We are pleased to present excerpts from Francis Vale’s review of our Magtech amplifier.
Own a pair of power hungry full range ribbon speakers? Big stats? Or some conventionally deranged speaker gods? OK, stop reading, like RIGHT NOW, go to Sanders Sound Systems, give Roger your $5,000 for his Magtech amp, hook it up, and then come back and start reading this again.
See what I mean?
I have reviewed many high-end products of all stripes over the years, with many claiming all kinds of bullshit innovations. But the Magtech is the real deal, a truly astonishing device. Sanders has hit one out of the sonic park with this bad boy. . .
According to Roger’s white paper, “In the Magtech's voltage regulator, you will not find any waste heat. It will pass virtually all of the watts put into it on to the amplifiers.“ This translates into a rated power of 500W/Ch into 8 ohms, and 900W/Ch into 4 ohms. In truth, you could probably plug it straight into Hoover dam’s main power outlet and frigid tons of megawatts would come gushing through. And unlike other amplifiers, the distortion in the Magtech amplifier is virtually unchanged regardless of power level. The bias is stable regardless of load. But what’s really incredible about the Magtech is its clarity of sound. Not like transistors, not like tubes, but something altogether different. And when you hear it, you go, yeah, that’s absolutely right.
And now comes the big however. You feed it crap, and crap is what you get. Feed it right—and what the upper limit of right is just right I am still trying to figure out—and your system will hit levels of overachievement that makes a shambles of your slacker gene pool.
My rig for this review keys around a pair of recently upgraded Analysis Omega full range planar ribbons. . . Initially, I was powering up the Greek-made Omega’s with 600 watts per side courtesy of Sunfire. The amp was fed signals by another fine Sunfire product; the no longer made Classic Tube preamp. [Sunfire and its genius guru, Bob Carver, have a distinguished history of producing high-end innovations at relatively affordable price points.] I was also using a big Hsu subwoofer with the Omega’s, but was running the ribbons full range. The Hsu provided a nicely rounded bottom to my tall and lovely Greeks.
As wearisome winter turned to snappy spring the Magtech continued to amaze. My Happy Hellenics were just singing their lungs out, top to bottom. Pass the ouzo; I never knew these ribbon speakers could sound so good. . . Better yet, for all of its all you can drink electric juice bar, the Magtech runs only slightly warm, even when the watt throttle is mashed to the floor. Roger recommends leaving the unit on all the time for best use, which is OK, because when idle the Magtech snoozes on only a few watts.
As it seems to take a while to get back on song after being unplugged, I agree with him about this — just leave it . . . alone.
So there I sat, happy as a New Orleans shrimper who just found an oil free patch of Gulf. But then the itch set in; time to motor out further from port in search of bigger audio catch. In my other listening room, I have a pair of monster MBL 101D’s. These big, watt hungry German’s will spit out wimpy amplifiers like cheap knackwurst & kraut. I got a rude surprise when my tres schwer Hans and Gretel first arrived. It took a pair of Carver Signature Sunfire amps in their monoblock mode, each putting out more than 2,000 watts into 4 ohms, to finally convince the MBL’s to get their big ass out onto the dance floor.
Of course, MBL will also gladly sell you their many megabuck, big-as-a-Prius amps to drive their speakers. But I live in a high-rise apartment building, which somehow overlooked parking spaces on my 21st floor. But what the hell, time for a kamikaze run. I pulled out the two Sunfire’s and plugged in the solo Magtech. I plugged in the mains, and seriously expected the snoozing MBL’s to just fart in their sleep and roll over, or the Magtech to begin weeping to go back to Colorado.
Boom! My big krauts suddenly snapped their eyes open wide. Crazier still, they began to crib all the fine delicate musical moves of my svelte Omega planars.There were the crystalline highs again, the well-rounded mids, the grab the floorboards . . . bass, the huge soundstage, and that indefinable gestalt of what makes music, music. I was made so faint by the experience I felt an immediate need for some Tea Party healthcare (declined).
OK, now what? Either I had a masochist Magtech on my hands, or this thing was operating on a whole ‘nother plane of musical reality. . .
The Magtech was now ensconced back in the other system, with the Omega’s, which required two sets of everything when it came to speaker wires: one pair for the woof, and another pair for the tweet. The wires then couple into two Omega crossover boxes, one for each speaker, and you need another short pair of wires running from each crossover into its respective planar. . . Another key improvement was in the mids, which were now displaying subtle musical nuances, such as on reeds, or the delicate breath work of various female singers. Ditto, the highs gained some new life giving air. . .
The Magtech does not have a voice, per se. It’s just totally free of spurious coloration and grain as it drives the hell out of your system. But what it also does is immediately reveal the strengths, and yes, weaknesses, of your system as a whole.
If your speakers, sources, and accessories are quality goods, this amp actually does take your system to another level. Other great amps also do this, but they don’t cost $5,000, more like $30,000 and up, sometimes way up.
I threw recording after recording at my Magtech-driven Omega’s and heard things I never knew were there, even with music I thought I knew very well.It was always the small things that got me; a certain string subtly plucked, a piano note lingering just so, a quiet breath escaping with a narrow hint of sigh, a snare gently brushed against like a willowed breeze, brass that now edged into a ripe fullness, and the listening list went on and on, usually deep into the pleasurable night.
It was all rather like establishing a great friendship. The longer the Magtech and me hung out, the better it got, with the Magtech showing me new possibilities in musical enjoyment. This is one really, truly recommended component. Do not even think about spending more than five grand on an amp until you audition this piece of gear. And if you own ribbons, or some power mad whatevers, it’s end of story. Just buy the damn thing and live happily ever after.
Then again, I just love happy endings, don’t you?