Isanchez, Dob, anybody out there???
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I bought me first Spectron (standard) in 2005 and by now I have two Musician III Mk2 witrh all upgrades. Its difficult for me to remember each one separately but I believe that Bybee made it closer to the good tube sound and VCAP - while I can;t rememberm details - they serve as additional filter in power supplies - so their effect is the additional supression of ear-piercing ripple artifacts and smooothing upper midrange/treble. Any caps in that place will do the job....just some will do it better then others.
To the best of my knowledge, both upgardes can be installed into existing amplifier but Bybees may or may not have less labor involved - Spectron install them not afer IEC where everybody does but in diode bridge where they are much more effective (forgot why, its specific to Spectron only..).
I recall vaguely that for VCAP the special board is required for Spectron and/or change in motherboard, labor intensive, obvously.
I hope it helps.
I started with Spectrons with Bybee and then later added the V-Caps. My impression is the V-Cap has taken longer to settle in than the stock cap amp. The initial amps seemed to improve over time, really seeming to shine after about 60 days. I cannot comment on how the amps would present without the Bybees, but my setup had a presence, especially on stringed instruments that was detailed but far from sterile and seemingly very realistic. I later sent them in for V-Caps, and I have had them back now for about 4 months. For at least half of this time they have been back, I have questioned whether it was a good idea. The sense of presence and visceral impact were not the same. They didnt sound bad, but decay and perceived realism were not there as before. Much improvement has gone on in the last 3 weeks. The presentation is smoother than before and, I believe, a bit warmer, yet still highly detailed. Imaging and width have continued to improve. Decay is excellent. They now sound very good. I have read the V-Caps take a real long time to fully settle in, so I am really curious how the next 3-6 months will play out.
I also believe these amps benefit with clean input power and isolation.
Thanks for your responses everyone. From what I can gather here, it seems like I ought to go with the Bybees first. From the Spectron website, it looks like I have some time to listen to my plain vanilla amp for awhile before sending it off for the upgrade. They have another special going extending their "sale" prices on the upgrades through the end of June.
BTW, the amp should be here sometime today AND I'm off today and tomorrow. Life is good.
2 months ago the left channel on my Musician3MK2 died for no apparent reason. I sent the amp to be fixed and decided, begrudgingly, while it was there to proceed with the Bybee and Vcap upgrades. Simon was very informative and responsive during the process. Spectron offers excellent customer service. The turnaround was also surprisingly quick. I've had the amp back for appr. 1 week and I have to admit that the sound quality is stunning. It is significantly better than before and that is saying a lot because even the standard M3MK2 is very good. The natural clarity, richness of tones and solidity of bass make listening such a joy and a wonder. There is a three dimensionality to the sound that wasn't there before but it sounds natural like hearing into the music. I have VonSchweikert VR5 speakers, Audio Research LS26, and Resolution Audio Opus with upgrades. All cabling is Purist, Isoclean, and Tara Labs. If you have subpar gear this may not be the first change to make in your system. If you've got good gear this can show you how good it really is. Life is hectic. I only get 20-30 minutes most days to really sit and listen. With this system I value those precious moments even more.