Arcam Delta Black Box D/A processor RH's 1989 System

Sidebar 3: RH's 1989 System

The system used for evaluating the three components consisted of a PS Audio 5.5 preamp (in Straightwire mode exclusively), Vortex Screen loudspeakers driven by Prodigy OTL tube power amplifiers, and Stax Pro Lambda Signature headphones.

Included in the source material was a live recording I had just made as part of an appraisal of the Nakamichi 1000 DAT machine. I recorded acoustic guitar and acoustic bass duets in a church using tube microphones to fully explore the Nakamichi's capabilities (watch for a full report, as well as a review of the 1000, next month, footnote 1). I spent about 12 hours over two days listening to live music in the room and the mic feeds through Stax Pro Lambda Signature headphones. This experience provided an invaluable reference when playing back the DAT master tapes through the Black Box 2. In addition, I was able to test the inputs of the decoder at both 44.1kHz and 48kHz sampling rates.

Before listening to any of the converters, I left them turned on for several days. Digital/analog converters are very temperature sensitive, working their best only when warm.—Robert Harley

Footnote 1: This recording was featured on Stereophile's first Test CD.