Dma-300rs

FrantzM

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Consider the following VERY PRELIMINARY impressions.

<snip>

Switching to Magico for a bit, I realized that the Q3 (based on past auditions) imaged differently (and more to my liking) than the Q7 as set up, while playing Bruch's Scottish Fantasy/Oistrakh. I take this as just one data point, but important enough that it rekindled my desire to get a Q3. And for the umpteenth time, I was reminded that Magico Qs have ALL the qualities of electrostatics and more.
<snip>.

I prefer the Q7 presentation, more real. .What you said about the Qs is spot on. Recently was surprised by the wallop the Q3 are capable of mustering in a smaller room. Coupled with subs I can anticipate heaven :) ... Still among the top speakers I have heard at any price ...
 

ack

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I prefer the Q7 presentation, more real. .What you said about the Qs is spot on. Recently was surprised by the wallop the Q3 are capable of mustering in a smaller room. Coupled with subs I can anticipate heaven :) ... Still among the top speakers I have heard at any price ...

"Mi cariño magico" is my wife's new nickname! let's see how long before she caves in and let's me get the Q3 :D
 

coopersark

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"Mi cariño magico" is my wife's new nickname! let's see how long before she caves in and let's me get the Q3 :D

For what it is worth, when the Magico Q5's were delivered to our listening room, my wife thought that they were the most beautiful looking speakers that we ever had. Unfortunately, she cannot hear what they are capable of as she is partially deaf in both ears. While she wears tiny undetectable hearing aids, sound is not the same for her. Just the same, she loves the looks of them! I must have the best wife in the world, as not only is she a great companion, best friend, and devoted mother, but also she lets me do virtually whatever I want audio wise and otherwise. I know that I am indeed a fortunate guy!

By the way, my Magico's SING with Spectral Reference electronics! The major difference that I heard between the Q3's and Q5's was the depth and dynamics of the bass, and resultant diminution of "recording venue ambiance" that comes from having a deep and powerful bottom end response. The Q3's on their own are still mighty fantastic! I hope for your sake that your wife ultimately caves in!
 

ack

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I have no doubt she'll cave in :D How's your treble performance with the 400s, extension, resolution et al? BTW, I admire your wife!
 

coopersark

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I have no doubt she'll cave in :D How's your treble performance with the 400s, extension, resolution et al? BTW, I admire your wife!

Compared to the DMA 360's and my DMA 180, the performance of the DMA 400's is literally like removing a piece of heavy cloth or foam from the front of the tweeter. There is so much more air, shimmer, and sparkle on the top end, and information in general, that was previously no existent, that it would be extremely hard to go back. The dynamics are also markedly better, along with the sense of exact image placement within the soundstage. The DMA 400's are truly special amplifiers that, in my opinion, advance the state of the art in solid state design. I have realized an even further "bump" up in performance running the amps through a Shunyata Cyclops. I may try a Typhon for the amps, but have not felt a compelling need to do this, so great was the Cyclops improvement. (while I have several dedicated 20 amp lines Spectral is extremely sensitive to any ground differentials, and I have found that the amps in my installation, perform at their quietest on only one line).
Thank you for your admiration of my wife! She's also easy on the eyes! I hope that your wife eventually caves in. If she is into music she will be glad that she did! The notes will have so much more density and "meat on the bone" than your Martin Logans, you and your spouse's collective listening experience will only be intensified. (This is coming from a current Magnepan owner - on a secondary system, and former Quad owner.)
This is best summed up by a visit that I had the other day form a good friend who has not heard my current audio set ups. After listening to the Audio Research/Magnepan system in my workshop, we then listened to the Spectral/Magico system in the listening room. The first words out of his mouth were, "Oh my God"! 'Nuff said!

PS In viewing your sofa on the video that you had shared, you had better check your listening height, as your sofa' height appears to be somewhat too low. Alon Wolf designs all of his speakers with a tweeter situated 41 inches from the floor. He has told me for optimal listening you want to have your ears located between the midrange and tweeter drivers on the Q series. I am awaiting delivery of a Herman Miller "Goetz" sofa, which fits the bill perfectly. In fact, when I had ordered the sofa, I was told that these have been used many times before for audio listening applications. Deliver will be in about another month or so. I can't wait!

Additionally, with box speakers, you will probably need some room acoustic treatments to smooth out their frequency response, especially in the low end. In other words, there may be some additional expenses beyond the speakers themselves in order to optimize the performance of what they are capable of.
 
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ack

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This is exactly what I hear wrt treble performance with these 400s as well - truly phenomenal treble performance. Also, I will post more details some other time, but what is truly captivating about these amps is the extra-ordinarily realistic sense of relative scale between instruments with the right recordings, and I am pretty sure I heard it on the 300RS as well ; and if one had the theoretical "right" speakers to scale up, this might be the true end of the line.

BTW, sharp eyes you've got there re: the sofa; but it was actually chosen to be lower so that the Q3 tweeter would not be at ear level, because of the listening distance, which is not ideal.

Thanks for the overall advice, never thought we'd be talking about sofa heights here...
 

coopersark

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This is exactly what I hear wrt treble performance with these 400s as well - truly phenomenal treble performance. Also, I will post more details some other time, but what is truly captivating about these amps is the extra-ordinarily realistic sense of relative scale between instruments with the right recordings, and I am pretty sure I heard it on the 300RS as well ; and if one had the theoretical "right" speakers to scale up, this might be the true end of the line.

BTW, sharp eyes you've got there re: the sofa; but it was actually chosen to be lower so that the Q3 tweeter would not be at ear level, because of the listening distance, which is not ideal.

Thanks for the overall advice, never thought we'd be talking about sofa heights here...


At this high level, everything makes a difference!
 

edwardce

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Oct 7, 2010
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Spectral now has the specifications for the DMA 300RS and DMA 260 S2 showing on the web site. 300RS has 120 db SN, wow that is silent; 800 volt/microsecond slewing ability, that is fast; and 400 watt/channel into 4 ohms! I plan to listen to one soon.
 

ack

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Yeap, these are the specs I have seen. Frankly, ground-breaking slew rate and exceptional S/N. I am beginning to suspect the revision of the 400s I have may have a higher slew rate and may be as high as the 300, but I am not sure; it sounds that way to me, though. Regardless, these slew rates, S/N and distortion specs are very close to their 30SS S2 preamp. Overall, what gets me excited about these Reference amps is that they are achieving preamp-level performance in high-powered, high-current amplifiers. That in itself is a significant engineering feat, to put it mildly. The sound of course is commensurate.
 

msm_1

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I am looking forward to hearing these as well. Not sure the slew rate is ground breaking though. The slew rate on my pair of DMA 2OO's are 1000 volts/microsecond so just a tad slower then the 200 but would still like to hear and compare.....
 

coopersark

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Yeap, these are the specs I have seen. Frankly, ground-breaking slew rate and exceptional S/N. I am beginning to suspect the revision of the 400s I have may have a higher slew rate and may be as high as the 300, but I am not sure; it sounds that way to me, though. Regardless, these slew rates, S/N and distortion specs are very close to their 30SS S2 preamp. Overall, what gets me excited about these Reference amps is that they are achieving preamp-level performance in high-powered, high-current amplifiers. That in itself is a significant engineering feat, to put it mildly. The sound of course is commensurate.

The Spectral DMA-400's are mind blowingly better sounding than other Spectral Amps that I have run in my audio system - DMA 150, 180, and 360. WAY more detailed, dimensional and dynamic. Subtleties in the reproduced sound are both abundant and continual. Could be a function of faster slew rate and higher S/N ratio, but in the end that is for Keith Johnson to worry about. I am only concerned with the sublime reproduction that they bring to my audio system. A major overall sonic elevation to such a supreme level that I could not live without them!
I use the DMA 150 for running my in ceiling dining room loudspeakers and the DMA 180 is being re-purposed for an office system for background music. They are still good sounding amps but now are far from the state of the art of the DMA-400's. After living with my DMA 400's there is simply no going back!
 

coopersark

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Thanks for the overall advice, never thought we'd be talking about sofa heights here...

Our new Herman Miller "Goetz" sofa finally was delivered today, after a few months of waiting. Santos Palisander wood and luxurious black leather seating surface. The "Mid-Century" look goes great with the sole piece of COBRA art that we have in our sound room. The listening height is simply perfect. There is not only more detail, particularly in how sounds seem to hang in the air longer before they fade, sound staging is better and imaging is improved as well. This piece of furniture is the equivalent of a component upgrade! Yes, at this level everything makes a difference. As a bonus due to the seating comfort, I will want to stay in the listening room for a longer amount of time than previously.


IMG_4846.jpg IMG_4847.jpg IMG_4848.jpg IMG_4849.jpg
 

ack

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Cool, enjoy it! BTW, I am beginning to appreciate more and more the 400s' ability to reproduce massive-scale music unfazed and with all the right relative size relationships - I find it truly captivating. I have Berlioz's Requiem right now on the platter, and this titanic orchestra and chorus - with extra horns, tenor drum, bass drum, tam tams, cymbals, 5 timpanists each with three instruments, with the performers arranged in the four points of the compass around the conductor during crescendos - leave the amps completely unfazed... staggering control, sense of relative scale and timbre (would be great to have this music recorded in surround sound and played back on a quad-speaker system). I attended the live performance last April at Symphony Hall (watch the promotional video) and it's wonderful to hear the whole thing again at home albeit in a smaller scale. Nothing will ever come close to these live performances, but it's good to get a good taste of it at home with virtually no fatiguing distortions...

If you ever get the time, watch this epic performance

[video]http://player.vimeo.com/video/91419216[/video]
 

coopersark

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Nothing will ever come close to these live performances, but it's good to get a good taste of it at home with virtually no fatiguing distortions...

If you ever get the time, watch this epic performance

[video]http://player.vimeo.com/video/91419216[/video]

Thanks! The Requiem is not my taste in music. I am not big on any music with a chorus (It may have to do with being forced to attend services every morning before class at private school, in my youth!), opera, or rap, yet I do enjoy classical orchestral music, jazz, swing, vocal, some country, folk, and popular music of the twentieth century...I have very eclectic tastes in music, as I am sure most music lovers do. I am sure that your Spectral DMA-400's do an admirable job within their limited range, and your ML loudspeakers within their limited range, within your diminutive room, relative to the size of Symphony Hall of producing a tiny facsimile of that special evening of hearing Berlioz's Requiem live. To reproduce a performance like this, one would need massive movement of air (extremely massive loudspeakers) driven by massive amounts of wattage (Think in terms of a million or so watts) in a massive space. Otherwise, we are kidding ourselves. If you listen to a vocalist and a guitar, or something smaller in scale, the belief in "live vs recorded" factor is MUCH greater.
I am reminded of an old former dangerous hobby of mine - drag racing. I remember 40 plus years ago, on Saturday evenings I would go to my local drag strip race track. My dad or friends would stand next to me near the starting line. I do not know if you ever stood by and heard a top fuel nitro burning dragster, but even at idle, the ground beneath our feet shook and at "take off" when the "Christmas tree" pole went green, the sound produced was absolutely deafening! I do not know of any audio system that could begin to reproduce this, and I do not know why anyone would want to. The whole point is scale. Yes the Spectral scales as good as any amp out there for listening at rational sound pressure levels. There is a wholeness and totality to their sound that is hard to beat, but again, only within the scope of home listening. Thank you for sharing the video, again not my thing or taste, but I still can appreciate it for what it is... a masterwork!
 
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ack

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I haven't been to drag races, but I have attended a couple of F1 Grand Prix in the past, so I get what you mean. Oh, I've also stood behind big jets during take-off when I was younger, now beat that :D
 

coopersark

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I haven't been to drag races, but I have attended a couple of F1 Grand Prix in the past, so I get what you mean. Oh, I've also stood behind big jets during take-off when I was younger, now beat that :D

I'll try...When I was younger I flew planes. Props, not jets, though. Flew them before I could drive! (Local airport was across the alley from my grandparent's home, and I had an obsession with them as a youngster.) Wouldn't get into one of those Cessna's today. Lost too many family friends over the years due to accidents in the sky. Between the drag racing and airplane flying days of my youth, it is a wonder that I am alive today! Let's face it, they are not the safest of hobbies, and certainly not as safe a audio! Becoming a parent changes everything, and that was almost three decades ago.

I couldn't respond to your comment last night. I was absorbed listening anew to my audio system in the sound room. The addition of the new sofa with its correct listening height for my Magico's, and more free air space (this sofa is elevated with legs as opposed to my previous one which had less than an inch between its bottom and the floor) resulted in a MUCH more involving listening experience. Night and day. More than a component upgrade, as stated in my previous comment! The soundstage blossoms into a much more holographic presentation than before. More air and more definition to the sound from top to bottom. If you are considering those Q3's, be sure that your listening seat places your ears precisely between the mid range and tweeter. If you don't have this placement, you will not hear what the DMA-400's are capable of driving them! I could not be more emphatic about that, relative to the experience that I had last night. I ask myself why I did not do this seating headlight adjustment sooner!
 

Kingsrule

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With your head so close to the back wall I'm sure you're not getting all the sonic benefit available here.

Pull the couch away from the wall by 3 feet or more ans see what happens...
 

coopersark

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May 24, 2013
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With your head so close to the back wall I'm sure you're not getting all the sonic benefit available here.

Pull the couch away from the wall by 3 feet or more ans see what happens...

I wish that I could, as I have done this with a chair before the sofa's arrival and there is an additional benefit, but not that much in my room. I also do not have the "wiggle room" to do this. Art Noxon of ASC corporation had laid out his recommendation of room treatments with a sofa in this very position. He had tried to maximize my listening rooms acoustics with what I had to work with. You may see some of the diffusion panels on the back wall, for example.

My younger sister, who formerly was married to one of the record industry's top producers and was a former VP for MTV, who traveled the globe for them, had been in countless recording studios and had attended many mastering sessions. She had mentioned to me the the Herman Miller "Goetz" sofa was the seat of choice in many of them. The appeal to the producers and engineers was the correct height of this sofa for listening to music.
Here is a photo of her that was taken a couple of years ago: Bono Japan.jpg
 

FrantzM

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With your head so close to the back wall I'm sure you're not getting all the sonic benefit available here.

Pull the couch away from the wall by 3 feet or more ans see what happens...

Please do try that... This is not the ideal seating postion . It may take a while to get used to it but you will hear much more information.
 

coopersark

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Please do try that... This is not the ideal seating position . It may take a while to get used to it but you will hear much more information.

I did try. Thank you. I heard no perceptible audible difference or improvement, perhaps a small degradation in the bass response away from the wall... Against the wall, I sit such that my head is about 30" from the back wall. Remember the room is acoustically tuned for the sofa in this position. The system possesses a "wall breaking" soundstage width and depth! Whatever music is played presents itself as existing in its own recorded acoustic, not the listening room itself. With resolution like I have never heard anywhere else before! I am extremely happy and fortunate. Thanks again!
 

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