When I first heard a demonstration of these new-fangled room treatments I was completely blown away by the difference they made in the sound. They turned a mediocre, unmusical transistor system into something we could actually sit and listen to, and, more to the point, enjoy. It was that much better.
A Skeptic and Proud of It
My approach to reviewing records is a skeptical one: a record sounds good if it sounds good, regardless of how it was made, who made it, or why. I've heard lots of expensive so-called audiophile equipment do a pretty poor job of making music over the years, the owners of which had an armful of reasons for why the sound should be truly awe-inspiring. But it just wasn't. Most fancy gold faceplates are nothing but lipstick on a pig in my opinion.
How Does It Work?
And I don't need to know how something works to know if it does or not. Most explanations for audible effects are simply unproven and untested conventional wisdom (coined as a pejorative term, and rightly so). They may or may not be true. Ex post facto explanations don't change the facts, they rather conveniently come AFTER the facts, so how do such explanations have any value, except to comfort those who need answers to questions that haven't been properly answered yet?
When I heard my first Shun Mook demo, I asked that the silver-dollar-sized wooden discs be taken out of the room to hear what difference it would have on the sound. When the sound got worse, I didn't really care why. When they were brought back in, the sound got better. Who knows why? It just did. The difference was small, and the price was high, so I didn't pursue it, but I always defended them as not "voodoo", not hysteria, not credulity, but real audio.
Turntables Are for Tweaks
I love to tweak my system. I like to say that turntables are for tweaks, because they are. You have to like making a small change and listening for the difference. I use power conditioners, power cords, vibration reducing pillows; I reorient individual pieces of equipment in the direction they sound best in -- all that stuff. Of course, confirmation bias is the biggest pitfall whenever one tweaks, but with opinionated friends and the pressing need to always have a properly working, transparent and accurate record playback system to evaluate LPs with, self delusions and errors in judgement come to light sooner or later. Eventually good sound is restored. Eventually...
So my first thoughts upon hearing the Hallographs were "Wow, they really work!", then "I wonder how?", quickly followed by "Who cares? Be thankful they do!" Nothing else I know of for the amount of money they cost can make this kind of sonic difference -- not even close.
Aurios and Hallographs -- The Revolution Has Begun
The single biggest improvement to the sound in my own system that I ever heard was the addition of Aurios under the turntable. I would say the Hallographs make a comparable improvement -- maybe more, maybe not; it would be hard to quantify accurately enough to say which is greater -- but there are two important things to keep in mind when considering the change:
One, the Hallographs make ALL your music sound better, not just the music you can play on your turntable. In that sense they are sonically more effective than Aurios, affecting all your music. And,
Two, the Hallographs (like the Aurios) don't replace anything in your system. They are an ADDITION to everything in your system that contributes to the good sound. They take your system to another level without you having to replace any components. I'm sure you worked hard to put together your system, in order to achieve just the sound you like. Hallographs give you more of the sound you already like! How can you beat that? In that sense the normal trade-offs in sound do not apply. You get more detail AND more richness. You get more depth AND more presence. In short, you get more of all the good things and less of all the bad things.
What Is the Problem?
Improvements in audio are frequently occasioned by the solution to problems heretofore not recognized as problems. I was in audio before the advent of specialized interconnects and speaker wire for audio. I made my own interconnects out of Belden cable in the '70s because it sounded better than the wire that was commercially available.
Not that many years ago Synchronous Drive Systems for turntables were invented. Who knew this was a problem? Sticking the motor plug into the AC wall outlet after hearing it through an SDS is an easy comparison to do. It's just plain unpleasant now. How could we stand that grainy, aggressive, distorted sound? But we did! Then came power conditioners and vibration control and flywheels and all the rest, and at each stage, going back was an option too painful to contemplate.
Change the Sound, Change the Listener
And that's the way you are going to feel about the Hallographs. I'll bet my bottom dollar on it. Taking them out of the room will be positively painful, yet your system, or so you thought, sounded just fine the day before! What changed?
Two things changed. You solved a problem you didn't know you had, which caused the sound in the room to change. The change, the improvement, is undeniable.
But something else changed. YOU changed. You now know how much better your stereo can reproduce music in your home. You heard it with your own two ears. The same stereo you had the day before; nothing different about it -- just these wooden stands behind the speakers.
Can't Get It Out of My Head
The memory of that sound is difficult, if not impossible, to erase.
If you don't have a thousand dollars to spend, don't borrow a pair of these to try in your listening room! Find the money first, so that you don't have to give them back while you find a way to pay for them. Letting go of the Hallographs will just be too painful, and I wouldn't want to see you suffer that way.
The following is taken from the Shakti Hallograph literature:
The Hallograph breakthrough technology is the result of over 10 years of research that studied the effects of the speaker/room interface. We learned how to reduce the audibility of the chaotic reflections from the walls of the listening room so they won’t overpower and interfere with the direct sound from the speakers. The Hallograph contours the frequency, amplitude and time coefficients of the first reflections you hear, which produces a stunning increase in realism.
The Hallograph Soundfield Optimizer consists of two arrays that are easily placed behind each speaker near the corners of the back wall. Each array is engineered with proprietary technology (patent pending) and made with exotic hardwoods, consisting of staggered activated panels that are mounted on an elegant base that beautifully blends into any style room environment.
More realistic presentation of stage depth, width and height, along with a warmer musical tonality that doesn’t compromise clarity and detail.
Allows latest advances in State-of-The-Art electronics and speaker designs to be heard to their full potential.
Each array is adjustable so that the system can be optimized for different rooms and speaker systems.
Activated panels generate a musically complimentary reflective energy that transforms your listening room by overshadowing typical room distortions which muddy the bass, over-brighten the presentation and blur the soundstage.
The Ambient detail of the original recording site is now finally revealed in all its glory.
Beta testers were stunned by the level of musical improvement they were able to achieve when the prototype Hallograph arrays were put into their systems.
Priced under $1200 a pair - only one set is required per system. Easy set up with floor stands. The Hallograph array offers the kind of performance increase that’s associated with a major upgrade in speakers and electronics.
As a special incentive to help you overcome your natural skepticism concerning something so radically novel and unique, we are offering $100 worth of free LPs or CDs with your purchase of the Hallographs. Just put in your order as you normally would through the site and we will discount your purchases $100.
On top of all that, your Satisfaction is Guaranteed or your Money Back INCLUDING the return shipping!
The Hallographs are bulky to ship but not particularly heavy. UPS ground shipping should run about $35.