Review: Spectron Musician III SE - Monoblocks Amplifier

Category: Amplifiers

I have owned a Musician III for a few years, which I then upgraded to a Signature Edition. My front end is a Marantz-7 SACD player with a BAT REX preamp, and my speakers are B&W 802D. Cabling is by NBS and power conditioner is Hydra-8.

I have compared the Musician III SE very favorably with VTL Siegfrieds (see I love its sound and I am pretty happy with the service. A year ago the amp failed, they instructed me to remove plug-in modules which I shipped to them by air (and not the bulky amp!) and a few days later I received them fixed, plugged them in and continued to enjoy music! Still, I was seduced by the thought of a second amp in the system.

OK, a few weeks ago, I received the 2nd amp and I am running both of them in monoblock mode. According to the manufacturer, this mode of operation is fully balanced, which triples the power and doubles the headroom. It also doubles the slew rate and bandwidth and dramatically suppresses the amplifier’s inherent distortions as well as the buzz and noise.

The moment I connected this second amp the sound became ASTONISHING, simply unbelievable! The presentation is absolutely effortless. The impact is ferocious and the bass sounds to be noticeably deeper. I never had such an experience before in my life. Still, there was some “aggressiveness” to the sound. Gradually the music became silkier and silkier and now it’s more “liquid” and has much more finesse than stereo alone. The midrange acquired, for lack of a better word, “bloom” – true sweetness of real violin or high quality piano – as you hear them in life.

However, I am a cello player, so the accuracy of the representation is paramount for me. I can hear minute details now {Janos Starker Bach Mercury Living Presence SACD 470 644-2}, which I could not hear before and most importantly, these are true details, not some artificially sweet B.S., or cello made out of steel with all its steely “pleasure”. It’s the most natural-sounding amp I’ve ever heard. It’s timbre is downright spooky – competing with the very best tube units I ever heard. Every note is reproduced with a tonal correctness and warmth that is as close to the real cello or piano as I’ve every experienced in live concert.

Another attribute of these monoblocks is vastly improved three-dimensionality of the soundstage representation. “There” is really “there” and to such a degree that it’s simply stunning. When I close my eyes I feel that the instrument is here in the room – and yet, on another lever, I know perfectly well that nobody is here. My head is full of conflicting information and I am dizzy and can’t leave my listening chair...

This effortless presentation, powerful slam and deep bass combined with realistic 3D representation, and true minute details of the acoustic instruments, makes this amplifier much better than anything I was able to audition in my life, including MBL 90011, Gamut 200 MkIII-M, BAT VK600SE-M, Plinius SA-Reference-M, VTL Siegfrieds and CAT JL1. Sonically, it is simply in another league.

I must add to the list of the advantages of this amp its relatively light weight, low energy consumption and no heat generation. Probably, the most amazing aspect of this amp is its unbelievably low price, truly a fraction as compared to that of the above units!

OK, it’s time to turn off the lights and set the volume for concert hall level. Good night my gentle reader, I am gone…..

Associated gear
Marantz-7 SACD player
BAT REX preamp,
my speakers are B&W 802D.
Cabling is by NBS and
power conditioner is Hydra-8.

Similar products
MBL 90011,
Gamut 200 MkIII-M,
Plinius SA-Reference-M,
VTL Siegfrieds
Thanks for the review and congrats on the upgrade. Very interesting how configuring the same amp in a mono setup made such a significant improvement.
Not at all surprised about your findings. . . you confirm my suspicions of high Spectron monoblock config potential, after auditioning Spectron stereo during 2007 RMAF. It would be very intriguing to a/b Spectron in mono config with JRDG 312 stereo like the one currently in my system -- roughly similar price point.
I talked with Simon yesterday and am quite imrpessed with the technology. You mentioned the price being an "unbelievable low price". I assume it's list price of two SE's right (MSRP $14, 390)?