Spectral SDR-2000 Professional D/A processor Robert Harley's System

Sidebar 2: Robert Harley's System

I listened to the SDR-2000 Pro at the front of my usual reference system, and with an all-Spectral playback system with MIT loudspeaker cables and interconnects. The people at Spectral believe that their electronics and MIT cables are needed to fully hear the SDR-2000 Pro's musical performance. Although I agreed to replace my usual amplification and cables for part of this review, auditioning the SDR-2000 Pro in my familiar reference system was mandatory.

My system consisted of a Mark Levinson No.31 CD transport feeding the SDR-2000 Pro via AudioQuest Diamond x3 interconnect. The SDR-2000 Pro's balanced outputs fed an Audio Research LS5 Mk.II preamplifier via AudioQuest Diamond x3, and the LS5 Mk.II drove a pair of Audio Research VT150 tubed monoblocks through AudioQuest Lapis. Loudspeakers were Genesis II.5s connected with AudioQuest Dragon II cable. (The II.5s have integral woofer amplifiers, thus the VT-150s just drove the speakers midrange ribbons and tweeters.) An MIT Z-Stabilizer was plugged-in to the AC wall outlet next to the power amplifier, and power to the digital front-end and preamp was conditioned with a Tice Power Block. Other processors on hand for matched-level comparisons with the SDR-2000 Pro included a Sonic Frontiers SFD-2 Mk.II and a Mark Levinson No.30.5, both of which incorporate the HDCD decoder/filter.

For the auditioning with the all-Spectral system, I received a Spectral DMC-20 preamplifier, DMA-180 power amplifier, a pair of Spectral MI-330 single-ended interconnects (which are made by MIT) for the run between the SDR-2000 Pro and the DMC-20, a long (30') run of MI-500 to connect the preamp to the power amplifier, MIT MH-770 loudspeaker cables, an MIT Proline Extended II AC-power cord for the SDR-2000 Pro, and an MIT coaxial digital interconnect.—Robert Harley

Spectral, Inc.
442 Oakmead Parkway
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
(408) 738-8521

dial's picture

They still exist. Their products are well built, although the older ones use a lot of parts now unavailable. So take care in case of repair. But I don't know any owner of a Spectral unit with a single problem.
And they're beautiful. Like old Goldmund gear when it was french or during their first swiss years.

Herb Reichert's picture

converter as vivid and exciting - the class of its field

(at the time I was selling converters that competed directly with it)


rascs's picture

I worked at a dealer that sold these too. Spectacular, beautifully made top of class component. At one point we were back-ordered nearly a year despite Spectral's regular production. Would love to see the reprint of the Spectral/ Avalon/ MIT system that was positively reviewed. After hearing Spectral at the store and at CES it's hard to want anything else.
Thanks for reposting this.