Genesis Technologies Digital Lens John Atkinson October 1996
As impressive as I had found the original Mark Levinson No.31 CD transport, after about two years of living with it I found myself experimenting with outboard jitter-reduction units. In chronological order, I tried the Digital Domain VSP, the Sonic Frontiers UltraJitterbug, the Audio Alchemy DTI•Pro and DTI•Pro 32, the Meridian 518, and the Genesis Digital Lens. The sonic changes wrought by these devices were mainly positive, though the effect of the original DTI•Pro's enhancement algorithm was very dependent on the CD being played, and sometimes made the sound worse.
In general, the palpability of the No.31's sound was made greater by these outboard devices: the midrange sounded even more natural, and the highs were better differentiated. Cymbals, for example, sounded less noise-like, and more textured in the manner of the real thing. The two best-sounding units were the most recent, the Meridian and the Genesis, when both were set to redither to a 20-bit data word length. While the Digital Lens gave the greatest improvement in sound quality, this came at a price: the Genesis made the No.31's always-authoritative bass sound more bloated, less tight. As Martin Colloms would phrase it, the Genesis reduced the '31's sense of pace.
Ivo Papasov and His Bulgarian Wedding Band's Orpheus Ascending (Hannibal HNCD 1346), for example, has been spending a lot of time spinning in the '31 in recent weeks. The bass guitar that drives the crazy combination of clarinet and rhythm guitar—or "structural" guitar, as the Dead's Bob Weir calls it—through the music's angular and irregular time signatures lost some of its essential forward momentum even while the midrange-dominant instruments, the snare drum in particular, gained palpability.—John Atkinson