A Quick update: We are 72 hours into burn in. The Stellar Gain is opening up nicely, so I decided to spin 2 CD’s this afternoon. The CD’s were the original Dire Straits album and The Trinity Session from The Cowboy Junkies.
Starting with Dire Straits: In contrast with the Marantz, the vocals are much cleaner. Knopfler’s voice is often hard to make out over the instrumentals, but with the Stellar Gain, they are crystal clear. The guitar work is excellent, and we are getting closer to the analog sound of the original album. My personal history with the album dates back to 1978 with a Technics Direct Drive Turntable, a Marantz 3600 preamp with Marantz 250m power amp. At 18 years old, I loved this album for late night listening, and still do.
The Trinity Session is a terrific recording: single microphone at Toronto’s Church of the Holy Trinity. The Stellar Gain does a tremendous job at making Margot sound like she’s in the room, solid center, with the instruments behind her and off to different angles.
Another arena of note is, when I originally tested the Martin Logans in mid 2015, I noted that they were really good as long as one was in the “sweet spot” at the triangle point between the two speakers. The Stellar Gain makes them more listenable off axis, with some real sound stage, even when not in the sweet spot. In the sweet spot, the depth of The Trinity Session goes from pretty good to REALLY good with the Stellar Gain.
Keeping in mind that the Marantz has a “street price” in line with the Stellar Gain, and the Marantz has Audyssey XT-32, multiple HDMI inputs and outputs … etc … Subwoofer crossover with dual subwoofer outs, XLR out on all channels, Bluetooth input … etc … it’s an excellent value.
But for 2 channel, the Stellar Gain is much better. The Marantz never made me want to listen to more music. The Stellar Gain makes me want to not only LISTEN to more music, but to also add to my collection.
Now … where is that CD of Little Feat “Waiting for Columbus”?