Pros: Natural Sound Signature, Clarity and Stereo Imaging
Cons: Price, lack of headphone outputs
preview spot for the Conductor SL review - 9018 chip
I really wasn't at all ready for the differences between this chip and the 9018. Stupidly, I didn't believe my peers who told me there was a night and day difference between them. Having booted up the 1793 first when I received the Conductor SL, I of course enjoyed the hell out of it with my Denons and the K-712, but found it not to work well with the already gently colored and highly musical LCD-3. Upon installation of this 9018 chip, I was simply awestruck by the pureness in the stereo image. It is dead neutral and highly dynamic, noticeably more clear to me than the 1793 but also less colored and less lushious on the bass. The low end on this 9018 is polar opposite of it's brother the 1793. Proving eye popping clarity on the low end that sounds much more tonally balanced and solid. The bass is fast and this chip effortlessly lets the utmost clarity of the LCD-3 shine through, full texture, full clarity, full impact. Nothing short of shocking in terms of clarity and texturing. Amazing. This chip is certainly the one to use if you have a more balanced and more neutra or dry sounding headphone. Now, despite that recommendation, the LCD-3 is really the wild card for me, as it's low end is already gently warm and the set in general is highly musical to begin with. Those stock qualities mixed with the pure 9018 chip provide a blisteringly clear and dynamic presentation via the LCD-3. Unreal.