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Vegking 11th May 2011 10:13 PM

Aspen Maya
Hi All. I received the updated version of the Aspen Maya a few weeks ago. Colin and Hugh did an excellent job on this one. I stand by what I said to Hugh in an email, the sound is spacious, airy, layered, warm and sweet. PRaT is excellent too. Of course the rest of the system has to be in order to have great sound and if it is, the Maya will take care of the rest. It is a great amp, compact, light, high current, and good aesthetics. I love trying out different amps, it is a sick and expensive hobby for me.:D I actually have 5 amps in house currently. Is the Maya the best? Well, there are amps that do some things better, but not the whole. Is the Maya the last stop for me? Nope, I will try different amps just out of curiosity but it would really take a special amp to unseat it, that much I know. Congrats Hugh. Don't know a lot about the technical side of audio, but I know sound quality just from experience with so many different products over the years and the Maya delivers that in Spades.

vynuhl.addict 14th May 2011 07:03 AM

Hi Kieran,

Many thanks for the pat on the back, and am glad to see the updated version made it back to you safely!. I use my personal Maya monoblocks with a self designed preamp, all SS through and through with open loop buffers and a single gain stage based around the OPA627 with carefully selected biasing. This along with the Maya produces some beautiful spacious and powerful sound. I agree, its as good as the signal it is fed, and so it should be i believe, but at the same time should not ever sound clinical or tubby sort of warm.. Ive gone back to listening to a few global feedback amplifiers, but always end up back with the Maya, there are things that some amplifiers do better which will most likely be in the bass department since this is run open loop, but with all audio that can be a subjective experience. Bass does go deep as you notice, but with a sense of life that many ampflifiers can tend to evade..Its a perfect match to My Martin Logans, and im thinking it will be a perfect mate for any electrostatics since stability is impervious to any reactive or capacitive load which also eliminated the need for a zobel in this design..

Thanks for the lovely review and very glad you are happy!!
and PS Hugh, sorry for cutting in here in your absense ;).

Vegking 14th May 2011 11:34 AM

yeah, the bass in not whiz, bang, pow like my Sim Audio amp for example but it is not lacking either. I am using Von Schweikert Unifield 3 speakers and the Maya with the VSA's are a good match. I went through a tedious process of moving amps into and out of the system doing comparisons. Play a piece of music I know well and then swamp amps asap. But after that process, with the Maya, nothing really sticks out and that is not a bad thing. The amp has an ease to it. Not sure if it is good or bad, but I can turn the volume up and there is still not a hint of grain or being shouty. It is just a very listenable amp that does not lead me to focus on the sound of the amp but to enjoy the music. Which, I guess sounds kind of strange because here I am on a message board talking about the sound. And yes, I would agree about the sense of life. It is not clinical or dull at all. I like there is a good amount of air and space. But like I said, you can't just drop an amp in and expect these things. Room, choice of speaker, and the recordings all have an impact. I am not a source first guy. I think speakers and the room are far more important. I have had great sound with a 50 dollar DVD player as a source. That is not what I use, but I'm just saying.

I have only heard Martin Logan once, and it was in one of those box stores with about 50 pairs of speakers in the same room. Now that store doesn't have Martin Logan in my city any more and they are being presented at an high end audio shop which would do them justice. I have not made it there to give them a listen, so can you tell me briefly what is it is you like about ML or electrostatics? I wanted to give them a try a few years ago, but my wife said no way as she thought they didn't look as good as some of the box speakers.

gaetan8888 14th May 2011 07:47 PM


Originally Posted by Vegking (
Not sure if it is good or bad, but I can turn the volume up and there is still not a hint of grain or being shouty.


That's very good indeed, in this case that's mean that the distortions are still low at high volume and also that the distortions harmonics are mainly second and third without those annoying high frequencies thd harmonics.



Vegking 14th May 2011 08:27 PM

yeah but what I was worried about is the higher decibel levels on my sound meter and if I could be hurting my ears in the long run. For example, with other amps 90 decibels sounds louder or more irritating so my ears naturally say turn it down some. With the Maya, my ears don't strain at that higher volume level so there is not a sense to turn it down. So from a safe listening context, I wasn't sure if it was good or bad.

gaetan8888 14th May 2011 10:49 PM


Yes, high decibel sounds levels can cause degradations of your ears sensitivity in the long run, and it could also reduce the high frequencies response of your ears.

Distortions are not the mains cause. It' the high level sounds, because ears degradation, in the long run, are cause by degradations in the inner ears. Sort of bio-mecanical fatigue or tiny cracks in the ears cochlea.

So, it's better to listen at normal level.



vynuhl.addict 15th May 2011 12:15 AM

Hi Kieran,

I had owned a few pairs of box speakers in the past and the ML's were a huge step up, but need decent amplification. What i really like about them, and or electrostatics is that with proper room placement they utterly disappear, vocals sound 3d, layering is superb and its only after hearing electrostatics that you notice the "cone" sound inhearant in most sub 3k speakers.. The ML's are hybrids, stat panel covering 22khz down to 470hz, with an 8" taking over for the rest. Due to the box design internal reflections are vastly minimised since no two sides are square or equal... They are not walk around the room speakers, but once your seated in the listening window they are heaven on a stick, glorious sound!.. I had noticed too, with the last revision, that the Maya can be turned up with non shouty and lack of grain, this was the goal as we both know many become shouty and or change character as you turn up the wick, this was a goal and is partly due to the unique adaptive bias circuitry.

Im also not much of a "source" first guy, heck, I run a modded Philip's CD480 as my second player and it sound absolutely wonderful, musical and huge in the imaging department, no special op amp upgrades either with stock LM833's, also run a Pioneer DV-333, still wonderful sound, but the Philips is more musical..

Ive found with much equipment, having something that sticks out can be tiresome, inevitably gaining a "HI-FI" label in some cases, the hardest part seems to be trying to get it to do all of the music equal justice...


AKSA 17th May 2011 05:02 AM

Hey Kieran, Colin, Gaetan,

I'm back from visiting my old Mom in hospital in South Oz and have just driven 475 miles non-stop, so I'm seeing double lines right now.....

But your comments really gladden my heart, I'm delighted (actually, more than that, but I should be understated here!) that you really like the amp.

Colin and I both feel it's our masterpiece, best Aspen has ever done. BUT, gotta keep trying for improvements all the time.....

Ciao, more later,


gaetan8888 16th February 2019 06:11 AM


Anybody compared the sound of the Maya 2011 with a very good tube or hybrid amp ?




AKSA 19th February 2019 10:00 PM


This was from my first Maya in 2011, and of course in the years since I have moved around the circuit considerably. I was chasing constant improvements in performance, in particular the sonics, and had a breakthrough just around the year I fell ill in 2012. This first model, Mark I, had a very capable diamond buffer output, with an active constant current source Colin in Vancouver and I developed from an idea of a clever Italian designer, Andrea Ciuffoli.

I am hoping that the first Maya in Idaho in Keirin's system is giving good service today, I have not heard from him and I assume it's still good. The subsequently model 2 was released in 2014 and I've sold quite a few and in 2017 I produced Mark III. We are dealing with the subjectives; the topologies have been the same since 2014 but only minor changes to push the sonic limits.

There are quite a few around the world; Felipe in Portugal, Tore in Sweden, and many others, they might like to offer their thoughts on the Maya sound. It is a very refined sound now, with high resolution but always a 'tubey' hint conferring easy listening and musical engagement. Can't measure this stuff!



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