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Room treatment


Stein Music

Manufacturer: STEIN MUSIC Ltd.
Price (when reviewed):
BS – 2100 PLN/PC. | BD - 960 PLN/PC.


here is an abundance of crazy, or at least bizarre audio products on the market. Every now and then we got surprised by a new idea delivered by visionaries or madmen (quite often they are the same) – designers who started to think out of the box and by experimenting arrived at, in their opinion, interesting results. Want some examples? All right, how about: Bybee Super Effect Speaker Bullets, or Frank Tchang's Acoustic Resonators, or Shakti Hallographs?

From time to time „High Fidelity” tries to find most interesting products of that kind, describe and assess them. But the truth is that we don't care about most of them. One might think that esoteric is our kind of thing, but in fact we keep out feet firm on the ground – if some product works, we write about it, if it doesn't, or we are not sure if it does, we don't write about it. As simple as that.
Each time one has to convince oneself to believe a manufacturer of such product – usually either there is some theory behind the product, but there are no scientific proofs to back it up, or if there are some, they are quite “weak” at most. On the other hand sometimes is it worth trying anyway – we might not understand how something works but it doesn't mean that it can't work. Discoveries are often made by an accident and it sometime takes even years to scientifically explain why this discovery works. For thousands of years (true) scholars believed that it was Sun that circled Earth not the other way around, that man could never fly, and so on, and so on. These were not just common people, but the brightest minds of their times.

So from time to time if we force ourselves to try something “weird” and get lucky we might discover interesting products after all. My own, personal discovery were products of Japanese company Acoustic Revive (see HERE). I had a chance to assess their products in many different configurations, in different systems, and in most cases the effects of using these devices were similar. So for two years now Acoustic Revive devices have been part of my reference system, and I've treated them as equally important ones as any other, more “traditional” elements of this system.

The anti-vibration platforms and cables offered by Mr Ishiguro seem to be “normal” products everybody is used to. But for him the most important products are those developed basing on the research conducted on Tokyo University (that Acoustic Revive cooperates with), even though these products, or how they work is not that easy to understand.
These that cause most emotional reaction of audiophiles (and non-audiophiles) are rarely seen in audio systems: Schumann resonance wave generator RR-888, disc demagnetizer RD-3, negative ion generator RIO-5 II (also for CD), quartz insulators called Natural Quartz Insulators RIQ-5010, and also small Natural Quartz Resonators QR-8.

Already their names sound bizarre, and when it comes to scientific explanation of how they work.... Audio is a “science” based on experiments – hearing means believing. And it's easier to believe if you meet a man behind such products – just as we did meet Mr Ken Ishiguro, the owner of Acoustic Revive. What we heard during the meeting of Cracow Sonic Society, and the results of the tests I conducted in my own system (see HERE), changed my perception of products that do change the sound of the system, often for better, even though it is difficult to explain why they do it.

I am not the only one who's discovered that. There were others like me, before me. Let me name Jeff Day, who obviously loves products of Acoustic Revive (his latest article on the subject HERE). But it's not just him – also editors of “StereoTimes”, and other editors of „Positive-Feedback Online” fell for Acoustic Revive products (see: Sources). What's interesting – all of them discovered also products of a German company – Stein Music. The company lead by Mr Holger Stein that offers a CD Player, power amplifiers, preamplifier and cables is known mostly thanks to their another product – small cubes called Harmonizers.

These black (or white) cubes sport a blue LED on the front, and a small toggle switch and knob on the back. A switch turns device on and off (with a Blue LED in front on or off). The knob allows user to adjust “intensity” of this device operation. What it does is sort of room treatment and thus it effects sound of the system. What's inside is unclear – it seems there might be some pulverized crystals immersed in some sort of resin, that are treated with voltage.
Theory says about increasing an energy of air molecules in the listening room. Such a „warmed-up” molecules move easier, i.e. they transmit (easier/better) an energy from speakers to our ears. That's a hypothesis, but Mr Holger Stein claims that it actually works. What's more, some other audio manufacturers, like Mr Norbert Mundorf, owner of MCap (Mundorf) company, support this claim.

I got used to some crazy theories, and when these are proposed by reasonable people, and verified in practice by others that I trust, I usually decide to give them a try myself. In this particular case it was even easier as all reviewers of Stein products, also use some products of Acoustic Revive in their systems, including RR-777 generator (present model is called RR-888). I also use, on regular bases, the generator and Natural Quartz Insulators RIQ-5010. One might say that I have been “pre-programmed” for this review, even if I totally haven't been sold on the explanation of how Stein Music's product worked.

German company offers a few different products, all of them using pulverized crystals used in proper proportions – some of them are “passive”, some are “active” (the latter use voltage).
A single set of H2 harmonizers includes two H2 cubes, marked with letters „a” and „b”, two small Black Stones and two stands.
H2 are placed around 70 cm above the ground and turned on. You can start with a single H2, placed in the middle between speakers. The next step would be placing two such elements behind speakers, and another would be using four of them – two behind speakers, two behind listener (so that they would be corners of a rectangle). Black Stones should be placed on speakers, on the rack, or on the devices in the system – manufacturer recommends placing them in the corners of the room on the floor.
To enhance the influence of H2s one might use two other Stein Music products with it: Blue Diamonds, that should be placed on speakers, and Blue Sun – elements, that should be fixed on walls behind audio system and behind listener's position, slightly higher than a rectangle that H2s create. One can be also placed on the ceiling.

A full scale magic, one might say. I decided to follow all recommendations and listen to the full system at once instead of testing particular elements.

  • Mike Silverton, SteinMusic’s H2 Harmonizers, Magic Stones and Magic Diamonds. Call This an Unqualified Rave, “StereoTimes”, Dec 2011, see HERE.
  • Dave Clark, Audio Ramblings - The Stein Music Harmonizers, Stones, and Diamonds, “Positive-Feedback OnLine”, June/July 2012, see HERE.
  • Big E, Room For Harmony! Stein Music H2 Harmoniser, Magic Stones & Magic Diamonds, “HiFi Unlimited”, Jan 5th 2012, see HERE.
  • Clement Perry, Steinmusic's H2 Harmonizer, Magic Stones and E-Pads, “StereoTimes”, see HERE.

  • Recordings used during test:

    • John Coltrane, Coltrane’s Sound, Atlantic/Rhino R2 75588, “Atlantic 50th Anniversary Jazz Gallery”, CD (1964/1999).
    • Mal Waldron, Left Alone Bethlehem/Toshiba-EMI TOCJ-9257, “RVG Special Edition”, CD (1959/2000).
    • Lisa Gerrard, The Silver Tree, Rubber Records/Sonic Records SON212, CD (2006).
    • The Beatles, Abbey Road, Apple/Toshiba-EMI TOCP-51122, “EMI 100”, CD (1969/1998).
    Japanese issues available at

    Tests of atypical, unusual, even bit suspicious products have to be conducted in a different way than usually. Why? Because testing such products is quite stressful. Even if a person has some experience with such test the way they are conducted might affect assessment. So if fact such test require more time and effort, at least if one wants to get some credible results.

    In this particular case I tried to minimize a number of variables by using only four selected pieces of music (instead of much bigger number of whole albums I usually used). I knew these four pieces very well, I'd listened to them on many different systems and configurations before. These four tunes were:

    • John Coltrane, The Night Has A Thousand Eyes from Coltrane’s Sound,
    • Mal Waldron, Left Alone from Left Alone,
    • Lisa Gerrard, Space Weaver (Lisa Gerrard and Michael Edwards) from The Silver Tree,
    • The Beatles, Come Together from Abbey Road.
    To further confirm my observations I also played the last of these four pieces of music to Bartosz, who runs „Music To The People” portal, and News column of „High Fidelity”.

    I listened several times to short fragments of these songs in series of 5s and 10s. Not to be biased by blue LED on front of H2s, I used a position of toggle switch that turned device on but with LED off. Bartosz listened without knowing when Steins were on and when off (comparing A to B, with A and B unknown). His observations were exactly the same as mine. It turned out that, regardless of the fact that theory behind these products offered by manufacturer wasn't very convincing for me, these products did influence sound and it was really easy to notice. What's more – this influence was repeatable and constant over time.

    Influence on sound (or on listener – that remains uncertain) is obvious and undoubtedly positive. The changes introduced are always the same, although they manifest themselves in a different way depending of type of music we play. They are different when compressed and not particularly resolving material is played (electronic and electric music) and different when acoustic recordings are played, in my case - jazz. When I played jazz turning Steins off created an effect of sound „collapsing”. It seemed that sound was closing down, “imploding”. Part of the information in treble disappeared, and the soundstage shrank towards the middle of it.

    With the Beatles and Lisa Gerrard turning H2 off gave a bit different effect. In case of jazz music an influence of turning H2 off was immediate and unambiguous. When it came to this type of music, where any sort of reference could be only from another reproduction, where there could be no “live sound” reference (as the same band might sound differently on different concerts as the sound is “produced” by a sound engineer), it took me much longer to realize what sort of influence there was. But once I figured that out I could hear the same influence each time I played same song.

    When I listened to these two pieces of music with Steins off, I thought that the sound was more clear, articulated in a better way, deeper and more mature. Everything was presented closer to the listener and it created an impression of more information being delivered. With every following repetition I realized more and more that sound without Steins was clearer, but at the same time it was quite “flat”. Turning H2 on smoothed edges, made the presentation bit darker, but it also improved three-dimensionality of phantom images, and increased richness of the sound.
    I guess many people, who don't listen to top quality systems too often, when asked to choose could point sound with H2 off as a better one.

    But it makes as much sense as offering two books written by finalists of this year's Booker's and Nike's Awards to someone who's reading is limited to advertisement column in a newspaper. To assess a sound reproduced in one's room one has to be prepared – hearing can be trained, just as muscles are trained. To achieve certain results one has to perform thousands of repetition of mix exercises. A natural predisposition might be helpful, of course, but learning process is, in my opinion, a key to success.
    If one knows what to expect from a system, if one has proper experience and reference, one will surely notice that with Steins on music becomes more rhythmic, background become more “black”, and sound becomes more tuneful. One will have to confirm that influence of H2s is unambiguous, repeatable, and definitely positive.


    For me there is no doubt that Stein system does influence sound of the system. It proves its value even in “blind” tests. I'm not sure why it works, but fortunately it's not my job to deliver an explanation. How significant will an influence on particular system be will depend on the quality of acoustic environment our systems works in. In my room this influence was not that big – I'd rather say “noticeable” and „required” than „breath taking”. Still, it was unambiguously positive. I can easily image rooms with less “friendly” acoustics, where Steins could be as valuable parts of the system as, say, high quality power cables.

    These are very interesting products intended for systems that already deliver a very good performance, the way we want them to. If there is some problem already within the system they won't “cure” it. Whenever performance is already great, just the way the owner of the system likes it, than Steins, without changing sonic character, can add some more depth, smoothness and rhythm.


    Stein Music Harmonizer System H2 is a black or white cube with a blue LED on front. It is made of lacquered MDF plates. Inside that is a battery holder for four AA batteries with leads leading to a smaller cube fixed to the upper panel. The latter is the key element – it is filled with some pulverized crystals immersed in some sort of epoxy resin. I really liked the design, also packaging is impressive. It shows a rare level of professionalism of the manufacturer.

    H2 can be mounted on a nice looking although inconspicuous stand with an MDF base and chromed brass pivot. H2 can be also mounted on the wall – proper holders are delivered with devices. It is important that a lower edge of the device is placed 100 cm from the floor.

    On the back panel there is a toggle switch and a small knob. The former allows use to turn the device on with the front LED on or off. Knob allows you to adjust voltage delivered to crystals, and in effect an intensity of H2's activity. It did not experiment with it – I stuck to recommended “11 o'clock” position. Product is powered from four AA batteries. Power consumption is minimal, so even with Steins turned on permanently batteries should last about two years.

    Black Diamonds and Blue Sun are enhancing H2's operation. The former is cone-shaped, the latter is more of flower or sun shape. Inside, immersed in epoxy resin, there are some carbon fibers and few types of pulverized crystals “mixed in perfect proportions”. What are these crystals? That's a trade secret of SteinMusic.



    - Turntable: AVID HIFI Acutus SP [Custom Version]
    - Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory ZERO (mono) | Denon DL-103SA, review HERE
    - Phono stage: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE

    - Compact Disc Player: Ancient Audio AIR V-edition, review HERE
    - Multiformat Player: Cambridge Audio Azur 752BD
    - Line Preamplifier: Polaris III [Custom Version] + AC Regenerator, regular version review (in Polish) HERE
    - Power amplifier: Soulution 710
    - Integrated Amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE

    - Stand mount Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
    - Stands for Harbeths: Acoustic Revive Custom Series Loudspeaker Stands
    - Real-Sound Processor: SPEC RSP-101/GL
    - Integrated Amplifier/Headphone amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
    - Headphones: HIFIMAN HE-6, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-300, review HERE | Sennheiser HD800 | AKG K701, review (in Polish) HERE | Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, version 600 - reviews (in Polish): HERE, HERE, HERE
    - Headphone Stands: Klutz Design CanCans (x 3), review (in Polish) HERE
    - Headphone Cables: Entreq Konstantin 2010/Sennheiser HD800/HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE

    - Portable Player: HIFIMAN HM-801
    - USB Cables: Acoustic Revive USB-1.0SP (1 m) | Acoustic Revive USB-5.0PL (5 m), review HERE
    - LAN Cables: Acoustic Revive LAN-1.0 PA (kable ) | RLI-1 (filtry), review HERE
    - Router: Liksys WAG320N
    - NAS: Synology DS410j/8 TB
    System I
    - Interconnects: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, review HERE | preamplifier-power amplifier: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
    - Loudspeaker Cables: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review (in Polish) HERE
    System II
    - Interconnects: Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0PA | XLR-1.0PA II
    - Loudspeaker Cables: Acoustic Revive SPC-PA

    System I
    - Power Cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300, all system, review HERE
    - Power Distributor: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate, review HERE
    - Power Line: fuse – power cable Oyaide Tunami Nigo (6m) – wall sockets 3 x Furutech FT-SWS (R)
    System II
    - Power Cables: Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version, review (in Polish) HERE | Oyaide GPX-R (x 4 ), review HERE
    - Power Distributor: Oyaide MTS-4e, review HERE
    - Stolik: SolidBase IV Custom, read HERE/all system
    - Anti-vibration Platforms: Acoustic Revive RAF-48H, review HERE/digital sources | Pro Audio Bono [Custom Version]/headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, review HERE | Acoustic Revive RST-38H/loudspeakers under review/stands for loudspeakers under review
    - Anti-vibration Feets: Franc Audio Accessories Ceramic Disc/ CD Player/Ayon Polaris II Power Supply /products under review, review HERE | Finite Elemente CeraPuc/ products under review, review HERE | Audio Replas OPT-30HG-SC/PL HR Quartz, review HERE
    - Anti-vibration accsories: Audio Replas CNS-7000SZ/power cable, review HERE
    - Quartz Isolators: Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010/CP-4

    - FM Radio: Tivoli Audio Model One