Spectral pairings

marty

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
1,301
177
63
Far Hills, NJ
#1
I thought some of you would find this interesting.....

https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2018...s4pc9kbBwiExRPTJxDGfdFaiJwBgsSX-iYi0DATMqi_ho

As many know, there has been ample forum discussion on of whether Spectral amps should only be used with Spectral pre-amps.This is a discussion that has been covered previously. (see posts below). I have never subscribed to that sonic pairing, and have taken a fair amount of heat for my view that Spectral amps can sound quite excellent and even preferred, with many good low output impedance tube pre-amplifiers.

see post #102:
https://www.whatsbestforum.com/thre...t-great-loudspeaker.21417/page-17#post-518705
see post #321
https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/preamps-nothing-is-perfect.25793/page-6#post-518610

Well, lo and behold, along comes this neat article showing that none other than Wilson Audio is indeed using a Spectral amp with a VTL preamp, and as far as we know, their house is still standing. There have been no reports of explosions, fires, or equipment failures as result of this pairing that is surely despised by Spectral and some of its misguided dealers.

I'm reminded of something I immediately thought of when Sophia Loren once said that her favorite hotel in Rome is the Hassler. I thought, hmmm, if it's good enough for Sophia Loren, it's good enough for me.! And indeed it was a lovely hotel. Well, now I can take comfort knowing in that if a Spectral amp/ VTL preamp combo is good enough for Dave and Daryl Wilson, it's good enough for me! (And has been for several years until my Spectral 400s were recently replaced by Soulution monoblocs). The point is, there may be many Spectral owners who feel that an all Spectral pairing is "too much Spectral" but have been fearful of exploring other pre-amp pairing for their amplifiers. My point is that if Wilson Audio finds a tube pre-amp with a Spectral amp is an attractive pairing, some of you might consider this approach as well. There are several excellent low output impedance preamps (i.e VTL, BAT, CJ) that just might make for a very sweet match indeed with Spectral amplifiers.
 

marty

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
1,301
177
63
Far Hills, NJ
#3
I don't think so. Of course, I wasn't "allowed" to buy the 500s because I don't have a Spectral pre. But as far as I know, the 500s have an input impedance of 10K ohms, hence they are not easy to drive with every preamp, especially some tube preamps.
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,464
148
63
Boston, MA
#4
Didn't you guys blow up your 400s and 300 inputs boards with your preamps? Or am I not recalling correctly?
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,464
148
63
Boston, MA
#5
Also notice that Daryl went as far as removing the MIT cables

When developing the Sasha DAW, Daryl would compare the Sasha DAW running with their reference setup of:

Spectral DMA-250 (very linear amplifier)
VTL 6.5 Pre-amp
Audio Research CD5
Transparent custom cable calibrated for Wilson Audio’s R&D. One of kind.
Are we to believe that Daryl knows what he is doing wrt Spectral? I can also tell you I had the DMA-250, really nice amp, I got some incredibly chesty and present vocals, really voluptuous bass, but not the definition of accuracy, by any monoblock they have ever built. Feels like for this speaker, they like certain colorations all around, from the amp, to the speaker cables, and possibly the preamp and sources.

I cannot tell you how the 500AR can be paired, but I can tell you that some people are preferring them to the Soulution 701s and Constellation Hercules IIs for overall precision.
 
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marty

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
1,301
177
63
Far Hills, NJ
#6
Tasos,
You were given misleading information by your dealer. My Spectral 400 was delivered with a bad board right out of the box. Didn't work from minute zero. Furthermore, there was a run of bad boards effecting several amps, not just mine. . Most of whom were in use with a complete Spectral battery. Somehow I doubt they shared that with you. Ah, retailers. When the board was replaced, the amp worked flawlessly for years. And yes, I do think Daryl knows what he is doing w Spectral. I would indeed love to come and hear your 500s when you get your panel situation stabilized. I'm sure they sound great.
Marty
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,464
148
63
Boston, MA
#7
Perhaps I am not remembering correctly, sorry about that, but at the same time, never heard of any Spectral preamp user have the problems you had. At the same time, Daryl doesn't strike me as someone who knows what he's doing... yet

My system cannot do these amps justice
 
Last edited:
Jun 5, 2010
857
11
18
#8
When David Wilson visited Manila in the 1990s, he told me that he used a Conrad Johnson Premier line stage with his Spectral amp.
 

Marcus

Member Sponsor
Oct 5, 2012
240
22
18
#9
A good friend of mine uses Spectral DMA 250 power amp with the latest Zanden 3000mk2 line stage. All connections are made with Cardas Clear & Clear Beyond. I listened to this combo many times and it sounds excellent. I hear nothing that could be described as a poor match.

1CA2D437-A50F-4B4B-9904-F86B963846A6.jpeg
 
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marty

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
1,301
177
63
Far Hills, NJ
#10
I can't find a spec for output impedance of the Zanden 3000Mk2 preamp but it does use output transformers. If their phono stage is any guide, that unit's output is 3K ohm so my guess is the 3000Mk2 is similarly of low output impedance. As such, I'm not surprised it works perfectly with the Spectral DMA 250 amp.
 

Marcus

Member Sponsor
Oct 5, 2012
240
22
18
#11
Output impedance of Zanden 3000Mk2 is 110 ohms.
 

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