Review : Burson Bang power amp / Audioquest / Cambridge Audio / Mt. Fuji Tuning Blocks

Budget Esoterica Review Magazine
January 2020 Issue

"Let Them Eat Crow".  Rudyard Kipling, 1885

As you recall in my last issue i did a review on the Stellar Labs bookshelf speakers. My impressions were less than stellar, so i decided to review them in a completely different system. So, i will be revisiting the Stellar Labs speakers and also introducing you to four different components that  i used in this review system. The results were much better. 

Number One - Audioquest Type 11 bulk speaker cable

The Audioquest Type 11 speaker cable sells for $3.50 per foot. The cable has four conductors per side so if you want to cheap out you can buy 10 feet and split it in half. This speaker cable is a small step up from the other bulk speaker cable i have tried. The differences were not dramatic , but they were there. I noticed a little beefier sound with stronger highs, a little more tonal color perhaps and better clarity. 

Number Two - Burson Audio Bang power amplifier

The Burson Audio Bang is a small and compact 40 watt power amp. This is a class A/B purist amp. The base price of this amp is $199. You can also change out the OP amp for different sound signatures. This little amp is powerful! I used it with a FX audio tube-01 preamp and it played plenty loud for these ears. Loud and lively with plenty of bass!

Number Three - Cambridge Audio AUD 700 Reference interconnect cable

You are in luck the Cambridge Audio interconnect is on sale at Parts Connexion for $30. This should compete with cables two or three times its price. 

Number Four - Mt. Fuji Tuning Blocks

Last but not least the magical Mt. Fuji Tuning Blocks were  designed to bring out more bass out of the relatively small Stellar Labs bookshelf speakers. The Mt. Fuji Tuning Blocks are sold under the guise of Exotic Wood Pen Blanks sold by Crooked Mills from Nine blocks are included and they are offered in a variety of wood finishes. However, if you want to receive the full magical dose, you have to buy them in the Iroko finish. This is very important. Iroko , also know as "Uloho", is a large hardwood tree from the west coast of tropical Africa. This is a very dense and durable wood and was chosen for its lively properties. The blocks are measured at 3/4 by 3/4 by 5 inches and is just the right size for small speakers. They can be used directly on top of speaker stands or shelves. The blocks should be placed underneath either side of the speaker so they are pointed from front to back. In my case i placed them on top of a pair of large vintage speakers that were sitting on the Jefferson Memorial T-Amp stand. Much improved bass!

I have been enjoying a cd by the new to me Robert Jospe band titled Inner Rhythm. Track number four titled, "Mozambique" has a really interesting drum solo. Here i heard a very natural organic character with slight texture and a little roundness. I also liked the thickening of sound in the tweeter and mids. The highs were strong and bold and somewhat sharp. Overall there seemed to be a little less harshness in the highs and mids.  I also like track number six, "Senor Blues".
The saxophone playing here is really good. The sound is transparent and open with a slight touch of tonal color. 

Let's go ahead and try a recording with a lot of bass. "Suicide Blonde", from the best of INXS has a bass line just behind the left speaker. It wasn't too deep but it was well placed and slightly rounded. On the following track , "Beautiful Girl", i noticed a velvety sound to the piano. 

I highly recommend the four components listed above. They are all good solid buys at their price point. As for the Stellar Labs speakers, they are far from perfect , but close to good when used with high quality components.