I read a review of the BSG Technologies QOL in the February 2012 issue of The Absolute Sound. It was an interesting review. I hope to try one of these in the near future. Your review is similar to that of Robert Harley’s. I hope to listen to the effects of this item in the future. It is not inexpensive, $4000, but if it does what it claims to do, I’m willing to save up for it.
Thanks for the review of this item.
I had a recent experience with the QOL for several days in my triamped system (Magneplanar MG20's plus Hsu tower subs, tube electronics, VPI Classic, C-J cd player). I really didn't want to like it, but that didn't quite pan out.
I agree with most of Ozzy's conclusions, but might add:
1--defeating the circuitry with the bypass sounds murky compared to taking the thing out of the system entirely, so A-B comparisons go way in favor of qol.
2--Simply put, my system never sounded as good. Major improvements in spatiality, dynamics, fine detail, and liquidity were not subtle. The bass (a fetish of mine) became focused and the pitch much more precise. Voices "floated" with an ethereal, almost ghostly, quality that was quite sexy. The image size was MUCH larger, and I could definitely hear material coming from in BACK of me--a first. The stage goes WAY past the lateral borders of the speakers, even more so than usual.
3--There is a qualitative difference that is tricky to characterize. The music made me "happy" in a way that has become rarer as I have become older. It's as if endorphins have been triggered and the musical pleasure centers energized. It feels really, really good. I can't guarantee that this will happen to you, but my friend who lent me the unit knows exactly what this is about.
4--If your musical experience is 30% better with qol, your system need only cost $13K for the admittedly high price of 4K to be justified.
Who knows what the future will be for this circuitry or for BSG? There's no doubt they could sell more at a lower price point. The unit is way overbuilt, with balanced AND single ended inputs numbering 4 and outputs 2. Add a volume control, and it's a preamp, but make it simpler and the price could go down. Will licensing agreements materialize for this company? Will a competing technology become available for hundreds rather than thousands? I'm not sure I can afford to wait for these questions to be answereed. I'm on the verge of ordering one
My review on the QOL stage was just put up on the website hometheaterreview.com were I came to a completely different opinion then yours about the performance of this device. It pretty much did nothing postive in my system and I gave it every chance I could to produce just a little magic and it was not happening. Frankly, I can't see why anyone would lay out 4K for this do nothing device.
Teajay, I just read your review. There MUST be something wrong in the unit you had or there is something quite unique with your system (good or bad).
You should have heard a huge difference.
It is a huge improvement in my audio enjoyment.
True $4000 is a lot of money for the Qol, but many of us spend that on speaker cables. And to me, there has never been this much improvment with any cable change I have made.
And for that matter any Preamp or CD Player upgrade either.
You also could claim I'm deaf if you want, however two other experienced listeners in two different very good systems had the same experience I did. What I did not put in my review is what I consider the most bogus aspect of the SCS, that when it is engaged it increases volume from anywere from 2db to 4db depending on the recording which any seasoned audiophile knows will either at first either sound different/better compared to a lower volume. If you match the volume between the bypass and the active circuit you hear no difference at all. When this was mentioned in another review BSG Technologies suggested leaving it the active mode, not going back and forth to compare, because the active stage really was not raising volume, but giving more information that is experienced as an increase db.Please give me a break! If you like what it does in your system that's the most important thing, and yes anyone can try it for 30 days at no risk. I personally would not use it in my system.
I picked up a BSG Technologies QOL Signal Completion Stage from a fellow Audiogon Market participant a couple months ago after waiting for ten years to find out what they sound like. The sound of my system is now among the best that I have heard anywhere! Although the impact of the QOL varies, depending on the recording, I find that when listening to small, acoustic performances, that I can ’hear’ the reflecting walls of the studio, or in live performances, the venue’s stage. (I am a former performance musician and know how it should sound.) Moreover, the sense of ’acoustic space’ surrounding the performers was realistic, and the soundstage extended beyond the physical width of the speakers, with orchestral recordings sounding majestic. Listening to the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour LP mono release, the QOL Mono functionality enhanced the depth of the recording substantially, but still sounded natural.
The previous owner strongly suggested that I place the QOL between the source components and the preamplifier, if using a vacuum tube preamp. Since my McIntosh C2300 is indeed a tube preamp, I ultimately followed the advice offered, sounding much better than when placed between the preamp and amplifier (the recommended connections in the manual), I found.
During my setup and testing, one of the sources I used was the Carver CD-4000 Sonic Holography(TM) Demonstration-Calibration Test Disc (1988), which also contains many, non-Sonic Holography test tracks. The QOL is DEFINITELY NOT Sonic Holography, but they are similar in that they both use phase processing to enhance the signal, although very differently. Forgetting to switch the QOL to BYPASS during setup, I coincidentally found that using the test signals designed for Sonic Holography setup worked quite well for aligning the speakers for optimal QOL playback with music - Very Interesting.
In a dissenting post, Paul Wilson (Audiophile Review), "How Eliminating A Component Improved My System's Sound" states he removed the QOL from his system after a mastering engineer explained to him how the signal is manipulated to achieve the sound, with Recording engineer Bruce Brown stating "I was listening to its [QOL] effect and found I could recreate the same exact effect by using the mid/side settings on my console. It does increase gain and brings up all the "side" information from about 125 Hz and above. I had put an SACD in my Playback Designs and also had the ripped DSD information in my Sonoma workstation and going through an analog loop from the console. I matched the gain and did quick A/B comparisons to see if I could [sic] emualte the effect. Anyone could do the same exact thing using a L+R/L-R/Mid algorithm." The problem with both engineers' comments above is that they are describing what's done in the production of a new recording by individually manipulating components of active signals, while the QOL works on fixed playback signals from existing recordings from various media sources 'automatically,' without operator machinations. (https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/stereo-field-processing.4384/)
Virtually all of my recordings sound better (some more than others, naturally), with recently acquired SACDs of recordings previously owned on CD sounding remarkable (perhaps due to their enhanced resolution), but sonic improvements in all sources are audible, even when listening to FM broadcasts (I do not listen to streaming audio, however).
I’m sold on this product, and amazed that no manufacturer included the QOL functionality into a preamp or other device, which was the inventor’s ultimate goal. Now that the product is gone, the company out of business, and the technology seemingly dead, does anyone know where I can get a schematic for the unit?