EMM Labs: MTRX Amplifier – The Sound of Quiet

EMM Labs: MTRX Amplifier – The Sound of Quiet

We started doing this by accident. Not sure I remember how we starting doing this, in actual fact. But once we did it was fun to do, and to demonstrate to people, because it produced such an amazing effect.

What did we do? With these 750 watt per channel solid-state monsters … I mean amplifiers?

We turned the volume down.

Way down.

So low that people could have a conversation using their ‘quiet voice’.

Well, maybe not quite that quiet. [Not when Neli was around, anyway, given her life-long love affair with that volume control :-). What’s a husband to  do? *sigh* :-)].

So, what was the effect? This amazing effect?

The  effect was that the music was still perfectly legible. It was just quieter.



Soundstaging, imaging, separation, timbre, decay, rhythm… the same as when the volume was turned up.

The background noise was THAT quiet.

The ability to control the speakers in the tiniest ways, which we have been posting about many times before when the volume was quite loud, apparently has as a consequence this other, unworldly, strange, Twilight Zone-like unique capability at very low volumes.

This makes the music really accessible at low volumes.

Typically, on other amps, music at low volume is missing a lot of information. So, for these ‘other’ amps,  much of the signal for most of these quiet subtle  notes is so close to zero that the notes start to fade into the amps background noise. Anthropomorphically, these amps are trying to figure out “Is it noise? Or is it a musical note?”

Bass, for example, with the  MTRX, is still there. It starts. It stops.

It even has slam…  it is just miniaturized. Those little bass notes are just a tiny little ‘Pump’, but it is still tightly rendered, with accurate start, stop, and decay.

Reminds me of those model train sets some people build, where everything looks like a real town, just smaller [Well. YMMV :-)].

The MTRX amps are so different from what has passed as ‘solid state amps’ for 50+ years.

We need a new category.

Maybe we could call these ‘Good Amps’. Or the others ‘Performance-challenged Amps’.  😛

Anyway, the point here is that it is really important that an amp be able to control the small details of your music playback when the volume is turned down low, because then most of what you are hearing is small details.