KO in the first round: the butcher of Stoke Row. Reviews aren't blood sports; at least not in hifi. Occasionally though, disparity is such that virtual blood does spilleth. That was the case next. Common sense predicted as much but actually hearing it still found its mark. Ouch. With these true ribbon headphones acting as floating dipoles without any magnets between ear and foil, there's no typical energy storage. As such measured impulse response is super clean to mean lightning-fast rise and settle times. Meanwhile the transducer's very low resonant frequency makes for ferocious dynamics within centimeters off your pink bits. That dynamic acceleration now punched up further. Simultaneously, sweetness and elegance replaced what previously could border on the ruthless and mechanical. The entire topic of annoying edge pixilation with its glittery but nervy metallic attributes too vanished on poorer recordings.

Soundaware A280 as SD card transport ⇒ COS Engineering D1 as DAC/pre ⇒ Job 225 ⇒ Raal Requisite interface ⇒ SR1a, all Crystal Cable silver wiring.

On good recordings like the 24/96 production Sounds of Mirrors by Dhafer Youssef, the attributes of tonal effulgence—what Jonathan Scull at Stereophile dubbed mellifluousness—manifested in earnest. If we consult our trusty dictionary, it tells us that the word means having a smooth rich flowing voice; or being filled with something sweet like honey for a mellifluous confection. The inevitable conclusion of the PSM156's contributions over the unmentionable strip was that music minus innate electrical noise minus its intermodulations with the signal becomes/is naturally sweet. 

That one also hears more finery like the onset of faint pulsing in the endless guitar pedal at 0:22 goes without saying. But rather than stop there with the clichéd cleaner window on the music, the more valuable and foundational win was the shift back into music's inherent sweetness. Unless it's an electric guitar in deep overdrive, a wailing Scottish bag pipe or certain onsets of strain, that's actually what most instruments and voices really sound like. It"s not a function of tube-derived harmonic distortion either. And in case you wondered about that byline of Stoke Row, it's the location of the business park where Puritan Audio Laboratories operate. If you bring something cheap and nasty to this fight like I did here, their best will really butcher it soundly like a sudden-death KO 13 seconds into it. It's colorful language but the performance delta does invite it. Which makes for an opportune break to state that on case construction, this Puritan box does it thinner and ringier than stouter items like the just-reviewed GigaWatt with its beefier panels, thicker sheets and damping liners. With GigaWatt's top cord, their PC-3 SE EVO+ also gets €8'310 or nearly six times as much. That €6'860 difference might well make for a far more substantial audible upgrade when applied to a new set of speakers and/or a superior amplifier. Allocating advanced power-delivery funds beyond today's subject should, I believe, depend squarely on the maturity of one's system. Until everything else is already loaded up to the max of one's needs and fiscal ability, spending more on a six-outlet AC/DC filter that is as effective as today's and includes surge/lightning protection just might be overkill. In the context of the first two setups I used here, I'd certainly not spend more.

Where to go from here? I contacted Mike to suggest that if he could dispatch a 3-metre power cord, I still had our 2-channel video and main stereo systems to test. I'd simply not paid sufficient attention to ask for that upfront. "I can now rectify an error on my account. Although the 2m lead is standard in the box, for all units supplied direct from the factory I always ask for the customer's ideal lead length which we accommodate. Apologies that I neglected to check with you if a different length would be better." I also wondered whether he could include their simpler AC/DC-filtering power strip to have me report on how far that keeps up with their big boy for those who wish to spend less.

"I will get a Nema socket DC strip built tomorrow. All its output sockets now have the 15A path to them, with 15 amperes being the overall limit for all outputs combined as its big brother. The supplied £675 PS106-DC power strip also has the new non-sacrificial gas voltage spike clamps. The current uprating is not yet reflected on the top print as we are awaiting fresh front-plate metal work."