M700 Arrived, impressions


#1

Sources:

J.A. Michell TT with Goldring Eroica MC

GCPH phono pre

X-1 Pass Labs Pre amp all connections XLR

Logitech Transporter

Recently DSJ Dac also used as Pre amp

Nordost Red Dawn through out low level

Nordost Heimdall shotgun, non bi wire

Martin Logan 13A expression (

Compared Products:

nCore low power modules

SANDERS ESL amp (not magtech) recently updated with new thermal trak and power supply caps

M700 burn in 200 hours plus

OK…what do they sound like? They sound exactly like what ever you put into them.

While the Sanders is bright and expansive, it seems so on nearly everything run through it.

The M700 sounds like the recorded material, with gain. Closest experience i have had to a “straight wire with gain” i have ever experienced. The expansiveness is there, venues are identifiable as live or studio, placement of musicians is just awesome. All instruments are presented maybe a bit larger than real life, but do not get oversized as volume increases, just a great presentation.

If you are looking to “equalize” your system by tubes “warming” it up, or class A smoothing out the auditory spectrum, you will be surprised to hear just your sources and connections.

This is not an analytical or over resolute sound. This will make auditory the resolution you provide it…no more…no less. With the Sanders ESL amp i get to hear deep into most parts of the music, nothing seems to be lacking, great bass, sparkling (maybe to much) top end, and great “out of the speaker” reproduction. With the M700 i get what is provided. If the recording was made with voices in middle, and up, that is where they are, if they were one side (old Beatles) that is what i get. If there is chorus in background, that is what i get. Interestingly, with the Sanders i get singular voices, prominent, with chorus. With the M700, i get equality in voices yet delineated from each other, but as a singular massive sound. Again, not blended, each voice resolute, but as a mass hearing each voice in the space it was recorded.

The DSJ exposed the greatest ability of both amps to reproduce what is provided. M700 took a leap in performance with the DSJ, the Sanders sounded as it always does, very excellent, beautiful in harmonic richness, but everything sounds nice. I regularly use some poor recordings to see if they sound too good. I know they are not, but if i put them on, and they sound good…something is amiss.

One of the “features” of the M700 ICE module is its ‘soft clipping’. I can hear this on large, mostly soundtrack, recordings. In most classical there is lots of dynamic swings, but with soundtracks…that can be brutal, extended high dynamic levels. The persistence of these loud passages can suck the reserves out of most class AB amps driving the load the 13A speaker presents. Doesn’t take much for the Sanders to clip. The M700 have clipped and have not sounded like glass breaking…which is what i perceive when i hear the Sanders when over driven.

So, which amp do i keep?

Well…

Wyred for sound is producing a BHK (Front end) version of their ICE based amps…so maybe they are the next trial…

If i win the lottery…maybe Pass Labs…

Until then:

The search continues, in the meantime, i will use the M700. I like the efficiency and the voicing is good…very good. Nothing done to the module itself, but the input section makes a great deal of difference. To bad it is not BHK, it would probably be the best ICE product as the BHK amps that PS produces has an exceptional front end.

One pet peeve! Really…PS has touted the benefits of better AC cables to complete the circuit of house, outlet, wall, amp, and return (completed circuit). WHY O WHY…do they have crap AC jumpers from the IEC outlet to the front end and amp? Why would anyone use a better cable to only have it strangled by these small gauge regular stranded (looks like it comes out of $5.99 cable).

Anyhow, off the soap box. I really like the M700, and my speakers are a bitch to drive. The M700 do it well, reliably, and with a sense of great ease. They are so incredibly quiet, i can hear the DSJ hiss at low level output and in quiet passages of the music.

I am leaving this without a true conclusion as i know that things change, and i will add to this post if i notice any…


#2

I received my M700 monoblocks two weekends ago. They are used only on weekends at my home in the country. That system comprises a Classe av processor, Direct Stream DAC and transport and Dali Megaline line array speakers. I’ve had the speakers seven or eight years and they have always been powered by Bel Canto 1000 Mk Is and then the Mk IIs.

Out of the box the monoblocks sounded ok, similar to the Bel Cantos. Every night during both weekends I use the PS Audio burn in disc through the night. At this point the monoblocks have about 100 hours under their belt. They now sound quite good, besting the Bel Cantos in resolving power, detail and staging is better. Music and voices coming through from Direct TV have more air surrounding instruments and voices. Timbre is closer to what one would hear in a live presentation. I am hoping over the next couple of hundred hours to hear additional improvements. This is what happened, in my experience with the Direct Stream DAC and Transport. It really took several hundred hours for the units to sound as good as they do now.


#3

Thank you!goofy-heart_gif


#4

Which came first…chicken or egg…maybe they arrived at similar times.

I just (minutes ago) read Steven Stone (Absolute Sound) review of the W4S 1000R amp, using ICE module (monobloc), unspecific as to the module model number. Page 82 of May/June issue. I do not know if this the W4s product with the BHK input i was referring to in my M700 review.

His review includes early paragraphs which describe the physical attributes and functions, some history of W4S.

Where it gets interesting is in his review of ‘Sound’. His observations of the W4S ICE product is (in a few statements) almost word-for-word and paraphrase for many parts of my review of the M-700 PS Audio ICE product.

I wonder if they share similar ICE modules?

Although complete coincidence, we share very mutual observations and they must be very accurate as we use the same language to describe our listening experience.

WOW…that was fun.

As to how the M700 have evolved in the past 7 days? They continue to mello and sound more organic in overall sound. Yesterday afternoon my S.O. (trying out the PC version of 'my wife) walked by the listening area, stopped in her tracks and asked if i had changed something in the system. Replying with a ‘no’ she proceeded to tell me it sounded more focused. She also noted the top end was not as bright as she had heard it be in the past. I believe she was referring to the Sanders amp that seemed synergistically bright with the ML Expression.

I will take her observations to heart. She is usually right about her observations and has been a guiding partner in our audio life together.

I had a true non-audio person sit down a couple days ago. He doesnt have any idea what he was listening to equipment wise. I played Allison Krauss / Union station, New Favorite. He asked me “Are these the only speakers playing?”…yes.

“No…you are punking me, you have all these speakers in the ceiling, i dont believe you”. I showed him the amps for the HT system were off. He was pretty impressed with the dimensionality of the sound.

That too was great fun.

I continue to be happy with the M700 and will continue with further updates, and S.O. observations…


#5

I am now listening into my fourth weekend with the M700s. Last Sunday before I left I was unhappy with what I was hearing, some stridency at the upper end, especially on loud orchestral passages, some congestion. I thought about this while away during the week and decided that I needed to play with the speaker cables. I have been using two sets from different manufacturers. When I arrived here yesterday I switched the two feeding the ribbons with the ones feeding the woofers (on the Dali Megaline towers which are biamped). The sound changed but remained unsatisfying.

My next step was to return the speaker wires that fed the Bel Canto amps for many years - Cardas Clear. These wires had been offline for about a year and a half so I expected the need for burn in. They started out provided better balanced sound highs and lows, with a bit more information getting through. However I am now listening after almost 24 hours of burn in for the Cardas wire. The M700s have now experienced approximately 175 hours of burn in. The sound is incredible. The detail, the timbre of instruments, ability to listen into a deep and large stage, is far beyond what I have previously heard out of my dear Megalines. The resolving power of the system is so much stronger that I can now hear the specific characteristics of the recording venue. If a cd has several selections, recorded in different venues at different times, these differences can be clearly noted.

Thanks to the M700s this, my second system, sounds very much like my other system powered by Vitus. Both systems have sufficiently powerful resolving power that, with good recordings, I am brought rather close to what was heard in the hall where the recording was made. I attend live music concerts regularly which makes me familiar with the sound of instruments projected without the intervention of electronics.

I am so grateful to Paul and the designers at PS Audio for designing and producing the M700 amps which are now providing, at an extremely affordable price sound which truly can successfully compete with much more expensive amps.

Kudos to all!


#6

Many thanks for in-depth review of the 700s. My S.O. is normally right, as well. If she stops to listen to the music, I know she can tell there is something “different” that she hears, and she is brutally honest about her opinion. I have thoroughly enjoyed following your review of the 700s because you did the same.circle-of-hearts-smiley-emoticon_gif


#7

music-078_gifgoofy-heart_gif


#8
Herbert said

…I use the PS Audio burn in disc


What is this burn in disc to which you refer? I have a very old disc from XLO that has a burn in track, but am having trouble locating it.

I’d love to have a PS Audio sanctioned CD!


#9

…with a burn-in disc, how loud do you have to place the volume control?..


#10

The burn in cd that I use is the Purist Audio burn in disc, which I have had and used for many years. There are probably other “burn in” cd in the market, probably just as effective as the one that I use.

I am now over 200 hours with the M700 amps. Frankly I am hearing levels of control and detail, and most important, resolving power, that I never heard in this system which was powered for many years with the Bel Canto 1000MKII monoblocks. What an incredible pleasure to listen to music through this system. Because this system is used for home theater I have now ordered a single M700 amp to replace the Bel Canto amp powering the center channel. I look forward to hearing another improvement in the system.