You have been around Audiogon for a long time. How is it that you haven't seen the many threads discussing their great products? There are many members who use them, myself included, and yes, they're great.
sbank, I had heard about Sistrum and even seen this on the Star Sound webpage, but there was long hiatus in this company. Now they seem to be on quite a roll.
I am shocked as I said about so little comment about the Rhythm platforms and racks, as well as the evolution of Audio Points and coupling cups.
I own 5 Apprentice platforms and 4 Rhythm. I am now ordering a 5th Rhythm. I have used many famous racks and built some of my own in the preceding decades but none used the Star Sound method and none sounded nearly as wonderful. The musical tone that fills the room,
the shockingly real soundstage they produce, the silence that brings forth micro information, the brilliant effect at high volume... all blow away the competition.
The new 2.5" points and the new inverted dics' are on my list of must have items also.
Enjoy the music
Good Question Audiolabyrinth,
In answer to your question related to how Star Sound Technologies competes with Critical Mass Systems, in our opinion there are clear indicators one can determine by visiting both websites, reviewing of technical papers and US Patents and how the applied technologies totally differ from each other.
One website states “Critical Mass Systems racks are not isolation systems as they do not prevent the transmission of vibration. Rather, the filter system manages the flow of vibration into and out of the component” However, reviewing the patent on CMS technology, they have clearly designed a damping and isolation device. Referencing US Patent 7290759, titled “Vibration isolation damper for electronic equipment”, the patent abstract declares “A vibration isolation platform utilizes a plurality of viscoelastic polymer blocks sandwiched between rigid plinths or boards and stacked on top of one another to provide vibration damping additively per layer of the sandwich.”
They go on to discuss their “proprietary internal vibration materials” revealed primarily as Sorbothane®. As stated by the manufacturer, “In addition to being visco-elastic, Sorbothane® also has a very high damping coefficient. Sorbothane® combines shock absorption, good memory, vibration isolation and vibration damping characteristics.” The patent goes on to describe the invention as “This invention relates to vibration damping equipment and, more specifically, an isolation platform for supporting consumer and commercial electronic apparatus and for damping vibrations from external sources to that equipment.”
The opinion of SST engineering related to this patent the CMS is a vibration isolation product with superior damping factor… which somewhat counter claims the verbiage provided on their website “allowing transfer of vibration” between the componentry”.
As a distinguished Material Science Professor, Dr. John DuPont, of Lehigh University once stated in an industry discussion panel, “Patents are great to acquire, but they are not to held as a guarantor of function”
The CMS system states they use ‘proprietary’ internal vibration materials (Sorbothane®) via constrained layered damping (a sandwich), woods and various metals in order to ““mitigate”” vibration.
The Star Sound Platforms use steel and brass as primary conductive elements designed to ““allow”” equipment to vibrate reducing the negative effects caused from Coulomb friction which impedes vibration via resonance transfer resulting in component operational efficiency.
The fact that both delivery systems work via opposite applied physics could or should yield a completely different sonic result as well? They do.
One company designs and builds excellent equipment racking systems where the other is focused on developing a science and has products including equipment racking, mechanically grounded structural designs for listening suites and recording studios and has developed vibration management products that attach and increase the sonic performance of musical instruments all based on a single technology.
One company was the first to officially promote an equipment rack as a “Platform”. Back in the early days audio platforms were simply referred to as audio furniture, shelves and equipment stands.
One company exceeds in attaining industry awards many of which are awarded in the category of ‘cost is no object’ where the other is more focused on designing products that are financially more affordable. Retail Pricing is definitely a prime factor in how the companies products and strategies competes for growth.
Any listener could assume that a simple comparison test of an amplifier/speaker stand could easily be performed with the opinions published for public consumption. Reviewers do this routinely on other types of electronic equipment and speaker systems but rarely are comparisons made involving vibration management products. In some racking reviews you read “equipment racking should be considered as important as any component” yet rarely if ever have industry reviewers provided comparisons in the sonic performance of racks, amp and/or floor born speaker stands or monitor stands.
Vibration management is still seen by many people as snake oil, bull, money pits or fancy marketing. Admittedly, there is some truth to this belief as there always exists in any industry, products that simply ‘do not or limit function’ or in the case of audio ‘do not perform as advertised’. But there are also products that clearly set the bar much higher than that of a piece of hard wood, a furniture rack, a ball bearing, rubber feet, squash balls, inner tubes or a cone.
Star Sound is always open for performance testing, published sonic impressions and product comparisons regardless of equating retail pricing curves. We provide a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee hoping the listener will give our technical approach an opportunity at earning their business. In our opinion a qualified quality driven company such as CMS should also be open to the concept of comparisons with full return guarantees. That way the listener can easily decide which outcome is clearly the keeper.
Both companies compared here have successful products that deserve your consideration. Unfortunately until a listener or audiophile actually auditions a truly high performance driven vibration management product and no matter how many glorified reviews and rewards are given, they will never know what they are missing from their listening enjoyment.
We hope these fairly biased opinions shed some light on how SST competes with CMS.
As always - Good Listening!
Star Sound Technologies, LLC
i’ll simply offer that SS platforms are unique in their setup. no other product allows the user to easily distribute the footer to component relationship whereby the component weight can be easily distributed entirely in the vertical plane with zero residual in the horizontal plane.
what do i mean? there is rigid vertical coupling and with it no lateral shearing when the SS is set up correctly, and this is experientially found in the ’nailed into the ground’ sensation where the component’s weight is properly distributed over the 3 footer arrangement. this rigid coupling reduces the component’s susceptibility to vibrations in all planes. throw some mass on top of the component and then you further kill susceptibility to horizontal (air borne) vibes. ---6 degrees of isolation, quickly.
this was always the critical flaw w/ prior cones, and esp rollerblocks. 4 cones / footers ensures horizontal shearing is in place (and is not rec’d as such) and some lateral instability is in place due to the unequal distribution of component mass. always easier to balance properly on 3 than on 4.
3 stillpoints are good in the same way due to their infinite height adjustments. but they are much harder to arrange successfully, and have a different tonal pallette. i simply find SS platforms sound better and easier to set up successfully to boot. best i’ve heard IME and reasonably priced.
Tbg, go to www.criticalmasssystems.com,,,,, there you will find critical mass amp stand's and rack's, although star sound is very good, they are not the only top choice, both are some of the best available, it all comes down to one's preference , I do not believe you can go wrong with either one of these products, although critical mass has won an incredible amount of awards world wide, and the absolute Sound love's them, take a look at the maxxum product, they also make the maxxum amp stand, very costly , is it worth the price? , who know's, all I know is some of the country's top dealer's I have talked to over the past year, top deaer, meaning, the cost no object equipment, use critical mass stands and rack's.
On seeing the Critical Mass stands, I realize that I have seen and heard them. I have the propensity to enter rooms and to not be thorough if I am not thrilled with what I hear. I'm not saying this to condemn the Critical Mass as there are many other components involved and often if there is too much talking in a room I move on.
I must also admit that in my experience only brass, and certain brasses, seem to be better. I got down the Star Sound route because of what I heard with their cheap Apprentice platform with its Audio Points. Actually the Audio Points themselves were the reason why they first got my attention.
I got a Tripoint Troy Signature grounding unit to review and while I liked it, I noted that the Audio Points were not used on it. I got the 1.5 inch Audio Point in as they were used on the original Troy that long ago I reviewed. I thought they improved the Troy Signature. This lead to my trying the Apprentice and being struck by its openness, dynamics, and top end. This lead to the slippery slope.
Hi tbg, I understand, star sound is a good product, I would love to read your review of tripoint troy signature, I do know the signature improves any cable system, I have heard nothing but great user reviews of the signature, very good product, please let me know where your review will be posted norm.
I just got in my first sets of the new 2.5 inch Star Sound audio points
part # 2.5AP-1AINT.. and the new inverted disc # APCD4-Invert.
Although they have a break in time of up to 2 weeks they have already surpassed my old favorite, the 1.5 inch Star Sound points in just 24 hours. More dimensionality to the soundstage and a closer view of the elements of the performance. added richness to the notes is closer to real. I will order more soon!!
Enjoy the music!!
Update: The newest Star Sound - Audio Point (2.5 AP-1A INT) surpasses
older Audio Points in Sound quality. These two and a half inch points allow more musical information to be heard In my System. Similarly. their newest Disc, the inverted disc (APCD4-1A INV) is an improvement in sound over previous discs. I'll let the reviewers wax poetic about these because I must get back to listening, I have ordered more.