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Melos' Creme de la Creme: SHA-Gold vs. SHA-Maestro

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
So I just hooked up my new Melos Maestro, which is in actuality a Melos SHA-Gold that was upgraded by Melos Audio Restorations to Melos Maestro level.

This work was supposed to have been carried out in April of this year to the tune of $500. I have a bag of some of the parts that were replaced, plus I have my SHA-Gold to compare against!

Indeed, all of the larger cylindrical components in the new SHA-Mestro are bigger and beefier than in the Gold; I believe believe these are called "caps" but I ain't no expert, plus a lot of what I believe are called "resistors" are diffrent. In addition, the power supply in my Maestro is beefier and the wiring inside is thicker. Otherwise, the units are identical.

This is interesting because the only upgrade listed on the MAR site is priced at $365 (although I have been told that the price has increased). The upgrade offered today by MAR gets your Gold up to "SHA Reference" level. They call this tweak the "SHA refernce Basic" mod. Did my unit get a more extensive mod than this? It is said to be up to "Melos Maestro" level. Melos Maestro was the last version of the SHA-Gold and interestingly, it lacked the Porzilli Photentiometer, the world's "best" volume control. Their relationship with its inventor seems to have severed so they had to remove it. They devote a full page in the slim Melos manual to the Photentiometer, touting its virtues, so I think the regular Maestro (which lacks the balance meter) is in terms of the volume control a step down, though in other areas, it's supposed to be better. It's impossibly frustrating trying to piece together the history of the Melos line!

My unit is a SHA-Gold that has the Photentiometer AND was upgraded to "Maestro" level. Is my unit therefore the ULTIMATE Melos? Maybe.

Here are my initial impresssions:

1. Surprisingly, I actually have to turn the volume control on my Maestro up quite a bit from where it was on my Gold to get the same level of volume in my Sony R10's. This was confirmed with my handy Ratshack SPL meter.

2. God, I thought the Melos Gold was creamy and buttery. OH MY GOD--- the Maestro is UBER-CREAMY. Everything that's great about Melos ON STEROIDS!!!!!!!!

Wow! Me likey. More later.

Mark
post #2 of 64
Cool, Mark. Glad you like it so far. Keep us posted....
post #3 of 64
Thread Starter 
I almost have to take back what I said about the volume. Now that she seems to be fully warmed up, it's back closer to the regular level of the Gold.

Based on what I'm hearing, I would say it's well worth getting your Melos Gold upgraded via Melos Audio Restoration. Don't know what or if they can do anything with a SHA-1, but maybe someone can ask?

If you buy a Gold, you may find it hard to believe, but it does get even better. The difference is immediately apparent to me, although i am not A-B-ing them so some will say it's new toy hype.

Be careful those of you buying "SHA-Gold References" (which, with further upgrades becomes the Maestro). Some unscrupulous person might sell you a regular Gold as a "reference". If I had a digital cam I'd post pics of the inside of mine. However, if you can post pictures of yours, maybe I can tell you if it looks like my Maestro.

Go team Melos!

markl
post #4 of 64
Sounds to me like you really need to take a basic physics or electricity course

Caps = capaictors, the cylindrical things... sort of function like batteries, but not really... Newer caps are of better quality components...

Resistors provide electrical resistance (reduce current/voltage)... Your Maestro probably has better ones with lower tolerances and maybe more power handling.

Well I really am hating myself... I found the oppurtunity to get a Melos SHA-Maestro for $500... but didn't (thanks to Vertigo)...
post #5 of 64
Thread Starter 
No way!!!!

You mean Vertigo snuck in and beat you to it, or he talked you out of it? Either way, I feel your pain.

Right now I am listening to Beck's "Midnight Vultures" an absolutely amazing recording. I have never ever heard it sound so good. I am literally AGAPE!

markl
post #6 of 64
Quote:
Well I really am hating myself... I found the oppurtunity to get a Melos SHA-Maestro for $500... but didn't (thanks to Vertigo)...
Uhh, cross my heart and hope to die, I can say that I've never, ever been interested in any Melos before. This could very well be the first time I've ever posted or said anything about Melos. Melos amps are just one of those things in this world that I just look at and say "not for me", and never give it a second thought. So, what'd I do???
post #7 of 64
Yo Markl... where do you live? With all this awesome gear you are going to host a gathering... yes?
post #8 of 64
Thread Starter 
Not a chance. I might "share" by appt with certain folks, but I couldn't and wouldn't host a meet here. I'm in northern CA.

markl
post #9 of 64
Vertigo, you talked to me over icq a while ago and convinced me not to get the melos, so there ! Eh I'm very happy with my MG Head now anyway...
post #10 of 64
I beleive Mark L that the SHA-1 or any Melos for that matter, can be upgraded by melos audio restorations to be the "ultimate" melos. Because as has been mentioned before I *believe* that the actual pre amp circuit design is the same...

And you could potentially surpass the "worlds best volume pot" with a goldpoint stepped attenuator.

Oh by the way, Congratulations... you... lucky bastard
post #11 of 64
Thread Starter 
"I *believe* that the actual pre amp circuit design is the same... "

You just keep telling yourself that....

I would say that the level of difference between the untweaked and tweaked Gold is the same as the change I got from my untweaked to Modwright-tweaked SCD-333ES. Some of you may remember that I was pretty pleased with the amount of difference it made.

I think I equated the difference as going from stock cables to a $200 cable times about five. Pretty significant to me.

I feel like raving about the Maestro, but I'd rather go listen. Take everything Melos does well and multiply by five.


markl
post #12 of 64
Quote:
Originally posted by ai0tron
I beleive Mark L that the SHA-1 or any Melos for that matter, can be upgraded by melos audio restorations to be the "ultimate" melos. Because as has been mentioned before I *believe* that the actual pre amp circuit design is the same...
The fact that Will at Melos Audio Restoration offers the Reference upgrade for all models (SHA-1, SHA-Gold) for the same price would seem to confirm this. But if someone would post some detailed pictures of the insides of the SHA-Gold we'd be able to determine the answer once and for all. I'd be really interested in knowing the answer. (Of course you won't get the balanced outputs, etc., if you start with the SHA-1.)

Quote:
And you could potentially surpass the "worlds best volume pot" with a goldpoint stepped attenuator.
Absolutely; there's no question a laddered stepped attenuator would be better than the pho-tentiometer (the signal would pass through the same number of resistors but no longer be connected to ground), but if you're considering this, it's wisest to start with the SHA-1. It would be twice as expensive (approx. $500) to do this if you started with the SHA-Gold or above, because they have a separate balance pot.
post #13 of 64
We know that the Gold has an upgraded power supply over the SHA, so that has to be good.

I wonder about these mods in general though. I've yet to see any A/B tests of Modwright's work. The mods seem compelling enough, and they certainly get my credit card hand mighty itchy, but that's a lot of cash for caps and resistors. Plus when he made the statement that bybees will make the bass "simply growl" it just seems pretty silly in a PT Barnum kind of way.
post #14 of 64
Thread Starter 
Look, there is only one board on which all the pre-amp circuitry and headphone amp circuitry are contained. The Melos has three outputs: two on the rear of the unit that can go to your speaker amp, and one output that is a headphone jack. Whether it's sending that signal out through the RCA's on the rear or through the headphone jack is virtually immaterial. The signal goes through all the same components that are on that board regardless.

The board is bigger in the Gold than in the photos of the SHA-1 and it has more "stuff" on it. My Maestro has an even larger power supply torroid transformer than the Gold, which is feeding more and better power to the board. They replaced the majority of the components in the signal path with better and more powerful components that could handle and maximize on the increased power supply.

Long story short, there is no way that the SHA-1 = a SHA-Gold, let alone a Maestro.

pigmode,
Do a search on this very forum on Modwright. I re-posted a Washington audio club's A/B test of modwright modded Sony SACD players vs. stock.


markl
post #15 of 64
The top of the line SHA retailed for $2500. didn't it? It's got to be a much improved beast, that's for sure.

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