A final takeaway from upstairs is the likelihood that our speaker's HF system either magnifies or diminishes the potency of the BlackGround's ministrations. You already know that Sven Boenicke and I both heard removal of treble grit as its primary expression. It's sensible then that a more resolved dynamic tweeter would show more of this difference. Qualio's IQ downstairs runs a particularly insightful, materialized, expressive and airy tweeter system by combining two dipole drivers. A 6" SB Acoustics Satori midrange good to 15kHz fades out electrically at 8kHz on a shallow 1st-order slope. An elite Mundorf open-backed AMT comes in on a 2nd-order slope also at 8kHz. One flat, one pleated, both openly bi-directional, this tweeter combo moves real air and lacks all remnants of box talk. It's flatly superior to my upstairs solution. I suspect it's why in our main system, the BlackGround laid even deeper tracks than in the secondary one. I still had to learn whether moving the box back downstairs but not plugging it in would cause the shallower tracks I was after there. But first, how about leaving the BlackGround plugged in upstairs while I listened to the big system?

BlackGround & BlackBody

That definitely didn't reset the downstairs sound to 'without' but more probably halved the dose over hosting the BlackGround there. From that it's clear that while this mystery box has no convenient on/off switch, there is a dimmer 'switch' called proximity. Since there's no more to it than personal experiments which can do no wrong, nothing more warrants saying. Trust your ears. How hard is that? How about being plugged in or not? Somewhere in the vicinity of being plugged in upstairs while checking the downstairs sound. Removing the electrical AC connection is the second dimmer 'switch'. The delay after such changes makes it difficult to assign hard how-much figures. But there's no doubt that relative proximity plus plugged in or not are the two means whereby a BlackGround owner can set dosage; and that at its maximum—plugged in and right adjacent to the source component—a 24-hour come-on-song period will have changed your tone textures and related perceptions in dead-obvious ways. Which leaves us where, exactly? Six simple bullet points is what:

1/ the BlackGround works, period.
2/ the effect's particulars mirror prior LessLoss inventions like the Firewall for Loudspeakers and AC line conditioner but at higher potency.
3/ the published explanations for what the BlackGround does will predictably arch eyebrows and cause cacophonous coughs.
4/ regardless of 3/, there's the immovable 1/.
5/ to rub salt into the wounds of protest, the effect is very obvious and significant.
6/ for more salt, the full effect takes time to saturate and desaturate so rapid A/B are impossible. Anyone not trusting their aural memory across a 24-hour span will thus be at not less but a total loss.

With Aurai Audio Z165

In closing, the LessLoss BlackGround is a bona fide invention. How close or not its MO comes to the designer's cosmic radiation concept has no bearing on its effectiveness. Listeners who appreciate the sonic changes described will do themselves a serious disservice if they shun this device just because it seems implausible or guarantees to undermine their audiophile cred. If you still worry about what others think; or to benefit from something you don't understand – then this isn't for you. Reviewers could worry over having visiting gear bask in the BlackGround's glow to misappropriate praise. If without it a speaker for example sounds rather more coarse, wouldn't it be a disservice to readers who'll hear it without LessLoss makeover to have a BlackGround anywhere near a review system? This question and its implications are as good a place as any to pull out today's end stop. This has been a meandering albeit very deserving story. As more user/review feedback collects, the concept's otherness will fade just as it did with Franck Tchang's acoustic resonators, cryogenics and sundry initially 'out there' processes or devices. I needn't understand how a car works to benefit from owning one. Likewise for all other conveniences and appliances of modern living.

Why erect an artificial barrier around hifi then?

LessLoss respond: Our thanks to Srajan for sharing his direct experience with the novel BlackGround 10x Power Base. Although I find some of my own email interaction with Srajan embedded in the article itself which serves well to offer a kind of dialogue style to the presentation, given how obviously non-standard and unexpected some of the behavioral features of the 10x BlackGround are, I will add one more. This regards the conclusion of the article which raises the point that such a device left in the household of a professional reviewer would be sure to skew all future perception of various test gear going in and out.

Louis Motek in jest: "I was wondering whether to submit a combo all at once (10x Power Base and two mono 10x Speaker Base all in one shipment) so that you seriously ponder what form your retirement may take…"
Srajan: "Retirement? What's that? This is my retirement and has been for many years already. I do what I love; and still work on getting better at it. What else would I do? There might be something else, I just don't know yet what…."
Louis Motek in loving jest: "What your readers do. Become audiophiles!"

This is the problem with a powerful technology such as this. Its real-world results are founded on more fundamental realities than those normally addressed by typical on/off switches and point-to-point signal paths following wires as if they were pipes carrying water. They can be clearly appreciated to act because the local grid is mutual to the entire house's in-wall wiring. So it's actually better for a job centering on day-to-day reporting on equipment and cable changes not to have it anywhere in the house! To some extent, our perception of external events is always time delayed. It always takes more than one cycle of disturbance to establish its character. If we artificially cut off all leading edges, we'd be left with the audible sensation that basically all instruments sound rather like a clarinet. If we truncated all tails from all notes, it'll seem like every instrument sounds like raindrops.

If we zoom into the micro short-duration impulses, we perceive the fine detail and structure of individual leading edges which are short transients. If we add randomness to the original purity, we perceive it as a sort of indecision. We can't discern attack details which make one transient different from others. For example fine drumming will sound less expressively rich and more like a mechanical drum machine, a mere clock monotonously ticking time away. If we zoom out to the macro longer-time durations, we have all the tail-end information of complex fading sounds melding with the silence of the acoustical environment in which a recording was made. These events are much longer than the short transient of strikes and bow attacks. If we add randomness to this purity, it creates a perception rather like fogginess of place or space. It becomes harder to see how musicians or tone engineers use the interplay between signal tails and venue to turn even acoustic space into a musical participant of the total expression. This aesthetic then corrupts into a sort of foggy less telling perception of both. The last glimmer of reverb is truncated in the noisy fog and we lose the rock-solid sensation that music is unfolding in the stability of time.

An analogy for these two contrasting 'zoom factors' can be found in our day-to-day decision making. Decisions are made all the time both small and large. If our mind is cloudy and we are less aware, some amount of random thought always pollutes our decision making. The smaller decisions of our daily lives will be more haphazard. This can be as simple as a poorly chosen word. Our larger more global decisions will also suffer as our bird's eye view of a situation will be impaired by noisy thought. Stripping away noise from our audio is much like cleansing mental randomness. We'll always have it and will never be completely quiet but through learning to self-reflect and ponder our former self as it relates to our present, we definitely grow to raise our internal signal-to-noise ratios by putting this stream of random thought noise gently to the side of our decision making without making a big fuss about it.

Likewise the BlackGround elegantly deals with a substantial bulk of cosmic random particle interaction which constantly brings randomness to our prized signals, both leading edge and tail ends equally. With this elegantly dealt with, we can more easily get on with the good stuff, the prized stuff, the wonder of musical expressiveness. We needn't strain as much to maintain focus and work mental overtime to glean what this or that phrase, this or that nuance actually is. Now it just appears or floats there like a 3D sculpture to which we gain more direct access to more appreciatively marvel at. This is what the audiophile in us wants; a kind of decision-free environment in which the music freely speaks to us most naturally without us needing to get mentally in the way. – Louis Motek