Spectral DMA-100 Amplifiers

4.5/5 (2 Reviews) MSRP : $3995.00


Product Description

100 Watt Power Amplifier (1984-1991)


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Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Peter Earnshaw a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: February 18, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I’ve been privileged to be able to listen to some Spectral amps (DMC-12 pre and DMA100S power) on home dem in my system over the past few days. I have to say that, in some respects, they are the best amplifiers I have ever heard! Good points first:

1. The amount of detail retrieved by these amps is unmatched in my experience. Quite simply I’ve heard sounds out of my system that I’ve never heard before. On the Bob Marley “Legends” compilation there is one track (see if you can spot which one) where a slight artificial echo is added to Marley’s voice. Until the Spectral amps were in place I’d not heard this effect.
2. The increase in detail changes the character of instruments, separating out individual strands so that you can almost hear the reverb of each string in a guitar as they are all strummed, yet combined together very naturally to give the overall sound. On other amps you usually just get the one sound, however rich or full it might be. Orchestras are broken down to their individual instruments yet recombined to perform together, in time and in tune. This makes some recordings sound completely different, yet is plainly more accurate and faithful to the original event.
3. The amps clearly portray variations in tone, a by-product of the incredible detail retrieval. I have “Eric Clapton Unplugged” on DVD so I can watch him switch guitars between tracks, and watch the rest of his band as they do the same, whilst listening through the hi-fi. The changes in instruments, and the tone of each instrument played by each performer, are very clearly differentiated from each other through the Spectrals, and nowhere near as clear in my current set-up.

If the above seems like the Spectrals are detail champions and nothing else, then that’s not true. This detail retrieval is clearly portrayed in the context of the musical “event” as an entirety. They’re unquestionably very musical, with excellent rhythm & timing, once you get over the fact that so many familiar tracks have suddenly changed. I should add that they’re not terribly forgiving; in a set-up as analytical as mine, poor recordings sound exactly that.

They are very clear and extended in the treble without being bright. Soundstage width and depth are excellent, although I have heard better depth out of some other equipment (BAT and Audio Research in particular). There are no obvious deficiencies in any areas, although there are some flaws (yes, really) which I’ve picked up on below:

1. There is something not quite right in the bass; I’m still struggling to come to terms with exactly what. Detail in the bass is very good, again I’ve noticed bass lines through these amps that I haven’t noticed before. However, there isn’t much “slam” or power, definition if you like. Something seems to be a little “wooly” about certain types of instrument, double-bass in particular. Because the rest of the amps performance is so good I find it hard to pin down what could be wrong here, but my current amps (see below) do manage to get more power and definition in the bass.
2. There’s a residual feeling of electronic-ness about these amps. They might be very revealing and detailed, and faithful to the original tone of all the instruments and sounds being played, but it’s still not right. I lust after more richness and harmony; if I close my eyes on some tracks performers very nearly come “into the room”, but still struggle to sound natural. This is a subtle problem and, at this price point, these amps are still top of the class, just not quite perfect.
3. Build quality is not marvellous; although I’m spoilt with the Rowlands as a comparison because they’re built like tanks. I notice that the speaker binding posts are quite plasticky, the top plates are a bit tinny, and the controls on the preamp don’t have a very luxurious feel or action.
4. The power amp is extremely noisy. As soon as I start it up there’s a “whoosh” through the speakers which I find distracting. This doesn’t seem to vary with volume, so it’s not noticeable at higher sound levels, but late at night when I don’t want to disturb the neighbours so use low volume it does distract from the music.
5. The preamp is pretty basic. There’s no remote control, only a global volume control (you can’t set it on a per-input basis), no pass-through for AV equipment and integration with home theatre, and a fairly limited number of inputs. Does sound good, though!

Compared with my current amps the Spectrals are immediately clearer in the treble and upper-mid, and retrieve all that detail as well! But I won’t be buying them because of the odd bass response, the whoosh from the power amp (I’m going to try moving it around to see if it’s being affected by something nearby), and the lack of a remote for the preamp. These problems mean I’m only going to award four out of five, rather than top marks, but on sound quality alone they’re up there with the best!
I am, however, saving up for a bigger Spectral power amp, assuming that conquers the bass problem, and their new remote-controlled preamp. It should be worth the wait!

Associated equipment: dCS Elgar/Purcell, Jeff Rowland Consummate, Model 2+BPS, Wilson System 5.1, Spectral/MIT interconnects (you have to if you want to use their amps and keep your warranty) for the test and Transparent Super/Plus otherwise.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by john a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: February 4, 2000

Bottom Line:   
System:
Low MIT shotgun interconnection from Wadia 860x to SPECTRAL new DMA 100S to Avalon Eclipse with Bi-wired MIT shotgun speaker cable.
Source is very important. The Wadia 860x gives everything to get "Live music". This system is at the best to conect directly to amps.
It needs speed.
The DMA 100s newst Spectral amp give that speed to go without losing too much to speakers.
What a dream system thanks to this spectral amp device.
Thanks for the development
Reading the comments of the DMA 150 you can compare the 100s with the 150 with less autority in power but...... that is all. Maybe the 100s is even a little more subtiel due to new technics they used. It is build with less componm. than the DMA 150.
this all together is sometimes better than sitting at a live concert. Wish I could give 100 *******************stars

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999




Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

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