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In the first Acoustic Revive Chronicles article, I introduced the RR-77 Schumann Signal Generator* which stirred up a lot of interest in Acoustic Revive products both among our reviewers and readers alike. The RR-77's ability to make everything more natural, smoother and more musically lifelike was a big hit with everyone that heard it in my listening room. With the RR-77 powered up, the sensation of space opened up in the recording acoustic, notes decayed in a much more natural fashion, and the edge, grit or glare I was hearing on lesser recordings became more tolerable and less offensive. My good friends Stephæn and Pete both purchased an RR-77 for their own use after experiencing its magic in their systems. Here's another application from Ken: Try using the RR-77 to treat a CD before playing. Take a CD and place it label down on top of the powered-up RR-77 for a minute or two, then play it. I haven't had a chance to try this yet but give it a whirl and let me know how it works.

* Because of the documented psychophysical connection of the Schumann resonance with human wellbeing, it's not unthinkable at all that at least some of the RR-77's effects pertain to the listener, not just acoustic or electrical phenomena. This doesn't take away an iota of its efficacy as described by Jeff. It merely opens the door to thinking about the connection between equipment, the human listener, perception and devices which might influence perception in positive ways. Stephæn in fact has already taken receipt of a Schumann Resonator marketed for human wellbeing, to compare its perceived influence on sonics to that of the RR-77.- Ed.

In this edition of the Acoustic Revive Chronicles, I want to introduce the RIQ-5010 & RIQ-5010W Quartz Insulators and the QR-8 Quartz Resonators.

The RIQ-5010 & RIQ-5010W Quartz Insulators
Quartz is a silicate mineral present in crystalline form in the Earth's crust. The crystal size of quartz can vary from microscopic to quite large as in the opening photo montage. Quartz comes in many varieties such as agate, jasper, onyx, amethyst, citrine, rose quartz, smoky quartz, rock crystal and carnelian, distinguished from each other by their crystal structure and the presence of impurities that produce different colors.

Quartz crystals have been used for their refractive properties in crystallography; as oscillators in watches, integrated circuits, in early phonograph cartridges and radio transmitters and receivers due to their piezoelectric properties; and rock and mineral enthusiasts collect nicer examples of quartz crystal formations as art objects -- which can be quite expensive -- ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars for a nice mounted specimen a couple of inches in size.

The Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010 (smoky) and RIQ-5010W (clear) are large natural quartz crystal disks 50mm by 10mm in size or about the same as typical equipment footers (and almost identical in size to the footers on my Leben gear). They are mined as ore, then carved into disks and polished much like a jewelry gemstone would be. They are transparent with visible natural inclusions and very nicely made - jewel-like in fact. The basic idea behind their use as a system-tuning device is that vibrational energy which degrades your HiFi rig's performance is converted to another form or frequency of energy, then dissipated to improve performance. The quartz disks can function either as isolators by separating two vibrating surfaces; or as resonators when placed on one surface. In either case, the idea is to harness the piezoelectric properties of quartz for vibrational energy transformation to improve the sound of HiFi electronics (and no doubt there is some small mass loading effect involved as well when a disk is placed on equipment).

I asked Ken to tell me a little about the strategies for using the quartz disks: "Both the RIQ-5010 and RIQ-5010W will make the sound more realistic. There is a slight difference in sound between the two types. Smoky quartz will give you slightly more bass effects in articulation and extension. The clear quartz will give more transparency to high frequencies and will make the soundstage wider. Turning the quartz disk facing upwards or downwards has a bigger sound difference because quartz has a directional effect. It takes some effort but try and find the sweet spot direction of the insulator. If four insulators are facing the right direction, it will give a better phase characteristic to the sound. RIQ-5010 and RIQ-5010W are used underneath or on top of equipment."

Armed with Ken's advice, I began experimenting to see what sort of effects would occur with the Acoustic Revive quartz disks. I used the smoky and clear quartz disks as isolators between my walnut equipment cabinet and the footers of my Leben CS660P valve amp, the Pass XA30.5 solid-state amp, the Leben CS600 integrated amp and the Leben RS28CX preamplifier and its separate power supply. The effects across the different amplification devices were consistent: The clear quartz disks created a more open, detailed and transparent presentation from the midrange on up. I noticed little change below. The smoky quartz disks' effect from the midrange on down was to give a more spacious presentation, with the size of the soundspace increasing and better beat emphasis in the bass. From the midrange on up, the smoky quartz disks smoothed out sibilance and provided a more natural and less electronic overall feel.

Whether I liked the overall effect of the clear or smoky quartz disks as isolators varied with a component's overall voicing. I didn't like the clear quartz disks with the Pass where they added a little bit of edge and sibilance to the upper midrange. On the other hand, the smoky quartz disks did just the opposite by smoothing sibilance and providing a more natural and less electronic overall feel to the music - a definite improvement.

With the Leben CS600 integrated valve amp, both the smoky and quartz disks made nice improvements but each of a different flavor. Under the Leben preamplifier, I preferred the clear disks and under the preamps' power supply, the smoky disks. Under the Leben CS660P valve amplifier I preferred no disks at all. I must confess that I heard no difference at all based on directionality as Ken had suggested: Up sounded the same to me as down.

I also experimented with using the quartz disks as resonators on top of amplifier power and output transformers. The effect of a clear quartz disk atop the Leben CS660P's power transformer was subtle. It did make everything a little more natural and a little less electronic. Notes and percussion decayed longer and more naturally. Sibilance was reduced as were any edge, spit or glare from poorer recordings. I heard no difference with the smoky quartz disk. I could not hear any difference with either the clear or smoky disks on the Pass XA30.5's power transformer.

As an aside, Stephæn also has sets of the smoky and clear disks he is experimenting with in his own system. While over at his place with Pete for a listening session, Stephæn placed a clear quartz disk on top of the power transformer of his Wright 2A3 amps. The transformation was rather dramatic and of a much greater magnitude than with the Leben CS660P. The balance of the non-musical sonic artifacts of recordings to the musical aspects was significantly altered. For example, the air and space in the recording diminished rather noticeably with the clear quartz disk while instruments took on more body and more deeply saturated tone color. Depending on your tastes, you might or not like the transformation but it was easily audible. We didn't try the smoky quartz disk on Stephæn's amp at the time so I can't comment on the difference between it and the clear quartz.