20 seconds into the first track, the hairy hammer fist of knock-out approached. Before unconsciousness flipped the circuit breaker on the upstairs lights, Walker aphorism # 3 exploded for final illumination. "How do you keep from loosing an erection? You don't f**k with it." Once again humiliated -- and even faster than before on the Omega Mikro cables, Ultimate High Definition Links and Vivid CD Treatment -- I called BK, my trusty ear of Austin's Sound Mind Audio shoppe. Misery loves company. More than I could know. He had installed his Velocitor in place of the customary Accuphase P1200, a stout power regenerator retailing in the neighborhood of $8K. "Lloyd's box trounced it" was his terse assessment. That from a guy who loves his Accuphase and makes a living selling it. Can't get emotional support when you need it. Here's what I heard: Greater acuteness of focus to enhance the illusion of physical presence.

This did not come about by greater harmonic density the way valves intensify presence. Rather, leading edges -- the instantaneous materialization of sounds out of silence --were stripped of a degree of wavering uncertainty. If you envision sounds like tiny Klingon birds of prey de-cloaking (I assume you've seen Star Trek) the Velocitor depicted them in all their bristling glory from one cineastic frame to the next - one frame empty space, the very next the complete object.

By comparison, the Furutech's second frame and third frame still showed partial de-cloaking, only the fourth revealing the fully manifest object - a more gradual, softer transition in the time domain. Softer? The Velocitor's removal of the transitional delay thankfully avoided the other well-known trick to fake presence - the zippiness of artificially etched outlines. Rather than causing an astringent dryness -- which has nothing to do with transients but results from shortened decays in general and less audible ambient context in particular -- the accelerated system rise times had the same effect as proper horn-loading. They resolved greater immediacy and appreciably raised heat in the boiler room of rhythmic incision. Complicated, densely staggered percussive impulses arrived more precisely on time, maintaining beat cohesion and separation of clusters into tiny individual events. The comparative softness of the Furutech was a minor blurring, a slight fuzziness in the pace and rhythm department, not a more attractive timbral condition one aisle over.

The Velocitor had greater suchness. Imagine looking at the world after a brisk uphill run. The adrenaline has burned off perceptional lethargy and fogginess. Now even faraway things seem more coincident and "louder". Everything's more articulated. More keen. More alive. Yet in this circumstance of physical exhaustion, the inner feel of this greater surrounding intensity is peaceful and abated. It's not tensioned, hyped or willfully stimulated. Consider too this coincident effect. Details buried in the farther reaches of the soundstage become as apparent as close-up ones. It's a slightly altered state of more profound perception, a more complete and comprehensive assessment of what's present.

The Audio Magic Stealth's distinctly energetic brio seems partly tied to its use of silver wiring. It creates excitement by emphasizing upper harmonics. The Velocitor produced this excitement in the time keeping domain. Simultaneously, it remained far more relaxed in the harmonic realm - a very mean trick. It meant having your cake and eating it without the concomitant sugar rush effects. Based on Walker's understandably careful giveaways concerning constructional details, I can only assume that his mix of cryo'd copper and silver distribution wiring is a two-copper-to-one-silver blend, marrying the parallel benefits of copper's greater weight and warmth with the more crystalline top-end purity of silver.

Enjoying the brushed cymbal work on Laverne Butler's "A Foolish Thing" [Blues in the City, MXJ 105; Andy Narell's heavily syncopated steel drums on Live in South Africa [Heads Up 3060, 2001]; Gary Burton's vibes trading riffs with Eddie Daniel's brilliant Benny Goodman impersonation on "Stompin' at the Savoy" [Benny Rides Again, GRP 9665, 1992] - that's what it sounded like: The moonlight mist of silvery glistening overtones hovering 'round the fuller body and greater ease of copper.

A great example of rhythmic precision? Al Di Meola's "Asia de Cuba" [The Grande Passion, Telarc 83481, 2000]. Two world-class percussionists -- Gilad and Gumbi Ortiz -- join John Patitucci on acoustic bass to lay down a complicated groove filled with impossible intricacies. The galvanic pressure of Di Meola's mastery hovers above, his speed-freak arpeggios streaking the charged atmosphere like dry lightning. Now add Mario Parmisano's Latin piano syncopations and the Cuban accents of Mike Mossman and Oscar Feldman on trumpet and tenor sax. Hearing this many-layered complexity in newfound rhythmic clarity was a bit akin to those rare no-mind instances when you can listen to an 8-part Bach or Bruckner fugue and follow all eight voices each doing its own distinct thing. Coincidently. You observe them intertwining, overlapping, creating additive organic structures in some complex Imajica display of Clive Barker erotica. For once, you 'see' the underlying architectural logic. It unfurls like some immutable cosmic law while you sense every new turn before it appears. You're momentarily inspired. Profundity enhanced by some strange aural aphrodisiac. Then the phone rings. You're back to your usual lopsided self. Bach's once again elusively mathematical. Damn that electronic leash called phone.

The rapid African vocal trading on Zawose's Assembly [ RealWorld 724381128428, 2001] with Michael Brook's violently careening bass and the blisteringly raw brass patterns became truly electrifying. Ragheb Alama's trademark debka rhythm on "Tab Leih" [Tab Leh, Mondo Melodia, 186850069-2, 2002] achieved greater rollicking power, the in-between half beats landing with greater weight on the 1 and 3 accents. Tony Allen's "Ariya - Jeff Sharel Mix" on the kick-ass AfroTech fusion of electronica with authentic African vocals [Quango 5012-2] essentially dared me to reach for the remote with a silly grin and jack up the volume in a celebration of "this shit's tight, man". As we all know, high outputs are a great diagnostic tool to induce brightness and stridency resulting from thermal compression effects. The Velocitor supported short-term dance hall excess without turning the least bit steely. That's something I've found the Audio Magic Stealth slightly guilty of - not that I don't keep my party animal under tight control most of the time.

A thing to notice with many after-market power cords? Bigger bass, presumably due to larger current handling abilities. Beyond realistic, bigger however's no longer better. In fact, it fails to integrate properly. Much to its credit, the Velocitor didn't add a gram of mass to the Furutech's already well-endowed bass. Rather, its quicker transient trigger simply made the bass more intelligible and articulate, rising faster and thus seemingly endowed with more impact. Compared to the Stealth, the Velocitor did have slightly more displacement, but then the Audio Magic trades the last iota of weight for articulation.