Got my SHA-GOLD back from Melos Audio Restoration....
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WIJGALT

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It's back & it's set up. Since I didn't give it any kind of substantial listen prior to shipping it off to MAR for repairs/upgrade I can't really A/B the unit vis-a-vis its pre-upgrade performance.
I've only listened to the unit for about 10 hours to this point (with new JJ tubes - so break-in factors may be relevant). Initial impressions (with Senn 600s) are quite positive. The sound is full & sweet & the Melos is dead quiet. There is some leanness in the nether regions of the frequency spectrum but not to the extent that it is deleterious to the overall enjoyment of the music - & in time this may very well improve.
One thing that does trouble me somewhat: I find I need to goose the volume control to about the level of 1-2 o'clock to achieve satisfactory amplitude. This is true for both headphone use & conventional preamp use. The volume control appears to lack sensitivity/linearity. Kind of akin to driving a car with a very loose steering wheel. Lots of twisting with minimal response. comments from other Melos folks on this point would be appreciated.
The MAR experience was not terrible. Contact was a bit iffy but once arrangements were made turnaround at their facilities was about a week. The upgrade ($360) included repairs to the unit. One of the included upgrades was supposedly the elimination of the muting waiting period - this was not done as the the unit still takes time before coming out of mute. I can only assume & trust that the other upgrade elements were performed. The unit when muted via the remote only mutes the left speaker. I don't know if this was a prior problem - that MAR missed while going over the unit & performing "all repairs" - or something MAR caused. I am using the active outputs on the SHA & will experiment to see if the muting problem appears on the passive outputs as well. I invite comments regarding the pros/cons on using the passives & balanced outputs vs. the actives. What are you guys using & why?
 
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Driftwood

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hmm, a bit odd. I have an old SHA-1, and the volume seems to be nearly intolerably loud with the volume control in the 10 o'clock position, with the HD-600, a higher impedance headphone. The fact that you don't find the volume control to have a lot of effect seems to indicate that there are some gain issues somewhere in the amp. But then again I don't know what I am talking about.

I wouldn't worry about it too much though.

Oh about the mute thing, the upgrade doesn't eliminate the mute waiting period, it just makes the unit come out of mute automagically when the unit has warmed up. Without this upgrade, the Gold would require manual unmuting each time it was turned on, after warming up.

Driftwood
 
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WIJGALT

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Mea culpa - just reviewed the upgrades on MAR's site & realized that the muting period is not eliminated as Driftwood has pointed out.
 
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daycart1

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If you aren't getting any noise with the volume turned up, there is no problem. In fact, it is better that way. The right analogy is not with loose steering, but with "fine tuning" on a radio.

It is good to hear a Melos-in-the-shop story with a happy ending-congratulations!
 
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markl

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"I've only listened to the unit for about 10 hours to this point (with new JJ tubes - so break-in factors may be relevant)."

The Melos really lends itself nicely to tube rolling. I think Hirsch started a thread on tube rolling the Melos which should have lots of good info. It's a shame to have an upgraded amp of that calibur without NOS tubes, as good as the JJs may be.

"One thing that does trouble me somewhat: I find I need to goose the volume control to about the level of 1-2 o'clock to achieve satisfactory amplitude. This is true for both headphone use & conventional preamp use."

What headphones are you using? With my R10s I have it at 11:00. One thing I found was that break-in in my system resulted in a significant decrease in the volume level I needed to achieve satisfactory sound. I also originally had it at about 1:00 but now that would be way too loud.

"The volume control appears to lack sensitivity/linearity. Kind of akin to driving a car with a very loose steering wheel. Lots of twisting with minimal response. comments from other Melos folks on this point would be appreciated."

I actually like the fact that the volume control gives you so much flexibility in where to set the volume. I hate amps that cause huge volume increases with only a slight turn. The volume pot itself is a little loosey-goosey-- that's just it's nature. It was that way on both the Gold I had originally and the Maestro (a Melos modified Gold) that I have now. Not to worry!

"I am using the active outputs on the SHA & will experiment to see if the muting problem appears on the passive outputs as well. I invite comments regarding the pros/cons on using the passives & balanced outputs vs. the actives. What are you guys using & why?"

I use mine solely as a head amp not a pre. I think RickG is using his as a pre, maybe he can help.

WIJGALT,
Based on what I've heard (in order from least to most favorite)...

Headroom Home
Headroom MOH
Earmax
Earmax Pro
Berning ZOTL
Melos Gold
Melos Gold upgraded to Maestro

...your upgraded Gold is about as good as head amps get. It's a real treat, and very rare. I think the Melos will continue to appreciate in value over time as their "legend" grows...

markl
 
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WIJGALT

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"...The Melos really lends itself nicely to tube rolling. I think Hirsch started a thread on tube rolling the Melos which should have lots of good info. It's a shame to have an upgraded amp of that calibur without NOS tubes, as good as the JJs may be..."

The JJs seem to have found considerable favor among a # of Melosers. And they were priced reasonably - about $23 I think for a matched pair. I spent much more on the SHA than anticipated (the upgrade wasn't in my original plans, it was necessitated by the reuired repairs) so $150-$200 for a pair of NOS Amperex, Siemens, etc. is just out of my budget right now.


"...I use mine solely as a head amp not a pre. I think RickG is using his as a pre, maybe he can help..."

The Melos is a world-class preamp. Why use only one feature of it??

"...I think the Melos will continue to appreciate in value over time as their "legend" grows..."

Possibly...it appears to have no peers as a headphone amp. In the short time I've been listening to it I have been duly impressed. It seems to be in another class altogether compared to the excellent Microzotl I'd used prior to the Melos. And it certainly leaves the McCormack, Creek & the MG Head amps that I've owned at various times in the dust.
Only prob is I'm afraid to breathe on the damn thing lest something breaks. I'm not seeking a long-term relationship with the MAR dudes.
 
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Nick Dangerous

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The MG Head (with the right tubes) has a slightly better, sweeter midrange than the Melos SHA-1. This is easy to overlook since the Melos is so much better with everything else.

I'll agree that it stomps all over the Creek in every way.
 
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RickG

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Quote:

Originally posted by WIJGALT
...I use mine solely as a head amp not a pre. I think RickG is using his as a pre, maybe he can help..."

The Melos is a world-class preamp. Why use only one feature of it??


I still have my NAD C 160 Pre....however, the Melos Gold is my preamp of choice w/the psb speakers and the rest of my main set-up. The NAD is a bit bloated on the bottom. The Telefunken's made the difference,....the Melos Gold is so amazing as a pre... it's a killer....wish you were here.....
 
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markl

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As an apartment dweller, I'm unable to listen to my main speakers (PSB Stratus Goldi's for chissakes!) at a satisfying volume level for music. That's actually why I got into the whole headphone bag in the first place.

I have a HT rig that does make nice use of my PSBs, but of course, all my DVD listening is multi-channel, so I can't use the Melos for that, either.

markl
 
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Hirsch

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I am NOT going to buy a Melos Gold to upgrade it to Maestro. Absolutely not. No way. Forget it. Isn't happening. Uh Uh. If I repeat this to myself long enough, I might believe it...
I'm going to have to get an HP-4 soon, just to stop this sort of thought from going through my head...
 
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markl

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...but don't you have a nice horde of 6922's, or am i thinking of someone else? And doesn't the Ear use some weird non-standard tube that you can't really roll? Think of all the fun you'll be missing out on...

markl
 
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is2us

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Quote:

Originally posted by Nick Dangerous
The MG Head (with the right tubes) has a slightly better, sweeter midrange than the Melos SHA-1. This is easy to overlook since the Melos is so much better with everything else.


Maybe this is true for the SHA-1, but not for the SHA-GOLD with the Reference mod and a good NOS Amperex tubes.
I didn't post for a long time now since I got my Melos and a pair of Amperex Tubes, becuase I was busy enjoying listening to music with it.
I got the shivers back to my spine (since the MG Head), but not just from the mids, also from the punchy fast deep bass, from the snaping highs and from the amazing detail.

I had the opportunity to be at the Headroom Tour a day before the Amperex tubes arrived. From the memory of the Melos with the JJ tubes, it undoubtedly outperformed the MOH which costs about the same.
But after I put the Ameprex and burned them for the night, the improvement was so dramatic that from my memory (from I listened at the tour the day before) it can be compared easily with the Blockhead and HP4.
And it continued to improve. Now it has a lot more body and deeper bass, to the point I prefer my ER4 to the HD580 with it.

BTW, WIJGALT, My volume control never pass the 10 o'clock position.
 
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is2us

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Nick Dangerous

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I tried three different pairs of NOS Amperex tubes... Bugle Boys, Orange Globes, and white label PQ's. All were better than the JJ's and stock tubes, but none pushed the midrange beyond the level of a rolled Head.

I guess Will knows what he's doing with that upgrade service.
 
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