July
2021

Country of Origin

Korea

AMP-23R

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz, Tidal, Denafrips Terminator+ clock-synced to Gaia/Avatar, Soundaware D100Pro SD card transport; Preamp: icOn 4Pro SE; Power amps: Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos; Headamp: Kinki Studio Vision THR-1; Headphones: HifiMan Susvara; Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Aurai Audio M1 [on loan]; Cables: Loom of
Allnic Audio ZL; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room so no wall behind the listening chairs
2nd system: Source: Soundaware D300Ref SD transport; DAC: Denafrips Terminator; Preamp/filter: Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature;
Amplifier: Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Loudspeakers:sound|kaos Vox 3awf, Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan];  Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~4x6m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win7/64; USB bridge: Audiobyte Hydra X+; Headamp: COS Engineering H1; Headphones: Final D8000; Powered speakers: Fram Audio Midi 125
Upstairs 2nd system: Source: Soundaware A280 SD transport; Integrated amplifiers: Schiit Jotunheim R, Bakoon AMP-13R; Phones: Raal-Requisite SR1a; Loudspeakers: Acelec Model 1
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; DAC: Kinki Studio Vision DAC-1; Preamp: Wyred4Sound STP-SE II; Power amp: Pass Labs XA-30.8; Loudspeakers: German Physiks HRS-120; Room: ~6x4m

Review component retail: $5'000, + $500 for optional isolation footers

Bumping rubber.

Enleum combines Enlightenment and eum for sound in Korean. My earlier origin story covered brand gestation and background. Today we delve straight into their first product. Its bullet points are 25/45wpc into 8/4Ω; 22.5dB voltage gain [7dB in low headfi gain]; class AB; current-mode signal processing; proprietary Ensence circuitry; true variable gain; plastic remote; ¼" headfi port with hi/lo gain [4w/60Ω]; 2xRCA standard voltage-source inputs; 1xBNC current-mode input; one pair of Exicon lateral Mosfets per side; 30 watts idle consumption, 100 watts max; 23x23cm footprint, 5.5cm height; 4kg net; $5'000 with rubber bumpers, $5'500 with vibration attenuation footers. That's an expensive very small integrated amp of low power and only very basic functionality. Hmm?

With optional isolation footers.

It's the invisible or to insiders very obvious design DNA baked in which segregates this number from the pack of me-too followers. How so? Once parts inventories to build Bakoon's famous AMP-13R expire, it'll be its formal successor so replacement. Long live the new king? The original remains my all-time favorite small speaker amp and very best HifiMan Susvara driver. I was most eager to hear what the same design team's first effort under their new Enleum flag had crafted. If I were a bad copper in Line of Duty, consider me positively pre-bent like one of Uri Geller's famous spoons. Loving the original simply won't prevent me from telling you straight whether the new one measures up, does not or perhaps even goes beyond.

With small 93dB boxes upstairs and bigger 95dB jobs downstairs, 45×4Ω watts would be all the doctor ordered for our crib. For speakers harder of hearing, equivalent listeners and big rooms, Enleum's enlightenment could prematurely dim. But if you can happily fork over €5K for a small solid stater, you'll be savvy enough to know how much power you really need. SET fanciers and their speakers are crystal on that, many transistor fans not so much. A bit of reading on actual versus imagined power consumption now wouldn't go amiss. Today we'll consider the matter sorted by trusting the intelligence of our audience. We is me, them is you. Cheers.

The power supply auto-switches from 115 to 230VAC so works like a plug'n'play universal PSU but does require a matched mains fuse.

The BNC input pair assumes current not voltage mode signal transmission. That works like equivalent concepts from BMC and Krell. Here it's reserved for a planned Enleum DAC with the matching high-Ω outputs to meet the very low 10Ω of the amp's BNC [10kΩ on RCA]. Current-mode signal transfer inverts the usual Ω scheme. This is claimed to remove all cable behavior from the transmission equation. To remain with silver ware—we've already had spoons and forks—now it's sharp knives out for the showdown of old and new king. Who'd stick it to whom? On payola matters, the AMP-23R on generic rubber footers reduces the AMP-13R's bill by $1'000. Even were its performance identical, most would give it the nod. Some could simply call the original's Urushi lacquer knob and more outré styling the sharper curb appeal. Like in real estate, we can never underestimate the kerb app.

With inverted transformer cowl and two heat sinks doubling as footers, the Bakoon's belly had two more heat-dissipation nodes cum resonance drains.