Since Enleum impressed upon me how for the AMP-23R, both headfi and speaker drive had equal priority, that's how I used it. Unless stated otherwise, my descriptions thus apply to both load types. Let's start with how my first listening sessions actually began: by answering how Enleum perform with difficult speakers. My Wilson Audio SabrinaX say hello with a decent 87dB/1W/1m efficiency but in the bass dip well below 3Ω. My Sehring 903 II exhibit very good-natured impedance but on efficiency low-ball it at 85/dB/W/m. To be honest, I didn't dare push the AMP-23R to its limits lest I trip its protection circuits. However, this soon seemed silly when both speakers ran cleanly at levels that would have neighbors knock in most apartment complexes. So yes, this mini amp proved surprisingly stable. I didn't test outright party levels since I assume that nobody would buy this for the home disco even if on high-eff speakers that too might just work. Noticeable was how bass felt extremely stable and articulate. This held for my AKG K812 and Dan Clark Ether 2 on the headphone side where power was abundant; and on my Wilson and Sehring speakers. It has one wonder how this skinny kid with its thin arms generates such power and control especially without extensive NFB. It didn't matter whether it was the upright bass behind the drum-roll intro of Robert Wyatt's "On The Town Square" from Comicopera or powerful synth-bass impulses of bubbling techno. The AMP-23R-2022 handled such challenges so precise and stable that even serious control freaks will grin in appreciation. Obviously at higher SPL in particular but not just then, more stacked amps like a Norma Revo PA 150 and even more so a Bryston 7B³ mono will create more woofer displacement and pressure for bass which sounds richer and more powerful especially over bona fide full-range speakers.

This little wonder also played it big spatially. Even on quite extreme music and corresponding demands like Skinny Puppy's "illisiT" from Weapon, Enleum's dynamic chops made for large-scale staging which cleanly broke free of the actual transducers. The variety of instruments in "On The Town Square" consists of guitar, steel drums, cornet and saxophone. Those manifested exceptionally differentiated and sharply localized against an exemplary clean black background.

Compared to my formidable Norma power amp, this track actually still gained in physical presence and persuasiveness with the Enleum. Even when I patched my mighty Bryston monos into the Funk MTX pre which should have booked advantages at least on strict channel separation, the AMP-23R remained roughly on par. Even though headfi's staging is wildly different, basically the same observations applied. The excellent tried 'n' tested headfi ports of my Funk MTX and even Norma HS-DA1 PRE drew individual image outlines with a blunter pen than the Enleum; and against a backdrop that wasn't as black.

Formula 1 dynamics too applied to headfi and speakers. The amp's tracking of transient impulses was one of the very best I ever heard regardless of price. How well it stuck the dynamics of micro flutters was much appreciated on Burial's electronically crackling "Etched Headplate" from Untrue and "Hanging Gardens" from Øystein Sevåg's album Bridge where it gave pulsating life to extremely fine cymbal webs. Listeners who like it distinctive and fast will be seriously delighted. Not surprising, such outstanding impulse fidelity also played to an excellent representation of recorded space. Imagine a complex pattern which follows precise lines. Now quickly trace it out by a hand not quite certain and actually too slow. It'll decrease perceived contour sharpness. Individual parts of the image will appear less clearly delineated or focused. And of course the Formula 1 acceleration of the little speedster went hand in hand with resolution no less remarkable. The fine elaboration of sampled bludgeons, the ticking clock, the shiny metallic clicks suggestive of a moneybag, in fact the entire noise world across the mids and highs of Yoshiteru Himuro's "REM sleep" [Our Turn, Anytime] became absolutely mesmerizing. That had something of the impeccable watchmaking skills of Glashütte. Fascinating; so fascinating that attention was automatically drawn from the quite rich bass world to the middle and high tones where phase coherence ensured increased loudness from a psychological point of view. It's one reason why the Enleum was tonally fresher than warm.

My Funk/Norma combo certainly didn't hide relevant detail either but the multifaceted nature of the track came into its own more directly and meaningfully with the AMP-23R-2022. To overwrite for emphasis, some of its details appeared in new guise. I really enjoyed that. Of course the smoother Funk/Norma sound would find its own advocates. The same applied to headphones. The Funk MTX in particular but even the custom headphone section of my DAC sounded a bit softer and more rounded than the super-fast Korean which is no romantic also due to its treble. That's profoundly clean, straight, neutral and positively exposed. Yet its down-to-the-pore purity included no artificial hardness. If some recorded treble stunts didn't at first seem quite as relaxed and airy as usual, in my opinion this had more to do with an absence of subtle blurring and distortion than any lack of true super treble. You might recall similar words from my prior review which then didn't apply to an amp but power cord of all things. On that note, a precision tool like the Enleum AMP-23R-2022 is obviously sensitive to power delivery. And with the energetic Audioplan Ampère L cord, it actually overshot the mark. Like and like don't always love to mesh. I fancy a hint of nonchalance even if it is a minor divergence. So my ears actually found the Enleum/Audioplan combo too honest.