Pegging tonality was easy. I had BMC’s UltraDac which drew quite the contrast. It plays on the lighter side of neutral whilst the Accustic Arts does it juicier and more fulsome. That’s true not just for the extra portion of bass but also the lower midrange. It was more developed to make the vocal range more sonorous. Ditto versus the Luxman SACD/DAC though that split the bill when it set up shop between BMC and Accustic Arts. But even here the Tube Dac was fatter in the bass, slightly warmer in the mids and a tad more polite in the treble. That came to the fore with femmy vocals to net a basic observation: they sounded a bit fuller, more fetching; and a bit less open. One example was Ofrin’s "Give it a shot" from the Jazz/Pop album On Shore Remain with its electronic seasoning. Ofrin Brin’s voice had more chest volume and a bit less breathiness. The bass underpinnings were more massive and a tick softer than I’m accustomed to. The lower registers still were defined and clear, simply not ultra-dry. Semi-sec perhaps. Particularly with acoustic instruments, this can be advantageous.

What else? The sonic panorama came off noticeably broader than I tend to enjoy for this Ofrin song. The electronic spider webs which drift or flicker across the stage occurred more outside the speakers and toward me than I knew and thereby created greater involvement. It filled more room space with music. This grew quasi enveloping in fact.

Still, the true key to this converter opened yet another domain at least for me. Where this valve deck truly excelled was with the dimensional extrication of individual sounds particularly in the vocal band. This was the 3D glasses version of Ofrin Brin. No longer a flat if singing layer, I now had a musical sculpture in my digs. I’d acquired the earlier mentioned Luxman D-05 because it too covers not just resolution plus bass/mid/highs but also grippy embodiment. Just so, the Accustic Arts elevated this particular art to a higher octave. I’m not keen on calling digital sources ‘analogue’ but if this term should signify a relaxed gestalt, slight warmth and extreme dimensionality, then we’d have reached a proper analog. Here the Schwabian has really got it going on.