For our tests, an impressive system — in terms of size and cost — was assembled. The source was a Studer A820 tape recorder connected via a balanced line to the preamp, and that, in turn, to the powerful lamp end of the Samson Mk III. The network power supply is organized according to a balanced scheme. The acoustics are rather old, but the floor-standing Paradigm Reference Studio speakers are very good.
The first thing I did, however, was listen to the preamp in my headphones. In the zero position of the volume control, the silence was absolute, as if the power was turned off. A very unusual, I would even say, unreal feeling. We turn on the Studer, and loaded a good copy of 38/2 from the master tape. The impression is overwhelming, and it's not even the effective sound pressure itself, but what it was made of. Every sound, every note seemed to be shooting out, it seemed that the music was literally hammered into the ears by alternating bursts of energy. And this effect did not depend much on the volume, I slightly reduced it, and the energy attack did not stop.
«The impression is overwhelming, and it's not even the effective sound pressure itself, but what it was made of.»
A very similar effect was observed when switching to speakers. They literally unleashed an avalanche of sounds, and these sounds seemed to bombard and, for want of habit, it made a strong impression.
After a while, it was possible to evaluate other aspects of the sound. The bass was raised, fast, with the right attack, producing a sense of depth and real, not light-weight content. The character of studio phonograms was perfectly conveyed — with the widest, without compression, dynamic range and, as a result, open and free sound.