ZBOX  REVIEW

 

I am on my second night with my Decware Black Box and I have to say that this piece of equipment has already exceeded my expectations. I am running the stock jacks on the Decware Sony into the Box.
 
I was expecting basically 3 things from this unit:
 
- smoother presentation
- more weight
- better depth
 
What I was not expecting was the huge increase in detail. I actually don't understand how it is possible to hear so much more going on in the music and where does it come from?

Obviously the stressed outputs in cheap players masks the harmonics and coherency in these players because along with hearing many things I have never heard before in my cd's I am also noticing an increase in timing accuracy with this unit. I have a handful of examples where the timing is off and I always thought it was the recording but it was my source.

It is quite remarkable how the Black Box mimics that alive sound of the DEC-685 tube stage. It has the same signature. Any of you who have heard the 685 tube stage know what I am talking about. It is a very real sounding player. It portrays layers of harmonics with real tone and the music has its own life to it vs. a recorded hi-fi sound. It is quite amazing that this Box can take a sterile sound that has gone through cheap transistors and open it up and give it the same signature and full decay like the tube stage on the modded 685.
 
I am quite certain that if a person spend a grand or so on a good solid player and fed it into this box you would be more than happy with its weight, detail, liquidity and soundstage.  

I will admit that I am looking to upgrade my CDP in the future and have had my eye on the Cairn Fog v 2.0 for a while but was a bit concerned with its low end and depth. Feeding a unit like that into my Black Box would most likely satisfy those qualities lacking in the stand alone CDP.

After having heard the live harmonic signature this Box can impart on a solid state CDP I would not be biased against purchasing a solid state CDP now. I now know the Box will add the harmonic signature I like. A person would probably be best served looking into a player with maximum PRAT qualities like a good Naim or something like that if you can find one within your budget. The Box will add that Decware signature of bloom, soundstage, decay and most importantly, realistic harmonic structure and subsequent detail.  
 
Take care,
 
Corey Dyok, Canada

 

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