My Journey into Sound: Part One

    Living with Behold’s BPA768 amplifiers and APU768 preamplifie
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The APU768 contains a plethora of menu screens that open up to sub-menus. All of which are accessible from a hand-held PC using Blue Tooth technology. Intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it you realize it's nothing more than a smartly written navigation screen for each input. From the menu screen I was actually able to set each channel's internal volume as well as output gain. I could modify the volume going to either of the ribbons or the mid/bass section. The overall effect over a period of time was very welcome, considering how long it took for both the loudspeakers and the Behold electronics to burn in. The APU768 takes full control of the BPA768 amplifier’s on and off switching, as well as idle current and output configuration. Say, for example, you want the amplifiers to run in a pure mono bi-wire setup, the APU768 handles that right from its Bluetooth remote. In my case, I just wanted to operate it in what may be considered vertically bi-amp mode. I kept each amplifier in stereo mode except I programmed them to run separate left channel from one amplifier and right channel from the other. In this configuration, each amplifier drove the Megaline's ribbon and mid/bass section independently. There's tons more information that exists here than I can write about in this review. Going to the Behold website will give you quite a bit of information about what technical features these products offer.

Some serious brain cramping went into action attempting to get the Behold system into my upstairs reference rig. I had to somehow figure (mentally first) how to fit the Behold APU in-between the Tact 2.2X Room Correction preamplifier (used solely as a room correction device) and DALI's external crossover and finally back to its partnering BPA768 amplifier which is mandatory since the cabling used to link the two are of a proprietary 50-Ohm connection. Driving the DALI's with four-channels of amplification is mandatory. This means the analogue outputs coming from the 2.2X would have to go directly into the DALI crossover which then comes out four channels (left-high, left-low and right-high right-low) corresponding to each ribbon and mid/bass section. This required me to cheat the Behold APU768 into believing it was doing home theater duties by selecting its multi-channel ADC192 input mode (photo left). Very carefully, I placed the right high/low, left high/low outputs into the APU's front left/right, rear left/right inputs. This relegated both the Clearaudio ‘table and Behold CD player to desk duty because selecting either on the APU would bypass the DALI crossover which occupied the HT input select.

May I now discuss the sonic benefits?

Before I attempt to tell you what these products did for my sonic appetite and the absolute pleasure they provided, let me first say this: The quality that exists in the Behold line of equipment is far more gratifying than I or anyone else I know could have expected driving the DALI Megalines. The enjoyment and real-life factor I get here is even greater than when I first heard them. This may be considered nothing more than typical hyperbole, just another self-ordained expert who happens to love the way his or her systems sounds, based on an inflated ego and a component's price. Not in my case, NEVER! To truly have standout sound, you must in my opinion convince other audiophiles of this too; those audiophiles whom you trust to have the same goals and standards, and who’ve also earned your respect with outstanding systems of their own. Coming from these very respected astute listeners/reviewers I wouldn't consider this an easy endeavor.

Nevertheless, I've decided to add their comments to this first segment. My plan is to visit the Ballman electronica GmbH factory in Marloffstein, Germany from 3/20 through 3/22. I shall return hopefully, with a greater understanding of what these folks are doing at the Behold plant. I then plan to return with the 2nd part of this review, adding my sonic impressions along with some great photos of Germany.

Clement Perry

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 Greg Petan: S'Times Managing Editor

A reviewer's system is much like a living breathing eco system. Elements and technologies change, evolve and die off in a flow that would make Darwin tingle all over.

No system I know of represents such a dynamic as dramatically as Clement's. In true survival of the fittest fashion, Clement's keen ear and open mind has accumulated a collection of components which have formed a sort of utopia, a harmonious co-existence which has settled into a natural musical equilibrium to an extent I have never experienced.

Over the last six years, I have been fortunate to have first hand experience with this process. There have been very few miss-steps along the way. With each visit, I would get the growing sense that something special was in play. Sadly, I had not been able to make it over there in the past few months so when the Sunny Cable system, the Behold amplifiers and the Dali Megalines arrived, they had plenty of time to settle in and fine tune their way into the mix.

How can I even begin to describe what I heard? On recordings I am intimate with, or at least I thought I was, an entirely new picture emerged. I guess the first thing I noticed was the rendition of instrumental textures. This was always the knock against digital, and I have to say, that argument, in my mind at least has been forever laid to rest. All around these textures exist a space. A live, musically charged space with images that live and breathe entirely independently of one another. Each musician's instrument has a natural dynamic that sounds completely free to expand and relax regardless of what the other may be doing on the very same stage. I got a measure of this with the Focus Master II speaker I just reviewed, but Clements system allows for this to such a great degree. What is missing is any hint of haze, glare, thickening bloating, blunting or hyping of any kind. I honestly think I would have to live with this kind of sound for an extended period before my vocabulary and critical faculties can catch what may not be so sonically right about it. I certainly couldn't find any in my first three hours of intense listening.
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 Lewis Lanese: S'Times contributor

Over the last twelve or 15 years that I've been listening to one or another new system at Clement Perry's, I've been really excited and impressed only twice; about ten or so years ago when the Von Schweikert VR6 speakers were paired with the KR Audio monoblocks, and earlier last year when I heard the largest iteration of the Ascendo System (M)agic Loudspeakers. That is not to say the sound has not always been good. Clement has always been able to read my "body language" long before I made any comment about the sound - I usually listen carefully and long before saying anything. That was not the case a couple of months ago when I was treated to his latest system - the Dali MegaLine loudspeaker system, Behold amplifiers and Sunny Cables.

In the first minute of listening, I practically went "bananas.” I'm not sure if it was a combination of all the components that I was reacting to, or the speakers in particular. What I heard was a completely effortless reproduction of music - an ease and relaxed sound without any fatiguing artifacts. Although Clement's listening room is long and very narrow, and the speakers are located on the long wall, the width and depth of the sound were impressive.

After more than five hours of listening, I was still responding the same way. We listened to all kinds of music: jazz combos; voice; chamber music; full orchestra; and opera. I was quite familiar with many of the CDs. In conclusion, the purity of the sound was without peer in my experience - never a moment of distortion or listening fatigue.

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 Arnie Balgavis: Sr. Editor, The Audiophile Voice

In all my years of visiting Perry and experiencing the evolution of his system, the addition of the Behold electronics stands out as the most memorable. Of all the changes that I have observed in his listening room, the addition of the Behold equipment has had the most positive impact. This change made an already great system into a stunning one.

The Behold equipment took the system’s performance into the realm of realism where the degree of refinement can be associated with the human touch. In a refined system, it is relatively easy to get better highs, add more bass, or gain a degree of transparency. But to be able to immerse one’s self into the music and get the feeling that living and breathing people are involved in the performance, borders on the miraculous. But that is exactly what has taken place in Perry’s system ever since I first heard the Behold amplifiers there.

The effortless immediacy that presents itself now, draws the listener into the performance with a new, far more genuine, sense of involvement. The speed, dynamics, nuances, harmonic integrity, and crisp articulation of detail are seemingly guided into place to create a subtle and soothing musical mosaic. The space, the air, and the music are combined in such a credible manner that the total presentation is not subject to second guessing. The presentation overwhelms with its very high degree of credibility and reveals the human element. Once the distraction of evaluating a system’s performance has been eliminated, the stage has been set for musical enjoyment. The Behold equipment has played an unmistakably gratifying role in taking Perry’s system significantly closer to this elusive goal.

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A note from Ben Gosvig: DALI's National Sales Director (US)

Dated 3/ 10 06.

                  

Clement, thanks again for the sublime listening experience we enjoyed at your home with the Megalines. Over the past 3 1/2 years I've become intimately familiar with the Megalines, using them at almost every show DALI has staged, and hearing them many times in dealer showrooms and consumer homes.

In the 50 or so extended listening sessions I've had with the Megalines, I cannot recall them sounding as compelling, intimate and evocative as we heard in your listening room.

The system, powered by the Behold amplifiers, was indeed something to behold. The music was marked by uncanny grace and ease. Swelling passages floated lightly, like a butterfly, with no trace of strain. This musical effortlessness enhanced the majesty and impact of the score. Intimacy was almost overwhelming. Bill Henderson's recording of Send In The Clowns was so "live," I felt I was eavesdropping. Each inflection of Henderson's voice brimmed with nuance and emotion. Low-level detail was captured in completeness. The colorations were vivid and endearing. I can't recall having been so personally immersed in a listening experience.

Note to Audiophiles: If you're in the Jersey City area, and either know Clement or someone who can pull few strings for you, find a way to experience this system. In my many years of professional involvement in high-end audio, nothing has touched me so.

Email: beg@dali.dk
              

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ascendo