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More on dynamics

While I spent a lot of time yesterday enjoying the Indy 500, beautiful weather and the pool, I listened a bit more upstairs. What I find is that this experience mirrors that of first hearing my current preamp a couple of summers ago. I find myself initially setting the gain too high so that eventually a passage clips the amps. I'm continuing to explore more of the bottom of the scale with a sharper rise to the top.

Sidebar: For many years, I did not appreciate the value of a good active preamp in the role of low level dynamics. Years ago, I discussed this with Charles Hansen and didn't get it then. Now I do.

The opening title of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them delivers a wonderfully emotional ride of contrasts - opening with the familiar John Williams theme to fanfare and "startle-the-crap-out-of-you" bass drum slam to exploring the softer end in the second track "There are Witches Among Us". Gain on SP20 at set 22 or a click or two lower than I recall before running out of (bass-driven) power. A pair of Siegfrieds would be nice here.

Another current favorite is the 96/24 version of The Force Awakens. With "The Scavenger", we hear Rey's theme unfolding. Here again, the beauty lies at the pp end of the scale. The melody is fully developed in the track with her name where both dynamic extremes are explored ending in a whisper. Beautiful. Same gain setting.

Next, I took out an old favorite for dynamics - The Rite of Spring in a Telarc recording of Maazel with the Cleveland Orchestra. There's plenty of contrast to be discovered starting with the slow soft introduction. Which leads to the more familiar and powerful "Dances of the Adolescent Girls" theme. Check your gain if you're cranking "Game of Abduction" as the brass and bass drum are liberally exercised at fff. As with all Telarc's, recording level a bit lower, so gain set at 25. Some others I should play are The Firebird and Carmina Burana. I heard the latter in Atlanta years ago in row "C" with the full chorus where the hairs of my arm stood up with the explosive dynamic swings.

Lastly, I played a new tune that isn't particularly dynamic, but there is some tasty low octave synth found with Katy Perry's Bon Appetit single on Tidal Hifi. While much is dynamically flat, the chorus is surprisingly punchy. Just a fun mix. Gain 18.

Will upgrading the cheap DC power cord improve the dynamic punch and reach of your player? Don't have a clue as there are too many variables. If you've got an LPS-1, however, you really must spend another $6 and a half hour of your time to exploit its capabilities. Like Charlie before, Mr. Swenson was right. :)


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