Genesis Technologies Digital Lens Page 6

It didn't. The Mark Levinson No.31 still sounded better than the Sonic Frontiers SFT-1 and Parasound C/BD-2000, for the same reasons it sounded better without the Lens. Moreover, the SFT-1 was still more forward-sounding than the No.31 or C/BD-2000, and the Parasound transport's softish bass and more laid-back presentation remained with the Lens in the signal path. The Lens, however, reduced the magnitude of the differences between transports, leaving only traces of their musical characteristics. How the transports' jitter signatures got through the Lens's RAM and ended up at the DAC, where it influenced the sound, is a total mystery.

There's more. When Paul McGowan and Arnie Nudell visited, Arnie described the sonic benefits of taking a bulk tape eraser to CDs. Paul and I were skeptical. We all went to the local RadioShack, where Arnie asked the guy behind the counter where the bulk tape erasers were kept. He asked if we wanted an eraser for audio or video tape. I jumped in and said "CD," which probably gave him fodder for jokes at the next sales meeting; "Some idiot wanted a bulk tape eraser for his CDs!"

Back at the house, we listened to Zappa's The Yellow Shark (originally Barking Pumpkin R2 71600, but now part of Ryko's FZ reissue series: Rykodisc RCD 40560) without the Lens in the signal path, then "demagnetized" the CD with the bulk tape eraser and listened to it again at matched levels. It was clearly different—and better—after being treated with the bulk tape eraser. The sound become more vivid, the soundstage more transparent, and the apparent size of the hall increased. It was a larger difference than I hear between many digital interconnects.

We repeated the experiment on a new disc, but this time with the Lens between the Mark Levinson No.31 transport and the Classé DAC-1 processor. Although the difference was not as great as with the Lens out of the signal path, the bulk tape eraser still made the CD sound better.

I also had on hand two CDs made from the same master tape, but cut on two different mastering machines. The two CDs were verified to have bit-for-bit identical data. I also had jitter-analysis graphs of the two CDs' EFM signals: one disc had much higher jitter in its pits than the other disc. In a blind test, Arnie and Paul instantly picked the disc with the higher measured jitter as sounding worse—even when played through the Lens.

First, why should "demagnetizing" a CD change its sound? And how does jitter in the pits of a CD end up at the DAC's word clock, where it changes the sound? And if the Lens is a perfect barrier to any jitter upstream of it, why could we still hear the difference between high- and low-jitter CDs, and the effects of demagnetizing the disc?

If anyone has the answers, I'm all ears.

The Genesis Digital Lens is the most serious attempt to date at reducing jitter in outboard digital processors. Judging from the auditioning and measurements, Genesis's unique memory-based approach has achieved its goals.

The Lens's effect on the musical quality of my playback system was truly extraordinary. Adding the Lens rendered improvements in nearly every area of musical performance: soundstage size, bass definition and dynamics, clarity, detail resolution, and timbral liquidity. I heard no drawbacks when adding the Lens, only gains.

The Lens produced the kind of improvement that left me disappointed when it was removed. I enjoyed music much more with the Lens installed, particularly when discovering newfound musicality in my favorite recordings. Moreover, the magnitude of the Lens's increased musicality was greater than differences between many transports. This suggests that a moderately priced transport/Lens combination would be a better choice than a similar amount of money spent on a transport without the Lens.

The Genesis Lens has become an essential part of my playback system. If you audition one, I suspect that it will become a permanent part of your system, too.—Robert Harley

Genesis Technologies
4407 6th Avenue NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 789 3400