices for my Spectron. I'll let you know what differences I hear, if any. Anyone else try these on their Spectron(s)?
Just received my magnetic levitation isolation devices and put them under my Spectron amp. Talk about instant gratification...all I can say is Wow! I am hearing more texture, clarity, delineation. I am hearing parts of music I have never heard before. They are made by Yeil M&C and I purchased them from Simon at MCV Consulting. Highly recommended!!!
Just hooked up a pair of Apogee Scintillas 1 ohm models (remember those - the "amp busters"). Now these might just be the best speakers ever made - planars that go down to 20Hz and true dipole tweeter ribbons. I must say that in bi-wired bridged mono block mode I found the Spectrons constrained as opposed to the headroom they have when driving my Martin Logans. Maybe the bridging drops the impedance load to below 1/2 ohm and the amps are not comfortable in this zone? Yet to try vertical or horizontal biamping.
Hello Steve,

For explanation - look a few posts above, my post of 07-23-09. Our 7kW peak power monoblocks cover B&W803N nicely - every speaker with more difficult load will experience more and more clipping and other distortions. You noted it because you used to Spectrons driving easier impedance speakers.

I am afraid that you need one or two more Spectron and perhaps we need to add to the lost of "terrible speakers" such as (some) Martin-Loagn and (some) Audio Analyses your speakers as well. Glad to produce them for you and its also the right time for me to upgarde from Mercedez to Ferrari. Good timing...;--)
Oh - and don;t blame me, blame Keith Howard who did the measurments of real life power requirments of real-life loudspeakers and ...publish them. Its not my fault.

Hello Bostonbean,
Immesnely happy to hear from you the first impressions of these "toys" from exotic Orient "levitation..."? Brrrrr. Sounds like "Snake Oil" Thank you !

Hi Simon, Yes I am sure many will scoff at my comments but I hear what I hear. Thanks for recommending these modestly priced additions to my system.
Steve, Read up on the Scintillas and it looks like you have picked up quite a challenge with huge payoffs if you have the time, money and patience to get them setup properly. Keep us apprised of your adventures.
Will give some updates on the Scinnies as the project unfolds. After a quick repositioning, removal of absorption panels behind the speakers and going to stereo vertical bi-amping I now begin to hear what all the fuss is about from the avid / rabid Apogee clan!

With the biamping configuration, I heard no strain from the Spectrons and although the bridged mode sounded better on my Logans, the stero mode on the Apogees is clearly much superior as the amps are not doubling down to 1/2 ohm.

The speakers are amazing and I can compare with the Soundlabs AX1's. The bass really does go down to 20Hz - had to take out my subteranean TL loaded dual 12" woofers which used to load the room with prescence, (as opposed to bass thumping). I never found until now a substitute for the accuracy and speed of my old ESL 63's in the lower regions. BUt the Quads were light in quantity and rolled off quickly below 40HZ. NOT these babies, the bass panel is fearsome with the Spectrons and MRTW ribbons have incredible air and transparency with the Spectrons.

More to follow

Hum...what are these 'levitation' devices and where can I find out more about them? I quite like the Aurios under mine, but generally, better footers seem to have an impact on most components and the Spectrons are no different.
Each device is two magnets with the same polarity facing each other forcing them apart. This causes the component to float hence "levitation". Each device is designed for a specific weight range. Couldn't tell you if these are any better or worse than the Aurios but they did work wonders under my Spectron. The increased clarity is remarkable. Check my 8/28 post as to where to get them.
OK, from your note about where you bought these (having myself bought from Simon) I figure these are what you are referring to, the Yeil M&C Magnetic Levitation Devices:


Anyone else try them?