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.
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.