With the Source I enjoyed a fly-on-strings view on his fingering. As though under a microscope, I could hear the smallest nuances and effects. Even better, this was effortless without feeling spot-lit. And that approached the squaring of the circle. Extreme precision met musical flow to avoid devolving into clinical vivisection. A reality check against my C.E.C. CD5 only showed minimal deviation, perhaps from its ESS Sabre chip or different driver stage. With matched dynamics, the €3'700 CD5 exhibited a tick more treble presence though not necessarily any extra micro resolution.

Another new-found musicbook strength was grooving/timing. The Source was quick. Other kit is too but experience shows that much of it has an easier time of it in the mids and highs. Take U2's "Love comes tumbling" from their Wide awake in America EP. Nearly the entire track floats atop's Adam Clayton's very imaginative bass lines. The songwriting itself is more basic. Verse and refrain mostly make do with two shimmering chords. The action and story line are in the bass, again with different techniques spanning classic walking bass to accents to soft slapping and playing on the highest string.

Lindemann's Source followed it all without missing a beat. Whether Clayton hammered the longest string or went walkabout on the shortest, I lost no sight of any of it. The song stayed in the pocket to communicate. Granted, here amps and speakers have a bigger impact but sources still exert an influence. The Pioneer N-50 network player's bass is more home-baked and gemütlich. It prevents this cut from truly singing as it ought to. And yes, at €600 it also wants a lot less. The Lindemann reminded me of Perreaux's €2'900 Audiant DP32 which likewise combined impeccable tonal balance with top-shelf microdynamics for easy yet exquisite listening pleasures.

Where the Source turned a new page was on soundstaging. Depth layering and lateral mapping gained in precision over the musicbook versions of my prior acquaintance. The virtual stage still began right behind the speakers and horizontal expanse didn't change. But two things improved. Certain sounds located more specifically. Return to Dire Straits with "Telegraph Road" from Love over Gold. Once the drums enter, there are conga beats halfway over to the right surrounded by delay and reverb. Those map out not just laterally but also in depth. They originate significantly behind the lead guitar but still in front of the synth strings which carry over from the intro before fading out after two minutes. This extra imaging precision mirrored the microdynamic gains. It was easy to follow but didn't lose the bigger plot. This serves two kinds of listeners: the detail freaks and the recliner types. My C.E.C. cast its stage with less depth. Where the Lindemann clearly illuminated the far corners, the Japanese faded a bit.