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What is the ME secret sauce?


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I'm intrigued Invariably whenever a item of ME gear is advertised in the classifieds, (the same?) people will fall out of the sky tell say - it's the best thing since sliced bread, it's being sold way to cheap and the seller must have rocks in his head and will regret it selling it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by cafe67
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Because I can 

Interesting!    I went shopping for amps and a TT in about 1979, due to receiving an insurance payout after the previous (newly-bought!!) items got stolen. (I reckon the hifi salesman who s

I just realised that speaker is standing next to a door and how big it really is OMG!

Don't regret selling mine.

 

It's not for everyone but it does have a passionate fan base that's for sure.

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Guest jakeyb77

Buy it and try it 😁

Not for everyone but then nothing ever is nor should be.

For me it’s just a simple fact that for the money you won’t beat it. We are also lucky to have techs who can work on it easily should need be. Also it’s easy to work on which gives good turn around time.

I also have many old friends involved heavily in HiFi that respect the brand  that led me that way. 

But in the end it’s the sound. It’s effortless and engaging. 

 

 

 

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They are well designed, well built, don't cost the earth and still sound good.  Any company that follows these edicts will generally gather a fan base.

 

 

(HP with a dash of Worchesterchire, that's my secret sauce.  :thumb:)

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19 hours ago, cafe67 said:

I'm intrigued Invariably whenever a item of ME gear is advertised in the classifieds, (the same?) people will fall out of the sky tell say - it's the best thing since sliced bread, it's being sold way to cheap and the seller must have rocks in his head and will regret it selling it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen for yourself. All will become clear (literally).

 

Or not. ME amps are not for everyone. 

 

Here's some reasons why many listeners like Peter Stein designed ME equipment (preamps and power amps), over other brands (AFAIK, the following lists the ways that ME differs from most others):

 

* Every semiconductor in the amplification chain has been matched to within 1% tolerance for hFE (gain) and VBE. A typical parameter spread for a BJT is +/-300%. Few manufacturers bother selecting devices.

* Critical resistors are matched to better than 0.5% tolerance.

* Zero global NFB.

* Over-sized power transformers, compared to power output (f'rinstance: ME850 - 120 Watts @ 8 Ohms - 2,500VA power transformer)

* Over-sized, multiple capacitor arrays (f'rinstance: ME1400/1500 - 92 X 3,300uF capacitors) AFAIK, ME was the first company to pioneer this idea.

* Extremely compact output stages, thus reducing inductive effects of power supply wiring.

* Large amounts of capacitance placed close to output devices.

* In later models, an extremely sophisticated, closed loop cooling system, which maintains output device temperature to within +/- 5 Degrees C (55 degrees C). This ensures output devices are operated at continuously elevated temperatures, thus ensuring long life and optimal linearity.

* VERY highly matched capacitors and resistors in the RIAA network (<0.05% tolerance).

* No capacitors in the signal path.

* No inductors in the signal path (except the MC phono stage, which employs an inductor to kill RF energy above 100kHz)

* Very low OPEN LOOP output impedance for preamps and power amps.

* Collectors are coupled to loads (99.99% of all BJT amps couple emitters to load)

* High bias currents, which push amplification stages (preamps and power amps) well into Class A. (ME850 - 8 Watts Class A)

* Huge CONTINUOUS current capacity, relative to power output (ME1400/1500 220 Watts @ 8 Ohms - 100 Amps)

 

Edited by Zaphod Beeblebrox
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3 hours ago, cafe67 said:

I'm intrigued Invariably whenever a item of ME gear is advertised in the classifieds, (the same?) people will fall out of the sky tell say - it's the best thing since sliced bread, it's being sold way to cheap and the seller must have rocks in his head and will regret it selling it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many brands have enthusiasts. I could name at least 10 or more, but don't wish to take this OT

 

ME is no different, so why the question?

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I got into ME in the very early 1990s when I was cruising the Brisbane Hi Fi shops (no, there weren't many then and there aren't many now) looking for a new amp.  I was leaning towards an integrated but I wasn't averse to a power/pre combo if the price and the performance was right.  Anyway, over two days I hit EVERY shop in Brissie.  One stood out for me WAY ahead of all the rest.  That was Reg Mills Stereo near Wooloongabba run by Tony Mills.  His main event at the time was ME and Duntech, both Aussie products and at the time both exceptional value for money.  Tonyt sold me on the amps (and the Duntechs) by giving one of the best presentations it has been my pleasure to receive in any Hi Fi shop anywhere in the world.  And that includes Canada/US/UK/Europe/Hong Kong and Oz.

 

I lusted after an ME 850 but simply couldn't afford it.  I ended up with a 550/14 combo (I had no need of phono) which I ran happily for years into B&W and then Spendor and then Duntech (Viceroy) speakers.  If you're curious, you just have to hear them.  It's that simple.

 

ME amps were (and maybe still are although I haven't heard the new 580) standout Australian products.  There may be, probably are, better amps available.  But at the time and at the prices Peter Stein was charging, they were stonking bargains and superb amplifiers.

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41 minutes ago, rantan said:

Many brands have enthusiasts. I could name at least 10 or more, but don't wish to take this OT

 

ME is no different, so why the question?

Because I can 

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33 minutes ago, brumby said:

I got into ME in the very early 1990s when I was cruising the Brisbane Hi Fi shops (no, there weren't many then and there aren't many now) looking for a new amp.  I was leaning towards an integrated but I wasn't averse to a power/pre combo if the price and the performance was right.  Anyway, over two days I hit EVERY shop in Brissie.  One stood out for me WAY ahead of all the rest.  That was Reg Mills Stereo near Wooloongabba run by Tony Mills.  His main event at the time was ME and Duntech, both Aussie products and at the time both exceptional value for money.  Tonyt sold me on the amps (and the Duntechs) by giving one of the best presentations it has been my pleasure to receive in any Hi Fi shop anywhere in the world.  And that includes Canada/US/UK/Europe/Hong Kong and Oz.

 

I lusted after an ME 850 but simply couldn't afford it.  I ended up with a 550/14 combo (I had no need of phono) which I ran happily for years into B&W and then Spendor and then Duntech (Viceroy) speakers.  If you're curious, you just have to hear them.  It's that simple.

 

ME amps were (and maybe still are although I haven't heard the new 580) standout Australian products.  There may be, probably are, better amps available.  But at the time and at the prices Peter Stein was charging, they were stonking bargains and superb amplifiers.

 

Interesting!  :thumb:

 

I went shopping for amps and a TT in about 1979, due to receiving an insurance payout after the previous (newly-bought!!) items got stolen. (I reckon the hifi salesman who sold these new items to me, tipped off his burglar mate with the address that the stuff got delivered to! :( )

 

Anyway, Graeme Rodwell of 'The Soundcraftsman' played me a Linn LP12 ... and some other TT (whose name I forget) - and an ME pre/power combo vs. a Naim 12s/NAP110.  Listening to the opening bars of Jeff Wayne's "War of the Worlds", I thought the Naim amps were way ahead of the ME amps.  So I bought the Naim amps.  :)  (And the LP12.)

 

Fast forward about 20 years and I became aware that my Naim amps (by that stage, I was running 3-way active and had a 140 and 2x 250s) were getting to the stage of needing a recap ... which was gonna be expensive!  :(  So I began looking around for a kit replacement - something that sounded better and I could afford to buy ... because I could use some 'sweat equity'!

 

It took me a couple of years but I eventually found Hugh 'Mr @AKSA Dean' - in, of all places, Rosanna!  So I took one of my NAP 250s over to his place and compared it to his 'AKSA 55' - which blew the 250 away!  So I bought 3x AKSA amp kits and sold my Naim gear.  :)  Since then I've had 2 AKSA module upgrades - which each sounded better than the previous iteration.

 

So it would certainly be interesting to compare my current AKSA amps against current (upgraded by ZB!) ME amps.  :)

 

Andy

 

Edited by andyr
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Guest yamaha_man

Had an ME-24, not bad for the money but the Krell KRC-HR blew it away. I now have a Esoteric C-03x and it blows the Krell away in every single respect. 

Min saying that his, I enjoyed my time with the ME gear and it was a great stepping stone to where I am now.

Also had ME amps and same as above, Krell, Gryphon, Nagra more to my liking.

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15 minutes ago, yamaha_man said:

Had an ME-24, not bad for the money but the Krell KRC-HR blew it away. I now have a Esoteric C-03x and it blows the Krell away in every single respect. 

Min saying that his, I enjoyed my time with the ME gear and it was a great stepping stone to where I am now.

Also had ME amps and same as above, Krell, Gryphon, Nagra more to my liking.

Admittedly another price range also. 

Also a bit easier dealing with @Zaphod Beeblebrox or @PonyTail than that turkey that had your Krells.

 

I just don’t have the knackers to move that far up the tree 😉

Edited by jakeyb77
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Guest yamaha_man
5 minutes ago, jakeyb77 said:

Admittedly another price range also. 

Also a bit easier dealing with @Zaphod Beeblebrox or @PonyTail than that turkey that had your Krells.

 

I just don’t have the knackers to move that far up the tree 😉

As I said, for the money 👌🏼

As for the knackers to climb that far up the tree, I remember fondly freaking out paying around  $1500 for my first ME-550 hi-cap, thinking to myself, WTF am I doing.

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1 minute ago, yamaha_man said:

As I said, for the money 👌🏼

As for the knackers to climb that far up the tree, I remember fondly freaking out paying around  $1500 for my first ME-550 hi-cap, thinking to myself, WTF am I doing.

I’ve heard the story of when you bought the TADs. If that’s the case then the ME purchase was a walk in the park. Haha 

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2 hours ago, rantan said:

Many brands have enthusiasts. I could name at least 10 or more, but don't wish to take this OT

 

ME is no different, so why the question?

You make a really, REALLY excellent point. 

 

Sansui, Yamaha, Sony (TAN series), Accuphase and others have deservedly very strong followings. These products (particularly the older ones) were built to very high standards and were far from the 'cookie-cutter' designs that are so common today. There are two that stick in my memory:

 

The mighty Marantz 1200b. The last US built integrated amp. Based on the 240 power amp and a simplified 3300 preamp. Wonderful amp. It was the first Marantz amp I purchased. 

 

The Sansui  AU9500. I traded this thing many years ago as a non-functioning amp. Anyway, a customer spied it in the corner of my workshop and offered me more money than I thought was reasonable for such a beat up thing. I duly cleaned the amp inside and out, cleaned with switches, replaced the electros, re-biassed it and plonked it on the bench for a test run. WOW! That thing really preformed brilliantly. One test I always do, to sort the good amps from the rest (which usually leaves about 1% good ones), is to drive it into clipping and observe the waveform. Very few amps deliver a nice clean clipped waveform. But this old Sansui did. In spades. Damned thing clipped like an ME. Then I hooked it up to my speakers. Another WOW! damned thing sounded very nice indeed. I developed a lot more respect for Sansui at that point.

 

In any case, you are bang-on. There are many good products, with avid fans. In most cases, deservedly so. In some, not so much. Like many companies, Sansui turned out some absolute shockers, but when they really tried hard, their products were frequently very good indeed. 

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One day I'll have to listen to a good ME system of these days as the ME gear I use to sell back in the early 90's IMO was woeful except for the 850 PA.

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I think ME developed a loyal following amongst some, myself included, partly due to being home grown.

And we found the sound and performance also to be pleasing. 

For me audio is a subjective thing and ME fulfils my amplification needs.  

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4 hours ago, Zaphod Beeblebrox said:

You make a really, REALLY excellent point. 

 

Sansui, Yamaha, Sony (TAN series), Accuphase and others have deservedly very strong followings. These products (particularly the older ones) were built to very high standards and were far from the 'cookie-cutter' designs that are so common today. There are two that stick in my memory:

 

The mighty Marantz 1200b. The last US built integrated amp. Based on the 240 power amp and a simplified 3300 preamp. Wonderful amp. It was the first Marantz amp I purchased. 

 

The Sansui  AU9500. I traded this thing many years ago as a non-functioning amp. Anyway, a customer spied it in the corner of my workshop and offered me more money than I thought was reasonable for such a beat up thing. I duly cleaned the amp inside and out, cleaned with switches, replaced the electros, re-biassed it and plonked it on the bench for a test run. WOW! That thing really preformed brilliantly. One test I always do, to sort the good amps from the rest (which usually leaves about 1% good ones), is to drive it into clipping and observe the waveform. Very few amps deliver a nice clean clipped waveform. But this old Sansui did. In spades. Damned thing clipped like an ME. Then I hooked it up to my speakers. Another WOW! damned thing sounded very nice indeed. I developed a lot more respect for Sansui at that point.

 

In any case, you are bang-on. There are many good products, with avid fans. In most cases, deservedly so. In some, not so much. Like many companies, Sansui turned out some absolute shockers, but when they really tried hard, their products were frequently very good indeed. 

Funnily enough the 2 other brands on these pages that seem to have an equally fervent following would be Sansui and Duntech 😎

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5 hours ago, yamaha_man said:

Had an ME-24, not bad for the money but the Krell KRC-HR blew it away. I now have a Esoteric C-03x and it blows the Krell away in every single respect. 

Min saying that his, I enjoyed my time with the ME gear and it was a great stepping stone to where I am now.

Also had ME amps and same as above, Krell, Gryphon, Nagra more to my liking.

Similar to my experience. Had a ME-25, around mid 90's. Did an ok job in a more budget/mid set-up. Once I upgraded a few Components it was the limiting factor. Uprading to a better Pre-Amp was a massive step up in sound and improvement in System. Have 6 Pre-Amps now. All are a significant step up in sound quality.

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14 hours ago, Wimbo said:

One day I'll have to listen to a good ME system of these days as the ME gear I use to sell back in the early 90's IMO was woeful except for the 850 PA.

You should Wim, especially with the Arty Vandelay mods, they are something. 

Anything you had question marks on will vanish totally.

https://www.stereo.net.au/forums/topic/248604-me850-mods-designed-by-art-vandelay/

 

Cheers George

Edited by georgehifi
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41 minutes ago, davewantsmoore said:

but aren't most of the models ~variants of the 850?

Yep the later ones 550? 750 850 1400 1500 the higher up the rung, the bigger the power supplies high v and more uf's.

and more stacked sub boards under the "main input board" which is basically the same on all models from 1 stack to 3 stack. (750-1500)

Same sort of thing with the earlier models 75 150 ect .

 

BTW the pics of the the modules below are for one channel only. 

 

Cheers George.

untitled 1.jpg

untitled1.jpg

Edited by georgehifi
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45 minutes ago, davewantsmoore said:

.... but aren't most of the models ~variants of the 850?

My experience of ME back then wasnt the best. I remember the 850 was better then the 750 in a lot of ways. To me, It was better value then the 1500. The 1400's were good but back then IMO the Krell KSA200B was better. IMO, the best sounding power amp that I sold back then was the KSA80. Never was into the Accuphase power amps back then. They just seemed gutless. So, this is all only my experience.

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4 minutes ago, davewantsmoore said:

Yeah, I just thought it seemed strange that all were "terrible", except 850... when 850 is quite similar to the others.

The 750 was for me, thin and harsh compared to the 850.

But obviously, people have refined them heaps compared to back then as far as the comments on SNA show.

Edited by Wimbo
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3 minutes ago, davewantsmoore said:

Yeah, I just thought it seemed strange that all were "terrible", except 850... when 850 is quite similar to the others.

Wim may have meant the 850 sounded better than the early models like the 150 and 75, which did have a different top main board, they weren't as regulated as the 750 850 1400 and 1500. 

 

Cheers George

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2 hours ago, MrRogers said:

Fair comments Wimbo. However as George stated, they are at a much higher level of performance these days because of the upgrades.

I understand mate☺️

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4 hours ago, davewantsmoore said:

.... but aren't most of the models ~variants of the 850?

More or less. Yep. The family sound of ME amps is clear and obvious. In fact, the ME550-II can accurately be described as a baby ME850 and the ME1400/1500 as an ME850 on steroids. 

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10 minutes ago, Zaphod Beeblebrox said:

Indeed. A most ill-informed comment.

This isn't exactly where I was going with it.

 

3 hours ago, Wimbo said:

They just seemed gutless. So, this is all only my experience.

Indeed.   My question wasn't intended to infer that you "didn't hear what you heard".

 

Just that, as usual in audio subjectivity, there are a lot of things which could have been going on to produce the result you got.  :)

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6 minutes ago, davewantsmoore said:

This isn't exactly where I was going with it.

 

Indeed.   My question wasn't intended to infer that you "didn't hear what you heard".

 

Just that, as usual in audio subjectivity, there are a lot of things which could have been going on to produce the result you got.  :)

Nah, the Accuphase sounded too electronically refined. 500 watt stereo also couldnt get the Sovereigns up and running. Got better results with the Perreaux PMF3150.

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