With its single outlet, Anton's filter could do two things - feed a single component past my usual one-for-all Vibex Granada/Alhambra DC/AC filter; or precede the main filter. The latter would spread good Spatium cheer to all of the hardware, hence compound the effect to seem the most promising start. Though it put multiple units in series, Spatium claim no conventional filtering with capacitors, coils, transformers, regenerators, balanced power & sundry. I saw no issues other than redundancy of plug contacts and wiring. No immediate A/B was possible since the entire system had to power down for the switch, including a reboot of my music iMac. Once I had a handle on the Spatium signature, I'd start swapping cards. That would involve no power downs at all. To keep things simple, the system had just three parts: iMac with PureMusic; COS Engineering D1 DAC/pre; Pass Labs XA30.8. The last two connected balanced. Whatever insufficient warm-up times might be involved to accommodate quicker A/B and not wait half an hour between each switch would be equal for my with/without Spatium sessions. With three pages of foreplay, was there a final happy ending?



The answer should be a conditional yes. Within the more subtle realm, Anton's filter was most potent followed by the bigger room improver. The corner, speaker improvers and card swaps eluded my ears. What the filter and big wood cylinder set between the speakers did happened in the general vicinity of contrast and focus. Taking Anton's stuff out for the usual tell didn't collapse depth of field or stage width. Neither did it affect timbre, tonal balance, dynamics or image sizing. If one concentrated on those qualities, the Spatium goods did absolutely nothing. Yet they did something. Where they operated affected the strength of difference between sound and silence. Without them, said difference was weaker or more pale. If that reads like a pretty dubious distinction, careful language is mandatory. There weren't any orgasmic revelations. These effects were decidedly more quiet. Just so, the sense of presence—the first half of Ram Dass' famous book title Be Here Now—had more potency. Feeling my way into the why of it, I had to admit that whilst it seemed to be about stronger focus, it wasn't about sharper outline demarcations at all. If one equates focus with edge limning, this still wasn't it. More deeply sculpted relief was an effect but not the thing per se.


So I felt my way around like a blind man bumps around in unknown territory without a cane. My mind proposed mental concepts which I then felt into to see whether they conformed with the actual sensation I'd felt. In that way, I soon arrived at the admittedly bizarre notion of greater air viscosity; as though without the Spatium products, the air was drier like it had been during our tenure in Arroyo Seco at the edge of the Sangre de Christos mountain range in Taos/New Mexico. That more fluid behaviour of the air appeared to be the condition or enabler from which arose the sense of greater wetter presence whenever music played. You'll agree that this is a strange statement whose mechanics are completely mysterious. And I'm not even sure that it's an accurate statement. It's simply my best attempt of transcribing—from a strange experience into normal language—what I heard in a way which hopefully communicates; or points in the right direction. It's actually not as bizarre as it may seem. None other than Jim Smith, author of the hifi self-help bible Get Better Sound, has experimented with water misters to increase a room's air moisture before hitting 'play'.


Back in the world of commerce and ROI, prospective buyers always want a reviewer to tell them whether an improvement seemed proportionate to its expense. Here I would merely say that, not having encountered this exact effect before, I'd be forced to say that nothing else produces it. If you want this, Spatium is your stop. €849 obviously ought to be spent on any number of other items first which are either essential to making any sound at all; or are of greater significance to the final quality of the sound. Here I'd include better power cabling and resonance control items, even a superior software player. It's once the basics are ticked off and the usual areas of tweakdom handled that one discovers remaining room for 'mysterious' devices à la Franck Tchang acoustic resonators & kin. In that realm, Anton's present pricing for his most potent AC line filter seems quite reasonable. If you wanted a first encounter of the Spatium kind, that's the one you should try out. On an imaginary scale of magnitude where 10 is obvious to anyone and 1 just above imaginary, I'd accord this Spatium product a 2.
 
Postscript: With their upcoming 10-outlet power conditioner, Spatium will have an integral solution from which to run an entire system. This sets the stage for a true A/B which, in my case, would compare directly to the Vibex filter. My above setup simply had access to only a single wall outlet. Hence the Vibex fulfills a secondary function as basic outlet multiplier. Anton's single-feed box simply couldn't bypass it even for a single component. Comparing notes with Rob who had recommended this assignment because for him, Spatium's potency far exceeded what I heard, I learnt that his power delivery was far more basic. We can't be sure but it's likely that the Granada/Alhambra stack simply left very little room for improvement as long as it had to remain in the loop. As to the Corner Clavis, I had to mock up a rectangular layout by putting the four devices symmetrically behind the speakers and seats since in actuality, our sound room isn't rectangular and lacks nearby corners on the left side. Again, one presumes that if used in actual corners, the effects would be rather more obvious.


Spatium-Audio website