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Particularly with higher doses however, this remedy is believed to render sonics harder, sterner or somehow more artificial. Such stigmatisation Densen seems committed to avoid like the plague. To likewise shun hum, hiss and borderline distortion then requires high-quality parts with tight tolerances. As German import house Connect Audio believes, no feedback is a reason—if not the reason—that all their Danish electronics from Esbierg share the same musical and naturally relaxed voicing. We’ll leave promises there and judgment to your scribe.

The CD player—which diets exclusively on audio CDs and not MP3 or otherwise compressed data—naturally benefits from the Danes’ power fetish as well. Fed from a butter-cookie-jar-sized trafo, there are four rectifying stages for the processor, digital output, analog output stage and D/A converter respectively. The latter is shrouded in mystery. Not only is it tucked beneath a metal cover nicely engraved with the company logo, Sillesen remains mum on algorithms. 24-bit math is all he’s prepared to share. Not a lot of detail and presumably nothing the competition couldn’t do just as well.

Our Northern lights entrust the control logic for most the vital functions only to their own software. This is required to kill the mild operational noise of Samsung’s DVD drive—also encased in its own metal sub enclosure—and to further reduce jitter. For connectivity, the player gets two paralleled RCA outputs and one BNC S/PDIF. XLRs are anathema to Densen. Thomas Sillesen categorically considers symmetrical circuits inherently compromised because “the necessary counter-phase signal is never perfectly inverted”. That would cause its own distortions. DenLink comes with the player as well and the converter and output boards are modular. They can be upgraded to make the B-420 approach the bigger B-440 machine.

No stock remote, Gizmo optional? If you’ve stumbled over that fact already, you might question whether it’s a good idea or Danish cheapskatery. I see it as perfectly consistent with the modular approach that prevails throughout the company’s entire catalogue. While €220 isn’t chopped liver for a remote, Gizmo isn’t just a looker. For one, no more drained batteries. What’s more, Gizmo shoots around the corner. Densen claims that a special burst mode delivers prompts even outside line of sight. This did work well in practice. It’ll depend on your negotiation skills whether your dealer will throw in this ultimately obligatory wand or demand its surcharge. Unclear is whether the included gloves are to prevent finger prints or to protect your hands from sharp edges.

Rock doesn’t necessarily rock. Knowing of my assignment, an acquaintance proclaimed that Densen kit can’t really rock out to wonder how I’d get on with it. Now I’ll have to question him what he meant since I’m in denial. Okay, if he implied subterranean gloomy thunder and lightning shows that shake the foundation of your crib, one could concur. That’s clearly not on the menu. The charm of our Nordic duo is elsewhere – and quite in stark contrast to its plain-Jane cosmetics.

To check in, I settled on Tori Amos’ spectacular take of Nirvana’s grunge hymn "Smells like teen spirit". Where the original was an aggressive manifesto that made Rock history as the anthem of a nihilist youth movement, the self-accompanied on Bösendorfer grand Amos actually ratchets up the drama and intensity. The voice of the red-haired Pop nymph appeared nearly chiseled well in front of the equipment stack. Each breather, each string decay was tacitly transparent. I could nearly walk around Tori to watch her work. This felt wonderfully tangible and was an atmosphere which cried for dimming the lights to not take away from the moment’s intimacy.

To remain with the prettier sex for a bit longer, I next turned to Kate Nash’s debut album Made of Bricks. Besides overplayed charts turners à la "Fountains", there’s a lot more credible material here. "Nicest Thing" exudes melancholy suspension with its nuanced violin and despite sparse instrumentation portrays a wonderful sense of airy space. With such compact ensembles, the Danes really nailed the soundstaging. I could easily imagine the physical dimensions of the studio. With her voice close, the accompanying violin was two or three steps behind here, not overly present but simply there.