Would this craziness ever end?
We were asking ourselves after seeing and hearing what this latest trick did – AER’s LP Energizer, in our showroom. Since the beginning of our journey into this niche, interesting, at times strange hobby business, we have come across numerous LP “healthcare” products. There are LP anti-static devices, LP demagnetiser, LP flattener, LP dry clean, bombastic LP wet cleaning machines and a mini-mart of LP detergents. We are happy to report that they are all good, all of those that we have had sold and used (we are audiophiles too) worked as advertised although some are easier to understand and explain why and how they work.
The AER LP Energizer is one (new) product that we expect to be on the contrary. AER or Audio Engineering Research is a subsidiary of the Hong Kong based parent company Innoworks Product Creation Ltd (IPC). IPC founded in 2007, is the brainchild of Mr. Vian Li, a Hong Kong born inventor, entrepreneur who uses some hard science from his academic days and applying them to a wide range of products from healthcare, lifestyle, music, automobile, engineering to hi-end audio. Vian, an avid audiophile himself, was one of the pioneers in the early development days of the now fame ATC speakers while he was still a University student in Australia. The AER brand was as such carved out to give Vian’s first love i.e. hi-end audio, the right business focus and attention.
If you have tried or a current user of the AER Disc Energizer (to treat CD, DVD, Blu-ray), you already know how to use the new AER LP Energizer (LPE). But instead of just treating the playing side of the CD, you would need to treat both sides of the LP should you intend to play both. To treat an LP, place it on the diamond shape looking platter (complete with a spindle) and then push a button to start. An attractive blue light would shine through the “diamond” platter treating the underside of the LP. After 6 seconds, the light would fade and you are done. Now flip to the other side and repeat. Simple?
What’s not simple is to understand what happens in that 6 seconds. From what we know from the inventor himself and the product literature, this is an application of quantum physics (what’s that?). We would leave you to explore the inner workings of aligning the protons, neutrons and electrons to make this device work. A short video of this IPC patented technology can be found here (click here). We are resigned to the fact that we may never understand this high science of IPC’s proprietary Euphoria TechnologyTM despite the private sessions from the inventor himself. But one thing we know is that you do not need an advance degree to know how to operate LPE and enjoy the result.
The LPE comes in handsome piano black finish, weights 4 kg and would sit comfortablely on a smallish coffee table. The use of 2 x AAA batteries to operate instead of drawing AC power makes this device handy and convenient. So, we lined-up a variety of genre of music, audiophile and others, to give this new device a workout. We have to be convinced first.
After playing numerous discs, critically listening to the before and after effect, we noted these characteristics:
The first obvious thing we noticed is when the needle first touches the groove of the treated LPs, a perceived ‘heavier’ landing of the needle is heard. Our wild guess is that the treated grooves have become more sensitive and thereby sounding louder? Next, we were treated with a lower floor noise and one can easily detect a higher contrast between music notes (more 3D too). Without sounding cliché, similar to the effects of Furutech’s deStat and deMag which we are also familiar with, there is improved clarity and midrange smoothness brought about by a reduction of harshness.
One LPE’s key improvement, which we noticed unique to this tweak is the apparent upgrade in bass. This is especially felt after treating some sonically weaker LPs – a bigger sound, increased in energy and enhanced presence in the music. It is like upgrading to a better LP pressing. This got us sit up and pay attention to this gem – a LP knight in shining armour.
Retailing at US$3900, this treatment device is not for any new or casual vinylphiles but serious hobbyists who may be already savouring a top-end analogue systems. In our suite of tests, the LPE’s has been consistent in producing the same improvements mentioned above, disc after disc, whether it is simple jazz music, rock, light or heavier classicals. Perhaps, the only caveat is that the improvement lasts 120 minutes but that may not be a negative thing after all. You see, any disc that you have had treated but prefer the original untreated sound (for one reason or another), you will get it back after 2 hours. But we are certain such cases would be few and far between.