Thursday, June 20, 2024

Guides, Testimonials, News

I’ve now spent a few days with my e38. It’s funny, now, to me that I actually mentioned in one of my emails to you, “…if I decide to keep the e38..” I knew, right away, that it was here for keeps!! Occasionally, one makes an improvement in their audio system that is monumental. My biggest improvement happened when I replaced my dynamic driver speakers with electrostatic speakers (Martin Logan Ethos). The e38 over the Oppo BDP-105 (which is no slouch) is an improvement on that level!!!

I was immediately stuck with a number of things. The word that keeps popping into my head is ‘visceral’. There is an intimacy in the sound. With solo instruments, you hear the resonance of the instruments. I play the ‘cello and I’ve never heard one reproduced with such accuracy. When I got my electrostatic speakers, one of the big improvements was the suspension of the music in the sound field. The e38 has taken that to a whole new level. Soloists, both vocal and instrumental, now float with exact precision within the sound field. The sound field has become immense, and detailed. You can pinpoint individual instruments and their positions in the orchestra. The sound field has also expanded off to the sides beyond the speakers themselves. In a great recording, one hears the hall in which it was recorded. The e38 reveals this to a whole new level. The reverb in the space and the decay is jaw dropping. One of my friends commented, yesterday, while we were listening to a chime playing within a piece that it sounded like it was coming from the next door neighbors house!! None of these comments should be construed as ‘analytical’. This is the most “musical” reproduction that I’ve ever heard.

The clarity of the sound is unparalleled. The overall sound is smooth (not to imply that is it’s ‘rolled off’). It’s like you’ve wiped away any coloration. Another immediate characteristic that I noticed is the incredible dynamic range. There’s a powerful surge in crescendos that I’ve never experienced with an audio system.

I’m sensitive to harshness (especially mass forte strings and loud brass passages or high piccolo playing). As good as my system sounded before the e38, I would sometimes feel that there was some digital glare (especially with mass violins). The e38 has taken that away.

My buddy who came over from out state, yesterday, is a long time vinyl devotee. He has a vast library of LPs & 78s (upwards of 30 thousand recordings). He is a recording collector and at one time owned a well respected classical music record shop in a major university town as well as being a professional organist and pianist. He is a source for those who do CD transfers of historic recordings and has been cited in esoteric recordings publications as a source for historic recordings. As the years have gone by, he’s been getting on the digital bandwagon and as he buys better DACs, etc., making improvements to his digital setup, he always says, “my vinyl setup is still more honest”. Yesterday, after we’d been listening to the e38 for a short time, he said, “I believe this has closed the gap between analog and digital”. That’s quite a complement for the exaSound team.

While listening to some DSD recordings that were done during the ‘golden age’ in the late ’50s and early ’60s, my buddy said, “I’ve been listening to these recordings for over 40 years and I feel like I’m hearing them for the first time.” He said, “I wonder if the engineers at that time, listening on their monitors, heard what we’re hearing now?”

I’ve been using the VOX player as it’s easy to set up and use but Core Audio is all that is available. On Thursday evening, with the help of your guide, I was able to configure HQplayer (I’m on the free trial). I wanted to be able compare Core Audio and the ASIO driver. We both agreed that using the ASIO driver in HQPlayer, takes DSD to a whole new level!!! (I’ve not yet figured out how to play non DSD material in HQPlayer). HQPlayer is finicky (and EXPENSIVE). I intend to download the trial of JRiver and then compare all 3 players, although, the lack of ASIO support for Mac in JRiver may put in on par with VOX as far as sound quality is concerned <with DSD sources>.

As my first email to you stated, 2.1 stereo was a requirement for me. Even after I placed my order for the e38, I was thinking that If I’m not able to get 2.1 working well, it would be a deal breaker and I would return the e38. NO WAY will I return it now!!!!! With the Oppo, rolling off (at 50Hz) to the subwoofer in stereo material it increased the sound stage and tightened up the bass. I am getting a HUGE, vast sound stage and low frequency accuracy and punch in 2 channel with the e38. If adding the sub to this setup does what it did with the Oppo, It will be jaw dropping but, at this point, I am not missing the subwoofer.

Just two more things to mention as I end this. My buddy brought along his Audioquest ‘Cinnamon’ USB cable and we compared it to the USB cable that you provided. There was a very noticeable change (I don’t understand why this should make a difference when providing a pipeline for 1s & 0s !!) AND the change was not a good one. The Audioquest cable softened, rolled off, the sound. My buddy was floored. He’s said that he’s ALWAYS found after market cables to improve the sound over the ’stock’ cables. Another nod to the exaSound team!!

My hat is off to you and your team. You’ve produced a jewel. I have said, “WOW” with tears welling in my eyes many times over in the last few days.

Best wishes, thanks and much continued success to exaSound!

Kurt, Fort Wayne, IN, USA

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