Aromas. Playing musical chairs included observations from a parallel review on Cen.Grand's DSDAC 1.0 Deluxe. I now heard how Corelli firmed up leading-edge grip of a converter which resamples all PCM to high-rate DSD. I'd already done the comparisons between it and our downstairs Dutch Sonnet Pasithea DAC. From that I knew that the luxo Chinese, whilst only subtly, still proudly wears the telltale DSD perfume of slightly mellower grip for more billowy looser imaging that's bigger but not as focused as the pure PCM DAC; and comes with a slightly sweeter minimally diffuse treble. Hearing the DSD machine with/out Corelli showed how the latter's 'ruby dust' notched up attack keenness and image lock. I also found that the 4-inch Mark Audio Alpair aluminium-alloy widebanders in the Korean mini monitors tracked these aspects the most followed by the classic ScanSpeak cellulose mid/woofer of the Acelec then custom bronze/AlNiCo cellulose widebander of the sound|kaos. Purely for the sake of generalities, we might say that Corelli's action is closer to a well-damped metallic/ceramic membrane than paper/plastic variant; and closer to upscale PCM than DSD.
This led to more Corelli correlations. To appreciate them, a small rewind to when a Denafrips Terminator Plus hogged this rack. Because its resolution lagged behind that of the downstairs DAC, I'd opted for a passive-magnetic volume controller to maintain more lucidity. When the Cen.Grand traded places, resolution upped. Because I heard no relevant difference between using the DAC's ladder-on-a-Muses-chip analog volume or the icOn 4Pro's multi-tapped autoformer, I eliminated the latter as superfluous. With Corelli's downshift into higher RPM, I decided on an experiment which hadn't worked that great with the Denafrips. I looped the Vinnie Rossi Signature preamp back in fitted with my favorite direct-heated triodes, Elrog's ER50. It's a kind of 45 on magic mushrooms. Et voilà, I gained its gazelle not elephant infusion of tone textures without complaining about a simultaneous foot on any brake.
The above paragraph contains a virtual depiction of our Shannon river car ferry. That never cuts straight across to County Kerry's Tarbert. Instead it meanders like an Irish drunk; or lazily undulating snake. It seems to depend on captain and weather how much it zigzags. Regardless, it's a good visual for the sonic left/right veering which my hardware shuffles prompted. My steering basically moved along two lines. One was the relative weighting of transient vs. decay, the other between speed and weight to involve tonal balance. I believe that all audiophiles voice their system to these two prime objectives. It's about choice of overall tonal balance (bassy, midrange-centric, lit up) and textural balance (front-loaded on attacks, centered on bloom, rear-loaded on decays). Envision these two lines intersecting like an even cross inside a circle to form quadrants. Getting our sound smack-dab in the center whilst each quadrant is maximally developed is a real artificer's job.
The above grouping gave me the best sound I'd yet made in this room. It packed a full dose of the rhythmic conviction and percussive incisiveness I fancy but traded up on tonal fruitiness and mass. Think fully leathered-up turbo ride. How I got there speaks to my strong conviction that once our personal sonic ideal defines precisely in our inner ear, it takes precious little to upset it; and usually at least one if not multiple counter-steering efforts to insure that certain improvements didn't throw off anything else. Whenever I must pick, I'll always prioritize musical drive over tonal effulgence. I'd rather that occasionally the sound gets coarse and lean than fat and lazy, starchy or syrupy. Like any other greedy listener, ideally of course I want it all. Now the upstairs ticked off all those boxes; with Corelli a well bedded-in clearly vital participant.
True, I had changed three things over how this system started: different DAC, different pre, new AC conditioner. In reviews that's usually komplett verboten. There we're allowed only one change so we credit the right thing for any difference. Yet once that difference has clarified, it makes perfect sense to accommodate it to the max with whatever choices are at hand. Unless reviewers double as store owners to stock deep hardware inventories, those choices are by necessity limited. Still, some of us are deliberately invested in multiples of each category. That and good luck can then hit not only a happy note but a brilliant high C. And yes, today's high C is short for Corelli Corundum; and musical vitamin C for its noise-Calming and Contrast-Clarifying action!
ConClusion. In my book, Akiko's Corelli is an ideal hotrod for any basic outlet multiplier. Think Titan Audio of Northern Ireland to give a quasi domestic a gratuitous plug. Their costliest 6-outlet block is £750. Three models sit below it to start us at £175. So go ahead, add Corelli to a pure passive power bar like I did to a Furutech. No need to splurge on an involved classic caps'n'coils filter. The Dutch addition can make a very noticeable improvement even in a remote location far away from any big city and commercial industry. That I had so not expected from ruddy rubies, creative corundum and other mysteries which require only a curious open-sesame mind to benefit from. To return to my earlier tweak gradient, I heard the Corelli effect on par with active/passive preamp experiments. In such a setting, Corelli would play the passive part. Rather than extra body, dynamics and weight, its action is focused on clarity, noise floor, speed and related energy transmission. Consider me sold. The review sample is staying!
Postscript February 18th 2023: I just became aware of another product in this 'mystery' sector reviewed by Roy Gregory for his own site. It's the Chord Company's PowerAray Professional. It's another parallel AC noise-filtering device with a captive power cord and naught else whose effect is apparently most obvious. Unlike today's, it simply bags from £5'500 to £7'000.
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