So I have lived with these amps for 6 months now, and I am not sure where to begin... I have been a lukewarm fan of their stereo amps, having lived with the average DMA-150 Series II for a few years, then upgrading to the DMA-250 for another six. I would consider the '150 a "mistake" - both in the design and in purchasing it - had I seen the tantalum caps in it before, I would not have bought it, and I don't care whether they are or aren't in the signal path.
The DMA-250 was a major improvement, and it clearly put on the wow factor for some (including my wife), fixed all the issues I had with the '150, but still no rhythm, a bit electronic sounding, somewhat limited dynamic headroom and clear lack of driver control with some very demanding pieces - for example, playing Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man on RR; when the mallet hit the bass drum, the ML panel would be there immediately with the woofer following literally ~0.2 seconds later. I always attributed that problem to the speakers, until I plugged in the 360's.
It seems to me Spectral's amps were not exactly their forte all the time, but there are plenty of fans in love with the old (class A, I believe) DMA-100 and DMA-200, certainly the DMA-50 and DMA-90, the original 360s and perhaps the DMA-180 - never owned any of these. The scene has changed, however, with the advent of the DMA-260 and the 360 Series II's, and some may find the DMA-200S acceptable, although I didn't like it at all.
Frankly, this mini "review" is fundamentally flawed since my MartinLogan Odyssey speakers aren't really considered true high end, but from my perspective, the ML Prodigy and Odysseys are the last spectacular hybrid speakers they built, because of: a) the panel size; b) the passive woofers; and c) quality of crossover; I even like the rounded edges on the boxes rather than the sharp edges of the newer models, not to mention the overall sound when compared with the newer Summit or Summit X's.
To get back to the subject and to make a long story short, I have been blown away by these amps the last 6 months. I never participated in the "what's musical" thread, but these amps sound like music, with the qualities of the finest tubes I have heard plus exemplary driver control and breathtaking dynamic headroom. A good example of the latter is listening to symphonic pieces with lots of winds, where they blare above and over anything else, with exceptional ease.
The soundstage is, as you'd expect, simply cavernous with phenomenal pinpoint imaging, and this from panel speakers. Voices need special mention, as I sometimes get fooled there are people in the listening room when I happen to be elsewhere and listening to FM radio - not fat or bloated and with the right sibilance. This leads to truth of timber overall, and within the limits of the speakers, I must say I can't find flaws yet. Having said that, when I originally auditioned them with the Magico V3's, piano sounded more realistic in the lower registers.
The noise floor of these amps is so low, resulting in so much more resolution than I was accustomed to, that, to be honest, is a little annoying when listening to close-miked piano, with all the subtle noises the hammers make as they move. And lastly, driver control - now woofers and panel move in unison, even when I play the big o-Daiko drums on Sheffield CD; btw, the rendition of a 5-6 ft high drum is something to behold, with an impact that rattles the room (OK, bad room . And before I forget, the amps run very hot.
As I close this, I would be interested in hearing other owners' opinions, especially our friend mullard88 who has so many other amps to compare with. Some on the net put these amps right up there with the Soulutions and FM Acoustics, and I'd be curious to also hear from any owners of these amps. Personally, I find them a real bargain at $19K (29,900 euros in Europe); having seen what they have done with the recent DMA-260, I expect a 3rd iteration of the 360's to be even more thrilling - damn it
PS: Here's their bulletin