I had a few catch up pieces of news I wanted to share and then we'll get back to this crazy idea of mine to make the walls disappear.
First, for those following the BHK Monoblock saga, we finally found and fixed the last vestiges of hum that were nagging us. Prior to yesterday's breakthrough we had yet to ship any BHK Monoblock amplifiers because none were passing our rather rigorous hum standards and engineering was collectively scratching heads. Both Bascom and Bob Stadtherr have been hard at work tracking down internal hum and, as is usually the case, it was a multitude of small problems adding up to more noise than we accept. I was just handed the first production ready set of BHK Monoblocks for final listening tests and fell back in love again.
I have been struggling for words to describe the differences between the BHK Stereo and the BHK Monos. I realized the problem finding the right words was two fold: the BHK Stereo is so good, that something better seems near impossible, and the areas of improvement are not top to bottom. For example, there are no better frequencies extremes between the two amps, yet there is a fairly significant change in imaging, front to back and side to side. The BHK Stereo sounds correct in all respects with deep, three dimensional wall-to-wall imaging in Music Room One. Yet the same track played on the Monos causes me to refer back to the Stereo presentation as more two dimensional than I had heard, as if it were slightly cutout as opposed to integrated, something I never noticed nor felt was lacking in the Stereo 250. In fact, prior to the Monoblock arrival, I was completely smitten with the Stereo's imaging as the best I had ever heard, bar none, and at any price - and here's the weird thing - that remains true. What makes this comparison so terribly difficult is the Stereo version hasn't anything lacking until you play the Monos and notice what's changed - which does not detract from the stereos. Like driving the finest car you ever imagined, only to step into the next model up and realize it's on a different plane; you would be ecstatic owning the first, never lusting after the second, until you experienced both. I could live happily with either.
I could go on but I won't. Both versions are so damned good that with the new crossover finally settling in, the system has to be re-tuned, re-thought, re-tweaked.
The second piece of news concerns a new product I have not yet mentioned. The NuWave DSD is launching this month. It has been in development for the last year and finally ready to hit the streets. This is a new lower cost DAC, retailing for $1,299 and (obviously), handles both single and double rate DSD in addition to everything else under the sun. The NuWave DSD uses one of the higher end Sabre DACs at its core, not an FPGA, and features (for the first time), an I2S input for those of you with PWT transports to get the pure datastream in directly.
I will be featuring this new DAC in this month's upcoming PS Audio Newsletter.