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Positive Feedback ISSUE
as reviewed by Dave Clark
I recently received an email from ERaudio, a new company out of Russia, requesting a review of their Space Harmonizer, a wood platform that resembles a maple cutting board, except that it isn’t maple, and isn’t a cutting board. Rather, it is a system-tuning device made from cedar. It comes in two sizes, neither of which is really practical. The small one (18.5 x 11.5 x 1.25 inches) is not deep enough to fit comfortably under most components, though its width is fine, and the larger one (24 x 15 x 1.35) is fine in terms of depth, but is way too wide for most components. The larger one is intended for speakers, and might work for small speakers, but not for large ones like my Reimer Tetons. Perhaps the size is more an issue of form following function than function following form, and the Harmonizers are the size they are because that is what works?
To quote from the ERaudio website: "Now we use the wood of hundred-year-age Siberian cedar to make the Space Harmonizer. After delivery, the wood is exposed to long-term multistage drying and then resonant bars are made. Each finished resonant bar is selected by high-skilled experts by means of ear testing. The selected group of bars is glued together and finished. Any minor change of bar dimensions affects the resonant properties; therefore, the master should have a special capability of foreseeing how the bars would resonate in the finished article."
If this is the case, then yes, the size is no accident, but this is still unfortunate, as the only place I was able to make them fit was under my Clayton M100 amplifiers. These amps are long and narrow, so the smaller Harmonizers were just the right size. Nadda anywhere else, unless I wanted to have my Cary CD player or Blue Circle preamp perched rather precariously.
Is the Harmonizer just another attempt at separating the green from the gullible audiophile looking for the next bang-for-the-buck tweak? According to ERaudio:
"The Space Harmonizer has several years of creation and development history. It all began with a violin soundboard testing and tuning laboratory once visited by guys from the amplifier development lab (ERaudio makes amplifiers, cables, and few other interesting items – Editor), who asked to give them a wooden support for a pilot amplifier model. Failing anything suitable, they were given a violin soundboard workpiece. The testing of the amplifier showed excellent results and everyone was pleased with the fine sound. At that time none paid heed to the support. After some time, the next amplifier modification with components of higher quality had been prepared, from which everyone expected even more impressive results. However, we were extremely disappointed when we found that the sound of the new model was much worse than that of the preceding one! Everyone was shocked and nobody could explain the reason of what has happened. It was only after some time that we have noticed that the first model was installed on the violin soundboard workpiece. We repeated the test with the new model installed on the wooden violin soundboard workpiece and we were amazed by the result—so much richer and more interesting became the sound! Thus, this discovery was a start for a permanent series of experiments that resulted in the creation of a unique product called the Space Harmonizer."
Using wood to tune audio systems is not new. Michael Green and Mike VanEvers have long been preaching about the benefits of using various kinds of wood to tune components or rooms, or simply to add a bit of flavor to the music. VanEvers refers to "tone design" or "tone painting," in which the placement of different types of wood blocks at different locations shifts resonances in the components they are underneath or on top of, altering the influence that the components’ resonances have on the tonality of the music passing through them. (Visit Mike’s site at www.vansevers.com/tweak5.html to learn more about this.) It all makes sense, but the issue is whether it makes a positive or negative difference, or simply makes things sound different. Only you can decide that!
I removed the Aurios and the mahogany wooden puck thingies I have been using for several years (which work better with the Aurios than the stock towers of man-made material they come with—see www.positive-feedback.com/Issue1/aurios.htm for more) and placed the Harmonizers and the supplied cones under the four corners of the Clayton amplifiers, as noted in the literature. This resulted in an increase in detail and presence in the upper midrange and lower treble. The Harmonizers seemed to remove the resonances that were causing a bit too much bloom in the upper bass. Did they actually add detail and clarity? No, they just shifted things so that it was no longer obscured. Did this make the sound leaner? Not really. I did not perceive a lack of warmth, just less congested sound. I had perceived this sonic sin before, but it never made me toss and turn at night. We all have our crosses to bear, and mine has been a touch too much bloom and boom. But, wow, really cool! Music now had greater pace, precision, speed, and dynamics. It sounded cleaner and more articulate. I heard more of the notes, with a greater sense of decay and presence. Music had more snap and swing.
But is this right? I mean, should one be shifting resonances here and there? You can really muck things up. You never know whether using this foot or that, this or that cone, this rack, that rack, yadda yadda, will get you closer to your own personal nirvana, but you’ve got to make the journey to know where you stand. The ERaudio Harmonizers seem to do what the manufacturer claims, to a great degree. I did not hear greater spatial resolution, but yes, they had a positive effect on my system. Highly recommended, but with all things tweak, you have to try it to see if it floats your boat. Dave Clark