In recent times, we can observe a constant conundrum of the introduction of high-end audio accessories. Their sonic impact varies and can range from subtle affecting the sound to distorting it, making little or no difference, or making the big breakthrough. 

Chance and choice produce far more products than high-end audio manufacturers would like to admit. But not so with Acoustic Revive products. 

There is always something mystical and unspoken about the many products from the land of Rising Sun. They ignite interest and sparkle the imagination unlike many western made or imagined creations. 

The products of Ken Ishiguro from Acoustic Revive are no different when it comes to the non-ordinary. Ishiguro is a lifelong music fan and high-end audio aficionado who has spent years pursuing extreme measures to reveal the ultimate potential of audio systems. 

Ken Ishiguro and his company Acoustic Revive are known for high-end audio products and accessories that, while operating on the fringes of science, the Acoustic Revive products always work and function as described. 

His innovative products have won numerous awards over the years, and he is always trying to approach the fine-tuning and operation of the high-end audio system from a different perspective and through the use of exotic and esoteric materials. 

Ishiguro's ultimate goal is to achieve the natural state of the original music with reproduced sound. His aim is to remove all sonic artifacts that either cause listener fatigue or give a clear indication that the music has been reproduced. 

Ishiguro's quest for non-artificial musical reproduction is pursued through physics, material science, and the not often explored principles of sound engineering.

Like many Japanese audio designers, he prefers to let his Japanese-built and produced product speak for itself, and based on my experience over the years, not a single product that came from Ken Ishiguro was inert, non-functioning, or worked against the core of the music. 

He is a quiet master designer, working idiosyncratically and restlessly to transcend the usual norms, the inadequacies of the materials, and various forms of electronic hubris. 

But Ishiguro's work is not limited to high-end audio. His passion and knowledge can also be found in the pro audio industry, where his products have found a happy home in numerous renowned studios. He is one of the few high-end audio designers that successfully operate in both industries. A rare achievement that deserves to be applauded.


There is not a lot of official info on the Acoustic Revive Reality Enhancer. Important for those who know or already use SIP -8Q and other connector caps is that Reality Enhancer is a different product with newly adopted discoveries and materials. It brings better sound quality and increased performance. The new Reality Enhancer is not a simple, high-end version of the well-known SIP -8Q, but a completely new and redesigned product with new standards and sonic advancements. 

While Reality Enhancer technology and special aspects cannot be fully disclosed due to trade secret protection, here are some features that reveal the inner workings and what makes these high-end audio "plugs" so different: 

  • Small quartz ring
  • PC TripleC/ EX wire
  • Solderless
  • Silk wool with tourmaline
  • Tourmaline Colour Processing


While Reality Enhancers require a simple installation, I would not call the evaluation the simplest. This is a fairly complex affair, especially when the testing involves multiple variations of plugs in different locations and audio components. Although it's sort of a no-brainer as to how to do it, examining the Acoustic Revive Enhancers required a bit more than usual dedication and determination.

Acoustic Revive strongly cautions against using their Reality Enhancers. There are two versions for the input and output, but they should be used carefully. Especially at the output and for example they should not be inserted at REC -OUT. 

Before inserting enhancers into the new input/output, it is strongly recommended to always turn off electronic devices before inserting the plug.

The other option is, for example, to set the volume on the preamp to zero, switch to another input, and then insert the new plugs. However, since the internal electronic circuitry differs from unit to unit, the first option is the safest. 

For the other high-end audio devices such as CD players, DACs, phono stages, power amplifiers, etc., it is advisable to contact the manufacturer directly and ask about the use of Reality Enhancers if you are not an expert and have the circuit diagram of the particular electronic device in hand.

The point is to find out if short-circuiting of the input/output terminal can cause internal damage. 

It is also worth mentioning that Reality Enhancers should be used with caution with power amplifiers, where the bridged terminals can cause a lack of sound or even failure. 

My Lamm M1.2 Reference hybrid power amps came from the manufacturer with the official shorting plugs for application when using the RCA input, so I had a non-problematic situation and noticed an immediate improvement in sound. But do your homework before trying the Reality Enhancers with your amps.

With both the input and output variations of the plugs, it is most important and most time consuming to reach the point where the most effective points are found.


Below are a few examples where I was able to point out the positive effects of Reality Enhancers without getting into the realm of doubting the self-prescribed placebo effect. 

With Acoustic Revive Reality Enhancers in place Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier, John Medeski, John Scofield, Hudson - Hudson's "Song for World Forgiveness" somehow won a clear acoustic field. The guitar was a bit more in the foreground than usual, with better-nuanced detail. Also, some of the tonal fuzziness disappeared and a better, clearer dynamic congestion emerged, closer to reality. 

With the album Souvenance by Anouar Brahem, Pietro Mianiti, Orchestra Della Svizzera Italiana I noticed better sound localization on two listens. Especially on "Deliverance", I noticed that the decay and delay anchor points were denser, allowing much better pin-pointing of the piano and oud. The tones were also more grain-free than usual. 

This was confirmed on All My Relations by Charles Lloyd, Billy Hart, Anders Jormin, Bobo Stenson. It was not just "Hymne to the Mother" that sounded a touch fresher. Crash and ride cymbals formed a fascinating, more realistic dynamic and made the sound more intense and lifelike. This was also true for the rest of the metallic percussion, where the sudden attack presence did not smear the leading edges of the transients!

The degree of the micro-and macrodynamic shift was easy to discern throughout Egberto Gismonti's album Sonho 70.

My favorite track, "Janela de Ouro," unleashed a higher-quality cinematic appeal than usual, elevating the already surreal mood to an additional level. This is a reference level song when it comes to evaluating consistent, focused, and articulate bass. With the use of the Acoustic Revive Reality Enhancer, the already fantastic bass on "Janela de Ouro" was less shrill and more charging.

The positive phenomena continued during my prolonged experimentation with a variety of music and Reality Enhancers at various connection points. As with grounding, it takes some time to find a sweet spot, as no electronic component is the same or behaves similarly. 

The end result delivers a heftier shift in the performance than expected, which transcends the curiosity with a far more fulfilling reward.


We live in a world in which we have to deal with perpetual disturbances of all kinds, not daily, not hourly, but at all times. More specifically, as with everything in life, we are ceaselessly engaged in finding solutions to various problems that, on whatever subject, are brought to our efforts every minute of every day.

Any electronic device is prone to electronic noise, RFI interference, mismatch of external/internal grounding, etc. 

For Ken Ishiguro, the unused connections are treated and seen as RF antennas, susceptible to the never-ending interruptions of all kinds. 

Acoustic Revive Reality Enhancers are high-quality Japanese designed and engineered connectors designed from the ground up to provide an extra step up in dealing especially with electrical and mechanical unwanted noises, RFI, vibrations, resonances, etc., 

The real-world effect of Acoustic Revive Reality Enhancer has surprised me. These plugs did not just introduce some sort of difference for the sake of difference, as with many high-end audio accessories. They introduced a remarkable upward shift in the sonics, that was repeatable during the testing and evaluations.  

This is undoubtedly related to the ability of the Acoustic Revive plugs to eliminate unwanted noise and vibration on a different level than some similar devices I have tried before. 

In addition to some non-disclosed and exotic materials mentioned before, Reality Enhancer plugs are made with a combination of high-quality aluminum alloy, brass, and PC -Triple C/ EX propriety conductor that achieves 105% internal conductivity.

I addressed the particular sonic enhancements in the music section, but remarkable micro and macro dynamics, crispness, blur-off effect were among many positive effects related to enhanced music reproduction. 

Our inner ear mechanism in conjunction with the downstream logic center of the brain is hardwired to detect and identify minute changes in the signal. 

Following such logic, the Acoustic Revive Reality Enhancers were designed from the beginning to provide a no-compromise alternative to any kind of shorting plugs for high-end audio electronics. They act per Ken Ishiguro's continuous and meticulous efforts to always progress further into the realms of perfected sound. Ishiguro is committed to addressing the performance shift far from the usual norms, and Acoustic Revive Reality Enhancers brought surprising results during the long evaluation across multiple devices. 

Audio aficionados and connoisseurs are always on the lookout for a way to combat any kind of noise, interference, distortion, etc. Such discoveries allow for better listener engagement, even though the initial differences may seem infinitesimal, with Acoustic Revive Reality Enhancers they are not!
For the determined audiophile, this is an accessory that will find its place, but it needs a discern passionates who are willing to invest some more time to find the optimum point of operation for them. 

While Reality Enhancers are a plug & play devices, they will call for the listener/high-ender engagement to find their sweet spot. 

For what they deliver at the audiophile accessory level, Acoustic Revive Reality Enhancers are worthy of the Mono & Stereo Best of 2020 Award.

As always, I'm looking forward to discovering where Ken Ishiguro's restless mind will head out next. •

Matej Isak


- 70.000 YEN/piece


MuSon Project, Inc.