(Jolida) Black Ice Audio Foz SS-X Sound Enhancement


I could find only a few reviews of this device and a few forum entries here. They were all favorable. I sorely needed the bass enhancement circuit for my Maggie 3.7s. I have a Marchand X.26 crossover handling them and the sub but the integration was not ideal. The pre and amps are Cary Audio Class A mono blocs. The source is transparent and very revealing. I did not want anything to upset the glorious sound of the tubes. I also needed something to offset my small-ish listening room. The Maggies ’stand watch’ but I can’t get the distance I need for them to bloom. The SS-X seemed to fit the bill - tube driven, clean specs and a solid designer pedigree. I respect Jim Fosgate.

I ordered the SS-X on the strength of his engineering expertise, particularly in tubes, viz-a-viz Jolida. Not having heard the device it could be considered a leap of faith or a plunge into disappointment. I held my breath.

Straight to the chase: Maggies now have a sweet bottom end, the sub has been dialed back and has disappeared and the top to bottom synergy is spot on and very satisfying.

But wait, there’s more...

The spatial imaging adjustment: Well, I listened to several of my favorite studio recordings. Clean, thankfully. I then put on a nightclub recording of the late Ben Webster live in Amsterdam. I nearly fell out of my chair. The speakers disappeared and I was looking around for the cocktail waitress. The drum kit, the piano, the double bass were all present in the venue with all of its ambiance and Mr. Webster was doing what he did so incredibly well: swinging the audience ala Ellington with that big smooth sax. You could hear everyone present as if you were sitting there.

I’m still waiting for the cocktail server. Incredible device and worth every penny and the anticipation.





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Comments/advice greatly appreciated. I like to own ANYTHING that is quality first. Audio has never been an exception.Jim Fosgate has the kind of reputation that holds up to my expectations. Eventually, I will buy one of these.
Ok, get ready for an update in the coming days. I should receive the unit this Thursday, and am anxious to give it a listen. My system isn't quite complete yet, as I am working on an amp project that will take some time. In the interim, I am getting by with less than a great power amp. Regardless, I feel that the new unit will make it's impressions known enough for me to decide what I hear from it. Seems that it had some intent for headphone listeners as well, and that< is where I do have a leg up for some more serious listening. More later, less sooner.  
 The unit came in a day late, courtesy of a snow storm. Then, living in Wyoming generally means that a product needs to warm up for at least an hour. Finally, I plug it in and turn it on for a few minutes. Like others that stated a bit about the quality, I concur. Thank god this isn't some crappy little black box. I am pretty impressed. The packing was righteous as well. My wife is sleeping so, headphones first impressions. After a bit of fiddling with the controls, I was surprised to learn that just a bit more bass on my ZMF Ori phones was used. Not much, just something that I preferred. I am listening to U2, Joshua Tree. Listened to it last night on speakers, and said to myself, "Oh yah, this is the album that can have a little or more midrange bite." The Ori phones put this sort of thing right back in perspective for me. Glad that I own them. Then I am adjusting the dimension control. I have listened to more than my share of this kind of stuff, and am skeptical after being fed anymore placebos. As I used the control, I realized that yes, there really is something positive going on, and thank god again, it is variable. Too much is just that, too much. For this recording, about a 1 o'clock position gives me for the first time, a worthy impression of headphones not feeding your ears a little miniature rock band smack dab between your ears. I may sell the rest of my system... who needs more? But just kidding folks, I will accidentally wake the wife, and continue listening through speakers. So far, there are no regrets for the price paid, nor the real estate taken by this unit. Thanks Jim Fosgate.
Talked to Jerred at Black Ice yesterday (great guy) about the SS-X. Very tempted to try this out soon.
 I was tempted too, but then realized there is little chance of buying a used unit. Finally bit the bullet and got mine. I didn't mention what the unit does for my speaker system. The fact that I like it in circuit so much says a lot, but it is not for every recording out there. Further, my system already has a great sound stage so why did I bother? Because I wanted to try out the bass EQ that this unit has in comparison to the bass tone control that is on my Vincent pre-amp. It does treat the bass differently than the Vincent, but I need more experience to determine what that difference is. Also, it includes a tube buffer, and the 12AU7W tube chosen was right on the button. Since I make buffer amps for sale, I know the difference between one or another in terms of sound. This one is simply honest. No 'tubey' euphemisms to be tacked on here.It is the same reason that I bought the Vincent. The LED display is a little funky though, and I wouldn't exactly call it studio level resolution. God help me, I am somewhat tempted to find high dollar replacements for the TL074 op amps. For now, I am just enjoying what the unit has to offer.