Amp stands- Do they work?


I recently purchased a Pass Aleph 3 and loved it so much that I "had to buy" a pair of the Aleph 2 monoblocks. I have been A/B-ing them at my home for the last 3 weeks for most of my free time. The 2s have a lot more presence, but lack the for lack of better words "musical reality" the 3 has. Forgive me for the term, but if you've heard the 3, then you probably understand. Anyway, I have asked most of the guys at Pass Labs and they essentially tell me I am hearing things- that the 2s "have all the sonic characteristics of the 3, just more of it" I have eliminated all other variables except that the 3 is on the bottom of my rack (Salamander Archetype), and the 2's are on the carpet in front of my system. I am interested in anyone's input as to the impact a reasonable stand might have on the sonics of my amps. I currently am acting on this hypothesis and have put the 3 on the floor next to the 2's. If it is of any help the components are in order- my source is a Muse Model 5 transport, Illuminati D-60 digital, EAD 7000 MkIII D/A, Kimber KCAG, Muse Model 3 preamp, WBT 5151 -great cable!!!!!, Pass Amps, Nordost Red Dawn speaker cable, B&W 804s. Counterpoint PAC-5 conditioner, API Power Wedge 4A conditioner. Marigo RMX ref power cables. Amps are using stock power cables- Nelson Pass's recommendation. Thanks for listening and I look forward to any input.
Ag insider logo xs@2xtsquared
Thanks Albertporter. I don't have any immediate response, and will read your post over a couple of times before responding. There is nothing I disagree with, much to agree with, but also some to explore further I think.
Hi Albert and Redkiwi; I read, enjoyed, and learned by reading each of your long posts above, and I've concluded that I'm on the "steep part" of the learning curve re: high end audio. Thanks to both.
I trust my own ears, and blind testing introduces tension variables that affect the outcome (I also feel that listening with a group can do this, but to a lesser degree if the folks are civil...hard to get with audio guys, heh heh). JOHN ATKINSON, AND EVERY OTHER INDUSTRY INSIDER KNOWS THE BLIND TESTING FALACY ALREADY!! I've dealt with NAnderson before, and feel that he is no audiophile, but thinks he is, like certain others on here. I gurantee that I can hear better than NAnderson, and am willing to have an independant auditory analysis performed to prove it (if he pays for it with some of his precious "retirement" savings). All that said, I'm at the point where I feel that an amp stand doesn't make enough improvement with my own amp to justify buying one...FOR ME. If that makes some of you feel superior to me, so be it. You aren't, and as I've said, I can hear awfully damn good, so I'm not concerned about ridicule...give me your best, old ones...
I Carl_eber takes a position about his amp..... is this an Amp Stand?
I'm surprised that noone has mentioned what their Floor is. It seems to me that flooring would have a huge effect on whether a stand would make a difference. I have my ML amp sitting on a bladder type device on the floor, but my floor is saltillo tile over concrete on the ground. I would guess that almost any stand would vibrate more than my floor! yes or no?
re mg123: I think that for most construction the floor makes the most difference. If you have high end speakers with good bass extension, the floors and the walls first act as passive re-radiators and of course the floor vibrates the equipments. My house was built in 1935 and my listening room was designed as a large (about 7000 cu ft) music room. The walls are double thick stucco exterior with heavy plaster interior so they don't vibrate much. The floor joists are full 2x10 on 10 inch centers with a center support wall in the basement. This was to support the weight of a full sized grand piano and a room full of people. The floor is oak and the subfloor 3/4. This is much stronger than modern construction. However, when I put basement floor jacks below the speakers and the equipment stands, the measured bass response changed. (Impulse and MLSSA). Even then I use amp stands (zoethicus)and they make a difference. However I have tube amps. Getting your floor stiffened is the first step. Also the air pressure induced vibration is something to consider. Just lightly touch the largest panel on each piece of your equipment during a loud bass heavy passage to feel how much mechanical energy is transferred. I use bags of lead shot, 50-75 lbs per amp, preamp, dac and transport. It has made a huge difference.
Just for the record I have no idea who Carl_eber is and even if I did is there any reason to respond in so insecure a fashion. How does acting lack an emotional reactionary help your case. Believe in your intellectual arguments not your emotional defences. I will not respond to emotional arguments. Stereophile has a vested interest in not believing in double blind tests, even though I don't know if they not believe in them as a group, because you can say anything (i.e., anything) and no one can challenge you. Kind of great job security.
Just for the record I have no idea who Carl_eber is and even if I did is there any reason to respond in so insecure a fashion. How does acting like an emotional reactionary help your case. Believe in your intellectual arguments not your emotional defences. I will not respond to emotional one ups manship. Stereophile has a vested interest in not believing in double blind tests, even though I don't know if they not believe in them as a group, because you can say anything (i.e., anything) and no one can challenge you. Kind of great job security.
Nanderson; Carl is one of the "good guys". And you may have just touched on the main nerve of this whole issue: music has emotion at its very core. Whereas blind testing is logical, intellectual, and cold. Of course there is a place for both (a very narrow place for blind tests), but when I listen to music for enjoyment, which is almost all the time, I listen for its emotional content, and for the way it "moves" me. you just can't capture those things in blind test listening, IMHO. And when kept in proper perspective (and I decide what that perspective is), I also enjoy Stereophile magazine.
I enjoy Stereophile Magazine myself, Garfish. Emotion seems to have taken on two different definitions, however, in this case. Somewhat like the difference between a soccer mob upset because their team is in jepordy of losing a game and rather than seeing how is the best team that day they attach the opposing team. That really does not decide anything except that the crowd is not mature. Musical emotion should carry you into another world but not discussions about silicon and machine screws.
I enjoy Stereophile Magazine myself, Garfish. Emotion seems to have taken on two different definitions, however, in this case. Somewhat like the difference between a soccer mob upset because their team is in jepordy of losing a game and rather than seeing who is the best team that day they attach the opposing team. That really does not decide anything except that the crowd is not mature. Musical emotion should carry you into another world but not discussions about silicon and machine screws. It seems to be a real sickness when opinions on record playing stuff makes one superior to another. Maybe we should have put Stereophile in charge of the cold war, we might have won a lot sooner.
Noel, is dumb blather all you've got?
Albertporter, I finally got around to reading your post again and thinking about it. I think I understand what you said. I interpret your answer as saying that with so many variables at play we ought to attack the problem by observation followed by deductive reasoning ie. learn from listening to components and tweaks for what they do and then deduce the impact it might have on another system. I often get a bit riled when I see too much inductive reasoning of the kind "if all amps measure flat then they must sound the same, so if you hear a difference it has to be a placebo effect". I am very impressed with the AC power work you have done. I thought my efforts were obsessive, but are clearly the work of an amateur. Your own transformer - I will look into that one further.
To Albert Porter: could you provide an internet address to read details on star grounding? Or could you describe briefly it´s basics. Thanks
I am not going to respond to emotional insistence of being correct with folks who essentially say "I know its good when I hear it". What is being said here? I'm right, you're wrong" Quite a strong debate! Ah-ummm
Noel, can you hear the 15.6 kHz sweep of a CRT tv, or are you too emotional? I can hear mine from the other end of my house (It measured only 74 dB right against the back of the tv, with my spl meter...must be less than 15 dB when I'm hearing it around corners, and down hallways). I'm not concerned about what you think, because you're not an audiophile, but an agnostic who can't hear jack. IF THE GENTLEMEN ON HERE RELATE WHAT THEY HEAR WHEN COMPARING AMP STANDS, WHO ARE YOU TO TELL THEM THEY AREN'T HEARING IT? Some of us on here can hear very well, and I have no doubt that you have lost most of your sensitivity. It'd be like a legally blind person working at a movie theater, never being able to properly focus all of his movies, and cheating patrons out of the cost of admission...
Redkiwi, the dedicated transformer is a requirement for 220 three phase at 750 amps. The size of the wire in my drop is a requirement for the same reason. In my state, the power company is a public utility, and therefore must supply whatever service is required to support the needs of the specific customer. I simply had to prove my case to the management at the power company, that all of the equipment (audio and photo lighting) was sufficient to require what I requested. Second, your assessment about my reasoning is correct, I listen and apply what I learn. As you state, inductive reasoning would suggest that measurements prove that differences are only a placebo. That position can cause problems, as the reverse is often true. Many times in history, things that are real and true are not able to be proven by tests or measurements until much later. Many famous theories that seem ridiculous, and impossible to verify with that era's measurements, turn out the be proven only much later. It sometimes takes years for the measurement people to assign a "reason" that something "is." Until that time, specification nit pickers will unlikely come over to our side, until the numbers are there to comfort them.
To Sol332. I do not know of an internet address to provide info on star grounding. The way I got there, I hired an electrical contractor who does quite a bit of work for Texas Instruments, Raytheon, and Bell Helicopter, and the wiring I was asking for was not unusual for computer rooms or assembly areas of defense suppliers. The star grounding is not strictly legal in my city, as the code requires that all the circuits be tied together at the electrical, and all the grounds be tied together. What I have actually exceeds the code, but does not "fit" the rules, therefore it is not easy to get it done. The short answer is that each circuit for the audio system must be in PVC, (because metal housings automatically connect the grounds together at the mounting flange). Then a separate ground must be run from the Hubbell computer grade outlet ( I choose TNN type wire), and then a star grounding system is run between three ground plains outside of the house. This triple ground plain is tied to a ground bar under the house, and all the separate TNN wire runs from the dedicated circuits are tied that single bar. This does not connect to the panel ground, or to any of the appliances or TV or air conditioning in the house, so the noise floor drops enormously, just due to the isolation. If you want to go as farther, have a separate eight gauge copper run pulled from the drop, and run that to a 100 amp 220 three phase panel, and from there you can run Hubbell twist lock 220 outlets to use with high end amps that are capable of running in either 220 or 110. The Hubbell can also be split to two 110, or run as a 220. My Tube Research GT 400 amps I ran until about a year ago were wired for 220, and were run on a special 220 twist lock AC cable Purist Audio built for me. One last thing, the reason I worked so hard for the 750 amp drop is the configuration of the electrical meter. The regular meter for a home is actually part of the electrical circuit. If you pull the meter from the box, the power goes off! This means that all that tiny wire and circuitry in the conventional meter is always in front of everything in your system. With a commercial 750 amp drop, the meter uses unbroken eight gauge copper rods for the pass through of the electricity, and the meter "clips on" the bars and reads like an Amprobe. The meter box has to have a special padlock, accessible only by the power company, because otherwise the owner could pull the meter and stop the billing process, without losing power. So, they are reluctant to do this. Hope this helps. I am willing to speak to any of you in person if need.
Carl, what is your problem?
Carl's problem is he does not suffer fools easily. But of the two problems implicit in this statement, I prefer Carl's any day.
There are pills for this you know?
There are pills for this you know?
Well, for one thing...on my last camping trip, I ran out of toilet paper, and had to use pine cones instead! Then I realized they had been immersed in poison ivy! You wouldn't want to be me...Yes, I am intolerant of others, and I'm not proud of that. "Fool" is a harsh word, and it's not for me to decide who's a fool. Anyway, it's late at night, and I'm mellow...for now.
Carl, I think what would help is if you voiced your opinions face to face. I suspect if you were standing in front of me your thoughts would be more toned down and thoughtful. Anyway, we can all appreciate your more reflective comments regarding your late night perspective (thanks)
I can bench press 320 pounds, and I suspect I'd say any goddamn thing I wanted to in front of you!
Send me a pic sometime of you doing this I need some for my wonders of the 3rd world collage.
Send me a pic sometime of you doing this I need some for my wonders of the 3rd world collage.
As long as you are in dream land, I am the Prince of Swedish Lexicon.
Or perhaps the queen? Why on earth would any straight man want a picture of another man's body? And...Why Why do do you you always always post post twice twice?? Is Is it it your your pathetic pathetic need need for for clarification clarification?? BTW, IS YOUR DOCTORATE IN ANIMAL HUSBANDRY? Perhaps you have been working too closely with SHEEP to understand things like humanity, or our audio hobby...Anyhoo, I won't send you a picture of me, but I'll be happy to sell you some photos I took of your wife and sister...
You humor me (seriously, respond with more defensive, boyish, emotion with your next response (make it read like a grade school kid on a playground like the majority of other responses, in particular, throw in some of the CAPITALIZED out of control phrases). This is great stuff and is completely hilareous)). Go ahead and send the pic of you supporting in a mid-bench stroke a standard 45 pound bar with an additional 275 lbs of iron plates on it (this would be a reality check like my suggestions for making a more thoughtful review of audio equipment). Now, on to more sain discussions: With respect to audio, you seem to miss the whole point of my argument. The only thing you seem to say that might be reproducible in your argument is that you claim to have nearly flawless hearing. You rave on and on how that makes you the best judge of what makes one piece of equipment better than another. You made my case! Hearing tests are controlled, blind studies of pulse tones. Exactly the first part of my suggested pathway to being honest about what makes a difference in accurate, reproduction of music: "Step 1 of the reproducible criteria would be to see how individual pulse tones throughout the freq spec and pink and white noise are affected by change in system from various positions in listening room. Low freq pulse tones below 60 hz at relatively loud to check for inference with vibrations." I have very good hearing (in the upper 10 percent according to my 1999 hearing test). Which means your hearing could be better but chances are that it is not. But even if it isn't you can still evaluate what is meaningful for you but do it in a fashion that is reproducible or otherwise you will be traveling down a non-linear path that thinks what is good sound today is not tomorrow but becomes good sound the next day. This is because you never quantifiably know where you have been.
I gurantee that it is, by a wide margin, Noel. I'm at least in the upper one percentile. You still didn't answer how far away you can hear a 32 inch tv's sweep noise/tone. I had my own weight set made out of two sets of concrete/plastic weights, a few iron ones, and a custom solid steel one inch bar, seven feet long, which weighed 40 pounds by itself. I usually had two people spot me. You wouldn't want any of me, Noel...... If we don't use blind tests with our systems, it is because we don't doubt our own hearing, like you do, Noel (and for good reason, since you are much older than me, and obviously have more loss than you claim). I never argued against using test tones to set up a system (I do it with several excellent test CDs), but doing it while blind folded is silly and stupid, just like doing it to "test" for system equipment or cable changes. You can never perform a blind test without relying on "aural memory" to some degree, and a controlled test injects tension variables that scew concentration and aural memory. You are living in that river in Egypt! Frankly, I don't need to have someone else to control my comparisons in order for me to hear consistent differences...Mine have always been consistent from one day to the next. PERHAPS YOU COULD HELP YOUR DECREPID HEARING BY CLEANING THE WAX OUT OF YOUR EARS...you might try a couple of M-80's! An automotive pressure washer would be fine too...
How do you know (by the way the name is Niles)your hearing is better? Just because you like to hear your self talk. On another point, you never asked me if I can hear a signal sweap of CRT tube? Please send me the pic, Carly, of you benching standard olympic free weights exceeding 300 lbs. I find it very funny that you can not produce a simple pic of you doing something you insist you can do. Do this and I might believe your other braggings! Until then....well you know.
Like I give a flying fart if you believe me or not! I don't owe you a damn thing! And your name IS Noel. Like I said, I wouldn't give a guy like you a picture of me (I don't play for that team...not that there's anything wrong with that...well, there sort of is). Of course I asked you if you could hear a CRT's sweep. Just scroll up. And I'm asking again: How far away can you hear one?
I got all the information I need to formulate an opinion. Thanks for chatting so long with a person you don't give a flying fart about. Drop me a note if you are in my neighborhood, I wager a scientific evaluation of your perceiptive abilities to differentiate between the subtles of high end audio will reveal as weak a structure as your emotional under pinnings. Maybe a day in the gym with me will help.
You couldn't formulate an informed opinion if one was cattle branded on your heavily sloping forehead! Oh yeah, and how much can you bench, old man? And "bitching" doesn't count, either, although you'd win that one, heh heh......Anyhoo, I submit that it is YOUR emotional under pinnings that are in dire need of a coffee ENEMA, with a hydrochloric acid chaser, Mr. Nazi-thought-probe-Sigmund-fraud-pretender-to-the-throne....bastard...You still didn't answer about the CRT sweep. AND WE ALL KNOW WHY.....YOU'RE BEATEN, AND YOU KNOW IT! Move to Florida and retire, old geezer! Or, you could search out unexploded ordinance and land mines, or something...Let these fine folks talk about what they hear their systems doing, and STOP trying to tell them they aren't hearing what they ARE hearing, already! You're just a rotten apple and thoughtless chider. I may be opinionated myself, but I don't go around telling people what they hear is a falacy. GET THE HELL OUT OF THIS HOBBY! It's smug blowhards like you that keep people OUT of the highend, rather than encouraging them to aprreciate fine recorded music. You make me heave!
Very good! At this point, I don't know if I can take it anymore. You give me a side ache. Thanks, I have a very busy life and you bring a ray of sun shine (humor) coming my way. As if it matters, I can not bench 320 lbs (never could) but 275 lbs I can. Good luck and don't let anyone kick sand in your face. Seriously, you are a riot!
Encore, encore, more, more intellectual pearls of insight, encore, encore, more, more.
I will keep this post short since it isn't topical. A little over one year ago I began upgrading my audio equipment. Being new to the hobby, and a software engineer, I naturally turned to the internet for help; and various magazines. In that time I have come to discover both the curse and the blessing in this hobby. The blessing is that I've never enjoyed music so much as now. In fact, I listen to music two hours a day on average. Now for the curse. That in nearly every website and magazine "shouting" matches break out on an all too frequent basis. I can't even read a simple thread on amp stands without uncovering such vitriole that most people just plain stop posting. Read the last five days in this thread and you will, hopefully, understand. I have yet to discover this rather ugly habit in my other hobbies (and I hope I never do). I like this hobby. But if I cannot find some sane part in it I am likely to drop it. So, please, post if you having something say but follow the Golden Rule. Sorry that I didn't keep my promise about this post being short.
Look, I felt the same way when I'd occasionally read "letters to the editor" in Stereophile five years ago. The shouting matches aren't even as frequent on here as they were then, or now, in the letters. You just need to filter thru it, discard or ignore what you don't like, etc. Most of us take the hobby personally (too much so), so of course it will happen. Frankly, I'm glad for the opportunity, since we can't all publish our own magazines, and many times our "gripes" are justified, and should be heard. It IS the 21st Century after all, and politeness "to a fault" went out with the 19th century. And the 1960's that you folks are so prouds of put the last nail in that coffin, so you're responsible anyway. At least I care enough to have a point of view...
Come on, Carl, give it do him.....sock him with some of that teenage Testosterone of yours!
PS: It is heard on the street that Bobby Knight will be putting on a "Shouting Makes Right and Other Forms of Insane Logic" Clinic next year if he loses his job at Indiana University. Maybe you could do an earlier audition as an assistant instructor. I thought this would be a quick way for you to make some extra cash. Heck, who knows,.... maybe they would leave Bobby Knight's clinic for one of your own. Maybe you should advertise early. Good luck!
Hi Gallaine & Carl; While I generally agree with Gallaine's post, I thought Carl had a good and well reasoned response. It is an emotional hobby and sometimes provokes passionate posts-- I find myself sometimes getting "excessively caught up in it" also. On the other hand, Nanderson's cold, calculated sarcasm is hard to stomach, ie it does not appear to be born of a passion for the hobby(IMHO). I still like amp stands. Craig.
I suspect Nanderthal is really just a computer virus set out to infect sites with meaningless negativity. Alternatively Audiogon has realised that Carl's outbursts are great for ratings and they created Nanderthal with this purpose in mind. Call me a conspiracist, but either way, I have stopped responding since it is obvious by now that Nanderthal has nothing helpful to say.
Carl, I may have misunderstood your post, but it might interest you to know I was born in the late 60's. Whatever happened in that era was neither influenced nor felt by me. Believe it or not I am a Gen-Xer. Aggression and passion are not the same; though they are related. The point of my post was not about removing passion or spirited discussion from this hobby. It was about putting in check the violent language used. Once you resort to name calling you've lost all opportunity to teach; and to learn. That isn't to say that standing up for what you believe is wrong. But you can believe in something quite firmly without denigrating those who disagree. I am quite willing to lose my life for certain things: my wife and my religion. I cannot believe more strongly about them. Do I get emotional and passionate when I discuss these issues? Most definitely. Do I call, those who disagree sissies who deserve nothing better than to be beaten to a pulp? No. Whether or not politness "to a fault" went out in the 19th century is irrelevant to me. If it is right to do, then it is the right thing to do. I too have a point of view. You have only to read, not just the words but the spirit, of my posts to see that. What I have written was done in the spirit of sparking thought about how we treat others. Instead, it may have been perceived as an attack. For that I apologize. But I still believe what I have said to be true.
Agreed Redkiwi. I've had it with this thread too. Craig
Maybe we could all learn how some of the insane things in this world can happen with things less meaningful than Gallaine amplifies on if you can track the process of this thread. Isolation on the web breeds a sort of internal, unchecked power in the individual to suppress and dominant rather think through a formulate a constructive criticism that helps both the writer and reader.
Nanderson, you don't seem like a bad guy to me. I think the proper approach is to take care of 1st order items like speakers first. Things where an average person definitely can hear a difference. Then worry about the 2nd and 3rd order effects if you feel the need. One thing in closing about the amplifier stands. They shouldn't be bank roll destroyers to buy. If they improve the system cosmetically or if they help the amps run cooler then they are worth while. There should be no difference in sound unless the amps are microphonic. So there may be a difference with tube gear; but, this thread specified solid state.