I had not heard the RCP-1 myself until I took it to my customer's house in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. (Please see my blog, "Rare Subtle Beauty", below which describes the evolution of this system in detail.) To put things in perspective, this is perhaps the most musical, most revealing system I have ever heard. It's ability to draw subtle distinctions and its command of micro-dynamics allows the listener to follow all of the performance's tiniest nuances. I thought we had already attained the apotheosis.
I have no problem promoting anything from Acoustic Revive, even unheard, because my experiences with every one of Mr. Ken Ishiguro's creations have been extremely positive. Each one addresses a particular vulnerability in a hi fi system, and the more of them you add, the better the system performs You can easily find corroboration for that in many places on the web, but in particular if you follow Jeff Day's Acoustic Revive Chronicles in Positive-Feedback magazine. The linked article goes back to issue 39. There are many that follow over the years. The current issue is number 90!
Still, I was only expecting a modest improvement by the insertion of the RCP-1. One, because the system was already at such a high level, it was hard to imagine what might be better, and, two, because every other plug-in-the-wall-and-forget-it device I had tried over the years never really added much, and in some cases, made things worse.
My preconception could not have been more off the mark. One might rightly assume that since we were starting with a system that was already at an extraordinarily high level that the effect of the RCP-1 was magnified many times. Jeff Day's highly positive remarks on the RCP-1 are also based on listening to a very sophisticated and highly evolved system. Will the audiophile at the beginning of the curve derive as much benefit? I will have to wait to hear from more customers to know. I can say that in a system where we had gone to extraordinary lengths to enhance performance, to remove as much noise as possible, where we had heard clearly each individual improvement as we replaced this or that component or cable and where we heard the sum total of those improvements, we heard a leap as big as the insertion of the Arhat speaker cable or as big as the insertion of the upgraded power supply for the preamp.
The certainty of the magnitude of this improvement was gained in the first few moments we listened. When you're in this kind of territory it's very hard to come up with the words to describe what you're hearing. Veils removed? Check. Greater inner detail revealed? Check. Improvement in micro-dynamics? Vast. But something else as well: The ability to follow contrapuntal movement within a symphony is vastly increased. Not only are micro-dynamics enhanced, they are now clearly in the service of the phrase. That is, now we can hear more clearly than ever the arc of the phrase, as well as all of the subtle fluctuations within it that give it its unique and individual character. Then we are more easily able to follow the sum total of phrases that are flowing simultaneously, both as an aggregate and as individual phrases with all of the subtle inner fluctuations readily apparent. Truly an astonishing upgrade!