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The angel's giggle. Going Puritan proved to be a blatant bust. The Quantum Field and active DC/AC filter were hopelessly entangled. One had to go or this gig was up. Enter Furutech's RTP-6, a passive power bar with six unfiltered outlets. Listening to that for half an hour established the new baseline. It was less dynamic and a bit leaner than the actively filtered sound had been. Once I had my markers, the BOP plugged in. So did three wrapped QF leads, into it; two spiraled around Crystal Cable Ultra cords to the transport and DAC, one twisted up a LessLoss C-MARC Entropic Process to power the integrated.
BOP's power adaptor next to the Furutech power bar
Suddenly the sound took a clear course correction into the organic. This was akin to switching from a good passive preamplifier that's all about speed and lucidity to a superior active. Things flesh out to bloom and enhance gravitationally. And, relative to SPL each system has a beauty zone. Below it begins boredom. Things wash out. As levels diminish, sonics get progressively paler and leaner. Playing above basically gets too loud. That's the range of first strain then pain. With three 1-meter power cords injected with a low DC voltage, my beauty zone expanded. I could play demonstrably louder thus push upward the threshold at which first tinges of strain had signaled before. Think onset of compression effects; how first hints of hardness and glare creep into vocal peaks to get edgy.
In the overlay, the LED end of the QF cable velcro'd to the power cord of the Bakoon
That's why as the opposite of synthetic—the fake sheen of a polyester coat, the perennial staleness of a silk flower—organic seems best to catch the overall effect. So it wasn't about higher pixel count or crisper outlines. It was about plumping up the 'tone balls' as though all the sounds had just come back from lunch. At the same time it wasn't a shift in tonal balance, just enhanced gravitas from greater substance and a certain subtle softness. Somewhere in the midst of processing these benefits, the devil must have lost hope. My right shoulder was suddenly unencumbered. Time to unwrap the power cords, return to bypass, then try out high-level signal cables and low level. This spiraled me into a downward trajectory. As current flow weakened, so did my ability to be sure of the effect. It seemed to fade in lockstep. The benefit to our Black Cat Cable Lupo speaker cables was less than it had been for the three power cords. The single pair of Grimm Audio interconnects was a truly weak show. The singular Black Cat Cable Trøn 75Ω digital cable got entirely lost in the imaginary realm. Forget colored LEDs altogether.
The devil back to collect his dues. The triangular point of his red tail itemized complaints in staccato bursts. Too expensive. Without hesitation, the angel agreed. Reliant on passive power distributors. The angel nodded. Too tweaky. She rolled up her eyes. Hello? We all knew this going in. At best marginal with anything but power cords. To your ears perhaps. You're living too dark. Clearly nothing to write home about. You call yours home?
Leaving that heavenly jab unanswered, the sulfuric one flew a brief victory lap through the room, then departed through the window to join the zigzagging swallows.
That left a luminous being. The power-cord thing really was impressive. That combination sounded better than your active conditioner. Surely you heard that? I nodded. (We communed telepathically as befits advanced beings.) Of course your Puritan costs less than half. Indeed. So all's good with the world. More money, better sound. You didn't think it all a bit… counter-clockwise screwy? When has that ever stopped extremist audiophiles? Never. Quite the contrary. Has writing about this now made me one of them? Would that be so bad? Be thyself. Let the chips fall where they may. Grow a pair. Excellent advice. I felt myself stretching southward. I had no idea angels paid attention to… them.
With that hoary bit of support, the light being flitted about the room in approval, then disappeared. I was alone.
In that state, isn't one supposed to speak and think in one voice, not two or three? And for a spot of bother, some readers, after a review, invariably—cough—ask me what I really thought. Best not rely on two mythical beings then. On sheer sonics, the €800 Furutech + €3'300 BOP had outperformed the €1'450 Puritan Audio Labs PSM156 whilst also nixing surge/spike security. That gain simply felt disproportionately dear when ~€2'600 buys you a pair of stellar 250-watt Kinki Studio monoblocks. Be it BOP's perfectionist build for a very small box and/or desire to amortize eight long years of R&D, today's tag was a real stumper.
Wrapped speaker cables.
That active power filters seem counter productive could decimate by half the small part of the audience which hasn't blinked yet. Once one's most responsive cables are wrapped, careful dressing of the extra QF cable lengths minimizes rack clutter. Wrapping/unwrapping cables and velcro'ing off ends is more of a twiddle when still comparing with/without through all one's options. Permanently installed, things can be very tidy indeed. The big open question remains whether the same couldn't be achieved for/with less. Should my experience duplicate elsewhere, one might prefer BOP-issued power cords with built-in DC wiring. That would terminate in a small plug to connect a far shorter umbilical to the power source. I'm wondering whether Titan Audio's ForceField won't be that, exactly. In fact, to take the Quantum Field concept to its logical conclusion, I see a passive BOP power distributor with built-in DC cell. Adjacent to each of its power socket sits a DC mini plug. Matching power cords with built-on DC wiring at the perfect turns ration/pitch feature a few centimeters of exposed DC lead. Voilà, no extras boxes. No excess wiring. No visible velcro. All parameters locked in exactly as intended by the designer.
In closing, after two decades on the job, BOP's Quantum Field from South Korea still made me walk on the wild side. Particularly for higher-current cables like power cords, there really does seem to be something to this outré concept. Consider myself duly tweaked and put on notice.
Thinking of the angel: Yes, ma'm!
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