POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 33
RIO-5 Tourmaline Negative Ion Generator
as reviewed by Robert H. Levi
By far my favorite new toy and the coolest accessory of the Rocky Mountain Audio Show, I bought this cutie right after Brian Kyle of Xtreme Cables and Xtreme AV, demo'd it for me. I now have it in my system and can now formally report. It's $595, not cheap, but reasonably priced based on what it does. It make CDs and Hybrids sound more musical …noticeably and definitively more musical. Plus, its incredibly sharp to look at and fun to use taking only 28 seconds to work. This is the "chip shot" accessory for curing digititus and emphasizing textures and depth in your favorite digital media.
The Rio is a tall chrome colored chimney holding tourmaline balls heated by a light. You place the CD on the top and push a button. After 14 seconds the fan goes off and you flip the CD and push the button again. The fan blows only negative ions on the CD reducing what sounds like jitter and distortions. This is an additive fix complimenting Xtreme’s own Liquid Resolution™, and the demag process. It is a process all to itself. It is an amazing thing regardless of whether you do the other steps of not.
Once set up, I listened to The Bill Holman Band on XRCD, a CD I had not played. I then compared it to the CD with Finyl. I then demaged it and listened. The instruments were clearer, airier, sweeter, more dynamic, and just plain superior to the naked CD. What else could be done sonically …I was not sure. I then applied the Rio. 28 seconds later the CD was in the E.A.R. Acute and I heard it. Softer more elegant sound with a sense of analog was definitely more apparent. I don't like subtle and it was not! subtle. I heard significantly more air and a bit larger soundstage. Very, very nice folks, it was a solid improvement.
Next up I played Joe McQueen and Friends from Kimber, a hybrid recording, on my ModWright Sony 9100. The hybrid had been treated with L'Art du Son and demaged. The SACD layer sounded just lovely and intensely musical and detailed. Lots of great textures abound. I then popped it on the Rio and then back in the ModWright. WhoaMAMA, better!! More of everything was apparent including significantly enhanced textures, sweetness, and front/back depth. This was a great surprise, but there it was. Again, this is not, I repeat not, a subtle change!
Now for Haydn and the Fry Street Quartet from Kimber, an untreated hybrid. I played it naked…very nice but a bit sharp and etched on crescendos. I then did the Rio treatment. Solid improvement was obvious in every way. More musical and smooth, I could have lived with this treatment alone! I then applied L'Art du Son and listened. Boom, another improvement in every way …nice! I then demaged it and heard a small but added improvement again. Does not seem to matter how you do it though it is logical to do the Rio last. If you can do only one treatment, I heard more gain from the Rio alone than from the demag alone. Best was all 3 treatments! With all three, a top CD or hybrid sounds eerily like a good LP or master tape might sound…intense clarity, smoothness, powerful, and undistorted.
From the Rio website:
Clearly the neatest accessory I saw at Rocky Mountain, it really is new and it really improves all digital reproduction. The Acoustic Revive RIO-5 Tourmaline Negative Ion Generator is the last and maybe the most significant step to great digital sound. After a liquid enhancer, the Rio is a wonderful compliment! It blasts the CD with negative ions and enhances the musical nature of the disk in about every way. Not subtle, I assure you. You try one disk and you are hooked. I heard improvements with both of my reference playback players. Highly recommended if you have an important digital collection like mine or are just plain sensitive to digital edge. Robert H. Levi