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I've run an M900u on my TAD CR-1's and it gets them plenty loud (86 dB/2.83V/m). Prior to that I was using the BHK 300 Mono's, and I have not felt volume constraint. Now, they are not the best match for the TAD's, tonally (too light and zippy in combo), so I am back to using the BHK's (with the C900u preamp!).
" I’ve run an M900u on my TAD CR-1’s and it gets them plenty loud (86 dB/2.83V/m). Prior to that I was using the BHK 300 Mono’s, and I have not felt volume constraint. Now, they are not the best match for the TAD’s, tonally (too light and zippy in combo), so I am back to using the BHK’s (with the C900u preamp!)."
I found a very similar thing with m-900 and Sopra No2 and also m-900 and Dynaudio Confidence 30; to my ears the results were threadbare-- yes ultra detailed but not engaging; Flat and more 2-d.
A Pass INT-250 fleshes out sound (have not tried this on the Focal Sopra) in a more engaging and dynamic way;
Last year I had an X250.8 with an ARC-LS27 and I find the INT-250 be a better value; amazing sound from one chassis.
You might want to experiment with the INT-250 on your TAD’s.
That could be an interesting amp to try. I bought a Pass Labs XA 30.8 for use with some high sensitivity speakers, and also I tried it out with the TAD's. It was a bit warmer and "gauzier" in the upper bass, low mids than I would like, and it seemed to lack dynamic spark. Now, it could just be underpowered for the TAD's, clearly, but it was not a good match. So far, the BHK mono's have been the best with them.
As with all things in audio, you do hear some alluring aspects from the M900u that make you want that, but mixed with the best virtues of the other amps you try - - keeps us wishing, doesn't it!
..yes; Almost like an amp for every mood and album--I once had a dream where speakers were mounted on a 2-D gantry so that the speakers could be optimized per track...sigh.
So I know what you mean about texture in the upper-mids; I still have an XA-30.5 which is an amazing renderer of midrange --deep, dimensional, passionate; Just mesmerizing. In the right system pure magic. On 4 ohm dynaudios the bass/upper can be wooly at times but still very good;
The INT-250 has some of that midrange dimensional character, not as buttery smooth, but has significantly cleaner and more refined top end; The mids are neutral and have a touch of warmth, not as golden imbued as the Lux m-900 combo but beautiful in own way; The bass power could blow apart most speakers and is never a bottleneck; The INT-250 just digs and digs the more you crank it; Never whimpers or compresses just gets bigger and bigger. I've said this before but this time I mean it ;) a keeper;
I found that Transparent Super Speaker Generation 5 are a great synergy with the INT-250 and speakers; I used to be in the "cables don't matter" camp but I have come a long way since then.
I do think that the Luxman M900u has very promising sound qualities - - so much so that it gets me thinking about finding the right speakers to match it! The TAD's are definitely not the right ones, probably more something along the lines of Sonus Fabers would be an outstanding match, I'm guessing.
To stay with the TAD's it would be interesting to try a powerful Pass Labs approach.
Surprising that you did not like the m900 with TAD. The reason I am buying the m900u is because of an audition I had with the m900u+c900u+Luxman DAC ($8K one) + TAD ME1. The best sound I have ever heard from my regular test tracks. I am just getting the m900u and will make the speakers fit the amp, that is how much I liked the amp.
I was surprised that they didn't like each other, too. I don't know the ME1. The CR-1's do need some work so they don't present too "light", IME, and this seems to be the issue with the Luxman pre + amp driving them. The pre with my BHK mono's has a lot to offer (the pre clearly bests the BHK Sig preamp I had been using). This weekend I get to start messing with an ARC Ref 40 preamp, and maybe this will synergize with the M900u - - that's my hope! I really have heard a lot to like in both the C900u and the M900u, but with my CR-1's it seems to be "too much of a good thing".
@jbrrp1 I hear you, the m-900 is amazing, but it is not neutral; It has a character, a beautiful one, but it's there; be careful trying to optimize your sound to one piece. Before long things will begin to sound about the same;
If you like/love attributes of your TAD work with that. Speaker/Room interaction is KING in this game, as you well know;