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Ultrabit Platinum Plus vs. other treatments: brief impressions

I received my Ultrabit Platinum Plus (UBP-P) kit early this morning and spent about four hours stacking it up against L’Art du Son, Shine Ola, and a beta version of Blue Maxx. I only used one CD, Joan Osborne’s well-recorded Relish, for comparison, as I wanted to keep my impressions as focused as possible.

I’ll cut to the chase—in terms of effectiveness in my system, they ranked as follows: (1) UBP-P, (2) L’Art du Son, (3) Blue Maxx, and (4) Shine Ola. The Shine Ola by far did the least, perhaps smoothing the treble a bit, but not doing much else. The Blue Maxx and L’Art du Son were very close to each other. On “St. Theresa,” the opening acoustic guitar flurry was a bit clearer with the LDS, and on “Right Hand Man,” Osborne’s voice was a little smoother on higher notes with the LDS, but in this regard it was a tight race. The LDS imparted a nice sense of warmth to the songs, but in comparison with the winner, the UBP-P, that warmth seemed artificial and bloated.

The UBP-B proved the definitive top dog in this contest. It’s greatest asset was a sense of openness and—for lack of a better word—“slipperiness” that was addicting. In comparison with the LDS, its nearest competitor, it produced images that were wider, clearer, and more fluid. By “slipperiness,” I’m trying to convey the ease with which vocals emanated from the soundstage. With the LDS, vocals seemed almost ragged, which was shocking, as I considered it to produce the smoothest vocals I had ever heard short of the Jena Labs Esoteric 3D-X. With the UBP-P, vocals and instruments were crystal clear but produced with such ease and fluidity that I was really taken aback by the difference. But lest you think the UBP-P was overly smoothing things out, it wasn’t—it was just revealing smoothness when it was there, but also revealing the bluesy rasp in Osborne’s voice with startling clarity when it was there.

The UBP-P is now my new reference. It’s a big step above the L’Art du Son, and for the huge improvement it produces from any optical disc, it’s pretty reasonably priced. I hope it stays that way. It’s really impressive.

This is a public service announcement . . . WITH GUITARS!!!

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Topic - Ultrabit Platinum Plus vs. other treatments: brief impressions - Quint 12:16:34 01/11/11 (13)


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