This difference game changed for dynamic chops. Obviously Strawinsky's barn burner entices with its clever dynamic contrasts and rhythmic elan but the special attractions are surely the archaically erupting violent outbursts. It's, make no mistake, truly formidable test fare. The two Germans truly aced those immediate gear changes whenever the symphonic forces scale up. While my €11'200 combo managed to keep up during the more microdynamic segments, once macro swings kicked in, the Acousence combo simply lunged forward. Its impulses were the more jagged as was its ability greater to convey the virtually instantaneous attacks of a live concert recording. Even its backdrop of silence felt calmer and blacker which only enhanced dynamic impact and contrast.

It didn't help that cross checks against my Portuguese server and Romanian DAC called those out as more gemütlich. Fronted by the Mu-Se, Rockna's ladder DAC did parlay pace and impact quite well but couldn't beat the full Acousence combo. Koschnicke's kit also maintained a calmer overview over big orchestral confusion which particularly served the Sacre. Would more be possible? Within my own walls, I never yet hosted a digital front end that played it dynamically more unrestrained. I'll simply add that show demos of the ~€12'000 Innuos Statement and later Pink Faun's €8'400 2.16 reviewed by Ralph Werner then subsequently heard in costlier Ultra guise with Nagra's über HD DAC X [more than €60K] at Starnberg's My Sound dealership remain in my memory as perhaps still more dynamically liberated. My colleague also called the Pink Faun's resolution superior to his own Innuos Zenith Mk3 which he found less physically grippy. Did the machines in my room behave similar now?

To check on exactly that, I cued up the boys from the Pure Desmond Quartet which recorded jazzy instrumental covers of James Bond themes with top accuracy. As though through a magnifying glass, the Mu-Se/Dac-Pre captured the tiniest details like the fine brush swirls on the snare drum of "Tomorrow never dies" or the sax's octave-overblown dosage on "No time to die". Such love of resolution created impressive 3D bodies. My Innuous/Rockna alternates didn't play it quite as intense so felt a bit more relaxed or laid back. That implies more forgiveness on lesser productions. But one needn't be a diehard detail freak to enjoy the Acousence combo. Its detail density remains organically embedded. With it there was no doubt that this was a live studio production not one subsequently patched together from many isolated tracks.

I heard less difference on tone colors. Both the Mu-Se and Innous servers expressed a pleasingly natural tonal balance which drifted just minorly into warmth. That meant that Mu-Se and its converter mate which blew essentially the same horn also hit my personal bull's eye. Koschnicke's recording of Swiss composer Daniel Schnyder's 4th String Quartet gets up close and personal with the Belenus players. Such proximity won't prettify anything yet the violins still expressed a finely silken glow. That was neither any mellowing of their overtone energy nor artificial sweetener, just the uncut ability to follow the packed harmonics of premium instruments in a concert venue. This gets never too loud yet remains shockingly incisive, clear but not cool. In the direct A/B, I thought that the loaners' treble was perhaps slightly more emphatic but if so, these were very small offsets.