Sanders Magtech versus Spectron Musician 3 Mk2

Hi, I am running Maggie 3.6's and Thiel CS5i's with a W4S ST1000 amp.  Thinking about an upgrade.

Two Questions:

1. Has anyway moved to the Magtech or the Musician and what is your impressions about the differences in sound compared to the ST1000?

2. Has anyone heard both the Magtech and the Musician and what can you say about how they sound alike or different?



I have Maggie 3.7s, and I've owned Spectron amps for many years.  Sadly, those were troubled years, as reliability was an issue across three different boxes. While the company always backed up their products, it sucked to be out of music while the units were being repaired; sometimes up to a month at a time.

Also, be advised that many of the principle players at Spectron have passed away, so I'm not sure about the long-term viability of the company.

When moving off Spectron, I auditioned a number of great amps, including the Sanders Magtech. Roger was a fountain of knowledge, and he provides a risk-free trial, so you can't really go wrong.

That said... I didn't like the Magtech much, and wound up returning it.  I bought a Rowland Continuum S2 integrated, and really couldn't be happier about the choice.

Hi Rhanson,

Could you elaborate about how you thought the Magtech sounded to you?

I have seen a few threads that left the impression that the Magtech could sound overly analytical and not musical....which was why I was entertaining the Spectron. 


Actually, @dsper, I found the Sanders Magtech and Spectron III MK2 w/all upgrades to sound much the same, which is why I went in another direction.

Precise. Clinical. Sterile. Accurate, but with little emotion that might draw me in.

With the Maggie 3.7s, I found the detail and precision in the upper registers to be sometimes sharp, shrill, and ear-bleed inducing. Could be my room, too, or any number of other factors.

My final comparison was between Merrill Veritas and Rowland CS2. The Veritas monos are a killer amp; they beat almost every other option. But, for my tastes and ears, the more mellow, nuanced Rowland house sound was what I needed to tame things down quite a bit... more warm and ’tube-like.’ Now, rather than feeling that the music is overly analytical, it sounds more as music should be.

This might also be due to the Rowland pre- that is integrated into the amp. Previously with all other amps, I went straight from DAC to amp.
I have the 3.7i with the Sanders Magtech and an Aesthetix Calypso Signature and the highs are not shrill at all. I’m not running the resistors at all but am using Empirical Audio jumpers. I’m also using GiK Q7D diffusers and Monster Bass Traps with range limiters and scatter plates. My room is quite large (35’x15’x10’).

I did have shrillness in the upper registers when I was using the stock jumpers, Odyssey Kismet in Stratos, and no room treatments, but with each addition (first the Empirical Audio jumpers, then the GiK room treatments, and finally the Sanders Magtech), the shrillness decreased.  The Odyssey monos especially strained at higher volumes (75db-90db).

I’m actually picking up a Spectron Musician III mk2 with all of the upgrades tomorrow and will be able to directly compare to the Magtech.
I'm sorry to hear that.  I've heard these amps, they are quite good.  I've seen them work in a system for 7 years without a problem.  Hope the fix is minor.  I've always been curious of Magtech vs Spectron.
One other user on this site said that they pretty much sounded the same with his Maggies.
I have the Spectron again, and this time it's working properly.  I'll report back after some time with it.
neither of these amps sound sterile, or whatever 2 dollar words you guys "think" to use to sound sophisticated.

sterile, thin, bloated, ringy, crusty, tinny, any of this crap is just wrong.

so, a straight wire with gain (which BOTH of these amps accomplishes very well) is not right for you, so be it.
Im not an owner of the Magtech (YET) soon, very soon.
I have heard both amps and they do not sound the same, even with the same speakers. i loved the sound of both of these amps, hell, any descent amp sounds good, its the speakers, or sources that were not good.
i do feel the magtech is a little better value wise, power, sound, playing much more clear, especially at ear bleeding levels, where the Spectron started to break up the highs, and bass where as the magtech kept flying along. Those who have the planar speakers, are "usually not" looking for live concert volume ala Motorhead etc.

if you want a beautiful sounding stereo with planar speakers, or if you don’t play very loud, the Spectron is superb! everything just fits into place, its a damn solid amplifier.

don’t let people sway you with these meaningless words. they know not what they are saying, nor the ears or speakers to substantiate their thoughtless claims.

listen to both of them in YOUR system for proof of just how good they are. if i had the funds, i would have a room full of amps who others claim sound poor, but to me they are all good. let YOUR ears judge.

for what its worth, these two amps are totally different layouts. the innards are completely different.
different output, input, capacitors, power supply, thermaltrak transistors, or huge power storing capacitors, two completely different beasts. 

Initial impressions for the Spectron from a few days ago are that it's not as refined or transparent as the Magtech, and it sounds a little edgier. However, I need to allow it to power up for longer. That was just an initial back-and-forth test from the Magtech to the Spectron and back to the Magtech.

Spectron changed out the left channel board, so it may require break-in again, which I've heard is lengthy.

Switched out the amps again today. Played music through the Spectron for a little over an hour. There's a slight amount of noise when there's no sound playing but you have to have your ear fairly close to the tweeter to hear it. The Magtech is definitely quieter. Also, the Spectron seems to have some interference issue; I would intermittently hear static through the right channel. It may be related to my cell phone's activity. I still think the Magtech sounds more natural, but the Spectron may throw a slightly deeper soundstage and may have slightly better imaging.
Ok I tested again after leaving both on for a few days. They definitely sound fairly similar. The Spectron may have slightly better vocals and sounds a little more forward/edgy, and the Magtech sounded slightly more natural. I think the Spectron sounded better with balanced cables with my Aesthetix Calypso Signature, but the Sanders sounds better with RCA. Roger Sanders actually recommends RCA. I still couldn’t figure out the interference issue with the Spectron, so I'm keeping the Magtech.

If I were to recommend one over the other, I’d probably recommend the Spectron since it’s generally cheaper on the used market, assuming that there are no reliability issues.

Anyone know anyone that can repair Spectron amplifiers?

Does anyone know who has schematics for this amp and/or schematics for the power modules?

Does anyone know who owns the patents or intellectual property surrounding Spectron?

Please advise. Any info would be a big help.