Period 6 Element!
PROS: can be used as a temporary (pads, balls, rings) or a more permanent (stickers, sticky pads) solution, can be applied to wires, cable, as well as portable and desktop equipment.
CONS: improvement results are subjective, a lot of skeptics who don’t take this product seriously.
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
Writing a review is not always an easy task. In some cases, I’m familiar with a product based on previous brief auditions or reading other trusted impressions. In other cases, it’s an unknown path because I’m not sure what to expect. But either way, you have some idea, otherwise you’re just wasting yours and manufacturer’s time. Approaching Sixth Element was a totally different experience because I was skeptical to begin with, though they still agreed to send me their product for testing and comparison.
While waiting for review samples, I made a conscious decision not to do any background reading about this product before I do the actual listening, and instead just treat it as a “black box” when it arrives. The only thing I was concerned about is how to perform a more accurate and a more credible testing. I put a lot of thought into this review and would like to share with you now what I hear and how I hear it when applying Sixth Element accessories to audio equipment under the test.
What is this?
Since I started with testing and comparison straight out of the box, later I went back to read more about the company and their products. There is not too much info available about Sixth Element in English, except that it’s a Taiwanese company that started in 1988 with a focus on accessories for high performance cars and a number of awarded Patents and Certificates (more info here). But not until recently, they decided to apply their technology to audio products, designing a series of audio accessories under a new product line called A.I.S – Acoustic Improvement System.
All Sixth Element products are manufactured using Lanthanides material, which is a rare earth element. As a matter of fact this Lanthanum element (atomic number 57 in Periodic Table) is Period 6 Element which explains the company name of “Sixth Element.” According to Wikipedia, it’s a natural material that forms a quantum field, interacting with negative ions. There is an official Ion Test equipment, and Sixth Element documented many test results with measurements of their products. The Lanthanum material itself supposed to be very soft and ductile, allowing it to be integrated into various accessories, such as stickers, pads, rings, bracelets, necklaces, etc., which can be attached or adjacent to other objects while sharing the energy of its quantum field.
Ion Tester measuring Sixth Element bracelet (and me wearing one of these).
There is no magic or voodoo science behind this product. Everything I read about Lanthanum element, negative ions, and quantum field (from Quantum Mechanics) are all part of a legitimate scientific theory. It’s a common knowledge you can read about from many sources. But what’s not common about this application is how it interacts with a signal going through headphone wires and how it affects the electric field when placed next to filtering caps and other components of digital audio players and desktop audio equipment.
That’s why so many people are skeptical to consider a quantum ball or a quantum sticker as something that is able to change the sound because it seems to be unrealistic. I was skeptical too, until I remembered how I felt about the headphone cables before trying them. So, my skepticism turned into curiosity because you never know until you try it. I approached this test with an open mind and open ears, and here is what I found.
It’s easy to trick our ears and our mind into believing what we want to hear. If you are comparing two audio products and they are not volume matched, you can hear a difference which is not actually there. When you take your time to switch between sources instead of doing it quickly, we compare by memory which is not always accurate. When you see two products where one has an enhancement, we subconsciously make it superior. I tried to setup a test by eliminating some of these variables so I can reach a more accurate and less biased conclusion.
I did receive a handful of accessories from Sixth Element, all of which have in common a Lanthanum infused/bonded material. There was a famous small orange ball with four drilled holes and side slits to wrap headphone cables around it. Pads in various sizes to place under the equipment body or standoffs, some with a sticky side and others without it. There was a heavy rotary stabilizer which looked like a big knob, but actually intended for a turntable. I also found various rings to wrap around cables. Plus, there were small stickers and even a net with stickers. Plus, there were a few ceramic accessories which you apply around the engine of your car under the hood.
For my testing, I picked a large pad which looked like a mouse pad, a set of 5 stickers, and a set of quantum balls. Also, coming off my recent Cayin N5iiS review, I happened to have 2 identical DAP units, one of which will be returned to Cayin. That gave me a perfect opportunity to do a true A/B comparison, along with using LineP A985 4×4 audio switch. Below is a description of my various test setups.