Acoustic Revive’s RAS-14 A/C
|But should I doubt my ears?
can’t pee in the same river twice
Fact: the audiophile is a fickle creature.
This is especially true if he – it’s almost
always a he – has replacement toys to fuss
with. True to type, I’ve removed some
Acoustic Revive items in and around my sound
system and retained others. In the matter of
retention, I’m reasonably certain that the
two RAS-14 A/C Stabilizers sticking out of
my amps’ butts are likely to remain. After a
pleasantly brief burn-in, they made a
difference I’d hate to relinquish. I intend
to put the impression to the test.
Acoustic Revive’s promotional statement
describes the RAS-14 as a non-contact,
filter-free device. So it would seem that
the power to my amps runs a gamut of
materials without coming into contact with
it. To be non-specific, the RAS-14’s
carbon-fiber cylinder contains a mineral mix
the recipe for which AR’s Ken Ishiguro
chooses not to divulge. I can tell you that
he uses green carborundum, tourmaline and
quartz-crystal granules in other audio
products. I’m not suggesting that the
RAS-14’s formulation repeats or resembles
any of this. In fact, I don’t know.
To continue with features, we’re told that one of
the IEC connectors is rhodium-plated, the other
double-plated silver-rhodium, cryogenically treated,
in a top-quality Oyaide fitting. The carbon-fiber
cylinder is capped, both ends, with hickory pucks.
(Suppressing vibration figures large in Ishiguro’s
designs. Thus the use of an inert hardwood.) The
RAS-14’s 13-inch length reveals six inches of AR’s
top power cord.
Continuing with the promotional statement, the
RAS-14 is said to absorb a/c and ground noise by way
of its “magnetic-wave absorption material,” which I
take to be the cylinder’s mystery mix. (If you shake
the thing you’ll hear it. Sounds like coarse sand.)
The ground-noise claim prompted me to remove
AudioPrism’s diminutive Ground Controls occupying
the amps’ RCA inputs. (I use balanced
interconnects.) In keeping with what I hear every
time I do this, the Ground Controls’ removal
affected the image’s lifelike qualities. The RAS-14
does not make redundant the Ground Controls’
contributions, which are far more valuable than the
GCs’ size would lead one to believe possible.
Other peripherals relevant to this report include
AR’s RR-77 Schumann Resonance Generator atop a book
tower in another part of the room and a pair of
NuForce Magic Cubes on my speaker cables. The
Integris CDP and stacked mono amps sit on two AR
underboards consisting of a wood base and lid
sandwiching a layer of quartz-crystal granules. I
routinely treat CDs to AR’s RD-3 demagnetizer and
RIO-5 II’s negative-ion bath. This is a CD-only
system. I’ve developed into an avid tweakster who
may never catch up with Clement Perry. And I say so
with no little bitterness.
It’s not feasible to pull these devices, listen to
the system without them, and reinstate them for
another listen, no less do it “blind,” in as short a
time as a valid a/b comparison requires. We plow
ahead in typically subjective fashion, which, I
admit, is how I prefer to do these things.
limited myself to one test track: The fourth
movement, Vivace, of Haydn’s String Quartet, Op. 50,
No. 1 (The Aurum Series XXIV, Tacet 185, two CDs, a
German label distributed in the US by Spinning Dog
Records, email address:
here). The six Op. 50 quartets, a.k.a.
King of Prussia Quartets, are a delight, but more to
our purpose, the productions are first-rate. Nothing
is so revealing of subtleties as a well-recorded
With the RAS-14 pair removed, the sonic image lost
depth, dimension, textural and harmonic largesse.
This is not to say that listening to the track
absent the Stabilizers proved a disappointment. Had
I never heard of these things nor had a chance to
use them, I’d have called the sound good. It’s ever
a question of experiencing a marked improvement you
perhaps had thought unlikely until you hear it.
my part, the test was conclusive. I followed the
Haydn with a blood-on-the-floor performance, volume
set high, of Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto for
Piano and Strings, with pianist Viktoria
Postnikova, Guennadi Rojdestvenski conducting the
London Sinfonietta (Erato CD 2292 47542-2, released
in 1992). Arkivmusic.com has copies. Surname
notwithstanding, Schnittke was a Russian composer
with a temperament easily as dark and ironic as that
of Shostakovitch. It takes Russians to do this
wrenching music justice. I didn’t feel the need to
remove the RAS-14 pair just to make sure. I knew
that I was hearing a fine recording significantly
enhanced by – it must be admitted – a very expensive
For the big number, see below. I’ve given up
commenting on what things cost. Not my place. We’re
all grownups. We make our own decisions. The RAS-14
is a well-made piece of equipment that does a
bang-up job. That much I can report with confidence.
But should I
doubt my ears?
I write this in a state of elation. I’ll come back
tomorrow to confirm my opinion in the cold light of
OK, it’s tomorrow. Did I exaggerate?
Revive RAS-14 A/C Stabilizer, $1095.
Distributor: The Lotus Group.