I've been grappling with the idea of contrasting two modes of listening to music: the blue pill/left brain analytical state where you focus on what you hear (clarity, soundstage, dynamics, bass etc) versus the red pill/right brain state where you are engaged in the overall emotional gestalt of the music.

In my experience, I've found you can move between the states but they are mutually exclusive. You can switch between them, but you can only be in one or the other state at a time.

This is similar to how your brain interprets a wire frame drawing of a cube. You can see the top of the cube, or it's bottom. But at least for me, my brain won't let me see both at the same time.

My goal is to be in the red pill camp. And am constantly striving for ways to get my system to put me in the right brain - emotionally engaging - state firmly with as little conscious effort as possible.

Our brains are in part designed to focus on differences. And it's clearer to me now that artifacts that occur during the reproduction of music cause us, even when we would prefer the musical engagement state, to slip into the analytical side.

Yesterday I took delivery and installed the upgraded version of Vincent Brient's totaldac d1-12 mkIII. The totaldac is fed from a Taiko Extreme server through a Sablon Audio EVO USB cable.

Today after less than 24 hours of break-in, in the middle of listening to Wynton Marsalis' Hot House Flowers album, things snapped into place and my listening state slipped effortlessly and firmly into the music as never before.

It was magical. There was no slipping out of its musical grip and devolving into the left brain state. It required no effort to stay on the musical side.

Vincent Brient's Totaldac d1-12 mkIII, Emile Bok's Taiko Extreme and Mark Cole's Sablon EVO USB cable together lower the noise floor to a point where digital artifacts are removed to where your brain can overlook them and allow you to melt into the music effortlessly.

Gentlemen thank you!

Rockport Lyra speakers; TotalDac Amp-1 mono amps; four box CH Precision L1/X1 pre/power supply monos; CH precision P1/X1 phono/power supply; TotalDac d1-driver monos; Pacific Microsonics Model 2 DAC; TotalDac d1-12 MkII DAC with 2 d1-reclockers; Kodo The Beat Turntable with LT Schroder magnesium tonearm and Lyra Atlas cart; Taiko Extreme Music Server; Taiko Daiza platforms; Kalista Dreamplayer CD Transport; Nordost Odin2 ICs, speaker cables and power cords; Sablon Audio Panatela Reserva USB cable; 512 Engineering/Tim Marutani Balanced Transformers (5 kVa for sources; 10 kVa for amps); Sorcer and Wizard ADD-POWR signal conditioners; Rives designed dedicated room (18'x25'x11'); System setup by Stirling Trayle.