This weekend I finally got around to rearranging my equipment to allow easy (well, easier) swapping of speaker cables to complete a review of some new speaker cable I'm trying. That done I decided to try the Isoclean (1A) fuse I'd purchased probably a month ago; the normally tight arrangement of the gear had me putting that off, that and some tube rolling that I probably try today ... Man!, you'd swear this was a job sometimes!
Anyway, the fuse is for the separate power supply (a BCG3.1 MKII) of my BC3000 MKII pre-amp. I started off with a fairly recent thrift shop find that I've really taken to ... Sibelius String Quarter in D minor (Budapest String Quartet, Columbia ML 502).
I listened to the first movement and then swapped the fuse (to the Isoclean) to listen again. First impression was ... Oh well, no difference, no biggie. But the piece is playing so I just listen on and then ... what the heck? I swear I can follow the Viola better.
At that point, more than just a little surprised, I decided to grab a few things I've owned for over a decade to continue the investigation. First up, the Schubert String Quintet in C (London ffrr CS 6441). I started with the stock fuse and had to admire the sound ... I haven't listened to this with my current setup and it's so obvious what I have now dwarfs previous setups. The work still has that first violin (and cellos) dominated
sound but the other violin and the viola are making themselves known in a manner better than I ever remember. Switch to the Isoclean and the effect only increases, a better sense of whole, the contribution of the musical lines clearer ... less domination.
I then tried Schubert's Three Piano Pieces Op. Posth. (Evelyne Crochet, Philips PHS 900-178). It's hard to imagine a piano piece that is more lyric
, in fact in parts the complex harmonies created by the doubling of certain notes does create the sensation of a hearing an accompanying male voice; it would be hard for me to believe this was unintentional (by Schubert). All I can say is that with the Isoclean this effect is enhanced to the point where the result is almost uncanny
and a touch spooky
I returned to it this morning to have another go at the Sibelius than only confirmed my impression. I also tried one of my favorite evaluation Jazz tracks, Bottoms Up from Ron Carter's 1983 "Etudes" (Elektra); Art Farmer (trumpet and flugelhorn), Bill Evans (tenor and soprano saxophonist), Tony Williams (drums), and Carter (bass). For me this is High Art, excellence via sophisticated subtleties, musically poignant and significant yet at the same time allowing for playfulness and whim, it's got it all! This is a fine example to my mind of why audiophiles sweat the details because anything that gets one closer to such performances is worth it ... and the Isoclean does just that!
Well I'm sold. For $30 this is beyond a no-brainer.