Allow me to uncover the true color of M80 v3,.please be patient with me
My interest to build a 2 channels system was re-ignite from my 130 wpc Yammy AVR witha pair of M80 ti. It sounds quite okay with PCM straight out from my LG DVD player.
My quest for speaker at first was targeted on Maggie 1.7, a 4 ohm panel spk. So I ordered a Emotiva XPA-2 Power Amp to pave way for the Maggie But when I hooked up the Amp to my M80 ti, the spks were just stood
up and dance. I was amazed. Meanwhile, a once of a lifetime deal popped up at Axiom factory outlet.: an all new 'A' stock M80 v3 open for bid. I won the bid with less than 2/3 of the listed price.
The v3 improvement was subtle: a bit more definition and much brighter than the ti. So, I started to look for a Tube Pre-Amp, hope to smooth out high end edges.
I do my finger shopping again, till I found Shanling CD T2000, Winner of Hi Fi Award in Aug 2011. Basically, it is not a Pre-Amp, but a CD tube player, DAC & a Pre-Amp, all in one house. By connecting Its XLR out to my XPA-2, I am able to select between HT(RCA) & 2 ch. It has to access to the back selectors of my Emo, therefore an ideal choice.http://www.techradar.com/reviews/audio-v...r-989036/review
My audition at a dealer near Yonge & Steel was pathetic, but I come to realise my combo : XPA-2 + M80v3 is miles superior to the Demo setup: DAC , Int. Amp and spks. They are listed over three times more than my gear. I wonder why they hooked up the Shanling to an Integrated Amp. and routed to his $1500 DAC?
However, I followed my gut feeling to buy the CD T2000 for $2.5k, but not from this dealer though. I swear the "what if" words was banging my head when I powered on this CD player the first time. After all there is a 100X price difference compare to my LG player.
The difference is like: you were dancing on the floor, shaking hands with artists on stage before, and now you are up on stage with these artists and embrace them. So, does it worth the big buck? I say yes, as soon as I am still employed.
The sound stage is extended to the L/R surround spks. No wonder the reviews said it is close to SACD performance. Much more details were recovered. The lower end extended much deeper, almost matches to my SVS PC12+ Sub. High ends are smoothed out better than it was. vocal texture are improved without coloring. My M80 v3 remains a very natural spk, without distorted sweetness. The true color of details, positioning and sound stage was not heard of before and I am surprised it can go that far with my Axiom. The improvement is more pronounce than when I replaced the Yammy Amp with the XPA-2.
The XLR connection has a gain increase of some +12 dbs compare to RCA. So this is not a con for me as the review said, to have the volume stays on -40 dbs when powered on. Also, I always prefer 2 ch. CDs to multi ch SACDs for its tightness and intensity. I hope my review may enrich someone’s choices who is looking for the new sound source.