I’m considering upgrading my power amp and am trying to decide between a new S300, or, provided I can find some, a used pair of M700s. I’m assuming the M700s will be several hundred more. New M700s would be well outside my budget.
So the question is which is the better choice. The system now consists of a Stellar Gain Cell DAC and an Emo BasX A-300 feeding Maggie .7s in a 14’x17’ room (with an 8’-8" ceiling). I really love the detailed, dynamic sound I have now, with the Emo punching well above its weight class, but given its price, I suspect, perhaps naively, that either Stellar amp would be an improvement.
I understand it’s a judgment call and everyone is likely to have their own opinion about the value quotient. I’m more interested in hearing people’s impressions of the sound of each, and if anyone has experience with both, some descriptions of the differences they heard.
Believe me, if I had the budget, I’d buy both new for audition, and return the one I liked less.
You should be able to find a decent price for used M700s. If not, I can work out a deal if you’re looking to trade in the Emo BasX.
The S300 is a great amp and does a darn good job with the GDAC, but the M700s are a huge step up. I had a recent customer on here reach out and upgrade the S300 to 700s. He wasn’t sure how much better they’d be but once he got passed those first few hours, he was very pleased with the upgrade.
I’m sure others will be able to chime in with similar stories. If you can make it work budget wise, the M700s are the way to go.
In my office system, KEF ls50’s, sgcd, DS jr, the M700 are much better than the s300. I felt the s300 had an edge or a bit of glare to the sound, certainly the KEF’s could be Co conspirators, the M700 are more romantic, an easier to listen to for long periods in my small office space. Good luck.
Yes, you’re right - the LS50 tend to be on the bright side of things and since the S300 is the same, the M700 is a much better match with those.
100% agree with jamesh. Call us up and get M700s.
I appreciate you and James chiming in. For the record, my system has Maggie .7s, not LS50s. Any thoughts on those with either amp?
M700s will offer a larger amount of clean headroom and due to the Maggies low sensitivity, this will be important. Even if all you use is 30W, the M700s will sound way better.
Don’t have .7s, but have an SGCD and M700s driving Maggie LRSs and a pair of REL T/5i woofers and I am as happy as a clam. System looks and sounds great. The smaller RELs were chosen to be quick and mate well with the speed of the panels. Imaging and dynamic response is magnificent.
Secondary system is a Sprout100 driving LS50s with a REL Tzero. That system also sounds great, but aesthetics in our great room necessitates both system setup and the size of the REL. wish I had room for a T/5i there,too.
I primarily listen to digital sources, Qobuz and Tidal along with a few lossless downloads and rips either through Roon or Audirvana.
I appreciate everyone’s comments. I just got off the phone with JamesH and I now have an order in for a pair of black M700s. I’ll be very interested in hearing the differences in my system between them and the Emo BasX A-300.
Big thanks to James and everyone at PSA.
That’s awesome! Make sure to put some hours on them before critically listening. You can unplug your speakers at night and loop music into them to speed up the process.
Will do, Darren, thanks. And thanks for participating in the thread. Not only do your insights mean a great deal, there aren’t many companies where customers can interact with the designer in the first place. Nor are there many companies that are willing to work with customers on the purchase. You, James, Paul and everyone else there rock!
Always a pleasure here Craig! Once you get some hours on these puppies, you’re really going to love them!
Congratulations! I just picked up the M700s about 6 weeks ago, and I was shocked at how much better they sound than my old Peachtree 125SE. Happy listening!
Just to be clear, Darren, you’re saying that putting a source signal into the amps without speakers connected is safe for the amps? And effective for burn-in? I’m not doubting you - just want to make sure I understand. I’d hate to screw them up.
Thanks again for all your help!
Yes, completely safe to do. You won’t hurt anything by doing this. I like to at least have the speakers hooked up and playing at volume 1 so that there is a load on the output, but this isn’t necessary. For some reason it makes me feel like I’m doing more of the break-in when there’s a load on the amp’s output.
One last question, James, if you don’t mind…I have a Hsu Research active sub in the system (VTF-2 Mk II) and I’ve always connected it to the power amp, through the sub’s high-level inputs. May I assume that’s safe and appropriate for the M700s as well? There’s nothing unusual about the Hsu as far as I know; it’s just the typical BASH amp design, but I thought I recalled a possible issue when doing that with RELs or something.
Yes, hooking up the Hsu HL from the amps is perfect. Unless you’re bi-wiring, I tend to use the unused terminals on the M700s to hook up the subs. Helps keep things consolidated.
I am the guy that James was referring to. Yes I had the 300 powering my Revel Performa 206s and felt the sound was great but the highs were a little to pronounced. James recommended I move up to the 700s. Well after 2 weeks of break in time the 700s are absolutely on another level. The 300 was a great amp, but the 700s are truly amazing sounding!
Thanks, Jeff, I appreciate the insights. The 700s should be here tomorrow (Saturday), though it’s unclear when I’ll have time to get them inserted in the system (not to mention the fact that my new XLR cables won’t be here until mid-week or so.
I’m coming to appreciate that there are substantial differences between the S300 and M700s. It’ll be really interesting to hear the differences between them and my Emo A-300, bypassing an S300 entirely.
Oh, man, FedEx said as late as 8:30 this morning that they were out for delivery. Then radio silence ever since. Checking the tracking numbers just now they say they won’t be delivered until Wednesday.