Random Noise 10
“Weird science.” Much to my amusement, I first came upon the term in email exchanges with Derrick Moss, the no-nonsense designer-manufacturer of my Integris CDP (AurumAcoustics.com). Derrick was instructing me in acoustic isolation’s many misdirections. Weird science reappears in spades in the audio goody under scrutiny here, Acoustic Revive’s RR-77 Ultra Low Frequency Pulse Generator.
I own three Acoustic Revive audio accouterments: a digital-disc demagnetizer, a digital-disc negative ionizer, both free-standing, and a virtual ground that links to the CDP. It was Derrick who put me on to the demagnetizer. The other pieces I explored on my own, reviewed and bought from the American distributor, Lotus Group USA. I recommend checking out the Web site, LotusGroupUSA.com, for Joe Cohen’s Acoustic Revive comments. You can also link directly to AcousticRevive.com. Be prepared for pungent English (a lot better, withal, than my Japanese).
My Acoustic Revive adventures have not been a total success. With respect to AR’s quartz dots and silk wool, I was unable to hear a difference, which may have to do my age. Perhaps younger ears can detect what I couldn’t.
In any event, if demagnetizing discs for which magnetization would seem to offer no sonic difficulties or bombarding said discs with toasty-warm negative ions strike you as peculiarly extravagant behavior, then how does bathing the listening room in subsonic pulsations grab you? We’re not discussing some enormous woofer pumping out 7.83 cycles per second but rather a small, unassuming box weighing next to nothing producing inaudible and impalpable impulses of the same frequency, the wherefore of which arises from a German physicist’s mid-century discovery, the eponymous Schumann Resonance.
(The Schumann Resonance! I do so love the sound of that! – right up there with the Calgary Stampede and Armageddon. “Knock knock.” “Who’s there?” “Armageddon.” “Armageddon who?” “Open the goddamn door! Armageddon real tard o’ waitin’ out here!” Couldn’t resist.)
And now a mute word from our planet….
Raise your sights, we’re going global. The Schumann Resonance relates to Earth’s magnetic field. Briefly, its practical effects, said to be salutary, are much diminished in the domestic setting by EMF, RFI and whatever other clump of vaguely sinister initials I’ve neglected to list. There’s a ton of stuff about SR on the Internet. Has it any more validity than UFO or Sasquatch sightings? Not for me to say. All I do is listen and report.
In my online Schumann Resonance perusals, I did note one health-related entry that engaged my interest. I diagnosed myself long ago as having chronic fatigue syndrome, and a blood test some time later detected the presence of the Epstein-Barr virus, relating to mononucleosis. I’ve had what I thought are rather mild recurrences lasting, usually, no more than a day or two. Wondering whether the RR-77 would prove beneficial in the way of well being, I set it up in our bedroom one evening to see what I’d feel like the following morning. Succinctly put, like shit in a skillet. I thought I’d go out of my skull. Anxiety, jitters, you name it. Enough of that, thank you! I intend to restrict investigations to the listening room. (A subsequent spell of maybe-CFS suggests that the RR-77 may simply have been an innocent – and ineffectual – bystander.)
Midway through my sweet-spot scrutinies, I invited a skeptical scientific type to a listening session. He validated what I’d been hearing. (I decline to bore you with my listening saga.) With respect to a wide range of recordings from grand to intimate, the RR-77 does rather wonderful things to my audio system’s stereo image. Dimensionality and texture improve. A well-produced recording becomes more lifelike and therefore more engaging – a whole lot more engaging in fact. When I turn the unit off (as often as not to convince myself I’m not imagining things), the sound, still excellent by any measure, becomes less convincing. To put that another way, I’m more aware of listening to a recording. It’s as if the experience has become a tad more abstract. With the unit on, an illusion of “thereness” dominates. Canned music achieves a more lifelike presence.
A better sense of “air” likewise strengthens one’s impressions that the music occurs in three-dimensional spaciousness. (I listen mostly to classical and some jazz.) Normally, when I report on an improvement, I mention resolution and transparency. Differences in resolution seem not to apply here, but transparency, yes, if by that one means a better perception of air, space, harmonic rightness, and dimensionality. (On looking again at this sentence, I also appear to be describing resolution. “A rose by any other name….”)
In terms of comparison, with the RR-77 off, the image recedes and flattens somewhat. With the RR-77 on, the image moves forward, broadens and, as mentioned, takes on a more three-dimensional character. Of the Acoustic Revive components I’ve been using, the RR-77 impresses me, at least for the present, as making the greatest contribution to better sound.
And of course it’s staying here.
Acoustic Revive is not alone
My scattershot Schumann Resonance search via Google brought me to a similar product, which is to say, a small box emitting ultra-low-frequency pulses, called EarthSafe Whole House, available from Less EMF Inc., 809 Madison Avenue, Albany NY 12208. Less EMF graciously lent me the unit with the understanding that it was never intended as other than a health aid. But I did try it out with the sound system, with inconclusive results. The RR-77 is smaller, better looking, quite a bit more expensive, and audio / video specific. The leaflets that come with the cute l’il thang make no mention of health benefits, at least not the stuff in English. I can’t vouch for the Japanese.
I look at it this way: because I heard something good happening to the sound system, I concluded that the RR-77 is on the level, which of course leads me to believe that Acoustic Revive’s application of the Schumann Resonance has validity. That, or I’ve been doing some really fancy hallucinating. (Not unheard of in our tight little circle. If I had a crisp, new twenty for every report of knock-your-socks-off amelioration an audio product brings to the mix, I’d buy a yacht.) The EarthSafe product operates differently. For one thing, a knob increases or decreases the ultra-low frequency. To find the setting that best suits your feel-good index, you’re required to do an arm-strength test with an assistant’s help. I did not pursue this avenue of investigation lest my wife consider having me committed. (She has reason enough as is.) If what I’ve mentioned about the Schumann Resonance’s health aspect piques your interest, call for Less EMF’s catalog: 888 537 7363, or check outwww.lessemf.com.
Speakers: Wilson WATT / Puppy, Series 8
Amps: NuForce Reference 9 SE, Version 2
CDP: Aurum Acoustics Integris
Cables: Nordost Valhalla balanced interconnects, Nordost Tyr speaker cables
Power cords: Nordost Vishnu and Brahma
Line filters: BlackNoise (an Italian product distributed in the US by NuForce)
Acoustic isolation: Aurum Acoustic steel points and a Golden Sound Pad under the CDP; Nordost Quasar Points under the NuForce amps.
Acoustic Revive RR-77, $425US
American distributor Lotus Group USA
415 897 8884
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