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G’s Reference – Fresh Blood 5

Well… in the last episode, I told you that my system would remain unchanged for a while now. Uhm… I have to come back to that already. How quickly things can change. How that happened, I am happy to tell you.

The cause is a change in Jaap’s test system, the Pass Labs X150.8 power amplifier, which made the Bryston 4B³ (4B Cubed) available. The opportunity for me to make a significant upgrade and so the Bryston is now in the picturesque West Flanders giving the best of itself.

Was there something wrong with the Benchmark AHB2? Not at all but when Jaap came by and we installed the Bryston in the system, and honestly: there was no way back. The biggest gain is in the imaging which is now completely 3D. 

A second change, which we mentioned in the last episode, is the purchase of new sspeaker tands. After a long hesitation, we went for the matching Revel M Stands and we don’t regret it. Not only do they visually match the speaker perfectly, they also benefit the reproduction. Perhaps IsoAcoustic Aperta Gaia feet will be placed under them but to be honest; I don’t think that will be necessary. Visually the speakers now come into their own and they fit wonderfully in our sleek listening room. An absolute asset.

The next change came through a limitation of the Nad M50. Now that we have been playing with the amazing Sonnet Morpheus for a while it started to itch to try the I2s connection with a suitable streamer and then the most logical choice is of course the Sonnet Hermes. A quick email to designer Cees Ruijtenberg and within a week we had a brand new Hermes and I2s module at home.

The difference in our untreated room is more calmness in the reproduction. Everything is even more balanced although aes/ebu comes very close through the Mutec.  Another rather practical adjustment is the fact that I have now put Roon Rock on an Intel Nuc so that my laptop is freed up and I am no longer dependent on it. I must say that this is also a very nice upgrade and one that was reasonably affordable. 

Finally, after the review, I purchased the Ricable Magnus cables. The analog (rca and xlr), digital (coax and aes/ebu) and the powercable. The speaker cable I found not as good and that will not be the new speaker cable.

Meanwhile we have the Invictus series in and that speaker cable is not bad at all but a lot more expensive unfortunately. We are currently without speaker cable because the Benchmark Speakon cable does not fit the Bryston. But for now we use the Ricable Invictus Reference. We’ll see if it can stay.

So, you’re all in again. Until the next one but hopefully not so soon.

Test system April 2022:

  • Revel Performa M126BE
  • Revel Performa M stands
  • Bryston 4B³ (4B Cubed)
  • Benchmark Media Systems HPA4
  • Sonnet Digital Audio Hermes
  • Sonnet Digital Audio Morpheus
  • Mutec MC3+
  • Audioquest Powerquest 3
  • Hifiman Sundara

Cabling:

  • Ricable Magnus (analog, digital, power)
  • Ricable Invictus (speaker)
  • Grimm TPR (analog)
  • Custom Made Ethernet Cable (I2S)

Software:

  • Roon on Intel Nuc

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