Ok.. So I got my ODAMs. Chris was super prompt in mailing it out and extremely responsive via email.
My initial thought was to replace the interstage coupling caps (currently Jupiter Copper Foil Wax) but instead I decided to use it in my speaker (Maggies 1.6QR Serial Crossover) bypassing my bulk cap to tweeter (Sonicaps Gen 1)
Before I continue - here's my current system description in short. ES9018 TwistedPear with LL1544A at the output, Custom single stage no feedback JFET Preamp, Jupiter Caps, NCore 122MP, Maggies 1.6QR with 2 x SVS SB12 Plus. Source is Mac Mini with BitPerfect. All interconnect are Belden 8402s and Speaker Wire is 16AWG Duelund, This is my current reference
I had multiple Preamps (opamp based, BJT based, tubes SRPP, tubes anode follower etc), Amps (rotels, ICEPower, various D and AB, IRS2092S based etc), DACs (AK4396, AK4399, AK4490, ES9018K2M, ES9038Q2M, WM8740, AD1865 etc) and Spekers (various Def Techs, B&W 684, Chane, Strada, various Maggies including 1.7, mini etc) before this
Tubes wise - I have tried many buffers and preamps with EH 6922, 6N23P, JJ ECC99, 6N6P gold etc). Found 6N6P very good in SRPP but finally replaced with with JFET biased to give nearly a pure 2HD at -75db.
OPAMPs wise I think I tried over 20 opamps as preamps and I couldn't stand any one of them in the path. They all flattened the stage. The only one that I could live with was the venerable NE5322
Caps wise - After a lot of experimentation (too many caps to name here) - I settled on Sonicap for bulk caps and for bypasses I used Mundorf SIO and Jupiters for interstage. Duelund Cu Sn did float my boat, I know @grannyring, @alexburger etc prefer Duelund Cu Sn bypass to Jupiters in preamps but it did not appeal to me
With all these experiments spanning over nearly 2 decades, I could not beat my LP or even my tapes. Each of those media had an enduring quality. Tapes had fantastic PRAT and were absolutely non-fatiguing and my LP player had highs to die for
Digital was always better in terms of resolution, bass, blend, balance but 3 huge problems
1. The string instruments never sounded real. Tapes with all the noise reproduced string instruments really well
2. Kick drums were always muddled and the hi hats sounded like garbage bags and crash cymbals were painful
3. There were holes in the soundstage - frequency holes and spatial holes
In the quest to be in audio nirvana - I ordered ODAMs since I had read so much about them. Like it is said "You had me at hello" - I was smitten the moment I used it in my speakers as bypasses (0.47uf)
What can I say - they were crazy good out of the box like no cap I had heard before. They got the timbre right (better than Jupiter and Duelund Cu Sn in speakers). Strings sounded real. Drums (FINALLY!) were authentic. Crash cymbals did not sizzle or warble in complex passages, Instruments did not climb over each other chaotically. There was a separation that I had not heard before.
The biggest strengths were
1. Palpable Bass - Not the DJ thumping bass, but the bass of the cello, low register of the piano. They were all felt. The board of the grand piano could be felt. The wood resonance was heard
2. Snap - Skin of the snare drum snapping, the finger or the pick plucking the string. Some call it first attack of the note
3. Depth and Separation - Wide and enveloping (laterally beside my ears) and depth that doesn't seem to end
4. Realism - Being right there is not the word. That is impossible but I would say witnessing it first hand. Seems like I am hearing it through the monitor speakers on stage
Now - couple of cautionary words
1. Break In - There caps come broken in a funny way. They are broken in just enough for one to get smitten at the first listen and then it is a long road downhill after about 2-5 hours of an exhibition. I mean long! 200+ hours. During that time - there are windows of supreme clarity. A tease of what is to come. I still feel there is more to go based on the windows I witnessed.
2. Very revealing of components. I have to tell you this - do not try ODAMs in systems that are not up to the mark. The flaws of every downstream component will be revealed
3. If you like details - this is not the ultimate word in that department. The high are all there and the details are in spades but all this bass and midrange will drown some of the shimmer. If you like that insane amount of detail (I usually get bored or sleepy that that "HF fuzz") - go to CuTF. I haven't fully tested that cap out but it is transparent to point of fault I think. Just my 2 cents. Maybe I need to break in the CuTF a bit more
Lastly - a direct comparison to Jupiter, Mundorf SIO, Duelund Cu Sn in speakers
1. ODAMs are better in every department except the very high of highs which I always tell people is not real music if present. It's like an bright needle on an LP. Some of us want a bit of that in our music to drown out ambient noise in the house - ODAMs will not give you that artificial high. Mundorfs (specifically SIO and SGIO supreme) give that that
2. Jupiters are more musical on first listen. You have swap ODAMs and Jupiters to see that musically is derived at the expense of detail. ODAM have far more details
3. Duelund - yes - they are good. But they are very un-involving. ODAMs are seductive. Details wise both are equal
To me - ODAMs are the best I have heard so far. They brought my digital sources to a level above tapes and LP. That is saying a lot!! In my 20 years - this was one of those OMG moments when I first heard them
Next step - replace the interstage with ODAM and then bypass them with CuTF. Will report on it after a month or so
For now - I say ODAMs as bypassed in speakers are awesome!!