Critical Mass Systems CenterStage2 Footer: Unparalleled Performers

The new 1.5 inch tall Critical Mass Systems CenterStage2 footer with its packaging, and two different thickness of shims, provided to assure the best possible contact.

I’ve honestly no idea why I was so surprised to hear from Critical Mass Systems’ Joe Laverncik this past July asking if I’d like to audition the “new” CMS CenterStage2 footers. He has shown himself to be unrelenting in his pursuit of performance, so I suspect that it was because it was coming so closely on the heels of the publication of my profound experiences with the radically effective original CenterStage footers just some three months earlier (HERE). I must admit to being both skeptical and somewhat curious to see if these groundbreakingly effective devices could be improved upon—especially in such a short period.

Within weeks, my original thirty CenterStage footers were upgraded to thirty of the new CenterStage2 footers…with one additional consideration; he sent along eight additional new CS2footers. Originally, the devices had been available in two height profiles, 0.8 inches and 1 inch tall, both at 1.5 inches in diameter. Now, with the superscript 2 iteration, a new 1.5-inch height is also available, all retaining the same 1.5 inch diameter. He also included four of the original 1-inch CS footers for direct comparison.

In Joe’s original communications to me he mentioned that he felt the CS2 to be so effectively improved as to be regard as a new product. In addition, he indicated that the CS2s effectiveness increased as they got taller, which turned out to be a very meaningful differentiation, as you shall soon discover.

In a very simplistic view, the Critical Mass Systems CenterStage2 footers act as a highly sophisticated “drain,” a mechanical diode or sorts, for induced and generated vibration in the components that rest on them, giving that unwanted, corrupting energy a route out of and away from those components, thereby reducing disordered and chaotic resonance within the component itself, and converting and dissipating that energy as heat. Joe claims the reason that components take so long to settle in on these unique feet, and why the system’s sonic signature swings so widely during that period, is related to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

He explains as follows. “The principle is cross-border entropic transfer in reversible thermodynamic systems. Broadly speaking this principle recognizes that electromechanical systems experience internal disorder at the moment they are engaged (turned on). The commonly recognizable sign of entropy is the generation of heat, but there are others.

“Dynamic systems can be reversible or irreversible. Human beings, for example, are irreversible biodynamic systems where entropy is retained, and equilibrium is ALWAYS reached. As we age, strange things happen at an accelerating pace. Our vision degrades. We might lose hair. Our joints sustain damage through wear and tear. Our muscles weaken. Eventually disease may set in and, after a time, the system shuts down completely. Even then bio-dynamic systems have residual energy. The energy is exhausted when the components of the system turn to dust. The 2nd Law implies that this is perfectly normal. Entropy accelerates in dynamic systems unless some portion of it can be transferred into another system.

“On the other hand, electromechanical systems are reversible. With respect to audio components, a portion of naturally occurring and environmentally induced internal entropic disorder can be transferred into another system. Assuming that an external system (Center Stage, in this case) is specifically designed to facilitate the transfer and the external system is appropriately positioned to facilitate the transfer process, time is required to set the pathway and create a new electromechanical equilibrium point. Once settled in, Center Stage acts like a trash can that takes the “garbage” out to the curb when your system is playing music. There is also a 1st Law component to Center Stage with respect to mitigating noise as vibration moves upward through it (just like your very good Grand Prix racks), but it’s the degree to which they help reduce disorder in the system above them that makes them unique.”

From my ongoing conversations with Joe, the essence of what differentiates the superscript 2 version would seem to come down to both a substantive diminution of the inherent noise of the materials used to fabricate the footers combined with a diminishing of the upward movement of vibrational energy through them. Together with these decreases, Joe also states he has found a way to enhance their entropy, to increase the amount of energy transferred out of the components to the footers; essentially increasing their efficacy as “drains!”

At the time they were installed, my system included my Kronos Sparta turntable, Helena tonearm, and the Air Tight PC-1 MC cartridge, feeding my DSA Phono II phono stage. Digital was rendered by either my own Windows 10 based PC, using either JRiver 24 (64-bit) or Roon 1.5, Fidelizer v8.2, or my extensively modified McCormack UDP-1, both handing off to my Hegel HD30 DAC. My linestage is the Constellation Audio Inspiration 1.0, and I was using a pair of Constellation Audio 1.0 stereo amplifiers in a vertical biamp configuration to drive my Von Schweikert Audio VR-5 Aktive loudspeakers. Signal cabling is from Stealth Audio, with a Helios phono cable, Śakra V12 single-ended interconnects, and the Dream v14 speaker cables, while all power and the USB cables were flagship products from Audience. Power conditioning is managed with the PS Audio DirectStream P20 Power Plant, with the total system investment just eclipsing the $300,000 mark.

My original set of thirty first generation devices included twenty-two of the 0.8 inch units, employed under my source components, DAC, linestage, phonostage, and external music media storage drives, and eight of the 1 inch units, four each under my mono amps. These thirty were initially replaced with the same profile of CenterStage2 footers. By allowing me to duplicate the original installation exactly, I would more effectively be able to judge the degree of improvement, if any, the CS2s deliver over the original CS version.

The thirty CS2 footers for my listening, arrived in their bulk shipping “egg carton.”

My listening began mid-day Sunday, Aug 5th, after some 3 days of reclamation listening following the removal of the original thirty CS footers. Once I had gotten used to the reduced level of performance, sans the remarkable magic wrought by the original CS footers, I was ready to proceed with the duplicate installation of CS2s.

Once installed, and the system back on, I immediately noted a clear loss of extension and control in the lowest regions, a lessening of the overall sweetness and air to treble, a general softening of detail from the upper midrange on up through the top octave, as well as a notable loss of focus and specificity to the staging and imaging. So, with those observations, I set my favorite run-in track to repeat on my music server, set the volume to about 60dB at my listening chair, and walked away for the night.

I had time for some brief listening in the late evenings of Tuesday, Aug 7th, and Wednesday, Aug 8th, days two and three. For both sessions I played music from my music server for about an hour, sampling from my most frequently used demo tracks. I found the system sounding rather dull and dry, surprisingly unengaging in nearly every way Tuesday night. But it was almost unrecognizable and unlistenable during Wednesday’s session. Bass extension was severely limited and was bloated and ill-defined. Leading edges were softened to the point of smearing, and midrange focus and specificity were diffuse and amorphous. Worst of all, there had been a distinctly cooler shift in timber. I finished up my notes and restarted the run-in track.

I had no time to listen on Thursday, Aug 9th, but by Friday evening, the 10th, I was treated to a little of the old CS magic. For the entire four and a half hours of that listening session, which I shared with a good friend, sampling his LPs as well as mine (this time it was an exclusively analog session), we were transfixed. Bass and midrange bloom and body had returned, as had a large portion of the previously missing sparkle and air above about 3,500Hz. The sound bordered on beguiling and sounded much more engaging and involving than it had in previous weeks. And not by any small margin. We finished our session excited and moved. It had been a highly emotional listening session. After I bid my friend goodnight, I restarted the burn-in track.

I noticed minor performance variations over that Saturday’s listening, on the 11th, but by the evening of Sunday the 12th, all that Friday night magic, and more, was back. I was transfixed during my early evening listening and took a lot of notes.

The most obvious improvements could be distilled into three categories; a substantially lowered noise floor, remarkably improved warmth, with more realistic body, more natural tone and texture, and a vastly enriched, more enveloping and immersive soundstage.

First and foremost, there was a laid-back, relaxed ease to the presentation that just drew me into the music. The overall noise floor had seemed to plummet, even lower than I had recalled with the original CS footers in place. The resultant stillness this afforded, by way of a darker, starker, background, was just intoxicating, adding a power and persuasiveness to everything I played, allowing me to be informed as much by the silence between musical impulses as by the effortless drive and pace of the musical gestalt itself.

Instrumental tone colors, including their textures and verve, had bloomed. There was a newfound effortlessness and neutrality to every aspect of the music I played now, even with my digital rig, which cannot quite match my analog front end in this respect. And this sense of neutrality, of naturalness, of faithfulness, was broad-band, extending from the deepest reaches of the bass to include a newfound shimmer and sparkle in the uppermost octaves. My Von Schweikert Audio VR-55 Aktive’s custom-built Scan-Speak Beryllium tweeters seemed to be even more unrestrained than ever, allowing them to develop that sense of graceful effortlessness, of unfettered extension, replete with the perception of the air of and around instrumental voices that allows them to regenerate that final, compelling measure of attack, trailing ambiance, and decay.

And what a spatial presentation! My initial sensation of three-dimensionality, that enveloping immersiveness bordering on surround-sound that the original CS footers had created so effortlessly, was back, but was even more apparent and unmistakable. The presentation I was hearing from my reference two-channel system was approaching the spatial characteristics rendered by an exceptionally well setup 5.1 multi-channel music surround system!

Over the next two weeks, I honestly didn’t notice any significant relapses or advances from the powerful performance I had first witnessed on that seventh night. Does this mean the CS2s settle more rapidly than their predecessors, that they are more effective overall? I can’t say with absolute certainty, but I suspect those observations to be true.

But now I had another question. What improvements, if any, might I be treated to if I removed the 1.0 inch models from under my mono amplifiers and replaced them with the 1.5 inch CS2s waiting in the wings, then replaced the 0.8 inch models underneath my linestage and phono stage and with the recently freed 1.0-inch models?

Four of the 1.5 inch (the fourth hidden by the prominent front right unit) CenterStage2 footers in place under one of my mono amplifiers on a separate amplifier stand.

I made that change on Monday night, August 27th, and was somewhat surprised that the change had not caused as great a diminishment in overall performance as had the original reinstallation of the thirty CS2s. After all, I had just disturbed the settled performance of over half (sixteen of thirty) of all the CS2s in play. Honestly, I didn’t spend a lot of time listening after that change and having noted my initial impression. I just set my music server to repeat my run-in track and let it play at about 60dB one more time.

By Thursday, August 30th, I was utterly shocked by what I was hearing, and by Saturday, September 1st, I was simply knocked out by the transformation! The most notable developments after this change were much deeper, more powerful, and substantially more defined pitch in the bass, a decisively more accurate tonal shift, and a deepening and tightening of focus of imaging and soundstaging cues, which had become even more expansive, more enveloping, and more accurately sized. By Sunday September 2nd, I was having trouble believing so much change could be wrought by such ostensibly minor changes. It was as if my linestage, mono amps, and sources, even my loudspeakers, had all been replaced by components that were at least two to three times more expensive!

My initial impressions with the direct replacement of all the original CS devices with the same sized CS2 devices was that the CS2s delivered on the order of 25 to 40% improvement. To be honest, that represents a staggeringly large percentage increase. But the improvements wrought by the application of the 1.5 inch tall CS2s are almost indescribable and otherwise unattributable! What they bring to the game in terms of enhanced, articulated bass, more faithful tonal purity, and more enriched and accurate spatial enhancement is beyond my ability to label. They are that good!

To say that the Critical Mass Systems CenterStage2 footers are game changers may be the father of all understatements. In closing my review of the original CenterStage footers, I opined that they should not be considered as optional accessories but were indispensable necessaries! Doubly so, the CenterStage2 footers. They are so remarkable, in fact, that companies as prestigious as Swiss electronics manufacturer Soulution have begun to install them at manufacture as the factory feet on their products, with several other companies planning to follow suit.

The CenterStage2 footers are so significantly better than any other single footer, cone, or isolation device I have experienced over the past 35 years, that comparing them, or trying to equate their effectiveness in any manner, would be to insult the accomplishments attained by the CMS CenterStage2.

While the thirty CS2 devices employed in my installation carried a retail value of $12,640, that still represented an additional investment of only about 4 ¼ percent. Yet, the degree of performance enhancement they rendered in that otherwise remarkable sounding system was staggering! I honestly don’t believe that I could reap this significant a sonic improvement if I were to double the total invested price of my system, maybe even if I were to triple it! They truly are that effective.

These devices represent a near quantum leap forward in their ability to unlock and release the most faithful and accurate voice your equipment can recreate. They allow the purity and clarity of its true voice, a voice that has previously been masked and contaminated by the unaddressed destructive, polluting forces of vibrational energy, thereby setting a ridiculously high benchmark of performance. What Joe Laverncik has achieved with the Critical Mass Systems CenterStage2 footer is to realize the otherwise unfulfilled promise such products have heralded from their inception in 1983 and should be seen as more than merely an order of magnitude of improvement in the performance of the now 35-year-old “footer” product category. No, they aren’t cheap. But they represent the highest degree of value obtainable from any isolation device known to me, and the single most effective way I’ve yet found to release the utmost best from your system, period.

Critical Mass Systems Center Stage2 Footers

From “Positive Feedback”

WHARFEDALE DENTON 2「85周年限量版」 – 重製佳釀

先用 Hegel 合併機開聲,不對,是味道不對,略嫌太過刻板單調。立即搬來兩台 Dignity Audio DA-08 MKII 備音量控制的單聲道 300B 膽後級,這回對了。氣氛對音樂重播非常重要,就如夜闌人靜喝一口蘇格蘭威士忌,是一種享受。對筆者來說,Denton 2 是帶著濃烈兼追尋舊日的氣息再添上今日對細節和清晰度的追求,不用膽機推,味道就是不足,不夠自然流灑。


揚聲器的設計就有調酒的感覺,我們不能單憑設計用什麼音盆、什麼磁體、哪類分音器去判別揚聲器可能會呈現什麼聲音?!揚聲器最後的聲音,是經過設計師的調配,也是他/他們的目的與取向。Wharfedale 現任工程師 Peter Comeau 的目標就是要重拾當年 Gilbert Briggs 退休前,Rank Organisation 初接手後的突破設計 – Denton 書架揚聲器那種溫暖、豐富與自然,再加上今天追求的開揚與細節表達能力。

形容一款產品的聲音並不容易,玩 Denton 2 一如玩 3/5a,追尋的是一種聲音味道與情懷。Denton 2 既有如 Big Band 的那份華麗璀璨,復有陶瓷般的明亮清晰,還有爽彈敏銳的反應與活潑精神的起動力,聲音總能保持亮麗光鮮,從不暗淡,就如 50、60 年代的明星,行出人群時不單止有三分體面四分仔細修飾,還有一種獨特有台形的星味,十分壓場。聽 Denton 2 的聲音,會令人燃起一份要收藏的衝動,既要收藏一對 Falcon 3/5a,也要收藏一對 Denton 2。它們的聲音,就有如翻開那些年用菲林拍下來的黑白照片、茶色照片,是一種能牽動情緒與情懷的聲音。


五年前,Wharfedale 為 Denton 推出過 80 周年版,設計造型與 1976 年第一代一脈相承,由前輩 Thomas Wang 測試。五年前的 Denton,把絲膜高音安裝在 Kevlar 低音單元的正上方;來到 Denton 2,絲膜高音單元移離揚聲器面板中軸 8 度角,目的是進一步拓展聲音擴散能力,亦改善了高音與低音單元的銜接表現。箱體設計比上一代闊了 40mm,厚度薄了 20mm,背板上仍然追隨 Diamond 系列的雙低音反射氣孔設計。這個最新版本的頻率響應為 45Hz-20kHz(+/-3dB),靈敏度由上一代的 86dB 提升至 88dB,阻抗由 6Ω 跌至 4Ω。


有趣了,Denton 85 的單元排列與不少鑑聽揚聲器有相近之處,到底高音單元是向內,還是向外呢?答案其實因環境而異,在本社細房,我喜歡兩顆高音單元靠近,即向內擺放。


1967 年第一代 Denton 的高音單元用 ceramic 磁體,Denton 與 Denton 2 則用 ferrite 磁體,其實 ferrite magnet 又可稱為 ceramic magnet。Ferrite 除了內含陶瓷物料,還有鐵,由於製成磁體前,鐵已經過氧化過程,所以 ferrite 不會再氧化,有耐高溫、耐潮濕、容易控制、高阻尼表現等特性,成本夠便宜。應用於 Denton 2 那顆 1 吋絲膜高音的 ferrite 磁體直徑達 70mm。說穿了,高音的音色就是要貼近 1967 年版,再進一步改善聲音的分析力與拓展音場。

低音仍然是 Kevlar 編織音盆,不過由 80 周年版的 5 吋口徑,拓展至 Denton 2 的 6 吋半口徑,換句話說,低音的能量會有明顯提升。

筆者喜歡 85 周年版的箱體設計多於 80 周年版,視覺上的 vintage 味更濃。敲打木箱,結實質感濃烈,據指設計採用三文治結構,利用天然木材與複合板加強箱體硬度,箱內亦加入骨架結構加強控制諧震與避免囤積駐波的效果。


音色,是 vintage 喇叭最強的吸引力。雖說高音部份設計主導了喇叭的音色,其實低音單元也有自己的音色,只是沒有高音鮮明。Denton 2 的特色是上緊下鬆,中高音分明鮮麗銳利爽敏,低音從容有寬度與蔓延力,營造出來的空間與舞台立體感比這對喇叭的體積可能營造出的效果明顯寬闊,舞台深度也更加鮮明。放心,設計沒有讓人聲變成血盆大口,而是比例恰當,能融入細小聆聽空間而加強了聲音畫面的細繪能力。

Denton 2 的高音有凌厲的眼神,就如京劇的楚霸王眼睛一瞪,眼神充滿殺氣射程威武盡在不言中,要說清楚,中高音並非硬瞪,而是彈力強而爽猛,清脆乾淨,絕非死瞪著不放的狂。高音的古典味,就是那份亮麗細滑感,Lisa Batiashvili 演出巴赫,小提琴敏銳不嬌,起落分明連貫流灑清晰,古鍵琴伴奏從後方傳來,分明又不搶小提琴風頭,立體感強烈鮮明。

由 Denton 2 播鋼琴能令筆者感到喜悅,落指分明敏捷,琴鍵的起動力與瞬變的動感如數家珍,Alexandre Tharaud – 《Autograph》內一曲 Ramsay Les Sauvages,活潑動彈,低音結實不鬆散,同是帶有一種能量的延伸力,清晰仔細快捷靈敏與音樂氣氛並存。

Peter, Paul & Mary 《In These Times》,人聲內厚潤滑,結他彈力清敏動感十足,要重播Union Medley的幽默感與那個年代的情懷不太容易,Denton 2能播出那份暗藏心底的笑意!三人的聲音就有一股與老友共聚的懷舊氣息,沒有多少重播能達到此效果。

《Audio Compass 2018》收錄了 Louis Armstrong 演唱的 St. James Infirmary Blues,銅管樂埋身貼身,管樂的明亮、氣動力直接率真,鼓棍清脆立體敲力猛而烈,強弱動態鮮明,cymbal明亮抖動仔細分明,Louis Armstrong 就在面前,若然無法擺一對 JBL 大衣櫃聽爵士、聽藍調,Denton 2 是一個非常值得推薦的選擇!接著 Eva Taylor – Papa De-Da-Da 一曲播得輕鬆幽默趣味盎然。

筆者喜歡《戀戀風塵》許景淳的聲音,當她「啦」出音韻,從前聽到的是秀美透澈,Denton 2 為她添了一點人生歷練,不是嗓音不同,而是添了一點可觸發共鳴的情感,輕輕抹上一點風霜。「歲月的船」,結他指力動彈分明,弦線彈射有力。接著,我一口氣欣賞了三張王家衛電影原聲大碟,《東邪西毒》、《春光乍洩》、《墮落天使》,共通點,是情感被甩低的點點憂愁,醒來時,心境又不是一樣的情味!

Denton 2,是設計給感情豐富的樂迷的佳釀!



轉載自 HiFi Review 2018/08

再創高峰! Kubala Sosna REALIZATION 旗艦電源線

美國 Kubala Sosna Research 現有的發燒線型號有 9 個級別,較高級的 7 個級別屬於廠方的 RevolutionZTM 系列,由上向下排列是 Realization(OptimiZ3TM)、Elation (OptimiZ2TM)、Sensation(OptimiZ3TM)、Emotion(OptimiZTM)、Expression (OptimiZTM)、Temptation(OptimiZ3TM)、Fascination(OptimiZTM),全部都用上廠方的 OptimiZTM Architecture 發燒線結構,可有效提升空間感、音場深度、細節、諧波、質感、動態、音色、音樂感等。而最新推出的3個級別製作則用上最新一代的 OptimiZ3TM 技術。 OptimiZTM Architecture 是基於導線阻抗而研究開發出來的造線技術,可使導線的電容、 電阻、電感特性達至一個最佳的平衡,使得全頻表現得平直連貫,不會偏差,聲音便最中性自 然。Joe Kubala 表示若這 3 項基本因素得不到理想協調,聲音就會出現偏向高頻或低頻,誇張 了某些頻段而又削弱了另一些頻段的弊病。

廠方在設計導線時會研究導體物料、粗度、線芯數 目、分隔度、絕緣體、屏蔽層、黃金比例等,亦會把所有設計放在全晶體管和全真空管的兩套組合上親身聆聽,繼 而作出調校和改善。



本文主角是 Kubala Sosna 的新一代旗艦電源線 Realization,超越了我們之前大讚特讚的上一代頂級型號 Elation,一條 2m 定價4萬港元。除了電源線外,Realization 還有單端及平衡訊號線、喇叭線、USB 線。

Kubala Sosna 發燒線一直都給我樸實無華、聲音優先的感覺,買家投資的都是大部份落在聲音表現上,而非華 麗璀璨的外衣服飾,以至包裝上。Realization 電源線亦給 我這份腳踏實地的好感,幹實事,出靚聲;開聲前是錐之 在囊、馬之在廐,一開聲,華麗變身,燦爛悅目,鋒芒畢露! 把 Realization 和 Elation 併在一起,兩者的粗壯程度相約,同是用上具備「藍星」及「Audio Grade」標誌,像是 Wattgate 的鍍金頭尾插頭。用手輕按,Realization 內裏是3

條獨立線莖,Elation 內裏像是由5、6條較幼的獨立線莖所組成,兩者結構分別不小。

我把 Realization 用在功放上,亦找來同廠 Elation及 Isoclean Super Focus Mark-II參考比較。
重播《Les Miserables Live!》「One Day More」, Valjean、Marius、Cosette、Eponine、Enjolras、Javert 分佈在音響畫面各處,音場立體,清晰通透,分隔理想, 人聲凝聚有力具質感,歌聲激情處能量激發,雄壯奔放, 感情澎湃,熱力四射,餘響尾聲充斥四周,然而亦有條不 紊,顯出超凡控制力。重播「On My Own」,Eponine 唱得感情十 足,賺人熱淚,亦可激情澎湃,鏗 鏘有力。初試啼聲,Realization 就顯出一份高清中性,率直豪邁,能 量無匹的動人效果來。

接着便揀來 Johannes Mueller 《Jazz Mile》
音 , 要更進一步 探討 Realization 的強大威力。由 Realization 重播出來, 第1首「A Dogwalk」的音效已使我眼前一亮,牛筋明快結實,沉重震地,亦有震人心弦的電bass,勁度十足, Johannes Mueller 的次中音色士風和 Carlo Nardozza 的小號此起彼落,互相輝映,能量充沛,音色光潔,熱力四射, 精彩絕倫!第2首「Back To Mardi Gras」的一輪熱情鼓擊和鋼琴叫人聽得興奮雀躍,後半部的一段 drums solo 就更是剛勁結實,棍棍大力,爆發出鏗鏘勁度,我聽得心跳加速! 第6首「Happy」以敲擊、bass、銅管、鋼琴爆發出更 高速的強勁節奏,場面壯觀,能量無匹,使我聽得更是熱血翻騰!

熟悉 Kubala Sosna 的發燒友都會知道這品牌接線必然 具備自然的音樂性,不會只着重於狂野奔放、刺激音效, Realization 亦不例外。由 Realization 重播《Jazz Mile》第 3首「Every Breath You Take」,開始時以電結他和鋼琴帶出的緩慢節奏不失溫柔,女歌手 Andrea Reichhart 的歌聲高企立 體,清甜悅耳,使人着迷。 同樣地,Scott Hamilton 及 Karin Krog 的品味爵士大碟《The Best Things In Life》亦有雄厚飽 滿、能量穿透的色士風,強勁結實、低頻震地的牛筋,明快活潑的鋼琴和套鼓,魅 力醉人的女聲,由 Realization 重播出來,更覺高清真實,歌手、樂器就在眼前。 Realization 的音色清澈少音染,分析 力高,個性率直無掩飾,可盡情揭示出錄音及音響鏈上每個環節的特性,音響取向不完全同於 Elation。我曾說過 Elation 的整體表現不是 Nordost Odin 2、ZenSati Authentica、Furutech Nanoflux 那種剛性稍 高於柔情的強人取態,亦非 Signal Projects Andromeda、 Transparent Opus 那種甜蜜雄渾柔勁,而是中間着墨,在強勁之中帶着溫暖感、柔韌美。Realization 則不同,可給我 更鮮明的強者氣息,不只在於能量、動態、分析力,還有掛於面上的強者豪情與驕傲。

找來 Kevin Mallon 指揮多倫多室樂團,呂思清《四季「名 琴篇」》。重播「夏天」, 在 Realization 手底下,小提琴 (在約1702年製造的Antonio Stradivarius) 雄渾厚壯,豪邁奔放,高頻伸展力強,訊息豐富,弱音餘響升上了大房的 11 呎高樓頂;在「Allegro non molto」的強音快勁段落中,大提琴、低音大提琴拉出強大能量火 氣,低頻源源送出,一浪接一浪,壯觀的音響畫面填滿了 大房的18呎闊度,小提琴同樣爆發出雄厚力量,音色亦靚,高度表現出 Summer 的熱力來!

重播「冬天」,小提琴是在1742年製造的Joseph Guarneri Del Gesu「ex-Sloan」,能量雄渾處不下於 Stradivarius 1702,而高頻更是甜美濕潤,餘響諧波無比充沛,全頻密度感傑出,音色有着一份成熟高貴味道,亦更清晰和名貴,飄然上天的餘響諧波濃密度和複雜美妙弱音結構效果更是全碟 6 枝名琴之冠。得到Realization 之助,如此複雜難播的效果我們都可以更容易聽出內容與分別,對我們欣賞不同年份不同製造者的稀世名琴美聲甚有幫助,有賴於這電源線的中性直率與 超高分析力本領!

Hegel H30 功放近期在大房的好拍檔是 Isoclean Super Focus Mark-II。這款電源線的聲音跟 Realization 同樣是能量充沛、厚壯大力,不過當用在 Hegel 功放上作即時比較,兩者分別還是明顯的。Super Focus Mark-II 是純銅製作,在音色上完全反映出這份純銅暖意,高頻圓滑無角,不刻意進取。Realization 的音色較清澈光亮,雖不是 Nordost 或 Stage III Concepts 的銀光閃爍,但亦足以反映出其含銀成份,高頻更富於分析力、積極性。聽Realization在重播《四季「名琴篇」》時高頻的光彩四射,重播 Scott Hamilton 色士風的光潔明亮,重播《The
Bodyguard》Whitney Houston 歌聲的開揚高企及電子高頻的清亮閃爍,都顯出它在這方面的威力,其訊息量之多,伸展力之強,無疑已
另外,Super Focus Mark-II 質感飽滿,低頻厚重,能量強大,場面壯觀,少有對手。Realization 亦是這方面的強者,與之相比,除了是毫不遜色外,還更具條理分明的 細緻描述能力。由 Realization 重播出來的飽滿厚重低頻, 在大動態起落中,可以表現出更快放能收的威力,非但在《The Best Things In Life》和《Jazz Mile》的大牛筋和重鼓敲擊,《四季「名琴篇」》的提琴群層層疊疊海量低頻,Arcadi Volodos 的剛勁雄渾大鋼琴,甚至是《The Bodyguard》的流行重 bass 勁 beat 效果,亦可體會到這款 電源線在這些方面的高清表現能力。

還有音場。Realization 的音場非但宏偉壯觀,而且深具立體感,在《四季「名琴篇」》的室樂重
播中,在 Valery Gergiev 指揮 Kirov
Orchestra & Chorus 的交響樂團複雜樂器大場面重播中,音場非但表現得廣闊開揚,填滿大房的左右牆,比Elation 開拓得更深遠,而前後亦拉得開,當中層次感傑出,弱音細節豐富,分隔度高。Super Focus Mark- II 的強者手法不同,音場不那麼在意於前後拉開,卻更擅長 於啖啖肉大件頭樂器的近身擁抱,在重播爵士、流行、搖 擺錄音時較有利,但亦不會達至幾倍售價 Realization 的境界。

我曾把 Realization 用在 ModWright LS 36.5DM 前級 上,聽到兩者亦非常夾聲,重現出生龍活虎的效果來。只是,Realization 為功放作出的貢獻卻難以取代,為了整體表 現着想,我還是更喜歡把 Realization 用在功放上。因前級有 較多電源線好拍檔,要聲音清新從容一點,可沿用 Analysis Plus Ultimate Power Oval。若要聲音有更厚暖音色、結實 低頻、動態衝勁,可給前級用上 Elation ;如此兩條 Kubala Sosna 電源線一同用上,便更添這品牌的簽名式熱情澎湃效果。若我們手上有兩條 Realization,那麼把前級和功放都一 起用上會否更佳? 我想在驚天動地音效考慮上是正面的,在盡情釋放出中、高頻訊息量考慮上亦是正確的。至於在實際聆聽上,尤其站於發燒友在家中享受Hi-Fi美聲的立場上,讓 Elation 跟 Realization拍着上亦有好處。我所考慮的並非成本問題,而是聲音效果的配搭。B&W 802 D3 揚聲器的鑽石高音單元清澈通透,分析力強,低糖無味精,跟 Realization 有着異曲同工之效。以音色較溫暖,高頻較圓潤的 Elation,跟高清低糖的 Realization 拍着上,可起相輔相成的作用,對 802 D3 的鑽石高音單元亦有善意的柔和調節。我對這樣的配搭信心十足,因為以 Elation 接前級,以 Realization 接功放,一聽就鍾意!


轉載自 HiFi Review #378



LUXMAN LX-380 膽合拼!

Luxman LX-380






睇完入面又睇下出面,見到個好多年都無用,亦可以話從來唔用既功能……Loudness !







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