How an audio rack can enhance your amp/pre

Just thought I would share my recent experience with upgrading my sound star technologies rack to the new rhythm rack.

Every now and then, I have a visiting audiophile who really appreciates my system…and traditionally asks – “wow, what makes it sound so good?” My typical answer is it all makes a difference, even down the equipment rack, which can and certainly should be considered a component…but in many cases is overlooked…

Star Sound introduction

About 10 years ago, I was introduced to Star Sound Technologies Sistrum platforms and Audio Points. Audiopoints has always been known for its manufacture of well-designed and beautifully manufactured brass cones used under equipment and as an integral part of an audio stand. This ultimately led to the design of stands designed to transfer vibrations out of components and down to ground. What I didn’t know at the time was how good the Sistrum platforms ‘sounded’. So, I bit the bullet and tried several Sistrum Platforms - what intrigued me about the stands was the design of the Sistrum Platform which allowed a pre-determined pattern of energy, known as Coulomb Friction to develop and dissipate via a high-speed calculated conductive pathway to earth's ground. Which made sense…how do you deal with airborne energy dissipation? I know you could put cones to reduce vibrations from the ‘ground up’ so to speak, but how could you eliminate airborne vibration? We’ve all held our hand on our equipment when music is playing only to feel the equipment vibrate, so how do you deal with it? Draining it quickly to ground made sense, but at the end of the day, all I really wanted to know was…does it improve the sound?

To say I was shocked is an understatement - the Original Sistrum Platforms offered – smoother sound, better transients, dynamics and a lower noise floor. And, the cool part is that you could turn up the sound and the music would flow with greater ease…well worth the investment. Robert at Star Sound was extremely helpful in guiding me through which racks made the most sense for my system.

Rhythm Platforms

Which brings me to 2015…it had been a while since I last spoke with Robert curious as to what his engineering team was up to…which led me to check out the ‘new’ model of Sistrum Stands – the Sistrum Rhythm Platforms.

These new platforms / shelves were substantially heavier, with a nicer overall finish than the original stands, with more grooves allowing for substantially more options to place points in various places under your equipment to refine the sound even further. In addition, the shelves were engineered to deal with resonances in a more efficient manner…The brass cones at the bottom of the rack were substantially bigger in size - 3 inches and quite heavy. The brass cones under the equipment were attached with nicely crafted screws that could be hand tightened and no longer required a screw driver… a nice feature making it both easier to put together but also the amount of tightening could influence the sound. The brass and platform rods are modular, making it easier to put together and painted in a beautiful black finish – in combination with the brass I would say the improvement in the WAF factor is significant – the stands are really impressive to look at. As for structure, these things were a solid as could be – and heavy! Not going anywhere, even in an earthquake!

My system includes VAC equipment, preamp, amps, DAC and a transport. As well as power supplies. Most of which now rested on the new Rhythm Platform.

Listening Impressions:

My first impressions were clearly a lower noise floor with enhanced dynamics, while also being able to hear deeper into the soundstage, which now extended well outside of the speakers. Tempo was faster, due to better-defined, leading edges. The high end was ‘cleaner’, with more sheen and decay on symbols and hi hats. Brass had that right bite to it, without over doing it…Bass lines were tighter which led to better ‘rhythm’ … and best of all, I could crank up the volume and the dynamic range seemed to extend effortlessly, which was a nice surprise.

One thing I noticed, that was true of my initial experience with Sistrum Platforms, is that the newer Rhythm Platforms sounded progressively better after 3 days of ‘settling’ and reached full potential after about 1 week. So some form of break in is required.
Over the years, I’ve tried different racks and various cones under equipment, whether if be soft, hard, ceramic, rubber (or some variation of ‘absorbing material’ etc.) you name it. All of which ‘altered’ the sound, but nothing came close to the Sistrum Stands holistically; while the new Rhythm stands, just take it all to a higher level…
While I cannot expound eloquently on science of Coulomb’s Friction, I can tell you that whatever they are doing at Star Sound visa vie their racks, it works…and it’s not subtle. This is a very audible improvement in your listening experience. If you want your system to perform at its highest level, I would suggest that you maximize your investment in your equipment by letting it do what it does best and put it on a Sistrum rack that will allow it to perform at its best. And if you want the best, I would strongly recommend the Rhythm Platforms.
Self delusion is a powerful thing. In this hobby it is so very important to understand that.
You are correct; self-delusion is a powerful thing, but in this case, Wisper is not deluding himself. I use their products, and only wish that I could afford more of them. Everything that he says about them is true in my experience.
Have you had any experience with any Star Sound products?
Amen, Jaxwired.

Wisper, what a bunch of garbage.
Old and jaded....we are.
What flavor is the Kool-aid?

Seriously, none of us are immune, or truly above the fray in this hobby. I am glad you are enjoying your new rack.
Interesting that those who, presumably, have never visited your listening room have been quick to weigh in on your findings. I find that the music sounds better with an open mind.

Enjoy your new support system.
"Self delusion" or as Star Sound calls it "vibration management" has worked well for my system. I have over dampened and back off every component in my system except the speakers where I stuck with the stock points from Wilson. I have experimented with shelving, pucks, points and know the results/changes are not only real but essential for the sound I want. Tuning is one of the wonderful nuances in audio systems and a force in the evolution of a system.
Excellent review- Wisper.

what cables/power cords are you using in your system. These components are over-looked as well, and most certainly make a difference in any system! Keep me posted & Happy Listening!
I agree with Samhar. I've tried spikes, spike protectors, and different types of wood under my speakers and each set up sounded different. Changing cables made me try it all again to get the sound right. I think the same would go for equipment as well as I can easily hear the difference Herbie's Tenderfeet make under my components and it's not always for the better.

All the best,
what intrigued me about the stands was the design of the Sistrum Platform which allowed a pre-determined pattern of energy, known as Coulomb Friction to develop and dissipate via a high-speed calculated conductive pathway to earth's ground.

I am not challenging members who say the racks make a big difference, but I would like to know whether there is any scientific proof (such as this Coulomb Friction mentioned) to what the manufactures are claiming?

If we are talking about avoiding / minimizing floor borne vibration traveling up the rack, is there any measurement to back up their claims? Industrial anti-vibration platforms like TMC, Kinetic Systems and Minus K, all publish performance figures on their products.

Again, as for conducting / dissipating air-borne vibrations and vibrations generated by the audio equipment to ground, is there any scientific theory behind it, and whether the performance can be measured?

I do not doubt that racks could make a difference in the sound reproduced, but is it really due to the reasons / theories stated by the manufacturers?
Wisper, I was later to the party, i.e. Star Sound racks, but I entirely agree with you. The sound stage gets so defined and real and the leading and trailing edge enhance the realism of the music reproduction.

Oh, I have always found it best to ignore the hear-nothing ones.
Jaxwired and Bojack,
Have either of you tried any Star Sound products?
I know nothing of the claims about how the Starsound rack works nor have I had one in my system. I do however believe the writer heard a change that was an improvement in his system.

Really not hard to understand, Stillpoints made a huge improvement in my system and my Vibraplane was a required addition to get my turntable and Studer to 100%.

I believe all footers, racks, points, soft shoes, stands and shelves have a sound. What works for one system might not on another. You have to do the work and experiment, I don’t mind reading opinions of those who put in the effort and print the outcome.

Worst case it does not work for you, best case the writer guided you in a direction to improve your music.
I have many Stillpoints of all types and several Star Sound SP-1 and Apprentice platforms. They all work well. Wisper, thanks for the review. I've been thinking about a Rhythm rack for awhile and may just do it.

One of the ironies in this hobby is the amount of money and effort audiophiles may expend parsing expensive cables while scoffing at expensive racks and footers. IMO both categories offer about the same marginal utility-- there always seems to be a better place to put the dollars. But after a certain point in system building they do add considerably to performance and become foundational to the system, insofar as they are portable across components.
I have been a fan of Star Sound products for many years (at least 16) and find them as other fine products I have used to work quite well.
Nice write up Wisper, thanks for sharing.
The Coulomb model of friction is a model for the behavior of frictional forces between two dry solid surfaces in contact. It is basically an explanation of static and kinetic friction, of which the magnitude is a coefficient (mu) multiplied by the normal force N and, in the case of kinetic friction, acts opposite to the direction of motion.

Moving to the Star Sound white paper, there is a lot of equations thrown out with spring constants, friction angles and other interesting renaming of terms that result in their conclusion that Star Sound products direct resonant energy away from our components.

I would like to spend a little more time with the paper but, as with many things in our hobby, I have a suspicion there is a little more explanation there than needed in an attempt to make folks believe the "serious science" behind the product. To be clear, I am not saying their products don't change/improve the sound of systems where they are used, and I used their points, cables, and micro-bearing material for years but, as with just about everything, there is a marketing component designed to create believers. They are certainly not unique in that respect.
I agree that elaborate and scientific explanations that are difficult for the common man to fully understand are certainly part of marketing hype with many products , including this one.
The thing is, we don't live in a laboratory, and what matters is performance and what we hear using these devices, and for whatever the specific reasons, they are effective.
Wisper, Thanks so much for the courage to share your experience here with so many fugly trolls around. I feel sorry for the poor jerks trying so desperately for attention that the throw their faeces here.
it'll look better.
To those actually familiar with Star Sound products, congrats!!
I have been extremely thrilled by the Rhythm platforms in MY system.
Whisper, you are absolutely correct about the effect of the racks.
The Soundstage is bigger and better in all aspects. the speed, dynamics,
lower noise floor shockingly superior to all the many many devices I've tried in 40 years. But the naturalness and realism are the most mind blowing.
I have had just 1.5 inch audio points sound better than Stillpoints.
I have a small sound works stand that works better. I own 5 Apprentice platforms that are a big step up from the little ones and sounded superior to 3 Stillpoint sixes for only $500. I also have two Rhythm Platforms that are way way beyond what anyone would expect a stand to do. The natural tone in the room and the soundstage are mesmerizing.
Enjoy the music.
Racks and no racks. If you want better sound, get the rack out of the room, completely. Lost on most audiophiles is that the killer of performance from any component is the acoustic energy flying around the room when the speakers are active. Unless you acoustically isolate all the components, sound will be degraded. A rack, any rack will not do that. If you cannot put the components in another room, you need to put acoustic screens around all sides of the components. Its that simple.
I took a tour of the Rega plant a few years back.
They played their RS 1 bookshelf on a Sistrum type stand, on a sand loaded Target stand and finished up with the speaker on the box it came on. Box sounded a bit better.
Schubert, did you copy the combination? If not, why not?
I did, buy my wife complained so much I bought a pair or 24"
wooden stands from rat shack.
yeah it is the new trend "hear nothing" in audio hobby...I wonder if it is age related?
Might be, young people don't hear very well.
Buconero17, makes sense. Do the instruments in a symphony orch. pick up that tremendous energy as well?
Buconero17, Will invisibility cloak work?
Buconero17, I believe the theory is that Star Sound racks focus mostly on draining micro vibrations from inside the component to earth-- not on isolating the component. Such physics will operate regardless of where the component is located.
Dgarretson, You are correct sir. Most racks, stands, platforms work on a different principal, one of isolation. The Star Sound Platforms use a very
different method that sounds very different (Much better in my system and other systems I've heard).
If one has not heard them, one simply has no idea how they sound!
All the mental masturbation and gum flapping by non listeners will change or influence Nothing.
For those who actually listen to audio.. EnJoy the Music!!!
I use the original Star Sound sistrum stands beneath my mono block amplifiers and their Apprentice platforms beneath all other components and speakers. Their effect is splendid and truly improve the sound quality. I consider them mandatory in my system. They are exceptionally cost effective IMO.
Thanks Charles,
Another sane voice heard from; and one who has actually used them before pronouncing them "a bunch of garbage".
I've had the benefit of having the two best racks, the Stillpoints ESS and now the Star Sound Rhythms. These are two very different technologies and each might suit some more than the other. But clearly were either removed the reproduced sound would suffer greatly. I have no patience with anyone who denies this.
Agreed. And you'll notice that the two members who made the negative comments have refused to answer my question asking if they had experience with these products.
I have been rebuilding my mono amps for some time now finally have them completed. I have mechanically direct coupled all the components. These include the transformer all filter caps including the mains and the new Clarity Cap TC's that supply the main board.

The main board itself is attached to a Sound Works platform and then fastened thru the bottom chassis plate. Both amps are coupled to their own Sistrum Sp101's so they can connect independently but directly to ground. The idea here was to focus resonant energy to Mother Earth kinda like a mass migration process all in a neat and orderly straight line straight down and out. I had all the parts cryo'd except for the Mundorf electrolytic filter caps as these can be damaged when such a process is used. I am convinced that cryo treatment or treatments relieve material stress and molecular disorder and further enhance direction when the correct geometry is applied. Tom ..Star Sound Technologies
But how they heck do you prevent Mother Earth from affecting the components. Houston, we have a problem.
I don't care what anyone says, you and the other people responsible for the design of Star Sound products are the real deal.
Thanks, John
Hello TheKong,

In reply to your many qualified questions about Star Sound claims as to the function and scientific proof of their technology (questions listed above on 06-09/2015):

The Audio Points™ were first marketed in 1989 representing the second of two mechanical grounding products offered in High-End Audio, TipToes was the first manufacturer in what is now commonly referred to as the accessory marketplace.

Star Sound equipment racking products are now fifteen years young and are ever evolving.

A research test involving public consumption of our products was implemented in 2003. We adapted the technology inside electronics and loudspeakers chassis focused on the smallest of electronic parts such as resistors and transistors. A limited quantity of these products were sold under the Harmonic Precision™ name brand. The test was successful in that it provided further proof the technology has multiple applications.

We recently placed the technology into structural walls, flooring and ceiling grids which represents one of our finest innovative achievements titled The Energy Room™.

Beginning in 2000 a group of six musical instruments were targeted as a destination for the technology. It took quite some time before releasing the initial offering involving the cello and upright bass. The Tone Acoustics Brass EndPin™ began selling in 2014 and is being accepted and played by some of the finest musicians in music today.

This historical information is submitted as physical evidence supporting our core theories on how the technology functions. It validates, via the end user, that Live-Vibe Technology™ is highly functional, has worked in multiple applications related to the recording and playback sciences and continues to expand gaining public acceptance on all fronts.

Regards to your request for scientific proof:

The examples of your aforementioned industrial ‘anti-vibration’ companies as noted in your questionnaire are associated and focused more on the studies and applications of “isolation” whereas our approach to vibration management is an entirely different and/or an opposite methodology.

The majority of testing and results displayed on their websites are 100% controlled and published by the same company selling their respective products. It is common to see this type of product testing in the commercial marketplace as well as the Audio Industry and has long been accepted as scientific proof the product works.

Currently there are no charts or graphs depicting acoustic or mechanical measurements displayed on the Star Sound website based on in-house ‘self’ generated testing. We elect not to present this type of data simply because in the highly subjective world of High-End Audio, it is well known to some manufacturers that self proclaimed results can be presumed by many as extreme bias, a marketing tool to increase sales or add more confusion to an already ‘little known and understood’ science.

We have developed this new technology based on the theories and successes originating from a small group of dedicated, highly educated and successful engineers with vision and a tremendous amount of feedback from the end users of our products.

Live-Vibe Technology™ is currently undergoing third party testing by a licensed UL® approved laboratory in order to quantify this proprietary vibration management science. This testing will offer an objective analysis of this technology as it relates to all types of electronic and acoustic equipment, as well as musical instruments used in the recording, playback, and live performance settings. Additional acoustic testing will be provided by two privately owned recording studios providing additional data to compare with the laboratory profiles.

In closing:

Live-Vibe Technology is a new atypical approach to vibration management. It is currently supported by a small research and development company titled Star Sound Technologies with the focus on audio and video reproduction, sound environments and musical instruments.

Our goal is to become the the first company in all of audio whose opinions and theories related to vibration management evolve into a more highly functional and diverse science.

Please feel free to telephone us and we will be happy to chat and answer all of your questions.

TheKong, We thank you for your time, quality questions and interest.

As always - Good Listening!

Robert Maicks
Star Sound Technologies, LLC
06-09-15: Jaxwired
Self delusion is a powerful thing. In this hobby it is so very important to understand that.

So is pride. Clearly, the author of that sweeping statement subconsciously presumes transcendence from said delusion....
06-10-15: Buconero117
Racks and no racks. If you want better sound, get the rack out of the room, completely. Lost on most audiophiles is that the killer of performance from any component is the acoustic energy flying around the room when the speakers are active. Unless you acoustically isolate all the components, sound will be degraded. A rack, any rack will not do that. If you cannot put the components in another room, you need to put acoustic screens around all sides of the components. Its that simple.

I think that applies more so to racks and footers that rely on pure isolation. If the Sistrum technology works the way Starsound says it does, that issue should be more easily defeated.

I have dealt with all that "acoustic energy flying around the room" by grounding the walls, equipment, and speakers with Starsound technology. The results are rather impressive. More about that later on another thread....
Happy to see more real experienced peoples posts and less clowns.
Today I put one of my 5 Apprentice platforms under Magnetic Waveguides from High Fidelity Cables. My integrated amp, 2 speakers, 2 speaker cable waveguides, 3 power cord waveguides all on Star Sound platforms. I also have Star Sound "audio points" under 3 small components.
My next order will be two Apprentice XL platforms and a 2 shelf Rhythm Rack.
The effects of the Star sound stuff is no less than Amazing!! As is the case with Magnetic conduction, the live vibe technology redefines the benchmark. Shockingly more real!!!
I've found Isoacoustics stands most effective under my smaller monitors. Also Subdude platform under my OHM floorstanders. Both clean things up and get rid of any muddiness in the sound.

In my home, I only need these on upper levels with suspended plywood floors that freely transmit vibrations.

The same speakers on my ground level with solid concrete foundation underneath (under thin dense carpet and pad) do not need any additional platform tweaks.

So YMMV with any acoustic platforms. There are many good affordable ones when needed. Most likely they will never hurt, unless things in your room happen to be tuned to sound good already without them. That's a possibility as well. There are many ways to tweak as needed.
Buconero117, I think your are dealing with vibrations from music and ignoring other problems. There is a substantial problem with EMI and RFI and it is going to be more severe with long speaker wires from one room to another. Then there is also the vibration from the components themselves. Then there is the question of how one controls a system in another room. This is, of course, another addition to EMI or RFI. Finally there is the issue of static charges. I have found that any wire contact with floors, in particular, adversely affects the sound.

Agear, I have heard about your room from Robert and have learned that there will probably be one much closer to me. I assume within your room you are still using Star Sound racks, etc.?
Hi Norman. Yes, I am using a combination of SP101s and Apprentice stands although Robert and others have been sharing about the backstage and stage line. I would be very intrigued to try the all brass stage stuff under speakers although my wallet does not allow for it at this time....
I have also heard tales of Agear's room as well, urban myth or reality? 3 years and still no pictures😊.
Agear, I know the feeling well. Watch out for High Fidelity Cables!
06-16-15: Charles1dad
I have also heard tales of Agear's room as well, urban myth or reality? 3 years and still no pictures😊.

Now Charles, that was a little passive aggressive of you. Pictures coming soon believe it or not. It has been a long road and filled with delays the majority of which have been out of my control. I did recently receive my Golden Gate dac from Lampizitor and its a stunning piece of digital.

Norman, I heard an early prototype of the high fidelity stuff as well as Calloways system which had full loom of HF. Very, very good but I like the Dale Pitcher house sound with his cabling and conditioner and speakers....
Hi Robert,

Thank you for the detailed reply!
Norman, being the inveterate audio explorer that you are, I recommend taking the plunge with a full blown Starsound room. Why don't you be the first in Texas? It is the most powerful application of their technology IMO. I have had a rotation of all sorts of speakers through here, including Best Buy grade Klipsh floor standers (mated with a vintage Marantz AV receiver and Apple airport express and Home Depot wire), vintage $75 Pioneers, etc and the results have been simply phenomenal. It destroyed my reference rig in a standard living room setting.
Agear, I've had LEDE rooms, digitally equalized rooms, Holographic rooms, Room Lens rooms, RPD diffuser rooms, and most recently Zilplex rooms. Since Rick Schultz seems likely to get a Starsound room, I will wait to hear his.

But we are thinking of downsizing to a smaller house with no yard to maintain. That is if we can find one with a usable room for my stereo. Presently I have a 25 x 18 x 11 foot room, which suits me to a T. I don't want to build a house either. We bought a just completed house which we live in now. We have changed the kitchen and master bath in this well architected house. One of the major problems of it is that it in Texas but my wife refuses to leave. I want to go to Oregon. In short nothing seems likely to change soon, unless, pf course, the room blows me away.