GCD and M700's

Sorry I am so slow getting around to this, but I went out of the country for several weeks the. day after the M700 and GCD arrived. Before I left, I did have time to open the boxes, do the setup and initial listens. And while I was out of the country the system was pretty much in constant use, mostly my son on his XBos. I’m betting break in is done. The comparison was black to white since I was not around to sample any of the greys.

The M700’s have the new powder coat finish; they are a flawless and striking black matte finish. The GCD has the black anodized finish and the quality was much better than some early reports led me to expect. That said, I am waiting to trade for the same finish as the M700’s. Frankly, I am no fan of any PS Audio remote as they are no match for the elegance of what they control.

I am sure my use model for my music is not unique, but here it is: I use it for my music library, TV and Xbox. The library is LP, CD and mostly AIFF from my Mac Mini. I am pretty active and sit still to listen to music seldom, but I do stay where I can enjoy what is playing. For this reason, to me imaging is cool, but most important is that the system is musical and faithful (I guess that is what I think is faithful). My second priority is hard to explain; best I can do is the feel of the music and what it makes me feel. For me that is two very different items.

I have a Music Hall TT with a nice cartridge, Nuwave phono in analog mode, a mac mini with bit perfect and for speakers have Harbeth 30.1’s and an older set of Infineon 3B speakers all with pretty good cables. This is replacing a Luxman 30W class A integrated which plays very well with the Harbeths, but cannot drive the Infineons. The GCD will replace a PS Audio DLIII. Before the Luxman I was using a PS Audio GCC to drive the big Harbeth’s. We moved and the Harbeth’s no longer worked in the new space. So, I downsized a bit. I have had a lot of amps (starting with my own Dynakit!) and truly until now my favorite was the GCC.

Day 1 observations listening to AIFF music was that what came out was a bit muted and seemed to be veiled, like it was trying but holding back some of the musicality. Xbox and movies showed some of the same but exhibited a big gain in dynamism. I am guessing that is due to gobs of power in reserve. Not yet on par with the Luxman, but overall, this was a respectable showing!

After I returned, I was astonished at the improvement. Truly Black and White. No question better than the Luxman (which is over 2x the price!) and I think as good or better than the GCC, but in fairness, that is a 6 year old memory. Some very specific examples:

  • Jeff Buckley singing “Hallelujah” (AIFF). Jeff’s opening gasp draws a very emotional response. The song is almost acapella and his voice is stunning while the sparse accompaniment is perfectly subdued and beautiful.
  • Speaking of acapella, Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner” is more personal than I remember
  • Led Zepellin III (LP) is bombastic classical rock, and the latest remastered CD (by a band member) still sounds best when you are out of the room. That is one of the major disappointments in my life. Diamente’s mastered version is much better, but still not at all enchanting.
  • “Logical Song” and others from Breakfast in America by Supertramp (LP) have always exhibited a lot going on, but now I really hear the polish in their work.
  • Lang Lang’s Rachmaninoff (AIFF) displayed more intensity and emotion than on the earlier system.
  • Jamie Cullum who does his recording and processing in 100% analog. In his first album the new system shows that while I think he is good, you can hear the lack of elegance in his performance and his latest works are much more refined. The difference between the two periods are more obvious
  • On Cowboy Junkies Trinity revisted (DVD). I just have too few words in my vocabulary for the serious improvements in Ryan Adams’ “200 More Miles” track. The track is great, but now you can sense the emotion he loads into the song and he completely wrung me out. If you have seen the DVD you now understand Margo Timmins expression after Ryan finishes.
General comments: great sound top to bottom, I can sense the reserve power. I like solo piano works (many from Chopin to Lanz) and they unquestionably sparkle more than ever. Moody Blues first 8 recordings (LP and AIFF) have a broader sweeping soundscape that is hypnotic. Overall, I can feel the artist/performer/instrument/music more than ever and the sound conjures up a powerful emotional response from me.

This is a keeper, just hate to give up my GCD and DLIII, not needed anymore, but they are old friends.

To Paul and his entire team, thanks for the wonderful product and the opportunity to experience it. Only problem is that now I am wondering what BHK would do for me. I suspect that I would need to upgrade EVERYTHING; house too. Maybe that is not bad… best regards, Tom

Nice review!


Yes, a very good review !