Once removed from its foam-sleeved retail box which also held two 0.5m umbilicals—lengths up to 2m available—a Schuko cord and quick-start guide, immaculately finished Hypsos showed like an unexpectedly heavy Mytek on size. Powering it on brought up a welcome screen, then this device library which will only grow as HEM add to it:

432 Evo Essence; Alpha Design Labs GT40alpha, Stratos; Apogee Mini; Arcam airDac, irDac, irDacII, rBlink, rDac, rHead, rPlay, Sint Link DAC; Audioengine D2, D2R; Bel Canto Dac 1.5, CD2, FM tuner; Beresford Caiman SEG TCV-7535; Cambridge Audio DacMagic+, DacMagic 100, iD100 dock; Chord Hugo M Scaler, Hugo TT2, QuTest; Creek OBH-11 Mk2, OBH.1.5 Mk2, OBH-21 Mk2; Denon DA-3000USB; Dynavector P75Mk3, P75 Mk4; Elac Discovery; exaSound e22, e28, Playpoint, e12, e20 MkIII; FiiO QOGIR-E09k; Fram Midi 120; Graham Slee Accession, Elevator EXP, Reflex C, Reflex M, Revelation, Solo; iFi Audio Pro iCan, iTube, iUSBPower, iCan SE, iPhono2, iPhono, Pro DSD DAC; innuOs ZEN Mini, Wave Music; M2Tech Marley Mk2, Evo Dac Two, Evo Dac Two+, Young Mk3, hiFace Evo; MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL, ElectroMotion ESL C9, ElectroMotion ESL X, ElectroMotion Theos; McIntosh MB50, MS500; Melco N100, S100, D100, E100; Meridian Audio Media Core 200, Meridian Prime; Moon Audio 180 mIND, M110LP; Mytek Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Dac+, Brooklyn Dac, Liberty Dac, Brooklyn ADC; Nuprime CDP-9; Paradigm PW Link; Pathos SRL Aurium, Converto, Converto Evo; Ripstreamer Player 64bits Roon; RME ADI-2, ADI-2 Pro FS; Roon Nucleus; Sonore microRendu, ultraRendu, ultaDigital; SOtM sHP-100, sMS-100, sMS-1000 A/D/U, sMS-200-ultra, sMS-200-ultra Neo, sMS-200, dX-USB HD, sDP-1000 Dac; Stax SRM-212, SRM-252S; Uptone Audio Regen; Wadia dr122, m330; Yulong A800 class A, U100 USB, U18.

I knew of ProJect and Wyred4Sound kit that still belongs and readers will know of others. Already it's quite the fertile field for Hypsos to plow.

With its rotate/push encoder knob, scroll/select was obvious child's play. Ditto a warning to be sure of one's correct device before confirming it. With the Fram listed, I selected them, set logo power to max for a photo op, display to never off. After a countdown from 8, I had sound. At my ambient desktop levels, output power didn't exceed 0.4W. The nominal 24V output held steady at 24.1V. The safe sweet-spot adjustment range for my load showed as 15-25V.

Everything worked perfectly. Everything worked perfectly intuitive. Clearly HEM's software engineers held an advanced degree in user-friendliness. Anyone who must consult their quick-start guide hasn't really been out and about in the 21st century. Photos taken, I turned logo intensity to minimal, display to off after 5 seconds. I love well-designed smart kit. Even the DC umbilical with its retracting locking sleeve was a few cuts above. Poland for hifi prez? That'd be perfectly alright by me.

Select your sweetener. It didn't take long to concur with Wojciech Pacula. Like him I found that a 5% voltage increase beyond nominal made the sound denser/richer. Less voltage went leaner/thinner. Display on, you can alter DC output in 0.1V increments. This is no S/M/L/XL coarset but ultra precise. With 25V my new normal, it was crystal that detail intensity, layering and image articulation were other beneficiaries. On my desk, I must play subdued enough to hear myself think. Otherwise it's no longer a desk where work gets done. That's bitchy on much kit. It never comes out of 1st gear to shed its sleepiness and muster full torque. With Hypsos, that threshold reset. The speakers fired on all cylinders lower on their throttle.

On my nightstand sits our home's most resolved system. It centers on Raal-Requisite SR1a ribbon headphones. They are my reference for knowing what's on my music files re: micro detail that's not obscured by distance or room echo; re: the recorded tonal balance prior to unavoidable room EQ. Against that mental reference and familiar tunes, I'd now rate Hypsos-elevated Fram Midi 150 second on our domestic scale of ultra-res champs. Set up face on so very steeply toed in, then canted to align tweeter axes with my ears and baffles close enough to touch, this setup was already a quasi beyond-the-skull headfi affair. Now its sense of acuteness—suchness in Zen talk, extreme presence/tacitness in hifi ramblings—had gone up. With it, strategic suppression of SPL without incurring a fade of clarity or persuasiveness had gained range. To me, it's the most important power a hifi must possess to be enjoyed the most. Give this a try for a romantic violin cover of a popular Arabian song. Pay attention to the range of tone modulations Mohamed Aly coaxes from his six strings and the flageolet contributions from lower bow pressure. Play it standard loud, then slowly back off more and more. Notice when things start to become pale, shallow and, for lack of a better word, 'blah' to no longer hold your interest.

Now think on it. How many extra hours of hifi consumption could your system add if it sounded fully compelling at rather lower levels than it presently does? With obvious resolution enhancements from a super-low noise floor, Hypsos had raised the visibility of faint signal, heightened contrast and increased microdynamic range. At its most basic, it had expanded my rig's raw utility. It could now be enjoyed more often; and longer. How so? Hello listening fatigue. It's a very real thing not just when things are harsh or bright. The sound can be perfect like sunshine, just too hot/loud. That soon chases us into the shade of quietude to avoid the trying heat and sun burn's earquivalent.

Let's call the biggest Hypsos gift fuller satisfaction from listening at lower SPL. That's wildly more practical than most people credit or ever think of when they shop for hifi. A typical mistake is to only demo a system with dramatic stuff then letting it rip. That's fun too. But realistically, how often do you really cue up Kodo drummers or tracks like the above with its 10-or-more drummers facing a crowd of hundreds?