Spectron MIII mk II owner's question.

Spectron MIII mk II owners are you in the process of looking at other amps to replace your Spectrons ?
Do you feel that your search is over, a bit from over or far from over ?

My answer is after working with several name brands amps, Spectrons are the last amps that I will ever own.
End of the line for me.
My ownership is about 3 years and since then I never became interested in something else.

Apart from the musical presentation this amp is physically easy to move around and really does not occupy space, low heat output and I never switch them off.

I like to find out how much are other satisfied.
Thank you.
I'm at my ending point with my Musician III Mk2.

same here.

My B&W802 Diamond need and power and finesse and I have it all in spades!
I've had my Musician III Mk2...oh...three plus years and have had no desire to change it. It effortlessly powers every speaker I've used with plenty of headroom to spare. A single unit is great (and a needed space saver for my audio rack.) I still own and occasionally put in my system a Cary V12R tube amp because of the lush, totally seductive mid range it has, but it does not have the power to really make my current speakers (maggie 3.6) sing.
BTW... a couple of years ago Simon T. at Spectron sent me some perfectly-sized copper spades, which I had Paul Speltz (Anti-Cables) attach to those cables...never looked back when it comes to speaker cabling.
I've had mine for about a year and a half and have no desire to change. I am running it with Audio Research LS 26.
Just for the purpose of added info on this thread, I will add the post of a previous owner of a pair of Spectron monoblocs (on which I've inquired to him at the time).

07-18-10: Radicalsteve

I owned the Spectrons (monoblocks with bybee and v-caps) with my CLX's. They were very nice with my ML ReQuests, but with the enormous resolving power of the CLX's I found the Spectrons were brittle, lacking in depth and sounding strained. With my dealer we did a side by side comparison with my Plinius SA-250 and frankly is was no contest, the Plinius won hands down, especially in weight, nuance and texture.

We thought that the Spectrons were challenged to deliver current across the impedance curve of the speakers, although the CLX's are not that hard to drive. I used to be a big supporter of Spectrons, and they sound very transparent at first blush, but after a while I realized they lack substance when driving electrostatics or ribbons.

Now my dealer has Bel Canto's with Soundlabs at home (he needs to get the CLX's!) and that combo is very nice - and based on that listening experience I would reank the Bel Canto's ahead of the Spectrons.

In any event, I would not recommend the Spectrons with CLX's, you will either sell the amps or the speakers!

Hi Andr. I remember story with Radicalsteve. He, at first wrote that it was Apogee Scintilla and much later its changed to M-L CLX. It is obvious that he like Plinius SA-250 more with these speakers and Plinius is excellent , really excellent amplifier. What does it says for me? Nothing. Everybody is different. You like combination of Soundlab with Bel Canto, for example and despite my respect to Bel Canto it (or its B&O mass production ICE modules) does not nearly has reserve (peak) power of Plinius or Spectron or BAT capable to reproduce distortion free musical peaks (creshendos).

I auditioned Soundlab with Pass Lab X350.5 - very powerful amplifier but I would describe the presentation as "pale" and sounded strained. In moment the owner tried it with Spectron high current Thunderbolt power cord everything changed and changed dramatically.

So...different people , different set ups, different results. Still, if you want highly musical amplifier and you have power demending speakers - chances (chances!) are you will be more then happy with Spectron. They sell their amp with 30 days home trial so you can try, judge for yourself and if don't like it - send it back.
Andr - as long as you happy with your amplifier, this is the best amplfiier in the world (at least fro you).
Hello Dob,

I can only agree with you. But I did not supply the info to submit my preferences nor to debate the tastes of anybody here. Please consider my post as information and not as a recommendation from me.

The point is there is not a lot of comments available from people who left Spectron than people who adopt and keep them. I presume that's the kind of info the OP is looking for, two sides of the medal.

If I were to consider Spectron as a future replacement in my system, as a matter of fact I do, I would be interested to know the strongsides and the downsides. The strong aspects have been very well documented, but what about the less positive ones. No single unit is perfect, what are Spectron's downsides. Surely, I would like to know what they are.
The only downside I can think of is they take a long time to break-in, a good 600-1000 hours of playing time. In my experience they can sound downright awful between 150-300 hours. I have a suspicion that any crticisms of Spectron comes from them not being sufficiently broke-in.

In preparation for new speakers I have on order I have upgraded to the mono Spectrons. For what you get in audio playback the Spectrons are a super bargain.

On a side note I would love to hear Mark Levinson's new flagship mono switching amps.
For anyone with any experience with the Spectron, can you name a unit that absolutely, unequivocally beats it, no matter the rest of the system. Now that's a tough question, one that draws for a spontaneous answer but also one of conviction.

Andr does have a good point 'what are Spectron's downsides'
I do not have an answer for this and really would like hear from other owners to find out what I have missed.
My 2 channel employs 4 pcs of MIII MKII containing the V-Caps and Bybees and I do not see or feel any downside that I can think of.
Perhaps, if I were only operating only one amp, something may show up that I dislike.
" what are Spectron's downsides." Only one I can SERIOUSLY think of: its not Joule-Electra OTL with its "magical", "magical" and "magical" presentation. Unfortunatelly, OTL amps cannot drive my B&W802 so its a moot point for me. Also, I don;t like the heat and rather high maintenance of OTL amps.
Dob, you are on a go, keep it going. Can you be more specific ? What does the Joule-Electra do that the Spectron can't ? Soundstage, depth, warmth, in front, laidback, decay,graineness of voices.... ? Lean and dry or lush and rich ? Emphasize the highs, concentrates on midbass and lower ? How does Patricia Barber sound on this thing that is different than the Joule ?

There is so much info available on the sonic signatures of Krell, Conrad Johnson, Levinson, Pass Labs, Rowland, MacIntosh and other big names that it is possible to imagine what they sound just by reading the info.

But Spectron, apart from it's very powerful impact, almost nothing, zip, nada...almost a conspiracy of silence. Does anybody have one that's broken in ?

Here's something to think about, maybe there's no conspiracy of silence. Maybe the Spectron is approaching neutrality and therefore doesn't have a noticeable sonic signature that can be easily described.

If that is the case, isn't that what an amplifier is ultimately meant to do? If the amp can simply amplify and pass the signal without altering it, then you can hear what is being extracted from your source.

Personally, I chose the Spectron over my Karan KA I-180, Burmester 036 and Pass XA 30.5 because I liked the neutrality that I perceived as much better.

After having the Spectron for almost a year and a half, I had it upgraded significantly. The upgrade was not to improve its sonic signature, but to clean the power and audio signal even more.

Hello Krell man,

Conspiracy of silence is an expression I used to illustrate the lack of comments.

Mmmmmhhhh! I don't know...something is missing. How many times have I read comments here on Agon about definite aspects of the sound signature of a unit by their owners while being on a general evaluation considered as neutral. Even reviewers in hi fi magazines will describe how such and such piece of music sound on a certain unit compared to another and still conclude that both are neutral.

But that's an old debate : what is neutrality !

Hey Terryakan ! You have a Spectron. How do you describe it compared to your previous amp or any other you might have tried in your system ?
Hello Andr.

I will try to answer your question. You need to speak with Simon Thacher, one of Spectron designers (chief is John Ulrick) who is responsible for voicing. He is former concert pianist and he will tell you that he voice equipment mostly using correcrtly recorded piano music. He (and John, of course) try to reach total realism. He does not know how voice of this or that singer sound in real life so he believe he should not voice his unit using as a standard something he does not know 100%.

In many Spectrons ads you will see Simon's slogan "life-like" That means that people who attend acoustic musical concerts will like then most this amp. Best evidence is that many respectable speakers designers like Albert von Schweikert, Anthony Gallo, late John Danlavy etc use (or used) Spectron for the development of their speakers. Professional recording engineers and professional musician love this amplifier for its "life-like" representation, including distortion-free creshendos.

I listen few times Joule-Electra VZN-300 (driven by Spectron power cords which bring bass to another level) along with MBL-101E. Despite its low sensitivity of 82 dB, MBL is characterized by uniform impedance. What this $100k combo gave me was "magic" - words like "lush and warm" will not do justice but probably closest to that I experienced. I don;t know if after three months of tjhis listening I would be still "on the heaven" or saturated with "better then life" sound and run away.

One advantage of Spectron, and for sure it is - its so good "platform" that you can add good front end, better speakers, new interconnects etc and be much less concern about synergy - Spectron will make its work of amplification without addition or subtraction or new emphasis (I do not deny phenomenon of synergy - just here its more "safe").

To add to a specific advantage of the Spectron for me is its quickness and its ability to process an extremely complex signal.

I was told that the biggest reason some people don't think the Wadia CD players are as good as they are, is that the preamp or amp receiving the signal isn't fast enough to handle it.

I've found that to be true for myself. The Karan and Burmester amps that I had were good, but with the Spectron and Pass amps, the music was much more enjoyable and lifelike.

Until I heard this for myself, I couldn't picture this logically happening in my mind. But it makes sense if you've ever heard Silent Source cables, which were the first ones that I found like this.

The ability of an amp, cable or any component to be fast enough to accurately pass the audio signal makes it have a more accurate attack and greater dynamic swings, especially when they have a really quiet background.

Any of you have problems with buzz/hum from your Spectrons?

I had a slight hum coming out of the left channel. I sent it to Spectron and they repaired whatever it was (I didn't ask) for free.

When I was searching for my amplifier (mostly among class A ss amps) I found used Spectron then upgraded it then buy another one and ...stopped.

During these last few years I upgardes my speakers from Wilson W/P-8 to Sasha also by Wilson, preamp first to Joule-Electra LA-300 and then LA-450 (yes, its better !) and lastly, with Simon's help Still Point E-SS rack (bloody expensive but WORTH EVERY PENNY AND MORE !!!!!!!!!!!!) as well as a few more smaller things.

I tried a few more power amps (more because of curiocity) and every time concluded that my Spectrons are the best (for me at least) and I can and I do build first class stereo system.

The Spectrons are the basis of my "pyramide" and I am immensely thankful to them not only for their power amps but also for the highly qualified advise I always get from them in matching components etc. I attrubute it to the simplest fact that Simon is former concert pianist and he has professional "ear" and very few designers in the world are TRUE professional musicians (albeit all love music!)

Since the introduction of the Spectron Musician III mk 2's has anyone other than me noticed the proliferation of Class D switching amps being introduced by highly respected audio companies including ARC, Rowland, Levinson (Levinson's flagship amps). Even Marten speakers is getting into the act with the introduction of mono amps that are Class D switching. Seems to me Spectron really opened some eyes (ears) to the possibilities of this technology.

Switching subjects slightly in a 7/20 post on this thread I mentioned that I upgraded from Spectron stereo to Spectron mono amps for some new speakers I had ordered. The speakers I ordered and have since received are the Tidal Piano Diaceras. I have had the new amps for around 8 months and the speakers for 6 months. I am ecstatic with the combination. The music playback is sublime with a naturalness and ease of presentation that gives me goose bumps.
Yes, today are Class D switching amps ‘all over the place’. I do not know if others are real contenders to Spectrons’ but I’m really happy what four of them do in my system. Like many other Spectron lovers also I finished with Joule Electra JE-450ME which offering natural synergy with Spectrons. Four Spectrons are of course controlled by electronic crossover Pass Labs XVR-1 and drive SoulSonics Impulse Supreme speakers which are added to system few months back when replaced loved MG 20.1.
I sincerely hope that Spectrons will remain in my system for long, long time.

When I upgraded my amp from a SE to a mk.2 I made Simon put the new at the time Cuft V-caps instead of the tin foil teflons. I couldn't be happier. It gave the amp a beautiful natural tone, which most Class d amps are missing.
Did anybody else put the copper foils instead of the tin foils in their amps?
Thanks for the hint ! I was already thinking about it. Didn't know Spectron were doing it themselves.
I've got copper caps in mine: Duelund CAST/PIO-CU. A bit more expensive, but a really natural sound.

Thanks for the hint ! I was already thinking about it. Didn't know Spectron were doing it themselves.

CuTF is excellent cap and I did rather extensive evaluation which VH Audio posted on their web site:

The problem with these caps is one - price. So, we do not advertise it. I firmly believe that if platform is good then additions will not spoil it like turbo to very good car. However, if its good car then its good car even without turbo... it just for people interested in speed, I guess

Unfortunatelly, I answer the strange questions when potential customers call us. My most "hated" is question/statement that our single amplifier is bad and if to buy Spectron then only two amplifiers.

I really hate time and time again to explain that there is nothing (zero) proprietery to Spectron. The stereo amp amplifies in single ended mode. When its converted into fully balanced monoblock then this configuration (done right only) "annihilates" amplifier induced distortions and Distortion-free music is gorgeous as many of you know. Note that distortions can be that of class D, class A, tube, transistor whatever - in theory all of them are gone and you ahve distortion free music. Any solid state amplifier in the world can also be configured in this fashion. One demand only: very high part tolerance i.e. high cost which you pay anyway when you buy stereo Spectron.

I do not recommend to change your TTFT caps to CuTF caps as it will be rather expensive.

if to spend money then for something like vibration control (I am in "love" with ULTRA SS by Still Points), power cord and/or interconnects and speaker cable.

One of the greatest pleasure (and pain) of our hobby is to disregard everything manufacturer says and experiment on your own.

Thank you,

I agree with Simon, upgrading the caps alone may be an improvement, but may not be worth the cost in the grand scheme of things.

My caps were upgraded to Duelund Cast caps in a total amp extreme mod. Peter told me that without all of the other component matching in the mod, changing the caps would not have been a good use of the money that they cost.

Addressing the good stand and other tweaks might be a better way to go for the bang for your buck.

Anyone try the remote sense cables? What are the results?

I had the Remote Sense RS Signature speaker cables and really liked them. At their price, I think that they're a steal.

I sold them when I sold my first Musician III Mk2 because I couldn't use them with my new Pass XA30.5. I ended up preferring the Spectron Musician III Mk2 over the Pass XA30.5, so I bought another Spectron.

I didn't buy another set of the RS Signature speaker cables because I had found the CH Acoustic X20 cable loom that easily bettered everything else I'd had. The X20 speaker cables are a lot more expensive than the RS Signature, but the gain in performance is worth it if money doesn't happen to be a consideration, especially if the rest of your gear is of the same quality. There's a CES demo set listed on Audiogon right now for half price, it's a very, very special cable: http://app.audiogon.com/listings/460895

But back to your question, the RS Signature is a very good speaker cable, especially at it's price of $2,000.00. I believe that you may audition both the RS Signature and CH Acoustic X20 speaker cables, so you've got the chance to listen to one or both in your system to see how they work for you before you buy, you can't beat it and have nothing to lose.

Hi Simon,

I used your advice and did not changed my TTFT caps to CuTF but invested in something else which could be verty relevant to some other owners and Specron and Joule-Electra. This is Platinum Upgrade of my LA-300ME preamp and while not terribly cheap ($1k) it bring the sound of my system on another much higher level. Everything is more alive, more alive and more alive. Other description is useless I think - yes, muh more detailed, yes much much more three-dimensional, I clase my eyes and my head is dizzy. WOW !!!!!!