Review of TDSS Upgraded NuForce HAP-100 by Gene Z.
(From archived forum - no longer accessible)
This February, after being pleased with what I heard with my upgraded NuForce STA-100 ampI went ahead and sent in my NuForce HAP-100 preamp to be upgraded. Been leaving both units on 24/7.... burning them in daily. It's only been about four-five days on the HAP-100though.
With my upgraded STA-100 what I've been hearing sounds really nice. I do not want to get too analytical in describing what I am now hearing having added the upgraded HAP-100 to the system because I am simply finding it enjoyable and do not want to be bothered with all the effort. This much I can readily say... I am hearing unexpected things I never was able to hear before; like how with live recordings the audience applause now sounds separated and coming from another place other than from the performers PA system, as occured on every other system I've had before. Its closer to like what we hear in real life. What I am now able to hear sounds "intriguing." Yes, intriguing is what comes to mind. The instruments have gained a whole new sense of body and heft.
No deep analysis here. I am enjoying and find myself not wanting to analyze for some reason. There is not more or less bass - not more or less high end either. I guess the word is focus. People and instruments on certain recordings now have their own space. It can not really be described by me. Its just more like what causes us to feel good when listening to music.
BTW - I listen near-field with a high end PC-based system. Another thing. It snuck up and dawned on me just the other night... NO MORE LISTENING FATIGUE!!! Everything sounds natural and relaxed.
Another trait I am now experiencing for the first time after the TDSS upgrades. Dynamic range is now freed up to let you know about sudden impactful moments that you normally only hear in a live performance. The dynamic variations generated in the music have now become more evident. Its not sounding forced as when listening fatigue is being manifest. The upgrade allows the music to be forceful in a split second like when it was captured on the recording. At first I was taken aback. This sounds live- real live!
Of course... it's all a matter of adding up the sum of the parts in your system. These upgrades let you better hear & know how the rest of your system is doing. I could talk about isolated attributes like some reviewers do, but that's kind-a "leading." Besides, why compare one high frequency effect with another, when what sounds the most real may not be as bright? I am a musician and have sat right in front of other live instruments many times. I also know there is a difference when listening to the same music when standing twenty feet away. Its tricky to pinpoint. And, yes... the sound of real live music can be boring at times. ;)
In the long run... the TDSS upgrades make my listening experience relaxing, but not romantically so as some equipment designs generate. Simply put; the upgrades are cleaning up the signal. The less internal noises generated from within the equipment, the more potential our ears will have to hear what was actually placed on the recording. TDSS is an honest approach to getting access to better sound. Its not a tweak to hype your sound. You will still need to have better components working together throughout your system ... The upgrades just allows them to reveal what they were designed for.
The TDSS Custom Upgrade? Its an honest upgrade.