Breaking in any component is always an exercise in patience and the Consummate required considerably more of either than I can remember with the original Perfect and Ultimate (25-50 hours recommended). Upon initial insertion, the system noise floor reduced immediately but the overall tonal balance somewhat skewed towards the mid bass. That abated over the break-in period to settle into a weighting more into neutral territory, slightly richer than Ultimate and closer to Perfect. Hot swapping from that point forward yielded consistent and repeatable results.

The basic system changes retained all the familiar traits. There was the same startling drop in noise to increase low-level detail against a quiet pitch-dark background. Recorded room reverberations and spatial cues gained contrast. High-frequency grit disappeared. Dynamic range grew from the lowering of the noise floor to build more detail and dynamic nuance which gave orchestral lines vivid contrast, bounce and life. Where the Perfect was good already and the Ultimate somewhat superior, the Consummate carved out new turf.

It was capable of removing even more noise artifacts, allowing the system to process cleaner frequency and spatial information. There were subtle improvements over the Ultimate in the handling of high and low data. Tiny amounts of grit vanished from instruments like violin and horn without sacrificing detail or dynamic nuance. The mild shift in tonal balance accompanied by increased detail enhancement afforded the lower mids and below greater mass and insight.