Pair of S300's or pair of M700's??


#1

So I’m, doing my research & saving up, trying to decide on what amplifier/amplifiers to power my Motion 40’s. My Marantz SR7005 is doing surprisingly well in a bi-amp mode right now but there is a ton of room for improvement. I’ve decided I want dedicated amps for stereo to start with and be around the $3K range. The NAD M22v2 is my top choice at the moment but watching Paul’s Youtube videos I’ve gained greater appreciation for the company and what the Stellar amps may offer me. Being the Motions are bi-amp capable I came across this article:

Vertical bi-amping: Two views from experts

Which got me thinking about the topic question. Would a pair of S300’s be better for a bi-amp capable speaker than a pair of M700’s?? Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


#2

Talk about two qualified experts! Coincidentally, the designers of my two favorite two amps which I still have.

I would go with the monos, higher performance and zero possibility of any crosstalk.


#3

But wouldn’t there be still zero possibility of crosstalk running an M300/stereo amp for each side as explained in article??


#4

Excellent question and one not easily answered… The easy and perhaps-most-correct answer is ‘yes’. That foolish nonanswer illustrates the difficulty in meaningfully answering the question.

For me, the first decision-tree-box question is ‘Is the speaker a 2-way with a bass/midrange* driver and a tweeter?’ If yes, chose a monoamp, as chosing a stereo amp will waste the majority of the tweeter channel’s power, because there’s very little energy contained in the three octaves of treble. The monoamp will be able to deliver all its power, properly divided by its internal crossover network, into the overall speaker, assuming the speaker can handle it. Said another way, the 300-Watt monoamp will most-likely NEVER run out of power, whereas the 140-Watt channel driving the B/MR might run out of power while it’s not using the majority of the power from its other channel.

The issue is more complicated if the answer to the first question (above) is ‘no, it’s a 3-way with bass separated from midrange and treble’. Here, the power requirements of the two sections are more equal so the above ‘answer’ doesn’t apply. I’ve done it both ways and haven’t heard a difference, but I’ve never had access to otherwise-identical amps (such as the S300 and M700). Therefore the amps I had available answered the question for me. Most recently, when I had the choice of buying one S300 or one M700 for my Revel Performa-series C208 centerchannel speaker, a 3-way with bass driven by one pair of bindingposts and MR/treble driven by another pair, I chose an M700 because Paul and company feel their monoamps sound ever-so-slightly better than the stereo equivalents. In the same vein, I recently chose two BHK (mono) 300s rather than two BHK (stereo) 250s to drive my main speakers, then biwireable Vienna Acoustic Mahlers, because, again, Paul and BHK believe that the mono 300s sound just-slightly better than the stereo 250s. This decision turned out to be highly correct, as the successors to the Mahlers are single-ampable Quad '2905s. Lucky me.

  • currently and incorrectly called a mid-bass driver (and wasn’t decades ago). Boys and girls, ‘mid-bass’ is ONE octave of the range of frequencies usually described as that audible by humans. ‘Bass/midrange’ (or B/MR for short) is composed of about 7 octaves of sound–three bass octaves and four midrange octaves.

#5
Rommel said

But wouldn’t there be still zero possibility of crosstalk running an M300/stereo amp for each side as explained in article??


Yes, there would be no interchannel crosstalk, since the single amp is fed by the signal from ONE channel.

#6

Being the Motions are a true 3-way design, so the answer is no to the first question as jeffrerybehr stated. As a true 3-way bi-amp tower, having the dual mono S300 powering each side, would be giving a separate power supply/channel for midrange & treble and then bass for each tower. Using the M700 for each tower would require sharing a power supply between the two? I may be over thinking this, as I have always believe power is control. I also think directing the power is important as well…


#7

Great question and one not easy to answer with mere words and without experimenting. But here’s my take.

Which amp sounds better?

You see, it’s not an easy black and white question because the S300 and M700 are totally different amps. Sure, they were crafted by the same hands, voiced by the same two people, both based on an Analog Cell in the front end, but they do not sound the same.

One is not a smaller identical sounding version of the other.

The benefits of vertical biamping are minimal at best and then only depending on the amps and their weaknesses.

If it were me I’d run with a pair of M700 monoblocks because they will, in my opinion, offer the best sound quality once they’re fully broken in.


#8

What about an S300 and one of those new P5’s vs M700 straight to wall?


#9

Get the S700’s first and then worry about the P5 at a later date. Unless you live in a location with terrible power the Dectect will hold you for now.


#10

This would be my call as well.

While the PowerPlants are great, to me they are like cables, vibration control, etc. I first focus on the fundamental equipment and then tuning and tweaking.


#11

I’m running out of outlets guys…

running everything in the Dectet does not sound optimal to my ears.

So far running the S300 to the wall is best, I currently have the DAC going there as well although the benefit is reduced compared to the amp. My sbooster powering my ultrarendu also really likes the wall, so then i’m left with the Triton’s plugging into the Dectet HC section.

Ideally i need to bite the bullet and get more dedicated lines, i’m thinking 4 this time just to future proof to the max.


#12

As an interim, you could construct/purchase a high quality power strip.

PS Audio previously made a wonderful six-outlet power strip, incorporating Power Port receptacles with an IEC connector called The Juice Bar (and a later version, Juice Bar II). It is perfect for adding outlets. I am fortunate to have picked one up when they were offered.


#13

PS Audio Juice Bars are hard to find these days. I use to use the Naim Audio and Stereophile recommended CablePro Revelation. Here is a link to a dealer who indicates they have them in stock. Caution, these too are becoming harder to find because it appears CablePro is no longer making them. On the bright side, Whet Stone has them listed for $120 less than their retail price.

http://www.whetstoneaudio.com/product/cablepro-integrity-power-strip/


#14
Paul McGowan said

You see, it’s not an easy black and white question because the S300 and M700 are totally different amps. Sure, they were crafted by the same hands, voiced by the same two people, both based on an Analog Cell in the front end, but they do not sound the same.

Would mixing them in a L/C/R setup be noticeable? Say I start with an S300, to get my Motions moving, then later get a pair of M700 and move the S300 to center channel duties. Thoughts on this scenario? Thinking of this because I'm leading into this question in amplifier scenarios....
Paul McGowan said
The benefits of vertical biamping are minimal at best and then only depending on the amps and their weaknesses.
But wouldn't having a separate power supply & output channel for treble/midrange and bass, with the S300 running each tower, give more control rather than sharing as with an M700, even with the increased power??

#15

Like I said, it isn’t black and white. The M700 is a better overall sounding amplifier than the S300. But yes, the added isolation might benefit more. My gut instinct tells me the M700 is a better sounding way to go, but I most certainly could be wrong. I haven’t actually tried it.


#16

Thx for the response & patience with my questions. This will be a big investment for me & wanting to make the best decision!!! Thank you.