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Caprice Audio MOSAIC Preview

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A Passive Low Noise Filter Designed to Open Up A System

To know me is to suffer my eccentricities. It is my nature to be both a skeptic and a cynic of the highest order, so imagine how I must be feeling now when something which originally caught my eye at an Hi-Fi show as an accessory, has now, just about a quarter of a year later, become a mainstay of my home system.

One look at the Caprice Audio MOSAIC, a passive low noise filter, and one would think they had gone back in time almost 20 years when 12-inch Apple PowerBooks resembled thick aluminum bricks, much like the MOSAIC. My first encounter with the device was at last year’s [2017] Capital Audio Fest held in Rockville, MD. I must have walked by the display table a number of times, as it was opposite MYTEK and positioned just outside the exhibition space housing the headphone/portable manufacturers. My curiosity finally got the better of me as did my energy level, so I sat myself down to don some headphones and listen for myself.

Unsure of what to expect, and what I should be listening for I was at a loss; but there was something I was hearing which I could neither qualify or quantify. There was just too much noise in the display area, and truth be told I was not comfortable in my surroundings.

Luis Alberto, Caprice Audio CEO with his creation, the MOSAIC

After a while Luis sensed what was going on and suggested that I take a unit with me back home so I could listen to it at my leisure. I was still on the fence, and had this unit required being plugged into the wall, I might very well have said no. It would have been just too much bother, but upon learning that all I needed to connect the unit to my DAC was/is a digital coaxial cable, this was indeed going to happen.

The Caprice Audio MOSAIC is a component that removes low level noise. Luis created the Wave Stream Hybrid filter to passively peel away layers of distortion while producing an analog quality to the sound. The MOSAIC aids in the retention of micro signal information which is an important element of live recordings. The need for such a device is based on Luis’ own experience with DACs and their custom filters. He was encouraged by his early experience with CDs but over time he became unhappy with the unnatural sound quality, and found that listening, over a long period, to digital sources that the sound could be fatiguing, appear shrouded,. These findings set Luis on his way to develop his filter.

After about half an hour of listening to digital files, FLAC and DSD, I absentmindedly started listening to one of my favorite radio streams: KCRW’s Eclectic 24, and was blown away. All of a sudden, I’m hearing the stream in a whole new light, the sound is 3-dimensional, the soundstage totally opens up and I can’t help but gush. Soon, I’m forgetting it’s a radio stream and getting wrapped up in the playlist. This couldn’t be, so I disconnected the MOSAIC, and spent the next 30 minutes listening to the stream and it just wasn’t the same – it was fatiguing and appeared shrouded. Having reconnected the MOSAIC, I noticed that with it now connected I was listening at a lower volume without any loss of detail. Normally, my volume dial would be set at 9 o’clock but here I am listening to it at 8 o’clock. Were my ears playing tricks on me? Was this some sort of psychoacoustic phenomenon? Can the MOSAIC make an amplifier more efficient? Not a bad by-product, if you ask me. 

Relaying my experiences to Luis over the phone, I learn from the man at Caprice Audio HQ himself, that I can attach not only DAC, but my amplifier and my phono stage to the MOSAIC. With even more possibilities being presented, I leapt at the prospect and started connecting the MOSAIC to everything in my system.

Connecting the MOSAIC directly to my amplifier and DAC was/is a game changer. The jury is still out on its effects on the analog side of things, but playback of Internet radio streams, most notably the Audiophile Baroque, Classical, Jazz, and Lounge high-resolution streams from Psychomed took on a whole new presence, an airiness, which made prolonged exposure feel like a blessing. Listening to lossless files from my massive library, 16-bit 44.1 kHz (Redbook) to DSD256 and everything PCM in between, the music again took on new engaging properties. And having switched out 3 different DACs (exaSound e22, Exogal Comet and Mytek Brooklyn/Brooklyn +) along with connecting and disconnecting the MOSAIC, my conclusions remained the same. Caprice Audio’s low noise filter brought something to the party.

Psychoacoustics aside, the MOSAIC may not be for everyone. More examination is needed. The nature of Hi-Fi is that it lends itself to subjectivity and as such I invite readers to search out Caprice Audio at show to hear for yourself. Come on out with your trusty headphones and DAP and have Luis connect them to the MOSAIC. You should listen to music with which you are intimate so effects, if any, can be more easily recognized.

It has been 4 months now and my MOSAIC isn’t going anywhere. It is staying put right where it is in my system. I have grown accustomed to its positive effects on my listening experience.

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