In the next system, I marked all tweaks as those items without which sound would go on even if far from as good. What's still MIA is a performance rack like the inbound Hifistay Mini. With that or something equivalent—and given that this living space won't tolerate acoustic room treatments—I'd consider it a book-closed example; of having (most) everything already. One could swap components ad infinitum. But realistically, all primary, secondary and tertiary bases are covered; and according to my ears, budget and room, well.

The implication is obvious. When building a system, actual sound-producing stuff is handled first and should be to our overall satisfaction so the foundation is solid. That means source, amplification, speakers and the necessary cables between them. Sound-improving stuff comes later. Here it's sensible to start with the most potent tweaks. Leave the final polishing with subtler tweaks for much later. If you're the kind of audiophile who already has most everything, perhaps cast your eye at an X7-DDC pronto. If you're still struggling with your amp/speaker combo or space, don't. Big problems don't leave enough room for little improvements to matter.

Here we see the fully blacked-out board which the chassis skylight looks onto though its parts are clearly meant to remain unidentified; and two sample-rate converter modules based on Asahi Kasei AKM 4137EQ chips. Those are 32-bit/768kHz compliant, claim dynamic range of 186dB and have a built-in PCM-to-DSD conversion function. Elsewhere I saw a BurrBrown 4192 digital transmitter, two Suntec BS0663R IC and two Pulse Electronics 65968NL signal transformers, an ARM processor plus assorted caps and voltage regulators.

With the English owner's manual still in the works, I didn't know the function of these dip switches. Because JAVS hadn't included a second umbilical for the Clean Power, I'd have to wait before I could run it on both DDC and DAC. I alerted my contact Gunhee and asked about the switches.

"There are two modes, JAVS and PS. They controlled the I²S pin configuration. The JAVS position is for the X7-DAC MQA. PS was intended for PS Audio-type pin assignments but has since been defeated due to remaining incompatibilities. Perhaps future production eliminates the switches altogether." As they're no longer needed, that would be sensible.