I currently am running a S300 from a Marantz SR5014 pre out with ELAC Uni-fi 2 b5.2 speakers and a REL 1205 SUB. The s300 really woke up my system but am wondering if I will get any sonic difference or soundstage with the M700, especially if played at low levels.
Welcome and great to hear you’re enjoying the S300! Yes, the M700s are a pretty large jump above the S300. The M700s in my experience present a more separated sound stage along with better bass. I think a number of folks here that have made the upgrade can also share their experience.
I would, but you convinced me to go straight for the 700s instead of the 300, so I can’t compare.
I recommend that you used the S300 for at least 6 months, even a year before trying any upgrade. You might decide it works nicely with your current gear. I had M700s but not a S300.
How long you’ve had the S300? I ask because if it’s still within the audition period, and you can afford the M700s, you might do well to switch while you can get full refund value for the S300. I say that because even though I don’t know the sound of the S300, the amp I upgraded from had similar power specs (though it was an A/B design, not a D like the S300), and one of the biggest differences I noted when I changed to the M700s I attributed to the massive headroom the amps provided when feeding my Maggies. General sound quality improved, most certainly, but what really struck me was the sense of ease and effortlessness that the M700s had. There is never a sense that they’re struggling, or any impression that I’m pushing them to their limits, even with BIG dynamics. That makes an audible difference, at least to my ear, though it’s really hard to describe.
Now, having said that, value and affordability are in the wallet of the beholder. And if you’re past the audition period for the S300, it will be more costly to change. In that case there’s absolutely no reason not to do as @1cdfoley suggests and live with the S300 for an extended period to see how you like it over a longer term. You might find you’re so happy with it that nothing more is necessary (though I suspect if you’re like most of us, and the idea of upgrading has already occurred to you, it’s going to nag at you until you do something about it, whether that’s succumbing to the idea or locking it away in a closet).
I used the S300 with my KEF ls50, after a short time I traded for the M700. For me the improvement was dramatic. I found the sound to be more relaxing, more natural. Associated equipment , DS jr dac, JL Audio e110 sub and power plant 3. This is my home office system, small room almost near field.
Actually, with PS Audios trade in program you get full retail price whenever you trade anything in! I traded in two integrated amps that were years old for my S300 and Stellar DAC/preamp and got full retail on both.
Welcome @Michael_Dickman !
If you look closely at the individual product pages, you’ll see each one gives a hard cap on the amount of trade allowed for the purchase of that piece, so it’s more accurate to say that you get full retail value of your traded goods up to that limit (the M700 page says you can get up to $990 in trade toward them, which is considerably less than the price of the S300). But the company has also shown some flexibility in those limits if you call and talk with them, which is how I’ve been able to do the couple of trades that got me my M700s and P3.
You are correct in the caps. I had forgotten about that because I was just under for both of my purchases. It’s still a great deal!
Thanks for the comment. It sounds like you moved on from the m700s. If so, what did you change to?
M1200s, I admit it was an impulsive purchase. I followed their development news in the forum which may have taken place over a year; but I am very happy with them. I believe that I would be very happy with my M700s if I were still using them.
Between your amp and speakers, I can’t imagine you’ll see much improvement. An enviable position.
Well, I did the upgrade and after some tweaking to reduce what sounded like a bit of shrillness, the mid and bass really opened up over the S300. And I get a bigger soundstage and more definition and instrument and voice definition.
Was worth the upgrade for me.
And since I have been removing the S300 and installing the M700, I noticed the big weight difference.
The single M700 mono seemed almost twice the weight of the S300 which is strange because the S300 has 2 mono internal units where the M700 has 1 each.
Are the ICE and PS units bigger in the M700?
I wasn’t saying YOU wouldn’t see improvement; I was talking to a different poster. But glad you took the leap and found it rewarding.
I’m a bit late to this, but I had an amp fail in late Feb. and auditioned both the S300 and M700s in March and April.
My experience with the S300 and my Polk R500s–a 2.5 floorstander–and dual Def Tech 8" subs was that while the bass was deep and full, the midrange was not as present as it had been with my old amp (30 y/o Bryston 3B). I noticed this with vocals (often harmonies) and some solo horns. What I liked about the S300 was that I heard instrument separation and detail better than I had before. But ultimately, I wasn’t hearing my music as fully as I wanted to, so I decided to try the M700s.
The difference was immediate in terms of the midrange presence. It was fuller and clearer. The other thing out of the box that surprised me was just how much more musically rich the sound was at low volume. Perhaps this has to do with headroom, but it is a great benefit of this upgrade–the Bryston couldn’t do this.
Additionally, as time passes and I play with speaker placement–degree of toe-in, mostly–I’ve found the M700s to be a great fit with the affordable Polks and Def Techs and my room. I’m hearing good sound from the system in terms of balanced presentation and much greater detail within the soundstage.
Theses amps break in after weeks of playing, and they sound substantially nicer with time. I don’t know if warmer is the right adverb to use–and this is because my Polks have a tweeter (Pinnacle ring radiator tweeter) that is warm and maybe a little less airy than I’d prefer (though I have to say that I like the overall sound in spite of this)–but the M700s certainly sound sweeter as they break in. In my modest set up, the bass became tighter and more musically satisfying too.
I hope you find this to be true, so that shrillness is not an issue.
Congratulations on your upgrade! One of the cool things about changing gear is exploring your music collection again and discovering new favorites. Enjoy!
What I am still being amazed about is how overall depth I’m getting from my ELAC Uni-fi UB 5.2 speakers and at maybe 10% less volume. They are 6 ohm speakers but the extra power of the M700 made a big difference from the S300. And I have a REL 1205 SUB but when running my system in Direct mode with no sub, I swear those ELACS really push the bass and not sure if the REL is on or off.
And as you mentioned, the individual instruments really pop out. And the layering of the bass underneath is great as I’m a recovering bass player.
Interesting. I may have to bring home my office Elac speakers and see how they sound in the home system. At my office I’m using them with some Schiit gear (Freya + with some upgraded tubes and Aegir for amplification), and even with that they have surprising bass for such a small speaker. They’re the little Carina bookshelf.
Might be fun to see how they sound with M1200s feeding them…