Finding love in loss. Not a Dr. Ruth column. Falling for Fifolo—Firewall for Loudspeakers—undermines audiophile cred. Nothing like it exists elsewhere to shore up safety in numbers. And because it's not peanuts but real money, being had by such voodoo isn't just embarrassing. It's painful. Yet this isn't the loss I meant. I meant the loss that comes from taking out something non-essential so a system keeps playing only to hear the sound suddenly give up things that sound very essential indeed. Insert these inline filters. Walk away to let your hifi come on song. Return a few hours later. Listen to a track or two until the sound becomes your new status quo. Now take them out. Ouch. It'll be like an implosion. Everything gets leaner, thinner, harder, starker. It's far from subtle. Suffering these losses, you'll have found love by loss. Damn any audiophile cred. These will be here to stay.

With Avantages Audio N°68 and Bakoon AMP-13R

Because of their seemingly additive effect—more density, color, spatial connectivity, fullness, suavity—it's misleading to call them filters. The word's instant connotation is removal. And perhaps they do remove obstructions on a molecular level to let a lot more of the good stuff through. But to frame it properly, the focus must be on the result. That's more. And these gains require no golden ears to hear or flash gear to bring to life. They're instant and easily repeatable even on simpler hardware. It's why calling the Firewall for Loudspeakers a signal conditioner seems far more apt. Conditioning yourself in a gym pursues more endurance, flexibility and strength. Better health. Transpose that to sonics. Now you've got a far better grasp of what these Lithuanian pigtails do than thinking of them as filters.

Upstairs I pigtailed three different speakers from €3'200-€5'800/p. Affordable Chinese sources and integrated amplifiers from €2'500-€6'000 fronted them. The effects and their gravity migrated without fail. These 'tweaks' were a surefire very predictable thing. Doing without meant shrinkage of space, dimming of colors, shedding of weight. It was an obviously smaller flatter less developed sound. It was more mechanical, edgy, rigid and pale.

With Avantages Audio N°56, Simon Audio i5 and Zu Submission subwoofer

The upshot is remarkable. Except for those with active loudspeakers, the vast majority of hifi systems will benefit loudly and clearly. The market potential for Louis Motek and team is thus enormous. Most any loudspeaker ever made needs a set of these. Of course we're all deeply inured to over-promising under-delivering tweaks. Without a working theory or easily grasped explanation, our resistance to trying yet more weirdness steels itself. That's compounded by a very rational belief. Extra cables and connectors do nothing at best but mostly just steal something. It's why we keep our cables short and minimize the number of connections our signal sees. If we're deeply invested in boutique cable pythons, are we really to believe that tacking on today's modest Lithuanian pigtails will not only improve things but do so in all-out must-have seriousness?

It is a hard pill to swallow. It kills a few sacred cows. It suggests how little we as yet understand about how uncompromised audio really works. For humbucker noise cancellation as visualized in this video to work, a few inches of it just before the loudspeakers suffice. That's like a water filter on your kitchen faucet. Preceded by miles of pipes filled with dirty water, it's the final inches of carbon or other filtering which does the job.

At least in my book, the real question ought to be why understanding must come before we may benefit. Why should a lack of understanding exclude us? Say a known criminal asked you to dig in a very specific spot in your backyard. Despite hating his misdeeds and not having the foggiest why he'd tell you and not a partner in crime, you dig. You find a pot of gold. Hello. Does it matter what led you to it?