RJ, Happy Holidays to you as well!Greetings from down unda! Happy holidays and seasons Greetings. Here's wishing you all a peaceful and safe Xmas.
Well finally the monoblocks were dropped off today for a final SE upgrade with all the necessary goodies... so whiles that's taking place, which will be ready in about a week after fully running in and final tests, I picked up this beauty yet again!
Although made in the exact same factory by the exact same team and offered by the exact same brand as the tube monoblocks, yet two completely different sounds. The 2550SE is definitely no ordinary amplifier. In comparison to the monoblocks, it's much smoother, very nice extended bass, tight grip on the CLX's and has an effortless sense of drive. The highs are not as extended as the tube amplifiers, where they sort of have this enveloping sound to it, warmth ambience wraps around you and the CLX's simply disappear into thin air!
Upon the first few notes then well into half an hour the bass was lacking from the MF2550SE. Everything else was there, mid bass slam, attack and speed, great midband dynamics and all that sort of thing but where was the bottom end drive... level settings were low, only at 20 on the CT5. Then turned it up to 25...30 still nothing much. Then turned it up to 40 and above- wow! Look out! There she goes... it just shifted gears, like a Ferrari or Lambo hitting 0 - 100 in less than 4secs it just took off! Now we're talking, plenty of bottom grunt and tremendous drive, nothing to worry about and absolute accuracy, no flinching one bit.
However, this is certainly not the type of sound I prefer, I don't mind it but the MF2550SE isn't meant for soft to moderate listening. It reminds me so much of the ACT2 and Premier 350 combination, that was like Canon fire on certain levels. Very explosive, will go from a silent flutter to a thunderous bang in a blink of an eye, and the CLX's or horns can certainly deliver this, including other panel type speakers like full range ribbons. This thing can certainly deliver the goods if one was looking for less maintenance, no hassles with tubes and a truly live experience, if you prefer a pretty loud presentation.
As for me, I prefer the further extended highs, and low level detail tube monoblocks offer, plus the glorious midrange that tubes deliver and that is so engaging, it's the first thing you notice when driving with tube amplifiers. Which one do I like? Well both I guess, I could happily own this MF2550SE amplifier with no hesitation. It would be at the top of my list, amongst the many lofty ones I've heard, including the Pass Labs XS series and my all time favourite, the Relentless monoblocks. However, at a more decent and accessible price range, this would be the one.
Which one do I prefer? Obviously the tube monoblocks, afterall tubes are my passion with full range stats. Once in a while it's certainly nice to experience something like this, and just enjoy it for what it offers. I would think it's a better amplifier overall in design and layout, plus the ability to control reactive loudspeaker loads. It probably also has a higher Class A rating before it switches into Class AB, I guess this is where the LF grip takes place. However, on low levels it just falls asleep. It doesn't kick in at all, very flat and just plays tunes... unlike tubes, I could listen for endless hours and enjoy every moment being fully immersed in the presentation regardless of levels. And most of my sessions are after midnight.
Then again perhaps on a different system, one with full range ribbons, perhaps Maggie's, Apogee's or Alsyvox this MF2550SE driving any of those types of panel speakers would be superb!
So cheers to the MF2550SE! Not just an ordinary amplifier, no doubt! For those of you who still use one, it's definitely a one of a kind and sadly no longer in production.
All the very best, RJ
Oh! And most of all, enjoy those fine tunes!
If you haven't been using the the MF-2550SE since you got the monoblocks, the Teflon caps probably need to be broken in again. I found that with my Classic SE preamp after it went unused for 5 months.