CES 2009, Las Vegas NV

Historical Prospective

from Sound & Vision "50 Greatest A/V Innovations: The most revolutionary products & technologies of the past 50 years" January 2008

"Digital Amplifiers: 
Going back to the Infinity SWAMP 1 of the mid-1970s, digital amps have had a checkered history, but they seem finally to have turned the corner in terms of reliability and performance. Highly efficient and cool-running, they promise to play a bigger role in the future."

At that time Spectron's President John Ulrick was president and co-founder of Infinity Systems, famous for its pioneering development of the combination of the servo woofer with the electrostatic speaker. He introduced SWAMP-1, the first commercially available class D amplifier, into the hi-fi audio world at CES 1974 - exactly as credited above by the Sound & Vision.


Musician III Mk2 - Monoblocks

Best of 2009 Blue Note Equipment Awards in Amplification

" ...what really has my juices flowing is using these amplifiers in monoblock mode. Apart from the obvious benefits of monoblock configuration -- massive power providing near-infinite headroom and freedom from clipping -- the monoblocks sound even faster, sweeter and more relaxed, have superior bass depth and pitch definition, and throw a larger, more dimensional soundscape than a single stereo Musician III.

No, they don't mimic the special quality of tubes -- a kind of creamy sweetness in the harmonic presentation. It is easy to understand the appeal of that tube sound; it has had a grip on me for years. But what the Spectrons do is, to my mind, ultimately even more impressive....[they] have a crystalline purity in the reproduction of every voice and instrument that sounds more to me like the essence of live, unamplified music -- which I attend, on average, more than once a week year-round-- than any other amplifier, at any price, based on any technology, that I have ever heard"

Read EnjoyTheMusic.com entire 'Best of 2009 Award' citation >>


Stereo Mojo reviews Spectron Musician III Mk2
ABSOLUTE POWER by James L. Darby

"Recently, a friend of mine bought a new car - a Bentley Continental GT.....engine was silent and silky smooth and provided the sensation of taking off in 747... That is how I would describe listening to the Spectrons; quiet and luxurious with no sense of effort at any volume level... More than most other amps, the Spectrons allow you to feel the music (not the sound) as well as hear it... Like the Bentley, you don't think to yourself, "Wow! This is powerful!", you are not conscious of the power at all. You are conscious of the music in all its pristine glory without much of a perception of electronics at all; the music just is...Like the Bentley, the Spectrons excel at speed.."

"[Musicians] also were articulate and listenable at low levels. I cannot explain why, but it is true. More than once while playing at background levels, I was drawn in to the music to the point I had to sit down and listen..."

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Enjoy The Music reviews Spectron Musician III Mk2 monoblocks
Building A Reference System: A Reviewer's Four-Year Odyssey By Wayne Donnelly

....when the original Spectron Musician III arrived for a review, I took the opportunity to ship the [VTL] Siegfrieds back to the factory for a complete checkup. Ultimately, they would never return....I made the momentous (for me) decision to leap from tube amplification into the brave new world of high-performance digital....Earlier on, I had recognized a number of differences between the Siegfrieds and the stereo Musician III, but listening through the Spectron monoblocks has been revelatory. The Dorati Firebird now has full harmonic richness equaling the all-VTL rig, along with a dynamic range that now extends beyond what the all-tube configuration could produce, and a combination of bass impact and finesse that is wholly new to me... The stereo Spectron had given me precisely located images within the soundscape. With the monoblocks those images retain their precise lateral organization, but the images are more three-dimensional than with the stereo Spectron, and equal to what was a major strength of the Siegfrieds. Even more surprising, and a challenge to describe adequately, the listening experience is now simply more relaxing and pleasurable than at any time in the past.

I've been consistently a toob man for some 15 years. I have heard very good transistor amplifiers and have praised them in reviews, but I never found one that tempted me away from the pleasures of glowing glass...But these Spectron monoblocks are a whole different matter. They give me the glare-free sweetness, the harmonic completeness and the spatial verisimilitude of the best tube amplifiers, with a new and exciting degree of transient speed and essentially unlimited dynamic impact...

Read more from Enjoy The Music  >>


Positive Feedback reviews Spectron Musician III Mk2
by Adam Goldfine

"....At first listen the incredible speed and resolution of the amps was evident but I found them a bit dry and uninvolving. Figuring a little run time would help things out, I broke them in by feeding the amps cable radio night and day for about a week. During that time they never got more than barely warm.

Forget what you think you know about Class D amplifiers. The Spectrons combined incredible speed with the kind sweetness and musicality usually reserved for good tube amps. They conveyed harmonic colors with incredible precision and rather than blending distinct tonal colors into a ?sound? they rendered each color as distinct, bringing it to life, intact and true to the source...."

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Stereo Times reviews Spectron Musician III Mk2
More Power = More Music by Donald Shaulis

"....I also compared one MK2 operated in stereo to a pair operated as monoblocks...With the monoblocks there was a noticeable ease of presentation and the sound stage became more expansive while maintaining definition. My speakers seemed to grow. The monoblocks also provided a dramatic increase in tonal density. A rich harmonic texture and increased definition was evident in everything from the lows (upright bass, piano, and guitar lower notes), through the midrange (vocals, and middle range of the piano and guitar) to the upper reaches of violins. In addition to all the intimacy of the stereo MK2, the monoblocks had additional visceral impact even at normal listening levels. The weight of guitar and piano notes was relayed with an in-the-room presence and clarity. Compared to the stereo MK2, the monoblocks were a more complete artist’s sketch with the shadings more fully reflecting all the shadows and highlights. This weight and detail carried to adjacent rooms in my home where only the outline of the music had prevailed before.

.....What can I say about distortion at full output? Nothing... Monoblocks, at double the cost, elevate the price of admission... In my system the expense was well worth it... My Apogees are finally living up to the promise that had always been hinted at but never fully realized.

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Home Theater HiFi reviews Spectron Musician III Mk2 - Stereo
by John E. Johnson, Jr

"..In summary, the sound of the Spectron was something in between a tube amplifier and a solid state amplifier... It had the high frequency snap that a solid state amp has, but the fluidity of tubes.......If anything tests an amplifier or speakers, it is pipe organ music and....it sounded like I was standing next to the pipes... Clarity and detail abounded, with no hint of limitations....The Spectron is just made for high rez recordings. Everything that is supposed to be there, is just there."

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Amplifier Owners review Spectron Audio Musician III SE -Monoblocks (Audioreview.com )

"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."

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Musician III Signature Edition

Stereo Times reviews Spectron Musician III SE
Power and Finesse by Donald Shaulis

"I have never heard Moussorgsky: Night on Bald Mountain/Pictures at an Exhibition [Telarc B000003CSH] before. Oh, I have owned the CD for years but I never really “heard it” before. The Spectron presented the softer passages with such inner detail they became seductive but the real surprise came in the crescendos. The peaks reached were a revelation.  It wasn’t that the Spectron could play loud, it was that I wanted the music louder.  For the first time the crescendos were reproduced with full fury but no smearing or harsh edge that demanded the volume be reduced. Now, after many years, I finally “get” this fine recording..."

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The Absolute Sound reviews Spectron Musician III SE
Further Thoughts by Neil Gader

"... Soundstage dimensionality and resolution, aspects that I had previously lauded, had improved—especially the amount of detail the Musician III Signature managed to retrieve from the deepest recesses of the stage....Micro- dynamically this was a more colorful amplifier—particularly in the upper octaves...
The bass... was reproduced with a combination of transient speed and thick, chocolate-like resonance, as if each string-bass note has been sweetened with a greater portion of color and air than before... the piano’s note-to-note articulation was cleaner at both ends of the keyboard... "

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Amplifier Owners review Spectron Audio Musician III SE (AudioReview.com)

“Everything I thought I knew about what is possible has been trashed. As a point of reference, I am using $50k speakers, $25k line stage, $25k phono stage, $30k phono, $30k digital AND an amp that cost me under $6500. It seems incongruous, but the amp is that good. In conclusion, I will cut to the chase - I do not know of a better buy in high-end audio than the Musician III [SE]. It will drive virtually any load no matter how power hungry or nasty. It plays in a musically natural fashion with outstanding treble and bass. The transparency, staging and dynamics leave nothing to be desired. IF YOU WANT A $20,OOO AMP FOR THIRTY CENTS ON THE DOLLAR, LOOK NO FARTHER."

read more from audioreview.com >>


Musician III

The Absolute Sound Editor's Choice Award 2007
"The Spectron Musician III is Class D amplification that as close to fulfilling the promise of this new technology as anything currently in the field. At 500 Wpc, it's got the power of Kenworth, yet it runs cool in an average-sized chasses. Its sound is on the warm side of the neutral and low in noise, with superior control of micro- and macro-dynamics and superior bass."
—TAS, issue #175, October 2007 p.68

Best of 2006 Blue Note Equipment Awards in Amplification
"I now consider the Musician III the most musically accurate and well balanced solid-state amplifier I have reviewed to date. Furthermore, only a small handful of tube amplifiers come close to equaling its musicality. Its audible subtlety, along with massive power and headroom, fine-grained articulation of musical detail, and sheer speed add up to a very special instrument for reproducing music of every kind... this remarkable amplifier is a consummate bargain that belongs on the must-hear short list of every serious audiophile."

read EnjoyTheMusic.com entire 'Best of 2006 Award' citation >>

The Absolute Sound reviews Spectron Musician III
Review by Neil Gader

Tonally, the Musician III is as neutral as they come—smooth across the octaves, and with top-notch interconnects and a good warm-up, not a whiff of spotlighting in the upper octaves. Treble is pristine and displays none of the whitish grain or transient blur that plagues many amps, Class D or otherwise. I have to admit that regardless of 'Class' the Spectron Musician III punched my time clock like few other amps I've heard."

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EnjoyTheMusic.com reviews Spectron Audio Musician III
Review by Wayne Donnelly

"Few if any audio designers can match the engineering experience and credentials of John Ulrick, Spectron's founder, chief designer and CEO. Ulrick co-founded (with Arnie Nudell) Infinity back in 1968, and designed the digital servo- amplified subwoofer that launched that company. He designed the first Class D amplifier in 1974. His latest offering, the Musician III, presents a formidable challenge not only to other Class D contenders, but also to top- rank power amplifiers of every type.

read more from EnjoyTheMusic.com >>

Musician II

StereoTimes.com reviews Spectron Musician II Amplifier

A Matter of Balance Review by Greg Weaver

"I don't know of a single amplifier, at any price, that would embarrass the Spectron Musician II. It has more successfully achieved that delicate balance between brute force and artistic expression than any amplifier I've had the pleasure of hearing. And at $3500, that makes it possibly the best value in amplification available today. Run, don't walk, to your nearest Spectron dealer and hear what you've been missing."

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Digital One

Positive Feedback reviews Digital One

A Pure Class D Killer! By Mike Pappas, Associate Editor

The Spectron 1KW amplifier redefines the state of the art in power amplifier designs. It does everything right, so right that words cannot totally convey what this amplifier is capable of doing. (Yeah, I'm considering setting fire to the old word processor!) And that isn't the half of it. I've saved the best for last. If this amp cost an arm and a leg, or you had to auction your significant other to even daydream about it, that would be one thing. You could read this review, shrug your shoulders, and say, "Hell! Another damned amp I can't possibly afford!"

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Musician III SE is also capable to operate in mono balanced mode resulting in dramatic improvements in dynamics and details.


Premiere combines multi channel home theater capability with audiophile sound quality. It uses the same amplifier technology as the renowned Musician.