So this has been an extremely interesting week for me sound-wise. As I mentioned above, I had my RS1i re-terminated with balanced connectors and that was an immediate shocker in how good it sounded coming out of the Intruder.
I believe that bass impact is even better now with the Grados than they were single ended. I feel like the soundstage has improved as well. The RS1i presentation is still very close, but it seems to have a bit more width to it than previously. Here is one example. I was listening to the Time Life Singers and Songwriters collection from 1980-1982. (Don't judge. Brings back fond memories of my childhood.) On Fleetwood Mac's Hold me, John McVie's bass line was entrancing, while Lindsey Buckingham was doing some crazy muted high fretboard work first in the right ear, then later in the left. Had to listen to it twice before calling it an evening last night. Also, Buddy Guy's new CD Rhythm and Blues sounds fantastic. Great disc(s). Great sound. Great fun.
Second thing I did this weekend was pick up FLAC Player for my ipod Touch. I was hoping that I wouldn't have to venture into the world of FLAC. I was hoping that 320 was good enough for my ears. I really wanted that to be true true true. Guess not.
I started the day by listening to the MP3 320 conversion of the Black Crowe's July 23 show in Raleigh. I went to that concert, so as soon as I saw it was available for download, I got it. I listened to the whole thing. Then I started FLAC player listened to the first encore song - Don't Know Why. During the Encore, the Black Crowes had supporting band Tedeschi Trucks come up and play. During Derek Truck's slide solo, I can hear more "air" in the FLAC than I could in the MP3.
That is the best way that I can explain it. More airiness. I can hear better reverb and space around the slide guitar and around the cymbals. It is a more accurate representation of what it felt like to be in the audience that night. I also experience the same thing with Porcupine Tree's Stupid Dream CD. During the first three minutes of Even Less, I hear more space and air around the instruments. I'm listening to the entire album again while writing this...
Looks like I have to go start ripping more discs to FLAC. :)
I know that I'm covering many different topics in the Intruder thread, but I am looking at this as an entire system, and I think the Intruder is probably the most important and most impressive part of my system. That is why I chose to post these impressions here. I hope this is not too OT.
Going Balanced on the Intruder and feeding it high quality FLAC files is a five star winner for me.