I got my 2004 pre-owned Audio Consulting's Silver Rock AVC passive line-preamp... connected to my Partridge/Allen Bradley/300B mono blocks feeding the Cabasses' and Meridian's digital...
... and listened...
At the very beginning, still remembering when Luxman AT 3000 was in place, the sensation was of a fuller-body, thicker overall sound.
I immediately felt the difference, yet fearful the sound was a bit slower than with AT 3000's... ahem, no!
Thickness or... less bass-shy...
These were just the first minutes listening... a sensation which lasted an eye-blink.
I began to swap discs... David Tibet's Current 93's Honeysuckle Aeons (unbelivable quality), female vocals and lute, electric guitars duo with cello by Sousedi (unbelivable quality!!!), double bass and acoustic 12 strings and classical guitars (Gary Peacock/Ralph Towner's Oracle on ECM... a must-have!).
The more I listened the more I enjoyed the result: the apparent thickness suddenly disappeared and the resolution improved... more and more...
What thrilled me was that, when going louder and louder, the volume wasn't absolutely affecting the size of instruments... an acoustic guitar was just louder, not larger.
A truly important feature!
When I got conscious of the above, I better dig and paid attention to the phenomenon on more disks; furthermore, studio noises were very present and naturally blended with music.
The loudness improved: loud was really loud and clean, effortlessly sounding, free of glare and smooth... loud, but not annoying or hurting... never, also when reaching a truly high climax!
The sense of clarity and naturalness become almost painful... I had some business, and simply had to force me hard to stop listening to more and more and more disks and go... quite embarrassing;-)
Summing up: clarity, resolution, inner- and inter-notes silence, natural imaging and depth and an additive, strong overall beauty feeling... in my opinion, all these aspects are top class...
The Luxman AT 3000 and Fidelity Research AS 1 sure are top contenders... but with the Silver Rock the extremely low noise-floor makes you so easily aware of instruments decay, mixer on and off, guitar amps hums, artists breathing... everything is so lively.
Audio Consulting's previous moniker was Silver Rock... a slightly opinable brand-name...
... but a younger Serge Schmidlin wasn't that wrong!
Silver is silver wire used in coils... Rock... well: it's the rock-solid sensation of rightness... making me pretty sure I nicely spent my money for such a result.
I really love this box: only two hand-wound irons and two gold contacts Elna's 24 positions rotary switches!
Someone will think - plainly said - why paying considerable amount of money for a passive AVC gizmo... hey, it's only a couple of irons... but... BUT!
As Serge once told me during a conversation, Switzerland doesn't own oil, carbon, gold, diamonds or other precious materials... mountains, lakes and... people learned to work wood and watches and clocks and improved their skills in micro-mechanic... Vacheron-Constantin, Rolex, Nagra, Stellavox, Da Vinci, Audio Consulting... all them and more represents the peak in human-sized manufacturing, the old style, by hand, one at a time, painstackingly.
The winding care and skill involved in the making and materials used in coils (super thin magnetic layers) and wire are everything's needed to make the difference between a transformer and a great iron, music-wise.
Such a musical device, a good iron, is worth its weight in gold: as God is in details, so audio/music-wise, it's in the Irons:-)))!
Thanking Pierre and Serge... and Dick Olsher for his SR's review: I agree on every word he spent on the matter.