4th Movement: Allegro

Zhao’s statement—about more freedom to impose 4th Movement: Allegro designer’s will on the conversion process—it’s a sensible assumption that this league expresses more not less audible variety. Because the Aqua is a non-sampler, I also ran the Denafrips in NOS mode. Now each switch only involved muting the preamp and reseating a pair of XLR cables and the digital link.

Formula’s price but with added DSD, the hammer fell. So today’s award really wrote itself. For those who need more, let’s open up the last paragraph. Like most cheaper class D amps can, much digital prioritizes detail separation. A type of skeletal viewing cuts down to the bones.

It’s a reveal of structural and mechanical elements. In soundstaging terms, it’s a very precise articulated mapping. In compositional terms, it’s a look at the conductor’s score to show each individual instrumental line. Zhao’s Terminator felt deliberately weighted towards a more analogue feel. But it didn’t really sound managed with harmonic distortion as typical tube sound will. I’ve grown quite allergic to that patina and didn’t see it here.

On that score, both decks had the same flavour. The Terminator simply added a whiff of ‘analogue’ or ‘tube’ feel. To quantify that dose by triangulation, Nagra’s Jazz inserted in lieu of the Wyred4Sound preamp. Just as suspected, the move from Formula to Terminator had been of the same type and degree. It had me flash on a recently syndicated review by Warsaw contributor Dawid Grzyb. Japanese crew evidently feels music and—let me stress this again—translating that into hardware can’t have been a coincidence or stroke of luck. The outcome is too coherent, vivid and sophisticated to think so.

Instead of hard-mounted footers, the Terminator’s bottom plate contains three shallow circular recesses for them. Built from thick panels, the top plate grooved to secure the side walls, the insides divide into upper and lower halves via steel plate. The lower half contains its own box-within-a-box for extra shielding of the beefy power supply. So already the construction goes the extra mile. On more commentary, this Terminator would be back indeed. That’s because I requested that Dan share some of his own thoughts about his latest acquisition. For fun, a few years ago I set up a blind tasting competition with four acknowledged experts agreeing to participate.

Posted: March 7th, 2018
at 4:17pm by admin


Categories: Casette

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