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Review: Enleum AMP-23R-2022 High-End Audio Amplifier: Compact Powerhouse

Review: Enleum AMP-23R-2022 : Compact Powerhouse of Precision and Sound Quality - Explore the Enleum AMP-23R-2022, a compact yet powerful amplifier redefining sound quality and innovation in audio.

Unveiling the Enleum Brand

Welcome to the world of audio excellence and innovation with the Enleum AMP-23R-2022. In a landscape where compact audio components have become a trend, the Enleum AMP-23R-2022 stands out as a wolf in dwarf’s clothing, offering an exceptional blend of power, precision, and versatility. Unveiling the unique character of the Enleum brand, this amplifier carries the legacy of its predecessors, including “Bakoon International,” and it boasts a deep commitment to delivering pure and unadulterated sound experiences. As we delve into the heart of this remarkable amplifier, we will explore its technical prowess, surprising performance, and dynamic capabilities in both loudspeaker and headphone domains, setting the stage for an audio journey like no other.

Enleum, a relatively new brand on the audio scene, emerged as the successor to “Bakoon International,” with a rich lineage dating back to 2009 and beyond. The company operates from two locations, with its design and marketing strategies handled in San José, California, while technology and production are managed in Gyeonggi-do Province, South Korea. Despite its recent inception, Enleum’s roots run deep, and its commitment to crafting high-quality audio components is evident in the AMP-23R-2022. This versatile and compact amplifier delivers a remarkable power, precision, and adaptability balance for loudspeakers and headphone enthusiasts. With a focus on real-time monitoring, innovative design, and a commitment to delivering pure, unadulterated audio experiences, Enleum has quickly established itself as a notable player in high-end audio equipment.

Technical Facts

  • Model: Enleum AMP-23R-2022
  • Concept: headphone amplifier and adjustable power amplifier or purist integrated amplifier
  • Price: 7,499 euros
  • Dimensions and weight: 230 x 230 x 55 mm, 4 kg
  • Inputs: 2 x high level unbalanced (Cinch), 1 x ENLINK (BNC) 1 x high level balanced (XLR)
  • Outputs: 1 x headphones unbalanced (6.35 mm stereo jack), stereo speaker terminal
  • Power: Speaker: 2 x 25 watts at 8 ohms (RMS)
  • Other: Gain for headphone operation – 22.5 dB max or 7 dB max (low gain)
  • Warranty: 2 years

Build Quality and Design

The Enleum AMP-23R-2022 is a testament to exceptional build quality and thoughtful design, showcasing a remarkable combination of aesthetics and functionality. At first glance, its compact dimensions of 230 x 230 x 55 mm make it seem like a diminutive powerhouse. Its sleek and minimalist exterior exudes a timeless elegance characterized by a simple yet sophisticated appearance. The amplifier’s front panel features a rotary knob for volume control, which may seem conventional but hides a sophisticated relay circuit underneath. This unique design element ensures precise volume adjustments without signal degradation, marking the Enleum as an “adjustable power amplifier” rather than a traditional “integrated amplifier.”

The front panel also includes a 6.35 mm headphone jack, where, upon connecting headphones, the speaker outputs are automatically muted. This seamless transition from loudspeaker to headphone operation reflects the amplifier’s adaptability, catering to both listening preferences. The design extends to the rear panel, which is purposefully minimal, housing only two high-level RCA inputs and speaker binding posts. These features create a clean and uncluttered layout, emphasizing purity and simplicity.

Beyond the aesthetics, the Enleum AMP-23R-2022’s build quality is equally impressive. It exudes a sense of robustness and reliability. The enclosure is constructed from high-quality materials, ensuring durability and vibration resistance. Moreover, the amplifier’s internals are meticulously engineered, reflecting a dedication to precision and performance. Enleum’s unique “JET2 bias circuit” is incorporated, continuously monitoring the bias voltage of the output transistors in real time, a testament to the brand’s innovative approach to ensuring signal fidelity and reducing distortion.

In summary, the Enleum AMP-23R-2022’s build quality and design harmoniously blend aesthetics and functionality. Its compact and elegant exterior conceals a sophisticated interior, reflecting a commitment to purity and precision in audio reproduction. This amplifier is a technical marvel and a visual delight for audiophiles who appreciate both form and function in their audio equipment.

Unique Features of the AMP-23R-2022

The Enleum AMP-23R-2022 boasts a range of unique features that set it apart in the world of high-end audio amplifiers:

  1. Real-time Monitoring with “JET2 Bias Circuit”: One of its standout features is the innovative “JET2 bias circuit,” which continuously monitors the bias voltage of the output transistors in real-time. Originally implemented in the Bakoon AMP-13R, this circuit has been updated in the Enleum AMP-23R-2022. This real-time monitoring ensures precise control of the power MOSFETs, enhancing signal fidelity and reducing distortion. The meticulous attention to detail in maintaining optimal operating conditions for the amplifier’s components is a unique and technically advanced feature contributing to the Enleum’s exceptional sound quality.
  2. Adjustable Power Amplification: The Enleum AMP-23R-2022 challenges the traditional notion of an integrated amplifier. Its volume control system is not a standard potentiometer but a relay circuit, allowing precise adjustments. This system calculates the resistance value required for the desired volume without attenuating the music signal, as is common in traditional integrated amplifiers. This feature makes it more accurate and could be described as an “adjustable power amplifier” rather than a conventional integrated amplifier.
  3. Versatile Headphone Amplification: The Enleum AMP-23R-2022 doubles as a high-end headphone amplifier. When headphones are connected to the front 6.35 mm jack, the speaker outputs are automatically muted, and the entire amplifier circuit is dedicated to the headphone task. It offers a substantial 4 watts at 50 ohms, making it suitable for a wide range of headphones. This versatility allows users to seamlessly switch between speaker and headphone listening without compromising sound quality.
  4. Exemplary Impulse Response and Dynamics: The Enleum AMP-23R-2022 is renowned for its exceptional transient response and dynamic capabilities. It excels in handling micro-impulses and exhibits impressive attacks, which makes it stand out as one of the fastest amplifiers available. This feature particularly appeals to audiophiles who seek precise and engaging sound with a wide dynamic range, whether listening through speakers or headphones.
  5. Clean and Analytical Treble: The amplifier delivers clean, neutral, and analytically accurate treble. It maintains a transparent and uncolored high-frequency response, giving audiophiles a genuine representation of their music. The treble is unapologetically honest and free from artificial enhancements, catering to those who appreciate transparency and accuracy in their audio.
  6. The Motor of the AMP-23R-2022: Enleum’s AMP-23R-2022 follows a minimal negative feedback, low-impedance, current-amplifying amplification concept, which excels at processing high bandwidths, even though it’s specified to handle a range from 10 Hz to 100 kHz. Company boss Soo In Chae insists that the amp performs admirably up to 1 MHz, albeit with reduced power.

In summary, the Enleum AMP-23R-2022’s unique features, including real-time monitoring, adjustable power amplification, versatile headphone capabilities, exemplary impulse response, and clean treble, make it a compelling choice for audiophiles seeking a versatile and high-performance amplifier. These features set it apart and cater to various listening preferences and styles.

Unique Volume Control Mechanism

The Enleum AMP-23R-2022 features a Unique Volume Control Mechanism that goes beyond the conventional potentiometer found in most amplifiers, offering a precise and technically advanced solution for adjusting the volume. This innovative mechanism is a key aspect of the amplifier’s design and one factor distinguishing it from traditional integrated amplifiers.

The volume control system is disguised as a standard rotary knob on the front panel. However, its true complexity is revealed when you turn it while the amplifier is powered on. Unlike a typical potentiometer, this knob operates a relay circuit. When you adjust the volume, you’ll hear a distinctive “click,” signaling the relay’s activation.

While not immediately visible, the relay circuit plays a crucial role in maintaining the Enleum’s high-level performance. When you turn the volume knob, the relay circuit calculates the required resistance value for achieving the desired volume level. This calculation happens without affecting the music signal, ensuring the audio remains unaltered and pure throughout the adjustment process.

Essentially, this volume control system is more akin to a precision tool than a traditional potentiometer. It offers a level of accuracy and detail often lacking in integrated amplifiers with conventional volume controls. The result is a seamless and artifact-free adjustment of the sound output, enhancing the overall listening experience.

This Unique Volume Control Mechanism aligns with Enleum’s commitment to providing high-quality audio purity and precision. It allows listeners to fine-tune their audio experience with unmatched accuracy, ensuring the music remains faithful to the original recording. This attention to detail and dedication to audio quality is a testament to the Enleum AMP-23R-2022’s innovative design and commitment to delivering exceptional sound.

Usability of the Enleum AMP-23R-2022

The usability of the Enleum AMP-23R-2022 is carefully designed to provide a seamless and straightforward experience for users, both in terms of setup and day-to-day operation. Here are key aspects that contribute to its usability:

  1. Compact Design: The amplifier’s compact and lightweight design, measuring just 230 x 230 x 55 mm, makes it easy to integrate into a wide range of audio setups. Its small footprint allows users to conveniently place it on a shelf, desk, or compact listening space. This compact form factor is visually appealing and ensures that it doesn’t take up much space in your audio system.
  2. Relay Volume Control: The Enleum AMP-23R-2022 features a relay-based volume control mechanism that enhances usability. It provides precise and accurate adjustments without any signal degradation. Users can fine-tune the volume to their preference, and the relay circuit ensures that the audio signal remains pure and unaltered during the adjustment process. This ensures a seamless and artifact-free experience when changing the volume.
  3. Automatic Headphone Switching: The front-panel 6.35 mm headphone jack includes an automatic switching mechanism. When headphones are plugged in, the speaker outputs are muted, and the entire amplifier circuit is dedicated to the headphone task. This automatic transition between loudspeaker and headphone operation simplifies the listening experience and eliminates the need for manual adjustments or switching.
  4. Versatile Connectivity: While the Enleum AMP-23R-2022 offers minimal connections, it covers the essentials for most audio setups. Including high-level RCA inputs and speaker binding posts allows users to connect various audio sources and loudspeakers. The amplifier’s focus on simplicity aligns with its dedication to purity and precision in audio reproduction.
  5. Intuitive Controls: The amplifier’s front panel features an intuitive and uncluttered layout. The rotary volume knob and headphone jack are easy to access, and the absence of complex controls or buttons simplifies the operation. This straightforward interface ensures that users can focus on the music rather than dealing with a complex array of settings.
  6. Dedicated Headphone Amplification: The Enleum AMP-23R-2022 caters to loudspeakers and headphone enthusiasts. Its dedicated headphone amplification circuit ensures that headphone users can enjoy high-quality audio without compromising on sound quality. The two available gain settings provide flexibility in adjusting the volume level range for different headphones.

In summary, the Enleum AMP-23R-2022 offers a high level of usability through its compact design, intuitive controls, automatic headphone switching, and versatile connectivity options. Its emphasis on simplicity and purity in audio reproduction ensures that users can enjoy a seamless and hassle-free listening experience through loudspeakers or headphones. The amplifier’s usability is designed to enhance the overall enjoyment of music and make it accessible to a wide range of users.

Versatile Connectivity

The Enleum AMP-23R-2022 showcases a straightforward and minimalist approach to its connections and connectivity. Despite its compact design and minimalist rear panel, the amplifier offers a range of connections catering to loudspeakers and headphone enthusiasts, delivering versatility and adaptability.

  1. High-Level RCA Inputs: The rear panel of the Enleum features two high-level RCA inputs. This straightforward connectivity option lets you connect various audio sources, such as CD players, turntables, or digital-to-analog converters (DACs). RCA connectors are a common industry standard, making integrating the amplifier into an existing audio system easy.
  2. ENLINK Connection: A notable feature is the proprietary “ENLINK” connection, a power-based connection for potential future Enleum DACs or phono preamps. While this connection might have limited applications, it hints at the brand’s forward-thinking approach and potential for future expansion and integration of Enleum products.
  3. Speaker Binding Posts: The Enleum AMP-23R-2022 has speaker-binding posts for loudspeaker connections. These posts are of high quality and are known for providing a secure and reliable connection to your loudspeakers. They can accommodate a variety of speaker cables, ensuring a solid and stable link between the amplifier and your speakers.
  4. Front-Panel 6.35 mm Headphone Jack: The amplifier’s front panel includes a 6.35 mm headphone jack. When you connect headphones to this jack, the speaker outputs are automatically muted, and the entire amplifier circuit is dedicated to the headphone task. This seamless transition between loudspeaker and headphone operation allows users to enjoy their music without interruption and provides a high-quality headphone listening experience.

Despite its minimalistic approach to connectivity, the Enleum AMP-23R-2022 offers all the essential connections required for a versatile and high-quality audio experience. Its simplicity reflects the brand’s focus on purity and precision, ensuring that every connection maintains the audio signal’s integrity. While it may not have many input options, the Enleum’s connections are thoughtfully designed to cater to loudspeaker and headphone usage, making it a well-rounded amplifier for a range of listening preferences.

Sonic Performance

The sound quality of the Enleum AMP-23R-2022 is where this amplifier truly shines, delivering a level of performance that stands out in the world of high-end audio amplifiers. A combination of several notable attributes characterizes its sound quality:

1. Impressive Impulse Response and Dynamics: The Enleum AMP-23R-2022 is known for its remarkable transient response and dynamics. It excels in handling micro-impulses and exhibits an impressive attack, making it one of the fastest amplifiers available. This feature ensures that the amplifier faithfully reproduces the fine nuances in music, making it engaging and dynamic. The amplifier’s wide dynamic range and agility captivate listeners, immersing them in the music.

2. Clear and Analytical Treble: The amplifier’s treble response is notably clean and analytical. It maintains a transparent and neutral high-frequency range, delivering a genuine representation of the music without introducing any artificial enhancements. This clarity in the treble ensures that every detail and nuance in the upper frequencies is faithfully reproduced. While some high-frequency events may seem energetic, it is more due to the absence of diffuseness and distortion rather than excessive brightness.

3. Outstanding Resolution and Transparency: The Enleum AMP-23R-2022 is celebrated for its exceptional resolution and transparency. It meticulously reveals the subtleties in the music, allowing listeners to hear intricate details and nuances that might go unnoticed by other amplifiers. This level of clarity and transparency adds an exciting layer of complexity to the listening experience, making the music more captivating.

4. Immersive Soundstage: The amplifier’s soundstage is expansive and immersive, offering a sense of three-dimensionality to the music. Whether listening to acoustic instruments or electronic soundscapes, the Enleum AMP-23R-2022 ensures the music is presented on a spacious and well-defined stage. It creates a captivating and enveloping sonic experience that pulls you into the heart of the music.

5. Precision and Linear Midrange: The midrange of the Enleum is characterized by precision and linearity. It delivers an honest and transparent portrayal of vocals and instruments. The dynamics in the midrange are exceptional, with a wide range of ups and downs that are sharply defined. This transparency adds exciting energy and complexity to the music, making it more engaging.

6. Balancing Act: Loudspeakers and Headphones: Soo In Chae emphasizes that loudspeakers and headphone amplification were equally important during the AMP-23R’s development. The Enleum aims to be a versatile compact amplifier for both headphones and speakers, making it a fantastic choice for music lovers who appreciate flexibility.

7. Performance with Challenging Speakers: The Enleum AMP-23R-2022 showcases impressive stability, even with challenging speakers. It can handle demanding loads and deliver clean sound at high volumes, making it a reliable choice for discerning listeners.

8. Surprisingly Solid Bass: Despite its compact size and minimal negative feedback, the Enleum AMP-23R-2022 exhibits remarkable control and stability in the bass range. It offers a lively and precise bass response, handling everything from standing bass surfaces to powerful bass impulses with finesse.

9. Expansive Soundstage: The Enleum AMP-23R-2022 creates an expansive soundstage. It offers an immersive listening experience, especially with complex and demanding music, ensuring that the music leaps out of the speakers and envelops the listener.

10. Dynamic Excellence: The Enleum AMP-23R-2022 stands out with its exceptional transient response, delivering a dynamic and engaging performance. It handles micro-impulses with finesse, providing a distinctive, fast-paced sound that appeals to those who crave precision.

During sound tests, the Enleum AMP-23R-2022 consistently demonstrates its ability to handle challenging musical passages precisely and clearly. Whether it’s intricate acoustic compositions or dynamic electronic tracks, the amplifier maintains its impressive impulse response and transient capabilities. The amplifier’s ability to separate and articulate individual sound elements, especially in the midrange and high frequencies, adds depth and immersion to the listening experience.

In conclusion, the Enleum AMP-23R-2022’s sound quality is characterized by its exceptional impulse response, analytical treble, transparency, and immersive soundstage. It delivers an engaging and captivating listening experience that appeals to audiophiles who seek precision and dynamics in their music. The amplifier’s ability to reveal intricate musical details and provide a wide and immersive soundstage sets it apart as an exceptional performer in high-end audio amplifiers.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Enleum AMP-23R-2022 is a standout amplifier that marries a compact design with exceptional sound quality and innovative features. Its ability to deliver an impressive impulse response, transparent treble, and wide soundstage makes it a compelling choice for audiophiles who seek precision and dynamics in their music. The amplifier’s dedication to revealing intricate musical details and maintaining a wide and immersive soundstage sets it apart as an exceptional performer in high-end audio amplifiers. Furthermore, including a relay-based volume control mechanism and automatic headphone switching simplifies the user experience, allowing enthusiasts to easily fine-tune their audio setup.

While the Enleum AMP-23R-2022 may not be suitable for large listening spaces or power-hungry loudspeakers, it excels in smaller to medium-sized rooms. It offers versatility in accommodating a wide range of headphones. Its clean and analytical treble and transparent midrange lend a level of honesty and precision to the music that appeals to those who appreciate an unaltered and engaging listening experience. The Enleum AMP-23R-2022 is a compact powerhouse that doesn’t compromise on sound quality. It is a compelling choice for music enthusiasts who desire an amplifier that prioritizes clarity, dynamics, and immersive audio experiences.

Reasons to Buy the Enleum AMP-23R-2022:

  1. Exceptional Sound Quality: The Enleum AMP-23R-2022 stands out for its remarkable sound quality, impressive impulse response, transparent treble, and expansive soundstage. If you prioritize precision and dynamics in your music, this amplifier delivers an immersive and engaging listening experience.
  2. Innovative Volume Control Mechanism: The relay-based volume control mechanism ensures precise adjustments without degradation. This innovative feature enhances usability and allows seamless volume control, maintaining audio purity.
  3. Dedicated Headphone Amplification: With automatic headphone switching and two gain settings, the Enleum caters to loudspeakers and headphone enthusiasts. The dedicated headphone amplification circuit provides high-quality audio for headphone users.
  4. Compact Design: Its compact and minimalist design makes it suitable for small to medium-sized listening spaces and complements modern decor. The small footprint ensures it won’t dominate your audio setup.

Reasons Not to Buy the Enleum AMP-23R-2022:

  1. Limited Power Output: The 2 x 25 watts power output may not be sufficient for large listening rooms or power-hungry loudspeakers. You might require a more powerful amplifier if you have a larger space or demanding speakers.
  2. Simplified Connectivity: While it covers the essentials, the Enleum offers a minimalist set of connections. If you need a wide range of input options or complex connectivity, this amplifier’s simplicity may not meet your requirements.
  3. Analytical Sound Signature: The Enleum’s analytical treble and transparent midrange may not suit listeners who prefer a warmer, more rounded sound. If you enjoy a softer, more forgiving sound profile, you might not resonate with its tonal characteristics.

Ultimately, buying the Enleum AMP-23R-2022 depends on your specific preferences and requirements. It is a compelling choice if you seek a compact amplifier that prioritizes sound quality, precision, and innovative features. However, if you have a larger listening space, need extensive connectivity options, or prefer a different sound signature, you may want to explore other amplifiers that align more closely with your needs and preferences.