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Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
Source: E Ancient Audio Lektor Prime, Apple iMac 1TB with WAV & AIFF files, Weiss DAC2, Yamamoto YDA-01
Preamp/Integrated: Esoteric C-03 (transistor), ModWright DM 36.5 (valves)
Amplifier: FirstWatt F5 & J2
Speakers: Anthony Gallo Acoustics Reference 3.5 [on review]
Cables: Complete loom of ASI Liveline, ALO Audio USB cable, LaCie Firewire 800 cable
Stands: 2 x ASI HeartSong 3-tier, 2 x ASI HeartSong amp stand
Powerline conditioning: 1 x Walker Audio Velocitor S, 1 x Furutech RTP-6
Sundry accessories: Furutech RD-2 CD demagnetizer; Nanotech Nespa Pro; extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters, Advanced Acoustics Orbis Wall & Corner units
Room size: The sound platform is 3 x 4.5m with a 2-story slanted ceiling above; four steps below continue into an 8m long combined open kitchen, dining room and office, an area which widens to 5.2m with a 2.8m ceiling; the sound platform space is open to a 2nd story landing and, via spiral stair case, to a 3rd-floor studio; concrete floor, concrete and brick walls from a converted barn with no parallel walls nor perfect right angles; short-wall setup with speaker backs facing the 8-meter expanse and 2nd-story landing.
Review Component Retail: $959

Of reflectors, lenses, prisms, smokes & mirrors...

. The name is both clever and honest. In hifi, getting the fragile musical cargo from source to final destination is all about the least possible loss. Those with any experience and honesty readily acknowledge that something inevitably does get lost. Verily, hifi has its own FedUp and Oops. Our virtual men in brown leave a gulf between live performances and playback. Calling one's company Zeroloss would be all gratuitous hype. Calling it less loss shows a firm grip on the very real challenges involved.

LessLoss' Louis Motek is a curious character. Lest you infer that he is strange, he practices relentless curiosity. And... such inquisitiveness can quickly lead to strangeness. For example, Louis once filled his listening room with more than 100 lit blue light bulbs to track unexpected improvements on his hifi's performance. Then he ran bulbs over the gamut of the rainbow. After he'd identified a dark blue hue—near violet in fact—as the one most beneficial to sound, he just had to understand why. He wanted to exploit the same effect in a more practical and energy-efficient manner.

Now, all a working theory must do is generate useful results. It matters little if the theory has holes, makes capricious assumptions or outright errs in the face of later revisions. Enter Louis' Blackbody. Where the LessLoss DAC 2004MkII and LessLoss power cords have garnered widespread recognition and credibility for no-nonsense engineering, the published explanation for how the new Blackbody works—our probably quite LotLoss theory— diverges into uncharted terrain. Were this Lithuanian company to propose the Blackbody now without their prior rep sheet in place, most thinking audiophiles would without a second thought write them and this new passive device off as charlatans and another voodoo accessory.

What stands in the way of such convenient condemnation are that darn DAC and those braided power cords. Many audiophiles already own them. Their feedback has established a solid body of evidence. Louis & Co. are far from charlatans. Neither are they greasy operators out to liberate the gullible from hard-earned funds Nigerian style. What to make of the Blackbody then? In my book, it takes clanky brass balls to pursue untried paths, then go public not only with the device but a lengthy explanation for what the inventor believes makes it work.

If you take that explanation at face value, your eyes could glaze over. Or your BS meter might redline. I look at it as an interesting working theory. It might be factual. It could be way off. Chances are it splits the difference. Why should I care though? What matters is that the thinking involved led to the creation of an inspectable device. It proposes to address electro smog effects in a way that's never been attempted before.

Electro smog? I won't do your homework for you. If you don't believe in the existence of electro smog, geopathic stress zones or invisible interactions between electromagnetically radiated fields, you simply needn't worry about micro waves, Bluetooth and their effects on your health either. Neither must you fret over transformer and power cord radiations. Nor how a computer's Wifi module in your hifi might negatively impact other components. Nor why your system's performance keeps fluctuating despite no apparent changes. Nor why things in proximity to your gear impact it beyond acoustic reflection or absorption effects. And so forth. I applaud anyone investigative enough to pursue these matters in the hopes of coming up with something that makes a dent.

If you've never heard of the electro smog concept but are curious to learn more, do some reading. Or, head right over to the LessLoss site, dive into the deep end and digest the Blackbody pages on proximity interactions. My job isn't to debate those pages. My job is to simply insert the device into my system as instructed; report on audible effects; gauge their relative magnitude; opine whether the expense seems justified; and/or, whether any qualifications exist that might preclude its use or suggest that the same money would be better spent elsewhere first.

Enlarge this image of the electromagnetic spectrum to better appreciate its details

Anything to do with absorption or transformation of high-frequency radiation has my fullest attention. I recently installed a brand-new 1TB iMac in my audio room. During CD rips, I turned on the wireless function of my Internet router to have the iMac online. I couldn't stand the microwave attacks on my brain. A few days later I installed a 30-meter Ethernet cable to hardwire the iMac to my router. That mostly solved the issue. The iMac's wireless keyboard and mouse of course still communicate by Bluetooth. Checking their range—you can sit many meters removed and operate mouse and keyboard without issues—means I'm fully within their zone whilst listening. Yuck. I might have to still substitute them with hard-wired replacements. In short, I'm bodily quite sensitive to such radiation which my job constantly surrounds me with. Schumann synchronizers, Tachyon products, Franck Tchang acoustic resonators, an Amethyst geode and other products from inside and outside the hifi accessory market... they all have a presence in our house whenever my wife and I respond favorably. We needn't understand their workings to benefit. Those who'd invoke Placebo effects should remember that—if you're into healing, improved well-being and even better sound—only results matter. This could include placebos.

My general attitude on all of that is to keep an open mind whilst remaining mentally on guard. Naturally, that's a highly personal issue. Whenever explanations correlate with or just faintly echo personal beliefs, I'm less inclined to see red. Certain things which might work as claimed but whose claims clash miserably with my own mental conditioning end up on the reject pile. That demonstrates very clearly the limits of my own open-mindedness... but there it is. Having spent one dinner with Louis Motek, Dan Wright and Jacob George during a Munich hifi show, I'd witnessed Louis recount anecdotes of his many unusual audio experiments. I was impressed by his obvious enthusiasm for the subject and his willingness to spend a lot of time chasing the devil that's in the details. There was no way I'd not take his Blackbody for a ride when the opportunity arose. If you opt out now, no hard feelings whatsoever. We all have limits. We simply mustn't impose them on others.

On the nutty and bolty, what else might Louis be willing to divulge beyond the Blackbody explanations on his website? "It is totally unexpected to me that this thing has so much, um... controversial drive. I guess the main reason is that people don't read. They come to their own conclusions and then try to find in all the texts they encounter confirmation for their already formed opinion. It happens all the time. It is said (sad?) that you get nothing out of reading a book except that which you bring to it. There's a lot of truth in that. But darn it, I have to use controversial words to describe what's inside. This means verging on 'smoke and mirrors'. I'm doomed!"

Once again Louis was clever in his choice of words. Mirrors. "Inside the Blackbody are reflectors, lenses and prisms. On the moon there was positioned by astronauts an interesting reflector which beams back coherent light straight whence it came from the Earth. It is still used today to measure very exactly the distance between Earth and moon, in real time and by laser. This served as inspiration for the Blackbody." About the box itself, "we designed the LessLoss Blackbody in collaboration with the cutting-edge design studio Fonografika as a stylish accessory. Crafted from precision milled high-grade alloy with special treated glass and a durable coating, the Blackbody features a refined subtle European design."

So what is it and how does one use it? The Blackbody is a passive noise dispersion* device that doesn't plug into the power line nor your components. It works on proximity. It is to be set up at a specific angle and optimum distance from whatever components' radiation one wishes to address. Installation involves personal experimentation. And that—sorry to say (ha!)—relies on you trusting your own senses. Audiophilia is of course filled with evidence that many don't. Louis states that more makes merrier. Early adopters report on having up to six units. Their comments can be read here. Marja & Henk on staff had six Blackbodies on evaluation as did I. This would approach the subject from two sides. Would our team end up with heavy corroboration or quite conflicted findings? First I suggest you have some reading to do. In best 6moons tradition, that's elsewhere (until you get to the next page)...


* Louis Motek: "I wouldn't say that since it suggests that the noise goes out of the device. It doesn't. It is transformed into something which is not noise or better, not perceived by the ear to have any correlation with noise in the usual sense of interfering with the audio signal. I might prefer to say "interferes less with our enjoyment of the signal". But I believe that the concept of signal ends at the loudspeaker transducer. While in the air, the acoustic wave no longer is the signal. I can say that with authority because I did a lot of extensive evaluation during the Blackbody development using headphones. I have yet to hear from anyone in the world whether the Frank Tchang stuff works or does anything for people who listen through headphones. I suggest you write an article about this. It would address all the missing links which have not yet been spoken of—or at least not to my knowledge—regarding these weird 'resonance' things."

Marja & Henk's findings follow.