Without further ado then, let’s get straight into the £10,995 Enyo. Note that I will follow this article up very quickly with a report on its all transistor based twin brother the Ares, very much the same amplifier but with a slightly different presentation. Rumen told me from the start that the reason they both exist is because they couldn’t decide which was better, so you can probably expect a glowing report from the Ares too. My demo unit is currently being run in and additionally appraised by a colleague as I write.
A quick word on specification but feel free to use the links below to garner more detailed technical information. The Enyo comes as standard with built in MM/MC Phono input with switchable gain inside. This isn’t some afterthought slot in card but a very credible phonostage all in it’s own right. Don’t imagine that the phono input is Graham Slee / Lehman black cube / Tom Evans microgroove territory. We will know more as we go along but my hunch is to replicate a similar quality with a separate chassis unit you will probably need something in a £2000-£3000 area plus of course another good interconnect.
The same applies to the DAC module, yours for just an extra £2900. We already know from 7 years of Vitus home demos that the RI internal DAC for similar money can be preferable to many DACs costing an awful lot more (KDS/3, Perfectwave + Bridge, HUGO TT2+MScaler, Bartok, to name but a few) and the digital in the Enyo is no different being distilled down from the flagship £28,000 Maximinus, one of the best DACs I have ever heard.
The Enyo is of course a vacuum tube design but like all of Thrax’s tube adorned creations, the tubes are out of sight, auto-biasing and need no adjustments, maintenance or special consideration. This is tubes for solid state guys and if the 50W puts you off, don’t let it. The word on the street is that the Enyo is actually more adept at driving difficult speakers than the solid state Ares. The amp is actually designed for speakers with a minimum sensitivity of 87–88dB which means that it’s operating at around 4–5 watts 95% of the time. Tube life is around 1000-2000 hours and all can be replaced very cheaply for under £200.
The rear panel shows a very heavily specified product. We have three single ended analogue inputs, one XLR input, Bluetooth input, 4 and 8 ohm speaker connectors, a much appreciated rear mounted master power switch below the IEC socket and then of course populating the one single modular Digital board (which can be upgraded as and when developments appear) are USB, AES, Optical, Spdif and LAN inputs. The DAC and network module can accept data up to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD128 and is Airplay, DNLA and Roon ready (pending certification).
At the front we have soft touch buttons and a large TFT display. As the buttons are in a single line, operating it takes a small degree of acclimatisation but overall I find the Enyo very straightforward to use and the menu system is easy to read and comprehend. I was initially worried about the super soft touch operation but in practice I find them quite satisfying to use. The unit comes in at just under 30kg so significantly lighter than an RI-101 and most of that weight is at the front. Take a peek through the casing and the workmanship looks very neat and high quality with particular mention for the robust protection cages for the output tubes. The front panel also looks superb in the metal, elegant and minimal with a sturdy and powerful look. The simple folded sheet casework surround is perhaps where some money has been saved to be put into the components (much like the RI-101) but then the final look here, and on the back panel, is reminiscent and not inferior to that which you would see on a £35,000 piece of Audio Research. Completing the product package is the convenient to replace apple style remote, the smart instruction manual and the sensible and sturdy metal flight case.
On the rack it looks good. Very good in fact and better than any pictures can convey. Purposeful and powerful but special and elegant too. Ironically it actually looks even more visually arresting when flanked by my two demo Tidal Ferios mono amps, with a matching mix of black and mirror polished metal on the fascias. It’s no surprise that I am a fan of all of Thrax’s machining, from the Yatrus turntable to the aluminium housed standmounts and the uniquely sculpted reference electronics. Rumen has his own distinct style and there is always a feeling of heft and engineering prowess with everything he produces. It’s all done in house as well, another trick which seems to help hugely with fast delivery times of all Thrax equipment.