Well I finally got my D500s about a month ago. I am really really happy....! I have used them on both the AR94 and AR9 speakers and the amps are flawless. Whereas I felt the D200s were a bit polite on the bass, the D500s are definitely not. They are completely balanced to my ears. The bass thunders when required. The mid range is rich in timbre and life-like. The more I listen using the D500s, the more I appreciate the beauty, depth and timbre of music made with just one or very few instruments. Listening to a single instrument or a vocal is so incredibly rich in nuance and texture. These amps frequently send tingles from the feet up. On both speakers the bass is just perfect. It's there when it's needed and never overbearing and yet I can also make the windows rattle without turning up the volume.
I just spent the morning listening to about 12 cds – covering solo voice, guitar, Indian and western classical, Abija – a muslim Ghazals singer with an incredible voice, African rhythms (paul simon graceland) electronic (jean michel jarre), cohen, taylor and dire straits, western country. Initially I was switching between the old D200s and the D500s repeating music. After about one hour, I stopped switching and just used the D500s.
The music at all levels is liquid, no friction, no compression. The mid range is much more open than on the old D200s. Voices sound more detailed and don’t dominate the centre stage but are present exactly where they should be.
Clarity is so good that even at 75% volume, sounds were not getting crushed together. There is much more detail – when listening to the same notes being played by drummers or string instrument players, you can tell the subtle difference between one note and the next even though its supposed to be a regular beat with the same note being played repeatedly.
I really really like the D500 – it plays complex music without breaking into a sweat. Listening to Jean Michel Jarre and also some western orchestral classical it sound open, detailed, airy but tight. For this kind of music the sound stage needs to be big and it is. If you can, then listen to Equinox – Jean Michel Jarre 1st couple of tracks and then Ravel’s Bolero (the last couple of minutes are really dense – lots of instruments and in the background you have these really big cymbals that come together a few times – a really tough test for any speaker and amp and you really need a good recording of Bolero) and Bizet’s Carmen track 3: Aragonaise. Aragonaise is a good test for immediacy whilst still maintaining the flow of music. When there is a big change in tempo and volume, most amps increase the volume, but the D500 fills up the sound stage too and this is magic. It’s delightful.
So there you have it. Well done Dusty...! And THANKS.