as reviewed by Robert H. Levi
Here is a quick audiophile question for my expert friends! What do speakers do? If you answered, "move air," then your answer is identical to the other 99% of audiophiles I know. If loudspeakers move air, then air is an important part of the process we know as audio reproduction in the home.
Now here is more! Air is pretty stiff. It takes a lot of driver motion to fill a room with sound.
Enter German physicist, engineer, and audiophile Holger Stein. He discovers that air vibrates at certain frequencies and, in the presence of those vibrations, becomes more compliant. If air is more compliant, then sound waves have an easier path to your ears. Enter the SteinMusic Harmonizers... elegant boxes sold in pairs that generate vibrations that make the air more transmissive of music in all its complexities.
Holger Stein has discovered the "missing link" to producing the musical event in your home. Through his devices, you see the performance with your ears with repeatable, adjustable, scientific certainty for the first time. Welcome to the future my friends!
While a few other reviewers have tried the Stein gear, none have assembled a state-of-the-art system which was truly great to begin with. Referred to me by none other than the 'Dean of Audio' himself, Jack Bybee, I felt duty bound to give it a try, though I remained skeptical until I heard the first few notes.
There is now a spot on the carpet where my jaw hit the ground.
The Test System
Marten Bird Loudspeakers with diamond tweeter, REL Stadium III Sub., two E.A.R. 890 Amps, E.A.R. 912 Preamp, E.A.R. Acute3 CD Player, ModWright Sony 9100 with latest tube power supply, E.A.R. 324 Phono Stage, E.A.R. Disk Master magnetic Turntable with Two Helius Omega Tonearms, Koetsu Rosewood Signature Cartridges, Grado Statement1 Cartridge, Jorma Origo Interconnects and Speaker cables, Kubala-Sosna Elation! interconnects and power cords, Kimber Select 1036 Interconnects, with all gear on Townshend Seismic Sinks, and the World Power Wing. Also used were the Marantz 10b FM Tuner, MD108 FM Tuner, and the Day Sequerra FM Reference FM Tuner.
It was with this reference system, tuned to perfection by Dan Meinwald, E.A.R. USA Importer, and Joe Kubala, President of Kubala-Sosna, that I added six Harmonizer boxes (which are sold in pairs): one behind each speaker, one in each back corner, and one at the midpoint in the room on each side. They either plug in, or use batteries which last about two years. I plugged them in and engaged the blue light, signifying that they were on. I set the rear dial at 11 o'clock as recommended. I ultimately reset them to 10 o'clock, which proved to be perfection in my listening room. No other reviewer had used 6 boxes, so some experimenting was needed.
Also included in the kit were 12 stones, polycarbonate embedded with quartz crystals, which sympathetically vibrate when the system is engaged. They add what I would estimate to be about 25% to the ultimate effect of the Harmonizers. The stones are placed in room corners, at the midpoints, in front and behind the listening position, on each speaker, and at the room ceiling in the center. Easy. Good thing these Stein systems are sold in packages so you don't have to worry about what to buy. A room diagram is provided to aid you in setup, which is not overly critical. Stands are available for the boxes if you do not have shelves everywhere like I do.
The Missing Link in Action
First, I listened to my system without turning on the Harmonizers. Gorgeous, as usual. Then I turned on the Harmonizers. I gave it five minutes and then let 'er rip. Before, it was as if there was a line drawn just ahead of my speakers where sound and images of the sound would not cross. System engaged: the images popped forward of that point in space and moved out into the room as if I had turned on rear speakers! And there were no rear speakers! Imaging was stronger and more vibrant. Definition increased by 25-50%! Stage height, width, depth all exploded in size, eliminating most room boundaries. The recording playback became a performance playback. The sound was not louder. The sound was more "there" and more real in every possible way.
Though other devices from Synergistic Research and Nordost give you a glimpse of this effect, in my opinion only the Harmonizer System is the full Monte. I am told by others who have the other systems accessories that the Harmonizers compliment the other tweaks. I do not know myself. I do know that after 45 years of trying to make two channel sound truly lifelike in all dimensions, it is here and affordable. Though it will enhance any system, it is in the best systems that you will realize nirvana!
The very best part about the Harmonizers is they are not in the signal path or in the AC path of your main system. They can be switched off anytime and switched on for demonstration. They enhance all—and I mean all—sources, even FM tuners! LP playback is more lifelike than you can imagine. Digital reproduction has lower grain and is more LP-like... this I cannot explain, but it is obvious to all who have heard this effect.
You may leave the Harmonizers on all the time and forget about them. The stones, diamonds, etc., stay put. The Stein system disappears from view... you can even extinguish the cute blue lights and have the units stay on. Very nice!
Top to Bottom Frequencies
It did not matter what CDs, SACDs, or LPs I played, the enhancement was thrilling! All frequencies are affected simultaneously, and the system retains a wholeness that is most convincing. There is simply more definition, with no loss whatsoever in musical timbres or colors.
This is where the adjustments on each box come in. I recommend 10 o'clock on the output dial... could be more or less...depending on whether you buy 2, 4, or 6 of the Harmonizers. Room size is not that important. It will just take a bit longer for the effects to be noted with fewer devices. Could be 30 minutes for two boxes, and 3 minutes for six boxes; I found it almost instantaneous with six boxes in my 13 x 25 x 12 listening room.
My favorite Harmonizer effect may be on the reproduction of voices... WOW! Vocals pop alive, gain weight and authority, and just become more lifelike—you are there! Vocal after vocal, male or female, chorus or small ensemble, all became more visceral in the room. At the same, the time reproduction of spatial cues was enhanced, so that it was easier to perceive where the vocalist was standing in the venue.
Just wait until you hear mono recordings. They appear very nearly like stereo recordings, with much better width and depth. Mono recordings are as lifelike as stereo recordings, and can be much more satisfying. I have to admit that it's hard to keep my objectivity as I listen to music and write this report. If you heard what I now hear with the Harmonizers engaged, you would plotz. The essence and sense of reality of a huge concert hall is so realistic with the Hamonizers, one may just never quit hitting replay of your favorite symphony!
The SteinMusic Harmonizers and Stones/Diamond disks are for the connoisseur audiophile ready to take the final leap to reality in your listening studio. They are "the missing link" which has evaded the best minds in the world until now. Holger Stein has done it. He has produced a device that makes air more compliant and music more realistic in every way as a result. Astounding even the legendary Jack Bybee—and me, too!—I am myself transported to a musical environment of reality and a level of room perfection I did not think possible.
The Harmonizers are adjustable, aurally verifiable, repeatable, and may be used with AC or battery... it doesn't matter sonically. Once engaged, prepare yourself for the performance to come to life in your room like never before. In my opinion, there is nothing on the market even close to the importance and usefulness of the Harmonizers. Once adjusted, a very easy thing to do, they are set-and-forget with all musical sources, mono and stereo; all will be more realistic and beautiful to hear.
Holger, I look forward to meeting you and shaking your hand. Well done, sir, and thank you from us all! Robert H. Levi
Retail for a four Harmonizer package of two H2A Harmonizers and two H2B Harmonizers with 10 Magic Stones, USD $3999
Retail for a two Harmonizer package consisting of one each of the H2A and H2B with seven Magic Stones is USD $2099.
available at Tweek Geek