Well, the knitpicky sound issues remaining with my stereo system
seem to have been solved. First of all, I found my midbass!!! It was in the
Z-box! Isn't that always the last place you look?
soundstage has widened 4 feet in either direction, which in turn has pulled the
instruments that seemed to be on top of eachother, apart. There is now air, and
space around each instrument, and by god, I noticed a new instrument way down in
the mix in the first song I listened to, after I got it up and running
How can I describe this little devil...DEEP, smooth,
effortless, sure-footed. I play my acoustic guitar in the same listening
position that I listen to the stereo, so I have a pretty good handle on how my
stereo was different from live sound. The accuracy of the Dec-685 player was
doing pretty good justice to reproducing live sound, but thinness, and lack of a
smooth spectrum from top to bottom was a real problem. I also had a pretty
gritty, harsh high end that caused cringing on some recordings when the volume
Through the Z-box, all of the detail the Dec-685 produces is
not only maintained, but in fact, is clarified. Its like a slight double-image
has been pulled into gorgeous, brilliant 3-D focus. As far as the frequency
spectrum...everything south of center has fattened and warmed...everything north
of center has sweetened, and relaxed. Stereo pan is smoother as things move
through the stereo field. Noisefloor has dropped to zero allowing your
attention to widen to pick up more details and depth. On one acoustic guitar
part that I know like the back of my hand, I could suddenly hear a slight buzz
on the artist's B string that made me smile every time he hit it, because it
sent that buzz down into the wood body of the guitar to pick up reverb.
Everything just sounds so alive, smooth, and musical right now it blows
me away. By comparison, the Dec-685 alone sounds cold, sterile, and robotic. Now its a relaxed, happy musician, on the top of his/her game.
stock outputs through the Z-box help reveal what the Z-box itself is adding to
the mix. You can still hear a similar widening and deepening of the soundstage,
and the noisefloor is similarly removed, but the ultra-realistic detail isn't
there as it is with the modded Decware outputs.
I can say that my
stereo sounds so close to live music now, on a great recording that I am
suprised. Highs are sweet and not the slightest bit irritating. Lows are
smooooth, powerful, and controlled. Mids are 3-dimensional, realistic, and in
the room with you.
The stereo just doesnt sound strained and electronic
now...it seems like it has tons of headroom to spare, and like its not even
breaking a sweat anymore. Fast, punchy, accurate. Lovely.
I can start by saying, I had tremendously high expectations for
this unit going in. I could hear the stereo I wanted my stereo to be...just
inside the sound...wanting to get out...and I expected the Z-box to just
magically deliver it. To pull back the veil and make the stereo of my dreams
appear for a very small price of admission.
the EXCRUCIATINGLY long wait.
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2007 2008 by Steve Deckert