Reviewers: Marja & Henk
Financial Interests: click here
Sources: PS Audio PWT; Dr. Feickert Blackbird MKII/DFA 1o5/Zu DL-103; Phasure XX-PC and NOS1 DAC
Streaming sources: XXHighEnd; iTunes; Devialet AIR; La Rosita Beta; Qobuz Desktop
Preamp/integrated/power: Audio Note Meishu with WE 300B (or AVVT, JJ, KR Audio 300B output tubes); dual Devialet D-Premier; Hypex Ncore 1200 based monoblocks; Trafomatic Kaivalya; Trafomatic Reference One; Trafomatic Reference Phono One; Music First Passive Magnetic
Speakers: Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega; Arcadian Audio Pnoe; Podium Sound One; Sounddeco Alpha F3; Soltanus Virtuoso ESL [in for review]
Cables: complete loom of ASI LiveLine cables; full loom of Crystal Cable cables; full loom of Nanotec Golden Strada; Audiomica Pearl Consequence interconnect; Audiomica Pebble Consequence
Power line conditioning: PS Audio Powerplant Premier; PS Audio Humbuster III; IsoTek Evo 3 Syncro; AudioMica Allbit Consequence
Equipment racks: Solid Tech and ASI amplifier and TT shelf
Indispensable accessories: Furutech DeMag; ClearAudio Double Matrix; Franc Audio Ceramic Disc Classic; Shakti Stones; Akiko Audio sticks; Kemp polarity checker
Online Music purveyors:,,  
Room treatment: Acoustic System International resonators, sugar cubes, diffusers
Room size: ca. 14.50 x 7.50m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls, wooden flooring upstairs, ca 7 x 5m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls and concrete floor downstairs.
Price of review item:  €295

The problem with most audio tweaks
is that if they work, they only alter the perceived sound marginally. Footers, cable risers, flashing lights, potions and mantras all can help to alter the sound towards a more likeable version. In fact they all act as material tuning devices on enclosures, cable lengths or spinning discs. Wherever manufacturers omit to sufficiently damp an enclosure, allow vibrations to affect cables and so on, tweaks fill in the gaps. Refraining from proper damping is often a matter of costs. A truly solid enclosure is expensive. Wrapping a cable in material which makes it inert to external vibrations can alter its electrical characteristics to send the whole shebang straight back to the drawing table.

In the electrical sector, similar cost-cutting corners are no exception. Aftermarket power cords may come with severe price tags to use the most exotic means for shielding. They are shielded against external radiation emitted from our modern wireless communication systems; and shield the environment from their own otherwise radiated fields. This shielding can take the form of added crystal structures on the wire surface; exploiting enhanced skin effect; or blending bullion any conceivable way.

In this commendable pursuit, many forget the plugs on either end. Their constitution of hard or soft plastic not only has an influence on the sound, it might boycott the wire’s shielding across its length by creating two exposed areas. Of course there are exceptions which tick off all possible and necessary boxes. But at what price? If our systems could do with just one power cord, a steep price wouldn’t be so bad. With all our components needing their own, things quickly escalate however. Ouch.

The ugly fact is, we do live in a noisy world that gets noisier by the day. For us audio lovers, that noise results in an increasing noise floor that masks the finest details which make music reproduction in the home such a joy. In a concert hall there should be no noticeable noise floor. All electrical equipment and associated analog devices like lights and air-conditioning should be dead quiet. The only constant noise should be the breathing of the audience. A good concert hall should have a noise floor of around 20dB when empty and around 40dB when occupied. That, mind you, is about acoustical noise.