The SHAKTI Electromagnetic Stabilizer (aka “the Stone”) has three internal trap circuits (Microwave, RF and Electric Field) to absorb the broadest spectrum of EMI.
It also improves resolution for virtually all-major components in high definition audio/video systems. Music reproduction is clearer, with more liquidity, dynamics and focus. The improved inter-transient silence allows the listener to hear ambient cue information essential for accurate perception of stage depth, width and unwavering imaging. High quality video systems will benefit from SHAKTI devices near power supplies, projection guns and laser disc/DVD players. Reduced color noise and improved convergence alignment are some of the improvements that can occur. In automotive applications, where space allows, the unit should be securely taped and/or cable tied to the top of the CPU.
6.5″ L x 5.25″ W x 1.5″ H
Sold individually to USA customers only. We cannot sell outside the USA.
Positive Feedback, Vol. 5 No. 4, 1995
By Clay Swartz:
“Just when I was getting to feel that I would not have to add any more tweaks to my system, in comes the tweak that has caused the greatest improvement in sound of any tweak that I have ever tried in my system. The noise floor was substantially improved. Tonality and timbre were improved. There was more sense of air between instruments. In short, recordings became more musical, and I found my enjoyment of that music substantially improved. SHAKTI is not only highly recommended, but I consider it utterly necessary if you wish to get the most out of your system.”
Audio Video Singapore, November 1995
By Stephen Yan:
“Suddenly, something was very different. First of all, the background darkened. Whereas previously it was sort of grayish-black, so that some low-level detail had tended to merge with it, now it was completely black. The music was set off against this blackness, throwing almost everything into sharper relief. Resolution was heightened, and because I could hear greater detail, the music took on a more rhythmic, more emotionally charged quality. I didn’t think that adding one more stone anywhere else would make any kind of difference. I put the stone on the center of my CD player, and played the same track. Lo and behold, I was transported to yet another dimension of resolution. I suppose the best way to summarize the most beneficial effects of the SHAKTI Stones is to say that they added smoothness to my system. All the brashness associated with digital equipment was taken away, making the end result very easy on the ear, and a generally much more relaxing experience.”
Stereophile, February 1996, Vol. 19 No. 2
By Jonathan Scull:
“It seemed to sharpen the focus and quiet the background, heightening the sense of imaging… Focus, transparency, clarity and speed were better, as was the sense of space and pace. It's not that the SHAKTI improved the amps so much as, they allowed them to perform to their fullest. Used intelligently and in the right places, the SHAKTI offers a worthwhile and cost effective boost in sound quality.”
Stereophile, April 1996, Vol. 19 No 4
By Barry Willis:
“Leaving the volume control untouched, I took one of the SHAKTI Stones, placed it square on top of the JVCXLZ-11-TN CD player, and played “Famous Blue Raincoat” again. I'll be damned if there wasn't a whole new level of depth and clarity to the presentation. Pretty amazing. From the midrange on up, everything sounded cleaner, that cool-breeze-after-a-hard-rain kind of cleaner. The low level high frequency grunge to which I had adapted, “This is as good as this system is gonna sound in this room” was noticeably diminished. I repeated the experiment with “Revolution” and “Someday Soon” (and with plenty of other music since) and found that the effect was repeatable and verifiable. I've tried it on other folks and they've heard it too. Jonathan Scull's endorsement in Stereophile February 96 (vol.19 No. 2, p. 177) was right on the mark. I give the SHAKTI Electromagnetic Stabilizer a big “thumbs up.””
The Absolute Sound, Issue 106, 1996
By Jonathan Vallin:
“Used sensibly, the SHAKTI Stones clarify inner details (particularly delicate harmonic and dynamic details), reduce inter transient noise components and grain, increase transparency, markedly improve focus, and simply produce a more realistic sound than non-SHAKTI’d components… On large orchestral recordings, this reduction of grain, increase in dimensionality, and tightening of focus markedly increase transparency, allowing a clearer view into the stage… The SHAKTIs make such a marked improvement that they should be considered an essential tweak.”
Hi Fi News and Record Review, August 1997
By Ken Kessler:
“To recap, SHAKTI Electromagnetic Stabilizers are placed on top of transformers, speakers, etc. like a VPI brick or Flux Dumper. Internal circuitry, passive internal components' is supposed to work all sorts of groovy magic; and I've witnessed convincing demonstrations on speakers and valve amps too many times to dismiss them. (Confession: I use the Stones all the time, I just don't boast about it). What doesn't need sorting are the On-Lines themselves, which clean up the sound in a manner reminiscent of Simba clamps.”
Fi Magazine, Jan-Feb 1997
By Lars Fredel:
“I don't know what the specifics are, but the thing really works. There is an obvious reduction of the noise floor, which rather significantly improves the sense of dimensionality, and the dynamic impact, of individual instruments. The presentation becomes cleaner and more liquid without losing detail of focus. Indeed soundstage dimensions are better delineated. Very appealing!”
“I am hooked on the liquidity and persuasive presence they coax from the string of boxes in my system. The return on investment is a no-brainer for me. As for you know who, the significant other approval factor is even less than a non-issue. She likes them! I think it’s fair to say that we both recommend them.”
Instructions and places to use the Electromagnetic Stabilizer, aka “the Stone”
Choose a minimally processed female vocal recording or classical excerpt, that has an easily perceived sound stage of good depth and width. After you have listened several times to a brief section, you can center SHAKTI on top of the audio component. Then begin evaluating its effects by A/B comparisons of SHAKTI on and off your audio components.
Wherever preferred, SHAKTI can be used under or above the host audio device. In some situations additional improvements can result from the use of one SHAKTI unit above and another below the component. Two SHAKTI units on the same horizontal plane, should be placed one inch apart. Be sure, whenever possible to use SHAKTI with the engraved top facing the ceiling. It is not recommended to position SHAKTI on its side, although it will still provide some benefits if space requires that orientation. Keep in mind that the closer you can get SHAKTI to the circuit, the more pronounced the benefits will be. Under the component, even not in contact with the chassis will usually work better than on top because SHAKTI is closer to the circuit.
On pre and power amps, if you know the location of the power transformer, then use that as the starting point for placement of SHAKTI. On other components such as CD players, DACs and tape decks, begin with the approximate center of the chassis. Continue to A/B for the optimum placement by moving SHAKTI to different points on the chassis, noting where maximum benefits are obtained. With CD transports, SHAKTI placed directly above or below the location of the spinning CD inside the drawer, will audibly improve resolution.
Phono systems benefit with SHAKTI placement near the turntable motor and/or the cartridge. Separate power supplies and line conditioners will function far better if SHAKTI is placed above or below their chassis. In some instances, SHAKTI can be placed on top or inside loudspeaker cabinets and reveal subtler aspects of the recordings. Bass improvements are audible when used with sub-woofers. Electrostatic and ribbon speakers will sound clearer with SHAKTI units attached to the tops of their frames and near any transformers.
The SHAKTI Electromagnetic Stabilizer is a patented Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) absorption and dissipation apparatus. EMI is a general term used to describe the negative interaction of radiated fields with the transfer function of electromagnetic components. SHAKTI is a three stage passive device that requires no direct electrical connection to the signal path because all interaction takes place through radiated field mutual coupling. The three broad spectrum traps (Microwave, RF and Electric/Magnetic), contained within its portable chassis, absorb and dissipate these parasitic oscillations through inductive coupling. Reducing these fields results in a more accurate signal transfer of the information the host device carries. Specific applications in use at present time are all types of audio/video components and automotive engine computer processors (ECUs) and ignition coils.
EMI in Audio Components
In audio components these spurious fields radiate from several millimeters to several feet around the host component chassis. Left unattenuated, some undesirable portions of this EMF can transgress back into circuits, generating noise artifacts that get amplified along with the music waveform. The result is a noisier, grainier background during moments of inter transient silence and a reduction in dynamic contrasts as signal levels change. In contrast, by reducing these noise sources the overall reproduction of the music becomes more detailed, encompassing greater stage depth, width and clarity.
EMI in Automotive Engines
In the automotive world EMI is a factor in the accuracy of signal information arriving at the Engine Control Module (ECU) of modern vehicles. A variety of sensors located at different vantage points deliver information to the ECU that allow this computer processor to adjust the parameters for ignition timing and electronic fuel injection. The digital chips RF radiation and the inherent close proximity of circuits parts can lead to a contamination of this incoming analog information and interfere with the ECU’s receiving accurate values. This results in lost horsepower and slower acceleration times. SHAKTI devices placed near the chips absorb these fields, increasing the precision of the ECU’s functioning. Ignition coils produce voltage through an expanding and collapsing magnetic field. The collapsing field has an inherent back electro motive force (back EMF) that can interfere with the expanding field. Placement of SHAKTI devices on the sides of ignition coils absorbs some of the spurious energy of the back EMF, thus speeding up the rise time which improves spark timing.
Origin and Causes of EMI
Falling within the category of EMI are what are identified as parasitic oscillations. These extremely short, tiny bursts of energy are visible on high resolution waveform monitors at certain points along the cycle of a sine wave. Often originating in the RF region, they also have harmonics that reflect up and down into the audio bands and become amplified at high levels along with the music. Sometimes they are external in origin, the circuit stages and traces acting like a giant maze antenna. All metropolitan areas are teeming with RFI that has a spectrum ranging from 30 Hz to 7 gHz, though most often encountered at frequencies below 500 mgHz. Automotive ignition noise dominates, but can on occasion be superseded by power distribution lines. Other sources of RFI are appliances, electric motors, fluorescent lights, electric garage door openers, industrial equipment, microwave appliances and light dimmers. In audio components, self generated parasitic oscillations are well known to occur in switching power supplies. 120 Hz current spikes, caused by rectifier conduction, emanate in capacitive input design power supplies. Common rectifier diodes, used in a variety of equipment, produce high levels of RFI. Harmonics of these spikes and bursts can be observed in a wide spectrum up into the mgHz region. Radiation of these pulses are conducted to other circuit parts within the amplifier, increasing as a result of being amplified in combination with the music signal. In effect, there are a number of parasitic oscillation transmitters within amplifiers that can produce broad bandwidth, multiple harmonic pulses each second. Printed circuit boards are also sources of unwanted EMI. Several causes are common impedance coupling via power and ground traces, antenna loops formed by ICs and their bypass capacitors and cross-talk between adjoining signal traces of the individual boards or adjacent boards. There is also evidence that things as simple as poor or cold solder connections and dissimilar adjacent metals can be sources of EMI effects.
Conventional Approaches To Reduce EMI Effects
There are a number of traditional approaches to reduce the external RFI that reaches components. Several examples are extensive chassis shielding, ferrite bead type filters at input and output sections and power line conditioners. Engineers generally try and keep signal traces short to minimize stray inductance and capacitance, which can cause signals to ring and to over or undershoot the steady state voltage levels, all of which can be a source of EMI. Several companies are selling ferrite bead devices that are placed around system interconnects to filter RFI that could enter at those points. This is effective at reducing RF that can enter through external wiring. However, it does not attenuate self-generated sources within the component itself, nor can it reduce much higher microwave fields. Also ferrite material filters are only applicable to a situation where they can be placed around a wire to facilitate the impedance shifting effect that is at the heart of the this design. One other device that has been used in audio to absorb some unwanted emanations around power transformers is the VPI brick. Conventional understanding of its topology is that it uses non-torroidial passive transformer laminates to mutually couple with some of the electric and magnetic field energy around active transformers. As noted earlier, there is a good amount of information available that these fields contain undesirable harmonics that can interact with the music waveform in negative ways. To be of any benefit a device such as this must have a resistive element to enhance dissipation. It is not enough to just resonate in harmony with the active field. As a result of the electromagnetic constant, hysteresis, some small dissipation will occur (the definition of hysteresis is that a certain varying percentage of energy will be lost when an electric field or current moves through a metal conductor). It also is quite probable that the mass of the brick may alter some mechanical chassis resonance, that otherwise could prove harmful in certain situations.
SHAKTI’S Unique Filter Designs
The mechanism that activates the absorption and dissipation circuits in SHAKTI has an electrical equivalent that is analogous to an RF transformer effect. This occurs when a tuned secondary coil (passive) is placed in proximity to an active primary coil. An absorption of energy will take place at predetermined frequencies, as long as the passive unit is properly resistively loaded or damped. The host component represents the active coil and SHAKTI parallels the secondary transformer or coil. The potential drainage of the host transformer is negligible in this application because SHAKTI’s circuit design is tuned to absorb the ultra high frequencies of the spurious unwanted fields within the EMF.
SHAKTI differs from past efforts to reduce EMI in several distinct ways. First, there are three specific filter stages to cover a broader source of potential unwanted emanations. Second, new and unique types of absorption components are incorporated, that, even if used with other filter designs (e.g. ferrite types), will compliment rather than duplicate the action, thus producing additional benefits. SHAKTI allows for flexible placement near internal circuit stages that are most prone to self-generated EMI, as well as providing additional noise reduction from external sources. And finally, each stage has not only the inherent hysteresis effect that produces some dissipation, but also a specifically incorporated additional resistive element to enhance the filters’ effectiveness.
Stage #1 Microwave Filter Circuit
Utilizing proven laws of wave guide designs, this circuit stage provides absorption and dissipation for frequencies from 1.5 gHz to over 100 gHz. Anyone who wonders if these regions can affect audio quality, should try running a set of preamplifier interconnects near a leaky microwave oven. The essential topology of this stage is comprised of tuned resonant chambers that couple with microwave frequencies. The resistive element is a special conductive internal coating on the chamber walls that dissipates the microwave energy as it moves within the chambers. Full details and mathematical calculations that outline this circuit are available in the SHAKTI patent # 5,814,761. This circuit stage is not in the SHAKTI On-Lines.
Stage #2 RFI Filter Circuit
Through a unique application of quartz oscillators, a broad spectrum of RFI is attenuated. Being a piezeo-electric material, quartz is capable of converting an electric field into mechanical energy. In situations where quartz is employed in active components, the desired goal is to accentuate one resonant frequency to the exclusion of all others. However, within this stage of SHAKTI, quartz is used in a manner to produce the broadest sampling of frequencies to better absorb the somewhat unpredictable EMI. One of the reasons quartz has never been used in this type of circuit is because, as effective as it is as a converter of electrical energy, its very high Q means that most of the conversion to mechanical energy swiftly changes back to electrical. To overcome this problem, careful experimentation produced the necessary resistive element that is incorporated to substantially lower the Q. The result is effective dissipation within the first 1/2 cycle. This stage provides absorption/dissipation benefits for both external and self -generated sources of RFI.
Stage #3 Electric and Magnetic Field Filter
This third stage provides filter action for that portion of the host components’ EMF that is comprised of an electric or electrostatic field ranging from 50 Hz to 200 kHz. Any magnetic fields that might pass through the chassis would also be dissipated by this stage. The primary element in this stage is the magnetic field that is set up within SHAKTI. Following a fundamental law known as “the right hand rule”, (which describes the interaction of electric and magnetic fields), this stage results in absorption/dissipation of the multiple odd harmonics of the ac line frequency (60 cycles), that are known to cause serious EMI problems. A unique part of this stage’s circuitry is a component which acts like an antenna to attract some of the spurious field around the active transformer, resulting in greater coupling of unwanted energy into SHAKTI. This circuit stage is not in the SHAKTI On-Lines.
The outer case that encapsulates the internal circuits is comprised of a poured stone concrete material that is not resistive to the host components’ EMF. This allows the parasitic fields to easily penetrate through to the absorptive devices as well as providing an excellent and safe medium to release the electrical energy that has been converted to heat. Integral pigmentation throughout the stone material is accomplished by using a proprietary compound that has natural anti-static properties.
Test Procedures Conducted To Date
Electromagnetic Emission Test
At Compatible Electronics Inc., an independent testing lab in Agoura, California, an emission test was run to determine SHAKTI’s effects on a known source of parasitic oscillations generated in a shielded room. A comb generator was used to generate the ultra-sonic fields that were then picked up by a log periodic receiving antenna several feet away in the shielded room. This receiving antenna was then connected to a Hewlett Packard spectrum analyzer (HP 8566B) that measured radiated fields both with and without SHAKTI in place on the comb generator driven unit. Four separate broad spectrum tests were run beginning in the mghz regions and up to 1.6 gHz. In all cases the attenuation was a remarkable 3 to 10dB of reduction when Shakti was in place in the test procedure. These tests clearly show the effectiveness of the RF and Microwave trap circuits within SHAKTI. In Germany a similar test was run in a state of the art test center that confirmed these results when looking at the output of a D to A converter. High resolution spectrum analysis of self-generated 30 mghz to 300 mghz frequencies that arose from an input of 1kHz into the D to A converter were dramatically reduced when SHAKTI was placed on the component. The spectrum analyzer was directly connected to the output of the D to A converter.
Thermodynamic Transfer Of Energy Test
The laws of thermodynamics dictate that if a transfer of energy from the field around an active component takes place through an absorption/dissipation transducer, there must be a measurable increase in mechanical or heat energy in that transducer. At an independent testing lab thermocouplers were attached to an area 1/4″ above both a loaded circuit SHAKTI Stone and an unloaded placebo. A very cool running 30 watt receiver was placed in a temperature controlled isolation chamber with the two SHAKTI Stones. Regardless of positioning, the loaded Stone maintained a 1/2 degree Fahrenheit higher reading than the placebo stone. An extreme example was positioning of the placebo directly above the warmest portion of the receiver’s chassis (the transformer area), and the loaded SHAKTI several inches in front of the receiver. The higher temperature reading for the loaded SHAKTI Stone is consistent with its conversion of energy properties, because, even at that distance it was still within the host receiver’s EMF.
60 Cycle PhaseField View and AC Line Test
At Metrology Instruments Labs in Simi Valley, California, a phase linearity test was conducted. Each time a SHAKTI Stone was placed near an amplifier’s transformer, the waveform analyzer connected to the output of the amplifier, demonstrated a more coherent 60 Hz signal. Another test was conducted at UCLA’s High Frequency Lab. This time the amplifier’s 60 cycle radiated field was looked at. Once again there was an improvement in coherence with the SHAKTI Stone in place on the component. These results are consistent with expected benefits of EMI reduction. Another test conducted at Metrology Lab was an analysis of the noise on an AC line. It’s well known that use of digital gear can contribute to noise artifacts on the AC service they are plugged into. In this procedure a CD player was inserted into an AC line which had one neutral leg fed into an oscilloscope. Turning on the CD player caused ringing at 250 kHz on the AC line. This would have negative effects on all audio gear that shared the same line with this CD player. Placement of a SHAKTI Stone on the top of the player’s chassis clamped down the ringing significantly. Attempts with mu metal, ferrite beads and other items of significant mass and shielding potential were not able to duplicate the beneficial effects of the SHAKTI units.
Video Image Test
Architectual Electronics, a home and pro theater installation company in Vancouver, Canada has confirmed that in a variety of situations, use of SHAKTI products in and around video projectors, VCRs and laser disc players can demonstrably show improvements in video quality. A revealing objective example is a convergence chart cross hatch test pattern. The most difficult to resolve areas at the periphery of the picture are more accurately aligned with placement of SHAKTI Stones under or on top of the video projector. This has been verified in a wide variety of systems ranging from entry level and high end home theaters to commercial board room and studio applications. Other visible areas of improvement included a reduction in hot spots and color noise and an increase in picture depth. The obvious reason for these improvements is a reduction in noise in and around the component.
Steady State Audio Test Tones
A number of audio products (e.g. cables) are often cited as examples where subjective empirical listening tests, done with musical information, produce claims of audible benefits, but no correlation can be found on non-musical testing. The explanation from the subjectivist camp for this discrepancy, is that the ear is much more sensitive to the complex and transient nature of music versus the steady state audio of test tones. Even with the enormous sales of exotic cables, the objectivist camp continues to put forward its counter view that they don’t really make a difference. In the case of SHAKTI, tests have been conducted that overlap both camps. In addition to musical A/B comparisons that reveal audible benefits, interestingly, a steady state test tone, anywhere in the region between 300 Hz and 1000 Hz, also audibly changes for the better when SHAKTI is placed near a power amplifier’s transformer. The parameters for this test are as follows:
the listener must sit absolutely still and the tone sent to only one speaker (this is necessary because of the inherent random reflective nature of steady tones and perceived amplitude changes with small changes in ear position.
the person facilitating the placement must also keep any body movement to the absolute minimum, just moving his arm to lift the unit on and off the component. The tone is easily perceived as purer and clearer with SHAKTI in place; removal results in a tone with more warble and what sounds like a slightly lower volume. Surprisingly, even when the listener is prevented from seeing the AB, this test is just as consistently successful in identifying the SHAKTI on position. This is in marked contrast to the subjectivist camp’s admitted poor test scores when they attempt blind AB testing of most audio gear (for which they have some interesting explanations). Perhaps SHAKTI, rather than increasing the distance between audio’s two rival factions, may instead bring them a bit closer.
SHAKTI Design Engineer
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