|Equi=Tech 2Q Power Conditioner|
|Home Theater AC Power AC Power|
|Written by Tim Hart|
|Saturday, 01 January 2005|
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Listening to Music
First impressions are hard to ignore, especially if the first impression is not a good one. If this is the case, then the mind is not an easy thing to change and is on the hunt to substantiate the claim. But the same thing could be said if the first impression is good. You want to see how good it really is, as in the case of the 2Q.
The first thing I noticed was improved dynamics. Velvet Revolver’s debut CD, Contraband (RCA Records), clearly pointed this aspect out immediately. As supergroups go, you won’t find a whole lot more current rock ‘n’ roll talent than this band has. With Slash from the defunct Guns N’ Roses wielding the lead guitar and ex-STP frontman Scott Weiland belting out the lyrics on “Do It For the Kids,” you get the feeling of hearing the track from the master tape, not a CD with the 2Q in the loop. The bass line in the opening of the tune sounds clearly more resolute and resonant than I heard without the 2Q in my system. “Crunchy” and “fatter” come to mind to describe what I heard. Leading edge transients on Slash’s guitar on “Fall To Pieces” stand up out of the mix with added resolution and better midrange timbre. The 2Q fleshed out areas of sound with detailed layering and an ability to pronounce the subtle audible characteristics that were buried in the noise floor.
The next positive impression that the 2Q gives is an increased sense of nuance. Trey Anastasio’s official solo debut (Electra) was especially mixed and recorded for 5.1 DVD-Audio. “Night Speaks to a Woman” depicts the 2Q’s ability to allow the intricacies of a performance to reach a more audible level and to bring into focus the instruments in the sound stage. Images and notes are highlighted by the silence between the sound and the sound itself, allowing the full measure of the music to be heard. This effect sounded natural and added immensely to the musical nature of the tune. The air around the instruments is distinct and finely detailed, not fatiguing or analytical in any way. Cymbals shimmered with more openness and the decay sounded more natural. The 2Q’s character leaned towards the warm side in the listening session I had, but not much. I didn’t feel that any high-frequency information was rolled off. With the 2Q in the loop, my system sounded comfortable yet totally in control.
With the 2Q in the loop, sonic image rendering is remarkable. I could hear my system portray a musical image with laser focus, while retaining the character of the vocals or instruments in a relaxed way, never at the sacrifice of speed or dexterity. Sheryl Crow’s The Globe Sessions (DTS Entertainment) is a good example of vocal texture and sibilance. Crow’s voice on “Am I Getting Through (Parts I & II)” is pinpoint-accurate between the front two main speakers. The detail and clarity of each enunciation is outstanding. The breathy and slight gravelly quality of her voice takes on a different quality. I ended up listening to the whole disc after this tune. The 2Q compels you to listen.
I was looking forward to what the 2Q might do for my projection system. I used “Shrek 2” (DreamWorks Home Entertainment) to start things off.
As Shrek and Donkey walk through the woods prior to their meeting with Puss in Boots, the contrast between shadow and light is the first noticeable difference. The separation of colors and shadow are better defined and more crisp-looking. Subtle shades are more apparent. There are some close-up shots of Shrek’s face that have more detail than I saw without the 2Q in my system. The same holds true for Donkey and other characters. Blemishes, moles and facial hair are seemingly more focused.
“The Chronicles Of Riddick” (Universal Studios Home Video) was up next. The sc-fi action thriller looks fantastic, with broad alien horizons and sweeping landscapes. On Helios Prime, the Necromongers are beginning their assault on the planet’s capital city as Riddick (Vin Diesel) is contemplating getting off the planet. As the assault starts, crowds of people run through the streets, trying to escape as explosions and bright lights wink on and off like a strobe effect. The 2Q did a remarkable job keeping color saturation and detail intact and balanced through this visual assault. The scene could easily wash out the clarity of the image or slightly bleach out its colors, as I’ve experienced without the 2Q in my system. Black level increased detail and added more definition to the shadowy portions of the scene, such as the dark alleyways filled with running people.