Well. Their footers (rubber & cork) are nothing more than V-pads available at any heating and air conditioning supplier for about $2.00 for a 4"x4" pad which are actually very effective vibration isolators.
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I think the guy has good ears. I replaced the stock base on a Spacedeck with one of their 4" maple blocks and it was a huge difference. Better in all ways. Am seriously thinking of getting the maple bases for my Totem floorstanders which have been placed on popcorn concrete pads since new. It does get a bit pricey for a couple of pieces of wood. Not sure how the 2" stuff compares, but I'd be surprised to find them as good. Sorry, no experience with their other products.
I have their Samson V.2 rack and two 2 inch thick platforms, and one of their large 4 inch thick platforms for oversize TTs.
First of all, let me say, that pictures in their catalog don't do them justice. The Maple is well aged and full of character, not just plain blonde wood. The stands are very heavy and can be carefully leveled at every shelf. Once everything is tightened down, very rigid.
I don't know about their other things but, the stand is real eye candy.
I had their Gibraltar speaker stands for my monitors plus custom footers threated into the bottom of the monitors. This combo really brought out the best in the speakers bass response and overall stability. Beautiful to look at as well.
No expereince with thier othe rproducts but I've always admmired their gear stands.
I had the 4" maple block with all the works that went with it.
I bought the HRS M3 and did a A/B between the two and sold the MS as soon as I could. It made me mad that the MS sounded so bad and I fell for it and bought it. The HRS is addictive and once heard you must have it.
I am sure the maple is good for fire wood on a cold day in Destin FL. as I have a fire place and if I DID not sell it that was where it was going. =8^)
I have ordered product from Mapleshade so I get their catalog. Just this week I received my copy and noticed this. I'd like to purchase one to open it up and see if it's different than any Wal Mart version.
I agree with Rccc. I did a two-week long cable shootout one time with their ICs and speaker cables and it was a joke. Not only didn't their cables "compare favorably to Valhalla" as their well written copy states, they didn't even compare favorably to my old Kimber PBJ and cheap Audioquest. The whole lot went back as quick as I could ship it. And yes, I gave it plenty of break-in time.
IMHO, they use the old hoary marketing concept that says if you say it, and print it, it must be true. And they have great copy writers, saying things that can't be proved but sound darned good. The products themselves ...um, don't.
While I no longer will purchase from Mapleshade for personal reasons, I have recently added their Excalibur Plus IC and the difference was incredible, in my system. More clarity, detail and extension. I placed this IC between my pre and power amp, moved my Poiema !!! to CD and Tara to TT. Sound was improved throughout. There's no harshness either, just detail, speed and clarity. I would recommend anyone to try this IC and see for yourself. I have no agenda here, not affiliated with Mapleshade, but I am very happy with this IC. Yeah it's delicate to work with and needs to be separated apart from other cables, but once in place just leave it alone. If you want to talk about voodoo, let's talk MD.
I'm a Mapleshade dealer so you can ignore everything I say if you like.
I've known Pierre and Ron for many years to be fanatically concerned for quality sound, iconoclastic cutting edge technology that cuts to the chase, not compromising their ideals in the face of logistical or conceptual norms, generously making themselves available to discuss their methods, and last but not least, charging fairly for their extensive work. The fact that Pierre's recordings are some of the most highly respected in audiophilia, speaks for itself.
Do the math. If you honestly analyze their pricing, which I have done, their products are bargains, even for the DIYer who wants to get their own HVAC pads, cut them up with a band saw and glue them together, after listening to various configurations to determine which sounds the best. Or, god forbid, you could take their word for it and simply rip off their design, confident that you have employed top notch consultants. I am a machinist as well and I can't make their cones as cheaply as I can buy them. Brass has gotten VERY expensive. Ditto the racks, another matter of taste. The point of the power strip is typical of their philosophy. The no BS power strip design was chosen for maximizing quality and minimizing quantity of dielectric and conductors, and they add their own wire to it. Their message is less is more and cheaper can be better. No argument there.
There are many many folks, including myself, who have done the same kind of shoot out that Slaw3 did and came to the opposite conclusion, personal taste I guess.
There are also many many folks who seem to revel in pointing the finger at their latest excuse for their cynicism. It's particularly ironic to me, although predictable, that Pierre should be used for such a target.
I purchased their power strip and my experience was simillar to ehaller. It seemed really cheap and unwieldy but inserted into the system, really did bring out much more detail and extension. One problem. It seemed so sensitive to all the wires around it that I just couldn't get rid of a hum. If I worked long enough to try to isolate it's wires sufficiently from all the others in my system, not an easy logistical task, I might be able to eliminate this hum and still have it in my system. I never sold it so I may pull it out sometime and try again.
Piedpiper very will said. I have been using Mapleshades products for some time now with out any problems of any kind. And with all of the support Pierre and associates can offer. All is 30 day returnable. There analog line of isolation is a winner to my ears.
We all love this hobby and its a hands on hobby so some like to build and some like to just buy it finished. Why the trashing is beyond me. Enjoy your music instead.
"... some like to build and some like to just buy it finished."
There seems to be this syndrome of DIYers knocking manufacturers and their pricing. I started out as a DYIer myself but IME most of my customers don't want to bother.
Regarding build quality, depending on the product, this varies, but the price is commensurate.
I purchased the Clearview Golden Parallel Long-run speaker wire for a nieghbor that needed a long run but couldn't afford 1k for wire. The wire sounded terrible, even after a long break in. It would be fine for a 2nd bedroom set-up or a run to rear speakers in an HT rig, but for two channel mains we had as good sonics using zip cord.
My experiences have been variable. The Samson racks are as good as it gets, as far as I am concerned. I have two of them. I also have a Mapleshade-modified Scott tuner, and I can assure you that the difference between it and the stock version is several orders of magnitude. It will stand up to virtually any tuner ever made.
On the negative side, I did not care for the ICs at all. It's difficult to say how much was due to the fundamental character of the ICs and how much was interaction with the speakers (SoundLabs). Quite a number of highly regarded ICs have not sounded good on these, so I would certainly suspect at least some mismatch there.
RCCC - Blanket pronouncements with no backing facts are utterly useless. We might as well be on a Y@hoo message board.
Slaw3 - thanks for giving us a few facts to work with, but perhaps statements such as "And they have great copy writers, saying things that can't be proved but sound darned good. The products themselves ...um, don't" need not be quite so all-encompassing when you've (apparently) listened to only the cables. As it happens, I would agree with you - at least in the case of the ICs in my particular system, but conversely they make at least two products that I wouldn't voluntarily do without.
Perhaps some of the negative reviewers here should pick up the phone and have a little chat with Pierre about their experience. It's one thing to say that everything is bs because you've tried one or two of their products and they didn't work in your system, and it's another to reject everything.
From experience I know that Pierre is very patient and will give you any advice you'd like, even on matters that won't make him sell anything (such as speaker placement, etc). The fact that he favors maple over granite or whatever else doesn't mean that it's the best solution for everything and everybody; what is? And of course it won't necessarily work in every system and every room.
Having said that, I have had great results with his speaker Floorstander plinths (I have a concrete floor) but not with the Excalibur Plus ICs (which I didn't find better than AN Sogons; hey, that's in my system, with my ears...). But I'll keep exploring what they have.
Piedpiper asks: "Not to beat a dead horse but I'm guessing this was a matter of taste or compatibility. What specifically was your complaint?"
I set up a comparison in my 2 channel system. I A,B'd the Mapleshade Golden Paralell Long Run cable against my SignalCable Ultra Speaker Cables. SignalCable makes very good wire for a fraction of the cost of the big boys. Although the lengths of each cable make the comparison a bit unfair (the Mapleshade was 20', the SignalCable was 10').
Using a pair of Dunlavy SC-3's as my monitors,(which are good to around 40-45HZ, depending on room placement), and a Von Scheikert VS-1 powered sub to reach down to, say, 25HZ or so, these are the results that I heard:
The Mapleshade wire cast a slight blanket over the presentation, making it sound a bit dull and less brilliant. The highs, particularly the air around ride cymbals, was noticably rolled back. And the lower register was also deadened quite a bit. I lost alot of impact and slam below 80HZ. The difference was real obvious. It just sounded awful.
So, a matter of personal taste? I don't think so. Compatibility? Maybe.
I am merely stating my experience with a manufacturer's product that a fellow 'goner sought out. That's all. Nothing personal.
Thanks Judsauce, for your honest and thorough communique. I haven't done exhaustive comparisons with the Parallel Long Run, and I haven't heard the cables you compared them to, but I will say that they were a major upgrade from Kimber 8TC in a customers system, although definitely not bright if that's your cuppa.
I went through the whole bit with Mapleshade cones under everything one piece of gear at a time, and then when it was all finished put heavy hats on all of that and it was nice but, you know what, after a few months of fun with all those boxes of cones coming in I realized I just plain wasn't listening to my system anymore and when I took all those cones out my system it sounded so dramatic, obviously better and overall correct that I learned not to mess with it anymore. As my wise dealer here in Milwaukee said, "you fixed it, fixed it, fixed it, and fixed the hell out of it". Yes, it's the tweaking conundrum or trap. The mind craves change, yes, but most likely your system and gear sound their best and the most authentic without these draining tweaks...
Pierre and Mapleshade recommends connecting powered subs using the speaker inputs instead of the rca inputs because of many hours of listening/testing. Their claims of greater coherency and blend with the main speakers seem correct. My ears concur with their findings. They Mapleshade recordings are excellent as well.
"RCCC - Blanket pronouncements with no backing facts are utterly useless. We might as well be on a Y@hoo message board." There hasnt been one fact presented in this thread,just opinions. The beauty of Mapleshades claims is they cant be measured or proven or apparently even shown to be worthwhile by consensus. If you used their products and they work for you then they work for you and thats fine but it doesnt mean they work. I have a good friend with a very nice system that swears by their products, he's happy and thats what matters whether I think he's delusional or not. However my opinion is based on the same kind of "facts" and I still think their stuff is snake oil for the most part.
RCCC, you have made a point that you don't believe in the products based on your testing and with no details.
On the other hand, no one else has put forth any facts or details that would prove that the products works.
I agree to a certain degree that having different materials as coupling or de-coupling can make a differance in the sonics of ones system.
However Mrdecibel, it seems that your statement against RCCC disclose the fact that because RCCC doesn't believe in the product, you are the one that is bothered.
Everyone has the right to there opinion. Whether anyone likes it or not.
I beleave that Mapleshade makes the products they make because they believe in them. Not for snake oil.
If you try there product and it doesn't make a difference in your system, you can send it back and no harm done.
I've heard there cables and though I appriciate the concept of less is more,I didn't care for what I heard. I can't give any scientific reason why it didn't sound good to me in my system, but it didn't.
I don't mean to offend anyone with my comments, but I believe everyone has the right to voice there oppinion.
Zman, you are right. As the products are returnable no harm no foul. The OP asks for opinions about certain products they sell. I ve given mine which I think is just as legitimate an answer as anyone elses. The OP now sees there is no blanket endorsement and explores further with caution. Seems to me thats the point of a forum. Maple shade makes claims that cannot be verified by scientific method therefore opens themselves to opinionated skepticism or enthusiastic endorsements depending on whos listening. I spend many happy hours listening to my buddies tweaked system even though we disagree on what makes it sound good. (i switched his preamp cable while he was gone and he didnt notice till i pointed it out)
I personally know Pierre and Ron. I use many of the Mapleshade tweeks with very good results. I think many of us have purchased components or tweeks that did't perform to satisfaction in a certian system. Bottom, line it's no one fit all in anything. I've owned may equipment racks and never heard a difference in sound until using a samson 4" stand. A friend bought some unfinished Mapleshade platforms and was not pleased because of the look. When asked about the sound difference he, he said he was highly impressed.
He thought they'd look better. Then he understood the amount of skill and work required to bring these products to their final finish look, and the cost difference of unfinished vs finished. Most of my co-worker are much younger then I and listen to totally difference types of music. Most of what they is lots of what the think is bass. With different equipment or tweeks they find out that what they think the like is actually enhanced upper bass. In most cases they say they have gotten to like the artifical low bass because of the type of music they listen to. Most had not heard leally low bass notes. On the other hand they enjoyed the sound quality of the tweek when hearing music of another type. From my listening with some of the Clearview ic's in my system, I was not as impressed as with the Ebony ic's that I use.
Zman, I have been away from this thread for a few days. I am not bothered in the least by what Rccc said. I want to make it clear that in this game of audio, our ears are the most important tools to make judgements and develop opinions. Facts have less to do with. I do not use any Mapleshade products, but I have met Pierre and have spoken with him on several occasions. I like his recordings and have shared some tweeking techniques with him. Facts . If one says ss is better than tubes (or vis a versa), are there facts to back this up. Not in my experience. I just wonder if people speak with out the use of their ears. Should not be in this game. I am sorry if I have offended anyone. That is all....Enjoy
I've had mixed results as well. I could never warm up to the brass cones under various components. The brass jumper cable strips are a joke and I ended up tossing them. On the other hand I'm using isopads under my TT right now and they seem to provide good isolation and improve the sound. I use the golden helix speaker wire, very natural sounding to my ears. All of these things are very reasonably priced. I do agree that some of the writing in the catalog is over the top, takes some chutzpah to write that stuff.