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February 2016
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
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D Sonic M3-3000S Dual Mono Amplifier
Overcoming the dreaded amplifier digititus.
Review By Rick LaFaver


D Sonic M3-3000S Dual Mono Amplifier

  Digital amplifiers have come a long way in the years since we started seeing them in the home audio world. We have all heard of them and many of us have done our fair share of experimenting with Bash, ICE, Behringer and Hypex building megawatt amplifiers or experimenting into the forte of DIY audio. Digital amps are not just for subwoofers and PAs anymore, or at least not all of them.

At RMAF 2015 you were starting to hear some of the outlandish wattage numbers coming back from major players like Jeff Rowland Designs in the beautiful Daemon integrated amp. The Daemon uses a relatively new (to me) amplifier module, the Pascal, capable of 1500 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms. I had the opportunity to spend a little bit of time with the Daemon with these modules at RMAF but at $38,000 it was a little outside of my price range. The implementation was flawless with a brilliantly diverse feature set. I had to find more manufacturers that were using these units.

I did a few web searches and found D-Sonic who has been a value leader in digital amplifier production transitioning from the ICE module (see Bill Gaw's take in Audiolics Anonymous Chapter 103) to their most recent iteration with the new Pascal Pro units outputting, you guessed it, 1500 Watts per channel in stereo. The price has me excited at $2375 for the M3-3000S. The M3-3000S is an unassuming black chassis with a black anodized billet faceplate featuring a single blue LED reminding me of my Clayton Audio S200. It is beefy for a digital amp and features stout balanced and unbalanced connectors and speaker terminals. The build quality overall feels good but it is not a piece of audio jewelry. It is certainly a function over form design but it works well and is well put together. Set up was very easy and balance out of the box sounded spot on. All the connectors fit snuggly. This was a brand new unit and took almost no time to warm up but after an hour or two it really started to open up.


The M3-3000S is not an integrated amp and has few of the features of the feature rich Daemon but as a pure example of a colorless and odorless audio amplifier, it delivers with aplomb. My day to day amplifiers range from a 38 watt KT88 based tube set up to a 100W pure Class A analog behemoth. My class D amps have thus far been relegated to my woodshop, but no longer. The M3-3000S is capable of near limitless and effortless dynamics. Regardless of the load or source, the D-Sonic amp was able to scale the highest dynamic peaks and the inkiest of black noise floors with zero audible distortion coming from the speakers (the M3-1200S with 600wpc at $1875 uses the same family of Pascal module and implementation). It may be cliché to say, but the M3-3000S added negligible coloration to any source materials. It made my reference amps sound too warm in comparison. The low noise floor and control of the bass made for the most expansive soundstage I heard in my new room so far (we recently moved). I was able to move the speakers a little further apart and give the soundstage an almost 8 food breadth with depth that stretched into the front wall. The effect of this space was a much stronger, solidly placed image for stand-up bass and even gave space to one of the more difficult instruments to record and almost impossible to reproduce, solo piano.


D Sonic M3-3000S Dual Mono Amplifier


After living with my space heater... ahem... Class A amplifier for a long time, it was a real treat to have a digital amplifier in my listening room. It would've been great in the summer as the winter was starting to put a little chill in the air, but the M3-3000S was never even warm to the touch, even after extended, loud listening sessions. I am sure my energy bill appreciated it this. This is a Prius compared to a Hummer. The M3-3000S with its incredibly low distortion and noise floor lets you listen loudly or quietly without any strain. This eliminates a lot of the fatigue you get from speakers at loud volume with high distortion. I found myself listening around 1 to 2 dB louder than typical in my room without any fatigue. This doesn't mean a whole lot in day to day listening, it just means that those crescendos and dynamic passages in your favorite recordings will be that much more palpable and enjoyable.


D Sonic M3-3000S Dual Mono Amplifier


If I had to critique the D-Sonic amplifier it would only be that the treble, really only the highest end treble was slightly less smooth than the KT-88 based amp I often listen to. This was really only noticeable in some drum pieces and some pieces with cymbals but it is splitting hairs. It is difficult to say which is the most musically accurate. The dynamic range and low noise floor throughout the rest of the frequency range is better than my reference and 1/5th the cost. This led me to explore recordings I had previously run through a million times and they were rejuvenated. I found a whole new appreciation for orchestral music and really found the limits in the scale of a recording my Vapor Audio Cirrus could reproduce. I never once felt limited by the amplifier. It did however make me question some of the things I think I knew about my system as it stood before. I have known for a while I had some issues with my DAC and the noise it introduced, but the tonality and resolution had been resolved with switching out a few op amps and switching out the cabling, running tubes and Class A amplifiers. I hadn't realized how much of a source of noise the pre amp section still was. It was still not offensive, but it started to give me an itch. Needless to say I am now in the market.


This is not the first D-Sonic amp I have heard, but it is the first I have heard that overcomes the subtle "digititus" of the previous models. All of the previous models had power for days and were great value compared to the competition, but this new generation stands alone as world class amplifiers. The treble, is not crunchy or fatiguing. The mid-range is very accurate and would not leave a solid state or tube amplifier enthusiast wanting. It is much faster than either option with crisp starts and stops, but this is what is present in the recordings. This is not to say it is the best amp I have heard but comes very close. Simply comparing it to the competition in its price range, it stands tall. The highest level of Class A or A/B would be able to do most of what the D-Sonic can do on everything except for speed and the low noise floor, I was unable to test the claimed specs but the results were convincing and spoke for themselves. The M3-3000SP has world class bass and control as you would expect with 1500 Watts but it doesn't end there. The power is effortless and continuous. Like a luxury sports car, it just goes, with never so much as a jerk or blip. I would really like to add one of these to my stable of amplifiers and at $2375 this is a much more realistic than some of the gear I get a chance to listen to. The M3 and all of its siblings in the product line are a great value and performance standard; I would highly recommend the D-Sonic Pascal module based units for a listen if you are in the market for a powerful, accurate amplifier.



Sub-bass (10Hz - 60Hz)

Mid-bass (80Hz - 200Hz)

Midrange (200Hz - 3,000Hz)

High Frequencies (3,000Hz On Up)



Inner Resolution

Soundscape Width Front

Soundscape Width Rear
Soundscape Depth Behind Speakers

Soundscape Extension Into Room


Fit And Finish

Self Noise

Value For The Money


Type: Vacuum tube stereo phonostage
Power Output: 1500 Watts @ 8 Ohms, 2100 Watts @ 4 Ohms
Peak Voltage: 160V
Peak Output Current: 30A
Frequency Response: 0.5 Hz to 70 kHz
THD+N:0 .003%
Output Impedance: 11mOhm
Input Impedance: 60kOhm
Dynamic Range: 120dB
Price: $2375, with optional dual power cords adding $175


Company Information
Voice: (800) 862-7998
E-mail: dennis@d-sonic.net 
Website: www.D-Sonic.net















































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