Balanced Audio Technology VK-D5 CD player Associated Equipment
Most of the time the VK-D5 was wired up to the VK-5i preamp to take advantage of differential operation. Unsurprisingly, the two pieces mated beautifully. I wired up the front-end, the VTL Wotan amps, and the JMlab Utopia speakers with either Synergistic Research Designer's Reference or TARA Labs The One, with its multiple Isolated Shield Matrix Floating Ground Stations. The VK-D5 also served the Forsell Statement amplifier on the Radian HC speakers. (This combo must be heard to be believed. The Forsell's inherent bloom perfectly complements the HC's clarity and coherence, especially when wired up with triwire MIT MH-850 CVTerminator speaker cables.) I used the balanced inputs on both these behemoths to take advantage of balanced running when using the BAT front-end.
I also auditioned the VK-D5 single-ended into the Nagra PL-P and the YBA Signature 6 chassis preamplifiers. Comparison digital front-ends included Ensemble's Dichrono Drive and DAC (now with anti-jitter upgrade module installed), the Forsell D/A driven by the Dichrono Drive, and the YBA CD-1 Blue Laser.
Effective tweaks included a liberal dose of Black Diamond Racing shelves and footers, along with a scattering of Shakti Stones and On-Lines. Shun Mook Mpingos were placed about and, as usual, worked to good cumulative effect. If you're turning red in the phase—er, face, let me refer you to "A Tweaker's Tale" for a quick splash of cold water. You can read it even if you're already an inveterate tweaker!—Jonathan Scull