Originally Posted by rhale64L7
I will be following your little experiment. Can't wait for the outcome.
First, the A/B configurations.
A. The Foundation has v1.23 software. The Kaleidescape player analog output is connected to the S1 input of the Foundation (assigned as CD input) using Audioquest Coral RCA, and then to the Halcro dm88 power amps also using Coral RCA. The Foundation display shows Analog/Preamp mode (interestingly the display also shows 1080i60 video resolution despite the CD source setup has video = no).
B. The Kaleidescape player analog output is connected to the Halcro dm8 pre-amp using Coral RCA, and then to the Halcro dm88 power amps also using Coral RCA. The Foundation is OFF.
The Foundation and Halcro dm8 are both powered off a PS Audio Power Plant P3 re-generator (which significantly lowers the impedance of the AC and lowers the THD on the incoming AC from about 3% to 0.1%). The Foundation is connected to the P3 by a PS Audio Perfect Wave AC-12 cable, and the Halcro is connected using a PS Audio xStream Prelude AC. The Halcro dm88's are connected to the wall sockets by PS Audio Perfect Wave AC-10 cables.
The demo content is a compilation double CD of World Music genre I bought yesterday (http://sbs.com.au/chill
), which is mostly rubbish, but there are some gems of songs on there that are outstanding for testing the mettle of a high fidelity audio system (for those who might not be familiar with Kaleidescape the CD gets imported onto the server as a bit-for-bit copy, and the player connects to the server over the local network and streams what it is told to play by the control system. So playback is not from the physical media, it's from the server).
I was expecting a tough time picking between the Halcro and Foundation because I have been very impressed with the sonic attributes of the Foundation in my multi-channel HT environment (this was the first time I've used the Foundation as a 2ch analog preamp, so a bit of re-wiring was required to hook it up).
The verdict. It was no comparison at all. The Halcro flogs the Foundation every-which-way...I'm reluctant to call it a day and night difference, but it was. For example, Chill CD1, track 13 Inion (Daughter) - Afro Celt Sound System
is characterized by an infinitely complex matrix of synthesized sound effects, instruments, and vocal, testing the full audio bandwidth. The Halcro renders this track as an immersive soundfield of infinite depth and width, with pin-point precision of every element, and subtle nuance revealed wherever it was placed in the performance space. Thoroughly convincing, evoking an emotional connexion with the music.
The Foundation doesn't do that. It's presentation I characterize as a single pane of sound, the absence of depth, and width outside the physical position of the speakers, compared to the Halcro was stark. All the bits-and-pieces of the music were there because the Foundation is very revealing, but it just wasn't rendered into the performance space anywhere near as convincing as the Halcro. Please don't mis-understand, Foundation does sound very good as a 2ch pre-amp: play the song, then play the next song, but the Halcro demands
me to play the same song over and over again. It has the Wow!
factor, turning what was a studio recording into the seeming reality of a live studio performance in my own room.
The Halcro makes my speakers dissolve, they just disappear from the room. The Foundation puts them back in the room. Time now to go back and unravel my cabling back to where it was. The Foundation does HT, the Halcro does music.
In closing just bear in mind the synergy the Halcro pre-amp/power amp combo has, the 2 pieces just have an uncanny capacity to yield an end result greater than the individual parts. Which is an unfair advantage the dm8 has over the Foundation when a dm88 is in the mix.