Two points I'd like to make in reply to Ozzie's post. First, I think it was unethical for him to resell the SM, knowing that it would deteriorate the SQ of the purchaser's system. It should have been returned to Empirical and replaced under warranty. The second point is that it is scary that these units would deteriorate so quickly. I took my SM out and checked, and it still sounds way better when it's in there, but I think it should stay that way for a long time. Steve's response was "Some of these earlier units degrade over time because the drivers get faster and create more transmission-line problems with the original output transformers. Changing the transformer to the OT mod fixes this and it's usually even better." If that is the case, and all of our SMs will deteriorate that quickly, they should be recalled and fixed, free of charge. Just saying.