Now I know how it feels to give birth and immediately relinquish the child to the adoptive parents. I had but a few hours to install and audition my latest creation in the reference system before my customer would come to claim it.
In any given series, the speaker cable usually presents a more powerful picture than the interconnect, but I also know that the interconnect performs the support function. The ballerina may soar, but she cannot get off the ground without her partner's lift. I had heard only one Sukhavati interconnect here on two separate occasions, and each time was a major revelation. Three ICs were delivered to the customer. Hearing three in his system was beyond breathtaking. Now I would listen to just the speaker cable before he came, have a short listen together and then pack them up and say goodbye, at least until we can build a set for here. He will now have the only existing three ICs and speaker cable all together. Having heard what three ICs can do, with the speaker cable added, I'm sure I will be on my knees thanking the heavens when I visit his place.
Don't get me wrong, the reference system as it stands is spectacular. If you hadn't heard this you might think there is nowhere to go, but there is no forgetting or going back once you have been presented with the holy grail.
With little time to spare I pulled out a few of reference LPs and embarked on a short marathon:
On 'They Say It's Wonderful', the sound stage receded just a touch, but also got considerably deeper and more spacious overall. The richness of Johnny Hartman's voice has always been breathtaking, but now, the finest edges of his voice are fully present. The last vestiges that you couldn't have known were there arrived like the sun from behind clouds - heaven. With the Arhat speaker cable Coltrane's sax was already full and rich, but here it was all splendor and depth, the sound clearly swelling through the interior shape of the horn. And the brushwork - ultimate delicacy. You want to hold your breath.
How to describe what Jaco's bass sounds like in 'Boogie Man' in this setup? Thunderous, cataclysmic, but swift and agile like lightning, delicate as dew with really round really fat strings.
On Dick Nash's trombone lead and solo on 'Chelsea Bridge'? Velvet, butta. Ted Nash's alto - so rich you could touch it. The notes from Larry Bunker's vibes hanging in space like fruit on a tree.
And Ray Brown... Everyone says Brown's bass is over emphasized on this LP. Get over it! He's closely miked. He's the diva on this recording. But here's the thing, in this situation, it's the first time I've heard the bass absolutely connected through all the registers. Oh I thought I had heard that before too, but Oh man! Uh uh. I could live with that bass 24/7. Just absolutely right on.
Don't turn your nose up. You got to have some electronica now and then to broaden your horizons. I hate vocoders, except when Daft Punk uses them. Everything is just right, rock solid here. Sheer joy.
'Constantinople' gets really relaxed without loosing a speck of energy. Drums up there in back trading riffs - delicacy personified. The raspy twangy timbre of the dumbek membrane, the metallic thwack of the Udu, both clear as a bell.
Bowed bass on 'Fire and Rain?' Fugeddaboutit!
The Sukhavati came and went. Who was that masked man, and when will he return to save our town?