No mate, I don't remember anything about replacement drivers - that doesn't mean I haven't forgotten though!My rig goes considerably louder now it has an active pre, and some very wonderful things are happening in the mid-range, imaging, and percussion. Nowhere near 100dB loud though!!! I wouldn't want more volume TBH, the dynamic swings can be a bit shocking as it is. More scale, maybe.
I just found this, it was caught in my span filter; Colin sent it 5 days ago and I didn't even know it.Sorry, Col!It provides a little insight into what these 'lectronics do.No further listening took place tonight as we were watching 'telly, an after that some recorded Star Trek Voyager. Oh yes, we're living the high life here in East Sussex....
I made some writtennotes yesterday, for the first time - I was starting to get confusedabout the differences between the Lightspeed and the Magnum. Writingdown my impressions when listening is a new level of nerdiness forme, but it yielded some results which surprised me!
The parts I knew Iliked liked about the Magnum was it's ability to winkle out amazingdetail on strings, be they violins & cellos, or guitars. As myprimary interest is songwriter music, guitars (particularlyunamplified) are very important to me. It also allowed exceptionalcontrol over bass, both at extremely low and high volume.
The Lightspeed has ahard-to-live-without quality, which I suppose is what is referred toas 'transparency'. It's as if it's just not there, and when I swappedit back into the system it gave a sense of a refreshing gust of freshair – it felt good every time. I can't help thinking of it as areference standard of 'transparency'. (Please forgive me for usingHiFi speak – I know what I mean, but I have no idea if we think ofthe same things when words such as 'transparency' are used.) Itseemed more subtle than the Magnum, maybe more finesse in the way itportrayed detail – perhaps even more detailed overall?
Both amps had qualitiesI want to keep, but I never knew which way to jump when it came tomaking a choice. Partly, this is because of the difficulties ofmaking a direct comparison, due to the monumental faff of swappingpre-amps and associated cabling, and partly because there is no wayto even approach volume level matching (what with one being active,the other passive). So, this is why I wrote notes of my thoughtsduring an hour or two of listening, then I swapped the Magnum for the(pre-warmed) Lightspeed, and wrote notes again. Both times, I justwent for a comfortable volume on the higher side of average.
I listened to theMagnum for a while noting several previous criticisms I heldpreviously didn't seem quite so, er, critical! These included a'warmth' to the whole experience, something I've observed many hifienthusiasts striving for. I never wanted warmth, I'm a detail freak(having played music myself, I want those 'warts 'n all). The'warmth' is quite nice to have, but thankfully has toned right downin the week since I changed the capacitors.
Related to the 'warmth' was, I felt, a 'softness' to the bass, it seems somehow a littlelower in the mix than with the Lightspeed. This isn't a dealbreaker,because somehow it still presents the detail in the bass as clearly –in fact, probably more clearly – than the lightspeed.
I played several tracksthat are 'flavour of the month' at chez Brown – mostly summerysongs, and others were selected because of less-than-perfectproduction, which makes them tricky for the hifi. They included thefirst 2 tracks from Ane Brun's Live in Stockholm album (The Puzzle,and Singing one of your songs), several from Ben Taylor's 'Anotherrun around the Sun', a bit of James Blake, Massive Attack, RayLamontagne ('Empty'), The xx, and some choral music, also some liveBig Band (Matt Catingub).
I noted the bass, inparticular the separation between kick drums and bass notes even whenit got busy. I found each note and stroke was perfectly distinct,though not isolated – just as it is when you're there. I was nolonger sure the bass was soft at all, and the feeling that the basswas somehow 'slow' was now gone – I guess the new capacitors haveseen to that. Something else I noted was ride cymbals ringing on, andbeing distinct even over the rest of the music. In fact, all thecymbals had a very nice quality to them, the overtones and shimmerwas just as as I remember them from playing myself.
I put the Lightspeedin, and played the same tracks. The first thing I noticed was anobviously less 3-dimensional stereo image. This is fine, but it was ashame when I had been quite enjoying that aspect. I also noted aslight stridency in the treble – the cymbals in particular weren'tdoing what they had been. The bass was fine and good, not so warm,but it struggled a little with 'flabbiness' (if you know what Imean?) - The Magnum had provided a great deal of control, andtexture, yet the Lightspeed felt like it was allowing bass noted to'shout' a little, even to overshoot on occasion, which only served toobscure the texture I had heard an hour or so before.
The real strengths ofthe Magnum weren’t challenged at all by the Lightspeed, but I knewthey wouldn't be. I was interested in seeing if the Lightspeed couldalmost match the Magnum at least, and I felt it didn't. Thetransparency was still appealing, but the way it managed to sound'loud' all the time wasn't. It was like a thin layer of distortionover everything above the midrange (I think this is called 'grain'),and a lack of shape and form on the bass.
I have had theLightspeed for a while now, and I know it's above reproach. My ownthoughts are that the SECA I'm using benefits from activepre-amplification, although it doesn't need extra gain – neitherpre manages to be louder before clipping sets in (the SECA is only 10watts).
The re-capping of theMagnum has changed it from being a flawed, if interesting amp to astill flawed but very convincing contender. It has lost thedisagreeable coloration and warmth, which I'm pleased about, and Iexpect further improvements as I apply more suggestions from Colin,who designed both the Magnum and my SECA.
Initial impressions are - not light and day then?...So I have to ask ... if it sounds ok to your ears then is replacing the caps a value for money upgrage or maintenance item?Oh one more thing - someone said above about powered preamp vs passive - to my ears i have yet to hear a passive pre beat a class act powered pre-amp. Now that could be that most amplifiers like an input of a volt or more and the low output of the passive ones drain the life out of stuff?