Quiescent Streamer – listener comments

We invited some customers to listen to the prototype Quiescent Streamer. Here are two reactions.

HL, Devon

“The streamer was used fed directly into Meridian 8000SE speakers. These are active speakers featuring 750 watts each. They also incorporate DACs and use beryllium tweeters for extended high frequency performance. In other words, the speakers should allow us to fairly assess the streamer’s capabilities.

First off was Bach’s Cantata BWV106 performed under John Eliot Gardiner for Archiv. It begins with recorders and organ in the foreground and then gives full scope to varied solo and choral contributions. The sopranos in particular sounded especially sweet with a very extended and unfettered range. Not only was the separation of the various elements outstanding, so that no detail was lost, but everything was also blended into a coherent whole. This may seem fanciful but the spiritual dimension of the music was fully present with a very atmospheric rendition.

Next came ‘Dub in a time of cholera’ by Dub Colossus from Dub me tender. The dub bass was remarkably deep but also fully articulate, with no hint of bloating. Notable too was the extreme width, height and spatial depth. All this combined to produce a very involving experience.

The largest scale recording was Berlioz’s Requiem performed by Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra. This is a work of colossal size calling for a huge orchestra including augmented timpani, four additional but spatially dispersed brass sections, and a choir of mass voices. The impact of this was sensational, in a piece where, all too often, the timpani are not fully heard or felt.

After this, Jeff Beck continued the drama with ‘Blast from the east’ and ‘Space for the papa’ from the album Who else! The attack of his guitar and the unimpeded dynamics were astonishing but equally noteworthy were the transients from the drums to produce music of great excitement.

To turn to two acoustic guitars might seem to invite anti-climax but in the case of Rodrigo y Gabriela, where they treat their instruments like percussion as well as strings, the high-energy assault continued. On ‘Orion’ from Rodrigo y Gabriela it is easy for the two instruments to become blurred and the sound confused. Here though, an appropriate separation was established without danger to the integrity of the music, leaving us to marvel that two people could produce such complex and dynamic music from such simple instruments.

Finally came Ivo Pogorelich, playing a Scarlatti sonata, K. 380 on piano. The system gave full scope to his remarkable modulation and articulation which rendered the music with such character and fascination.

All told, this is clearly a streamer for all music types. We could not have thrown anything more extreme at it. All the hi-fi virtues of tonal accuracy, width, spatial depth, height, dynamics, rhythm, extended frequencies, sharply defined transients and presence were clearly present. But finally, what matters is the music and the virtuosity (not vulgar display) of the performers and their musical intelligence. This streamer allows us to hear and feel it as intended.”

Dave C, Bristol

It’s a real shame your internet service went down at such an awkward time, but what we listened to from the hard drive still made a big impression on me.  The first piece you played with the very openly recorded harpsichord grabbed my attention immediately.  While I didn’t know the piece, my head snapped round at the first note, even with you standing between me and the speakers.  There was a palpable ‘realness’ and, to my ears, a level of tunefulness I’ve not heard before.  Tunefulness isn’t a big enough word, because it’s hackneyed in the hi-fi world and what we listened to immediately beforehand was hardly ‘un-tuneful’.  It’s just that I’ve never heard Hi-Fi play music with such a compelling sense of pitch, with notes so full, rich, solid and bang-on pitch.  I’ve a feeling this comment won’t make sense to anyone who hasn’t heard the two setups side by side, but it’s the best I can do.
We listened to a couple of other pieces, both classical, neither of which I knew.  While they both sounded good, my feeling was that the standard of the recordings and performances wasn’t as high as the first piece and it was hard for me to make any judgement.  But then we found Eric Clapton’s ‘Unplugged’, an album I know well and when we listened to ‘Tears in Heaven’, I knew straight away that I was listening to something very special.  This track reinforced what I’d heard with the first piece, but far more deeply and broadly.  Again, the first thing that struck me was the ‘tunefulness’ and I’m not sure why: I guess it’s just the first thing  that my ears were drawn to.  Overall, the sound had a gorgeous sense of space, ease and coherence, with speed and snap that made it feel alive from inside.  It was as if all the grunge that I’ve spent too much of my life fighting (mechanical feedback and RF) that gets in the way in a normal system was almost completely gone and what was left behind was what Hi-Fi always should have sounded like.  I’ve come to know very well what mechanical feedback and RF sound like in a good system, so the near absence of both was really striking to my ears.
As you know, my system is quite high-end, though a little way behind state-of-the art these days, but it’s probably among the better setup and optimised systems out there in the way of isolation and RF management.  So I’ve heard very expensive systems at shows (never good) in stores, at events and at other people’s homes that can play music better in one or two respects, but I’ve never heard a system that plays music at an altogether different level across the board.  Your system with the Quiescent streamer did just that.”

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"When love and skill work together expect a masterpiece".

John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)