transparently revealed when the multiple reflection clang was eliminated by MusiCoat. The MusiCoat sound not only was more natural, less artificially bright and hard, and easier to listen to -- but also was more revealing of musically true information, which was hidden by the solid state sound. Similarly, the natural growl of the piano's lower register notes, with its coiled strings, was clearer and more realistic through the MusiCoat convertor.
Another key recording was The L.A. Four's Going Home (East Wind 35JD-7). The title track features an introduction by Laurindo Almeida's guitar. Heard through the convertor treated with MusiCoat, the guitar's plucked nylon strings had the beautiful natural liquidity that you hear from nylon strings live, which is revealed by the best tube circuits, and the guitar's body could be heard to be a large cavity with a richly warm wooden sounding board. In contrast, through the stock solid state convertor, the string plucks sounded glassy, and the guitar's body sounded like a pint-sized toy guitar made of plastic. Furthermore, even though the MusiCoat sound was more gentle and mellow, once again there was more true musical detail audible through the MusiCoat convertor. The subtle resonances of the strings after each pluck, as well as the after resonances of the guitar's wooden body, were revealed more transparently and more naturally.
To return to a visual analogy, imagine that you're looking directly at the body and sounding board of a classic old acoustic guitar, and seeing the wood's rich, warm texture. Now imagine a piece of plate glass placed immediately in front of the wood. If there's glare from the surface of this hard, shiny glass, you can't see well through it, so you can't see and appreciate the wood's rich, warm texture anymore. That's just how solid state devices destroy the naturally rich, warm texture of musical instruments (and human voices); they block your ability to hear it by imposing a hard, bright artificial glare between you and the music. MusiCoat removes this hard, bright artificial glare, and thus lets you hear through to the naturally rich, warm texture of live music. MusiCoat removes that piece of hard, shiny plate glass that was between you and the guitar body's rich wood. With MusiCoat, the hard, bright glare that blocked the music is gone, so you actually hear more musical information, and it sounds more musically natural as well.
Chesky was passing out a special demo CD to exhibitors at CES, entitled Women of Song, which includes tracks from several recent and new Chesky CDs, featuring female vocalists. It has outstanding sonics, combining a wealth of musical detail with beautiful naturalness. During our A-B demonstrations we used three tracks of this CD extensively.
Track 1, with Sara K. singing Brick House, opens with a very naturally recorded plucked string bass, soon joined by a guitar. The lower reaches of these transient bass notes sounded constipated and restricted through the stock solid state convertor, but rich, deep, and powerful through the convertor treated with MusiCoat, thus proving that solid state bass quality is actually not as good as commonly assumed. The large cavity and wooden sounding board of the plucked bass was clearly audible through the MusiCoat unit, but sounded smaller and pinched through he solid state unit. The plucked strings themselves had a wonderfully rich after resonance, and the sound of natural gut, through the unit treated with MusiCoat, but sounded like tight plastic strings through the solid state unit. When the accompanying guitar came in, the contrasts were similar to those in the Going Home cut above.
Track 3 of this Chesky CD, with Sara K. singing If I Could Sing Your Blues, opens with a muted trumpet at the far right rear of the perceived stage. Through the solid state unit, the trumpet sounded artificially hard, brittle, and clogged, while through the MusiCoat unit the same high notes sounded airy and open, with a much richer golden growl from the mute.
Tracks 1 and 3 also feature a superb stereo image, with rich stage depth and ambience. This rich depth and ambience was more clearly audible through the MusiCoat unit, as the music emerged against a blacker background of intertransient silence.
Track 5 of this Chesky CD has Christy Baron singing Columbus. There are numerous instrumental sounds that showed great contrast between the MusiCoat and solid state convertors, but here the most dramatic contrast was in the sound of Christy Baron's voice. Her voice has a thin, high, fragile quality. Heard through the solid state unit, her voice acquired a hard, bright edge, which also clogged and obscured any sense of airiness. It sounded as if the solid state circuits were being driven into some sort of glary overload by the demands of Christy's high pitched voice (shades of TIM or expansive 3rd order distortion). However, through the convertor treated with MusiCoat, all these artifacts went away, and Christy's voice emerged with a wonderfully angelic, sweet, delicate airiness (even her breathiness seemed much more clearly audible and more natural).
Another dramatic contrast on voice was provided by the Fairfield Four (Standing in the Safety Zone, on Warner Bros.). Track 2, My God Called Me This Morning, is especially well recorded, and features the four male singers singing a capella. The lead singer on this track, a basso, came through with an appropriately rich, deep voice on the unit treated with MusiCoat, and his large chest cavity could clearly be heard. Through the solid state unit he sounded like a much smaller bodied person, with a thinner voice. Listeners also commented that the subtleties of his lip movements and guttural sounds could be heard much more clearly through the MusiCoat unit. The other three members of the Fairfield Four act as a backup chorus on this track. Through the solid state convertor, their voices sounded thin and high, even pinched, while through the MusiCoat unit they sounded like real flesh and blood.
With this same backup chorus there was another sonic contrast that was even more dramatic and telling. Through the solid state convertor, their three voices were smeared and congealed together
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