New>>Musical Design DM-100C Elite Power Amp
>>>To make this email more understandable, Andy was testing the DM-100C to see if he wanted to trade in his older Musical Design D-75 for this amp. His reference to tubed amps including OTLs is due to the fact that he has owned New York Audio Labs Futterman OTL-3's(dual mono OTL power amps). His reference to "ESL-63s" is for his classic Quad Electrostatic Speakers. <<<
Hi John, Let me start off by saying that after only a couple of hours of listening (with about a half hour warmup) I was in shock. Do your really think it needs to break in? I can't detect any sonic signature whatsoever from this amp. It's like a perfectly clear window into the source material be it the mic, mixing console, whatever. No added grain, hash, edginess, hardness. Nothing added, nothing subtracted. Lightning fast. Frankly, in my 40 years of messing with audio equipment, this is the first time I have experienced that from a power amp. I spent most of the time listening to mono sources focusing on the voice. Every voice (including the sibilances) I listened to had an uncanny "rightness" to it (coherent and harmonically balanced, natural), even those poorly recorded/miked. And listening to groups like Glenn Miller's Army band (from 1943 live broadcast) the Modernaires (from 1952) or the Beach Boys (from 1965) I was better able to follow the inner voices. On the few stereo recordings I tried the imaging/layering/ambience was all there. Needless to say I'll be keeping the new amp so you can go ahead and list the D-75. I'm still collecting my thoughts (which is hard since it's so easy to get swept up in the music) and will have more to say as I revisit more recordings. (Can't say I'll be listening to the amp as there doesn't seem to be anything to listen to there! But I will try.) I do think you ought to consider making this "custom" version (fewer output devices running higher in Class A, no input DC blocking cap, modified Cardas speaker posts) a stock option. By the way, the amp's heat sinks are dissipating the heat very well and the top of the cabinet is only moderately warm to touch. You did a fine job drilling out the speaker posts. The wire (two 16 gauge stranded twisted together) slipped in perfectly and mashed down easily. The mechanical hum is inaudible at my listening position so these transformers are definitely quieter. Thank you! Yes this is my last amp for sure. And as far as I'm concerned you've earned a spot in audio history up there with the handful of great designers. Why anyone would still want a tube power amp (OTL or otherwise) after this amp I can't fathom. I absolutely agree that this is your best work. I'll be getting the ESL-63's back in a couple of weeks after which I can give you a "full" review. Andy
Musical Design DM-100B Platinum (older unit), latest update now installed + BlackGate front-end power supply caps
Wow, John! Whatever you did with this latest set of upgrades on the DM100 plat is truly amazing! I've never heard massed voices or instruments so clearly. There's a notable improvement in detail and naturalness over what was a really, really good amp to start with. The bass also seems stronger. I back my Maggie 1.6 units with Vandersteen 2Wq subs on their flat setting at 89db. It's a very fast, responsive combo. Punch with no thud or hangover. Seems quicker now, but I'm also hearing the "soft" part of drums and acoustic bass more clearly on my better recordings. Horns on one of my Platters CDs are so live I just felt like I could touch them -- an old recording, but the remaster is pretty darn good. Goes to show what the old, honest equipment could capture. I hope that some day I can afford the big Black Gates!! Those must be something else again. By the way, hopefully you'll get a call from John P**** out here in the SF area. I helped him with his Adcom/Vandersteen gear the other day. He needs speaker cables and an interconnect. I've also recommended that he discuss Adcom upgrades with you. He'll need them installed - don't think the does soldering iron work. Anyway..................
Thanks & Best!!
Upgrade Musical Design SP-2B to latest elite version
I AM VERY HAPPY!!!!!
YOU KNOW HOW WHEN YOU GET SOMETHING NEW YOU EXPECT IT TO COMPLETELY BLOW YOU AWAY?
WELL AFTER LISTENING YOU YOUR STUFF FOR OVER 20 YEARS THE DEGREES OF GREATNESS GET HARDER AND HARDER TO OVERCOME!
DEFINITELY QUIETER, CLEAN, GREAT DETAIL....LISTENING RIGHT NOW AND UNTIL IT STOPS AGAIN.
YOUR EQUIPMENT DEFINITELY GETS A WORKOUT IN MY HOUSE...LIKE EVERY DAY FOR 6-8 HOURS OF CONTINUOUS PLAY AND HAS PROVEN TO BE DEPENDABLE, RELIABLE, NON FATIGUING.....JUST BEAUTIFULL MUSIC!!!!!!
THANKS FOR MAKING IT ALL SO REAL AND AFFORDABLE!
Musical Design SP-2B
The preamp just arrived... straight out of the box, no warm up, it blew away the older SuperMod III preamp. Pinpoint positioning, bigger soundstage and ’warmer’ more musical sound! Lots more detail, but not in that ‘too much’ fatiguing way that some electronics can overwhelm you with. The bass is better, more defined, pulling out some hidden textures on Sarah McLachlan’s "Surface" CD. I’m looking forward to ‘re-discovering’ our CD collection! Thanks again for another job well done.
BIG BlackGate caps, 10,000uF/80V installed into Musical Design D-150B
I gave it the wife test. She just smiled and said that it is clear as a bright winter's day. I have had to re-do the speaker placement to do this justice. The presentation is unique among amplifiers. One of the very best. I have had a lot of amps, as I have said, I do not remember hearing anything quite like it. It is simply captivating.
Musical Design D-75
Lastly, been wanting to send the D75 in for the first upgrade, I like it so much as is though. The upgrade may change it in a way I don’t like, who knows.
The 75 amp is detailed, coherent and musical, I have a Anthem 40 watt tube amp too, it is more open and forward with more apparent air but can get in
your face and edgier sometimes compared to the D75. Both are great amps, the
D75 almost always pleases. ------ Alan B.
I asked to use the above comments and received this back.
Yes, you can use the comment. I love the amp. It gels with both my ProAc’s and especially my Spendors! You have good ears.
Musical Design T-1 Transport
Just a note to say I've had 3 days to audition the transport and I can say this: It has brought more realism to the music I listen to than any single component I've added/upgraded - period. John
Musical Design D-75B Signature
"Amazed at the quality of sound this little thing puts out. Better than a Levinson product I recently auditioned."
James M., Wilmington, MA >>>>>>>>> Taken from comment card.
Musical Design T-1 Platinum Transport
The T-1 Platinum Transport you up-dated from my previous CD-2 Signature arrived in the first week of Dec. Thank you for the timely service. I have been busily auditioning familiar and recently acquired disks on the T-1/DAC IA Platinum. The improvement in sound quality - most notably at the frequency extremes — with both good and not-so-good recordings has been revelatory. I use the term advisedly. From every indicator, the operation was a success.
I can’t think, for example, of a more demanding task for any CD player than that of translating the Abbado Mahler Fifth Symphony on DG into a convincing presence. The dynamic range of the disc is extraordinary - 16 bit recording standards notwithstanding - from whisper-like lows to truly massive, yet complex orchestral crescendi. The T-1/DAC lA Platinum combo handled it all with grace and precision revealing subtle details I didn’t think standard digital recordings capable of reproducing. Finally, I thought, my Meadowlark Herons have a signal worthy of their own prodigious reproductive capabilities. To emphasize the obvious, I couldn’t be more pleased with the sound I am hearing, granted that nothing, no matter how excellent, will ever surpass a live performance.
Here is an added note you may find interesting. I offered the MUSICAL CONCEPTS CD-3, which the T-1/DAC1A replaced, to my daughter and son-in-law. The up-grade in sound quality to their existing system was immediate and quite palpably so. Needless to say, they are as pleased with their "new" MUSICAL CONCEPTS player as I am with mine. Classic design? I would say so!
- Bernard P.
Returned Warranty/ Satisfaction postcards we've received:
For Musical Design D-75B - Card A
Some of you are not familiar with the outstandingly musical products the we produce here at Musical Concepts and Musical Design. What better way to get some familiarity with our products than to read the response of audiophiles like yourself to gain a better understanding of our mission and how we are fulfilling that mission.
The great majority of the comments below are taken from our e-mail responses. Without any further ado here is the opinion of others.