Spectron III SE vs. Signature III SE MK2

Any impressions from those who have owned the former and now own the latter. Discernible sound improvement with MK2?

Also, anyone install the V-caps. How did that work out.

Feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
I recently had a used mark 2 for a couple of weeks but it had some issues, not related to audio performance, and I returned it to the owner. On the basis of that experience and several conversations with Simon at Spectron I replaced my monoblock SF Power 3's SE+ with the new Spectron III SE with both V-cap and Bybee options.

Very happy with the performance, compared to the Power 3's, Bryston 4BSST's, EAD Powermaster 2000, Musical Fidelity Nuvista and Granite Audio 860's (which were the best) the Spectron is utterly revealing, accurate, and transparent. This amp really allows you to hear the subtle differences in your source materials and source equipment more than any other amp in my system. Nothing warm and fuzzy here and you do have to get used to a sonic signature that does not have the sugar coating of tubes. I believe monobloc's could be better, as they always have been for me versus stereo amps, but even with the stereo version right now it is clear that other amps can only sound different, unlikely though to be "better".

Tons of power, lots of control, quiet, no distortion, pure signal. I do use the Remote Sense cables and balanced mode. Musicality is defined by the Spectron as accuracy and speed, not a sonic signature, IMHO.
Radicalsteve, thanks. I know this is hard to quantify but do you believe the V-cap and Bybee upgrades are worth it? Especially if you decide to go monoblock somewhere down the road and the extra costs these options would add in a second amp. thanks again.
Hmm, that is a good question!

I really can't fault the new amp or ask for more - especially as I put a personal emphasis on transparency, crystal like sound, drive and control, but of course no glare or strident tones. I must say that for me, the Mk2 definitely had the transparency and control , but it was a bit "hard", maybe sterile - or put another way, lacking emotion. The III SE with upgrades is very musical, lots of PRAT, so no regrets and looking back. I would imagine the amp w/o upgrades will still be a spectacular performer compared to anything out there.

For me (in hindsight), the extra cost at the time (cough cough) will never leave me looking for an upgrade other than going the monoblock route. I don't know if the upgrades are retrospective - Simon can let you know that.

I have always been on an upgrade path, but this time around my ears tell me that any benefits will not be in this department for years to come, other than monoblocks, which is just more of the same! If you don't like this amp, then the problem lies in system synergy.
the upgrades are worth it IMHO.
Yes, there is a discernable difference for the better in the SE vs. the MK2 mainly due to the improvements in the reconstruction filter. There are other improvements in the MK2 version detailed on their webpage.

The V-Cap option is also worth it imo but the bybee may or may not be worth it depending on your power source (do you have a dedicated line without a lot of noise on it and do you use a nonrestictive condtioner like the Shunyata with it?).

From my experience the MK2 is a very musical, detailed but not harsh at all amp and one of the best I've listened to.

You have to run it in for 300-400 hours before doing any crtical assessments however.
Yes, I was thinking about doing the V-cap option and not the bybee. From what I have researched on the web the v-cap seems like it has a greater impact.

I wonder if you have tried your unit with single ended input? I tried this on my MkII, and loved the increased dynamics I got. Not going back unless I get another unit and run in balanced monoblock mode. As I understand it, the stereo amp converts balanced input back to SE, anyway. For whatever reason, I liked SE better than balanced.

FWIW, I really, really like my MkII. Best amp I have ever owned, including lots of tube gear. I have owed the same speakers for 18 years, and the Spectron is easily the best match for them.

Do you really like the remote sense cables and have you tried conventional cables?
oofer, you have v-caps or bybee?
I did try the SE but the balanced in was better in my system - more dynamic and lively, probably the cables - 15' run - Transaparent XLR v Harmonic Tech SE
Thanks for everyone's input. I have decided to get both V-cap and Bybee upgrades.

Talked to Simon, of Spectron, yesterday. Counter to what I was thinking he felt that if he had to choose between the two upgrades the Bybee does the most in enhancing amp performance. He stated that the V-cap gives you more of what, he feels, that the Spectron already offers, warmth and liquidity. He went on to say that the Bybee gives the Spectron another dimension that it currently does not really have, palpability. He used this word more than once so I looked it up just to make sure I really understood what he was saying.

Palpable: that can be touched, felt, or handled; tangible.

I have my own interpretation as to what he was tring to say and I'll leave you to your own interpretations. In any case I went with both upgrades. Thanks again.
Great decision - give it at least 500 hours for full benefit - that is for the caps to burn in as I have implemented Bybees elsewhere in my system and the impact was immediate.

Was that a used Spectron Muscian 2 or
a used Spectron Muscian 3 SE Mk2 that you tried
for a couple weeks?

Bostonbean, No mods other than stock.
I recently picked up a Musician III Signature Edition. Has anyone here gone from the original SE to the Mk2? if so, what are the changes you experienced?
Hello Rydenfan,

If you would read all responses in this thread you will see that everybody who went from Mk1 to Mk2 are very happy.

You will have more transperency, more tight bass, more sweetness, more liquidity, more {full the blank}

All The Best
Rkmcv - it was the Mk2 I tried before discussing with Simon at Spectron prior to buying the III SE sig. I was thinking of upgrading the Mk2 I had, but clearly the right decision was to go with the Mk III
Just to clarify,
Spectron Amps in the Muscian Series (I think)

Muscian II
Muscian III
Muscian III SE (Signiture Edition)
Muscian III SE Mk 2 the latest iteration released in April/May of '08.

Correct me if I am mistaken please.
I presume there is no Mk3 and
no Mk models for the Musician II

Radicalsteve, I think you had the Musician II
and now have the Musician III SE Mk2 by reading your comments on the sound.


and loving it
Question for any of you Spectron III MK2 owners;

How close before you hear any noticeable sound (hiss or any other)coming from your speakers when music is not playing.

My systems have always been dead quiet when using solid state, you would have to put you head right up close to hear anything which would be very faint.
Hello Dev,

With solid state or passive preamp - nothin' , nada, total silence. With tube preamp - yes, some tube hiss - but its aslo largely depends on the sensitivety of the speakers, age of the tubes etc and only when I put my ear to the tweeter (my speakers are B&W 802N) .

All The Best
No hiss here...I own a Musician III SE Mark 2. It has a slight tick in the left channel upon turn on, but it's a moot point (no pun intended) cuz I run it 24/7, aside from the occasional power cord swap, etc. Never heard the Mark 1 though; this was a brand new mark 2 that I demo'd and bought the demo.
I have had my new Spectron III SE MK2 for 2 weeks so it is still being broken in. After a rough 100-200 hours of break-in and 24/7 music playing the sound coming out of the amp now (around 300 hours) is, as the kids say, awesome, absolutely awesome. I can really crank her up now. The difference between the MK1 and MK2 is easily discernible. I had both upgrades put in but not being able to compare to a stock MKII I cannot tell you how much they contribute to the sound improvements. I can tell you though that the clarity of sound is spectacular and I would have to assume that the Bybee upgrade is contributing to that. That's all for now.
Regarding break in for the MK2 upgrade: What do you suppose is the 'window' of time needed when looking at two scenarios: just having the amp on 24/7 with 1-2 hrs of play time per day vs. having a source playing through it 24/7? I need to balance my desire to hear the upgrade in the near future and to not drive my spouse crazy.
be patient and don't drive your spouse crazy - you will be reworded :--)
I agree with Dob. I'm just impatient.
Got my 2nd Mk 2 on order, for monoblock-isizing!!! Can't wait. I'm an idiot for wanting to fix what ain't broken 9my system sounds glorious right now), but by all reports the monoblocks "go one louder". I'll report back, once they are broken in. 2nd amp arrives in a couple weeks.
With my ear pressed up against any spot on my planars there is no sound or hiss. I know what you are refering to because my BAT 150SE would generate a faint hiss by the tweeters.

I got delivery of the MK2 with Bybee purifiers upgrades about two months ago. I waited very long to do the upgrade as I just kept thinking that this was minor improvement. WRONG! After listening to all my favorite music with the MK2 + Bybee upgrades, I'm asking to myself why I waited so long!

Based on before and after performance, this upgrade should have been labeled MK4 or MK5. It is that much of an improvement. The first thing I noticed about the new mono-blocks was that these are totally different amplifiers in many ways. They still retain all the exceptional qualities of the SE mono-blocks, such as absolute control over the speaker drivers, while at the same time elevating the overall sonic performance to make these mono-blocks go head-to-head with the best amps, regardless of price.

There is more extension at the lower frequencies. This comes with the speed, tautness, clarity and texture rivaled only by live music. The mid frequencies are as neutral as I've ever experienced. The highs are simply crystal clear with an uncanny level of definition. The sound is so transparent and well defined that one can tell if the musicians in the recording are using cheap instruments or expensive ones. Image definition went from high-def to ultra high-def.

I was so perplexed by how different the MK2 mono-blocks are that I had to ask around to find out more about what's in the MK2 amps. I found out that about 70% of the improvements I'm hearing is due to the Bybee purifiers.