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The Wyred4Sound STI-1000 integrated amplifier I reviewed in 2009 paraded 500 solid watts per channel in a chassis shared with a ridiculously good preamplifier. Hardly low powered, quite sophisticated and a bargain at $2499. Both Wyred and D-Sonic constitute extremely high value but differ substantially in character. The Wyred amp excelled at resolution and transparency. It was leaner in the bass and somewhat drier in the upper midrange and therefore required some care to achieve optimum results. The M2-1500M was more consistent top to bottom with a more 'tube like' presentation both in balance and soundstage plus proved equal in resolution and superior in image focus.

The H2O ICE 250 Signature remains the brawniest amplifier ever to match my Apogees with superb control, power and immersive dimensionality from the midband down into the bass. This synergy was hardly surprising as the designer used the Apogee Scintilla as proving ground. Although at 250w/8Ω and 500w/4Ω substantially less powerful than the D-Sonic, it never sounded that way. This was ICE done with an organic disposition especially when matched to its companion Fire preamp. The pairing amounted to a dramatic force of nature, huge and powerful. Did the ICE 250 Signature sweep aside the D-Sonic?

The contest was far from one-sided. The ICE 250 may throw massive weight into the presentation but the D-Sonic countered with superior transparency, equivalent overall dimensionality and greater dimensionality in the upper midrange. These two powerhouses were different in flavor but depending on your priorities not necessarily better in capabilities. Factor that the M2-1500Ms play those virtues at a considerably lower price and this competition would be a musical clash of titans. The most interesting contest was against my EVO 200.4. This is a Tripath design as opposed to Bel Canto’s current ICE offerings and configured for a bridged output of 360 watts into 8Ω and 500 into 4. The two proved remarkably similar in their handling of the low frequencies, being detailed, authoritative and neither as big as the H2O nor lean as the Wyred. The two retained parallel character up through the midrange and diverged somewhat through the upper midrange. The D-Sonic sounded slightly smoother and fuller in this portion versus the greater energy and dynamic texture from the Bel Canto. This manifested as a difference in presentation in this range.

The M2-1500M concentrated on solidity of objects with the definition of surrounding space as secondary importance. The EVO illuminated the context of this space with greater precision and dynamic inflection but contributed somewhat less density of object. Both showed superiority in this range against the ICEpower amps which exhibited a slightly drier acoustic envelope. Ascending higher in frequency the Bel Canto and D-Sonic were neck to neck. Overall the two bore an uncanny resemblance in many points and came off as very close cousins, with the M2-1500M showing greater body in the upper midrange. And it is on that point of character where the D-Sonic makes its major statement.

Digital amplifiers have gained a reputation for being somewhat of a sonic cross betwixt tube dimensionality and transistor speed. This tube character has in part been derived from class D’s handling of the midrange through upper bass. The sole territory where this breed has lost some of that tubular charm is in the higher frequencies where the character has historically shed a small amount of acoustical envelope, gently morphing from good tubes to good transistor. Up to now. The M2-1500M is the first amplifier through my house which extends that dimensional bubble further up the range. This point of superiority, minor in degree against the Tripath but more significant against the ICE, marks a legitimate advance. It’s still a cross breed fast and furious but pushes a little further into the tube camp with refinement and authority.

Conclusion. The D-Sonic M2-1500M doesn‘t look pretentious but don’t mistake that for lack of ability. Normally a product with high performance and a reasonable price would merit an acknowledgement of high value with the traditional law of diminishing returns applicable against pricier fare. That is true here with a vengeance. In the watt-per-dollar sweep stakes, the M2-1500M is probably king of the hill but more importantly judged strictly on performance, it behaves like a next generation product. Is it perfect? Not but its unique combination of major strengths and minor weaknesses make it a viable alternative as a high-end contender. The fact that it’s relatively inexpensive is merely the pièce de résistance.

Who should be interested? The frugal audiophile who demands unclipped dynamics and needs the horsepower will find  sophistication to back up the power rating. Audiophiles on an unrestricted budget are going to find little to fault and much to enjoy. Those watching the progress of digital amplification from afar may find it’s time to partake.

Who should avoid? If you have no need for the power, this will be more of an admirable curiosity. There are other products to fill your needs and Mr. Deacon has his own alternatives. If absolute transparency is where you’re aiming, this may be a touch too organic for your tastes.For those who are tempted but don’t know if they should commit, Mr. Deacon offers a 21-day trial period (some conditions apply).

Quality of packing:
Single box double ply cardboard. Excellent internal protection with double layer of polystyrene caps arrays.
Reusability of packing: Yes.
Condition of components received: Perfect.
Delivery: USPS.
Website comments: Well laid out. Easy access to information. Extensive product line of single and multiple-channel amps.
Human interactions: Professional and helpful.
Warranty: 3 years
Other: An in-home trial period of 21 days is available. This can be extended by email at the discretion of D-Sonic. If the unit is returned in factory condition and packaging, customer pays shipping both ways plus a 5% restock charge. Unit must be insured to full value.
Final comments & suggestions: The M2-1500Ms handled the Apogee Duetta Signatures with distinction and were returned with reluctance. Mr. Deacon’s flagship may initially entice based on the lure of its almost unlimited power but it isn’t the quantity of delivery that will eventually haunt you but its quality.

D-Sonic website