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MSB Technology The M500 Mono Amplifier

10.02.2021 // Dirk Sommer

These switches allow for the selection of gain and input impedance, but beware: Not all preamps are likely to cope well with 75 or 300 ohms. For starters, choose 1.2 kiloohms
These switches allow for the selection of gain and input impedance, but beware: Not all preamps are likely to cope well with 75 or 300 ohms. For starters, choose 1.2 kiloohms

And that had certainly a positive effect on the M500s. In my listening room, I use to have manufacturers, distributors and colleagues dropping by from time to time, although in these times much less frequently than usual. Their assessments are particularly interesting for me when they don't focus on the component that occupies me the most at the moment. Last year, for example, two developers from a very renowned loudspeaker manufacturer came by to get an impression of the quality of my audio system and were particularly impressed by its coarse and fine dynamic capabilities. Just because it was not an issue which power amplifiers were in charge of the efficient amplification, I took their statement as a huge compliment for the 1000-watt MSB powerhouses, which had their good share in the convincing performance. For me, it had been clear for a long time that the M500s do not in the least correspond to the audiophile prejudice against high-wattage power amplifiers. No, despite all their forces, the MSBs cannot only run for power, but sprint likely to break world records!

Recently, Oliver Goebel popped again in because he had not yet heard the changes - or improvements respectively - made by the Ferrum power supply for the M-Scaler and the linear power supply for the DAVE. Moreover, he was not averse in becoming familiar with the M500's sonic potential. We also took the opportunity to experiment a little with the coupling of the MSBs to the floor, which hadn't been so easy for me because of their weight. By default, the M500s come with very soft feet that decouple the monos from the floor. In their place, we installed the Ansuz Acoustic Darkz T2 Supreme under the MSBs. Where, if not here, would the use of these titanium feet, which are anything but affordable and have undergone a special surface treatment at the Technological Institute in Aarhus, be reasonably priced in relation to the devices resting on them? Acoustically, too, the Darkz feet appear to be an excellent match for the M500s: A touch of energy, however, gets lost in the lowest lows, but on the other hand, the frequency range from bass to midrange has more strength and sounds even rounder and more coherent. And also the transparency and the tonal colours get enhanced thanks to the Darkz. For example, I have never heard the hi-hat at the beginning of Abdullah Ibrahim's "Calypso Minor", one of Oliver Goebel's favourite test tracks by the way, as colourful as it sounded now. The pressure of the double bass instantly captivates you, and the reverb surrounding the hard-stroken strings of the grand piano now stands out with more clarity. So we ended up in avoiding any further change in the placement of the MSBs. We reached to be perfectly happy.

Even after removing the top cover, you can't see almost anything of the power amplifier's constructive structure
Even after removing the top cover, you can't see almost anything of the power amplifier's constructive structure

Just for fun, we then listened to one of my favourite new files: Bassroom, the solo album by Austrian bassist Nenad Vasilic, downloadable from Qobuz at a sampling rate of 96 kilohertz. Besides Vasilic's virtuoso playing, it fascinates with different virtual spaces, a track with prepared strings, the change from double to electric bass and from con-arco to pizzicato technique, as well as the relatively scarse use of electronics: Not least thanks to the MSBs this is sonically a pure delight! Even when I reconnected The Poweramp instead of the M500s to the system, I still was in an excellent mood, probably because I assumed that the aforementioned differences between the monos and the stereo power amp happened to be quite marginal. How mistaken one can be: As is so often the case, the step back to the less perfect component is far more noticeable than the one from the very good to better ones. The same is true here: It suddenly became obvious that the MSBs had an even better grip on the Goebel drivers by nevertheless letting them produce more thrust at the same time. Spaces got a bit bigger, the tonal colours a bit more radiant and the differentiation a bit more accurate. Despite - or against all prejudices: because of? - their immense power the MSBs not only reach the very high sonic level of Einstein's The Poweramp - oh no, they clearly outperform it!

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