It's vital to repeat how in this case we're dealing not only with the manifestation of a sum of sonic details. The supremely valuable lower layer of music information generated a new dimension of expressiveness and the inner logic of a composition raised its artistic tonus to nearly concerto level. Mind you, I wasn't listening to audiophile recordings. I never try to be guided by them. When Schumann's Symphonic etudes with Mikhail Pletnev [Deutsche Grammophon] or The People United will Never be Defeated by Frederic Rzewski with Marc-Andre Hamelin [Hyperion] played, there appeared not the usual one-way communication but a two-way link, performer to listener and vice versa. Bravissimo!
Bravo interpreted grand piano without academic aridness and abstract detachment. Instead, this S.A.Lab seemed to ennoble this royal instrument's sound as though transforming the latest Steinway or Yamaha into a Bösendorfer or Blüthner made at the beginning of the previous century; or even into the most striking sound of a Bechstein manufactured from 1930-1940 during the golden age of this legendary brand. As always happens whilst associating with true ultra audio, I thought about the correlation between the sound we hear; and the notions (and not just my own) about general musical truth we may hold. In other words, I thought about the way artificial sound images correlate with live music. I recalled what one of my acquaintances said (not verbatim): "You're always telling us that 'the sound is exactly like live music'. But that's rubbish. Electronically reproduced sound can never be exactly like live music. And who knows what live music really is like? I know one thing, you another and other folks something else again. We are all alive but different and live music is never the same. So electronically reproduced sound cannot be exactly like live music - but it can be better."
I don't remember the acquaintance's name and I'm not even sure I didn't imagine this conversation. Nevertheless, it's clear to me that if you want to deal with only one truth, you better not watch movies, you better avoid museums and best of all, you never listen to music. Art is not meant to translate truths or various inviolable facts and axioms. The interrelations of truth and music are the most relative and mediated. The situation is much more complicated than that of other fine arts like literature, the cinema, photography etc. Have you ever thought about the level of continuity between notions like 'information' and 'intonation' in music and speech? Description and appraisal of an audio component's sound always poses the same question: to what extent does it correspond with personal taste; and what is objective and what is subjective? To answer that, one must also listen from another point of view. I have always liked a strict sound without sterility. The Bravo trio offered up a slightly different acoustic interpretation by always bringing forward the intensity of the emotional experience and various aspects of beauty — timbre and dynamic flexibility, spatial clarity, the clarity of lines and colour saturation. One way or another, with this gear one feels forced to admit that music is first and foremost a highly organized flow of emotions coded by means of a notated language, timbre, rhythm and other means. Here the Bravo reproduced music in a totally convincing way so as to being able to correct and soften the most hardened of musical tastes.