One clear advantage held by headphone shows over their loudspeaker-fronted counterparts is the ease by which attendees can conducts an A/B demo. Whilst two channel exhibitors often keep their hardware constant throughout a show’s duration, visitors to events like CanJam Europe are encouraged to plug different headphones into the same amplifier or apply different amplifiers to the same pair of headphones. Such are the benefits of private listening.
From the floor of Berlin’s nHow hotel, Wiebren Draaijer and Karin Hoks of The Netherlands’ Sbooster demonstrated the potency of their linear power supplies by substituting an entire system’s worth of SMPS wall-warts – from a NAS, a router, an AURALiC streamer, an M2Tech DAC and an iFi Audio headphone amplifier – with five of their own Best of Two Worlds Power & Precision ECO (BOTW P&P ECO). €270 each.
In other words, everything that preceded the Focal Elear headphones enjoyed cleaner Sbooster linear power. Over a grand’s worth. In this video, Hoks walks us through step by step:
The intent behind each BOTW P&P ECO power supply is to lower the amount of electrical noise directly entering the audio device (and polluting neighbouring devices) as well as allowing greater current delivery:
Each power supply comes with three user-selectable voltages, each within a range of 1V. Different models are available to juice devices with different voltage demands: 5-6V, 9-10V, 12-13V, 15-16V, 18-19V or 24V.
For the Sonore ultraRendu streamer, SBooster’s 9V BOTW P&P ECO is required. It can also be run at 9.5V or 10V. A range of DC-termination tips are included in the box for greater compatibility with a broader range of audio devices.
I can’t pop the lid on my unit. Instead, we look to Sbooster’s promotional materials for a breakdown of what’s inside:
For their A/B demo at CanJam Europe, Hoks and Draaijer cut between powering a Mytek Brooklyn DAC wall direct and their own box that bypasses the Brooklyn’s internal SMPS. The differences were subtle but important: slightly fuller/richer acoustic mass, a more easeful sound.
For this reviewer, a DAC or streamer’s ability to connote a sense of ease is the hallmark of good digital audio. The Sbooster BOTW P&P ECO lets the Mytek shoebox give us more.
Back at the DARhaus, twelve hours later, another Sbooster-based A/B test. For the Sonore ultraRendu, out went old faithful – the Teradak U9 linear PSU – and in came the BOTW P&P ECO for a slight uptick in tonal richness to add more flesh to music’s structural skeleton.
Such are the benefits of private listening, at home with KEF LS50 loudspeakers and Schiit Saga/Vidar amplification. The upshot is this Sbooster brick is staying put behind my Hifi Racks rack and the Teradak is set for long-term storage.
The humble A/B demo lets us know that a better-sounding Brooklyn DAC and a better-sounding ultraRendu streamer are both possible from a higher quality power supply. Well played, Sbooster.
Further information: Sbooster