Olé, Oleh. His pointers proved to the point. I'd heard the same wide off-axis radiation countering typical beaming of larger widebanders from the flat even smaller Tangband which Sven Boenicke had used as his tweeter/mid unifier. More unusual on an ultra-wideband amp like the DC-coupled Bakoon with its variable gain factor was fruitiness of tone. I deliberately won't say warmth. It's too often associated with the softness, fuzz and minor indecisiveness of legacy valve amps to have become virtually synonymous. That's not what I heard. The Camerton wrote out the signature extreme openness and suchness we expect from filterless point sources when driven from very fast ultra-resolution amps. What it didn't sign was the small print of prickly thinness, of whitish bleached harmonics and go-nowhere-fast nervousness which routinely happens to typical widebanders. It explains their owners' well-documented preference for slower vintage valve amps by way of compensation.
Of course I knew what Oleh had meant by 'warmth'. I just had to disconnect it from wrong association because it had nothing in common with tube-derived warmth from high THD, phase shift and treble roll-off. My preferred word then is fruitiness. It includes the sweetness which sun-ripened fruit has over green specimens; and the gamut of fruity acids which add far greater flavor complexity than the blunt sweetness of bleached cane sugar ever could. Putting the Binom-1 to the toughest test on that score came from Loussier's Beyond Bach, here with a Baroqoue orchestral Vivaldi track re-imagined for Jazz piano, upright and percussion…
… followed by his brother not in arms but twitchy fingers or golden hands, the Romanian/German Eugen Cicero on his Swinging Tchaikovsky album. "Altfranzösisches Lied" starts off deceptively plain only to morph into a seriously swingé affair of rapidly hammered bluesy chords.
By now your audiophile bullshit detector ought to have gone off like a fire siren.
How could this small driver possibly do justice to the undisputed king of instruments (we'll leave kaiser to the church organ)? That indeed was the big stumper. How could it? How dare it? It should have lacked bandwidth. It should have fallen well short of recreating a believable facsimile of a grand sound board attached to a capacious tone-wood carcass played so percussively. It should have lacked tonal mass. It should have turned the upper right-hand exploits into tinkly fakes and exaggerated the metallic aspects. On why and how it didn't, Oleh had to spill his beans. Without them, nobody would believe anything else I'd have to say even though I still scaled up Bakoon's minimalist two transistors per channel to a full twenty by way of our Pass Labs XA-30.8 class A behemoth.
Once those push/pull banks had come up to temperature, they added more gravitas to the pianists' left hands and upright bass companions. What they didn't add was raw bandwidth. Tone grew a bit heavier, electrifying immediacy aka subjective speed took a hit in trade. If I lived with the Binom-1 in this particular room over the long haul where lower SPL and simpler music dominate—I prefer bigger physical space to go with musical bombast—I'd stick to the Bakoon. Obviously the Camerton couldn't move anywhere near the amount of air the open-baffle Diesis Ludos just then downstairs did with its dual 10" per side. In the upstairs setup, that was advantageous to keep things crystal. Where the ex Ukrainians retaliated was with rather more specific layering/sorting, greater micro detail and, again, that uncut directness being closer to superior planar headfi at centimetres off our ear drums to delete the room from the equation. Having the Raal Requisite SR1a true-ribbon floating baffle earspeakers in the same room, they were a direct and fitting reference. Considering that the Bakoon/Binom pairing didn't sit on my ears, it really wasn't far off on that count though soundstage scale was obviously enormous compared to headfi.
The takeaway of facts from my first sessions thus bullet-points like so:
• superlative soundstaging with extreme localization focus and very specific layering
• a tangible sense of feeling very intimate and connected with the music as though intermediate 'buffering' layers had been stripped away
• bass reach of what an 8" woofer would typically do combined with the pitch accuracy and cat-paw quickness of small 5.25" woofers
• treble reach perfectly on par with typical 1" dome tweeters but with superior dynamics in the lower treble
• a curious absence of expected tonal thinness unless it was so recorded
• no expected rear port issues which, in this room and with this speaker placement, had cropped up with other speakers
• 25wpc were perfectly sufficient and for the majority of the tunes, the gain decider sat at ~25-35 out of a possible 50.
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