In Reply to: Re: AVA T7 Impressions posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on July 29, 2003 at 23:58:09:
I wouldn't say the 550ex is warm. The JC-1's are warm, as was the Dual Mono Odyssey Stratos I had before. I picked up an old AVA Omega III amp used a while back, and it is also warm sounding. But the new FetValves are not warm at all. Clear, dynamic, detailed, and smooth (as in not grainy) is how I would describe it. I can, of course, make it sound warmer using Mullard tubes in it, but it loses too much detail (just like you said). The EH tubes are the best match for the 550ex I've used.
I heard the Spectron in 2 systems, mine (VMPS RM40's, AVA T7, Bolder Mensa DIO DAC), and in the owners system (Accuphase DP-65 directly driving the Spectron, using Selah Audio Excelarray's). I think both systems are up to snuff enough to say that the character of the spectron is extremely detailed, but it tended to emphasize leading edge transients at the expense of the full roundness of the "center" of the note. When I listen to music, each note has an attack (initial transient), bloom (the "middle" of the note), and decay. The spectron did GREAT at the attack and the decay, but the middle of the notes were not as full as they should have been.
Don't get me wrong, the Spectron is a great amp and it did certain things as well as I've heard any amp, period. But I do think it would probably be better mated to a tubed preamp so that there is a little more body to the sound overall. JMHO, of course.
I've added a Shakti stone to the Spectron and moved my Mite power cord from the cd player to the amp. The Spectron is sounding much smoother and more relaxed now. I've tried a few tube amps since and the Spectron comes out on top. You'll need to come over again and have another listen. I've also bought a Bel Canto SET 40 amp, although it is still breaking in. I still believe that I need to find a different ic between my cd player and the Spectron. I'll probably be trying a pair of Empirical ic's. I'll definitly be needing a pre-amp with the Bel Canto, I'd like to try your AVA again. I'm not getting enough gain with the Accuphase cd player and the Bel Canto.
The problem of the middle of the note not quite being right is one that I too had noticed with the Spectron. It was why I bought the Atma-spheres. But once I heard what was going on I just rebalanced my system and now I have the best of all worlds. It is my (often stated) opinion that any fine amp should be worked with until you find the right mix of cables etc (Frank Van Alstine notwithstanding.)
Mind you my entire system is SS and I have it all. It is annoying the hell out of my friend with the $5600 dollar 13 watt SET. If you are starting with a clean, neutral, sweet amp you can do anything. (The Fet-valves are one such amp IMHO, as are the Brystons SST.) Of course, this presupposes that the amp chosen can drive the load chosen.
I'm starting to think that once the Spectron amp is dialed in it can't be beat. I haven't even tried a lot of different ic's yet. I'll probably be ordering a pair of Empirical ic's here soon. The Shakti stone really pushes the performance of this amp even further. I forgot what power cord are you using on the Spectron?
I am using the Audience Power Chord (cute name, eh?).
I get the same effect as a Shatki stone by 1)using ERS sheets and 2)just for giggles stacking the Bryston 4BSST on top of the Spectron. The tranformer core in the Bryston loads down the transformer on the Spectron and lowers the noise floor slightly. I have lots of old transformers at home that are not as pretty as the Stone (in fact are downright ugly) but do the same job...for free....
I've got my MII on a Kinetic Systems BenchMate, and my front end on the Vibraplane. I've also got a half sheet of Stillpoint ERS on the toroid.
The transients are as noted, downright frightening, and the body of the notes themselves, full and rich, with a natural bloom, (and no harmonic distortion).
Now I just need some Remote Sense cables...
that you will like the sense-cables a lot better than what I think I am seeing connected to the Spectron. Is that Zip cord?
12 Ga CarolCo on suspendors to the Dunlavy SC-IVs.
John Dunlavy used and recommended 12ga all the time, he was notorious for fooling people in high-end vs. cheap speaker cable comparisons.
a stranded cable. They are plated with a pure tin. The idea was that tin reduces the strand-to-strand interaction without the cost of lizt wire. Seems to work. After about a week they really seem to smooth out nicely, (they sound just fine new, but do get more relaxed over time).
Some cat in Singapore just bought my EVS DAC on eBay, so I get the sense I'll be ordering those Remote Sense cables sooner than I thought...
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