Quick mini-review update.
A couple of days ago I put on von Karajan interpreting Also Sprach Zarathustra (the 1984 recording). This one is rather scary loud at the start so I listen to a few seconds at the start of the 2nd movement to set the volume knob, then I buckle down and come back to the 1st movement and for a proper listening. If it's loud, it's loud, etc. So naturally I was enjoying the opening trumpet sunrise theme, with the very, very loud and well controlled double bass and organ for support, and the rest of the piece flowed along very well. Then I remembered I had to web about a bit and multitasked while the rest of the piece played along. Thus somewhat distracted, I was enjoying the piece when the last movement was reached and there was a hammerblow to the bells that just astonished me. I almost dropped my keyboard to the floor, I could have sworn the bell was right in the room.
Then last night, I played Dark Side of the Moon. No prize for guessing which song produced the same astonishment at the sound of bells, clocks, alarms et. al. It was like I had gadgets all over the room going off on their own, like something out of a Twilight Zone episode.
This morning it's Kula Shaker's "Peasants, Pigs and Astronauts" blending British rock and Indian music, acoustic and electronic, which presents all sorts of lovely opportunities for an amp to show what it can do. On "Namdi nanda-nandana" there is an intro with a water stream, birds, a woman reciting and you might as well be eavesdropping in some Indian forest at dawn when Crispian Mills comes in and chants the title, then some electronics hop on the background and the woman becomes a soprano and, well, all of this happens with such clean and musical separation that you can hear what everybody is doing without any effort at all, and before you know it the prescribed several minutes of silence come in because, as it turns out, the beautiful song is merely an introduction for the greater beauty that is to be provided by the listener's meditation.
The thing of it is, I had all three albums pretty well memorized. There's nothing new here. Same old same old. So, well, I'm hearing all kinds of things anew and, really, all of them musical? Simultaneously relaxed and intense? Nothing bad, all better? Huh? Some stereo rags claim that good equipment can make albums sound worse, and thankfully I am confirming that that was just a bunch of BS?!
One last quick mention--the Moody Blues in the 60's put out some fantastic albums but the mix might not have always been the best. To some extent you had to guess, the ear and the mind interpolating to flesh out the correctness of their musical idea. Well now I found myself doing so much less interpolation, so much more relaxed listening that in the end I was ready to say that maybe the recordings were not so bad after all.
It's been some weeks already since I've put this 600R in the chain and I continue to shake my head and smile at unexpected moments when I listen to it. I know this music, sometimes I can even read the musical score so I more or less know what it's supposed to sound like, and yet, there still remains the last layer of pleasant surprise. Undoubtedly the steadfast attack on distortion and the silly-fast slew rate are worth the effort. I feel like when I hike into the Sierra Nevada and drink from a stream--it's mostly the same two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen but the tiny additional differences create a sensual experience that lifts your spirits in ways that are not as materialistic as they might seem.
For the n'th time, congrats Frank and crew...