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That does make for a good reason to pursue the best possible reproduction of the human voice (which is what that whole evolution was about). But the British fight for the midrange had less in common with natural sound than we might think. Research and personal experience show that to properly reproduce the human voice requires a very broad frequency response. A change in the LF cutoff between already 30 and 50Hz paints a very different picture. Experiments which HiFi+ performed during past audio shows had them add a quality subwoofer to support loudspeakers from 20 to 30Hz. This showed vocals in a completely different way. The same happened when they added a super tweeter to already wide-bandwidth loudspeakers. This added clarity to the bass and at the same time made the midrange more natural.

But let's get to the point of today’s review whose long introduction was necessary to appreciate what PAB contributes to the sound in the proper perspective. The change of the sound when placing the Air player on this support system was evident. This wasn’t entirely expected however as the player was already supported on very good finite elemente CeraBall feet and sat on a very rigid shelf Base. By placing the player on the PAB platform instead the most significant improvement occurred in the midrange. It became fuller, more saturated and warmer. However this was not accomplished by changing the tonal balance. Hence the need for the introduction. In fact the changes were in the the treble (now smoother, fuller and deeper) and bass (now stronger but not as striated). I perceived these changes in an entirely positive fashion. Better treble and bass combined to a superior midrange. By itself the latter might have been perceived as becoming warmer if not for the fact that I heard this effect many times before. It was always related to lower distortion, more calmness to the sound and darker backgrounds - as though there was less noise everywhere. This of course is only a description which cannot be quantified unanimously. In such an indirect way we simply can describe what has changed according to our perception.

In general the platform made everything sound more mature, less hifi and more natural. Switching back to the marble shelf had the sound lose freshness and slightly collapse on itself. It was not an implosion and these changes weren’t drastic but they still pained me. This was particularly so because after Mr. Skrzypczak had delivered the platforms, I’d placed the thicker one under the player, the thinner under my Leben CS-300 X Custom amplifier and then forgot all about them for two long months. They were simply there doing their thing. I did not notice them consciously and simply perceived the sound of my system as a given and natural at that. Removing the supports was painful. As you’ll agree there wasn’t much getting accustoming/used to the sound when my perception incorporated any changes so subliminally that the platforms disappeared from the equation. Only moving them out again instantly showed up the elements I talked about.

Most pronounced were the changes on Suzanne Vega’s Close-Up. Vol 1, Love Songs where there is mostly a strong full voice and one guitar occasionally supported by other guitars. Without the platform the sound grew dimmer, collapsed somewhat and involved me less. Yet before the platforms arrived I did not miss anything. I though the sound to be fine. Interestingly without the shelves supporting the CD player, the reverb accompanying sounds could be distinguished more clearly especially on the piece "Caramel". The vocals here were recorded differently than for example on "Small Blue Thing", with too much reverb and probably by setting on the reverb device the distance of voice to stage further than necessary (for example in the Lexicon reverb unit there is a slider for virtually moving the sound source in space forward and back without altering its amplitude).

The sound withdraws and is not as direct as on other tracks of this disc. Without the platform, the long and low reverb trails were more distinctive. Unfortunately the voice also became too distant as though it were covered up by something. I think this was caused by a less pronounced lower midrange and less resolved treble.