EC Studio M (Monolith interstage)

Discussion in 'Eddie Current' started by purr1n, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The differences are minor. The Tribute is more neutral, the Monolith more tubey (tiny bit). Craig and I rated the interstages from 1-10 with 1 being the best and 10 the worst in terms of clarity and "transparency". The scores were 1 for Tribute, 2.5 for Monolith, 4-5 for the original Levi Tango, 5-6 for the Hammonds (I am expanding the differences much more than they really are). The idea for the Monolith was for the Asian market (slightly different tastes) and also because we were not sure how quickly Tribute could crank out their interstages.

    The Tributes have a nano-crystalline core. The Monoliths and Tangos use an amorphous core. If I don't know if there is a "sound" to the cores, or maybe its because there is some similarity with their constructions, but the Monoliths and Tangos have a more similar sound which can be described as more "mellow" and "wet". The Tributes are amazing in that I have not heard clearer, "more resolving", highly quality bass from any other tube amp. We are talking about bass quality texture, slam, etc. which betters any SS amp I have heard (keep in mind that I am biased here.) As for the Monoliths, they are only a tiny bit behind in bass quality, but they bring a little bit more of that "tube" sound out. Now keeping in mind a discussion that this forum had in another thread regarding "there is always something better": the Monoliths are much more transparent than the Tangos (which was the previous benchmark). The Tangos sound murky in the bass by comparison. I mention this because I know some people here have heard the Levi/Tango amp.

    The real impetus was speaking with Ravi when we had the ZD Super and Studio T lined up next to each other. Ravi was blown away by the Studio, but remarked that he liked certain things about the ZD Super. The way the Monolith equipped Studio M sounds can be described as like the Studio, but with a touch of the ZD, with a small cost in technicalities. Ravi was like "I don't care, I'll take the M. What are you getting?" I told Ravi that I was getting the M. For the record, I think Craig might prefer the Tribute by a bit. So even between Craig and I, there is some minor disagreement on which is "better". We both do acknowledge the nature of their differences, but we also feel that the differences are so minor. Both the Monolith and Tribute are by far the best interstage transformers we have heard to date. In the end, there is a reason why the Studio (with the Tributes) is called the Studio. Anyone expecting a tubey sound amp with the Studio T, will be disappointed (I think you guys already know this); and the Studio M won't that much more tubey either.

    So really, I think it comes down to a matter of taste. And also maybe availabiilty and timeliness. At this stage in the game, I'd take either one. The Studio M is expected to be more expensive than the Studio, but the price will be kept the same for anyone on the Studio T list that wishes to transition over. The initial run of the Studio M will be five units. We can sign people up on the Studio M list from the Studio T list without them losing their spot on the Studio T list.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
    Lyander, bazelio, zerodeefex and 2 others like this.
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I thought I should mention that port holes will be gone on the Studio M. The interstages are huge, so the driver tubes will be closer together and exposed on top.

    Naturally, we will have to give priority to folks already on the T list.
     
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  3. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

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  4. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    Looks like the cat is out of the bag on this thing.
     
  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Word seems to be getting out. Lots of interest in Asia.
     
  6. bozebuttons

    bozebuttons Friend

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    I would be interested in the m if the t falls through.T would be my first choice.
     
  7. Gray

    Gray Friend

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    I see that Monolith Magnetics offers a nano-crystalline core interstage transformer (series "NanoX"), though at 3 times the price of their matching "AmorphCore" series. Unfortunately it is limited to a 1:1 ratio, a "driver 25mA DC" application, and a frequency range of 4 Hz to 261kHz. Since there are 6 different versions of the Monolith "AmorphCore" interstage transformers, the chances are slim that the "NanoX" meets the specifications required for the upcoming M version of the Eddie Current Studio.

    I doubt it is an option, but it certainly would be interesting to compare a nano core T to a nano core M. At the price of The Studio, I do not feel that an extra $500 (plus mark-up) for a nano core M would be unreasonable... if there were audio advantages over the amorphous core version (and it compared favorably to the nano core T). Perhaps Monolith would be willing to make a "NanoX" in the correct specification based on a SBAF request. ;)

    BTW - This is not meant to elicit a response from Marv, as EC knows their part requirements and suppliers far better than I do... and there can be a never-ending sink of money into parts that may or may not provide a discernible return. I wrote this to give my feedback that I would be willing to spend more on a nano core M version, if the nano core T version ceases production before they get through the current Studio waiting list.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2015
  8. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    I'm almost certain the transformers used in the studio M are not up on the site yet. They just recently got word from Monolith that they'll be able to produce more than two pairs.
     
  9. Gray

    Gray Friend

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    OK, I was referencing Marv's post in which he said:

     
  10. Rotijon

    Rotijon Friend

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    Marv,

    How good at the Studio's are powering 86db speakers?
     
  11. Bourne Perfect

    Bourne Perfect Friend

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    What do I need to do to possibly get in on the M list?
     
  12. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    93.78
    6wpc is not really going to cut it if you want to listen loudly. You're talking about ~93.78dB total which means just under 79dB with 15dB overhead for transient peaks.
     
  13. BioniclePhile

    BioniclePhile The Terminal Man - Friend

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    Magnepan? You'll need a lot of power for those
     
  14. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I'd go for 94db efficient speakers. We are talking about real figures not fudged by marketing departments of speaker manufacturers.

    I won't bullshit you and say that the Studio will run 89db speakers at moderate volume, or that it uses special technology that makes six watts sound more than six watts or makes audible distortion not discernable.
     
  15. Rotijon

    Rotijon Friend

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    Franco Serblin Accordo's. Have not heard a Magnepan properly before.

    Ok. Thanks Marv.
     
  16. jmcmasterj

    jmcmasterj Friend

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    Any updates on the Studio M?
     
  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    6 M transformers are done and ready to be potted. we await. we are a bit behind on the chassis. (similar, but will probably be painted black, and with tubes out he outside b/c the M interstages are honkin huge).
     
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  18. Btdk34

    Btdk34 Facebook Friend

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    Is the Studio M still being produced? I might have funds available this winter and would love to own Eddie Current’s premiere amplifier!
     
  19. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Contact Craig ASAP. I know some orders for the Studio M came through and Craig is building them.

    I'm not sure if after this run, Craig will buy another batch of Monolith interstages. He dislikes costly boutique parts. I actually ordered and provided this batch for him. If he ran out, you might be able to buy the part and ship it to him. I can assist you.
     
  20. Btdk34

    Btdk34 Facebook Friend

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    Thanks for the info! I’ll shoot him an email. I’d definitely be ok with buying the parts myself and shipping them if it came to that.
     

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