The Phono Enhancer is a very transparent pure-sounding device to not force any overlay of a tube signature on your records. That was absolutely clear as soon as I lowered the stylus onto a recently released double album of Paco & John, Live at Montreux 1987. Everybody knows their Friday Night in San Francisco which has been re-issued numerous times on various labels including MoFi, Philips and recently Impex. No doubt both music and recording are fabulous. But this time I went for the newly purchased item for my fix. I'd listened to it 2-3 times already over my own phonostage, hence knew it to be a bit brighter than Friday Night; not to excess but simply less rich, with more focus on the metallic strings and less on the tonewood bodies. The Thöress didn't change that. The sound simply didn't get too bright while boldly exploring a plethora of information from the groove. It built a detailed, precise, beautifully spacious and vigorous spectacle still a bit bright without any attempts to 'tube things out'. And that's where the three knobs came in – or at least one in this instance. All I did was move the one responsible for midrange one step down from its RIAA position. As a result, this hint of brightness was almost completely gone to no longer bother me. This handy feature did an even better job for another slightly over-bright album, R.E.M.'s Automatic for the people. Here the upper midrange to me seems not just bright but even a bit harsh. Now the same tiny setting change solved most the issue to make this non-audiophile but otherwise quite good release far more enjoyable.

I also reached for U2's Rattle and hum. Mine is an old slightly worn copy that, like most U2 records, contains fantastic music but no really good sound at least in audiophile terms. But after a minute spent playing around with now mostly the bass and midrange knobs, for the first time in a long time did I listen to this release from beginning to end and actually enjoyed it! I love the band and their music as much as I hate most their albums for their poor sonics. The Phono Enhancer definitely enhanced this record to remind me just how much fun this band can be.

Most good tubed phonostages deliver incredibly spacious, three-dimensional and palpable sound. For the most part, the Thöress was no exception. Feed it with a record like Michel Godard's Soyeusement Live in Noirlac brilliantly prepared and released by Sommelier du son and you'll find yourself immediately teleported to its Noirlac Abbey in France. Best be ready for a real treat when you find yourself in the midst of a huge semi-open space filled with air and music played on some period instruments resonating from walls impossibly far away. The impression or even experience of a huge space in front of me was most unique. Some other tube components from Kondo and AudioTekne did an even better job of rendering three-dimensional palpable images but the space itself and its dimensions from the Phono Enhancer were at least on par.

If you want to find out how silkily smooth, sweet, rich and nuanced yet crisp, vibrant and open a violin can be, cue up The Tube Only Violin on the Tacet label. The title is self-explanatory. Only tube gear was used during the recording and that you can instantly tell. The Phono Enhancer—fully tubed yet not stereotypically tube sounding—delivered its unique signature in spades. The sweetness of the strings, their absolutely ravishing timbre, texture, the natural flow of the music all delivered in astonishingly immersive fashion. What a remarkable performance. By now you know that I appreciated and loved the Thöress Phono Enhancer as I've only loved a handful of the very best. All of them were wildly more expensive so far beyond my reach. I can't swing the price of today's review sample either at least not right away. But it's definitely worth its ask and more! I can't foresee the future but a fair guess is that the Thöress will one fine day be mine to become part of my reference system. I think that's the best recommendation you could get from me. Yet don't take my word for it. Try one for yourself. I promise you it won't disappoint.