The slick new pair went straight into our big system. Here it was fronted by an iMac with Audirvana feeding locally hosted files via USB to a Soundaware D300Ref. That passed on reclocked digital data as I²S over HDMI to a Denafrips Terminator DAC with 32 x upsampler engaged to 1'411.2kHz. Now the signal saw the analog gain and attenuator of Vinnie Rossi's L2 with Elrog ER50 7V direct-heated triodes before (cough) being converted back to digital inside the speaker. My first rounds thus used the Stereo 3's analog XLR inputs. Subsequent sessions would try AES/EBU digital. With background hum fully eliminated as promised, it was all systems go. The preamp's volume sat noticeably higher than it normally does. I wondered whether Jorge's noise-elimination mod had lowered his input sensitivity.

Despite elite direct-heated/coupled triodes in the signal path, their usual contributions of textural elasticity and lengthier decays were utterly dominated/overlaid by full-bandwidth damping so typical for class D with massive negative feedback. This netted a far drier more mechanical and somewhat monochromatic sound than the exact same front end gives on all passive speakers using external class A/B amps. This clamp down was most easily demonstrated on tracks which are unusually ripe with decays. I used some to the tune of double or triple reflections where the recording/mastering engineers applied excessive reverb. With the Stereo 3, the faintest outermost of these Saturnian echo rings around a voice which all our speakers and headphones show to varying resolution degrees were effectively attenuated to below audibility. The Sotto Voce clearly stripped out certain between-the-notes stuff. I was left with a very clean very sorted replica of our usual sonics, albeit also with decidedly less color, more grey and far more temporal rigidity.

I've read of vinyl lovers who digitize records and find arm/cartridge difference to migrate intact through their A/D converter.

I've read about owners of different DAC who say likewise when running them into active DSP speakers. John Darko over at has made many such comparisons.

The upshot is a suggestion. Modern A/D conversion has become so transparent that such differences translate through subsequent D/A conversion. Was the categorical wipe-out of my costly DHT traits due to Jorge's class D electronics or the process of digitizing them?

To learn more, I had to enter digitally and compare. For that I used the AES/EBU output of our Soundaware D300Ref D/D converter attenuated by Audirvana's 64-bit digital volume over USB.

Ncore Fusion plate amps feature channel assignation switches. Those let their DSP know which data of the incoming 2-channel digital signal to send to what speaker. Jorge's doesn't. One looks instead at the serial number which identifies left/right units with an L and R. Set up accordingly, it matters not which channel connects directly to your source, which gets signal from the other speaker's pass-thru as in this image. To switch the Stereo 3 from analog to digital operation, one inserts a fine-tipped screw driver into a hole to trigger a hidden switch. With Audirvana's volume linked to my iMac's USB infrared receiver and Apple remote, I had from-the-seat control. On classical, I needed a cut of -18dB or more; on standard productions of far less dynamic range, -30dB or more. That was significant digital cut with its associated rounding errors. How did it compare to going in analog?

Digital direct could not overwrite the stiffer, paler more monochromatic character of the Sotto Voce. Alas, it did sound better than analog; fuller and a bit warmer. Our elite Denafrips Terminator DAC, Vinnie Rossi linestage, Elrog ER50, two Allnic power cords and matching set of Mu-metal shielded interconnects thus all exited stage left. So did ~€27'000 of associated expense. With that money long gone, arrivederci!