I would say this third week has been somewhat ‘eventful’. The system has been rather "variable" -- beyond the variability that we associate with active systems in general.
The tonality is still pleasantly ‘full’ and ‘true’. So it remains a lot easier to identify individual instruments and musical lines in a mix than before the DR upgrade.
However, over last Sunday and Monday – the system was sounding very strange – the only way I can describe it is that dynamic contrasts seemed wrong – the loud bits sounded really loud – such that I couldn’t play any source (NAT01, NDS and LP12) past nine o’clock. It wasn’t unpleasant but sounded uncomfortable – the sort of sound that brings one neurosis and has one looking behind the racks to see if all cables are free and loose. They were. So I satisfied myself that this was probably just the ‘roller-coaster ride’ I had been warned about.
Then last Tuesday, Bach B Minor Mass was playing on radio 3 on my NAT01 - I was more or less forced to stop working and listen. This time the system was sounding dynamically correct and seriously enjoyable – and I found I could very comfortably play beyond 10 o’clock without any discomfort. I tested this with NDS and LP12 as well – the later was frighteningly good when I played Bob Dylan’s “Tell Tale Signs” – never heard it sounding this good before!!
I thought to myself – well, perhaps this is the end of the run-in?
Not too fast – the variability came back. And its been like that and also a little bit dull and not as “inviting” – even though I can still pick up the analytical improvements to-date, (fuller tone, clearer nuances, etc) but the system is nowhere near as “drawing”, “dark” and “liquidly flowing” as it sounded like last Tuesday – when it sounded really “inky black”. Now you could say it now sounds a bit “(inky?) grey” .... :-)
After experiencing how it sounded like last Tuesday (and I swear I have never heard my system sound THAT good before!), it is of course a bit disappointing for the system to go off as it has done.
BUT, its not time to slash wrists yet – the underlying trend is definitely up, i.e. “improving” -- and, judging by what I heard last Tuesday, with a lot more performance to come. I can sort of sense that the system is progressing steadily to something really rather special and I am looking forward to that – hopefully in the next couple of weeks.
In the meantime – I just need to be patient and accept all this bumpy ride as part of the settling down process -- something that comes with the territory...
Oh my, what fun(?)