Review: Dakiom A103 and R103 Tweak

Category: Accessories

1)I am NOT affiliated with this company in any way; they wouldn't even give me their phone number! (They also sign their emails, "Dakiom".) I would sign an affadavit on this.

2)The outlandish sounding claims they (DAKIOM) make are--surprisingly--really true. They do not sound like credible claims and I was VERY skeptical, but yes, they are largely, if not completely, true, in my opinion.

-->Smoother AND more detailed high end (yes, BOTH)
-->Lower AND less boomy bass (yes, BOTH), even quicker
and more accurate than the already outstanding
Rel had to begin with
-->Better central imaging (already was good).
-->Yes, they really DO cause less listening "fatigue"

THEN: Compare with and w/out.
If you dislike, or are neutral, return them.


William W. Hoover

Unabridged Version, complete with all the (annoying and irrelevant?) details:

I recently upgraded my system, with the only remaining indigenous component being the ST 140. The Paradigm Monitor 100 V3's sounded great, and the Rel Storm was just phenomenal, having been meticulously "tuned in" to the listening room by the dealer's installer. I was shopping for cables and saw the Dakiom ad on Audiogon and was intrigued. It sounded like hyperbole, but I figured I'd return it if (and when) these failed to live up to their seemingly outlandish claims. For some reason I "bit", not wanting to miss out just in case the claims were true, which I REALLY doubted. Their pre-purchase requirement to agree to write a review seemed like a probable sales gimmick, but it did pique my curiosity, and I wouldn't have to write it anyway, since in all likelihood these were going to be shipped back. They were shipped to me very quickly. I read the inserts with the wild sounding claims. I kept the envelopes for the anticipated return...


Listened with my son, age 13, an accomplished violinist (unlike his father, me). He wanted NOT to know when the stabilizers were installed versus uninstalled. Four songs, including Boston's "Peace of Mind", Fresh Aire's "Tocatta" from "III", and two others I don't remember. He stated an IMMEDIATE preference, after a few notes, not knowing whether they were installed. He preferred it WITH the stabilizers, and even said that as soon as he heard the difference, he'd quietly hoped that the configuration he preferred was the "plus stabilizer" one, or else his father had just wasted a lot of money to make his system worse.

Meanwhile, my wife, listening UPSTAIRS, and also not knowing which was which, said the system sounded better with the stabilizers.

I felt the same way. JUST TO BE SURE, I took them off and listened again. Terrible. Put them back on. Great again. Out of honesty (they really do make you check a box agreeing to write a review) and gratitude (it is SO refreshing to stumble onto a company that is telling the truth) I've written this review.

CAVEAT: I can neither verify nor disprove their claims regarding differently priced amplifiers. I will comment ONLY on my system and the product's impact thereon.

Now I BELIEVE these mysterious people, whoever they are, and will NOT be returning these--ever.

William W. Hoover

Associated gear
CD Player: Onkyo Integra DPC 8.5
Preamplifier: Rotel RC 995
Amplifier: B&K ST-140
Equalizer: Parasound R/EQ 150
Loudspeakers: Paradigm Monitor 100V3
Sub-bass: Rel Storm
Interconnects: ALL RCA's
Player-->Preamp: Audioquest King
Preamp-->Equalizer: Audioquest
Equalizer-->Amp: AQ Diamondback

Speaker Cable:
Canare 4S11, "Bi-wired" ,with
Audioquest terminations.
Sub-bass Cable:
Rel stock, hooked to the amplifier

Similar products
My experience with the same Dakiom components resulted in a slightly
rolled off top end, recessed mids, and constricted soundstage. Yes, the
initial perception was of a more relaxed presentation. But, after a short
while, it became clear the music didn't sound real to me primarily
because some detail was missing.

The benefit of the Dakiom system, is that one has the advantage of
trying the components risk free. The user just needs to be aware of the
difference between what one hopes to hear and what one actually hears,
and whether the results with Dakioms are truly better.
The listening experience is a subjective one, to be sure. In my system, with Paradigm Monitor 100 V3's and their metal dome tweeters plus solid state amp and preamp, the highs didn't seem rolled off but were tamed--but still more detailed and sweet; the mids were essentially unchanged, the bass was deeper and tighter, and the soundstage was more focused and open. In my system, detail seems to be improved, not lessened. That is a seeming paradox, but that was my experience. I tried to be mindful of any potential placebo effect.

I've no idea what these would sound like with tube components, soft dome tweeters, or any other type of speaker transducer (electrostatics, Magnaplanars,etc.). I would certainly agree that if one doesn't like them better, one should ship them back and hold the company to its word.
Mdhoover, it's amazing isn't it how the effect of tweaks varies from
system to system? When I tested the Dakioms, my system consisted of
VR4 HSE speakers, a Bryston 14B SST amp, a First Sound preamp, and an
EMC 1-UP CD player. My observations were nearly 180 degrees opposite
of yours. I could hear what some might find really pleasing, but they
weren't enough of an improvement to keep them in the system. I tend to
favor keeping detail even if I have to live with some minor digititis. If
something reduces digititis (which the Dakioms do), but does so at the
expense of detail, I'll live with the detail every time. But, that's me.

Dakiom has many, many satisfied customers. I simply chimed in to
present a different point of view. Occasionally, it's easy to get
overwhelmed with positive reviews and lose perspective on what one
hears. The "If everyone says it's great, then what I'm hearing must be
great" syndrome,(even if it doesn't sound quite right).

As always, trying them at home with a critical ear and open mind is the
best policy.
I've got mine on order, so I can't say yet what my experience is with them. In regard to detail vs digititus, my experience with live music is that there (of course) is no digititus, but also that there is often less detail than I hear on cds. So Im hoping the Dakioms will reduce digititus in my system, and Im willing to give up a bit of detail for that...
Tvad, it IS remarkable that they vary (or are perceived to vary) so much in their sonic attributes among various systems. Given all the different equipment designs and musical tastes, it doesn't necessarily surprise me. Your points about "objective" listening are well taken. Unfortunately, it was impossible for me to be "blinded" to the "with" versus "without" stabilizer configuration. I tried to avoid placebo effect but cannot totally exclude it. I tend to doubt it (but won't totally rule it out) because I did NOT expect these things to work--their ad sounded like a real crock, and this business about making a 200 dollar amp sound like a 2000 dollar amp still sounds far fetched (at best!). For some reason I tried them and they worked very well (as far as I can hear)in my system.

If "digitis" is that ultra high frequency hissing/scratching (that's at a higher frequency even than the old tape hiss), it DOES seem to be gone. Speaking only for myself, that has NOT translated into a loss of detail: as far as I can tell, it is increased. I took them off once and was amazed at how much the sound deteriorated. It was immediate and obvious.

Thank you for your comments.
I did a tweak to these stabilizers that made them better, here's what I did. I put them in two trash bags and put them in the freezer for 24 hours and then put them in the refrigerator for 24 hours and then did it all over again. After that I put them in the coldest part of my house for 24 hours then hook them back up, very nice improvement!.......Richard
I'll take your word on that one. For now, it's going to stay at room temperature.

Interconnects from preamp to equalizer and from equalizer to amplifier are actually Audioquest COPPERHEADS, not Diamondbacks.
I've been using these in my humble system for a while now and they definitely offer an improvement in most connections. Recently I installed the HR103 on my preamp and used the previously installed R103 (that were on the TAPE 1 out and MAIN out) on sources such as the Tuner and DVD Player (newly acquired). The CD Player remained configured with a R103. And all was well in the land of sonic meanderings.

ICs used: Kimber Kable PBJ (CD to Pre-Amp), Alpha-Core Micropurl Ag (Pre-Amp to Power Amp), Tara Labs Phase II (Pre-Amp to Headphone Amp)
Speaker Wire: Audioquest Type 6 (15-foot double run)
Preamp: Musical Fidelity E20
Power Amp: AMC 2445
Speakers: Vandersteens 2Ce
DVD Player: Philips 693SA DVD
CD Player: AMC CD9
Headphone Amp: Musical Fidelity X-Can v2 modified
Headphones: Sennheiser HD-600 (w Cardas replacement cable)
Tweaks: Vibapods, Herbie's Audio Lab Tenderfoot, Bright Star Air Mass 3, German Acoustic Cones, Stillpoints ERS Cloth, Monster Cable HTS 2000, PS Audio Lab Cable, AudioPrism QuietLine filters, Furutech Gold Plated Wall Outlets, and Dakiom Stabilizers (HR103, R103, A103)

Now to the point of my "two cents" here. I have recently been auditioning some of the more esoteric ICs (such as the Gold Alloy ICs) being auctioned on Audiogon just to see if any of these would make a real audible difference in my system. Well they did.

I noted three interesting developments:
(1) The Gold Alloy (GA) ICs generally offered a smoother, more detailed sonic presentation with more air and delicacy.
(2) Using the Dakiom Stabilizers (R103) with these GA ICs resulted in a loss of detail (particularly with high frequency notes) while offer little or no improvement - sounded better, more "natural" without the Stabilizers.
(3) Having the Stabilizer(s) at the Preamp, however, still made a substantial improvement. I did not A/B the A103 that's attached to the speaker cables - just left them in place.

The bottom line is (at least in my system) the Dakiom Stabilizers were still crucial for the Pre Amplifier outputs but the GA ICs already provided a smooth sonic presentation (the sonic trademark of gold) at the source components. Keep in mind, however, that outfitting your system with GA cabling could be very, very expensive. I haven't tried any Palladium ICs yet but the Silver (Ag) and Copper (Cu) all sounded better with the R103 in place.

In closing, I would also state that using the R103 with decent cabling such as Kimber Kable PBJ did make a pleasing difference (at least to me) although not a hugh one when compared to "stock OEM" cables.
I'm curious if anyone has cracked one of these things open to see whats inside?

John C.
I am more experienced in tweaking or improving systems more so than most or all of these reviewers. I have been in audio for 25 yrs and a former technician, test, and hi end installer. I have been using signal processors such as dbx, aphex, acoustic research, carver, adc, alesis, behringer, bbe, peavey, ATI,pyramid, srslabs, numark and various names one wouldn't recognize, and multiple set ups, single, bridged, bi-amped, single to multiple processors. I also used conventional to non-conventional designed loudspeakers from bose, klipsch, wharfedales,jbl's, marantz,klh,sony,yamaha to ohm's, planars magnepans, srslabs, eminent technology to electrostats like acoustat flagship models I have been collecting and installing various processors or sound enhancing devices since 1980 with the original omnisonix, omnisonic imager, later carver holography to dbx or combination of such, including reverbs, time delays and every dj processing equipment one can think of including home audio from mixers to parametric equalizers, using pink noise generators. I can tell when there is an improvement or degradation of a signal. In every set up with or without enhancing or improving devices, THERE IS ALWAYS A GIVE AND TAKE a positive and negative effect. Though you might increase detailed soundstaging, you may also increase line distortion or intermittent distortion, brightness, hollow effect, feedback, bottoming up and boominess and vice versa to simply flat, plain and slower frequency response. With the dakiom's it's the same way, it can either AID an enhancer, preamp or amp or loudspeaker or BLOCK and possibly reduce the efficiency of an electronic equipment on rare setups, but for the most part IT WILL IMPROVE MOST SYSTEMS OR SETUPS. Dakiom doesn't claim it will improve every system, but most that are CONVENTIONAL. Even many non-conventional set up are improved. There is no need for this device for those who are purists in the tube society if they are already HAPPY with their setup. Why change the dynamics or the flow of current to a mega system when the listener is already in EUPHORIA.
You only make changes when you are not pleased with the sonic performance of your system. If you are the curious, you can always do the A OR B tests and can always remove it if one doesn't have a need for it. This is the reason why I experiment with so many processor and amp configuration including various speaker design set up, I'm a speaker junky, is so I will have an option of adding or subtracting or sustaining my system. What I have learned over the years by learning from audio engineers, test techs, enthusiasts and critics is to include both praise and criticism of a product so I can utilize the positives of both end of the spectrum and in turn I help others enjoy their acquired systems to the best of their ability to what they can afford and live with. Don't try to change someone who is happy with their set up or what they are accustomed to. You only make changes on those that will pleasure one's senses. That is what the dakiom's do, just an alternative device for those who have a desire for change. For those who don't LET THEM BE like many TUBE AND PURISTS who have enough to purchase great quality equipment. Anything can be over enhanced or under enhanced, improved or denegraded!
audio-guru of the 21st century
PS, what works for one, may not work for the other and
vice versa!
I have an all Cary HT system. Cary Cinema 5 amp, Cinema 6 preamp, Cinema 6 DVD player (and even Cary Silver Oak 3 loudspeakers).

I figured an inexpensive tweak wouldn't help good electronics like this, but tried them out anyway. The result was immediately noticeable. The sound was immediately more focused and slightly sweeter on top.

I initially tried these when I was auditioning the Vandersteen 3A speakers. They had a terribly unruley and confused sound in the midrange that sounded better on my equipment than the owners - but still had problems on mine. After putting in the Diakoms, the change in the Vandersteens was remarkable. The entire presentation tightened up and made a huge improvement in the speakers.

This tweak made a really positive improvement in my system, especially for the price.
Thanks to all of the above for responding.

A new chapter MAY be in the making for this. A certain "Tvad" has come up with an interesting idea:

Now that the system has substantially changed, what about the Dakiom Feedback Stabilizers? Were they helping, or just masking weaknesses in the above system, making it sound smoother? Put another way, are they more like "filters" (in which case they'd now be expected to DEGRADE the sound of my current system); or are they more like "signal optimizers" (in which case REMOVING them would be expected to degrade the system)?

Thoughts? Predictions? Is anyone even interested in this?
If not, I have no problem with allowing this thread to f-f-f-ffffade away.

ronbonds: Too often, people hype things or bash things. So your response, although neutral, is actually very useful and much appreciated. In fact, you are the first person I have personally read about who didn't hear a change one way or the other. I have no idea whether these things will still make a difference in my CURRENT system, but did notice a significant improvement in my "old" system. Thanks for responding to this thread.
ronbonds: So, now that some time has passed, has Dakiom been as quick on the "return" side of things??????
Mdhoover,thanks for asking.Actually I posted a follow up on this point,twice actually.It seems however that the (I assume)censors chose not to allow the comments to be shown.I used no foul language whatsoever,so the motive must be otherwise.So what happened is that Dakiom employed PayPal to facilitate the refund transaction.This thereby forced me to activate an account which I did and do not want.I simply have no need of it,and am quite conservative about publishing my financial info in 'cyberspace'.I then e-mailed Dakiom with a simple question as to why they could not simply refund the bank ATM/Debit card I used to fund my purchase,as is always my experience in refunds such as this.I received a reply from Dakiom.To quote it verbatim, "HI, NUTS". To my mind this may be an indication of just what Dakiom is like behind all their promo rhetoric!

Now THAT'S an interesting story! This part is the real shocker:
I received a reply from Dakiom.To quote it verbatim, "HI, NUTS".
For once, I'm speechless.
I had been considering trying these, till now. Thanks Double4w.
i purchased a pair of these for my monoblocks. i definitely heard an improvement - smoother across the board. i recommend them if $200 isn't going to keep you up at night. i do think this is a relatively inexpensive tweak. i spent $700 for my stereo rack. did it make my system sound better? i can't tell. i bought $1k synergistic speaker cables. my $90 anticables sound better. am i flaming against synergistic? my rack manufacturer? no - i'm a big boy. but more importantly this is my hobby and i enjoy tweaking. i was satisfied with the sound of my system from day one but that didn't keep me from trying to improve it. i don't mind spending a bit of change every now and then to see if i can improve the sound. but that's my risk profile. i think there are enough positive reviews to buy these if that's also your risk profile. but if you want "guaranteed" improvement and feel "cheated" if it's not up to YOUR expectations, then I'd pass on these and perhaps audiophilia as a hobby, because let's face it, talk about an investment of diminishing returns...