Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Jack Bybee is no stranger to the world of hi-fi tweaking, and for that matter - controversy. The Quantum Signal Enhancer ("QSE") is different from his Slipstream Quantum Purifiers. The latter is used as in the signal / power chain, while the former can be used simply by proximity.
The QSE is a small device, looking like an acrylic board with it's underside lined with felt. It measures at 4 x 6 inches, and is just a 1/4 inch thick. The board has crystals embedded in it, and the device is claimed to reduce noise and hash.
The QSE can be placed under, or any cable that is carrying power or signal. It can also be placed on top of, or under your components. Cumulative use is possible, but I was only passed one piece to evaluate.
I tried placing the QSE in the various places suggested, including on top of components, over interconnects, and over AC plugs and AC cables. I noticed that the changes in sound take a while to settle, and the best effect was heard after leaving the QSE in place overnight.
The effect can be overwhelming - it did not like being on top of my DAC, placed directly over the power transformer. It did not seem to have much effect sitting in between my power cords plugged into my Acoustic Revive RTP-6 power distributor. No surprise there - the RTP-6 is already chock full of crystals. After some experimentation, the optimal place for the QSE in my system was on top of the power cord - just before entry into the component.
The most striking effect of the QSE is on the midrange. Vocals are smoothened, and the tonal quality takes on a warmer and more analog like quality. From a staging perspective, the singer moves back a few rows. Bass lines are fuller and wetter, trading off some impact and tightness for bloom. High frequencies lose some aggression in favour of a gentler presentation. On violin pieces, there is less bite in favour of a sweeter and fuller tone.
How effective this works for you depends on your system and desired tonal balance. If you like a very focussed, incisive and more analytical presentation - probably not. If you find your system bright, dry and harsh - this is a god-send, and all for a very modest price. It takes the edge of aggressive recordings and gives the system a more organic presentation.
This is an interesting product that is far more potent than suggested by its small size and modest price tag. Used with a bit of careful thought, this could be a really useful weapon in your arsenal of tweaks.
The review sample was supplied by Mr. K.M. Poon of Horizon Acoustics.
144 Upper Bukit Timah Road
#03-15 Beauty World Centre
Tel : 91259149
Email : email@example.com
Website : http://www.horizonacoustics.com
Website : http://bybeetech.com/
USD 119 per piece. Please contact Horizon Acoustics for local pricing in Singapore.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Sony's Latest Goodies - NW-ZX2 High-Resolution Walkman, MDR-1ABT Headphones, PHA-1A Headphone DAC/amplifier
Sony announced a slew of new products at CES 2015. Here are some of the products announced that are likely to be of interest to readers.
This is the Walkman for the discerning Audiophile. Compared to the preceding flagship model (ZX1), the ZX2 gains DSD support (2.8 MHz and 5.6 MHz).
microSD (card not included)
High-Resolution Audio playback, S-Master HX Digital Amplifier, DSEE HX (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine), ClearAudio+, Clear Bass, Equaliser, VPT, one-touch listening via NFC and Bluetooth® connectivity
Compatible Audio Formats
MP3, WMA, FLAC (192KHz/24bit), Linear PCM (192KHz/24bit), WAV (192KHz/24bit), AAC-LC, HE-AAC, Apple Lossless (192KHz/24bit), AIFF (192KHz/24bit), DSD (2.8MHz, 5.6MHz)
MP3: 60 hours
Hi-Res Audio: 33 hours
Approx. 4.5 hours
4.0 inch FWVGA (854x480) TRILUMINOS™ Display for mobile
Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b/g/n/a)
Supported Codec: SBC/LDAC
Media Go (for Windows), Content Transfer for Mac (for Mac OS)
Dimensions (W x H x D)
65.1 x 131.2 x 18.5 mm (excluding max. protruding section)
Approx. 235 g
USB cable, leather carrying case, Spacer (headphones not included)
Hmm - closed headphones with wireless capability via Bluetooth. The specifications seem to suggest that there is a built in DAC too with a sampling rate of up to 96 kHz.
MDR-1ABT Type Closed Dynamic Driver Unit Φ40 mm, Dome type (CCAW Voice coil) Sensitivity 98 dB/mW (1kHz)
(when using the supplied headphone cable)
Frequency Response 4 Hz - 100,000Hz
(when using the supplied headphone cable)20Hz - 20,000Hz (44.1kHz Sampling) / 20Hz - 40,000Hz (LDAC 96kHz Sampling, 990kbps)
Impedance 24Ω (1kHz) (when using the supplied headphone cable) Power Handling Capacity 100mW Plug Gold-plated stereo mini plug Weight (exclude cable) Approx. 300g Battery Life (continuous music playback time) Music playback time: Max. 30 hoursCommunication time: Max. 26 hoursStandby Time: Max. 200 hours Supplied Accessories Headphone cable (1.2m), Micro USB cable (0.5m), Carrying pouch
PHA-1A Portable DAC/Headphone Amplifier
The PHA-1A handles PCM sampling up to 192kHz with a maximum of 24 bit resolution. It is quite light and compact, with it's built-in rechargeable battery good for 6 hours of use.
PHA-1A Sampling Frequency/Bit PCM: Max. 192kHz/24bit Frequency Range 10 Hz – 100,000 Hz Impedance 8Ω – 600Ω Maximum Output Approx. 148mW + 148mW (8Ω, 10% distortion) Approx. 80mW + 80mW (32Ω, 1% distortion)Approx. 16.4mW + 16.4mW (300Ω, 10% distortion) Output(s) Stereo mini jack (Only a 3-pole stereo mini plug is supported) Input(s) Computer/WALKMAN®/Xperia connecting port, iPhone/iPad/iPod® connecting port ThBattery Type Built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery Battery Life Approx. 6 hours Battery Charging Time Approx. 2 hours Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 62 x 18.5 x 109 mm Weight (Without Cord) Approx. 145g Supplied Accessories Digital cable for WALKMAN®, Digital cable for Xperia®, Micro USB cable, Silicone belts, Protection sheet
Pricing and availability of the above products in Singapore will be announced at a later date. All photos are courtesy of Sony.