AmpedUp wrote:Hi ttocs,
I have to respond here as we have almost the exact same audio system. I have the M125 pair with a Don Sachs preamp. Because my listening room is only 12x22" I went with the Impressions instead of the Expressions and I only need a single sub, Dynamo 1500 to fill my room up with sound. That feeling that you can touch the musician is where the electrostats shine. These and Planers are known for their superb clarity. They do lack dynamics of some other speakers, but the ML hybrids like ours are plenty good for me. Every instrument that I listen too sounds "in the room" with one exception - the snare drum. I do not get the high frequency snap that comes from a live drum set. I am not sure what you are trying to improve what you hear from your system, but there are amps that can deliver these higher frequencies but they cost way more than our VTA amps. And those amps require speakers much more expensive our our Martin Logans to deliver that exceptional of sound quality. I am proud of and love the sound and value of my VTA amps with the ML speakers. Yes they could always be better but the cost of just a little improvement would be in the hundreds of dollars and many hours if I start swapping internal components and in the tens of thousands if I start swapping amps and speakers.
I love your question. I appreciate anyone that looks to improve their VTA equipment for just a little better sound quality and shares that knowledge. I see that you got different advice. All will make subtle differences to what you hear. 12BH7 vs 12au7 driver tubes, Weber SS vs GZ33 vs 5AR4 rectifiers, I also run K-120 power tubes. I could have mentioned the difference in sound with cables but that would have opened up a hornets nest of opinions. IMHO Corndog might have given you your best options here in another article with his opinion with different coupling caps. If you are willing to spend the $ for just a little extra quality in sound measurements, the Juniper and Mundorf caps will cost you significantly more than the K42Y caps that Bob supplied but are supposed to be of better quality. I followed Bob's advice and I'm 100% satisfied with mine. I do not know if these will improve your measurement tests, but just like tube rolling it can be fun experimenting.
I mentioned my experience listening to a snare drum to point out that what you hear is more important than any measurement. In my case I do not know the measurements of my system, but I used room treatments and the PBK kit to balance my system and the music in my life is very good. I hope that yours is also... The $100 for the ML PBK kit is worth the time to setup as if flattened my bass curve to really dial in the best sound. I have 2 kits and will give you the second if you would like it.
All good stuff Mike, thanks!
I have the PBK, but thanks much for the gracious offer!
The snare drum analogy is a very good one. It represents something everyone can relate to. While you can hear "most" of the sounds a snare can make, maybe some of the "sizzle" is not so well represented, so this is pretty much a perfect way to explain what might be missing.
While I am on a information quest to discover what might be needed to tweak just a bit more upper freqs out of the woodwork, I'm definitely not looking to lose the magic these amps have that I enjoy so much. Bob is very much correct in his comment about "real" being an important aspect of audio systems. It took me a long time to realize this in my home, so for me, I'm very happy with how things are with the M-125's, and frankly, I can and do connect the solid state anytime for times I want a different experience, like when watching movies. In a trade-off between more treble and less realism, I'll keep what I have.
Also, this is probably my last pair of main speakers, unless I downsize to Alta Alec speakers if I were in a smaller space.
Thank you very much for your contribution, and thank you to all you others for yours as well. I'm looking into what has been suggested so far, and considering some other things also, like simply adding a high shelf filter to simply boost a little bit of treble, or go the other way and lower the freqs below 8kHz a touch. Lower the water vs raising the bridge.