Review: Walker Audio Walker Audio Pro Tweak
Walker Audio Pro room tuning devices
These days, it seems as though the marketplace has many contenders for the audiophile dollar with respect to devices that tune and tame nasties in our listening rooms. There are Acoustic System Resonators, ART from Synergistic Research, Sugar Cubes, etc. Some of these are made from exotic materials like unobtanium, or sourced from Tibetan Monk’s “singing bowls”. They act as diffusors, or in the case of some, sympathetic resonators designed to cancel out negative resonances.
Most audiophiles recognize the positive effect a well designed and tuned listening room has on the experience of listening to music. A lot of us have achieved that through the judicious use of cumbersome room treatment panels, Tube Traps, and the like, which (and I hope my spouse will forgive me here) have a low to non-existent WAF. My own listening room has two very large diffusor panels in the rear corners from RPG, and no less than 10 Quest Acoustical Interiors panels on the walls and ceiling, orientation placement and design compliments of Rives Audio.
For the past couple of weeks I have been experimenting with Walker Audio Pro devices, placed in strategic positions in my room, designed to compliment the existing treatments, not replace them. The Walker Audio Pro does not treat the room, per se, but it has a very positive, repeatable effect on the delivery of music from my system.
How, you ask? The principal behind this product is in its ability to cancel RFI around and out into the room, depending on where it is placed and oriented. Our homes are saturated with RFI, from cell phones, wireless broadband, microwaves, remote controls and many of the comforts of the modern age we have come to enjoy. It only stands to reason then, that RFI could theoretically have a negative effect on a high resolution hi fi system. Unless, of course, you are fortunate enough to have a room isolated by an enormous Faraday cage, or a lead lined “cone of silence”
A description of the devices is in order before we continue. Each one is about the same diameter as a U.S. dime, and about as thick as a stack of 5 dimes. On the top are a series of holes which help determine the direction the product is “pointed”. When referring to pointing, I mean to say that the direction of the top holes is the direction of the field of RFI cancellation, approximately 18 inches high and 3-6 feet out from the device. Inside are two layers of polymer. These polymers are designed to suck up and cancel RFI and other electrical interference. Please do not ask me to debate or explain the scientific principal behind the polymers. I am neither a chemist or electrical engineer. I can only report to you from a purely subjectivist point of view what I am experiencing in my room.
When placing the devices, the idea is to position them in such a way that the field created, works to cancel RFI. I have one placed on the wall behind and about 2 feet above my turntable, another located on the same wall above the preamplifier, one located behind and above the centerline between the amps, one on each speaker, on the outside cabinet just about even with the top of the woofer cone. They are in the positions placed by Lloyd Walker.
In the early going, I was not sure if I could hear a difference one way or the other when the two were placed near my source equipment. However, I noticed an immediate sense of deepening of the soundstage when the one behind the amps was added. Cymbal strikes seemed to take on more shimmer and less glare. The first attempt with placing them on the speakers resulted in what can best be described as a collapse of the overall soundstage toward the center. Not at all acceptable. Moving them toward the front and down to the midline not only restored what was there before, but expanded it well beyond the outside edges of the speakers. If these are indeed canceling RFI, reducing “hash” in the music, it is also evidenced by much longer, purer decay times in the music as it fades into blackness at the end of a cut. Leading edges of the music seem to have more attack. This disappears to some degree by removing them from the speakers, or shifting the position of the one behind the amps.
The most notable positive effect these tiny little things have had is with respect to my phono stages. Both are high gain (50 to 69 db). As a result, from time to time, I have issues with RFI in the form of a local clear channel AM radio station coming through loud and clear, especially when I touch the tonearm to cue up an LP. Since installing one above my TT, no RFI, no static, just dead quiet. That is, until the music leaps out at you.
The day we installed them a large group of listening friends came over for one of our regular get togethers. This is the first time I can recall when people sat and really listened to LP after LP without talking and carrying on discussions. The listening room was quiet (save for the music) all afternoon. Something is clearly happening here that was absent (or present, depending on your point of view) before.
A word of caution in closing: these are designed to cancel RFI. As such, be careful in placing them around cables as they could potentially have a deleterious effect.
My experience is mine, and as always, YMMV. If you want to know more about the Walker Audio Pros, give Lloyd Walker a call. www.walkeraudio.com He can explain the science far better than I can. They have made a not subtle, positive difference in my listening experience. Not leaps and bounds mind you, but remember: the devil is in the details.
Disclaimer: I have no financial interest or gain to be made. I'm Just a customer who has tried them, and thinks they do what is claimed
Walker Audio Proscenium Gold Signature turntable
Bluelectric Magic Diamond cart
Supratek Chenin pre w/ built in phono stage
Allnic H1200 phono stage
Consonance Cyber 800 mono amps
Kharma CE 2.2 loudspeakers
Walker Audio Velocitors on sources and amps
Silent Source Music Reference ICs, Speaker Cables and PCs
J-Corder/Bottlehead/Technics RS1500 reel to reel
Bottlehead Seduction tape head pre