Big times. For us that's downstairs. Here the 25wpc Enleum replaced 250wpc Kinki Studio monos unceremoniously. Just so I didn't really make it past 10:30 on its moon dial. I also had zero noise. Into these loads the monos exhibit some. Right off the bat I also had a very similar sound though still more lucid and quick. I felt right at home in my familiar and beloved Bakoon, Crayon, Goldmund, Kinki, LinnenberG and Nagra Classic INT aesthetic of Exicon lateral Mosfets, high bandwidth and class AB. On box count I'd gone from three down to one to do volume control and speaker drive. On price I'd not save per se except on a pair of interconnects and one premium power cord. This would be physical not fiscal downsizing. Cred of course would plummet. Everyone knows that separates rule; that small amps sound small; that more power is better. Bigger numbers certainly are. From the seat I couldn't see the amp's petite volume indicator; at all. I very easily see the outsized figures on our icOn 4Pro SE preamp display. In headphone use you'll sit close enough to enjoy Soo-In's unlit traveling dot. In speaker drive from a typical 3m away, you won't. That's beauty over practicality. It's something the stylish Red Dot judges missed. So I looped in the icOn to run the Enleum at max gain. Still zero noise. It also showed how I mostly listened between 25-30dB below 2V unity gain. Transforming that voltage cut into far higher current via autoformers for volume control always benefits signal transmission and drive.
After clocking 150 hours of Susvara loading to add to Soo-In's 50 for the recommended 200 hours, the sound reminded me very much of a previous evening's deep dive into new music using Raal's SR1a with a Schiit Jotunheim R amp and Denafrips Terminator DAC. The ribbons juiced by their high-current amp play maximally awake, quick, lucid and dynamically keen. It's the closest my playback gets to feeling hardwired to the music. All intermediary buffers of energetic reluctance seem gone. As much as this quickened most direct perspective of the winged earspeakers can transpose to room-playing big speakers without big horns, I now had it.
In the upstairs headfi rig, the vintage Terminator injects just the right touch of organic warmth without crimping the ribbon's racetrack style. In this downstairs speaker rig, the Terminator Plus clock-syncing a super-cap powered Soundaware D300Ref USB bridge adds more speed and resolution over its non-plussed brother.
But rather than overstretch into speed-freak antics now—going nowhere fast as I think of it sonically—the French cellulose dipole widebanders with hidden bandpass woofer assist and bipole horn tweeters plus AMP-23R achieved an equivalent blend. That showed off the amp's inherent moisture. Despite its very obvious speed, directness and transparency, it avoided anything lean, dry or harmonically threadbare. This then was ideal 'widebander' sound, just with more bandwidth particularly in the bass. Here our pair of Cube Nenuphar is the actual single-driver reference to ground such comments in experience not wishful thinking. And the experience is about immediacy, directness and a high dose of energy transmission. The musical bottle's cork is out and the contents gush like shaken bubbly.
Pitting AMP-13R vs. AMP-23R did show unexpected differences. Getting my feet wet with a simple funeral march Moorish style, I listened just for tone as the tune's chief attraction. Piano, guitar and violin trade places on the melodic motif before they come together at the end. Et voilà, the Enleum was a bit more saturated, gutsy and weighty.
Remaining in Moorish mood but switching up pace, I played Coskun Karademir's "Rüzgar" from Öz on the reliable Kalan label. Now baglama, kopuz, duduk and cello traded places against a shifty rhythm tattoo. The verdict stayed put but what added to the effect was more powerful bass. That got identified as a contributor to Enleum's slightly heftier more guttural milieu.
Remaining with the lute maestro but replacing his collaborators with Derya Türkan on spiked fiddle and the famed Tord Gustavsen on piano on a very ECM-type production so with significant acoustic reverb, the Enleum made better sense of the billowing echoic action around the instruments. The central sounds remained more distinct against the surrounding reverberant soup that stirs up.
For some symphonic scale in song format, I turned to Alireza Ghorbani's "Not of Love only". The same qualities that had already distinguished the AMP-23R now revealed another aspect: that of even superior separation when layers multiplied and SPL rose.
As expected, the Enleum plowed familiar sonic fields. Unexpectedly, it sank its virtual mainshare chisel deeper into the soil. The Bakoon's grooves were a tad shallower, its exposed earth not quite as black, the lighter traces not entirely as individualized or discrete. In audio lingo, Enleum's timbre saturation was higher—slight improvements in bass power always dial up the black end of the color palette—and so was its ability to focus down when the going got dense. Once we ditch the magnifying glass of a reviewer's A/B contrast and attention, the delta diminishes as it always does. But in the most basic of terms, you'd still call the AMP-23R a bit richer and more resolved.
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