I'm enjoying my new Digital American I got just after replacing a PS-Audio Premier with a rather unique UberBuss that I got from PI Audio in early November. This unit has a toggle switch to go between Uber mode and DigiBuss mode. It also has provisions for AC in: either a Frutech Rhodium IEC worth about $110 at VH Audio or a 32 amp Neutrik that is the big brother of the ones on Audience Adept Response and go for under $20. I also have a nice assortment of Duplex receptacles on hand to swap in to replace the 4 S & P duplexes it came with. I have a Maestro on hand as well as 2 new Furutech GTX (d) Rhodium to play with. I promised Dave that I would try to test his claim that for at least some components, these duplexes are every bit as good as the $100+ ones and that the expensive ones should be considered like different spices in the kitchen and give different flavors to the mix. I also promised to give my best efforts to identifying differences between settings by listening, and give him some feedback on the DigiBuss mode and the AC inlet hardware.
I figured on acting like an adult and only making one change at a time to prevent confounding variables from identifying what was happening to the sound. I expected that most settings or cord swaps would make audible changes as my system has become very transparent, but the magnitude of overall improvement with the installation of the Buss was so unexpectedly transformative that I had to postpone testing the different set-up options and establish a new baseline. What became obvious to me after about one day of burn-in and settling in that the overall improvements to my system had actually made CDs sound good - on my system - that I had to finally take them seriously as a source. Looking at the total 'when new' cost of my vinyl front end, cabling , phono stage, footers etc. compared to my digital side, I have kept things in balance at about 30 vinyl dollars to every 1 digital since I got my first Cal Audio player in 1988. I replace the OPPO 95 with a classic SONY SCD-1 sacd player that has been modded to the hilt by some of the crazy engineers whipped on by Positive Feedback about 10 years ago. With that baby in my system, I thought I was in digital Heaven. I have been using the UberBuss in DigiBuss mode and thought it couldn't get any better. I had tried several power cords in the Sony:
PS Audio Premier SC (about $1k/meter 2011)
CPCC Top Gun ($900 2005)
VH Flavor 4
Synergistics Research X2 master coupler avtive PC ($750 2003?)
The Master Coupler provided the best overall sound with the Sony and I thought I had really nailed it until I just had a hunch and bought a Digital American Source level cord for it. Until now, my digital gear has always been dressed in hand-me downs - power cords, footers, tweaks, ICs. I had expected some kind of sonic fireworks from its installation on the Sony, or at least something that stood up proudly and said "here I am - a great new power cord!" but it does not really work that way. In this role, in my system, the Digital American is no showoff in any way, and yet its presence was felt in my system right away as a profound feeling of well-being; that it was time to just kick back an listen and not to waste time or energy by trying to figure out how it got so good. The DA is more like Ben Webster where I was expecting Pharoh Sanders. Digital music now is just so clean. Glare is still there on some recordings but it is so negligible that I have to actually focus on it to find it when playing CDs. On SACDs it is now gone completely. The soundstage is so real it seems impossible to believe it is not analog.
After 3 weeks of listening to the Digital American cord, I think the biggest impact on my digital sound was that it does whatever needs to be done to clean garbage from the music. They will clean up anything and everything. I think this cable is a great match for my old CD player. It certainly is an overachiever.