Theta/Spectra/Avalon - system revamp advice needed

Because of my living situation I was forced to place my system (Spectral DMA180.1 & DMC-30, Avalon Radian HC, MIT 850(?) tri-wire, Theta DSPro Gen Va) in storage 7+ years ago and live with a very, very modest system. Listening is 100% CDs: jazz, rock/pop, folk, blues, a little classical here and there. New listing room is 20x20 w/high ceiling and very live.

I've been out of touch with the audiophile hobby for 10+ years, so I'm not up on the latest and greatest. Pretty much always stuck with buying used to stretch my $. Never felt I needed to have the latest equipment (still don't), just go for great stuff and usually stick with it for a while. Think I want to stick with the Radians and the DMA180.

Do you guys suggest I:

- stick with what I have and simply add a transport or CD player w/digital out? If so, recommendations? My budget is $1000.

- sell the Theta DAC & Spectral preamp and upgrade to a DSPre Gen VIII/preamp w/transport?

Any other suggestions welcome.


If you liked the Spectral sound, I would replace the 180 with a DMA 250. I will
say, a used 250 is going to be hard. I waited a year to get one used.
First a disclaimer: I'm an MIT dealer.
The system you describe is a genuine classic and is capable -- even now -- of near-SOTA performance in all areas except deep bass. The change I'd suggest, especially in terms of bang-for-bucks, is to upgrade your interconnects from (I'm guessing) MIT/Spectral 350 Series to MIT's current Oracles, such as the V2.2. Possibly upgrade your Digital cable at the same time. If you'd like to discuss options, you can call me toll-free at 1-888-737-4434.
Drjoe, yes, I do like Spectral sound. I owned a DMA-80 or 90 (used w/Vandy 3As) prior to the 180 and loved it. Don't think a DMA 250 is in my budget for now. Something to consider in the future. What did you pay for your DMA-250?

Joeabrams, cable upgrades are in the cards at some point, but first I need to figure out what I'm doing for a transport or cdp. Also, whether I lose the DMC-30 preamp and DSPro and go with a DSPre. Still looking for peoples' thoughts...

Think I read somewhere that running Oracle interconnects into the DMA-180.1 is a no-no. What say you Joe?
The manual for your DMA-180 was written BEFORE MIT released the Oracle interconnects with adjustable impedance-matching switches. Now that you can tailor the impedance-matching, the Oracles will be perfectly compatible, and will have performance FAR superior to 350 UL. Hope this helps.
Schotbus, if I am not mistaken, what you may have heard is not to use Oracle speaker cables with the Spectral 180. Joe Abrams will know the answer.
Otherwise you can use Oracles from pre to amp.
Also Joe Abrams is correct, the Oracles are much much better than the 350UL.
FAR superior is more accurate as Joe Abrams said.
Drjoe & Joeabrams, do you guy have any thoughts on losing the DMC-30 and moving to a DSPre Gen VIII from a DSPro Gen Va. If I go with the DSPre I'll have one set of Oracles to buy rather than two.

I think that you can't use 180 without Spectral preamp
Hi, it is my opinion that Spectral power amps sound best with Spectral
preamps. A long time ago I tried using a tube preamp with my DMA 150.
It would work for a couple of hours, but eventually the protection circuits
would come on. Usually what happens is the output devices oscillate
and they fail. It is very expensive to have this problem repaired.
Hello Drjoe,
Briefly, for the moment, the only upgrade I'd suggest to the equipment you described is the digital front end;
Major improvements in the past 8 years.
Your Spectral gear with the MIT 850 can still produce truly exceptional sound. I will write again tomorrow. Don't rush things, you have a wonderful setup.
Hello Gary,

I know you didn't mention it, but have you thought about going up a step with your speakers? I went from the Radian H.C. to the Eidolon and then to the Eidolon Diamond.

IMO each step was a significant improvement. If you could swing a used pair of Diamonds I think you would be ecstatic! Whatever you decide good luck.....


Hi Tom,

Something to think about for the future, but there's no way I can swing a speaker upgrade now. I'm thinking basics. A transport first, maybe some cables, definitely some room treatments...

Dear Gary,
Getting to your question of 12/4 -- I can't argue with your logic; I have a Theta Gen8 driving my Portal Paladin monos. BUT -- one of the strong points of the Gen8 is its balanced output; one the strong points of the Spectral amp is its RCA input -- not an ideal situation. ALSO, if you go to the Theta without a preamp, you will have several digital inputs, but only ONE analog input.
Hope this helps.