Terminator has been singing for two months. Since my entire system was powered up by PSAudio Powerplant P10 (except for the 10MHz clock), I switched off them when not in use, so I did not burn in the Terminator for the said two months period.
Most audiophile are excited when newly purchase an equipment, but the excitement brought by the new equipment doesn’t last very long – A brief period of enthusiasm. In most case, when audiophile purchased a new equipment, set it up, and listen to it, they will find that the improvement of the new equipment was the best and invincible at the very moment. But in the next days, they will hear a lot of shortcomings (as the excitement dies down), hence, continue the quest of the heavenly sound.
The Terminator has not disappointed me until today, and every time I turn it on, I am full of positive anticipation of the music I will be hearing with it. I heard the same sound characteristic on two very different systems. The first system is of course my own Wavac Tube Amp and Kharma Loudspeakers, and the second system belongs to an old friend's Cello with the 2404 Exclusive Horn Loudspeakers combination. We both have similar observations and impressions of the Terminator:
1. The density of music is extremely high. It is believed that the strength is even more apparent in high-end and advanced system.
2. Strong sense of musicality. One can immerse in the music easily.
3. We mainly listen to the classical music, the most important criteria of the classical music reproduction are, first the realism reproduction of the musical instrument and its texture, and second, the depth of the sound-stage. The Terminator performs exceptionally well in these areas, we agreed that the Terminator is the best we have heard.
4. Vocal reproduction is full of emotion, it leads to us listen to more vocal music frequently, from pop, oldies and classical. If the recording is good, Terminator naturally produce good sound quality. Even if the recording is ordinary, the vocal reproduced by Terminator does seem to be more attractive than before.
Yet another example:
This Esther Ofarim in London was Esther's recording in London in later stage, which I bought many years ago. The recording style was very different compared to other disc I have. There are total 13 tracks, other than track 6 El Condor Pasa, the rest are all English songs, including the 3 tracks written by Leonard Cohen. The soundtracks are rich, sound effects are more HiFi-like. In my previous DAC combinations, even with upsampling to DSD512, the vocal was always felt to be a little shinning, and bright, it leads to intolerable fatigue after a few songs. I brought the CD to my old friend’s Cello setup, we have the same feeling. I always thought it was due to a recording problem. But the same disc being played back with the Terminator, that little bit of the digital glare completely disappeared. With Terminator, Esther's vocal is like the voice from the heaven, also, the instruments sound extremely real with very good texture. It’s definitely a highly recommended music to the ears.
Lastly, if you ask me was the Terminator worth buying? The answer to the question is absolutely certain – a big YES. Especially compared to the current price tags of audiophile equipment, exotic cables and accessories, the modest asking price of the Terminator probably would need to be made headline breaking news of "Important Notice of the Editor" to the entire audiophile community.
If you are a fan of classical music and vocals, you would absolutely need to find a chance to give it a good audition. For those who love other kinds of music, sorry, I have not tried them, and I am afraid I could not draw a rash conclusion.
Finally, I wish you Happy New Year and enjoy the HiFi fever!
Special thanks to jtl @ hiendy for the in-depth review. Much appreciated!