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Silver LL1931 - my thoughts

It's been a while in coming, but I did a long, long break-in and then listened back and forth to both versions of the LL1931 using the Premium Maxxed-Out Phono Preamp and the Sonus Veritas Venice Phono Preamp. It wasn't in any way difficult to hear the difference between the original LL1931 (using Cardas sourced copper wire) and the LL1931Ag, but thoroughness seemed reasonable given the price difference!

I heard two important differences pretty quickly and easily. There was a significant change in the tonal balance in the upper midrange / treble that made music listened to through the LL1931Ag more relaxed and yet, at the same time, more exciting due to the perception of more contrast between subtle details. I didn't hear this as darkness, but as a lower distortion result, where smaller contrasts were more apparent, but still well-placed in the context of the overall piece of music.

With more listening to classical music, in particular, it was clear that I was able to hear with "new ears" various harmonic lines that I had never really paid any attention to. Upon relistening to the same pieces with the copper LL1931s, I could now hear these same lines, but it required much more effort. That's not to say that the presentation with the LL1931Ags was "spotlighted", but it was more fun, because there was just more music to "chew" on in many old, familiar recordings.

In some ways the silver transformers provided the same effect (compared to the copper transformers) of moving from Row P in the concert hall to perhaps Row H, where individual instruments and even whole sections in the orchestra are somewhat more vividly portrayed, but aren't nearly so close as to feel "in your face". In contrast to this idea, though, is the observation that the silver transformers also provided a bigger, deeper soundstage than the copper transformers did in recordings that excel in the creation of the a replicated performance space. I look at this as a happy "twofer"!

OK, enough audiophile talk. I can say without reservation that I like the LL1931Ag transformers more than well enough not to part with them. They don't "blow away" the LL1931 wound with Cardas copper wire, but they do give you a pretty good-sized improvement in musical enjoyment. Whether that increment is enough to justify the $800 (each) price is a matter of your budgetary constraints, if any exist (:+)).

Kevin Carter
K&K Audio

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Topic - Silver LL1931 - my thoughts - KevinC 13:54:41 02/13/12 (11)


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