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adeptResponse aR1p - Guido's Here! Audience's Single Outlet high resolution power enhancer
as reviewed by Jim Merod
I hate it when audio products on either side of the listening divide—recording equipment or reproduction gear—are boosted with claims such as "state of the art gizmo box" and "definitive hyper performance output" or "ultra subtle audio erotics" …since a guy can only take so much hype without losing himself in the bowels of Dickens' Bleak House!
Awhile back I had the good luck to stumble upon John McDonald's then new adeptResponse power conditioner, not inexpensive but a bargain given its signal enhancing capacity. I wrote about that "never to be pried from my tenacious grip" unit and have lived with its essential inclusion in my main listening rig ever since. On a few occasions I did the hard work of extracting reproduction gear from its twelve-outlet maw in order to trek the unit to a live recording site. I found, each time, that the work was worthwhile. The large adeptResponse did for my recording equipment what it does for playback gear: greater signal clarity; increased signal detail; ambient information vastly improved; sonic dynamics more relaxed and more "real" . . . elements that any audio alert listener or recordist cares about greatly.
It came to my attention two months ago or so that Audience was upgrading their already remarkable power conditioning units. In particular, the single outlet adeptResponse aR1p box was already available. I was able to snag one and live with it.
"Live with it" I have. I've done so in every configuration that a modest one outlet box such as this is capable of lending itself to. Most noticeably, at the outset, I put the new single unit at the source of the big twelve-outlet adeptResponse. The little aR1p box went into the wall. The large conditioner plugged into that. Since I've always been skeptical of daisy-chain adventures—if one hat protects you from the sun, then two will do you better—I did not expect much improvement here. Wrong. That vaunted sonic quality called "blackness" (or background white noise depreciation) deepened. Music appeared from a much starker "place"—a floor or stage in which notes, chords and melodic clusters leaped with greater lightness and agility. My first experience with that event literally made me laugh out loud ...as if I recognized that an audio enhancement so "classic" in its perennial elusiveness and permanent desirability ought not simply give itself up to sonic awareness so thoroughly, so quickly.
But it did and I was hooked on this new ("improved") adeptResponse aR1p unit—which, by the way, needs a name: something on the order of "Guido" or maybe "Ivan." This is a "don't fool with me" box. Its authority is not merely impressive but bum-flustering.
Over the years I've recorded a great deal in Manhattan, which I believe has the grungiest electrical current imaginable. I will never again make a live recording in New York without this little adeptResponse "Guido" unit at the start of my signal chain. In fact, to prepare myself for that eventuality, several weeks ago I did just that for an ‘on location' recording in the relatively decent electrical world of Orange County. Now I understand that no enormous power grid subject to brown out and black out irregularities (such as those in southern California) are pristine in ways that one imagines might prevail in, say, South Dakota. But I also know that I never experience "electrical gremlins" anywhere in California that approach routine evenings in Manhattan. The word "fluctuation" was, I suspect, invented by Thomas Edison to describe New York's roller coaster energy surges.
With my big little "Guido" in place, I recorded a world class trio in a beautiful ambient location. Immediately during sound check I noticed greater sonic relaxation hitting my DVD-A and hard drive recorders. This was not a mere "skosh" of increased relaxation, something I discerned faintly if with appreciation. Nope. Piano transients literally "hung" in space as they truly do when you sit before a superior, well tuned grand piano. Bass notes bloomed with their actual sonic complexity. A rim shot "thwack" carried a precise, startling moment unrivaled by ordinary playback experience. "Guido" was doing its thing. That's why—from sound check to the concert's conclusion—I've come to call my secret piece of gear "Guido."
Believe me; I ain't messin' with this Clark Kent aR1p super high-resolution macho machine (better known around here as Guido): a self-effacing, tough guy body guard for aging recording engineers whose become a mysterious and generous companion.