At a Glance
Perhaps some audiophiles have heard of these devices that have recently seen some coverage in the audiophile press. Basically, we are talking about a small device that is not attached to the audio system but is in the same room. It is a simple pulse frequency generator/resonator but working at a very low frequency, in this case 7.83 HZ. Most reviews have claimed that there audible benefits when listening to music when this device is in use. These reviews are here :
The Schumann Frequency
I will not go into specifics since you can look into the science behind this in the links below. To make a long story short the so-called Schumann frequencies or resonances are low frequency electromagnetic pulses that have been proven to exist on Earth by natural mechanisms related to the functioning of the ionosphere. This has been proven by measurements. Certain scientists have claimed that devices replicating these frequencies have benefits for humans. Some have pointed to the similarity between these frequencies and the frequency of brain waves. This is mainly a theory that has yet to be proven conclusively. Nevertheless there is substantial anecdotal evidence to suggest that their effect is beneficial to sleep and relaxation. More recently, these devices have been tested in an audiophile setting as mentioned above.
Making and Listening to a Schumann Resonator
As a member of the Audiophile Club of Athens and a DIYer I was interested in the claimed audio benefits of these devices although I tend to be suspicious of snake oil products foisted on the sometimes gullible audiophile community. On the other hand, the cost and difficulty of making this device for a DIYer are quite low and therefore there was not much to lose. You can follow some of the DIY story here in a thread I started in the diyaudio site which has plenty of DIY info on making your own resonator.
Reviewing the Schumann Resonator
After initial positive results in my set-up I made a couple of these devices for some of the members of our audio club to review. I thought this would be more objective and of interest to fellow audiophiles than just somebody extolling the virtues of his “creation”. I did not try and influence their judgment with any personal comments about my experience although I did provide internet links when asked. In all, five ACA members, apart from myself, had a chance to listen to this device. These were Tony Pothitos, Kyriakos Kougioumtzoglou, George Hatziminas, Vaggelis Goudanis and Tasos Syrigos. You can see their systems on the relevant page from the ACA site. I will summarize their comments but if you want to see Tony’s and Kyriakos’ full review you can see it farther down, or select from the menu on top of the article.
Vaggelis and Tasos regarded the difference as only slight and not easily apparent. Vaggelis mentioned a more pleasurable listening experience. Tasos commented that there was a little more airiness with classical music especially. Tony, Kyriakos and George on the other hand heard the difference quite easily. Kyriakos : “ The audio picture hologram first of all was even bigger and more accurate than before the music event was clearer and the high frequencies crispier but not edgy by any means”. Tony : “I heard clearer, LOUDER and deeper 3D staging”. George also described the experience as more involving mentioning that it seemed to him similar to the relaxed mood he feels after a couple of drinks (!)
The addition of a second machine increases the perceived effect. This has been noted by me and by Kyriakos and Tony. The effect increases by a certain percentage e.g. 20% and is not double. Kyriakos felt using three machines produced a negative effect compared to two. The other reviewers did not have a chance to try more than one machine. It seems the sensitivity of each individual is different to the resonances. Some may require a “higher signal”. Unfortunately, I did not have time to test this hypothesis with Vaggelis and Tasos who perceived only slight differences with one device. Also Kyriakos mentions that the effect is less apparent with vinyl than with digital. When we did the test in his house I did notice that this tended to be true although I perceived that the difference in vinyl was still important. Perhaps the comments of Vaggelis and Tasos should be seen in this light since they only have vinyl based systems. Some of you might notice the addition of a crystal to the machine in the picture. This is somewhat an inspiration of mine. The machine works without it almost as well but I found a method to output the signal and couple it to the crystal which seems to increase the experience and also refine it subtly.
Although these were not double blind tests all of the reviewers separately agreed that they preferred listening with the device. As their systems are a product of years of effort and investment, sometimes in the high five figure range, any small upgrade usually costs quite large sums. A Schumann Resonator device is therefore extremely cost effective - especially in a high end setting- is easy to install and upgrades any system. A low cost DIY version may not be possible for all but there some production machines available at reasonable cost.
Article written by Nikos Protonotarios
Tony's full Review
I first starting in believing about electromagnetic fields when the first evidence of its occurrence on cell phones were out.
Since then I had forgotten about its effect on music until Nick called me up and gave me a gadget which made some sense if looked upon from a psychobiological view.
Neurons are affected from what we here. There is no question about this. They hypothalamus takes information and adjusts everything else depending on what it hears.
The same works for the parasympathetic or sympathetic nervous system in our fight or flight mode during an emergency.
Emotions can be triggered. That is a fact. But can electronic waves of one sort or another change WHAT WE HEAR?
Good question. So Nick took the chance, spent some money and took us on a ride which was more than a delight to my listening pleasure.
Even my son could blindly pick when it was on or off, and during our first machine sent to us, my wife did not hear a difference. Then when the upgrade came, it was so evident that my son could tell from the playroom if it was on or off.
Does that prove anything? It does. To me at least. This does work and is worth a listen. It will not be for everyone, but then again, NOTHING in high end is for everyone, so why should this be different.
I heard clearer, LOUDER and deeper 3D staging. That is a summary of course, but it should be enough for the reader to understand that it was a positive experience.
I do not have the machine now, but one day when Nick is able to make me one, I will gladly do a private review, subjective of course, to tell you in detail about my personal, and family experience.
By Tony Pothitos
Kyriakos' full Review
All started at Tasos Syrigos meeting last April.
While I was serving a drink to myself, Nikos approached me and start talking about some kind of generator he made. Usually Iʼm not easy to any kind of audio voodoo (there are many around) but Nikos is a known DIYer and he knows what he is talking about. If he tells you that this device is doing something, then it is sure is doing it.
After a while he convinced me to take one of this units (he already made a few of them), in order to listen to it to my system. To tell you the truth, knowing that Nikos is just a person that likes to build audio staff and that there is no commercial interest behind it, made my decision to try the device easier.
When I went back home I forgot the little bag with the generator, in the trunk of my car, I found it few days later and I remembered the Nikos story.
It took me few minutes to figure out the on position of the device since there is no on-off indication at all… it is just a black plastic box with an on-off switch, a Dc power supply input for the outboard power supply pack and a 3.5mm connector for the antenna.
I placated on my left hand side of the room since it was the most convenient position for the power supply to be plugged in.
I turned it on while I was playing music with my digital frond end… for a 2-3 minutes nothing happened, but after that it was obvious that something changed.
The audio picture hologram, first of all was even bigger and more accurate than before, the music event was clearer and the high frequencies crispier, but no edgy by any means.
This story went on all evening and after listening carefully about 15 CDʼs, I was sure that this little thing works.
I did the same scenario with the analogue front end feeding the system, but to my opinion it didnʼt have much effect with this configuration, so I decided to carry on this test only with the digital system in use.
Few days later Nikos came to my home with two more of this devils, in order to try with more than one devices the operation.
We started with three generators , one on each side of the speakers facing towards us and the one that I already used all this days, on the left hand side of the listening position.
As soon as the units were active (about 2-3 minutes) was clear to me (I was lotʼs more familiar with my system than Nikos) that the good result I had before was not there anymore.
I had now a dull effect to the upper part of the frequency, so no crispy anymore and the sound in total was somehow heavy and thick.
Nikos told me that probably we overdid it with three devices, so he turned one of them off... and the good staff came back again with even more intensity.
After listening few CDʼs with one or two units in operation, we both agreed that with two generators was the best result.
Nikos advised me to listen for a period of time and then to turn off both the generators to see if we have something missing from the performance of the system. So we did… and yes this little magic that this devices added, was not there anymore.
To make a long story short. I had a very positive impression from this device and the difference was easy to understand, at least to my ears and to my system.
I could say that the change that did to my system was of medium scale, like when you find a cable that super match your system, adds just details but you canʼt live without it.
Keep in mind that if you have a medium size room like mine (40m2 ) donʼt use more than two units, since it may make the opposite result.
Nikos was very kind and let me use the unit that he originally gave me, for as long as I like. For me just one unit is enough but the two are even better.
By Kyriakos Kougioumtzoglou