The Enleum's purity and realistic precision was accompanied by the fact that even marginal recordings—my music library on a Melco N50-S38 bags a lot of them—were no more unpleasant than usual. That proved true over my Wilson, Sehring and Dan Clark transducers. The one exception came via AKG's K812. Although I am sure that the Enleum itself measures flat, its unbelievable speed and phase coherence render jagged impulses with a quite energetic treble since extra bandwidth steepens verticality. Headphones obviously work in extreme proximity so many listeners, even more so than with loudspeakers, prefer a warmer sound. My Dan Clark planars slightly dim at the very top to much appreciate the Enleum whilst for my tastes the more neutral AKG grew a bit too forward on top. On the speaker side where rooms intrude, this will be less critical. Just so, I might still advise against mating this amp to overly transient-brisk speakers to prefer honestly neutral to warmly tuned transducers.
Unsurprisingly the vocal range of the Enleum was nothing for listeners who prefer it whitewashed and their Sara K. ever so harmlessly velvety. The midrange was simply and poignantly honest, with wonderfully expressive dynamic rollercoasters and such transparency that even the infernal e-guitar wall of sound from Panopticon's "So did we" by Isis had me think that I saw individual strings vibrate. This wasn't a cheap parlor trick but gave music an exciting edge on complexity and energy content to pull me in completely. Especially on impulsive dense rich music, be it acoustic or electronic, I often felt more intensely connected when the Enleum served the voice coils of headphones or speakers. So the Enleum AMP-23R-2022 is quite the extraordinary amplifier; and exceptionally good at that. But let's not forget contra indications and side effects: huge rooms, high SPL and bearish loads; especially when any of these meet each other. Even though I don't wish to limit the AMP-23R to just such apps, my mind's eye above all sees high-quality compact speakers in a small to medium-sized room in which a very experienced and spoiled listener regularly deals intensely with music; and just as gladly wears headphones.
Speaking of "dealing with intensely": the Enleum produced one of the most distinctive sounds which I've ever heard from an amplifier. Whoever hopes to be lulled into wistful daydreams best look elsewhere. But if you like to go on tour with your music, on adventurous trips up gripping mountain peaks and down verdant valleys without self-inflicted hardships or stumbling blocks; if you want to be literally taken along… then you should surely fall in love with this extremely nimble and most informative of travel guides.
Psych profile for the Enleum AMP-23R-2022…
♦ an extremely tactile impulsive sound with outstanding micro dynamics and, if we disregard the very last bit of bass vehemence on speakers, equally outstanding macro dynamics.
♦ superb resolution, analytical in the best sense so without artificial sharpness or overemphasized treble. On the contrary: like the sound in general, the treble is very pure and simply honest.
♦ a soberly linear very profiled midrange without embellishments. The Enleum offers a very realistic multi-faceted view of instruments and voices without any preference for timbres.
♦ the bass is in no way inferior to the mids and highs for precision though less bred for raw shove and disco.
♦ is more suitable for headphones with a warmer tuning and speakers with a neutral to warm tuning.
♦ exceptionally precise, involving soundstaging.
♦ very solid, high-quality "tool-like" finishing. Comparatively sharp edges don't flatter handling.
♦ it's a pity that the volume control position with its traveling dot is difficult to read so clear only up close.
Concept: headphone amplifier, variable-gain power amplifier, purist integrated amplifier
Dimensions and weight: 230 x 230 x 55mm, 4kg
Inputs: 2 x line-level RCA, 1 x ENLINK BNC
Outputs: 1 x headphones 6.3mm, single-wire speaker terminals
Power: 25wpc into 8Ω
Other: headphone gain 22.5dB high, 7dB low
Warranty: 2 years