Excerpt from Audio Circle ModWright feedback
How am I going to put it into words without cycling through the overused array of adjectives normally seen with audio/equipment reviews? Hmm. Let's see, in addition to the normal run-of-the-mill "deep layered 3-D sound stage", "airy around each instrument", my descriptions are dynamic, natural & musical. Let's get the easy ones out of the way first. Natural & musical: this linestage just gets out of the way and let you hear the music coming through. For example, I heard too much "hi-resolution" (in a hi-fi sense) making the ARC equipment sound sterile, bright. The Cary SLP98 is very smooth, very...seductive with its sweet midrange. In fact, I came into Audible Arts, ready to sign a check for the Cary when I found out about the ModWright. I could have lived with the Cary unit had I not came across the ModWright. With the Cary, you're always aware that it emphasizes on sweeten up the mids and your attention is always drawn to the liquidy smooth midrange. What about large-scale classical symphonies which do not involve vocals? Oops.
Ok, so we got the neutrality of the ModWright out of the way, back to the issue of "dynamic"... I'm gonna exagerate with the examples from photography to try and convey my impression. Think of 2 photographs, one snapshot taken by an amateur where all the information are there but nothing spectacular. The other one of the same subject, taken by a artisan with proper lighting to flush out the colors and details. Colors look more vibrant, deeper blacks, purer whites, etc... Basically the equivalent of extended extremes in audio terms. The difference is that if I really want to, I can zoom in on the shadow portion of the image and still see (clearly) images of some kids playing in the shadow, or that I can make out reflections of building structures from the dark windows in my picture. Once you've seen the "good" photograph, the first one looks bland, dull by comparison. The point is that the information is there if I wish to look for them but they don't jump out screaming to draw your attention to them. Had the details been overly emphasized, one's attention will be drawn to them and one will miss entirely the image's composition, as the case metioned above with some of the preamps on the brighter side. For myself, I'd like to have my focus on the well presented composition in its entirety, with the option of narrowing in on the details if (and only if) I wish to. Otherwise, I'd like to relax and enjoy the performance in its entirety. Perhaps the best description I can sumarize here is that the ModWright draws you into the musical performance while letting every bit of information flow through in a natural, cohesive fashion. It is up to the listener to decide what (s)he wants to hear depending on his/her mood at the time. I hope that I was able to draw a "visual" description of the characteristics of this preamp with my examples above.