Clayton Audio M70 Monoblocks Amplifiers

5/5 (10 Reviews) MSRP : $5600.00


Product Description

Class A - 150 Watts @ 4 Ohms - Solid State Monos (pair)


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Reviews 1 - 5 (10 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by bkt88 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: May 21, 2003

Bottom Line:   
When I received the S-40 I had serious doubts about all the hoopla written in the audio press as seen on the Clayton Audio website. I was just hoping for an improvement in quality over my Denon 3300 receiver.

Since I had sold the receiver, I anxiously visited a friend whose system included the Sony SCD-1, Rowland Monoblocks 6's (over $12,000 value) and with the Avalon Eclipse. With the Rowland Consummate preamp we sat down to listen. After a half hour cold start the music was slow in forming but in no time something good began to take shape. The power of the amp was sufficient enough to drive the 87db inefficient Avalons to satisfactory levels. But the gain was preventing the sound from opening up.

After adjusting the gain on the Rowland the Clayton was simply "magic". There was a tube sweetness from the midrange and lots of bass impact and control. The soundstage was "huge" and a quiet stillness was immediately noticable. My friend was very impressed with the drop in noise level. Now consider why this is significant. The Rowlands were running in balanced mode while the Clayton S-40 was not! Balanced is inherently quieter than unbalanced I used to say.

The Clayton S-40 is a music listeners dream amp since it exemplifies grace under fire (hard rock music, complex orchestral works) presenting no loss of control or sense of compression. The sound simply boogies with the best and on this night embarassed the Rowlands.

Highly recommended if you are looking for a single stereo amp above the norm. This is a quiet gem that must be heard.

If you see one on the net used, grab it.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2003

Price Paid:    $3000.00

Purchased At:   Northwest dealer



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Evan Trent a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: April 16, 2001

Bottom Line:   
[This is a review for the M-100 not the M-70, please pardon its length but I feel these babies warrant a thorough evaluation]

The Claytons are astoundingly superb amplifiers. I have compared them to many far more expensive amps such as the Cary Audio 805c and come away wanting the Claytons instead. The 805c's have an ever so subtly more refined midrange (Cary's midrange is the best around if you ask me) but it's not worth another $2500 especially since the bass isn't as well defined as on the Claytons. The 805c's are the only amps I've heard, other than perhaps the Manleys (which are more expensive than the Claytons and put out a mere 11 wpc.) which even approach the sound of the M-100's.

The M-100's sound like tubes in all the ways you want. They have that natural, non-fatiguing, palpable sound tube junkies just love. They are smooth and elegant just like the finest single ended triode amplifiers. But like the best solid state amps they have very well defined bass which pushes them out in front of even the very best tube amps I've heard.

The build quality is exceptional. Talk about overbuild - if you have had a chance to open these puppies up (be careful because if you don't know what you're doing you'll have trouble putting Humpty Dumpty back together again!) you will understand what I'm talking about. The quality of the components used inside is simply the best available, and many of the stuff used is new to the world of consumer audio. These are superbly constructed units with unusual attention to detail. A light on the back to remind you that the unit is still powered up when you go to unplug speakers or inputs, feet on the back to protect the WBT binding posts, the plywood lined crates they are shipped in, etc. These guys know what they are doing. My discussions with Wilson Shen, the head honcho and designer at Clayton, have been very informative and pleasant. The company provides excellent support and information.

The manual is short but adequate. It has all the specs you need and explains the bias switch and all the rear panel information. That information aside, the amp is entirely self explanatory and maintenance free.

People who complain about the power rating either haven't tried the amps or are just plain stupid. These are current based amplifiers which means you can drive Maggies with the S-40 (read the reviews folks) which is unheard of. Driving electrostats with 40 wpc.? I don't think you'll be running out of power with the M-100s unless you have huge electrostats, a room the size of Notre Dame, and like to bleed from the ears regularly. These amps play loud, and never lose their grace even at deafening levels. Class A beyond their continuous power rating. Now that's impressive!

What I love about Single Ended Triode tubes is that, as Sam Tellig says, they bring you closer to the music. You feel like you have either removed a component from your chain, or in less technical terms like a string quartet just sat down in your living room and started to play. And what I love about tubes in general is that there is no listening fatigue. No harshness or graininess to the sound. You get more natural sound. In short - I like tubes and SET amps for the same reason I like vinyl: it sounds more like music rather than the reproduction of music.

The Claytons enhance the listening experience to virtually the same extent, and in the same ways, as SET, tubes, and vinyl. But they do it without the shortcomings often associated. For one thing the bass is better than with tubes, for another the M-100's provide much more power than SET amps. They are much more compatible with speakers than their tubed SET cousins which are fussy both in terms of sensitivity and more importantly in terms of impedance curves. The Clayton will handle more demanding loads because of its current based design. And you don't have to take out a second mortgage to roll your tubes every three years.

The bottom line is that the Claytons make beautiful music. They dissappear into your system and that's the best you can ask for from an amplifier. They also help your speakers disappear into the music, which is a wonderful trick. They don't sound like tubes, they don't sound like solid state: they sound like violins, pianos, drums, basses, etc. They put music into your living room and make you forget that you are listening to a hi-fi.

Sure $6500 ain't cheap, but for the money there is nothing out there that compares. And I've now heard several amps that are much more expensive (the Cary 805c's are $9k) and while they sound fabulous, I like my Claytons better for the money. I am excited to hear Clayton's upcoming pre-amp, the P-2000, and also their new fully balanced designs, the S-2000 and M-2000.

So - they get five stars for value because they are, exactly as the popup menu says, "Giant killers" in every sense of the word. Forget Levinson and Krell, Clayton is where it's at. In absolute terms they may be expensive but in relative terms they are the deal of the century. Performance is a no brainer: I'd give them more than five stars if I could. I can't say enough good things about these amps. I've been looking for the ultimate SET tube amp and I never thought I'd end up with a solid state unit, but life is full of surprises I guess.

Any questions, or if you want to know where to buy Clayton amps, email me at evan@sover.net.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by jerry slavata a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: September 19, 2000

Bottom Line:   
This review is for the S-40, not the M-70. I have requested a review category for the S-40, but none provided yet.

The S-40 is the stereo version of the M-70 monoblock housed in a single M-70 chassis. In Doug Blackburn's Soundstage review, he wrote: "The S-40 is the virtual sonic duplicate of the $5,600/pr M-70 monoblocks."

I have gone through more amps than I want to admit. My current reference and favorite amp is the Audio Research VT100 MkII. The S-40 is as good (better in some ways) as the AR, and definitely better than any solid state amp I have ever experienced.

I cannot point out any single weakness. Driving my Dunlavy SCIV-a or my new Taylo Reference Monitors, they produce music in a way that will lock you in your chair far beyond the time that your wife wants you to be there.

Maybe it's because it runs in pure class A, or maybe it's the power supply, but whatever innovations the designers of this amp have created, the sound is wonderfully pure and grainless. For those of you who can relate to the existence of a basic harmonic difference in the quality of sound between tube and solid state, the Clayton captures the harmonic richness of great tube gear, but at the same time does not color the signal source. The overall result is a nicely layered 3 dimensional rendering of the music with great clarity, speed, and bass punch.

Keep in mind that I'm talking about the S-40, which is supposed to be 40wpc. I don't beleive for a second! As I said, I've owned several high-powered pieces, including a 275wpc. None have demonstrated the power of this Clayton. It has the most rock-solid bass and ability to play loudly without strain of any amp I have ever used!

And the build quality is just as good as the sonics! It is also good to know that the amp is made in the US with excellent product support. This has been an important lesson for me after experiencing the frustrations that can be had when dealing with a product that is only provided through an importer.

If you are looking for a high quality amp in the $6K+ area or less, this baby can be had for less than half - maybe a lot less. But don't let the price or the 40wpc fool you. This amp is a giant killer, and deserves to keep company with only the best components.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Paul Barrow a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: May 25, 2000

Bottom Line:   
The M70 is the most natural and realistic sounding amplifier I have ever had in my system. Period.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1997



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by John Doe a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: March 8, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I concur to all the other reviewers' opinion. This is one of the most under-rated amplifier and best-kept secret. In addition, the 70W rating is very conservative, because M70 is a current-centric design that can pump out 100Amp of peak current, essentially drives any difficult load. It benefits from a good power cord upgrade, and possibly an amp rack or maple pasta board below it (lift it off the carpet). Before owning M70, I used Mark Levinson 23.5, and found the ML 333 or Krell, at that time not as good as M70 in conveying the sense of music truth, or as fine and delicate sounding.

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999




Reviews 1 - 5 (10 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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