I got my pair of the M2-600M mono-blocks on Monday and have doing some preliminary listening. These amps are a huge direction change for me as they are replacing a beloved pair of glorious sounding triode powered OTL amps that I have had since new more than 20 years ago. The fan went out on my power regenerator causing its internal amp to produce a crazy voltage put my amps into cardioid arrest. Being prematurely retired leaves me with far less money for stereo gear now compared to when I bought most of my equipment. I guessed that it would cost me at least $2-3k for repairs including shipping, etc. and set on the journey to get my system singing again. Ads for Bel Canto, Nuforce, Wyred4sound and other class d amps got me curious enough to actually try a pair of D-Sonic's latest generation amps to hopefully fill in for my dead Atma-Spheres. My hope is that they can at least capture some of the magic, but realistically, no one can expect them to play in the same league much less the same ballpark as tube amps that cost nearly 4 times as much before considering inflation.
After 2 days listening, I am delighted at just how good these amps do sound. For now, I am busy trying to set the system up from scratch to wring the most performance i can get from them. Their tiny footprint allowed me to replace the amp stands behind my speakers with petite Granite-topped end tables that are easy to move and walk behind. But moving things around introduced a hum from my phono stage. I sorted that out by moving positions between the preamp and its power supply - the phono preamp hates being within 3 feet of an M2-600M amp. All my recent memories of my system before are from when the system drew its juice from power regenerator. I have another one in the HT system that will now be promoted to the music system before I even try to do any critical listening. I haven't even begun the madness of swapping power cords in and out. I suspect that the granite tables that support the new amps present modification opportunities to control vibrations to the amps such as spiking their feet, inserting some kind of damping collar between the granite slab & the wooden table legs. .
Until I finish all the work left to do before I can say the amps are setup as well as I can, I can only offer first impressions of this amp. I have to keep telling myself that over and over in order to prevent making a fool of myself gushing all over the page like a teenager falling in love. If I cannot stay analytical and critical, I will not be able to get it set up. Also, these amps were DEMO units that Mr. Deacon had loaned to someone in California, and subsequently drop-shipped to me. As such, I have absolutely no Idea how many hours they have been played before. I assume that they were played long enough to be fully broken in. I hope so, else all the setup work & listening I am doing this week (plenty!) is wasted time. With that in mind, these are some of my first impressions with the new amps.
Start easy with a CD with some sweet, intimate bass. These class D amps came up through the minor leagues as bass & sub-woofer amps. Give them a project. Paul Chambers "Bass on Top." 1st track shows one of the finest performances ever of bowed jazz double-bass. In my car with 8-speaker Bose junk it sounds like a zither. With the D-Sonics in their first song, I almost cried. The bass is very well-defined and conveys music's emotional content as well as the sonic performance. It seems deeper too. I think that a few rounds of speaker repositioning are in order.
The detail level when playing these amps is breathtaking. I need to readjust my thinking about detail reproduction and its importance in reproducing musical performances, not just music. I like detail as much as the next guy, but it has never been as important to me as timbre, pace, speed, transient response, and other system qualities. I guess it's cool to hear the musicians occasionally moving their chairs or turning pages of their scores. Some details I would rather do without, whether at a concert or at home. Keith Jarrett's little singing voice while he plays piano can be annoying while I try to follow the music. These amps redefine detail presentation to a degree that makes me think I have been missing something important. I have collected a few really nice sounding percussion & drum records and decided to try one of my favorites for the first vinyl played on the new amps - All Star Percussion Band. Classical music played by virtuoso performers who really get into the whole drum thing. These amps have no trouble with any of the sores of instruments banged, pounded, scraped, struck, rung or thrown on the floor. Delicate nuances and near eternal overtones are all there in spades, but what stunned me was how much more musical information they actually present than I have heard previously in my and others' systems. While listening to a passage where large metallic, tubular pipes were being struck by a hard wooden mallet, I thought something rather odd was happening at the exact time of each strike. The transient attack seemed longer, more drawn out than I was accustomed to hearing and there seemed to be a lower-level dull thud as part of the sonic message for that space & time. The mystery sound did not detract in any way from the gorgeous bloom of sound as it left the tube and entered the air for the mike to pick up, but it did require attention. I replayed the band and tried to focus on what was happening at the time of each strike. It seems that the low level sound is actually the sound produced by the mallets being struck by a large metal tube! Further listening to other percussion instruments on this and other albums showed that the phenomenon was not restricted to expensive, ultra-high quality audiophile showoff records. Vibs, celeste, maraccas, drums of all sorts and materials give up their secrets to these amps. I suspect that this kind of detail is actually available on many, if not most, records, but gets lost in the huge level swing when reproducing the full acoustic content of transient attacks. The detail reproduction power of this design seems able to free the lower level complementary sound made by the strikee on the striker just as you hear in the real world.
Overall, my first impressions are that these are very exiting amps that seem to do just about everything very well. Their sound is very different from the big tube sound that I am accustomed to, but not in any bad way. The music they make is beautiful; their soundstage is nearly holographic. Detail retrieval is so good that I think I might be able to finally hear the lyrics from "Louie Louie". More to come after I have the system set up a little better.