Itemizing what I'd find inside his parcel, Anton listed one Crystal Clear Filter (1 chip each for setup 1/setup 2 plus one each for the Metrum Hex and AURALiC Vega for single-component testing); a set of Clavis Corner, a new €399 product and "perfect complement to Clavis Room and Clavis Speaker"; one standard Clavis Room with 1 chip; one 200mm Clavis Room version for rooms above 70m² (€499, with the same chip as the normal version); and one set of Clavis Speaker with general chips and custom chips for the German Physiks speakers. He also noted that the 15A Nema power connector on the Crystal Clear Filter would be upgraded to a 20A version in a black casing by May when he'd get inventory of said part.

With setup 1 and setup 2 mysteriously non-specific about what they'd consist of, I thought that the voicing of the Crystal Clear Filter chips had to be entirely arbitrary. That the Clavis Room came in two sizes to accommodate smaller and larger spaces whilst using the same chip suggested that 'field potency' was determined not by the chip but by a transmitter material of which the larger device simply had more. "I also sent you 2 general chips for the filter so you can test the difference between general and customized." Here I blew a minor gasket. "Your 'customized' seems entirely arbitrary when we haven't locked down any specific hardware. I can understand different voicing. I can't understand how you call it customized when I didn't provide you with any sonic feedback or fixed system parameters. The way I see it, customized means no more or less than your own very personal ideas on what might sound better, based on what my room looks like from afar or what you think certain gear sounds like. Am I overlooking something?"

"You're correct. With so much gear, the difference between general and customized will not be that great. Most of my customers have very specific systems. Then it's easier to customize the chips." Another gasket popped. "But you’re still very vague on what customization actually entails. What type of questions do you ask your customers to create the optimum target profile? You couldn’t possibly predict results from a list of hardware; or predict speaker/room interaction from afar." Anton's next reply was no gasket repair either. "For speaker/room interaction, I have my other products. But the filter alone reduces the interaction between speaker and room [italicized emphasis my own - Ed]. I have a living room with damping only on the floor and 7 big windows with no curtains. I have no problems with reflections. I think my products work best with less damping in the room and speakers. Dipole/open baffle and resonant cases work best.  It's best to use the energy and take it in the right direction, not destroy or damp it. I ask my customers about the weak points in their system and what they wish to improve. But like I mentioned already, the most exact protocol is a filter for every single component. That creates the greatest sonic benefit, far more than any component or cable upgrade." Time to bury the Doubting Thomas routine and get on with the job of listening. Customers will obviously be best served if they can well articulate the shortcomings of their systems. They should act as their own reviewers to instruct Anton about what, exactly, they wish to improve or change.

The customs declaration of my shipment showed a €2'246 value. Anton's surprise when I billed him back a CHF 277.80 COD amount suggested that he'd not shipped outside the EU before. That's when VAT happens. Whilst digging into the well-packed goods, I had déjà vu. The compact wooden discs of the speaker improvers reminded me of the wood bodies beneath Franck Tchang's acoustic resonators. The bigger wooden cylinders of the two room improvers mirrored Verictum's EMI/RFI traps. Like lazy maracas or an ineffective rain stick, Anton's were filled with a granular substance that moved about a bit when shaken or turned. This recalled Shunyata's FeSi compound; and the metal spheres of JPS Aluminata cables. Nothing new under the audio sun isn't entirely accurate. In one form or another, much has simply been tried already.

Here we see how the filter card slips into a retainer on the belly of the metal box.

I also déjà vu'd on how this type of product does less than nothing to fix the credibility gap which, let's be honest, high-end hifi suffers in many quarters. It doesn't do anything for the credibility of its reviewers either. It explains why many writers won't touch it with a 100-foot pole. Derision guarantee would seem to come with Anton's cards. They look like thick grey paper imprinted with model name and specifics, then are laminated in clear plastic like a janitor's ID card. That obviously says nothing about their potential efficacy. It only speaks to how in the tweaks and accessories realm, some companies go much farther to dress up their gizmos. If you can't explain how they work, eye candy can step in.

Others step in with more explanations. For a final sample, Kemp Electronics, for their modified Fostac Maxiimus P40, state that it "derives its energy from the permanent flow of electrons caused by the difference in potential between ionosphere and earth. The strong Tachyon field in the accumulators inside the Maxiimus act as antenna which derives electrons from this potential difference and injects them directly into the circuit. This enhances the efficiency of the electricity, which in turn leads to less consumption from the mains." Other claimed benefits for their device include "optimised natural energy in homes and buildings; harmonizing of low- and high-frequency electro smog; repolarisation of underground water lines and other geopathic disturbances." For the bigger Fostac Maxiimus P16 [left], there's this final tidbit: "size of created energy field around 13m/43ft." Again, the notion that certain devices radiate energy fields which 'reprogram', attenuate or otherwise offset unwanted energetic disturbances is far from new; nor that certain materials make effective ultrasonic antennae which, when properly grounded, can dissipate those energies. We'll assume that conceptually, the Spatium products fall somewhere into this class. Anton: "The Clavis Room has a free function. For one minute, place a CD on it. You will be amazed. Not as good as my new Clavis Disc device but still a great improvement also with vinyl and Bluray."