Enacom speaker filters have been around awhile, though almost no one knows about them. Barely a trace of information exists on these oddball filters from the Combak Corp. of Japan that look like a bloated shotgun-shell canister with two wires extending from one end. Even the ravenous Internet audio newsgroups have missed this one.
I found one person who didn't. David Magnan, owner and designer of Magnan Audio Cables of Camarillo, Calif., is known as one of the more dedicated ``tweakers'' in the audio business. Although his company manufactures cables for audio exotica, he relentlessly fine- tunes his own system. (For a rundown of his super tweaks, visit magnan.com/column.shtml.) He calls the Enacom filters a breakthrough product.
``It's a new idea,'' he says.
The wires from each filter connect to the speaker terminals like standard speaker wire. How the Enacoms work is unclear, but they contain capacitors that, says Combak, eliminate ``ringing distortion'' created by load resistance and also radio-frequency (RF) interference picked up by the unshielded speaker wire.
``They say it rolls off the high-frequency ringing,'' says Magnan, ``but I don't quite believe it. I just go with the empirical result. They create a wonderful improvement.''
With the filters installed, music seems to emerge from a deeper, blacker background. In techno talk, the ``noise floor'' is greatly reduced. Vocals and resonant instruments like piano and acoustic guitar are particularly affected. The sound is more expansive and more immediate.
On ``The Wind,'' from Dominique Eade's beautifully recorded ``When the Wind was Cool'' (the songs of Chris Connor and June Christy) on RCA Victor, the final note off Steve Nelson's vibraphone hangs in the air, as if it could be snagged with a net. Without the filters, my system could not re-create that dramatic effect.
The first hour with the Enacom filters is like watching a spring ritual, the birth of a butterfly. Because a new capacitor needs an electrical charge, the initial performance of the filter is dreadful. Sound virtually collapses. As the capacitor charges slowly, you can almost see the sound grow horizontally. Then it gets deeper. Finally, it's full-bloom springtime.