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To test the manufacturer’s claims of anti resonance properties over shielding, I needed a control reference. Thanks to a gracious loan from a member of the local audiophile community, a set of Telos non-shorting caps was brought in for comparison. The Telos RCA caps are specifically dedicated to RFI/EMI shielding and have received positive press. For the Silent Plugs to be competitive they would have to perform to a higher standard.

A sampling of music. As source material I called upon FIM, Dorian and Reference Recordings as well as a trove of fresh music. "Taint So" from the Hrx download Thinking About Bix: Dick Hyman [Reference Recordings HR-116 Hrx] is toe-tapping piano jazz from the 1920s brought to you in master quality format with the talents of Dick Hyman and Keith Johnson of Reference Recordings. It’s easy to enjoy audiophile fare with a 20’s pop beat flair.

"Main Titles" from Atom 9 Adventures: Robert Gulya [Moviescore Media MMS07011] is a little gem of a soundtrack from Robert Gulya performed by the Budapest Symphony Orchestra for Atom Nine Adventures, a 30s serial made on a budget below the catering cost of some Hollywood blockbusters. Gulya treats the project with all the chutzpah and energy of a young Horner and Williams attacking a major studio release. Critics also claim that smatterings of Korngold, Rózsa and Jerry Goldsmith are woven into the compositions. If those names appeal to you, there’s a lot to enjoy. The recording is big, bold swashbuckling drama with an emphasis on instrumental texture rather than absolute perspective.

"Rider to the Sea" and "No More Words" from Anna Calvi [Domino DN0272P] shows a wealth of talent that represents a nightmare for mainstream music programmers as real avantgarde that won’t fit into a safe pigeonhole. Included on BBC’s Sound of 2011 list and acclaimed by Brian Eno, cut one rips like a Pink Floyd guitar fest and builds to the second cut where Calvi demonstrates a sultry breathy vocal drifting carefully in and out of key with seductive elegance. There’s cavernous soundstaging with well delineated instruments supporting a sophisticated musical style.

"The Beat Goes On/Soul Boss Nova" from The Beat Goes On: Emilie-Claire Barlow [Empress Music Group EMG445]  is a nice collection of 60s chestnuts transcribed as light jazz. Tight and delicate orchestral works in a bouncy mix that’s partly infectious and partly tongue in cheek. This cut manages to successfully graft Sonny Bono and Quincy Jones for a delightful bit of light and lively fare. It’s a clean mix that captures the flavour of the instruments and their subtle inflections.

"I am Your Light" from Rainbow Suite: The Choral music of Mikael Carlsson [Moviescore Media MMS-11010] This is the second of Moviescore Media’s forays into the realms of original non soundtrack works, the first having been the spectacular release Cinema Symphony by Andrew Pearce. Rainbow Suite is a magnificent piece of religious choral work by composer Mikael Carlsson commissioned by the Church of Sweden and brought to fruition by the considerable talents of the Haga Motettkör under the direction of Ulriker Heider. Moving and accessible, it colors the rainbow in a complex vocal tapestry of intertwining nuance and combined choral power with the rich reverberant acoustic of the Annedalskyrkan in Gothenberg.

With a wealth of music to draw on and the systems warmed and at the ready, it was time to see whether Audio Exklusiv had an effective product or merely an interesting theory.

Absolutes first. Was there a change? The contribution of the Silent Plugs was quite noticeable and the alteration in sonic character was identical in both systems.The most obvious change was a shift in tonal balance. The Silent Plugs reduced the energy in the band ascending from the upper midrange, centering the ears’ attention downwards into the midrange. This could initially be interpreted as a reduction of ‘air’. Others will see it as a removal of HF noise. Which was it? Extended listening sessions revealed a redistribution of the airy property to become more wideband and integrated to hall and instrument information as well as a general increase in overall detail level. The shift in tonal weight produced a considerably more analog presentation with a richer and more realistic palette against a more accurate but comparatively darker acoustic background.

Dynamics stayed put but with the change from a comparatively high-contrast tonal structure to one with more center frequency weight, there was an accompanying change in the focus of dynamic attention. With the reduction of upper frequency haze there was a reallocation of dynamic detail into the midrange/lower midrange areas that resulted in more subtle micro shifts without taking away from the larger macro swings. The effect again was a more analog presentation with instruments gaining in those details that define them as real rather than processed.