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However, detail and resolution are double-edged swords. Resolution without musicality and emotion produces a hardness that to my taste conjures up the worst of early digital. Yet done correctly you hear nuance and texture that pulls deeper into the music. This is where the new Walker shines. Detail, resolution and transparency are enhanced without hifi hardness. Let me clarify. I believe that Walker is inexorably marching to the truth – meaning what is on the recording. The truth can be beautiful or ugly depending on the source. In my humble opinion, the more you untangle the congestion with resolution and transparency, the closer you get to the truth. The new Walker does this better than anything that I have ever heard by getting you closer to the perfect stylus/groove interface.

Correct tonal color or timbre is critical for proper musical reproduction. It is this color that defines the unique characteristic of an instrument. A guitar and piano playing the same note at the same loudness are vastly different each with its own unique timbre.

When merged together in a musical composition their individuality also shares a commonality. The Walker table has always captured and presented this dual nature of the tonal and harmonic structure of music. Yet the Proscenium III upgrade has an even more organic and natural tone; gorgeous, realistic and natural in color. Listen to Münchinger’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik [Decca] with many of the instruments playing similar lines. The beautiful string colors are at the same time singular and cohesive.

Real music in real space is visceral, dynamic and exciting. The original Walker excelled at these and the Proscenium III brings it to the next level. The delineation between a pianissimo level and thunderous climax can sound compressed or naturally unrestrained depending on your system. While not the classical definition of dynamics, I believe that the dynamic presentation at least to some degree is influenced by a combination of bottom-end depth and noise floor. The new Walker improves both. The system is noticeably quieter, revealing previously masked micro detail. On the other side the low-end slam is utterly stunning.

My go-to record for low-end impact is the opening of Donald Fagan's Morph the Cat [Reprise Records]. With the best components and the volume cranked, those first ten notes will blow you away with impact. Combining this depth along with immunity to feedback, transient response and lack of noise deliver a viscerally alive musical event. Listening to Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass Big Band Jazz [Umbrella direct-to-disc] offers a clear insight to the new Walker. Audiophiles including myself instinctively associate a softer suspension with a softer more diffuse sound and a lessening of transient edge. Listen to the brass punch on McConnell’s "Tribute to Art Fern" and you will rethink your preconceptions.

We all have biases. I admittedly love soundstaging and imaging. The ability to see the performance unfold in front of me adds to the experience. It is one of the things that drew me to the Walker and helped to cement it as my long-term reference. The new upgrade builds on the excellent foundation and with the right recordings the walls literally disappear – top to bottom and front to back. The sound scales even more realistically with a magnificent bloom. I know that every listener has a particular sweet spot in terms of listening volume. Some tend to soft and intimate, others to ‘knock your socks off’ levels.  With no right or wrong answer I have noticed with both reproduced music and live orchestral that the encompassing bloom or immersive musical bubble often grows with volume. Volume level does play a role in soundstaging.

For my tastes the soundstage does not lock in until the music is played at realistic levels. What the new Walker brings to the table (pun intended) is a rock-solid 3D presentation producing the most believable sonic image to date. The bloom of the soundfield is unfettered by loudness as there is now even less feedback-induced hardness at loud volumes. The new Walker ups the ante with even more spectacular imaging at realistic listening levels. It moves one more step closer to that elusive ‘you are there’ quality when you reach that trance-like state of reality where actual instruments seem to appear in your room.