This is a Melos SHA-1 Gold Reference that has been upgraded to the Maestrobator package and more. For Head-Fi'er out there that is familiar with Carlos, this is his work before he vanished. This unit has every upgrade option he offered at the time the work was done in 2003.
This unit is in excellent condition both functionally and cosmetically. All inputs and outputs work fine. There is no longer a tape loop and the remote no longer works. This is because the daughter board that housed the tape loop circuit and the remote Photeniometer were removed as part of the upgrade. In exchange you have a much better sounding unit with premium parts. Cosmetically it has a scratch on the top cover and I'm missing one screw on the top. The faceplate is in great shape except a little bit of fading of the black anodized finish. The gold plated knobs and screws are still in fantastic shape. I have the original packaging but the box is not in great shape. Local buyers in the San Francisco Bay Area is definitely preferred, but I will ship.
This is a great preamp and even better headphone amp. Melos is not the most quiet amp, but the sound is great. I have a pair of old tubes in the unit. You should probably put in your own favorite tubes. I have used this unit with top of the line Sennheiser HD600 and Grado GS1000 and PS1000 phones. It sounds wonderful. The output of the Melos unit is on the high side for headphone output. For most listening, I have never had the volume dial past the 8 o'clock position. For a while I tried a pair of attenuators at the input just so I can use more of the volume control, but I eventually left them out.
This is a very special unit and there aren't many units like it out there. If you love the Melos sound, this is your chance to experience it at its best. If you have top of the line Grado phones like GS1000 and PS1000, you have to check out the much talked about Melos-Grado magic. It's all true.
I can't do PayPal, so don't ask, unless you want to hear the long story of how PayPal tried to screw me out of my money.
I am already getting inquiries from people trying to pull scams. Don't bother. I can tell who you are. Your emails will be ignored.
Here is the list of the mods as described by Carlos with the cost I paid:
The Headphone Mods (applicable to all Melos', regardless of model or whether someone else modified
it - every resistor and cap in the headphone signal path is changed):
Correcting the errors - for those on a budget ($350):
Holco and Roederstein resistors in signal path, SHA-1 is upgraded to Gold Reference/Maestro values
Auricaps used at same
Black Gate standard series at critical power supply locations
Ultra-fast Soft Recovery diodes in low voltage supply
Left channel mod reroutes signal path away from PS
Maestrobation - for those looking to get the most from the Melos platform ($425):
AudioNote Tantalum resistors at all input stage locations
Caddock MK132 replaces output stage resistors
Auricaps at all headphone signal path locations
Non-magnetic resistors in select locations of PS
Black Gate (premium) NX series in critical section of low voltage supply
Black Gate standard series at corresponding high voltage location
Ultra-fast Soft Recovery diodes
Cardas wiring on headphone out
Left channel mod
Options (can be performed with above mods or later):
Alps Black Beauty Stepped Attenuator (shaft shortened) - $75
Preamp Output caps changed to Auricaps and doubled in value - $100 (Maestro/Gold Reference owners
same cost for single ended upgrade, see below for balanced)
Gold Reference/Maestro Owners:
In addition to the Headphone mods above you have the following option:
Dedicated preamp mod - Auricaps for both single ended and balanced output, Caddock resistors - $175
I only use Kester silver solder.