Originally Posted by Kabelmeister
Seriously! I literally can't wait to get home every night - rediscovering all my favorite music. This is the same story I've heard from other people when they get a major upgrade, so it may be a trite thing to say, but it's also true for the Silver Poison!
I'd say, for me, the greatest single improvement had with the Silver Poison is the localization of instruments and voices - the imaging is spectacular with the Silver Poison, relative to the stock Audeze cables for the LCD-2.
I strongly believe that when the weakest of low-volume signals among the mids and highs are lost or simply made diffuse (defocused) by one or more devices in the component chain, the sound stage becomes compressed in every dimension - brought closer to residing only between our ears, and worse, all the nuances of numerous, tiny echoes - those low-volume reflections that literally define the space in which the instruments and performers reside - simply vanish. They don't have enough energy to be heard through the haze and thus, are completely inhibited from making any contribution to the three-dimensional imagery that can only thrive when transparency has been maintained throughout the entire reproduction chain. Blur the focus at one or more points in the chain (from a low-resolution master recording all the way through to listening to open headphones in a room with an air conditioner vent producing even a little bit of white noise), and you will lose that imaging, along with compressing the sound stage. You might as well listen to a cheap car radio while driving on a noisy freeway with the windows down.
Let me add more to this theorizing: I believe that if even one component in the chain is significantly degrading resolution, the differences heard when A/B-ing any other components in the chain will be minimized. For example, if you are using a mediocre DAC (like the one in my portable Sony PCM-M10), the differences heard while swapping between the LCD-2 stock cables and Silver Poisons will be detectable AND enjoyable, but not mind-blowing, by any means. If you replace the mediocre DAC with a good DAC (like a Centrance DACport LX - a USB DAC), but you still have a single-ended amp (like my Meier Stepdance) that doesn't really have enough power to satisfy the LCD-2, you will again detect some level of improvement by swapping to a better DAC, but it won't be earth-shattering, because you still have some mediocre components in the chain. But, as in my personal experience, if you have a good recording, are using a good DAC, a good interconnect, a good amp, good cables AND good headphones in a space where ambient noise is non-existent, then BINGO - you'll finally hear what each component has brought to the table because none them will be held back by anything else.
I feel as if that part of it is obvious - that you must eliminate all the weak links in the chain - but what's not obvious - at least it wasn't for me until I lived through it - is that once you do eliminate all the weak links, at least to a level where all of the components are performing at the same level of competency, whether they be Hyundai components or Ferrari components, something magical happens that I didn't expect: You can regress out any one of those improvements you made, and the detectable degradation will be huge - a much larger performance drop than you could possibly observe if other components in the chain are weak at the time of the swap. For example, if I replace the 2500mW per channel PB2 with the 500mW Stepdance, while everything else is at the best I have in my inventory, the difference I hear is stunning - a much larger difference than I can hear when even one other component in the chain is sub-par. Similarly, if I replace the Centrance DACport LX with the Sony PCM-M10, all other components being the best available, again, the difference is much more easily detected (smack you in the face easy to detect) than when swapping DACs while some other weak component is in the chain.
This is a revelation to me - It's like replacing addition with multiplication: "DAC + interconnect + amp + cable + headphones" suddenly becomes "DAC x interconnect x amp x cable x headphones" in terms of the total measure of sound quality enjoyed when every component is contributing equally well. And I think this phenomenon explains why so many people can't hear any improvement to sound quality when swapping out this or that. The whole exercise is made moot by one or more components that mask any ability to discern differences that would be easy to detect if every component in the chain was performing at least as well as its peers.
Surely, I could have said all of this with fewer words, so I apologize for my pedantic nature, but hopefully, somebody can follow what I'm saying here, and benefit from what I've discovered.
Edited by zilch0md - 5/16/12 at 8:25am