Footers Under Power Conditioners?


I own a Audioquest 7000 and I am wonderin’ if a set of Critical Mass footers would provide any benefit?
They are a little expensive to just try, so, has anyone had experience with this combination?

ozzy

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@ozzy.........how is the Niagara 7000 working out for you?  I use 3 Shunyata power conditioners in my system but would like to simplify to one. Have you ever heard the Shunyata and if so, how does it stand up against the Niagara?
stereo5,
I really like the Niagara 7000. I also bought a 1200 and 1000 for my other dedicated lines. I had a Shunyata a few iterations ago, but, I was really impressed with the Niagara, it actually produced greater dynamics with my power amps plugged into it!

Anyway, still on the fence about footers under the 90Lb Niagara.

ozzy


@ozzy ,
I think it should be a positive tweak, albeit subtle.
I recall reading how a Core Power Equi+Core would be improved by using better footers- I believe it was Mark who said it.
Of course, you can always call AQ and speak with the guy with the British accent, who’s name I can’t recall, and get the dope from the horse’s mouth.

So much of this stuff is really on the edge.
Do we really hear a difference or is it just an expectation?
Bob
My conditioner was on BDR Cones for years. Recently tried Nobsound springs. Well if you look at my system the conditioner is modded to the point its practically DIY. There's big stiff power cords coming in on three sides and the top. So even with springs it can't move around and so I wasn't hoping for much. But surprise, it was almost as good as everything else I've tried these under. Nobsound springs are so dirt cheap I would get a set if only to try them out.  

Bonus, depending on weight you probably won't need all the springs. Drill some 1/4" holes into MDF or acrylic and use the springs you removed to make another set to use under something lighter.
So much of this stuff is really on the edge.
Do we really hear a difference or is it just an expectation?
Bob

Don't know about you Bob but I totally hear it. See my system page for comments about a recent visitor Deborah who heard and described Cable Elevators so clearly. I've done demo's on stuff like this for people so many times over the years I've lost track. 

That said, there is one small group who either can't hear or do hear but instead of responding to what they hear obsesses on second-guessing what they heard to the point of borderline neuroticism: audiophiles. 

I am not kidding. There's two kinds of audiophiles: ones who hear really, really, amazingly well (and almost always can tell you all about exactly what they're hearing) and those who can't. At all. Usually the second (and much bigger) group is really, really good at rationalizing away why they can't hear what everyone else can.  

Spoiler alert: expectation bias is one of their favorite tropes.

I think it should be a positive tweak, albeit subtle.
I recall reading how a Core Power Equi+Core would be improved by using better footers-


I'm using Herbies Tenderfeet under an Equi=Core 1800 and it's an improvement over stock. It is subtle and I think I can do better than the Herbies.


Thanks for the replies. I have tried various footers under the Niagara, some seemed to do nothing and some actually tilted the frequency spectrum up.

So was wonderin' about the Critical Mass footers.

ozzy
Nobsound springs will open up the ability to tune the sound. With more springs they are stiff and the sound will tilt towards the top end and detail. With fewer springs they compress more and the sound shifts to greater warmth and bottom end. Besides changing springs you can also add a little weight to fine tune the sound. Got that tip from resident Tweak Master mahgister.
What the.... Critical Mass Footers- $240 EACH! lol! That's $720 to $960 a set! Is that right???! Anyone even thinking about spending that kind of money should definitely try a set of Nobsound springs. Not because I expect them to be better. But to see how shockingly close you can get for $30 per set of FOUR! 

For CMS money you could get enough Nobsound springs to do your whole system.
OP, where is your Audioquest located, floor or shelf?

I see you use Iso-Acoustics in your system. Don't they work on the same principle as Critical Mass?

millercarbon,

I actually did try a set of springs under the Niagara it didn’t seem to help.
BTW, the Critical Mass 1.0 footers cost twice what you have stated.

ozzy
lowrider57,

The Audioquest Niagara is sitting at the bottom of a Stand Design rack. This rack not only has spikes at the floor (that I have Herbies footers underneath) but there are also spikes underneath each shelve.

Yes, I have the Iso-Acoustics GAI 1's underneath my speakers.

The Critical Mass footers really are amazing though, I have them underneath my Lumin X1 and Carver M350 tube amps. They are expensive, but they really do perform well in these places.
Just not sure about under a power conditioner.

ozzy
I also tried Stillpoints Ultra SS’s underneath the Niagara, I actually preferred the Niagara’s installed feet better.
So, this adds to my question, will the Critical Mass footers be an improvement underneath the Niagara?

ozzy
Ozzy, thanks for your replies. This is really a case of YMMV.

In my case, the EquiCore has a massive toroid, so I'm thinking I should treat it like a SS amp.
Don't know about the Niagara.
lowrider57,
The Niagara 7000 has some massive transformers, that is why it weighs 90lbs!

ozzy
Ok then, that is one heavy SOaB. 
In all seriousness, what percentage improvement in overall sound are you hoping for with this tweak?  
Well as I stated, I was really surprised at the performance improvement with my other equipment with the Critical Mass footers. It's hard to put a percentage on it, but I would say, it greatly enhanced my sonic pleasure. 0-100. 
If you have an opportunity to try them, you will hear what I mean...and, you will buy them.

ozzy
My modified RSA Haley sounds a bit thin without the two pair Herbie’s Tenderfoot under it.

I have not tried any other feet under the Haley. I hope that this thread leads me to better footers for my conditioner as well.
Reading this thread, I thought that this was a bit off the charts, even for me. Well, I tried something of Herbie's that he long longer makes: a 1,1/4" square that is 1/4" thick and harder than his Tenderfoots. 

I used them under my Niagara 1200 (no transformer), placed on a bamboo cutting board, which is how I originally had it, with nothing in between.

From what I've read, something as soft as a Tenderfoot would tilt the sound far too downwards so maybe these would do something less offensive. 

They did change the sound by fogging up the highs some and putting more emphasis on the mids and bass. I listened intently for over an hour with a few CDs and went back to my normal set up using no kind of footer, which sounded best, between the two set ups, but now I have some doubts as to just what would sound best overall. 

Never thought this would happen.

All the best,
Nonoise
From what I've read, something as soft as a Tenderfoot would tilt the sound far too downwards so maybe these would do something less offensive.
@nonoise 
I've replaced all the Tenderfeet in my system with other types of isolation/vibration devices. I can now hear that the Herbies dont articulate the midbass and they soften the bass attack. 
I'm very impressed with the AV Roomservice EVP's under my preamp. The presentation is now neutral with tight bass. Like Ozzy, I'd like to find new footers for my 60lb. power conditioner.






@lowrider57 ,
Thanks, I looked into them and they look similar to a few others out there. Time to experiment.
I thought I was done with my system for the time being.

All the best,
Nonoise
Fellow Niagra 7000 user here - I agree it produces a more dynamic sound with my amplfier than straight into a wall socket.

I do have footers under my Niagra - Ansuz Darkz DTC. They are expensive but make a difference. You can probably find them second hand now. If you do go down the Ansuz route do not go for anything less than D-TC in the range - some of the lesser models sound much less good.
Yes - I think you should. 

My system is now finally fully set up on CS 2 footers after a year and a half, except for plastic base items and loudspeakers.  I will be adding the speaker footers as soon as funds allow. 

The conditioner is a custom one and the footers on it were installed last.    That was a mistake...I should have done those first.   I found equal improvements on DC power supplies.  Rather more than on the corresponding equipment.

What I takeaway from this experience is that power improvement is the biggest bang for the buck for me.

By the way I used the Ansuz darkZ DTC earlier - 3-4 times the price.  No comparison.  In my system replacing them with the CS2 was a substantial upgrade.   

Best wishes




The footer combination of EVP’s and a block of myrtle wood (weird or unconventional but I voiced to that through trials or many types) under my Curl and Bybee designed Wells Looking Glass filter is crucial to my systems voicing/balance. The EVP’s didn’t work for me under active gear but they are VERY effective. So effective that it can be to much a good thing.
There has been some very good and interesting comments on this subject and I thank you.
I think the Niagara 7000 is a different animal than many power conditioners because of the huge transformers inside. When you place your ear close to it you can actually hear it hum.

I went ahead and ordered a set (4) of the Critical Mass 1.0 footers for the conditioner. The funny thing about these footers, they go through a weird break in stage. I know, hard to believe, footers breaking in. But, with my other equipment they first sounded just ok, then bad, horrible, and then about 10 days later glorious!

So, if they do improve sound quality underneath the Niagara, I wonder if these too will go through the same break in phenomenon.

ozzy

Hi Ozzy, did you try cups and rollers for radial and horizontal isolation  plus springs for vertical isolation ?
Well, I did try the springs that Geoff sells, Stillpoints Ultra SS along with a few others I had. Best results was with the footers that are attached to the Niagara.

ozzy
I found the perfect solution for my needs. Before buying anything else, I experimented with what I had on hand and that included some really old Audioquest squishy footers, the kind you can literally ball up in your hand using a tight grip. You know, the ones that leave that messy residue wherever they're placed.

It wasn't half as bad as the Herbie's extra firm squares but still it fogged the highs and surrounding air. Next up were some Les Davis constricted layer damping pads, which are about as thin as two sheets of paper. Using three at each end of the Niagara 1200 (the pads are wide enough to support the width of the 1200) brought about a wonderful increase of body in everything, especial the bass. Not a hint of texture or detail was lost at the expense of some really thickened bass which was very tactile in feel.

Vocals took on a level of realism making it all the more corporal. Think mouth, throat and chest. Highs were more fleshed out as well but I thought it could use a bit more air and lightness. Taking one pad out on each end was the ticket. No loss of body with an increase in air, decay and extension.

It seems the light weight of the 1200 (just over 15 lbs) didn't take to the type of footer that a much heavier item would need. I had a similar experience with my OPPO 103 when I tried the Isoacoustic Oreas as footers: it just killed the highs and bloated the mids and bass. Going with the Les Davis pads under the footers solved that as well, and the OPPO only weighs about 11lbs., so there's something relatable here.

All the best,
Nonoise
Nonoise, can I ask what dealer you got the Les Davis from?
I wonder if a meteor passing a million miles away could change the earth’s magnetic field to a point where it may affect the output of my MM cartridge.....
@facten ,
 I got them from someone stateside who no longer sells them. What I did find was Bespoke Audio Group: bespokeaudiogroup@outlook.com
You used to be able to get them on amazon. I don't think they'll sell direct as long as there's someone stateside representing their product.

https://www.lesdavisaudio.com.au/products-meme
It looks like he's been very busy since when I got my 3D2, which were circular and not the squares he now sells. He's got three more products as well.

All the best,
Nonoise
I wonder if a meteor passing a million miles away could change the earth’s magnetic field to a point where it may affect the output of my MM cartridge....
.
If the space shuttle were transported right in front of your house, I doubt you'd hear it......


Ozzy,

Look forward to 300 hours of pure horror whilst the cs2 footers break in!  Playing time.

After that it's still another 300 to 400 hours to the purest form of glory for nuts like ourselves. 

Best wishes.


My Niagara 1200 sits behind my couch on the floor, wall to wall carpet. That is where it will remain. Suffice to say I think it is stupid to think you could possibly perceive whether it is supported by spikes or hemispheres or cones or whatever....I'll go with expectation bias. It's a power conditioner, nothing more. Now, a turntable or cd player? Well then, yes I believe you should spend time getting those isolated/supported properly. 
Again, I say the Niagara 7000 is a different animal when it comes to power conditioning. It has some very large isolation transformers. That is why I think the Critical Mass footers could help.
I don’t know for sure, that is why I asked the question. Soon, I will have them to try. But as aubreybobb stated and I have found that the Critical Mass footers go through a weird break in.

ozzy
My Niagara 1200 sits behind my couch on the floor, wall to wall carpet. That is where it will remain. Suffice to say I think it is stupid to think you could possibly perceive whether it is supported by spikes or hemispheres or cones or whatever....I'll go with expectation bias. It's a power conditioner, nothing more. Now, a turntable or cd player? Well then, yes I believe you should spend time getting those isolated/supported properly.
Do you think it's stupid that it came with footers already in place as well as more to be used in case you were to place it on its side? 
Do you think it's stupid to believe it is immune from vibrations?
Do you think it's stupid to be so intellectually lazy as to fall back on the expectation bias meme?

All the best,
Nonoise


Thanks Nonoise for the response on Les Davis
@facten ,
You're welcome. If you find the Les Davis pads too expensive, you might want to try some constrained layer damping material from a supply house. It could be that Les Davis contracts with one of them and has them made to his specs with logo attached.

Also, I ended up with using just one pad per end on my Niagara 1200 as it stands on it's side. I thought 2 were great until I tried just one layer which gave me the best results. Each additional layer only lessened the highs, air and detail.

All the best,
Nonoise
Well I just received and immediately installed the Critical Mass Footers 2 1.0 version underneath the Niagara 7000. And though I know it will take much time to break in (or adjust), at this moment, I am clearly hearing better separation of the instruments within the soundstage. 

So, though I am expecting things to improve  further in the next few weeks with additional settling time, I can honestly conclude that the Audioquest Niagara 7000 does improve considerably with using the Critical Mass footers.

ozzy
My experience has been, almost universally, that the first 3-4 hours of most stuff gives an impression of what they will eventually sound like after burn in. Then it's the usual 250 - 300 hours of normal break in nasties.

Best wishes
I use Herbies square dots under mine because I had put the Panamax back on the 1.5" butcher block rack too soon after sealing it with 50/50 Tung oil and Mineral Oil and the feet stuck to the surface. The feet broke when I levered it off so I needed new feet. I believed it couldn't but possibly make a difference with my moderate setup but to my confusion it offered a slight increase in clarity/brightness. Weird.
aubreybobb,
To put the Critical Mass break in in perspective... I added one set under my Carver tube mono blocks.  And then about a month later I added another set under the second mono block.
When I added the second set I noticed that the soundstage image moved in the direction of the Critical Mass footers from the original placement.
Sure enough, about a couple weeks later the left channel started to come into its own and the soundstage became complete.
These footers do have a strange break in.

I'm not sure if all conditioners benefit from after market footers, but my guess would be they do, I suppose it really depends on the power conditioner and the footers.
But for all you tweakers out there, it's worth a try.

ozzy
Ozzy, I believe power conditioners with large toroidal transformers will benefit from some type of footer or platform. Using  Herbies Tenderfeet helped  mine, will try the EVP's next.

lowrider57,
I agree with you. What are the EVP's?

ozzy
I have the Audioquest 5000 and I have it on its side next to my rack, feet removed.  Perfection. 
aj523,
The 5000 units are great, but if you have a chance to place some of the Critical Mass footers underneath it, you will buy them.

ozzy
lowrider57,
Thanks for the link. It is odd though that they suggest to place them under the components feet.

ozzy