Spectral Owners, Are you staying Spectral Loyal or leaving the brand behind?

Spectral requires you to use a Spectral preamp and MIT cabling. I followed this path for 20 years. Some have used other equipment, Preamps, cabling etc. I found that Spectral would Not, Play well with Others. I waited 6 months for a 30SV preamp. It was "Magical". I ordered a pair of DMA 400s. The next day, the 30SV stopped playing well with my Manley Steelhead. Then my Pass XOno.  I tried everything Alan Goodwin recommended, including an expedited trip to the factory. After 2 months, I gave up. Sent 30SV back for full refund, cancelled order for DMA 400s. Bought Pass Lab electronics. System is Happy and so am I. I still miss the 30SV. I am waiting for the "Mythical" Spectral dedicated Phono stage for 12-13 years now. I am a vinyl guy. I have heard the Spectral CDPs. They are wonderful in a Spectral system. But I am a vinyl guy. I am certain if the dedicated phonostage is ever finished, it too will be an awesome piece of equipment. What are loyal Spectral owners doing?
I am not up on Spectral so help me out here. Is the "Mythical" phono stage you mention something that Spectral claims to be in the pipeline but has somehow never seen the light of day or is it a hoped for audio pipe dream? Also, do you still have any Spectral gear to partner it with? It seems that the whole basis for the special "Spectral sound" revolves around having a pure bred Spectral system, so what might have once been mythic could be reduced to also ran if the pedigree of the partnering gear is diluted, which in your case, I understand it now is.

Yes, The " Mythical" Stand alone phono stage Has been promised both on the Spectral Website (infrequently)  and the few active U.S. dealers left. Just talked with Alan Goodwin 2 weeks ago about this very "Mythical" phono stage.  His response was that; He had just talked with Prof. Johnston the night before and that Prof. Johnston was Tweaking the coming phono stage as they spoke. Conversation ended with Alan saying that the phono stage would be completed soon and introduced by the end of 2019. Gee; He bought himself another year and Spectral too. Goodwin's High End, is the longest carrying Spectral dealer in the U.S.

Yes, I still have my complete Spectral System and MIT  ICs, SCs, PCs and power conditioners. My Spectral System would not be diluted. In fact, I upgraded my ICs and SCs to MIT Oracle and PCs to ZIII and AC I before I received the 30SV. System was Magical for 7 days. Then it decided that it did not like playing with both the Manley Steelhead and then the Pass XOno. Alan, told me that I needed to upgrade to Balanced ICs.  Alan's solution to Everything is that another 15-30 K will probably solve your problem. Well, It took me a little over a year to find the needed MIT Oracle Balanced ICs at descent prices and have them in my possession.

That is why I called Alan. He told me in 2017; that the phono stage would be ready in early 2018. ack, the founder of the What's Best Forum, ( an avid Spectral Owner ) echoed the same thing on this very forum.

I am Still waiting. If it is EVER completed And given the "SV" designation, it would be a Fabulous piece of equipment.  I still miss the 30SV preamp. For one week, nothing like it.

In fact, take a look at the banter the WBF website about Spectral. I am Not alone.
Greetings nkonor
What a shame about your 30SV. When you say that it didn't play well with other equipment, could you explain a bit more? 
I have a Specral system , 30SS and DMA360's with mostly all MIT Spectral cables. Bought system in 2009. I have been using MIT cables since 1985. 
I also have been waiting for the Phono Pre-Amp. I have not thought about it in a long time. Not sure if it will come out in my lifetime? would consider buying it when it is released?
I have considered buying a different system once I move to the lower 48. I  live in Alaska. 
I have not noticed that the Spectral gear doesn't play well with others. I have hooked up a ML390 cd, JC3, Parasound Tuner, ModSquad Phono Drive and Aesthetix Io Mk II (not hooked up yet).
My hearing might not be what it was yrs ago, so if you would explain a little bit more what you heard when you said doesn't play well. I would appreciate it very much. 
Hey joenies,

Happy to hear from another Spectral Owner and Alaskan. I lived in Juneau, AK. Jan 1988 to October 1993. Ran a Seakayaking specialty store and guiding business.

Bought my LP12 and modest High End system in Chicago before moving to Juneau. When I came home to visit family for the Christmas Holidays, I would visit record stores and High End dealers. That is when I heard my second Spectral system. With Wilson Watt puppies and the Wilson Sub that looked like a low coffee table. I was Hooked !!

I had bought MIT ICs right from the start; Thinking that one day, I would own Spectral gear.

Finally. I had enough of Juneau weather, ( Rain and Snow )

Working as a Civil Engineer and making really good money all year. I    started buying Spectral gear. DMC 12 pre with built-in phono stage and pair of DMA 90s bridged as 200 watt monos. eventually I bought Goodwin's original DMA 360 monos. (His demos) I kept working up the MIT cable train.

Since the stand alone phono stage was announced over a decade ago, I kept waiting until the 30SV was put on the market. Alan Goodwin, told me that the phonostage was coming soon !! Had to wait six months for the 30SV. I was ready, Upgraded ICs, SCs,to Oracle and PCs to ZIII and AC1

For seven days, everything worked perfectly. Even the Steelhead and the XOno. Sound was truly amazing. Did not realize how much you needed a killer preamp until then. Every night for that week, my wife would come down and remind me that it was midnight / 1:00 in the morning and that I needed some sleep before going to work.

Day eight. I fired the system up, cleaned a record, put it on the TT and No Sound. Then I saw that the protection circuits were activated. I tried everything that I could think of. Called Alan Goodwin the next day, tried everything that he suggested. Pulled the system apart, tried other MIT cables or Spectral branded cables. Sent 30SV to Spectral to be checked.

This went on for 6-7 weeks. Finally, I want my $14,000 refunded and cancel order for $30,000 pair of DMA 400s. Move on to Pass Lab electronics. Both System and I are doing very well.


From the beginning of my Spectral journey, I have found the equipment to be fussy about setup. Cables dressed well, especially using the phono stage. Always had a bit of hum. Nothing terrible but still there in my mind even if I could not hear it while playing music. My Spectral DMC12 and DMA 360s worked well with both the Steelhead and XOno. But had a little more of the Hum issue. Still, just annoying but not terrible yet.

When the 30SV was first put into the system, It worked perfectly and not even that little annoying Hum.I was Happy until Day eight. Not only did the protection circuits lockup and shut down the system. When I unplugged the 30SV to reboot the circuits, the 30SV would shut down for a couple of seconds, then come back on. Then when I flipped the record over, it would start shutting down and start again. Sometimes, the circuits would just  finally lockup and I would need to unplug and reboot the 30SV. Took the Steelhead out of the system and everything seemed fine with the XOno for a few days and then start the whole sequence of stopping/starting, needing to reboot. Then on a Sunday morning, trying cheater plugs on the PCs with NO volume, A HUM like I have never experienced blew me out of the room and I pulled all the plugs. Really end of story. I packed the 30SV for shipment to Alan Goodwin.

Moved onto Pass Lab electronics. Zero Problems. No Hum, No Hiss. Dead Quiet.  Nothing but great music.

I would like to sell my Spectral / MIT gear. The used gear market is soft.I am thinking of keeping as a second system in another room. Have a big house.

Best to you on your Journey, We do miss Alaska

Hello Norbert,
My goodness, what a nightmare. Sounds like they should have given you a new second unit to try. What a shame. I also would want my money back and give up on Spectral. 
Glad you are happy with your new system. 
I have not had any of the problems you listed. 
I've been up in Alaska since 1989. I'm retired now, so it's time for me to move back to Colorado. 
The one thing that is so annoying living up here is the price of shipping large electronics back to the lower 48. Also the winters are getting tougher to deal with. 
The best of listening to you. 
I moved away from tubes into Spectral DMC-30SV and DMA-400  this past summer. The results are fantastic. All my cables were changed from Transparent to MIT.  No problems with hiss.  I did have to add a few ferrite beads to my phono cable, but it was because of a new Sutherland PhonoBlock. I ran the 30sv with VK-150SEs until the 400's came into the picture.

I loved the Spectral Sound for 20 years, The 30SV is SOTA. I still miss it. Are you using MIT balanced ICs, 30SV to DMA 400s ? I would highly recommend it; might have solved my issue.

Until the " Mythical " phono stage shows up, Spectral will be dead to me. 

Best to you
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Greetings Bigby,
It's good to hear from other Spectral owners. 
I just re-read the Stereophile article from Jan. 1996. They tested/reviewed the Avalon / Spectral / MIT as a complete system. Fun read if you have that system. This article made me want a Spectral system. 
I bought a pair of Radian HC's in 2007. They sounded good with my ML system w/ ML 20.6's. with MIT cabling. I acquired a pair of MIT 850 triads in 08. My ML system died in 09. 
I turned 60 in 2010 so I bought the Spectral 30SS and DMA 360's. 
I'm happy with my system. I have had no issues with system. 
I'm going to change my cable from the 30SS to DMA with Balanced MIT cable. I have always ran single ended with system. I'll see/hear if it sounds better. I was told that Spectral suggested using single ended. 
I would also like to know if you are using balanced cables. 
The only thing that I regret is waiting so long to get the Spectral system. I think if you wait to long for something you might be disappointed. So go spend a lot of money and buy what you want today if you can. 
Good listening