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April 2024

Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine

 

World Premiere Review!
LessLoss BlackGround For Speakers Review
A breakthrough loudspeaker signal conditioner.
Review By Rick Becker

 

LessLoss BlackGround For Speakers Review A breakthrough loudspeaker signal conditioner.

 

  The original LessLoss BlackGround 10X Power Base (reviewed here) was such a spectacular product it was an easy choice for an annual Blue Note Award in 2023. Then I received advance word of the new BlackGround for Speakers. Would that be as impressive as the original Power Base? Would it be simply an alternate choice? Or would there be diminishing returns with both of them in the system?

Then I discovered there would be both a stereo version and a larger, more potent monoblock version of the new Speaker Base. How would these two compare?

And while I'm at it, Louis Motek had two power cords above the base Prime cord that would improve the performance of the BlackGrounds. Should I try those, too?

Yes, I'd love to review them! This was an obvious decision as I bought the original Power Base and Prime power cord for my reference system and could make these comparisons.

 

But First, An Apology
By the time the units and their cables arrived, I was bogged down in a massive review of multiple components that took much longer than expected. Then there was the Toronto Audiofest in October to report on. A day after I finished the Toronto report I was on the road to the Capital Audiofest, a show that had grown much larger than the 2022 show. I finished the Capital Audiofest Chronicles in mid-January. So I am way behind on my equipment reviews. I'm terribly sorry for the delay. I hope you will find the wait worthwhile if you haven't already taken a leap of faith with this new technology.

 

Fasten Your Seat Belts
UPS delivered three cardboard boxes that contained first-class hardshell plastic flight containers with the BlackGrounds. Louis had warned me to keep them away from my system as they would affect it without even being connected or plugged in. I left them in my garage. To start, I brought the Stereo Speaker Base in and hooked it up, but I didn't notice anything right away. A new speaker was brought in for review and I changed amplifiers to drive it. I left the Speaker Base disconnected while getting acquainted with the new speaker. So my listening room was "contaminated" by the presence of the Speaker Base for a month before I could turn my attention to this review. My experience with the original BlackGround Power Base taught me that the effect takes several days to build up — and continues to improve gradually over several weeks. So, the new BlackGround Speaker Base had established its ambient effect well before I connected it to my system.

After finishing the Capital Audiofest report, I first listened to my compilation reference CD to establish a baseline. I connected the Stereo Speaker Base to the output of my tube monoblocks and replayed the compilation CD. Within about 20 seconds I picked up on the acoustic effect and by the third song I was fully locked into the benefit the Speaker Base was bringing to the system. As I listened to the entire CD again, all of the signifiers — those difficult or ambiguous segments, came across with greater clarity and cognitive recognition of questionable lyrics. The more I listened, the more improvement I recognized, and songs that I'd heard over a hundred times were giving me goosebumps once again. I was off to the races, wanting to hear more and more music as the effect grew stronger over the next few days.

 

Setting Up The Speaker Base
Last year the setup of the original BlackGround 10X Power Base was very straightforward. Using a LessLoss Prime power cord, it simply plugged into the same circuit being used for the system. It can be plugged into an unused outlet in your wall (preferred) or into your power conditioner, but it must be connected with a power cord. In my case, I plugged it into the same duplex outlet as my power conditioner on the  Audience Hidden Treasure dedicated line. The handsome wooden box itself was placed on top or directly beneath one of the components in my equipment rack (usually the CD transport). It can also be placed on its side beside or behind the rack if your rack is full. Placement is not critical, though it is so visually attractive you may want it visible and away from harm. The same is true for the placement of the Speaker Bases as the wooden boxes are identical and easily stack together.

 

 

Setting up the Speaker Bases is a little more complicated. They can be connected in two ways. There is an IEC connection just like the original Power Base that allows you to plug directly into your AC circuit with a conventional power cord. However, only the ground pin is active on the Speaker Bases, so you could alternatively use just a ground cable with a banana plug to fit into a banana plug ground input on the Speaker Base on one end and a USA plug on the other end to plug into your wall. If you don't already have a BlackGround 10X Power Base, you must use one of these two methods.

Alternatively, you can connect the Speaker Base to the BlackGround Power Base using a LessLoss ground cable which has a high-quality banana plug on each end. The Ground Output of the Speaker Base goes to a banana ground input on the Power Base. Doing this saves you the cost of an IEC power cord. The ground cables are directional with little arrows that should always point toward your AC line connection.

If your power amp and speakers are at the far end of the room and plugged into a different outlet, it will make sense to use the power cord option and position the Speaker Base near the power amp. Four speaker signal cables with banana plugs are required to connect to the Speaker Base. They may be attached to the binding posts on the speakers or to the binding posts on the amplifier. Like the binding posts, they are coded red and black, along with directional arrows to ensure proper installation. I found it much easier to connect to the binding posts on the amplifiers, which required shorter (and less expensive) speaker signal cables. It will also be much neater looking, though to facilitate all the testing for this review, I conveniently stacked the BlackGrounds on top of a subwoofer using appropriate isolation.

 

 

In my system, I placed the Speaker Base near the Power Base in the rack and simply used a single ground cable with banana plugs to daisy chain them together. The wood chassis for both BlackGrounds are the same size so you may want to stack them together and use only a short ground cable to connect them. I used outdated leather samples garnered from a furniture store between the bases to keep them from scratching each other or sliding around when playing with the cables. It is possible that using aftermarket footers could improve the sound quality even further, but I didn't want to risk scratching the beautiful wood chassis with all the component shuffling I had to perform in this review.

 

BlackGround Power Base Versus BlackGround For Speakers
"

"

 

Here is a schematic for the BlackGround Power Base:

 

And below is the schematic for the monoblock 10X Speaker Base:

 

 

This explains why the combination of the two types of BlackGrounds work so well together.

 

Every breath you take
And every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I'll be watching you

--The Police

 

 

On Room Tone, Noise Floor, and Air (A Sidebar)
One of the early things I learned in film school back in the late 1960s was to listen for "room tone" to be sure it was consistent from one scene to the next. Room tone was the base layer of sound in a room when everything else was quiet. Every room has one unless you live in an anechoic chamber. My listening room has a lot of windows which are damped with special tweaks to reduce any ringing. But a certain level of noise comes from outside — especially if it is windy. And inside, there is a heating system and a refrigerator that come on from time to time.

For really critical listening I can run the temperature in the house up a few degrees and then turn the heating system off, allowing the house to cool slowly while I listen to music for a couple of hours. I also lean a large piece of cardboard or wood against the wall in front of a heat vent and cold air returns to minimize the noise if I leave the heat on. I didn't bother to do that in the early listening sessions and it wasn't necessary as the effect of the BlackGround for Speakers was very evident.

Not only does your listening room have a room tone, but your system has one too, but we call it a noise floor. It is created by the signal distortions in your AC lines and all the electronics you are using. Usually, you do not pay much attention to it unless your ear picks up a buzz in your speakers. But even if you can put your ear up to the drivers and hear no noise, there is still some noise happening. This noise we cannot hear becomes evident when we put a power conditioner into the system or install a new component or power cable that suddenly drops the noise floor and we recognize a newly discovered "blacker background".

There is also "noise" coming from the environment we rarely perceive: RFI (radio frequency interference) or EMI (electromagnetic interference) which can be caused by radio signals, cell phones, or the solar wind. Fortunately, most solar wind is rejected by the earth's magnetic field, but occasionally, solar flares can cause significant disruption. But even on a 'good day' solar wind affects our audio systems.

 

 

While power conditioners and cables can address noise from the electrical grid and noise generated within our components, it was the genius of the BlackGround that addressed the environmental noise pollution, first, as a small module, and then in a more powerful unified component — the BlackGround 10X Power Base. And now, we have the BlackGround for Speakers. (I will politely ignore anyone who may have constructed a Faraday cage around their listening room.)

In addition to the noise in the room and the noise in our audio systems, there is also noise embedded in the recordings we play. This is most obvious when listening to recordings of live performances with the ambient noise of a venue punctuated with applause at the end of a song or symphony. There is tape noise on radio broadcasts of recorded classical music, surface noise from a cartridge careening its way down a groove on an LP, and jitter on digital systems.

When you bring all these potential sources of noise together and start to talk about sound quality, that's the segue to what we call "air" when listening to our systems. A recording or a system (and the room it is in) is said to have more "air" when the music has greater transparency and greater resolution. Increasing transparency is like removing your sunglasses and increasing resolution is like putting your prescription eyeglasses on. As we all know, with greater transparency and resolution you can hear finer and more subtle details in the music. Obscured lyrics become intelligible. And if the performance is good, this leads to greater appreciation and enjoyment of the music. This is what the BlackGrounds are designed to do.

You can achieve this goal by improving your components — often at great cost for each component as you sell off or trade the old component for something new and likely more expensive. Or you can add or upgrade a power conditioner that will affect each component. Likewise, the LessLoss BlackGrounds improve the entire system. The cliches, of course, are "It was like cleaning the glass in the window" or "Sucking the smoke out of the room." Or the obvious "blacker background." Things to that effect indicate the music is "crystal clear."

I achieved great success with the BlackGround Power Base last year and I recently installed the new Acora QRC-2 speaker for review which is a significant upgrade over my Kharma Ceramique long-term reference speaker. A Synergistic Research Vibratron has also improved the soundscape and presence of music in my room. You can also achieve great gains in this direction by improving your front-end components. So this review comes at a time when my system has already reached a very high level of performance and changes should become fairly obvious.

In my review of the BlackGround Power Base, I have already established that this technology supplements your power conditioner. Adding multiple Blackgrounds does not replace your power conditioner. Nor does adding a better power conditioner replace what Blackgrounds accomplish. BlackGrounds and power conditioners address two different sources of noise in your system. I will refer you to their website for the analysis of their technology.

 

With my sidebar explanation done, now onward with the review.

 

The Listening
With the improvements brought by the new Acora speakers, I wondered just how much more benefit could be squeezed out of the system by the LessLoss BlackGround for Speaker. I started with the stereo Speaker Base unit now attached to the AGD Audio monoblocks which were quite sufficient for the Acora speakers. I also had the LCH passive subwoofers (reviewed here) driven by a Class D amp that was separately controlled with a surprisingly effective vintage Musical Design tube preamp.

There was only a modest improvement in sound quality over three days which brought anticipated improvement in resolution, transparency, and inner detail. While the rig was singing at an all-time high level, I was not blown away as I had been with the original Blackground Power Base. But keep in mind, the Speaker Base had been sitting in the system for a whole month at this point, just not hooked up electrically.

As often happens when reviewing, the differences can become more dramatic when a component is removed. And here the result was the same — a noticeable drop in sound quality when the Speaker Base was first removed, followed by a slow degradation over the next couple of days. Still, it was not living up to my expectations, even accounting for possible diminishing returns from adding this second BlackGround.

 

The Active Ground System
As I pondered the problem my attention was drawn to the Synergistic Research Active Ground Block that connects my front ends and preamp which had provided impressive clarity and overall improvement to my system. Perhaps there was an incompatibility with the Speaker Base since, unlike the original BlackGround Power Base, it is connected to the signal path of the music at the speaker binding posts.

I devised a protocol to check this out. I disconnected the Speaker Base and went to bed, giving time for the effect to wear off for a day. The next evening I listened to a set of music from my compilation CD — music I knew by heart. Then I removed the Synergistic Active Ground Block and listened to the same music again. The sound quality (SQ) degraded noticeably in the expected ways.

I reinstalled the Speaker Base and immediately played the same set of music. There was an obvious improvement in SQ, close to what I was hearing when I had both the Speaker Base and the Active Ground Block in the system. As I continued to listen the SQ improved to even better than what I was hearing before. So it seems there was some duplication and possibly some degradation going on when I was using both devices.

I shot Louis Motek an email with my findings and went to bed, leaving the Speaker Base to settle in for a day. The next day, Louis replied:

"I don't like the idea of introducing low-frequency oscillations into ground like that. As much as people believe in Schuman resonance, there is no way in my mind anyone can synchronize those naturally occurring very low-frequency oscillations into a grounding device like that. First, they are never at one single set frequency in nature. [A quick glance at any of a large number of studies shows how these frequencies fluctuate over time and are not constant. Random example: www.mdpi.com/2073-4433/7/9/116] The Schumann resonance fluctuates over time, just like the magnetic field of the Earth meanders over time. In my mind, it is best to leave natural ground be natural ground."

"I have heard some Schumann devices (not this particular one) but in every case I found it to 'sexify' the sonic results, ultimately leading to a less life-like sonic and a more 'hi-fi' type sonic. This might have been nice on some cool jazz recordings, but every time without fail, switching over to something super pure and natural like solo violin with simple stereo mic technique and limited or no processing, omitting the Schumann device was always accompanied by the sonic result of more naturalness and more audible nuance by the human playing the instrument."

 

As I listened over the next two days the sound quality continued to improve, much closer to my expectation. More transparency, cleaner air, and more distinct placement of instruments on a larger sound stage with noticeably greater depth. Moreover, as Louis had suggested, the music was more natural sounding. I left the Active Ground Block out of the system for the remainder of the review.

 

Without The Original BlackGround Power Base
Moving on with my original protocol, I removed the original BlackGround Power Base and used the LessLoss Prime power cord to connect the stereo Speaker Base directly to the ground leg of the dedicated line. Remember, only the ground pin of the Speaker Base IEC inlet is connected. (LessLoss had promoted the original BlackGround Power Base with their entry-level Prime power cord.)

Two days later, it was hard to tell if I missed the BlackGround Power Base. Listening to the background singers in Lyle Lovett's "Church", a song on my compilation CD that I've heard hundreds of times, gave me goosebumps. Likewise, on Wilson Philips' cover of Elton John's "Daniel", a song that typically presents a homogenous "wall of sound", the female vocalists and instrumental separation were excellent, and the cymbals were highly resolved and shimmering. Everything I played was coming through at the highest level of sound quality I had ever experienced in my system.

 

 

Optional Power Cables
With the music flying high and me feeling much more comfortable with the value of the Speaker Base, I took the opportunity to try the new additional power cords Louis had sent along. The first was the C-marc™ Classic ($1148) and the second was the C-marc™ Classic with Entropic Process ($1934). They have recently introduced a new flagship power cord, the Stellar with Entropic Process ($2450) which I did not have available. Early customer feedback on their website indicates the Stellar is very good.

The bottom line here is that you get what you pay for with the Classic being a significant step above the original Prime cable, and the Entropic version taking the sound quality even higher with more stable, unwavering sustained notes, minute inner detail, more subtle tonal color, and tighter bass. Sibilance was more tightly controlled and the clapping of audiences was more realistic. The sonic signatures of all three LessLoss cables are the same. But each one does it better when you pay more. You see more deeply into the music. You hear more inner detail. And the musicians are more present in your listening room.

To satisfy my curiosity, and because the rest of my system uses Synergistic Research power cords, I tried a couple of them with just the stereo Speaker Base in the rig. I pulled the Atmosphere SX Excite from my phono stage since I was using CD source material. The Synergistic cable produced a sonic signature that was considerably different from the LessLoss power cords. There was undeniably tighter resolution, particularly in the bass, but the overall presentation was considerably darker with the treble rolled off, leaving the music dark and cold. This was surprising since most of the rig uses this same power cord which produces outstanding transparency and air both when the BlackGrounds are in the system or not.

I also tried a less expensive and outdated Synergistic power cord (Atmosphere UEF Level 2) that sells for around $500 to $700 on the used market and it was a disappointment on almost every measure, falling below the performance of even the original LessLoss Prime AC power cord. I tried two other discontinued cables from two other companies. One was quite good, another much less so.

This is not to say these other cables will not work well in other contexts, or that you might not have a cable in your closet that works supremely well with the BlackGrounds. I haven't tried every power cord that's out there, but I have to think the BlackGround for Speakers will perform differently with different power cords — dramatically in some cases. There is a very positive synergy between the BlackGrounds and the LessLoss power cords given that the Grounding Wires and internal wiring in the BlackGrounds is LessLoss C-MARC cable. The BlackGrounds are groundbreaking products and it would be foolish not to maximize all the available sound quality by using a convenient cable from your cable closet. You've been warned — but read on.

Keep in mind that you must use a power cord with the BlackGround Power Base, but if you are sure you will always only have a BlackGround Speaker Base, you could use a Ground Wire with a banana plug on one end and a USA Plug on the other. The gauge of the Ground Wire is equivalent to the gauge of the wires in the Prime power cord so you will not have a sonic advantage. And if you later decide to add a Power Base, you will need a power cord anyway. Think this through carefully and don't be penny-wise/pound foolish.

 

 

Alternate Power Cords — A Second Listen
Louis pointed out that the above exercise with power cords and the Speaker Base only utilized the ground lead in the cable, whereas the power cords used with the Power Base utilized all three leads. I returned to the listening room and set up just the monoblock Speaker Bases on the AGD amps powering the Acora speakers. I used a Ground Wire to feed the ground from the Speaker bases to the original BlackGround Power Base and spent several hours comparing the LessLoss power cords connecting the Power Base to the AC dedicated line. In this situation, the three leads of the power cord were all contributing to the sound quality. I left the subwoofers out of the system for these comparisons, as very few audiophiles use passive subwoofers driven by external amplifiers which would allow for the use of a dedicated BlackGround for Speakers.

I started with the Prime. After indulging in the higher models during the past month, I found it to be relatively uninvolving, lacking in little ways across the entire spectrum of audiophile virtues. Some of this disappointment was likely due to the absence of the subwoofers, but that would be a constant factor as I moved up to the other two power cords.

The Classic power cord revitalized the music, filling much of the gap between the Prime and the more exotic combinations I had been listening to (which you will read about shortly.) The Classic would be a very worthwhile upgrade for someone who has been using the Prime on their BlackGround Power Base — but hold onto your Visa card for another minute.

Next up was the Classic Entropic Process power cord and the music took another very significant step that justifies its higher price. The sound quality was close to the results I achieved using both BlackGround for speakers in the bi-amp mode with my subwoofers. Again, I'll get into the details of sound quality in a minute. I would think taking a leap of faith to their new flagship power cord, the Stellar Entropic Process could be an even better idea if you have the discretionary funds.

That said, I wondered about the performance of the other power cords I had on hand. I revisited the Synergistic Research Atmosphere Excite SX ($2495) and found it to have a more prominent bass, slightly higher resolution, and this time, just a very slight roll-off in the treble which may have been the consequence of a greater absence of noise in the treble. A discontinued, less expensive Synergistic model was not nearly as bad as it had been on the BlackGround for Speakers. An Audio Sensibility Signature SE power cable ($1299 CDN) was also very good, though it had a warmer presentation with a little less air around the musicians.

It seems that alternate brand power cords are a less risky proposition with the BlackGround Power Base than with the BlackGround for Speakers which utilizes only the ground lead of the power cord. The nature of your system will always be a major factor in the ultimate sound quality you achieve by adding a BlackGround and it is a safe bet a LessLoss power cable will give you very good performance, particularly if you can afford to move up their line.

 

 

BlackGroundFor Speakers 10X Monoblocks
A pair of BlackGround monoblock Speaker Bases with 2.5 times the BlackGround units cost 2.42 times the price of the Stereo Speaker Base, despite the obvious additional expense of requiring two wood chassis. The question remains, how does that shake out in terms of sound quality? I replaced the stereo Speaker Base with the monoblock Speaker Bases around midnight and returned to listen at about noon the next day.

I was awestruck. Buddy Guy was "right there", I proclaimed, pointing dead center just beyond the plane of the speakers. In fact, everyone was "right there" with more transparency and three-dimensionality, more impressive resolution and dynamics. Bruce Springsteen's refrain in "57 Channels" has always sounded like a 2-dimensional over-dub for better or for worse, depending on the system. Here, it became the voice of a three-dimensional Bruce calling out from the far left corner of the soundstage with almost every word intelligible.

All the nuance and inner detail I wrote about in the sidebar above was taken to a higher level, dramatically reducing the mental effort required to imagine I was listening to live musicians. The music is not at all laid-back, nor is it irritating or in your face. Rather, I was captivated by the high degree of reality coming from the recorded music and the ease of ignoring the technology, allowing me to just imbibe the music. I could channel my attention to specific instruments or sections of the orchestra with ease. Instruments or singers up front did not obscure instruments behind them. The monoblock Speaker Bases remove the equipment from the listening equation. Setting cost aside, the monoblock Speaker Bases are the units you want and I implore you not to audition them if you cannot afford them. There is no shame in living within your means.

The next day, it was hard to tell if there had been any improvement over the first twelve hours the monoblock Speaker Bases had been in the system. The momentous discovery on day two was to switch to WXXO-FM, my local NPR station that broadcasts classical music. The station almost always sounds good with my hot-rodded tuner and 2m whip antenna being only five miles (8km) from the broadcast tower. But adding the monoblock Speaker Bases was transformative, bringing FM classical music beyond what I typically experience with CDs. The three-dimensional soundscape, the transparency, and the sense of air in the recording venues of live orchestras were dramatically improved. The resolution in the treble was particularly impressive with violins and cymbals — something that is not often said about speakers driven by the AGD GaNFET amplifiers.

The improvement the monoblock Speaker Bases brought to my FM radio listening was an unexpected bonus. It reinforces Louis' contention that the effect of all the BlackGrounds extends out into the room, affecting not only the adjacent components but also the nearby FM antenna. If it does not diminish signal strength significantly, you might try relocating your antenna closer to the Blackgrounds to improve FM sound quality.

 

 

Bang The Drum!
With both the 8X stereo unit and the 10X monoblocks on hand, it occurred to me that I could "Bi-BlackGround" my main speakers and the passive LCH subwoofers that were also in the system. I left the monoblock Speaker Bases attached to the AGD Audion monoblock amps powering the Acora QRC-2 speakers. I hooked up the stereo Speaker Base to the PS Audio S300 Class D stereo amp I was using to power the LCH subwoofers. I daisy-chained the stereo Speaker Base to one of the monoblock Speaker Bases with a Synergistic Research Foundation speaker cable with banana plugs as I did not have enough LessLoss ground cables to make that final connection. At this point, I was also using the original BlackGround Power Base connected with the Classic Entropic AC cable to the dedicated AC line.

 

 

Slam! The bass tightened up immediately and very impressively after waiting only 15 minutes for the tubes in my Coincident Statement Line Stage and Lampizator Amber 4 DAC to warm up. There was also a pair of 6922 tubes in the Musical Design preamp that was used to independently control the volume of the subwoofers. It is common for midrange and sometimes treble quality to improve when subs are added to the system and this phenomenon occurred with my rig. The LCH subs do not have a low-pass filter on them and the woofers extend up into the lower midrange with only their natural attenuation.

The bass volume seemed to drop a bit with the improved resolution which resulted from adding the stereo Speaker Base (less boom), so I raised the volume slightly with the Musical Design preamp. The resulting tonal balance with the addition of the subs brought the sound quality of the ensemble up to the level of speakers costing $60k and above. The timbre brought out by the addition of the stereo Speaker Base raised the sound quality of the $37k QRC-2 speakers close to the flagship of the Acora line, the VRC-1, a truly world-class speaker priced at $218k. I was very impressed.

But wait. It gets even better! Recalling my experience with the Synergistic Research Atmosphere SX Excite power cord, I ran the stereo Speaker Base directly to the AC line with the Synergistic power cord and left the monoblock Speaker Bases and the original BlackGround Power Base connected with the Classic Entropic power cord. The bass tightened up even further and there was no degradation of the treble as the monoblock Speaker Bases on the Acora speakers were ultimately grounded (via the BlackGround Power Base) with the Classic Entropic power cable — a win/win combination. The Chinese drums played with true authority that I could feel in my chest.

Sadly, this endeavor will not work with self-powered subwoofers as the Speaker Bases need to be attached to the output of the power amp driving them. (I'm not in a position to say if a REL subwoofer connected to the power amp driving the main speakers would also benefit from a BlackGround for Speakers. You will have to consult REL first.)

 

What Price Glorious Music?
Perhaps I have gone a little over the top with this review? Well, the sound quality has, too. But the BlackGrounds easily fall into the realm of "You pay more; you get a lot more." If I were to go "all in" with both BlackGrounds, eight short speaker cables, three ground cables, and the Classic Entropic power cord, the cost would add up to around $13,500. That's a hefty sum, but I could spend $11k simply to upgrade the speakers from the quartzite to the true granite model. Or spend that money to upgrade an amp, preamp, or DAC. I visit hundreds of rooms at audio shows every year and I don't think I can find this much sonic improvement for this kind of money to upgrade what I already own.

 

 

The good news is that neither of us is likely to need to spend that much. Among all the BlackGrounds, including the original BlackGround 10X Power Base, the pair of BlackGround for Speaker 10X monoblocks gives you the biggest acoustic return on investment. Add four speaker cables, one ground wire, and the Classic Entropic Process power cord (or splurge for the new Stellar) and you will have an entire system upgrade that will not become obsolete for less than $10k. If your system is already very highly configured, it may be an 'end game' for your entire rig, leaving you to simply enjoy your music.

We each have our financial comfort zone and as I said above, there is no shame in living within your means. You will certainly appreciate the 8X stereo version and less expensive power cords if that is what makes sense for you, economically. And that will drop the price to under $4k. Between the original BlackGround 10X Power Base and the BlackGround for Speakers 8X, I can't make a call as to which is the better value. But I can tell you that if you already own the original BlackGround Power Base, adding either of the BlackGround for Speakers will be a very significant improvement for as little as $3600. Having worked with all three BlackGrounds, I can assure you the effect is cumulative. Furthermore, LessLoss offers substantial credit if you wish to upgrade from the stereo Speaker Base to the monoblocks. Very nice people.

 

Summary
The BlackGround for Speakers is the next evolutionary product using Louis Motek's revolutionary proprietary technology that cleans up the EMI noise that increasingly permeates our environment. They complement traditional power conditioners — they do not replace them. I found them to work exceptionally well with LessLoss power cords, improving noticeably as you move up their cable line. The BlackGround for Speakers is designed to be stacked with the original BlackGround 10X Power Base in a very handsome configuration that eliminates the need for an additional power cord.

While they are priced in the range of a significant component, their value can far exceed their cost. When I consider the BlackGround for Speakers elevated the sound quality of my system with $37k speakers up to the level of the best speakers I've heard in the $60k to $100k range, driven in rigs that cost far more than mine, the value skyrockets.

At the highest level with the monoblock Speaker Bases and the Classic Entropic power cord, the BlackGround for Speakers allowed me to experience greater resolution and transparency that revealed much finer inner detail, a far more colorful tonal palate, and holographic instrumentation far beyond what I thought my real-world system could deliver. Increased soundscaping and greater dynamics were also evident due to the lowered noise floor.

The BlackGround for Speakers helps level the playing field against rigs with outrageously expensive products that only a few can afford. They are in a category of their own. A year ago I wrote, "The BlackGround 10X [Power Base] is voodoo supreme." Today, the BlackGrounds feel like essential standard components. I never imagined I could own a system that could play music at such a high level. And I can only imagine what the BlackGround for Speakers can do for truly exotic systems.

 

 

 

Tonality

Sub–bass (10Hz – 60Hz)

Mid–bass (80Hz – 200Hz)

Midrange (200Hz – 3,000Hz)

High Frequencies (3,000Hz On Up)

Attack

Decay

Inner Resolution

Soundscape Width Front

Soundscape Width Rear
Soundscape Depth

Soundscape Extension Into Room

Imaging (with footers)

Fit And Finish

Self Noise
Emotionally Engaging

Value For The Money

 

 

 

Specifications
Type: Type: Loudspeaker Signal Conditioner
Weight: 8X stereo unit, just under 12 pounds
10X monoblock unit, about 14 pounds each
Dimensions: 14.75" x 9" x 2.25 (WxDxH, all BlackGround chassis)

Price: BlackGround 8X Speaker Base, Stereo version: $3,096
   BlackGround 10X Speaker Base, Monoblock version: $7489.80 pair
   Grounding Cables: From $116 each
   C-MARC Power Cables: Prime from $486
   Classic from $1148
   Classic Entropic Process from $1934

 

 

 

Company Information
LessLoss Audio
Paneriu 258b
Kaunas
Lithuania

Voice: +370 698 48706
E-mail: info@lessloss.com 
Website: www.LessLoss.com

 

 

USA Distributor
Atelier 13 Audio
1115 Crater Hill Drive
Nashville, TN 37215

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