47 Laboratory 4715 D/A processor & 4716 CD transport Manufacturer's Comment
Editor: Thank you very much for spending time with 47 Lab's Shigaraki transport/DAC (March 2003). When I first read the draft of the review, my impression was pretty negative. Well, Sony and Shigaraki sound almost the same, but Sony comes with SACD, right? I've known Art Dudley for over four years now, and I trust his integrity as a reviewer and as a person. So he must've reported whatever he heard in a straightforward fashion. But how do they compare in a different system?
I decided to do the comparison myself. I had a hard time getting hold of a Sony SCD-777ES and ended up calling Art himself. He generously offered the opportunity for me to bring in whatever gear I prefer and do it at his place. I was hoping the different system would reveal more of the difference between the two. The setup I brought in was the 47 Lab Gaincard amplifier and the Spendor SP1/2.
Did I hear the huge difference I was hoping to hear? Maybe not. A constant difference? Yes. With every disc I played, the music came as a more organic whole through the Shigaraki, while the Sony's presentation was somewhat scattered in comparison. The impression was consistent, and became clearer with each disc. For me, where Art describes the Sony as "colorful" is where its digital vulnerability became most apparent. The colorfulness of the Sony seemed to have the character of an enhanced photograph, distorting the perspective of the soundscape, especially in complicated passages of the music, while the Shigaraki maintained its coherence dead on.
I'm not saying the Sony sounded bad. It came a long way from my memory of Sony sound of past days (very digital and thin), and proved to be a very competent CD player.
The difference we are talking about here can be minor for some but essential for others. However, if you are ready for a long haul with your favorite CDs, I bet my money on Shigaraki without hesitation.
By the way, Art, you didn't hear the aliasing noise. It happens at 22.05kHz (footnote 1). A third of the musical energy is concentrated at that frequency. But we are talking about Lowther here! You might've heard something else, but it can't be the aliasing noise.—Yoshi Segoshi, Sakura Systems, US distributor for 47 Lab
Footnote 1: Far be it for me to publicly disagree with Mr. Segoshi, but aliasing noise appears across the entire audioband.—John Atkinson