I have listened to the Spectron amps, my advice keep your Pass Labs X-350.5, much more musical/natural sounding to my ears.
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I an't speak to the specific Spectron model you asked about, but, I have been using Wyred 4 Sound amps for over a year. No matter what I have changed upstream, isolation/vibration devices, they are readily apparent.
I just upgraded my Rayconic 168 to the new 2 box version with outboard tube regulated and stabilized power supply. No problem hearing the improvement a huge power supply makes.
Perhaps it is system or speaker dependent or the sound you are looking for but I like my MK2 with V-Cap upgrade (makes it more liquid sounding). The sound is very musical sort of between tubes and SS but with tremedous headroom and tigh solid bass.
I have B&W 803D speakrs that can dip to 2-3 ohms and the Spectron is stable down to 0.1 ohms which really helps....especially if one has electrostatic speakers.
I tried a lot of amps before settling on the Spectron (I like the MK with V-Cap upgrade more) as it works well with my speakers and system. I use a tube preamp and the combination works well for me.
What I didn't use to like were the round black speaker posts that were not suitable for bi-wiring. However they now use a Cardas regular speaker post and it is a welcome change.
I originally purchased a single Musician III SE. I later added a second amp for mono-block operation. As good as a single amp can be, these amps in mono-blocks are in a whole new level. It is often the case that bridging amps does not return double the improvements, or the investment. With the Spectron mono-blocks the performance improvement are quite dramatic.
I recently upgraded the mono-blocks to MK2 status, along with Bybee purifiers upgrades. In my mind, this was a minor upgrade, but I was blown away by how much quieter these amps were after the upgrade. There is more speed, control and finesse. I was told that about 70% of the improvement I'm hearing is due to the Bybee purifiers.
I don't know what the MK2 without the Bybee purifiers sound like, but with them installed I very, very highly recommend these mono-blocks.
Mdrummer01, My mistake, I was refering to the Musician II. I know they have made a lot of progress with updated versions from what I have heard. My experience with the Musician II and model 10 pre were cumbersome to say the least. After switching to BAT gear, I would never go back to class "D" IMHO, The sound was somewhat colorized .....
I owned the Spectron Musician III Signature Edition which replaced a Spectral DMA-150 Series II. Whilst I was initially happy, I found that with long term use for several hours a day I came to recognize a distortion which I can only describe as bleached or whiteish high frequencies. Once I had become cognizant of that, I found it extremely annoying, almost to the point of being unlistenable. To mitigate the problem I replaced the Spectron with the far more expensive MBL 9008A monoblocks which are in a totally different league. I was so pleased I posted a message to a forum stating the facts. To my chagrin, I got an extremely rude email from Spectron effectively telling me that I was stupid and I should have forked over $$$ for their monoblocks and associated upgrades. Needless to say I was not amused. I'm glad I got off the Spectron upgrade merry go round at the earliest opportunity. I won't be going back.
I have auditioned MBL 9008A - yes, they are very, very good amplifiers but depending on the speakers in question they may not be the best.
A few weeks ago, I auditioned (a few hours, a few times per week) excellent speakers MBL 101E with Joule-Electra Destiny (300 watts) tube amplifier and there was no comparison with any amp I heard before in my life - it was like travel to heaven and back.
I dont know of course your speakers but if they do not dip below 3 Ohms - you MUST audition Destiny.
I can't afford them so I order their new "super" preamplifier Marienna Electra LA-300ME. Taking in account that their previous one, much simpler LA-150MkII received Golden Ear award from Harry Pearson of TAS in 2007 - I expect to be in heaven again...;--)
All The Best
I too have been tempted to further explore or try the Spectron amps.
Although I can't quite put my finger on it, something has always told me that there has been way too much hype - a familiar sensation which has been a bit like the glowing reviews of Musical Fidelity at the height of allegations of corruption.
On reflection, perhaps value and liquidity on the used market should be the only high end reviews we read.
In the meantime, I hope everyone is disclosing their commercial affiliations in this wonderful community of enthusiasts.
A few days ago, I was able to audiotion again MBL 9008 but in my home, in my system (based on B&W802N) and for entire evening, and compare it again with Spectron Musician III Mk2 - monoblocks with Bybees and V-cap upgrades. My previous comparison was made when my Spectron was still stereo, SE and with no upgrades.
To my rather pleasant suprise Spectron won in almost each category. Most visible was its huge transperency. Next, the slam and tightness of the bass. Midrange - may be both were about the same but in highs I did not detected any grain in Spectron (as compared to 9008) - very, very extended and silky. May be you noticed it because you had stereo Musician III and previous generation - or was it Mk2?
At any rate - very interesting.
All The Best
Are the Spectrons really special sounding in any way compared to other popular Class Ds like newer Bel Canto Refs or Wyreds?
The specs I see on the Spectrons do not look like anything special in comparison to other well received Class Ds. Am I missing something?
has anybody listened to both Spectron and either newer mkII Bel Canto or Wyreds?
" Are the Spectrons really special sounding in any way compared to other popular Class Ds like newer Bel Canto Refs or Wyreds?"
If you really want to know then buy them and compare. Spectron and Wyred are sold direct with 30 days money back guarantee and I am sure you can find Bel Canto dealer who can lend you the pair.
"The specs I see on the Spectrons do not look like anything special in comparison to other well received Class Ds. Am I missing something? "
Yes, you are missing something: specs. For example, Bel Canto people will tell you that their amp will not drive speakers with impedance below 2 ohms (since Wyred are based on idenitcal ICE mass production module then it should be the same there) but Spectron is stable to 0.1 Ohm. Read more.
Don't buy amp on the basis of specs alone. Listen and listen in your home without sale pressure!
My answer is "yes, Spectron really is that good." I had all the upgrades available for the MkII: Bybee, V-caps, etc. I have had my Spectron for perhaps 10 years: used it first to drive a pair of excellent, but very current-hungry Totem Mani-2's, and now Totem Forest Signatures (the room in my new house required a smaller footprint). I pair the Spectron with an Audio Research LS-17 and am very happy with the combination- dead quiet, seemingly endless headroom, and great musicality. All in all, this pair seem to be about as neutral as one could imagine. I've heard a lot about how much better is to have 2 and use them in a mono-block configuration, and that is about the only thing I might consider as a next stage upgrade.-Jim