MF2550 SE. MF2275 SE, Classic 60 SE

From tubes to solid state.
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bt304
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MF2550 SE. MF2275 SE, Classic 60 SE

Post by bt304 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:28 pm

Hello all --

New member here looking for some thoughts and insight. I've recently moved to an MF2550 SE after a few years running a Classic 60 SE along with an ET3 (non-SE). It's a fantastic amp but I was expecting a bit more of a change. Now that's not to say I don't hear a difference, I do. It's just not as pronounced as I was expecting. I'd say there's more detail, tighter bass but less bloom/holographic sound. Typical SS vs tubes comparison I suppose but the differences are not as extreme as I was expecting. I thought going up the chain would result in more refinement but I'm not sure I'm hearing it. It could be that the Classic 60 is an overachiever or maybe I could have gone instead with the MF2275 SE with similar results. Has anyone directly compared these 2 SS amps with a Classic 60 or 62?

I haven't sold the Classic 60 yet so I have a few options. I'm considering flipping the MF2550 SE for cash and a MF2275 SE or even going back to the Classic 60.

Full system:
Clearaudio Emotion turntable w/ Satisfy tonearm
Dynavector XX2 MK2 cartridge
Heed Quasar phono pre
Marantz SA8005 SACD Player/DAC
Home built digital server/HTPC running Foobar2000
ET3 pre (non-SE)
Tannoy DC8Ti speakers

Big Dog RJ
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Re: MF2550 SE. MF2275 SE, Classic 60 SE

Post by Big Dog RJ » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:31 am

G'day mate,

Nice to see another CJ member on the forum, and especially the Classic 60SE, which is the power amp I am currently using after over two decades of many CJ ss & tube amps...

What you are getting here is necessarily not "up the chain" rather a different topology in amplification.
Tubes vs SS no point in comparing- totally different sound and each one has its attributes.

In tube amplification- an upgrade would be from the MV60SE, LP66S, LP70S and towards the new Classic 60 series- SE and 62SE using KT120 output tubes. If you wanted to upgrade further then the Classic 120/SE will take over and in tube amps, advancing further than that, you are looking at the ART 300 mono amps.

In terms of SS: going way back to the 90's- cj introduced the MF series- MF80/100, MF2100/2200/2300, MF2500 series and now the 2550 and so on.

Main points to remember then in either of these amplifiers:
1. The "SE" versions all have high quality upgraded parts, such as Teflon caps, Vishay resistors and high grade metal foil plus high grade computer film caps in critical signal paths. These parts are all very different to the standard non SE versions. Not to say that the standard versions are inferior but do not have that extra finesse in sound when compared to the SE versions.
2. The SE versions take a long time to break-in and sound their best. This can take upto several 100 hours, sometimes even months to sound right, and when they sound right, boy do they deliver!

When I had my previous Premier 11A, it was a wonderful amp driving Sonus Faber Cremona monitors and Maggies. Upgraded to the MV60SE, and this was even better but took a while to settle in as was the case even with the LP70S. Finally moved towards the Classic 60SE and this took nearly 4 months to sound it best. I bought the Classic 60SE knowing that this takes a while to settle in and allowed it to gradually settle in, rather than rushing the process and leaving the amp on at all times trying to speed up the burn-in process. I don't think this is necessary, and also quite risky leaving the power amp on at all times when you're not around...

Therefore, from what I gather and based on what you have stated, initially it looks like the SE versions of your SS amps have not even broken in as yet. This will take approximately 100-200 hrs. On the other hand with tubes, since tubes warm up naturally and have higher voltages, the Classic 60SE is probably already burned in to a certain extent and will sound even better as music is being played through the system. SS will definitely take longer from what I have experienced.

Another factor to consider is what type of "overall" are you after? Do you like the extra slam and live impact of realism, in which case the SS will suit just fine. If you prefer a more relaxed presentation, plus smooth dynamics without any harshness or grain, and a beautiful midrange plus extended airy highs and full low bass- tubes are the answer. Also remember that tubes have a lifespan. Typically 3-4 years or sometimes even less depending on how loud your listening levels are. If you want hassle free operation, no biasing issues and keeping a track of the hours of tube operation then SS is the way to go.

If you are ok with all that, and want the overall expansive soundstage with superb depth and imaging, plus all the clarity in a true "organic sonic performance" along with a very high level of "musicality and soul"- tubes are the answer.

Hope that helps, just my 50cts. Perhaps other could contribute along with their experiences in SS & which tube amps they would recommend. I am currently using the Classic 60SE to drive the Martin Logan Ethos hybrid stats, with the PV15 upgraded- this is a superb combination! I had the ACT2 and upgraded to the series 2 but later on it gave me power issues with my previous stats which were Quads-ESL 2905's. Hence, sold off the whole lot and settled for the PV15 with the Classic 60SE, and never looked back.

Your ET3 is an outstanding preamp, if you wanted to take the performance to another level the ET3SE is superb but the difference will only be marginal. Unless it was the ET5 or ET7...
The ET3SE with the Classic 60SE is a marvellous combination and would probably be all you would ever require in terms of pre-power combination, unless your room and speakers needed more power.

Cheers mate, RJ

bt304
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Re: MF2550 SE. MF2275 SE, Classic 60 SE

Post by bt304 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:55 pm

Big Dog RJ, great response and you've hit on an important point -- what is it I'm after? I think I fall into the "relaxed presentation/smooth dynamics" camp and to be honest I was very content with the Classic 60 SE before this change. What I left off of my initial post is that my 2ch rig is integrated into my living room/home theater setup. HT is an afterthought and not my focus but being it's one system the amp is on most days whether I'm listening to music, watching TV or movies, etc. I've replaced the tubes once within the past 1 1/2 years and would probably need to again soon. I thought if I could remove that "hassle" (actually not that bad) and at the same time see an improvement it would have been worth the expense of the change. And yea probably had a bit of "upgradeitus".

The thought on SE burn-in is another good point. I purchased a demo amp with some hours on it. To be honest I'm not sure how many but hopefully I'm somewhat ahead of the curve there.

I had the Classic 60 up on Audiogon and it unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) didn't sell. I'm going to continue listening to the MF2550 SE for a bit. I've had the Classic 60 SE in my system long enough that it's become my reference and noticed the differences instantly after making the switch. As I'm spending more time with the MF2550 SE it's strengths are becoming more apparent. There will be a point, maybe after the holidays, where I'll swap the Classic 60 back in and see how it hits me. I think then I'll know which is the keeper. Being the MF2550 SE was a demo I feel I could sell it off without much of a loss if I decide to go that route. I suppose I can look at this as an opportunity to compare these 2 side-by-side, probably won't have a similar opportunity again in the future.

I appreciate the insight! I would love to hear anyone else's point of view.

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Re: MF2550 SE. MF2275 SE, Classic 60 SE

Post by stereo5 » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:00 am

I have the MF2550, not the SE so perhaps this may not be applicable. I think you would get a more relaxed sound out of the tube amp as my MF2550 is not only refined, it has aa lot of brute power as well. I am driving a pair of Golden Ear Triton Reference speakers with them and as good as they sound at low volume, when you goose the volume a bit, it really opens up and the sound is very refined.

Audiogon sales has been very slow lately and it's mostly the flippers who want to lowball you and sell it at a higher price. I had an amp for sale a couple of weeks ago, I was asking 1500, and I got only 1 offer and the guy wanted it for 800 and free shipping. He wanted 700 off and me to eat shipping on a 72 pound amp going to California. I declined his "generous" offer.

bt304
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Re: MF2550 SE. MF2275 SE, Classic 60 SE

Post by bt304 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:58 am

I've been listening to the 2550 for a couple weeks now and the more time I spend with it the more I like it. I'd agree with stereo5, it is refined yet still detailed and has plenty of power. I don't listen at very loud levels but I've turned it up a couple times. Although my speakers aren't exactly a difficult load (8 ohm, 89db sensitivity) there was no strain. Funny thing is now that it's been a couple weeks I'm forgetting how the Classic 60 would handle it. I think I could go crazy swapping back and a forth, which is why I'm waiting a bit longer to really get a full handle on how the 2550 performs in my space before swapping back to compare.
stereo5 wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:00 am
Audiogon sales has been very slow lately and it's mostly the flippers who want to lowball you and sell it at a higher price. I had an amp for sale a couple of weeks ago, I was asking 1500, and I got only 1 offer and the guy wanted it for 800 and free shipping. He wanted 700 off and me to eat shipping on a 72 pound amp going to California. I declined his "generous" offer.
You're not kidding with that statement. There's a good amount of CJ equipment up on Audiogon at the moment including a NIB Classic 60 SE for not much more than my asking price. I also had it on eBay, not a fan of selling audio equipment there but figured it's worth the extra exposure. Had an offer of $2K and that's before the eBay fee of 10%, I declined of course. I guess you can't blame someone for trying right?

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