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Valvolizer SV/01-09 by Praecisa Acoustics

[Italian version]

[Praecisa Acoustics Valvolizer - click for full-size image]

I often get curious when a new *sound upgrading* device enters the hi-fi scene, but I'm quite always a little bit suspicious about them because of many old experiences in dealing with *revolutionary* stuff that, today, we can hardly remember.

This Valvolizer from Praecisa Acoustics doesn't want to start any revolution but it's just a simple device to smooth harshness, according to the manufacturer, in solid-state, entry-level hifi gear.

At a first sight the name Valvolizer sounded to me like those funny shining Turbo badges on the hoods of small cars that need a pray every morning to start.
But, since Praecisa had it's hey-day with its great
Preamp Model Two, I approached, after a proper burn-in, the listening test with open mind and very high concentration because what was meant to be discovered were just *nuances*.

This device is a short black cilinder made by amagnetic steel (maybe a toroidal transformer cap) totally glued and permanently sealed to a very refined cherry-wood round base (see picture above).
On the upper side we find two couples of gold plated connectors: one is for Hi-Level (input) and has an impedance of 12Kohms, the other one is for Low-Level (output) and has an impedance of 12 ohms.
Since it is a passive device it has no AC power inlet.

Praecisa Acoustics suggests to connect it between the preamp and the power amplifier (a full-balanced socket version is available, too) or, when dealing with integrated amps, between CDP and amp.

The first session of the listening test was made on my solid state gear with the Valvolizer between preamp and amp.
It has soon showed its personality in a very perceptible way: a slight attenuation of the output level (-9 dB) with a powerful cut of the lowest frequencies was the most remarkable feature, even if this cut was intended to be (as Praecisa claims) fully subsonic, with a smooth roll-off of the highest portion of the audible frequencies.
As a primary consequence of this feature we have a crystal-clear, detailed, vivid mid-band with a wider and deeper soundstage, slightly affected by a lesser dynamic punch, a little *slower* than before, just to give a light touch of *tube taste*.

So: if your hi-fi system is sonically well-balanced and refined it's better not to use it.
How long could you really stand a small black box that run in your listening room to turn upside down all the nights spent in evaluating a 1 Ohm resistor in a crossover network, or some degree in orientating the speakers properly, or if a cable is better than other four? :-)

Second part of the listening test: Valvolizer connected between CDP and amp in a entry level system.
Same features as before but with the result of an overall improvement of the sound in each and every aspect.
It's clear that troubles in this kind of systems are mostly caused by too cheap sources and their typical *subsonic chaos*.
Here the Valvolizer actually solves the problem: it seriously works! And it works good.
The booming bass gets soon dry and firm and that *digital* harsh sound gets remarkably sweet and more liquid.
But I think that, especially talking about bass-boom, the same improvements could be acheived, in a cheaper way, with some tweaks taken from the specific subsection of our mag.
And I'm convinced, too, that it will be more cost-effective adding 250$ (list-price of the Valvolizer in Italy) to the expense for your next CDP.
This will be a real upgrade and not just a remedy. Don't forget, too, that using a Valvolizer requires a double run (and double expense) of your signal cable (and very often one 150$ cable is better than two runs of a 75$ cable).
So now: buying it, it's up to you.

Copyright © 1998 Mimmo Cacciapaglia

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