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Reviewer: Jeff Day
Digital: Sony PlayStation 1 SCPH-1001 with Furutech G-320Ag-18F8 power cord, Oppo DV981HD universal player.
Analog: Merrill Heritage turntable completely restored by Anthony Scillia, Rega RB300 tonearm with Pete Riggle Audio VTAF and counterweight, Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood cartridge [vinyl front end on short term loan from 6Moons reader Joe Kelley via Pete Riggle thanks guys!]; Auditorium 23 step-up transformer, and Fi phono stage
Preamplifier: Leben RS28CX
Integrated amplifiers: Leben CS600 with Furutech G-320Ag-18 IEC power cord, Leben CS300X Limited, Almarro A205A Mk1 & Mk2
Amplifiers: Fi 2A3 monos, Leben CS-660P [in for review], Pass XA30.5 [in for review]
Speakers: Harbeth Super HL5 with 18" Skylan stands, Merrill Zigmahornets
Cables: Acoustic Revive PCOCC-A oval single core interconnects [in for review], Auditorium 23 speaker cable; various SilverFi interconnects, digital interfaces & speaker cables; White Lightning Moonshine DIY interconnects & speaker cables; Nirvana interconnects & speaker cables; Audio Tekne ARSP-500 speaker cables and ARC-500 interconnects
Stands: McKinnon Bellevue Symphony walnut media cabinet, Skylan isolation platform [in for review]
Music Makers: Indian Rosewood & Spruce Larrivee parlor guitar, Adirondack Spruce & Brazilian Rosewood Gibson Advanced Jumbo guitar, Eastman Uptown AR910CE arch top jazz guitar & Henrikson Jazz Amp & Analysis Plus Yellow Flex Oval guitar cable
Room and system tuning: Acoustic Revive RD-3 Demagnetizer, RGC-24 Ground Conditioner, RIO-5 II Minus Ion Generator, Ultra Low-Frequency Pulse Generator R-77, Acoustic Conditioner RWL-3, Pure Smokey Quartz Insulator RIQ-5010 & Pure Quartz Insulator RIQ-5010W, Shorting Plugs SIP-8F, RPT-2 Ultimate & RPT-4 Ultimate Power Supply Boxes, CB-1DB Receptacle Base Plate, CFRP-1F Carbon Fiber Receptacle Plate, Power Max II Power Cable, CS-2F Outlet Stabilizer [all in for review]
Room sizes: Room 1 - 20' L x 17' W x 17' H; Room 2 - 11' L x 11'W x 9' H
Review component retail: $425
|When Yoshi Hontani, exporter of the beautiful and musical Leben valve gear from Japan, told me that he was so impressed with the Acoustic Revive system and room tuning accessories as to start exporting them too, I paid close attention. Yoshi-San has exquisite taste in picking hifi gear that maximizes the musical experience. When Yoshi asked me if I'd like to check out a couple of Acoustic Revive products, I immediately said "Yes!".
|I was taken by surprise when three big boxes of Acoustic Revive products arrived at my front door as I had expected a couple of little bitty boxes. After unpacking everything, I was even more surprised to discover the following Acoustic Revive room and system tuning devices laid out before me: The RD-3 Demagnetizer; RGC-24 Ground Conditioner; RIO-5 II Minus Ion Generator; Ultra Low-Frequency Pulse Generator R-77; Acoustic Conditioner RWL-3; Pure Smokey Quartz Insulator RIQ-5010 & Pure Quartz Insulator RIQ-5010W; Shorting Plugs SIP-8F; RPT-2 Ultimate & RPT-4 Ultimate Power Supply Boxes; CB-1DB Receptacle Base Plate; CFRP-1F Carbon Fiber Receptacle Plate; Power Max II Power Cable; and CS-2F Outlet Stabilizer!
Holy smokes! Realizing just how many Acoustic Revive products I had in-house for review, I decided I'd have to write about them in several installments as an act of self preservation. There's just too much for me to tell you about at one time without short-changing an item or ending up with an audio tome equivalent of War & Peace. This article thus kicks off the Acoustic Revive Chronicles, a special series devoted to these remarkable products.
The system I used was the Sony PS1 SCPH for Red Book digital, a Merrill Heritage turntable for analog duties, a Leben RS28CX preamplifier with matching Leben CS660P amplifier and Harbeth Super HL5 speakers sitting on a pair of Noel Nolan's Skylan stands. Interconnects and speaker cables were by Audio Tekne. This system has huge synergy and is just a joy to listen to - a music lover's benchmark for sure. Having said that, the Acoustic Revive room and system tuning devices have transformed my listening room and HiFi rig in a musically rather unprecedented fashion. I am flabbergasted! But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. Let me back up and start at the beginning. After unpacking everything from those three big boxes, I picked the RR-77 Ultra-Low Frequency Pulse Generator to try first.
The Acoustic Revive RR-77 ultra-low frequency pulse generator is a stand-alone active device that plugs into a wall outlet but not your HiFi rig. According to Acoustic Revive, the RR-77 generates a 7.83Hz Schumann frequency pulse that 'shields' your HiFi electronics and listening room from radio frequency interference and thereby improves the S/N ratio so the electronics perform better.
Let me give you additional background because there's quite a lot more to the RR-77 than that. Let's start with the Schumann resonance frequency phenomena. The Schumann resonance is a natural geophysical resonant frequency mode of the Earth that occurs at approximately 7.83Hz and in 1952 was predicted mathematically by physicist Winfried Otto Schumann for whom it was named.
Here's how it works: When solar radiation strikes the Earth's outer atmosphere, molecules like NO, N2 and O2 are ionized to produce a positively charged layer called the ionosphere. The surface of the Earth has a negative charge of electricity due to transfer of electrical energy from the atmosphere. The portion of the atmosphere between the positively charge ionosphere and the negatively charged Earth surface acts as a natural capacitor where charges build up and then discharge in the form of electrical storms. These electrical storms produce electromagnetic waves in the very low frequency and extremely low frequency ranges. These naturally produced electromagnetic waves are attenuated by the ionosphere and the Earth's charged surface which functions as a waveguide. These attenuated electromagnetic waves travel around the world in the atmosphere as standing waves at the frequency of 7.83Hz and its harmonics. For a nice technical description of all the intricacies of the Schumann resonance, I suggest visiting the University of Iowa website.
Some scientists believe that over evolutionary time, biological organisms evolved to use the Schumann resonance phenomena as one mechanism for maintaining biological health. For an example, they point to the human brain's electromagnetic waves that are synchronized to the Schumann frequency. In studies when people were shielded from the naturally occurring Schumann resonance frequency, their circadian rhythms were disrupted and they began to experience migraine headaches, emotional stress and other health issues. When exposed to Schumann pulse generators of 7.83Hz, their symptoms disappeared.
Dr. Guy E. Abraham, MD, a former Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Endocrinology at the UCLA School of Medicine, has done some interesting research on adverse health effects on patients due to that same electromagnetic pollution. He found that his patients could be effectively treated using a Schumann resonance 'shield' generated by a pulsed emitter (you can read content from his research originally published in Original Internist here). Dr. Abraham said that "since EM pollution is due to man made EM energy with frequencies different than the Schumann fundamental, an emitter of EM potential pulsed at the Schumann fundamental would be expected to shield the human body from the harmful effects of EM pollution." Dr. Abraham also reported how patients exposed to Schumann pulse generators experienced improved health and "a sense of well-being".
As hifi enthusiasts know, there is a lot of electromagnetic 'pollution' from signal transmissions in modern times that can degrade a system's performance. It would appear that Schumann pulse generators like the Acoustic Revive RR-77 provide a shield for EM pollution. It stands to reason that if a Schumann pulse generator can shield a human body from harmful EM contamination and provide positive benefits, it might do the same thing for our HiFi rigs - which is exactly the premise behind the Acoustic Revive RR-77.
The Acoustic Revive catalog says the R-77 ultra-low frequency pulse generator has: "Wonderful effects of improving sound and picture quality!... RR-77 is used in the recording and mastering studios of major record companies." The Acoustic Revive RR-77 Schumann pulse generator is about the size of an outboard hard drive for a computer and plugs into a wall outlet. The RR-77 is nicely made and its light weight is due to a plastic chassis containing a single circuit board. The chassis is finished in an attractive silver paint job with contrasting gold lettering. There is a power switch on the back and a blue LED illuminates to indicate when the RR-77 is powered up.
Acoustic Revive recommends that the RR-77 be placed at a height of five feet or more which, I confirmed, provided better performance than lower positions where effectiveness seems much reduced. When positioning your unit, you really need to make sure it is at least five feet off the floor. I have my RR-77 sitting in an alcove above my fireplace on the left wall of my living/listening room. You can experiment with placement a little and see what works best for you. In his listening room, audio bro Stephæn found that the best performance with the RR-77 was achieved between and up behind his loudspeakers.
I had actually plugged in and started using the RR-77 before I had read up on it or done any background research so I didn't really know what to expect. The first time I powered up the RR-77, I had some music playing and was shocked by the transformation. "What the hell!" I mumbled as the RR-77 made everything more natural, smoother and more musically lifelike - a music lover's dream come true. Space opened up in the recording acoustic, notes decayed in a much more natural fashion and what little edge, grit or glare I was hearing on lesser recordings over the review system became more tolerable.
One aspect particularly intrigued me: You know how you can hear the acoustic signature of a recording venue in a recording? The recording has its own acoustic signature and so does your listening room and they are different. With the RR-77 powered up, it's as though the dissimilar acoustic signatures of the recording and listening room blended and became one. This effect of the RR-77 is a little hard to articulate fully and you really need to experience it to get the full understanding. On smaller, more intimate jazz recordings in particular, it makes it seem like the musicians are in the room with you playing and yet you feel like you're in the recording.
|Take the Joe Pass album What is there to say? that was recorded live at the Vine Street Bar & Grill in Hollywood, California (a wonderful album by the way). It's as if the recording acoustic filled my listening room and yet at the same time it felt like the overall acoustic was that of my room. I heard all the little cues of life in this live recording -- the jingling glasses, people moving around and that sort of thing -- but they were moving around in my acoustic space - a totally natural sounding acoustic environment. But that wasn't all. Tone was ravagingly beautiful, decay of notes profound and the sense of melody carried along a stream of notes. I'll save you from droning on about album after album but the outcome was always the same - more music, more beauty, more fun.
There not only appears to be an effect on the hifi electronics resulting in a much more natural, liquid and musical presentation, it also seems the RR-77 acts as a room conditioning device. It seems to have taken my room, which has been a difficult room to tame, and turned it into a really good-sounding space. Why this would be so I don't know but it's very noticeable and a very welcome improvement.
The RR-77 pulls off a real magic act in accentuating the musicality of a recording and hifi rig. The non-musical elements of the recording process such as soundspace, soundstaging, imaging, extreme detail recovery and so forth all have a dollop of naturalness applied to them so that they don't distract you from the musical elements of tone, melody, rhythm, emotional impact and musical flow. Those non-musical artifacts are still there but now in complete support of the music to never draw your attention away from the music as some audiophile-style systems tend to do.
With the RR-77 doing its little magic act, I can listen all day long with zero listening fatigue. If anything, a listening session becomes energizing and edifying and when a long nocturnal session is over, I feel refreshed. Did I mention that audio pals Pete Riggle and Stephæn Harrell both bought one of these devices after giving it a listen? They did. And you just know that mine's not going anywhere.
The RR-77 is a no-brainer purchase. At $425, it is expensive for what it seems to be - a little plastic box with a circuit board inside. It is a musical bargain though at that price -- or any price really -- for what it does to transform the listening experience. The RR-77 is a music lover's Blue Moon winner if I've ever seen one: absolutely, unequivocally and enthusiastically recommended.
Quality of packing: Excellent.
Condition of component received: Perfect.
Completeness of delivery: Complete.
Quality of owner's manual: Owners manual is a small pamphlet. You don't really need one though as all you do is plug it in and turn it on.
Website comments: Decent website. It's a little hard to follow some of the Japanese to English translations but I got the idea.
Warranty: No warranty information included.
Human interactions: Yoshi Hontani is the best person to work with I can imagine. He is expedient, courteous, and helpful. The same goes for US importer Joe Cohen of the Lotus Group - a class act.