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Been waiting for Allen to officially announce it as Level 7 - codename "Terra Firma"

Hi Rob.

How is Kiwiland? Thanks Mark for the email. I think there are still some details to be worked out, the final format(s) and presentation, but again will let team leader Allen do that. Right now I suspect he is on a flight from Singapore to Zurich, as I type this, and soon home. He will, I am sure, make his presence felt here after a bit of a rest.

I can say this much, much of the "road testing" has been done down here in Australia, and some players also sent to New Zealand, over the last six months. Not just to first generation Sony SACD players, but also other players from different brands, from Samsung to Harman Kardon, Oppo and Marantz plus more. The working title for the development has been "Terra Firma" - that the ultimate jitter control requires ultimate stability. There has now been more than thirty player that Terra Firma has been installed into. Bill Thalmann is also doing some initial 1st G Sony players now. TT in KL has done Mark's. So things are starting to happen. But I always let it be known that this was not official Level 7 yet and that Allen would be the one to decide and when to announce it.

It seems that came via Mark's player been done by TT in KL. Not the way I had suspected it would happen. Mark, you have captured the essentials very well in your REVIEW, your descriptions are spot on. Thank you very much. I can now be the one to announce I have the first Level 7+ player, SCD-555ES. Finally! :-)

Been in contact with Bill T recently and looking seriously at Sony's new surprise packet, SCD-XA5400ES. No, not compatible with 1st G players and thus the upgrade path will be very different. We have also developed a very novel high performance I/V Converter (something we have wanted to have up our sleeve for a long time), also been extensively road tested Down Under and is now a mature 'product' and sonically up to standards as confirmed by what effectively has become our beta testers. This is a no negative feedback solution, NO opamps! And Terra Firma. Also, this will have full 2V RMS outputs unlike -11dB we've been used to. Some will like that, others not be bothered one way or the other. The upgrade to the 5400ES will be like the Harman Kardon HD-970 (now obsolete) Terra Firma , ten were done down here. One went to Richard Wong, President of the Audiophile Society of NSW (ASoN - of which I am a member). He also has a Linn CD12 with the most recent spec (know the price he paid?). I asked him in lieu of he now owns the Terra Firma HK, how did the Linn fit in? His answer was succinct, "it doesn't."

Clearly, when this 'Level 7' is applied to OTHER players, it cannot be called such, but the name I hope will stick is "Terra Firma." This will enhance a lot of other players suitable out there. The scope is HUGE!

Joe R.

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