I highly doubt it. I haven’t been in a completely dark room with them yet, but you might be able to see a tiny bit of glow through the side vent. It would be really subtle though.
There are vent slots on the left side rear right next to the tubes. In daylight I see no tube glow…BUT, there is a soft blue glow…probably from Darren’s biasing LEDs as he used in the SPP. It would make sense since they would be near the input stage near the tube.
Before I placed my amps, I experimented with pulling, replacing a tube just to see how it went. The vent slots next to the tube are useful in locating the pins in the socket…I put on a headlamp and peered through the slots to get it started and to see that it was fully seated in the socket. Latex or nitrile gloves will help your fingers get a grip on the tube.
Hey, Betas – How about some unboxing and set up pictures? I would like to see these monsters being unpacked and lurking in their natural habitats.
I’ll do that once mine arrive, good idea
I was lucky enough to get my Beta M1200’s delivered today and wanted to post my setup and first couple of hours observations. I am looking to replace\upgrade my S300 and the stars aligned for these monsters. Thanks Chris H for all of your excellent advice and assistance!
My current system is comprised of the following:
- Dynaudio Contour 60
- Dual REL T9i
- PS Audio Stellar GainCell PreAmp
- PS Audio Stellar S300
- PS Audio Stellar Phono
- Clearaudio Concept with Satisfy Black Tonearm
- Dynavector DV-20x2 cart
- Bluesound Node 2i
- Sony DVP-NS999ES SACD/CD player
- Custom NUC running Roon server
Here are a few pics of the M1200s in their new natural environment
- Nice and solid. Slightly larger than the SGC and S300.
- One thing I found interesting and different from the S300 binding posts is that the pass through holes are horizontal rather than vertical. @Paul or @jamesh is this expected?
- Hooking up the REL subwoofers it was interesting in the manual that it recommends you use the chassis ground post for the black wire.
Initial sound impressions:
I couldn’t help myself, I had to listen rather than wait for them to settle in. And boy, am I glad I did even at this early stage. As I went through my various playlists in Roon, popped a few CDs, and a vinyl or two I found myself being impressed with the sound. If I had to pick a few words to describe what I was experiencing “Effortless” and “A lot of meat on this bone” and “Increased depth and separation” kept coming back to me. I found myself sitting there for several hours more than what I had initially planned on. I believe we are off to a fantastic start! Will post more soon.
Be safe all.
What’s on TOP of your Stellar Phono Pre ??
Tom - NJ
Your setup looks REALLY nice!
Visually, a beauty of a setup. The spacing of the components adds to the visual enjoyment. Congrats,
How are the rel subs with the M1200? Any hum or noise issue?
Wow, this is beautiful! I bet the new amps are pairing really well with the Contour 60s.
Regarding the terminal through holes, I do remember it being a critique from a number of folks on the old Stellar amps. In all honesty, I think it’s one of those things that no matter what you do, you’re going to have folks that prefer it the other way.
just ordered a set in black for my system to compare to my Nord One Up mono amps that use the NCore NC500 boards, hope they are better
Ferom what i have researched there was a thread on Audiocircle and Audioshark where people compared the NC500 amps to the IcePower 1200AS2 amp modules and it was 60 to 40 like the Icepower better
David, thanks so much for the review. Glad you’re enjoying them!
…that is a beautiful freakin’ system man!
Craig here…with a report on my first listening session last night. My kit is doc’d in post 48 above so my comparisons are relative to my previous M700s.
As I had said previously, the M1200s are in a different league!! It’s almost too bad that they look a lot like the M700s because they are so much better (in my system, to my ears, etc).
I had them on all day streaming quietly in the background…then sat down to seriously listen to owned media. I started with Mark Knopfler’s SACD Shangri-La…since I am very familiar with it. Three initial impressions: tonal balance top=>bottom is excellent/much better; bass is full, but extremely well controlled and NOT at all bloated and blended much better with my REL (driven high level by the amps); and finally, DAMN, the music is IN MY ROOM!! Yeh, that’s the same description I used when first hearing the Stellar Phono Pre. Ok, I wanted to further explore the bass reproduction. I put on Brian Bromberg’s CD of The Saga Of Harrison Crabfeathers…with his upright bass. I had never before heard his strings/fingers/picking like that!! It seems the M700s just couldn’t control the woofers and mid bass like the 1200s do. (My first impression was that there was less bass, but no, there is less bloat/boom and MUCH better weight and authority ==> better control over the speakers). Then I moved to James Taylor’s SACD Hourglass. Still evaluating the bass, I wanted to hear the drums in Gaia. I started the music with Line 'em Up and got sidetracked hearing the 1200s tonal balance vs the 700s. It is So Much more to my liking than the 700s. It is even/natural top to bottom (more about that later). The Gaia track next and those drums moved my ribcage and, sorry, but my eyes welled up and I got shivers. I played it again and found I can turn it up in a way I never could before…(maybe I had heard overdriving with the 700s??..)
I moved on to some of my best recorded vinyl. I started with The LA4 Going Home, direct to disc. The soundstage was better/precisely laid out than I had ever heard. Bud Shank’s flute hung in the air, his vibrato delicately reproduced. Then The Great Jazz Trio, D2D, 1978…again In My Room!! Then Lee Ritenour’s Sugarloaf Express D2D, definition and tonal balance! Then Bob James/Earl Klugh 1979 1/2 spd mastered…again bass impact but with previously unheard control.
When I got the M700s a few years ago they were the first modern amps I had had. I always had an experience of my system being a bit bright with some sheen. I had changed cables, fiddled with speaker placement and wondered if my old ears just couldn’t take “accurate treble”. OK, Now with the M1200s, that is gone. The tonal balance is such that the old sheen/glare is gone and the midrange just blooms into the room and the bass is so well controlled that I feel I am as close to my musical nirvana (my system, my room, my ears, etc).
Sorry if this review seem too effusive/emotional, for me, it’s the truth. I can’t wait to get back to listening…and, the M1200s are just burning in on the stock PSvane tubes!! I have a set of Gold Lions, and several sets of NOS Mullards to try in the future!
Nice room and a gorgeous table, what is it? Also, what arm did you add to it?
So far, fantastic! No hum or noise for me. I am running the high level input and the black cable is on the ground rather than the black post.
Thanks! They are pairing quite well.
Re: terminal holes, its no biggie, just something that was different. It actually made connecting the cables from the RELs easier as they didn’t slip out from gravity while I connected the spades from my main speakers.
Awesome review Craig. Thanks for putting in so much effort to describe what you are hearing!
Would love to hear impressions of these vs bhk250.