For audiophiles and music lovers who love to read...
Today's entire gig centers on what if any difference this low-noise linear supply made over the stock Sunny Computer Technology Europe switching brick from the Czech Republic but made in China. The speakers got signal from my Win10/64 work station through Audirvana Origin or Qobuz Sublime both in exclusive access mode over USB out into a Singxer SU-2 bridge outputting S/PDIF into the right master speaker.
As I heard them, the main benefits of LHYing were twofold. One was general so gestalt based and most obvious in the extreme nearfield of the desktop. The other was specific so most noted across a particular band. The wholesale change was a more tacit sense of serene calm as though subliminal sizzle in a hot pan had quieted down. Accepted hifi lingo refers to it as grit. It's a certain metallic flavor more easily noted when it leaves. Massed strings tend to be very sensitive to its presence. They sound noticeably more natural in its absence. Perhaps the best word for the switcher's key signature outed by contrast is wiry. With it the tunes felt wirier. They were slightly more on edge/etch. Something clearly relaxed whenever I connected the Linear PSU. On the more specific sonic score sat a more elucidated sophisticated treble. It was more brilliant, crystalline and decayed longer like on those glittering sympathetic strings of Jasdeep Singh Degun's sitar on his fabulous Anomaly album. With the stock supply, high tones and overtones were dirtier, wet atmospherics of lazily fading treble reflections more damped so drier. On recordings with overt venue ambience, the LHY acted a bit like lights in the far reaches of the soundstage coming on. The audibility of space as mapped by HF reflections lit up.
Exceptionally pure voices like Debipriya Das's and Yarlinie Thana's on "Sajanava" which execute very little vibrato show up even very fine intrusions of electronic sand. It shouldn't be there but if our gear creates it, we no longer detect it. Our ear/brain has learnt how to overlook it. We've long since tuned it out. That's why it's most easily caught when it suddenly disappears for a spell, then returns. In the reappearance we now sense it as a subtle chafing. What should be smooth and without grain grows microscopic grit like very fine sandpaper. A woman might say it's like kissing one-day stubble.
A side effect of this and the associated wiriness was that particularly synth bass felt slightly more shredded. With the Linear PSU that too relaxed to give up some agitated tension. I can imagine some listeners preferring the 'full-on class D' effect especially with electronica.
Linear vs switching power supply of identical rating.
If my descriptions don't suggest a night-became-day revelation, it's because actual changes were rather finer. It simply made them no less relevant. In some ways they paralleled what upgrading to a beryllium or diamond tweeter accomplishes. By shifting first breakup modes to 50kHz or 75kHz, the treble loses the grit which a titanium dome that breaks up at 23kHz will inject into the audible range via intermodulation. A superior tweeter doesn't magically extend our human hearing. It simply purifies the range we do hear. The LHY LPS160VA had some of that impact. Good luck chasing it with actual diamond domes. They'd cost you at least an extra zero. As to the greater calm, that paralleled upgraded digital where ultrasonic noise pollution is shown a locked door. The musical gestalt is allowed to relax and a typical phrase for the overall feel thereof is 'more organic'.
Not bad for a tempestuous predator with prominent dagger teeth, huh? Beneath the killer Tigerfish veneer really hides a golden koi it seems. And to revisit the undead imagery, I never did get this heart to even six beats per minute. In all my use the Linear PSU stayed frosty like Lestat and his new-fanged friends. In my book that makes this LHY a very commendable vampire fish indeed. "Look ma, I reeled one in. Can you make it for dinner?"
In speaker mode, only the top smsl SD-9 SD transport is active. The Schiit Jotunheim R beneath it and the Auralic Vega on the bottom are for the headfi of Raal-Requisite SR1a.
Postscript. After making arrangements for my sample to ship back to Singapore, I had one of those in-the-shower moments. Didn't I have an unused coaxial output in my bedside headfi; and room on the lowboy? Yes to both. So I cancelled my pickup request with Vincent and asked for an invoice instead. Why not have tigerfish for dinner on a regular basis?
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