dCS Scarlatti SACD/CD playback system How Revealing?

Sidebar 3: How Revealing?

For much of the review period, all four Scarlatti components were plugged into the latest version of Shunyata Research's Hydra V-Ray II power conditioner, itself plugged into the wall with Shunyata's latest King Cobra Helix AC cord. Then I switched to Audience's Adept Response power conditioner fitted with their own latest Au24 AC cord and got a different balance: warmer, fuller, bigger on bottom, but not as airy on top. Different, but better? With glary, bright-sounding recordings, yes—but not with darker, warmer discs. The XRCD edition of The Tony Bennett Bill Evans Album (JVCXR-0208-2) sounded better with the Hydra; through the Audience, the piano was too soft and warm.

But other discs that sounded bright and a bit bass-shy through the Hydra, such as Bob Dylan's The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration (CD, Columbia C2K 53230), sounded just right via the Audience. Switching to the TARA Labs Power Screen conditioner produced noticeably greater dynamics while splitting the tonal difference between the Shunyata and the Adept.

Which was "right"? Don't ask me—it's whichever sounds best in your system. But expect a highly resolving component like the dCS Scarlatti to show you, and to cost you extra for power cords and a conditioner to get the most from it.—Michael Fremer

dCS (Data Conversion Systems), Ltd.
US distributor: dCS America
P.O. Box 544, 3057 Nutley Street
Fairfax, VA 22031
(617) 314-9296