Akiko Audio Corelli AC Conditioner
Akiko Audio Corelli AC Conditioner
“And whispered in the sounds of silence”
About two years ago I wrote my first review for Stereo Times…the subject of which was the Akiko Audio E-Tuning Gold MK2: a direct decendent to their latest product in the Corelli AC Conditioner, which is the subject of this review.
Quoting here, is the basic conclusion I reached THEN about the E-Tuning Gold MK2…
”I can’t really pass judgement on the scientific claims of how this product works but what I can surmise is that the reduction of noise allows our ears to relax and hear more of the natural music. Reduce hardness, grit, glare and all of the attributes we cherish, seem to be more hearable… and therefore we get – what Akiko describes as – “a more pleasant musical rendering”
As that review concluded I wished out loud that I would get a chance to someday experience more of their product line to see if adding more would have an additive effect. Eventually, I went on to add Tuning Sticks and the Triple AC Enhancer. The combination WAS additive and nicely pushed my system towards an even “MORE pleasant musical rendering”.
Well, my good fortune continues as I’ve gotten to live with and experience the Akiko Audio Coreli AC power conditioner. This, the company’s latest technology is described, as per their website, as follows…
“A pioneering reference power conditioner which provides your set with power in a unique way, without the use of electrical components and active power filtering. It reduces noise without negative side effects such as reduced dynamics or natural quality.
Internally the Corelli is set up with units made of woven carbon, specifically geared to their task. The neutral, phase and grounding are separately treated. An extra fourth Harmonizer unit is responsible for the improvement of the internal high-frequency radiation field. Moreover, the device is stabilized with black resin to repress unwanted microphonic effects adequately. That our products work has been shown by measurements. Reducing high-frequency noise leads to a music rendering in the audio spectrum that is perceived as a more enjoyable experience”.
I’ll say again, as I said in my first review, I don’t understand the science of why this thing works but WORK it does!
The directions are to just plug the unit into the circuit that your system is on. Nothing plugs into it. How it works it’s magic Akiko describes as follows…
o By lowering the high frequency noise, listening to music becomes more enjoyable; listening fatigue doesn’t get a chance.
o You will submerge deeper into the recording; because of the low noise floor small details become audible, leading to more emotion whilst enjoying your music.
o The Corelli doesn’t contain any electrical components or active power filtering.
The cylinders inside look similar to E-Tuning Gold MK2 cylinders and likewise they are NOT …presumably…. filled with a mixture of carbon fiber wiring and materials as they are the company’s trademark ingredients.
And although it looks and works in the same basic way as their other Tuning products this one has a more potent effect then the previous generation.
Just as before, the first and most obvious effect when introducing the Akiko products is a relaxation effect. Below I’ll give some specific examples, but my thumbnail sketch is that this “relaxation”, at first, feels like the highs are tamped down a bit; the proverbial “blanket over the speakers”. That’s too strong though…it’s more like a very light veil. Now, for some, with a quick listen, this will be an immediately disqualifying feature. They may not hear the sparkle in the high end that they have grown accustomed to. Perhaps not realizing that a good portion of that sparkle is due to artificial ingredients. I know because that was my initial reaction. But let me extort you to keep listening and discover some of the many virtues that the Corelli brings to bear….. IMHO!
Although this veiling was the immediate impression, continued examination allowed me to sense more happening. As I proceeded with my listening many positive qualities started to become apparent.
For example, one of the CD’s that I used for reference was James Cotton’s “DEEP IN THE BLUES”. The whole disc is musically great but for “audiophile” purposes let me focus on one particular cut ie. “You Got My Nose Open”. It’s a spare recording with Charlie Haden playing Double bass on the left, Cotton playing Harmonica and singing in the middle and Joe Lewis Walker playing guitar on the right. I have used this recording for years to assess changes to my system. It’s always has a rich helping of the qualities I’m after ie. great presence of each image, focus of those images and dynamics (micro and macro). All and all a song and audio experience I can get lost in. That’s not to say it was perfect, of course, just that it was something I could enjoy while I toiled in the audiophile mines, evaluating a wire change or speaker repositioning or the myriad of other games we play chasing the mythical audio Nirvana; you know the deal.
So, I listen to it sans Corelli and it has it’s usual helping of goodness. But, But, it has some issues. First off, there are spots where Cotton’s voice can sound a little rough. Actually, everything about his beat-up voice sounds rough, but that is natural for his voice. As he modulates higher and lower -thru his very limited range – you can hear the system struggle to stay natural sounding. You can hear the deviations as grit, hardness, glare, shoutyness etc.. I’m used to this. The level of it is not fatal…just noticeable! Although, it’s better this year than last and it was better last year than the year before …all because various additions/changes to my system, over time, have helped improve the end result.
So, I plug the Corelli in and listen. Remembering that Akiko claims that their products lower the high frequency noise. As I described earlier the first most obvious result is the feeling that the highs are tamped down a bit. As a result, everything feels more relaxed. But, continued closer listening reveals some other things. The bass, wow, the bass seems louder; has more heft and authority! Or, it’s just more focused in its space. Actually, it’s both!! And the space surrounding it is clearer and more focused. Why should that be?? I thought the Corelli was just supposed to reduce the high-frequency noise in the system. Reduce grit, glare, hardness OK… but why should that effect the dimensional aspects of the images so profoundly? And in the bass no less!?!
This is getting interesting!!!
So now, the dimensional thing is becoming apparent for every image on the stage. And not just the images but also the space each image is hovering in seems dimensionally more noticeable and more clearly mapped out. Yes, everything is clearer. Why? Is it the Sound of silence? Banish the random chaos that is the noise that rides on our electric blood supply and the system seems purer and more capable of sounding musically natural.
It took some time, living with the Corelli, for me to hear all of it’s capabilities. Part of the reason that it took so long was something that I discovered only late in the review process. It was something I learned earlier while living with some of their tuning products; and wish I had remembered sooner. The effect these Akiko products can have on a system can be greater or lesser depending on where in the circuit you plug them in. As evidence, for most of my time with the Corelli, I had it plugged into what was a tributary off of my main power strip. More simply, it was into a secondary power strip that was connected to my main power strip. It wasn’t until I moved it from there – and into the main strip – that I really heard what it can do.
Another little fun fact, that seems counter-intuitive for a passive product that has none of your equipment plugged into it, the power cord you use will effect the impact of the Corelli. Akiko recommends their lowest priced cord (~$200). When I first got the unit, the cord wasn’t included so I pressed something I had lying around (something older but many more times expensive) into service. Wouldn’t you know it when I finally did get a hold of the Akiko cord…it was a better match.
All in all, although it took a little time, my experience with the Corelli was VERY positive.
I couldn’t claim that it would be an unquestionable homerun for EVERY system, but I have no doubt that many would find it to be a very valuable tool to help extract the best from their system. It allowed my system to move to a higher level both from an audiophile perspective and even more importantly allowed it to be more musical. As many of us have learned, along the journey, those two traits are often at odds.
I’ve enjoyed my time with the Corelli and HIGHLY recommend an audition because, as I found, it’s difficult to fully describe the many positive impacts it can help bring about in a system. Picture worth thousand words and the pictures this thing can help you conjure up had me riveted.
Better vision thru noise reduction!!
ed van winkle
ed van winkle
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