In his 11th March 2019 review, Paul tests the BMU1500 MKII in his reference system - a set-up that he notes "is encrusted with anti-noise cables, power blocks, isolation accessories and more. I've gone to some lengths (and then a bit further)," he notes, "to minimise all noise".
This is an important point to note because the BMU is having to bring a marked improvement to an already improved system - as Paul says, "the BMU1500 is walking into a pretty tip top, clean environment".
So how did it fair in these challenging circumstances?
Well, he did note that he found the sockets to have less grip than he hoped and made the sensible suggestion to make sure your cables go into the sockets as straight as possible to ensure their weight doesn't negatively affect performance. The UltraSockets do not tend to be as tight as our SuperSockets but we find they have a better contact area meaning that overall the performance is far better.
That was the only down side he found though. Despite all the existing measures in place, the BMU1500 MKII managed to extract elements of the music that lifted the performance in a way that had been missing before. Piano is always a telling instrument to listen to as it clearly highlights the system's ability - or lack of - to represent its tone and character accurately. Listening to the track Who Am I? from the Nina Simone album And Piano!, Paul found that the piano
"sounded full and rich. There was a host of subtle tonal information that ran alongside the usual piano-type noises. These new effects added a sense of strength to the struck piano keys, they told me that this piano was a substantial thing, they said that the notes that flew from it were powerful and that the whole ensemble was big and had a sense of grandness ... the BMU1500 gave me all of that."
These are not small differences, they are really significant to the true appreciation and enjoyment of a piece of music. Paul had noted earlier in his review that Nina Simone was somewhat of an imposing figure, "spiky, slightly aggressive" as he put it. Her character is clear to hear in this track, and he notes that there is "a distinct ... threat" to its presentation. The accurate sense of gravitas that the piano gives is, in this context, essential to the appreciation of the song. It's there in the vocal too.
"When I removed the BMU1500 from my system the sound had a thin quality. One that I'd never noticed before" but "with the BMU1500 attached once more, Simone's voice had a depth, a richness and a host subtle sounds, rasps and other vocal ticks that set her apart from a machine, say. That human-esque quality. One that's full of micro mistakes, that gives a vocal performance emotion and brings you to the brink of tears. That kind of thing."
That kind of thing that makes us love and enjoy music as not just background noise but as, well, art. It's that kind of thing that we're looking for from a good Hi-Fi system but that is all too often missing. And it's that kind of thing we strive so hard to achieve with all our products, the BMU1500 MKII included.
And there's more...
There's lots more to Paul's review; he makes interesting observations on the BMU's ability to bring out the best from rock performances and his comments on the effects of noise with digital sources is especially noteworthy. I'm not going to cover those elements here but I do recommend having a look thorough read of the whole review: https://theaudiophileman.com/bmu1500-balanced-mains-russ-andrews/
Date: 11 March 2019
Verdict: 8/10 'Groovy'