I use a HRS platform under my Ayre-DPS turntable. I determined via audition that the sonic improvement provided by the HRS platform was worth the cost. YMMV, of course.
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My only experience is with a friend's system. He had HRS design a long, three section, three tiered rack. This thing is extremely heavy. HRS required the dimension, weight and weight distribution of each component going into the rack so that the shelves could be custom configured for each component.
I can't say what contribution the rack makes to this particular system, sonically speaking, but, I can say I have never seen a more solid and beautifully built rack than this one.
Another friend of mine was the person in charge of assembling the rack. He said he has never put together something with that many pieces that had to interlock where the machining was as perfect as the HRS rack--everything aligned perfectly and was flawlessly machined.
The HRS platforms and rack is a high end product and it's expensive, as you probably know. Is it worth the audition, it sure is.
The question that I have is: Is sitting a $3000.00 amp on a platform and rack that cost about the same, just to support the amp, I'm not talking about the other platform for the CD/Preamp and the rack section for it, is that the more system beneficial way to go? Would it be a wiser move to use the money and replace it before sitting it on the HRS pieces?
I'd audition the HRS for sure, but also ask your dealer about what he/she thinks about this path, or call HRS and ask Mike Latvis.
I have been using a 3 shelf SXR with M3 Isolation bases for 2+ years and think very highly of it. I changed amps and had the base changed for the new amps weight for a reasonable fee. I second the other comment re quality of the parts and assembly, they are without flaw. Mike Latvis is a great source of information on the subject and a nice fellow. If the budget allows - buy it, you will not be sorry!
The only experience I have is my dealers racks. He has a couple of LP12's on the second floor of his home/store and I have noticed that the LP12's play flawlessly regardless of people walking back and forth, where as before the occasional skip occured. They are extremely well built racks and the design is much better than I have seen in most others. I would spend the time further investigating.
I had the loan of the HRS footers and plates for putting on equipment, from a helpful dealer recently and compared them with my Symposium rollerblock juniors and Stillpoints.
I found them better than the Symposium and equal to the stillpoints, though clearly different, only when using the footers and top weights. As they were a lot more expensive than Stillpoints, I kept them.
I am all for getting a good rack to isolate the components from the environment and to provide the right structure for the shelves that go under the components.
However, I have found that, with respect to the shelves themselves, there is no easy answer as to what it best. It is not simply the case that the shelf that does the best job of draining/dissipating energy from the component is the best. Some experimentation is required to find what is sonically the best for a particular system and taste. There can be cases where LESS vibration dampening sounds better. This is often the case with source components, such as turntables and CD players.
I heard a demonstration using Symposium shelves under a CD player (Aero Capitole) where one could clearly hear differences between the thinner (cheaper) platforms and the better dampening platforms. It was not always the case that "more" was better.
I agree with Rtn1, HRS are indeed neutral and sound undramatic, but they certainly improve the sound, in terms of focus, microdynamics, clearly so.
I found Stillpoints quite different, if anything vearing away from neutrality, more snap, dynamics, giving a more obvious improvement to the sound. In my system, I preferred stillpoints and the price difference.
I own the SXR rack with 3 M3X isolation bases...expensive yes but once you see how it is built, finished and isolates equipment I think it will be the end of your search forever if that is where you want to be.
I went all the way and use the Nimbus footers and dampers on top/bottom of my equipment and the solid foundation, speed and focus this rack gives music is amazing.
My only caveat is that I have not heard all the racks out there but once owned the Grand Prix Monaco fully loaded rack and can say it had a mid-bass warmth and roundness applied to the music that completely disappeared once I installed the HRS rack. The music sounded like the GP rack is built....loose.
With HRS you will get a quieter black background with natural decays and soundstage image focus allowing you to hear into the music not present on the Grand Prix rack.
I have the HRS M1R rack and six M3 isolation bases. I started out with just the rack because someone locally was selling it and wanted to keep the M3 bases. I made my own shelves out of MDF, 50 duormeter Sorbothane, and granite to get me by until I could cough up the green for the HRS isolation platforms.
I agree with Gwalt that HRS provides speed, focus, black background, and natural decay. I obtained that result with the rack alone. When I added the M3 bases, those factors increased. I'd say I got 40% of the benefit from the rack and 60% from the M3's. I am on a suspended wood floor, so if you're on concrete the percentage may be slightly higher for the bases.
I later purchased a pair for my monoblocks which do sit on the floor, not the rack. There the improvement in resolution and detail was also very noticeable.
The Rockport Sirius turntable sits on a stand that was adapted from one used for electron microscopes. With that exception, I don't think there is a better foundation for a turntable on the planet than the HRS M3 base. You'll think you just upgraded your cartridge by 50%.
If you read up on Mike Latvis, you will find that he is a materials science engineer. The M3 bases are an aluminum alloy, but sandwiched inside are 6 or eight different metals which are designed to absorb different vibrational frequencies. The rubber compound which suspends the M3 footer is derived from his experience designing vibration control for helicopter rotors.
The HRS Nimbus footers, couplers, and damping plates can also be very effective. But I have found that all such devices (Stillpoints, Symposium, Aurios, HRS, etc.) are very component dependent. It might make an improvement, it might not. One is not better than the other except in a particular application.
In short, if you have the money and space, don't hesitate to invest in the HRS rack and isolation bases. They will make a significant improvement in your enjoyment of music.
BTW: I assume you have already invested in one or two dedicated circuits, audio grade outlets (I use Isoclean; Oyaide is also excellent), and power cords of the level of Shunyata Python or better. A solid power delivery foundation comes first, then you can realize the benefits of a solid structural foundation.