J.A. Michell TT with Goldring Eroica MC
GCPH phono pre
X-1 Pass Labs Pre amp all connections XLR
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 (
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?
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…
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…