Integrating my Black Ice Audio Fusion F360 into my existing BAT 2 Channel Preamp and Onkyo Multichannel AV Preamp

For over 25 years, I’ve been playing with these crappy Dolby and DTS upmixers and never getting the satisfaction of taking a 2 channel mix and properly spreading it throughout 4 or more channels plus Subwoofers.

Well, I’ve had the Black Ice Audio Fusion 360 for several months now and was just using it a nice way to give my STAX SRM007-tA Electrostatic Headphone Amp and Koss 95/X Can some nice Bass extension without screwing up the mids and highs. I was skeptical about doing the 4 Channel setup and having to break down my rats nest of cabling just to accomplish this.

Well last week I decided to try it out. I was up until 2am listening to music in 4 glorious channels with no compression or DSP (well……ok the Bose 901’s have miniDSP….but that’s at the end of the back channels audio chain). CSN’s debut album is an all new auditory experience for me. As are several other Albums I have with some very cool out phase things going on. The dancing lights are a nice touch by the Late Great Jim Fosgate who designed this Preamp. Note Tone Control switch is in “Bypass”.

My God. I’m hearing things in the mix I never noticed before and the way any out of phase information is spread between the two 901 Stacks removed any artificial gimmickry and just shows off the music in the 2 channel mix. You’ve heard the overused and abused “it’s like the Band/Musicians are in my living room”. Well for the first time I got that feeling over and over again.

But these Audiophile “tchotchke’s” do have limitations. Listening to live Rock Concerts buries the vocalist and playing with the “Dimension” knob helps but something is lost in the front two channels while over emphasizing the rear channels. Yes, there is a back channel level knob but it doesn’t help much. In my system it works best at “11” (dots that is :joy:).

So I put my DIY hat on and tried a ONE Little Bear MC103-Pro XLR Switcher. These little passive devices from China are actually well built for what they do. And there’s no degradation (to my ears anyways) inserting these devices (I’m using 3 in Tandem…but more on that later) into my rats nest of cables.

Using three Douk Audio XLR Switchers, my “Three Little Bears” created the perfect switching Matrix for less then $200USD on Amazon.

Now that problem with vocals getting buried in the mix is now solved. I can via The Three Little Bears run the BAT VK50-SE directly on the front channels bypassing the F360’s front channels but keeping the F360 back channels with the Dimension & Back Level knobs max’d out. For most Studio recordings, I use the F360 exclusively who front left & right signals are fed from the BAT. Careful adjusting of all volume controls avoids any distortion creeping into this audio chain.

The best part is after tearing down and then putting back together my entire rig. The GND loop I had feeding through the F100 Tube Amps is know a thing of the past.

I never tried the Hafler circuit but a friend gave me a Dynaco ST-80 Integrated (I blew up the Amp modules) that has the extra binding posts and wiring to make it work. Would have been a cool little comparison though.

It’s always easy to tear everything down.

I couldn’t clean up behind the Onkyo AV Preamp.


It really gets better with 8 discreet channels, four on the left, four on the right. Only then will you know.

And all the gear has to be black.


Yes Black Audio Equipment always sounds better than silver or champagne :joy:.

It’s darker, man ! :rofl:.


I love the luxury of being able to stand and walk up to the back of the equipment racks :slight_smile:


I like the looks of that too. Nothing worse than trying to decipher connections with a bad set of eyes and a bad back to go along with them.

I thought about putting my rack(s) on a carousel and just turning the whole mess 90 degrees for service.

With that in mind I think I will spot the rack so the side of the equipment is parallel to the side wall in the room. Then all of the connections would be visible and easy to access. Hmmmm. :thinking:


I like the idea of a carousel :slight_smile:


…or a “wiring and soldering butler”…


Your sound stage includes a big back stage


A friend has one for his constantly changing home theater rig. It’s friggin’ cool.

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With either a Caddy (mine) or a Camaro (my Son’s) parked inside :slightly_smiling_face:

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My thoughts exactly. I’m sick and tired of bending around open frame racks, closed in “Home Theater/Entertainment wall cabinets (remember those in the 2000’s - equipment cabinet - space for RPTV - another equipment cabinet). Also bending over and moving equipment and blindly trying to find which connectors to unplug. It just sucked. Now I’m like a telephone operator. Instead of a patch bay full of 1/4” plugs. I’m moving mostly XLR connectors around.

BTW. That big wide trim hides so much nasty construction fax pas. :joy:

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Very nice solution. My eyesight is failing at a fairly steady rate so anything I can do to get things into a better light makes it a lot easier to see what I am trying to do.

I am in the process of making my system smaller (by device count) but I will have the remnants of 3 complete systems that I am gong to play mix and match so ease of connections will be important for the short term at least.

I will have 3 preamps, 4 DACS, 2 different switches, a streamer, a pile of interconnects, a pile of power cords, 4 sets of speakers and a server to fuss with until I either find the perfect synergy or jump off the nearby cliff.


Oh I don’t know. I swapped out my “black” amp for two “silver” amps, and the silver amps are a major improvement. :grin:

On a side note, I heard that F360 a couple years back at the Florida Audio Expo, and was rather impressed. And it looks good too!

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I forgot what it’s like to have fun listening to my audio equipment until the F360 came into my life. With the ability via the “Little Bears”, I can keep the direct sound of the BAT Preamp on the front L & R channels while keeping the Dimension Circuit at “11” for the rears. Having full time use of the 901’s again made me realize that these Speakers have a great “2nd Act” when incorporated as Surround Speakers bouncing off my back wall. The rears have exaggerated height and width but I did dial in a as best of a Phantom Center as I could using the Dimension circuit set to 0. Using Paul’s Loudspeaker SACD as my reference. But if the front channel are recorded in phase, then yes, I keep the Dimension circuit enabled on the front channels as well.

Now that I’ve gotten to know Jarred, Jaime, & Mike Allen over in Maryland. They are great people to help out when you’ve got questions. Just like the Team over at PS Audio.

So what you’re sayin @Chops is you prefer the brighter sounder of Silver over the darker sound of Black :joy:

That’s it…the next piece of “kit” I put together will come in a Brown box !

I’ll take this forum topic down deep into a Rabbit Hole if I have to :joy:



Orange is the future - it certainly looks great on the guitar amps :slight_smile:

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