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Graham Slee Majestic Preamp and Proprius Monoblocks.

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Keith (or cheekyboy as he is known in these parts) has kindly sent me a Majestic preamp and 2 Proprius monoblocks as part of the Graham Slee loaner program.  Loaner programs are great, as I'm discovering, you get to play with new toys for a few weeks for only the cost of the postage (both ways guys, best to get that out there now, both ways) and that is a no brain-er in my opinion.

 

I haven't had the Slee gear for long enough to do a full write up yet I just thought I'd start on the process ahead of time and throw in a pic or two to keep the visual-ites amongst us happy.

 

post-130663-0-50627400-1434956075_thumb.

 

There they are, dwarfed by those two disc spinners of mine.  The little Majestic is both a DAC and a pre and, as I have found out, has a massive amount of gain.  I don't think I've taken the volume control past 8 o'clock yet, there just hasn't been a need.  The two Proprius monoblocks are actually smaller than a carton of cigarettes (that's a carton, not a pack, they may be small but they aren't that small!).  They are actually only slightly larger than their power supplies.

 

My initial impressions are extremely positive, the sound quality is excellent and the musical capability of this system is in no way related to its physical size.

 

I'll throw in a couple of shots of the Majestic because I think it deserves it, a DAC with six inputs hey, who would have thought.

post-130663-0-01824100-1434957133_thumb.

post-130663-0-90145100-1434956966_thumb.

 

And a usb makes 7, almost forgot.

 

 

I'll try to dig in and get to the details over the coming weekend, stay tuned.

 

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Loving the silver on the black racks. Who would buy black gear. Silver always sounds so much better ;).

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nice one - I heard these at the GTG and the sound belies their size.  I had considered these mono blocks for bi-amping but someone else always has them as part of the loan program :)  (jokes - have now gone in diff direction with Sansui being the amp of choice for all duties)

 

Look forward to your write as always mate..

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Loving the silver on the black racks. Who would buy black gear. Silver always sounds so much better ;).

I must be showing my age as i thought gold gear always sounded better....lol

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Loving the silver on the black racks. Who would buy black gear. Silver always sounds so much better ;).

I agree completely!  

 

Unless you're talking about Sansui, in which case it's black all the way.

 

 

what's the cost of these?

 

ATM the Proprius monoblocks are just shy of $1K each and the Majestic DAC/pre is just over $2K (both in Aussie $$).

 

More info and details here:

http://www.wyndhamaudio.com.au/products/gsp-audio-proprius-monoblock-power-amplifier

and here:

http://www.wyndhamaudio.com.au/products/gsp-audio-majestic-dac-pre-amp

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And a usb makes 7, almost forgot.

 

 

................and 1 analogue input makes 8 in total. :thumb:

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Good point mate, it does indeed have 8 inputs, what I meant to say originally was that it had six digital inputs (which does seem like quite a lot), plus the usb for 7, but I messed it up.  

 

I've just done a quick comparison between the Majestic and the Burson Conductor and they really are neck and neck.  The DAC stage of the Majestic has a little more detail on show while the Burson has more body to the notes in the mid range and the bass.  A direct comparo of the vocals is interesting too, a similar story with the Burson having more body to the voices and the Majestic with more detail but the singer sounds like they are a step back from the microphone.  When it comes to the top end the Majestics vocals beat out the Burson, the Majestic dares to go further up and sounds that much better for it.  The Burson plays it a little safer and won't let Amy Lee's vocal cords go as far as they should.  My Conductor has the Sabre DAC, just FYI.  That was comparing them as whole units, both DAC and pre.

 

I just played cable swap and change, again, and gave the Burson a run as DAC and pre, and then just pre (with the Majestic as the DAC), and now the Majestic as both DAC and pre, and then just pre (with the Burson as the DAC, of course) and while I think that the Majestic has a slightly preferable DAC I also think that it has a more musical pre section as well.  The Majestic has a slightly harder sound in the top end but it's also sweet and it just sings so much more pleasingly than the Burson does, the Burson just doesn't sound as musical.  So, not so neck and neck any more, Majestic by a full head I think (maybe half a head, more than a nose anyway).

 

I'm using a Timekeeper as the power amp tonight, I have to hurry and get some comparing in as the Timekeepers leave for Brisbane on Saturday morning.  I'll try the same thing again with the Proprius as the power amps on Sunday or Monday.

 

I know, I know, I'm doing partial comparisons before I do the full write up on the Slee gear as a complete system, but as my time with the Burson Timekeepers is limited I had to improvise.  I'll get to the full write before too long.

 

OK, I've done the vocals and the top end so I think it's time to throw on something with a bit of bass.

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OK, well once again the listening process has taken far longer than I expected it to (you'd think I would have learned by now) but it is finally done and dusted and the write up can now commence.

 

This is a review on the performance of the Majestic/Proprius combo as a whole unit, DAC/Pre/Pwr connected with the supplied Graham Slee interconnects.  I have been using my Halcro EC800 cd player as the source and been listening to the Proprius feeding my ETI/Lenehan S2R speakers via Redgum Audio Pipeline speaker cables.

 

The first thing I noticed about the Graham Slee gear is that it is very musical, it really lets you enjoy the show, so much so that I found myself several times being caught up in listening to the music and not the gear which is a very good thing (not so much for me at the time, but I managed to work my way through it).  It is also very musical not only in the mids but up in the top end and down in the bass as well, a combination that I have not heard before.  

 

Down to business then.

 

Highs:  Very extended and clear all the way up to the stratosphere, excellent detail, can hear the triangle vibrations ringing out in between beater strikes, piano is absolutely brilliant as every note seems so clear and enthusiastic, a more musical top end I have not heard, every note seems to sing from the heart.  Not just a 9.0 but an easy 9.0.

 

Mids: Really feel like they are giving you more of everything, instruments feel like they are being played with more passion and vigor than on other systems, an absolute pleasure to listen to.   I've heard some very good mid ranges in the past but this is up there with the best of them, it may not quite rate a 9.0 but since I can't really go back and compare it to all the components that I want to I will give it a 9.0 and be done with it.

 

Bass:  I wonder how many people are going to skip straight to the bass section to see what I say about the little Proprius monoblocks and their bass performance, I feel like maybe I should be putting up a poll about that.  Anyway, the bass performance is excellent.  Fast but not punchy fast, not particularly tight but very effectively controlled, very good bass weight and threat with a high level of impact but not so high that it becomes the focus of the bass performance.  I'm really loving instruments like cellos and the sounds of different sized drums, the bass separation between upper, mid and lower is high enough to really let you enjoy the different instruments that live down in the deep.

To say that the depth is surprising would be a massive understatement.  Now if these were 80wpc amps I would be rating them at 8.0 to 8.5 as they would be some of the best I've heard but since they are 25wpc I'm going to upgrade that to 8.75.  I can't quite rate them a nine as I cannot clearly say that they are the best I've yet heard but I can say that they would certainly be in the running.

 

Vocals:  F:  They sound so sublimely feminine once again it's a 9.0.  

             M:  So clear and so much more (I'm going to have to repeat myself with the adjectives here) enthusiastic, like the singer just loves the song more this time around than he did before.  Just listening to 'Another One Bites The Dust' had me wanting to dig out Freddie Mercury's solo album so I could really hear him let loose.  It's going to have to be another 9.0.

 

Soundstaging:  It is interesting to note that the musicality of the Slee gear hides the soundstaging somewhat, which is not to say that the 2D separation and 3D placement isn't good, it is very good, but you are so busy listening to the music it doesn't stand out as much as it does with other gear.  The music does have a very pleasant uplifting quality to it however, almost as if the tweeter is a foot higher than it actually is.  I'm giving both 2 and 3D an 8.0.  

 

Overall Performance Integration:

Very enjoyably rhythmic, Very musical, excellent timing and the precision feels spot on, and the foot tapping factor is always there, always!  If you want a system that lets you really enjoy the music, well, this one certainly let me really enjoy the music.

 

Ability to Emote:  It gives instruments extra zing, it lets the ladies lungs cut loose to the point where they can send shivers up and down your spine, it brings levels of expression in vocal inflections to the fore and lets you luxuriate in them (sort of like a long soak in a warm musical bath).   Yep, you guessed it, another 9.0.

 

Electric Guitar Test:  Lively and enthusiastic but not quite as energetic as I was hoping for, I'm still giving it an 8.0 so it's no slouch but it just isn't raw enough to manage better.  

 

80's Rock Test:  8.5, very good, almost there but not quite,  it's hard to define why on this test as it's all about feeling and memory and while I liked it a lot it wasn't quite the unconditional love that would warrant a 9.0.

 

Now if you look through at all those numbers it would appear that the Graham Slee gear is the best thing since sliced bread and spice racks were invented so in order to balance this extremely positive review I'll see if I can come up with a few cons. Let's see...

 

1.  The Majestic does exhibit pops through the speakers when the sources are switched on and off, they aren't big thumps but they are noticeable and slightly annoying.

2.  If you have several active digital sources and the one you are listening to stops playing you can hear the other ones, admittedly a good 30 or 40db lower in volume but I would advise to only have one digital source active while doing any serious listening.  

They're not exactly deal breakers are they?

 

And I seem to have just convinced myself that I should buy some Graham Slee gear.  Damn it!

 

Now, there will be a part two to this evaluation/review/test as Keith has made the claim that the Majestic pre will beat out the ME25.  I thought it was just talk when I was chatting to him on the phone but it seems (after making my way through the review above) there is much in the way of hard evidence to this claim and so that is what the rest of the day is going to be spent investigating.  

 

Have a great Sunday Ladies and Gents!

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Great review Jeff. Thanks. This confirms what I heard in Melbourne. They are such a surprise packet and more importantly very enjoyable (adding to the music rather than sounding like equipment).

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They certainly are great little packages John.  The word impressive doesn't even begin to describe them.

 

I've had two sessions of Majestic vs ME25 this afternoon and I'm not convinced there is a clear winner.  I like the Majestic in the top end as it goes further up and adds a slight crispness to the sound but all that really means is that the ME would work better on brighter speakers and the Majestic on more laid back ones.  The ME had the slightly deeper and smoother bass but it really was only slightly, and the mid range was damn difficult to pic between them.  I think the Majestic had a slight advantage in the vocals but again, very slight.  There is so little between them that I'd be picking the one that had a remote control (if either one had a remote) and using that unit for preamp duties, the added convenience of a remote would be the tiebreaker I feel.

 

The Majestic may have fared better if I could have done the comparison on the Proprius monos too, since I don't have a pair of balanced to unbalanced adapters I couldn't use the ME25 to power them and was forced to use my ME240 as a power amp.

 

Do you think there is any chance of Graham Slee bringing out an integrated amp in the future?  Because if there was...

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Hi Jeff, great write up and I'm pleased the Slee gear is performing so well for you in your system.

 

I'm sure there is a set of RCA to XLR cable in with the Proprius monoblocks? I've used them with my ME14 direct to the Proprius amps.

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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Pleased to hear you liked them, another Jeff (although spelt differently :) ) thought they were rather good too.

Here is his take.

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Hi Jeff, great write up and I'm pleased the Slee gear is performing so well for you in your system.

 

I'm sure there is a set of RCA to XLR cable in with the Proprius monoblocks? I've used them with my ME14 direct to the Proprius amps.

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

Correct again Keith, for some reason I had packed them back into a box and then looked for them again earlier this weekend with my eyes closed  :blink: .  I'll just see what I can do about that comparison lik-ity split since I have to send them back this week.

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No problem hanging onto them till after next weekend, Jeff.

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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Wow. Sounds like they are really worth a listen. Surprising what you can get out of 25w/ch setup. Great writeup Jeff :thumb:

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I think I'd better get this written up while I can still remember everything.  The Slee gear is on it's way back to Wyndham Audio and I'm having to move on to something else in the audio world.

 

The Preamp comparison using the Proprius monoblocks was fairly similar to the previous one using the ME240 but a bit more lively.  The ME25 gave deeper, smoother bass but it wasn't quite as nimble as the Majestic down in the bass region and it lost out to the Majestic in the top end.  The Majestic had more air, more lift and more musicality, which is not to say that the ME25 sounded bad, it sounded rather good, but it just didn't impress to the extent that the little Graham Slee unit did.

 

That Graham Slee gear is very good..., actually I take that back, it's actually better than very good.

 

Thanks very much for the loan Keith, you've really given me something to think about.

 

@@blakey72 mate, if you can manage to organize a listen to some Graham Slee gear then be sure to do so, you won't be disappointed.

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Yeah I wouldn't mind having a listen @@Cafad. I'll just have to see if @@cheekyboy will be kind enough to do the loan :)

Edited by blakey72

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Yeah I wouldn't mind having a listen @@Cafad. I'll just have to see if @@cheekyboy will be kind enough to do the loan :)

I think you'll find he will be, the only question is how many people are ahead of you on the list.  Well worth the wait though!

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