- RD-3 Disc Demagnetizer
- Retail: $399
- RIO-5 II Minus Ion Generator
- Retail: $599
In today’s strange and complex world that we live in there are many who will take your money giving little in return. They will make promises of magical mystical products that are guaranteed to transform your audio system from the mundane to the magnificent. Fortunately for us Acoustic Revive is not one of them. When you buy something from Acoustic Revive you can be assured that a team of researchers of the highest caliber have passed judgment on it before it gets to your doorstep and into your home. Your audio system is not a testing ground for their products but rather a place where you get to experience the magic that is Acoustic Revive. Last month I reviewed the Acoustic Revive RTP-2, 4, and 6 ultimate Power supply boxes. The difference between the three was the amount of receptacles in each. As for quality each one was built the same and of irreproachable design concepts and craftsmanship. If you missed last month’s review of these products take a look back and read it carefully. I am still amazed at the design efforts that went into every detail of the RTP series and was wondering if the same would be found in their next two products, which I shall now review.
Today I am honored to be reviewing the RD-3 Disc Demagnetizer and the RIO-5 II Minus Ion Generator. Both of these products are of course from Acoustic Revive and are designed to help us attain the best possible sound from our fiveinch discs. The main thrust of this review will be how they relate to CD playback but I shall also offer my opinions on their relationship to DVD’s as well. Amazingly the pricing on these two products is relatively inexpensive. The RD-3 is priced at only $399 while the RIO-5 II slightly more at only $599. When you think of it $998 is not a steep price tag to pay for something that could possible transform your entire CD and DVD collection into something well beyond what it is currently today. So before you decide to upgrade to a newer much more expensive CD player maybe you should first read this review.
The RD-3 is designed to eliminate the magnetic properties found within our beloved CD and DVD collection. It is well known that if you demagnetize a disc or even a vinyl record the sound will improve dramatically. For those of you with a large vinyl collection Acoustic Revive also makes the RL-30 III (a large sized demagnetizer) for records and for cables. I have not yet used this but have heard that it is a top quality product. What is it that causes a disc to become magnetized? Looking at the Acoustic Revive website you will find them stating two reasons. First is that there is an iron ingredient contained in the ink on the label side of the disc that can easily become magnetized. Second, CD players themselves contain magnetic substances that when a disc is rotated generates a flux, causing the disc to magnetize. Apparently the use of aluminum on the recording side of a disc has a 1% ferromagnetic substance such as iron, nickel and cobalt. The aluminum in the disc is a weak magnetic material that is easily influenced by magnetism. The solution is to demagnetize all discs before playing them on the CD player or before and after recording them to a disc. Acoustic Revive suggests that even after a disc is demagnetized it will regain its magnetism slightly even after only one play because of the CD player itself. Even though the effects of the RD-3 will last over 6 months it is ideally recommended that you demagnetize your disc before each playing. Also remember that you should only demagnetize 10 discs at a time and then wait 15 minutes to allow it to cool down between treating sets of 10 discs.
About 10 years ago I had heard great things about Billy Joel’s River of Dreams CD so I went out and bought it. Unfortunately I just did not like the recording, as individual instruments seemed bunched together and muddied instead of clearly defined. I figured this would be a good test CD for the RD-3 and RIO-5 since it is one that I did not enjoy. If the RD-3 and RIO-5 II could enhance the sound to the point where I enjoyed listening to it then they did their jobs.
First thing up was to play it one more time to familiarize myself with it again in the standard untreated form. Like before I just could not get into the disc and found it boring. Now it was time to put the disc label side face down onto the RD-3 demagnetizer and press the “erase” button. I did so and about 15 seconds later the treatment was finished. Acoustic Revive recommends that you treat only this one side of a CD or DVD. There are many things the user manual will warn you against and one is “do not operate the demagnetizer pointing to human body”. So please read these instructions first. When the demagnetizing was done I simply inserted the disc into my CD player and hit play. I did not need to listen hard for this one, it was apparent something had occurred that made the music more pleasurable to listen to. As I once again heard the tract “River of Dreams”, I felt that the soundstage was wider, bass impact increased slightly and highs seemed more distinct. I found myself listening to the entire CD where as before it just would not hold my interest for any length of time. I had to see if this was my imagination or had the RD-3 really been responsible for a dramatic change in this CD.
Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde is another favorite of mine; although I had always rather listened to the vinyl version instead. At first listen I felt the CD presented a rather flat recording with Bob’s voice as a vague rather distant sound coming from between my speakers. The music in “I Want You”, almost overshadowed his voice. Again a 15 second treatment of the CD by the RD-3 and I was ready once again to listen for any difference. Amazingly the CD once again seemed to produce a better soundstage where everything within it seemed so much clearer than before. The high notes seemed to sparkle and were more prominent. Bob’s voice was now more clear and in focus making the song a joy to listen to. Now it was much closer to my vinyl version. This was definitely more like a true Bob Dylan performance. Many years ago I was lucky enough to have actually seen him in concert in New York City.
Hearing it work on these two CD’s I was beginning to realize that this was not just a one-time event that worked only on certain CD’s. This time I decided to listen to my James Blunt Back to Bedlam. Again I liked this CD but felt there were some weaknesses that prevented me from going overboard in my regard for it. After the RD-3 was done with it I put it back into my CD player for another listen. For the third time in a row the treatment improved the performance. The soundstage seemed wider, more details were evident in the recording and the vocals took on a life for the better. Each CD I treated now became more enjoyable to hear and one I would recommend to others where before I really had not much interest in them. I purposely have used CD’s that I did not like listening to in order to see if the RD-3 could change my mind about them and I must say it did so in no uncertain terms.
One more note about the RD-3, looking at their website I noticed it can also be used to demagnetize cables much like their RL-30 III (record demagnetizer) I mentioned earlier. If the cable is small just roll it up, if longer do sections at a time and even if you just do the plug part or the connectors that is fine also. Now of course their RL-30 III is easier to work with as it is larger but I must admit once again the sound took on less of an edge when I treated my cables with the RD-3. Of course check with your cable manufacturer about demagnetizing them if you think the cables are made in a way that this would harm them. For my cables and speaker wire, it worked just fantastic. Chalk up another big plus for this inexpensive little device from Acoustic Revive.
Ok what do you do after you invent a device that can dramatically improve the performance of discs and cables with a simple treatment? Well if your Acoustic Revive you come up with something that not only further enhances the sound/ picture from our little silver discs, but one that even purifies the air in which the sound travels thus improving sound quality to an even greater degree. I am of course referring to the RIO-5 II minus ion generator.
It was time now to treat the same three CD’s with the RIO-5 II. I wanted to see what affect, if any, it would have on the RD-3 treated CD’s. You must wait about 10 minutes for the RIO-5 II to warm up before putting on the CD for treatment. Once this is done you are to place the CD label side facing down on its top, press the electric fan switch once and after 14 seconds the treatment to that side is done. Flip over the CD and now treat the second side to another 14-second blast to finish off the process. When the fan turns off you know it is over. Simple yes, and the ion generating lamp will not turn off after the fan has stopped but will continue to produce minus ions (more on this very shortly) for the room until you shut the unit off. Be careful though as the screen on top of the RIO gets very hot and should not be touched after it has warmed up. I would also not leave a CD on top after the treatment is finished as it will heat up and I cannot image that being good for it. Good news though, everything that I mentioned about the affects of the RD-3 remained and even was improved upon when later treated by the RIO-5 II.
Pulling out a brand new unplayed CD I felt the need to try the RIO-5 II by itself to see what affect it produced without first treating it with the RD-3. It was recommended to me to first treat the disc with the RD-3 and then the RIO but for the purposes of this review only I will do the reverse. All my other treatments I did the recommended way and I suggest you do too. The test CD in this case was called The Ultimate Luther Vandross with of course Luther Vandross singing. Nice CD but wow did it get better after one treatment from the RIO-5 II. It seems that whichever process I used first seems to have the most affect. This is probably because it makes the most difference when using a standard CD as a test base. After a disc is treated it definitely gets better with the second treatment but not to the same degree as from an untreated disc. Still the difference was enough to warrant buying both as the affects just seemed to pile up one on top of the other taking CD’s to a higher level of enjoyment with each new treatment.
This double treatment of RD-3 and RIO-5 II was simply amazing. Details I had not noticed now became evidently clear and the soundstage was immense.
Now it was time to try its affects on DVD-Audio and SACD discs. Up next was the Rolling Stones, Tommy. Listening to “Amazing Journey” it certainly was an adequate description of what the RD-3 and RIO-5 II did for my discs. Once again, just like with the redbook CD’s these products from Acoustic Revive enhanced the listening experience on even these already high-resolution discs. Clarity, vocals, bass, soundstage, presence all were improved.
You have got to be asking yourself by now, how do they do it? What makes the RIO-5 II so good? In my review last month on the RTP series Power supply box I told you that they use a substance called Tourmaline, among others, to help eliminate both static and noise. Well they use Tourmaline once again but this time in the RIO-5 II. The following is an excerpt from the Acoustic Revive website:
“Characteristic of Tourmaline
Tourmaline is widely known to contain electric current (0.06mA) as the human and other living body. There is a report that tourmaline has an effect to improve the water quality, release infrared rays and other effects. One of the effect we payed an attention is that tourmaline releases negative ion, which is the same ion release from the natural world. This natural negative ions size is 10000/1 smaller compared with negative ion produced electrically. Natural negative ion is easier to penetrate into human body and other material, compared with electrically made negative ion. Efficiency to release Negative Ion
We at ACOUSTIC REVIVE took a notice that tourmaline releases negative ion efficiently reacting from light, heat, vibration and other external stress. We succeeded to release natural negative ion efficiently from tourmaline by using halogen lamps ray and heat, furthermore using electric fans makes the air convec. For tourmaline catalyst, RIO-5 II uses the newly formulated ball which contains various ore to make sure RIO-5 II releases the maximum amount of natural negative ion”
My curiosity got the best of me and I just had to do some further research on negative ions. Certain properties attributed to them are in dispute and there are those that feel they have no affect while others believe they are a true gift to mankind. Some of the positive attributes that people feel negative ions have are that they, clean the environment by reducing bacteria, pollen dust and smoke. It has been suggested that they help reduce stress and fatigue while making you feel more relaxed. In turn you can think more clearly and concentrate better. It all sounds good to me and if that is true I am not only get a better sounding audio system, but also a chance to perhaps feel better and be healthier at the same time. If not I at least still get a better sounding audio system. Do some research and decide for yourself as there is certainly a lot of information out there about negative ions and its affects on people and the environment.
Lastly, I needed to try these products on DVD’s to see what affect they would have on the visual performance of discs. We shall start with James Taylor Live at The Beacon Theatre. This particular DVD video was recorded live in a very dark setting at the Beacon Theatre in New York. The stages background colors are subdued due to the fact that the stage is poorly lit. James Taylor sings against a backdrop of blue and green, which sometimes changes to red and purple. No matter which background they use it is never a vibrant shade of color. The performance though is simply James Taylor and that alone is worth this very boring visual display. After the treatments from the RD-3 and RIO-5 II colors are more pronounced. Subtle as the changes are they do add up and after awhile you really appreciate the fact that they are there. Audio of course, as mentioned before with CD’s, has taken a step forward for the better. When James Taylor is singing “You can close your eyes” with two background female vocals to his right and two male vocals to his left you can actually hear each voice more clearly and distinctly than before. This along with the fact that the details in their faces has now become clearer along with their voices makes the performance a joy to listen see and to hear.
Moving onto one of my favorite DVD video discs we have, Concert for George. This was filmed at The Royal Albert Hall November 29, 2002 in memory of the Beatles George Harrison. They held it exactly one year after his death. This was a gathering of many of his friends coming to pay him tribute and to sing the many songs that he had written during his lifetime. Maybe one day I will do a review of this amazing video but for now lets just say you must buy this one. Again the audio, after treatment, was all it was before and more. As for the video, details I could not see before were now everywhere. Paul McCarthy wore a black pants and jacket and it was difficult to see their finer details until after being processed through the RD-3 and RIO-5 II. Ringo Starr’s flashy red outfit was further enhanced with the aid of a treatment, as was everything else in the video.
They say beauty is in the details. If that is true then you must treat your system to these two products. It will not knock you down with large visual changes but once you experience the difference you will not want to go back to untreated disc viewing. It was kind of like the first time you met your friends, you are not immediately overwhelmed but one day you wake up and realize that they are now a part of your life and you truly like being with them. Having these two in my home theatre system I really do not want them to leave as they are doing wonderful things to my video discs both visually and sonically.
In the final analysis you really cannot go wrong with either product. They should actually be considered a must have option with any CD playback system. If you can have only one because of budget constraints then start with the RD-3 Disc Demagnetizer for only $399 only because it costs less. Do not forget though to later upgrade to the RIO-5 II Minus Ion Generator. I know it is tempting to stay with the RD-3 but when the RIO-5 takes you to the next level of CD playback you will be glad you are there. I did not go into as much detail in describing the changes made by these two incredible products as I normally do for one reason. They did not change one or two different things but rather every aspect of CD playback. Whatever was there before was now there but to a much greater degree. It was not that only the highs became more pronounced but rather highs, midrange, midbass, bass, soundstage, presence, layering and almost everything improved.
Buy the pair, treat all your CD and DVD’s and when you are finished get on the phone. Yes call your friends and relatives inviting them to come over to try doing the same with their discs. But be forewarned, before you do fire up the barbeque; get the chicken, steaks and shrimp ready, because you are in for the long haul. Once they hear the difference in sound they are bound to stick around to hear CD after CD as if they were new and better recordings of their old discs. Actually that is not such a bad idea, if you need an excuse to pay for the RD-3 and RIO-5 just tell your loved one your doing it for the family. How can she/he say no? They cannot, you win, checkmate and lucky you will own them both right away. If that doesn’t work you can always join your local audio club and get everyone to put in a small amount of money to use it to treat everyone’s discs.
This is just a small preview of the amazing products Acoustic Revive offers to the public. Look at their website and see for yourself. Why they even offer Pure Silk Absorbers (PSA-100) that is said to remove the effects of static electricity from our system resulting in more dynamic and transparent sound. A box of the PSA-100 lists for only $55. Another product I find of great interest is their RWL-3 Acoustic Conditioner. My fascination with this is that it uses both Tourmaline and Silk to make a very unique diffusing type room-tuning panel. Reading about the RWL-3 after hearing the RIO-5II and RTP series Power supply boxes (which also use Tourmaline) makes me wonder what Acoustic Revive magic is within the RWL-3. If it is like their other products it must be simply amazing.
The world of audio playback systems are often made up of subtle changes that when strung together can make one big difference. The nice thing about these two products is that they are anything but subtle; the affects are cumulative and considering what they do are bargain priced. When you listen to or watch CD/DVD’s without first treating them you are bound to hear noise interference, distorted sound and picture quality, because our equipment only mirrors what we feed them. Don’t expect a CD or DVD player to correct for errors on the disc; to affect a change there you will need the RD-3 and RIO-5 II. We should all get together to thank Acoustic Revive for coming to the aide of every audiophile. They put their collective research team to the task of solving our disc playback dilemma and came up with a reasonably priced solution to a very real problem that affects audiophiles worldwide. The RD-3 and RIO-5 have revolutionized our level of disc playback to the point were I will not listen to a CD or watch a DVD without treating them first. They are so good perhaps Acoustic Revive should contact CD and DVD manufacturers about a joint venture for treatment of their discs before there are offered for sale to the public. This is one set of devices that everyone should have in their audio system as it brings out the best of the recordings just as the performer intended for you to hear it. I love them.
The Listening Environment:
The listening room is 18’ 8” long by 13’ wide. The room’s cathedral ceiling starts at 8’ high then slopes upward to 13’ at its peak in the middle. Flooring is a soft hardwood covering with an oriental rug placed dead center in between (but not under) the listener and the audio system. There are no doors that open or shut into other rooms also there are two large openings one facing the speakers and the other to its side and slightly in front of the right speaker. I have a nice snug fireplace opposite this opening and in front of the left speaker. As for my audio equipment it is tucked nicely inside of a Cherry Synergy Twin S30 Salamander audio rack. There are no acoustic treatments in the room as of yet but I am working some ideas for that.
- Monarchy Audio SM-70 Pro Amps (2 run in mono single-ended configuration) Sony DVP-S7700 CD/DVD Player (used as transport only)
- Monarchy Audio Dual 20-Bit D/A Converter
- Samsung DVD-HD-841 Up-Converting Universal Player
- Legacy Focus 20/20 speakers
- Acoustic Revive RTP-2ultimate Power supply box Acoustic Revive RTP-4ultimate Power supply box PS Audio Power Port Receptacle
- Anti-Cable speaker wire 10’ pair Anti-Jumpers for Legacy speakers Anti-Interconnects (2 pairs)
- Anti-Digital Interconnect single-shielded 1.5 meters in length
- Monarchy Audio AC-1 power cord one 6’ length (2) Blue Circle BC86 MKIII power line pillows (2)
- Blue Circle Audio BC86PUG filtered outlet cord Blue Circle Audio BC86PC filtered power cord (2) Blue Circle Audio BC62 power cord 6’ (1.83 m) long PS Audio Lab Cable II power cord 3’ length
- Black Diamond Racing Cones (#3 & #4) Audio Prism IsoBearing (Isolation Globes
- Cherry Synergy Twin S30 Salamander audio rack
from aﬀordableaudio, By Anthony Nicosia