Review: Audio Resolution Platform Series 1

Category: Accessories

Audio Resolution is basically 2 brothers, Bob & Tom Zurowski. They make a product used to take vibrations away from a component that sits on it. This is differnt than standard isolation devices, which try to keep external vibrations from entering a component, while not really doing anything for inborn vibrations.

Their basic model comes as a 19" x 14" x 2" high platform, though custom sizes can be ordered at extra cost. The units also come with 3 stainless steel couplers, to put between the shelf and component. The shelf can be used for any component, and also under speakers (without the need for the couplers).

I first heard of Audio Resolution ( here on Audiogon, where Bob was selling a Symposium platform. In his ad, he mentioned his company; I checked them out, and email'd for more information. Bob returned my emails and answered all the questions I had, and I ended up ordering a pair of shelves to go under my speakers.

I received them quickly and very well packed, with my only nit-pick being the styrofoam used; it pills up and gets on your clothes easily :-)

Once under my speakers (which sit atop 300lb granite blocks, BTW), I noticed an immediate improvement in focus of sound and detail. Bass seemed to tighten up a bit as well. Just for testing fun, I took one shelf out, and listened with one in, one out. It was clear that there was an improvement in sound; aside from the slight height difference, the sound definitely was "unbalanced" in quality. Shelf back in, and the beauty returned.

In a subsequent followup, Bob asked if I'd be interested in another unit for under my CD player, as he had noticed good results. I bit right away (actually, I got two more).

Well, the unit under my player brought an even greater improvement: same type of results as with the speakers, but at an even higher level. Better resolution of detail, better focus of images in the soundstage, and even tighter bass lines. I wrote Bob immediately saying what a nice difference it made. Well, 2 minutes later, I wrote him again, starting with a swear, and telling him I heard a acoustic bass note like I had NEVER heard it before. Not only did the shelf tighten the bass, but it also allowed it to go deeper (I had always thought depth of bass limitation was a by-product of the smaller power supply on the Sony unit - even though it sounds fantastic modified, deep bass was never its forte).

I brought out some heavier bass and percussion tracks: Enya's "The Celts" (much more interesting than her later work, IMO), Dead Can Dance "Towards The Within," and several Hearts Of Space sampler tracks. All just shone beautifully with the shelf in place. Deep, dynamic bass like I had never heard it in my system.

I had played around with placement of the couplers under my Sony. Certain spots resulted in more imporvement than others. As one might expect, underneath the transport mechanism and power supply provided the best results, and I used 2 more couplers (4 in all, I borrowed from extras I had) to help balance things out.

In comparing these to the Symposium products I've seen/heard, I would say that functionally, they do very similar things (see Audio Resolution's website for detail on the similarities and differences). The fit and finish of the Audio Resolution shelves is very good, but not as good as the Symposium. But the Audio Resolution shelves go for $115 each; much less than the Symposiums.

In conclusion, the Audio Resoltuion shelves are no-brainers, I'd say. If you have the rack space, buy one or more (it needs 2" for the shelf, another 3/4" for the coupler height, plus enough room for any needed ventilation).

And check out the Zhorn, a horn cabinet for single-driver system, designed by Bob. It also uses a baffle inspired by the platforms, and looks like a very interesting design. See the Zhorn links off the product page.

Todd Samost - chams_uk

Music used for most of review:
- Loreena McKennitt - the mask and mirror, Book Of Secrets
- Holly Cole - Temptation, Don't Smoke In Bed
- Coil - Love's Secret Domain
- Dead Can Dance - Towards The Within
- Kate Price - Isle Of Dreaming
- Stravinsky/The Firebird, Dorati & London S.O. (Mercury Living Presence)

Associated gear
EVS-modified Sony NS500V SACD/DVD/CD
Taddeo Digital Antidote II active
Pathos Twin Towers integrated
VMPS 626 Ribbon Monitors
ZCable & Aural Thrills interconnect
ZuCable IBIS speaker cable
TG Audio SLVR, Bybee, & Eichmann power cords
PS Audio Powerplant 300
Roomtunes, other minor tweaks

Similar products
Symposium Ultra, Svelte shelf
I remember when my brother Bob first brought over a platform. When we first put one under the cd player, there was a difference: more life to the music with noticably more bass energy. When we took it in and out, any doubts were put aside. Then we invited our decidedly non-audiophile friend to the test. He too heard an improvement.The improvement is greater than changing between most cables. I now use Audio Resolution platforms under every component and am certain to have a fully dynamic system. The energy goes into the music, not just circulating within the component, inhibiting the flow from wire to wire. Tom Zurowski
Another update on this:

I put my last platform under another Sony NS500V player (unmodified) in my second system. I put a plastic coated weight on top of the unit. BOOM. Major improvement right there. All of a sudden, the focus was SNAP tight ! All the improvements I heard in my main system, I heard again here to some degree.

There's a track on a CD from Beth Nielsen Chapman I love to listen to. CD is "Sand And Water," song is "Seven Shades Of Blue." The recording is very good not great, she is too closely mic'd IMO. But this song features mostly just Beth's voice and an acoustic guitar (some organ and guest vocals are there, too).

The detail & focus of her singing, and the sharpness & clarity of the guitar were really brought out by the platform and weight combo.

Another point I wanted to make, I stated it in the original review, but it needs to be restated: these are not the most amazing looking things. The unit I put in last had some marks on the steel top, and the sticker with the Audio Resolution logo is actually a little crooked. Nothing functionally wrong at all, but visually not as stunning.

This makes no difference to the sound, though, and therefore not to me. At $115, it is SO much cheaper than Symposium. The Symposium has superb craftsmanship, but you pay for it. I haven't compared these DIRECTLY to the different Symposium shelves/platforms, so I can't say if one is markedly better or not. Based on my experience in dealers, though (I wasn't shopping for Symposium's, but heard their effects on components and speakers I WAS looking at), I don't think the difference would be big if at all.

So again, hats off for this fine product, and inexpensive price. Really elevates the system a whole level....