It suggests that David Berning had clear knowledge on just what would isolate that desired aspect. Did chasing specs in a musty old vacuum tube resource identify the ideal long-discontinued valve that would lock in the new quality in his unconventional circuit? If so, it begs for a brief intermission. Let's stop to consider the upshot. Most of us stumble around in at best twilight to conduct accidental nip'n'tuck cosmetic surgery. Our coarse implements are component swaps, cable wrangling and footsies play. More adventurous types simply install a computer plug-in to perform parametric EQ in DSP. Similarly, the best audio engineers have their own virtual dials and sliders. They know which parts to swap, which circuit junction to manipulate to hit X marks the spot without losing anything in trade. At least the precision whereby UL adds that one softer quality without resetting other LTA aspects strongly suggests that Berning was in possession of that elusive map. Robinson Crusoe's bandana!

To have you hit X not Y or Z, I must describe the correct softness. A bit of morning mist is one form of optical softness. In the extreme case, it's the classic movie scene. A boat lost at sea approaches a secret island. First you see nothing but mist. Then vague shapes appear. Now there's the obligatory sea gull above. Soon shapes gain firmer outlines still bereft of proper detail fill. Then the mist vanishes, the sun breaks through. Voilà, salvation and coconuts, crusty Cap'n Bligh be damned.

UL's softness involves zero mist. So strike any fogginess. But our movie scene also involved shrinking distance. Even without mist, vision sharpens as we approach. That's how in reverse, UL's softness operates. It just doesn't create more distance to lengthen our subjective observer perspective. We get the result of such softness without the usual process. Without moving the soundstage away from our chair, we still gain the softer transients as though we sat farther back. This occurs well within our virtual sight's perfect focus. We sacrifice zero clarity or detail. Hence the prior intermission. To change just one quality without upsetting others which usually tie to it really was a true master's stroke, of advanced audio know-how applied with surgical precision. To a reviewer hoping to add something useful to a maker's own propaganda, perhaps—yousa—contradict it even… it's also a pain in the wrist and massive letdown. "What they said. Take it to the bank. Then pay up if you must."

The end?

With Soundaware D100Pro SD card transport, Kinki Studio DAC and Acelec Model One monitor speakers.

What self-respecting scribe would give up so easily?