I’ve been a big fan of equipment support since I first discovered high end audio. Whether as a rack or dedicated supports, ‘resonance elimination devices’ have been improving the sound of my kit for many years.
I’ve toyed with simple decouplers such as Sorbothane feet, more sophisticated gear such as Rollerblocks, a much loved Townsend Seismic Sink (a metal platform with an inflatable air bladder) sat for years under a Rega Planar 3 turntable, and for the past ten years I have lived with Solid Tech supports, technical and expensive marvels from Sweden.
Mirko Krolo, head of Krolo Designs dropped by the house with four boxes (with three in each box) of his ‘Enhansers’ [sic]. As you can see from the photo above, the Enhansers are exquisitely made conical devices that sit in groups of three under any audio device.
Krolo describes them as: ‘…uniquely designed cones that incorporate dynamic spacing between two contact points. All elements are solid and CNC machined for precise accuracy. Three Krolo Enhansers are required per device which are strategically placed in a triangular pattern. They can support up to 100 lbs of audio gear.’
He goes on to describe their effect as ‘..support devices that help to enhance and raise the sound stage. Once they are applied underneath your audio gear, you can begin to hear the little nuances and details in the music or sound that were not present before. Vocals become more clear and transparent.’ So, did they?
It turns out they are effective and look good.
Due to recent surgery, getting up and down the stairs to the studio was a chore (much easier, now, happily). As such, I asked my wonderful (and highly supportive) wife if she’d ‘pop downstairs and place the Enhansers in triangular patterns under the DAC, its power supply and my music server’. The DAC and server are both top pieces of kit and are no slouch in the ‘transparency’ department. Bass is crackerjack, too. I wasn’t sure some Delrin and steel would make much difference.
Later that day, I sat down to take a listen. I chuckled as the Enhansers were inverted, and looking pretty damn good that way. I had not given specific instructions to my wife and she simply placed them that way. As I was not allowed to bend beyond a certain point, I couldn’t get down to change them. What the hell. I listened as is. The system was warmed up and was sounding great. Clear, precise, dynamic. No deleterious effects from ‘improper’ installation.
The next day, with the Enhansers ‘upright’, and looking equally cool, I listened again to the same playlist on the Antipodes DS1 music server. Same again. Clear, precise, dynamic. Were the cellos a little more rich in Beecham’s classic EMI Scheherazade (2nd movement)? Was the bass slightly better defined in Angela Hewitt’s Beethoven Appassionata Sonata on Hyperion? Really? Was I expecting improvement? Or, were the old ears just playing silly buggers?
I enlisted Jan once again to play a game of accessory/cable hide and seek. This time, rather than switching cables for an afternoon (with the carrot of dinner and a great bottle of red), she switched the Enhansers in and out from under the kit. All I asked was she didn’t throw me a curveball — leave one or two sets in and one or two out or, worse, invert them! She believes I can tell the difference. Ain’t love grand?
We returned, once again, to ‘old faithful’, my EMI Bruckner 5 with Klemperer and his Philharmonia in an exceptional performance. It has steered me right in discovery about many cables and accessories and their effect on my system as a whole.
The recording is also exceptional in many ways, but the incredible Adagio has some difficult passages. Sourced from London’s famous Kingsway Hall, plodding pizzicato strings (Guess the time signature. No, not 3) begin the Adagio’s sublime journey. From the left, a blast of air conditioning, sounding much like a ghostly pianissimo shroud hanging over the first violins, a few grumbles dead centre from Klemps, in his typical way, and all the while the plodding pizzicato. So far, so good. Nothing more transparent, no ‘eureka’ moment.
With the oboe and bassoon entry, I heard the separation slightly more clearly than an hour before. Was this ‘Enhansed’ or plain Jane? But, the task was easier than might be imagined. Letter C is instructive, not in the melody (horns and violas) but the first oboe’s falling E, D, C. Yes, it’s in unison with the first clarinet, but Terence McDonough’s oboe sound is so unique, so plangent, so brilliant, it is easy to follow. Yet, it’s in a world of thick Bruckner orchestration murk. Were the Enhanser’s in the system, clued in and clearing up? Yes. McDonough’s sound projected through the thick strings and brass better than I’d heard previously in my system. It was subtle, but there. And, if we could, would be measurable.
Late into the afternoon, I went to my notes to corroborate with Jan’s. 5 out of 5 on what turned out to be an easy, comfortable test. With the Bruckner bait and switch fun over, I went back to my playlist and enjoyed all sorts of music.
The opening of the new audiophile favourite, Shelby Lynne’s Just a Little Lovin’ sounded slightly more controlled with the Enhanser’s involved. I’ve heard this on CD, LP, download, and it sounds different on all of them and different on different gear, or course. It’s a bit of an enigma to my ears. Yet, I enjoyed the tightly controlled sound coming from the server; less ‘plummy’ than the rich vinyl. That said, the changes are subtle. When returning Enhanserless, the sound from system was still its clear, precise, dynamic self.
With that in mind, why not try a set under your favourite device. The Enhanser, like all of Mirko Krolo’s gear, is beautifully made and looks great. And, this simple decoupling device does make a positive difference. And that ‘difference’ is the juice that keeps the audiophile’s journey moving forward.
The Krolo Design Enhanser
Manufactured by Krolo Design
160 Crofters Rd Woodbridge, ON L4L 7G2
Price: $260/set of three
Source: Manufacturer loan