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Another catch-all descriptor for our German is precise. We can dig deep into any album and perceive clear intelligible detail without getting analytical. Nuance is simply obvious just as we may easily admire the smallest brush strokes in an old master's painting; if we wish. The MusicBook never forgot the forest for the trees. Musical pleasure was either simple flow or admiring the fullness of microdynamic hues. That's a difficult balance not all machines manage; or only at higher prices. If that suggests a refined aesthete without macrodynamic gumption, wrong. Perfect proof to the contrary came from Light Asylum's "Shallow Tears". This sadly little-known Brooklyn duo only published the one eponymous 2012 album, an awesome mix of Wave, Synth Pop, Funk, Soul and low-pitched female voice reminiscent of Yazoo's Alison Moyer. The "Shallow Tears" single dishes out brutal percussive dynamics and fat synth pedals topped by Shannon Funchess' nearly operatic song. Et voilà, energy, Mr. Scott! Drums kicked me hard in the gut, vocals communed with my soul. Bass reached very low which factored again on "Other Voices" from The Cure's legendary Faith album. Despite its low budget, the production values of this now 41-year old effort were far ahead of their times and still impress today with infra bass and a cool, crystalline nearly clinical atmosphere. The Source II contoured Simon Gallup's bass with adroit precision. Even extreme sub bass attacks like on the XX's "A violent noise" from their 2017 album I see you didn't fold but stayed solid.
It's the lower mids which set our perception of warmth and substance. Here too our German practiced the textbook ideal of neutrality. Unlike my beloved McIntosh kit, I heard no tendency to ponce out but still sufficient flesh on the ribs to satisfy the pleasure crowd. For vocals I love to test with London Grammar songs and Hannah Reid's exceptional pipes. I heard emotional conviction and lovely tone color without edginess. The treble too expressed high resolution and lucidity but here stepped off the straight 'n' narrow of strict neutrality. 'Forward' overwrites so I'll pick a bit lighter and fresher if never hard. Long-term suitability wasn't impacted nor extensive headfi at higher SPL.
The soundstage ended laterally slightly outside the speakers and, unusually, its final row coincided quite precisely with the base line between the speakers. This didn't nix depth layering because lots happened in front of the speakers. Instruments outlined clearly in space, located precisely and didn't hesitate to occasionally approach the listener. With clear near/far distinctions, this type projection maintained the 3D impression just set it forward. It didn't tale long to appreciate that the Power II 1000 amp followed the same blueprint of quick, dynamic and clear. Little surprise that this registered unmistakably lighter and more energetic than my McIntosh integrated. In part the Lindemann stack reminded me of a €13'500 Devialet 400 I owned a few years back. In tandem with my already highly resolved Martin Logan e-stats, I admit to favoring my rounder warmer McIntosh but change speakers and this could easily flip.
As a stack, the Source/Power II two-some lines up not just cosmetically. For ~€7K this is a complete system. Just add boxes and a turntable if desired. Since the amp got quite warm—not enough to fry eggs but sufficient to warm my hands after a winter walk—one might simply decide against actually stacking. My initial argh had long since morphed to applause to conclude in 'small but with class'. It's nearly cliché but these two cigar boxes dressed in rakish aluminium skirts weighing a few kg/ea. performed like real heavyweights with a dancer's reflexes. The MusicBook Source II CD impressed with its dynamic naturalism, absence of hardness and ability to track even the very lowest bass. Deviating just slightly from flatlined neutrality was the treble's extra whisker of freshness. I thought this balance ideal to speak to the high-rez and musicality crowds alike and don't know of competition that would embarrass it. This machine represents the opposite of the old ideal of big heavy hifi which dominated the room. The same helds true for the Power II 1000 which matched visually and sonically. With such power reserves even demanding speakers should fully express their dynamic abilities.
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