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Now let’s talk about lighting.
High-key lighting is a style of lighting for film that aims to reduce the lighting ratio present in the scene. High-key lighting is quite homogeneous and free from dark shadows. This would fairly describe my first impressions of the SUT in the system. Before we talk more about Bob’s SUT, let’s take a moment to get a grip on the cartridge. This is a mature design well received and reviewed by the press and owners alike. Those familiar with the character of the Dynavector 17D know it has ruler-flat response and incredible transparency. It’s described as being fast, neutral, brilliant, detailed and dynamic; as possessing an incredible midrange; and offering excellent detail and finesse in the treble.

I agree mostly but would add that for me it is somewhat reticent in the bass and the mids are drier than my ideal. Detail retrieval, imaging and speed are the strong suits for certain. And yes it’s dynamic but so is the less expensive Dynavector 20X, which also delivers more color and a bigger stage. It’s very easy to align and is a superb tracker. The 17D is astonishingly quiet and the sound is so clean that it quickly verges on becoming clinical in the wrong setup.

When using Bob’s device three things changed significantly. The addition seriously opened up the top end and released gobs of air. It allowed for some needed weight in the bass to come through. And the soundstage got as big as the Montana sky on a clear day. I mentioned earlier that high-key lighting is quite homogeneous and free from dark shadows. This means that the primary benefit of high-key lighting—and drawback depending on your goals—is that it fails to add meaning or drama by lighting certain parts more prominently than others. The upshot is that with a cartridge as 'accurate' as the 17D and my musical preferences, I would want to add shadow, shade and texture at some point down the chain, be that with cabling, another phono stage, tubes etc.

You might not and that’s just fine. But if you do want to influence the tonal or temperature palettes, Bob’s device is not the way to do that. Bob’s device fails to add meaning or drama. And there’s nothing wrong with that because that’s not its job. Its job is to boost the tiny signal coming off the cartridge. So what it does right as far as I can tell is that it allows the cartridge to perform in an unfettered manner by seeing an optimal load. And it does that without adding any noise or grain I could discern.

The result?
You will now get more of what you paid for with your cartridge. Whether you like that or not is another matter. I happened to very much like the 'wide shot' aspect of it. Lots of space and perspective both near and far is always a plus for me. That it allowed the system to image a bit better didn’t get me excited but it might really float your boat. That it improved openness in the treble and allowed the cart to show its stuff in the bottom end sure worked for me though. There was some improvement in macro dynamics as well but I would have preferred something that addressed the slight dryness in the mids. Too bad for me coz it ain’t gonna happen.

And that’s okay because Bob’s device can rightfully say, "That’s not my job." Which is as it should be since Bob has done his job very well.
Bob's Devices website