“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Akiko Audio Tuning Stick Spectral Preview

Thats no ordinary stick! Oh, wait, yes it is

That's no ordinary stick! Oh, wait, yes it is


  • Product Name: Tuning Stick
  • Manufacturer: Akiko Audio
  • Review Date: October 31, 2013 00:00
  • MSRP: $99 euros to 129 euros
  • First Impression: Mildly Interesting
  • Buy Now
  • Dimensions - 150 mm x 22 mm
  • Uses - Being sticklike
  • Attachment method - Acoustically transparent, EMI resistant velcro straps
  • Construction materials - Crystals, woven fiber, some sort of foil, eye of newt, Miley Cyrus' innocence, and kangaroo hair because why not?
  • Effects - Quantumly suppresses micro-variations by using gobblygook locution to obfuscate the unvarnished nature of the appliance.

I had a most unusual experience last night. Unlike most nights where I spend my time writing one of my many novels or podcasting about AV, this night I was in a more pensive mood. As is my wont, I poured myself a glass or two of absinthe, put Ylvis on repeat, and sat back to enjoy a night of introspective examination. 

Little did I know what was in store for me.

I've been living with the Aperion Audio Verus Grand speakers for a long time. I know they and they know me. We're a family. Like the parent of a child, I can predict how they'll react to just about anything. So when I was on my third glass of the green liquor, I couldn't help but notice that something was different. I felt a presence in the room that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

It was at this point that my wife stuck her head in the room and said, "Did you do something to the speakers?"

Imagine my surprise! Better? There was no change whatsoever. The system sounded as it always had. Plus, she was dead asleep with earplugs in and a pillow on her head. She sleeps in a soundproof room-within-a-room that is mechanically decoupled from the rest of the house. See, she's a light sleeper so I've had to go to great lengths to make sure that I don't awaken her for fear that she'll ground one of my subwoofers.

"Ground," I spoke aloud to myself as my wife had left to return to her fortress of solitude and silence.

Could it be? Ever the investigative reviewer, I started poking around behind my system. To my surprise I found devices that seemingly should make no sonic difference but clearly they had. They looked like dowels wrapped in carbon fiber that were velcroed to my cables. 

ghost cable stick thing

Where had they come from? I could only surmise that the ghost of Halloween or perhaps the ghost of golden-ears past had visited? Many of the cables had the sticks attached but other sticks had wires coming out of them with different terminations. XLR, RCA, and a two prong power cable that I recognized as something from one of those Scandinavian countries.

Vikings! Audiophile vikings had attacked!

I took to the internet. I quickly found the company but the website made no sense!

"The Tuning Stick's contents are stabilized with black resin, a material which sufficiently suppresses micro phony effects."

What's a "micro phony"? A small phony?

"This is an important condition for a calm and pleasant rendering of the music."

Calm and pleasant? But half of the sticks are plugged into things and half aren't!

"On top of that the fine metal foil sticker is energetically treated, which causes it to contribute on a sub molecular level"

What is this madness! Terrified, I started ripping the the sticks out of my system. Akiko Audio Tuning Stick was the only markings they had. Didn't sound viking at all to me. They were everywhere - speaker cables, power cables, interconnects...I even found one in my fuse box just sort of resting over the circuit that powered the home theater and, I noted, the guest bathroom.

This gave me an idea.

I ran to the guest bathroom and flipped on the fan. As I suspected, instead of the clanking and humming that was the usual soundtrack to my kids urinating everywhere but in the actual toilet, I heard what I could only surmise was the same sound one might hear in a bathroom in heaven. The whoosh of wind with a touch of angelic chorus and just a hint of bass that helped bring the presentation together. The soundstage was greatly expanded and the fan itself disappeared behind the sound of air wafting through a field of tulips calmed me so much that my legs buckled.

I managed to crawl out of the bathroom just before I lost consciousness. This madness had to stop.

I ran to the garage and pulled the last stick out of my fusebox. I had them all in a grocery bag when my wife met me in the kitchen.

"The speakers sound worse now," her eyes were unfocused. "You should put those back. Also, I think we should get some flat-pack furniture."

My God! Look how pleasant and calm she was! They had her bewitched! I could wait no longer. I fled from the house and grabbed a hammer. On my driveway, I smashed one of the sticks with all my might. The carbon fiber shell cracked but didn't give way. Inside I could see the glint of crystal and caught a whiff of something that smelled of black magic. Whatever mad genius created these things had surely sold their soul to the gods of audiophile!

Hurriedly lest I lose my nerve, I brought the hammer down again and the stick shattered with a flash of blinding light. When I dropped my arm from my eyes, the street was dark. I later learned that the entire eastern seaboard had gone dark for 6.66 seconds. With shaking hands, I opened the bag, unsure if I could bring myself to destroy more of these abominations, but the bag was empty.

I am embarrassed to admit that I was relieved. For a short moment, all the cursed devil sticks were in one place. I should have found a way to contain them and not spread their evil to the wind. But absinthe and fear addled my senses and, in my haste, I may have done more damage than I am willing to contemplate.

Audioholics everywhere, beware! Check your cables! If one of these sticks appears, contact us. We are building a special cage that emits high levels of EMF and microphony (we think, it's made out of baloney so that sounds pretty close) that we believe will contain them.

For more information, please visit www.akikoaudio.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
author portrait

As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

View full profile