Review of TDSS Upgraded

NuForce Ref-9 V2 Amplifier by Tyler F.

(Level-2 Upgrade)

 

(from email)

With the three-month point nearing quickly, I now feel very comfortable in my opinion regarding the TDSS Level-2 upgrade with respect to the improvements it has made to my NuForce Reference 9 v2 SE amplifiers. Simply put, in my opinion the upgrade was absolutely worthwhile *and represents extremely good value. *

The story began when one night, after a period of disuse. I had turned on my mono-blocks only to be greeted immediately by the smell of smoke. I quickly turned the left channel off and pulled the plug, but the damage had already been done. I contacted everyone and their dog about a possible repair and got two categories of replies. One group of repair shops had no interest in touching them, scared of both the model and the Class-D design. The next group gave lines such as "I'll see what I can do" and "maybe we'll be able to do something with it". As I was in no position to risk $250-500+ on a potential repair, I kept reading and stumbled upon TDSS. 

Before I begin, let me say that Bob offered the best customer service I have ever received, period. Having dealt with REL, Martin Logan, Definitive Technology, Bryston, Krell, etc., not one of them has treated me as well as TDSS has. I did truly feel as though I was their only customer. Add to the fact that I had spoken almost exclusively to their lead engineer and founder of the company, I was made very comfortable and very informed very quickly. A truly fantastic experience all around. 

Anyway, having spoken with Bob over a number of emails I eventually decided that the Level-2 upgrade was the right one for me (to be honest, given the means I would've gone further and upgraded to Level-3). Turn-around time was very quick; less than three weeks passed (right before Christmas, no less) and I was back up and running. 

The first song I played was an acoustic Shinedown cover of Simple Man, a FLAC file played from my PC. The first thing out of my mouth, before I even made it to my listening position, was "Holy crap!” The acoustic guitar actually sounded more lifelike, more tangible. When seated, the track’s solo male vocal clearly stood out and apart from what was now a much quieter background. I've discovered that any static/hiss/hum in the background of a recording tends to kill the illusion of the live presentation quite a bit. Now without that (what was once ever-present) noise, the music really came to life – and by a surprising amount. That was aided, of course, by what I can only describe as some of the best micro detail resolution I've had the pleasure of experiencing. The added air, the added sense of space - it's all there and it's all much better. The soundstage is deeper and wider, and the amps feel less restrained. Power delivery sounds faster and everything simply sounds smoother. 

Ultimately though, the easiest way to describe the upgrade is this: Take everything you liked about the NuForce amps and make it all just a little bit better. As far as I can tell, they've been improved in every way. There has been no downside to the upgrade, so in my opinion it’s well worth its asking price.

-Tyler F.