by Roy Harris
While waiting for the Eastern Electric Sabre DAC, the subject of my next review, which was held at customs in NYC, the importer, Morningstar Audio, suggested that I review another product. I believe he based his assessment upon the fact a customer who borrowed the product, “refused to give it back”.
Its goal is to “improve” the sound of CDs. It is a catalyst in the process and its method of operation is simple. Place the CD on a spindle, which becomes illuminated for 5 seconds. Then, remove the disc and play. Its effect lasts for 82 minutes. It is battery driven by 2 aaa batteries.
Unfortunately, the company’s website offers no explanation as to how/why the product works nor a description of the materials within the device. Although the pamphlet accompanying the product states the expected effect from using the energizer upon the sound of a stereo system The synthetic proof of the efficacy of the product is absent, leaving an air of mystery and one’s senses as the sole mode of evaluation.
While reviewing the Nagy’s digital cable, it seemed to make sense to apply the Energizer following the play of each recording. Thus, I generated a comparison between the sound of a stereo system with and without the use of the energizer. I will therefore, report my findings associated with each recording that was included in my review of the Nagy’s digital cable. I will mention a brief description of each disc so that it will not be necessary to have a copy of the Nagy’s review or refer to it , while reading this review.
Disc #1, was Holly Cole, DON’T SMOKE IN BED, track 1, Alert Z2 81020.
I found the bass frequencies more distinct, yet just as full, I.e., exhibiting the same weight. There was less emphasis upon the word “see”, I.e., a reduction in sibilance. A layer of veiling was removed and the remaining sibilance sounded more natural, perhaps resembling what one would hear at a recording session.
Disc #2 was FANDANGO–SCARLATTI IN IBERIA, Sophie Yates, Harpsichord, track1, Chandos 0635.
The sound of the harpsichord revealed greater weight and less sharpness, when strings were struck. There was more presence of the wood body and there seemed to be a change in the spectral balance away from the treble and towards the mid and upper bass.
Disc #3 was the CD Steely Dan AJA, MCAD 37214 DIDX 55, track 3.
Donald Fagan’s voice exhibited greater separation from the other instruments on the recording. The spectral balance seemed to be unchanged. However, overall, the effect of the sound reminded me of the sound of tubes, in the subtractive sense, creating a sense of euphonic coloration and hence pleasantness, as exemplified by the sound of the chorus, being less focused and slightly less resolved. The tenor sax sounded more natural in its timbral resolution, after using the Energizer.
The application of the Energizer to the CD Together, featuring John Williams and Julian Bream, track 1, RCA 09026-61450-2, restored some of the presence of the wood body that was initially absent . Both instruments sounded more realistic.
Thus, there was a change , again, in the spectral balance, away from the upper midrange/lower treble region toward the lower mids. The frequency response seemed more in balance having treated the disc.. However, the distance between listener and performers seemed to diminish.
There was a surprise when treating the last disc, Wessanaer’s Concerti Armonici,, for violin ensemble and continuo, track 5, Naxos 8.55384. While there was a greater extension in the bass, as evidenced by a greater presence in the bass viols, as well as greater fullness and warmth, the harpsichord became clearer,I.e., an extension in the treble. Yet, there was observed some veiling which reduced the realism in the sound of the violins–less so than when the disc was not treated. Thus, in spite of greater presence of the harpsichord, the violins still seemed subdued, but less so. It seemed that coloration was reduced, but not eliminated.
Although the AER Energizer has an “air” of mystery as a consequence of a lack of information about the product, there was evidence of a sonic effect each time a disc was treated.
In spite of one surprise, there seemed to be a consistent pattern regarding bass response, and naturalness of timbre, in the context of the components of my stereo system.
The effect of the energizer upon the upper frequencies,, i,e, upper mids, lower and upper treble, varied with the recording. I noticed, in one case, an extension in the treble, in another , I observed no change, while in another case, I heard a reduction in the spl in the upper mid/lower treble region. It is difficult to account for the changes I perceived, as I have no objective data to account for my subjective findings. The lack of “knowledge “ of the sound of the recordings and the limited sample size of the sources renders any hypotheses about why and how the Energizer is affecting the upper frequencies moot.
I feel more confident that the Energizer can enhance the presence of the lower frequencies,and contribute to a sense of fullness. I would say that from my brief exposure to the Energizer, I would say that it creates a less “digital” sounding CD, in the conventional sense, and closer to the sound of an LP. Thus, the AER Energizer may mitigate or address some of the flaws of many recordings and in some way may be synergistic with Nagys digital cable.
The AER Disc Energizer
Manufactured by Innoworks Product Creation Ltd.
Suite 2203, Kowloon Building, 555 Nathan Road, Mongkok, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Tel (852) 3525 1496
Source: Manufacturer Loan
DAC: PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC
Transport: PS Audio Perfect Wave Transport
Preamp: Bent TVC passive
Amp: VTL Deluxe 120
Digital Cable: Nagys Audio
Interconnects: Soundstring Audio, Cryoset Copper
Speaker Cable: Ear to Ear
Power Cords: Ear to Ear, Western Electric copper
Speakers: Quad ESL and Magnepan 1.6
Accessories: Room Tunes, Egg Crate Mattresses, Sound Fusion Sound Boosters, Chang ISO 64, PS Audio Juice Bar, PS Audio Ultimate Outlet, Nirvana Audio Isolation Transformer