I have been so busy that I have not had a chance to sit down and write down my thoughts on the Perpetual Technologies P3A DAC with Empirical Audio mods and Superclock II. This is by no means a detailed and complete review, but just my brief thoughts in this piece of gear. So here goes:
My journey started off with the nOrh CD-1. I swapped out tubes and happily lived with that player for several months. After reading all of the hype I them added a Perp Tech P1A/P3A and Monolithic Power Supply to the mix. I had the Modwright Level II mods done to the P3A and used the CD-1 as a transport. Again, I happily lived with this combo for several months. I thought this combo was very good, but I just knew there had to be something out there that could make stringed instruments sound like strings, and I also felt that there was probably more bass that I was not getting from this combo. After reading some posts here at A/C and also at AA, I was starting to wonder if there was a mismatch with the CD-1 as a transport and the Perp Tech gear. Some posts indicated that while the CD-1 was a great stand-alone player, it was not a great transport.
So I took the plunge with Empirical and bought a Sony DVP-S7700. I had it shipped directly to Steve Nugent at Empirical and had his transport mods done. I got it back, slipped into place and it was one of those jaw dropping “Oh My God” kind of moments. Strings that sounded like strings, more bass, more delineation between instruments and just a more natural musical presentation. There was a huge layer of grunge that seemed to disappear that I never really knew was there. I just don’t understand how the transport can effect the sound in such a dramatic way, but somehow sending the 0’s and 1’s without jitter has a huge impact.
I happily lived with this for a few months, but when Steve came out with his Superclock II, I bit the bullet and sent my P3A in for the full-boat mods. Now I can say that I am done with my digital front end. This baby rocks on any type of music, and I listen to a wide variety. Absolute lack of grain, totally musical, very detailed without being analytical, extremely natural and a huge soundstage. I get much more of a sense of the space, hall, club etc… that the piece was recorded in. I actually get lost in the music now, instead of picking apart the sound of my system. One of the biggest changes that occurred, and one that I didn’t expect, was the bass. I have bass that was just never there before. I have a dual sub setup, and always thought that there should be more bass. Well now I have it in spades. When I crank it up, the photo’s on the walls start to shake and rattle. That never happened before. I don’t mean in-your-face all-the-time bass, but wonderful, deep tuneful bass that only shows up when it is in the recording. But if it is in the recording you get all of it.
I do a lot of listening at night at low levels. My music room is a second floor bonus room, and my kids rooms are on that floor also. Low level listening is just great. While the bass doesn’t shake the pictures on the walls, it is still there as well as all of the other attributes that I spoke about already.
In conclusion, I am done with digital upgrades. If you are looking for a great transport and DAC and can afford this combo, you will end up with what I think is a world class combo.
Thanks Steve for the great work.
P.S. - While both of our names are Steve, there is no relation and no affiliation.