Review: Daedalus Audio Isolation Stand/Platform for DA-1

Category: Accessories

After about 10 years of equipment changes, while on the "audio-go-round," I'm finally at a point where I am very pleased with my system as a whole.

One of my changes, a little less than a year ago, was the integration of Daedalus Audio's DA-1, full-range loudspeaker. As I have gone through the lengthy (300+ hour) break-in, I have continued to grow more & more fascinated with how musically "real" these speakers are.

In a conversation with the DA-1's designer/builder, Lou Hinkley, he told me that he was working on a stand for the DA-1 which supposedly offers sonic improvements in comparison to the rubber feet that are standard on the DA-1.

Lou offered to send a pair of these stands to me to try out. How could I refuse such a generous offer??? A few weeks later, the stands arrived.

From a construction & cosmetic perspective, I would describe the stands as being "elegantly simple." They are a solid wood platform (beautifully finished, as expected,) with a female threaded receptacle near each corner of the stand's bottom. Threaded spikes and floor protectors were included. The fit & finish was very good.

Having nothing but praise for the DA-1's, I was a touch skeptical as to what I would hear by getting the speakers off of the floor & on these stands.

I also should add that I have recently started tinkering with isolation tweaks for my source & pre. However, isolating the speakers was really not being considered...that is until I put Lou's stands under my DA-1's.

Rather than right a formal review, I have copied excerpts from the email that I sent to Lou, after packing up the stands...

"Hi Lou:

Again, I thank you for the opportunity to evaluate the new stands. This was very productive and a lot of fun. Please feel free to use my ears any time that you need them, for any other projects in the future.

Ok, on to my take, regarding the stands…

I’ll start by stating that there absolutely is something to be said about vibration control. I just recently have started tinkering with the isolation tweaks for my electronics. Until spending time with your stands under my DA-1’s, such devices for my speakers were at the bottom of my list (if considered at all.)

It would only be right for me to again state how much I love my DA-1’s. However, getting them off of the (Pergo over concrete) floor and on your new platform/stands, brought just about everything to another sonic level (and that is without having time to play with placement.)

You will recall that in my quick blurb to you with my initial impressions of having my DA-1’s on the stands, I stated:

· “A cleaner sound-instruments (especially percussion/cymbals) are better defined as their own individual sound…thus far; this is what most impresses me!”

Follow-Up: Absolutely, all instruments were more clearly defined as the individual instruments that they are. Being a (crappy) drummer, my ears really tune into the percussion happenings. Hearing each drum, cymbal, chime, etc. stand out individually, really made the experience even more convincing as the “real deal.” I absolutely loved this!!!

· “Loss of a high freq. “etch” that I did not know was present, until it was missing.”

Follow-Up: You often hear us audio geeks talk about the layers that are between you and the music. Getting the speakers off of the floor was like a fresh bottle of Windex on dirty glass. That thin "film” that separated me from the music was gone. Again, I did not know that it existed, until it was gone. I cannot imagine getting any closer to the music without hiring a band to jam in my basement.

· “Bass is more refined and defined.”

Follow-Up: Not that I had any complaints before, but it just is better and a bit more musical. My original choice of descriptors remains as the most accurate…it is more “tuneful & textured.”

· “Better musical flow…I am not tasting each individual ingredient, but the great flavor of all ingredients blended together, making the great musical recipe. (did that make any sense?)”

Follow-Up: Wow, I must have been tired when I threw up that last description. What I was trying to say was “PRAT.” Good ‘ole pace, rhythm & timing. The recordings just sounded as though the band was playing “tighter”…better performance, more of that real “live” magic, MORE MUSICAL & REAL!

· The sound was bigger, fuller and richer. Because each instrument had a clearer individual definition, imaging was improved, as well.

· The “cleaner” presentation revealed more subtle nuances. An example of this was how I could now detect subtle changes in how tightly hi-hat cymbals were being compressed by the drummer’s foot pedal…very cool!

As we previously discussed, there is a known acoustic flaw in my listening room that is in the 50 Hz. region. The only noticeable draw back to using these stands (which in a way is a compliment) is that by “cleaning up” the sound & bringing in more accuracy, when on the stands, my room’s acoustic deficit is more pronounced at times. However, the pros far exceed the cons.

Now, the real kicker…over the past few weeks, my ears had grown accustomed to the sound of the DA-1’s on the stands. Yesterday, while preparing to pack up & ship out the stands, I placed the speakers back on the floor. I was astonished at how disappointed I was to hear the sound step down a notch with the speakers back on the floor. Overall the music sounded thinner, maybe even a little compressed. Though the DA-1’s do a good job at separating the different instruments, once they were back on the floor, in comparison, instruments seemed to sort of “blur’ together. That new level of magic was gone. Of course, this was going from listening for over an hour, with the speakers on the stands, back to the floor. I am curious to see what my impression of the speakers on the floor will be with fresh ears.

I am sure that I will not be disappointed, but now knowing how it actually can be a tad better, I’ll bet that I will feel that a little something is missing.

Quite a while ago, I reprogrammed my gray matter, to stop listening analytically and just enjoy the music. While trying my DA-1’s on your stands, I continued to do the same. The characteristics/improvements that I have described are only things that caught me off guard while enjoying my music.

Yeah Lou, we do need to talk about a pair of these for me!

Thanks again for the privilege of participating in this venture"

Perceived sonic improvements are tough to quantify. However, if I had to throw a number on it, I'd describe the sonic improvements that I perceived when using Lou's stands with MY system, to be approximately 10-15%.

At approximately $300.00 per pair, these stands are about 4.5% of the MSRP for a pair of Daedalus's DA-1 loudspeakers.

10-15% sonic improvements for a cost increase of do the math. With or without the stands, the DA-1's are a great speaker. The improvements that I perceived by using the stands further reveal how great the DA-1's are, and considering all that I have described above, in my opinion, the optional stands that are now (or soon to be) available form Daedalus Audio are a great value.


Associated gear
Electrocompaniet EMC-1 24/192 CDP
Aesthetix Calypso-Tube Pre
H2O Audio-Signature M250 Solid State Power Amps
Kubala-Sosna Cabling Throughout
Barrelchief, let me ask you a noob question: You orignally had the speaekrs on the floor, then on stands and you thought they sounded better. You think it was the stands. Could it have just been a change in listening position? How high up off the floor did the stands raise the speakers?
Barrelchief, great review. I have to say that it is hard to imagine the DA-1's getting that much better than what I'm hearing in my room--though I am interested now in what the stands might do. I was using the DA-1's with the rubber feet on my hardwood floors suspended over a basement and found that adding the Audiopoints made a considerable improvement. In fact, the improvements in my system are akin to what you have described with the stands. Since you went straight from the rubber feet to the stands, I'm not sure if what you got could have been obtained by the Audiopoints alone--I'll have to give the stands a try to see. I do know that Lou believes strongly that the stands take the DA-1's to a whole other level beyond what the Audiopoints provide.

Stands, points or rubber feet the DA-1's are really something special. It's nice to know that there are options open in the upgrade path and that Lou is constantly working on refining his speakers. Glad to hear that you are really digging what you are getting out of them--have fun!

Good question.

The stands raise the speakers approximately 3".

Wondering the same thing, I tinkered with my listening height, in relation to the speaker height and don't feel that the height changes contributed to the improvements. I feel that getting the speakers off of the floor on onto these platforms is what made the sonic improvements.

It has been nearly a week since my rig was powered-up. I will try to get in a good listening session this weekend. It will be interesting to see what I perceive with fresh ears. I'll file an update.
Hi guys.

I believe that I am the recipient of the DA-1 platforms that Barrelchief very throughly described.

As my room and equipment vary, I would like to add my impressions of the DA-1 platforms in my system.

My 18" x 23" room is on the bottom floor of a two story house with Berber carpet over concrete. The room has poured concrete on three walls and drywall on the other. The ceiling is not parallel to the floors and the walls aren't all parallel to each other. Many acoustic panels, both absorbers and diffusers line the front, back and side walls.

My take on the platforms are as follows.

First off, I put a thin layer of cork between the speaker and the platform. It is cut to the same shape as the speaker and is the coupler of choice by Mr. Daedalus, Lou Hinkley. The naked bottom of the speakers sat on the cork, which were not permanently affixed to the platforms. Getting all to line up perfectly was a bit of a fight.

Visually, the platforms complete the look of the speakers to me. I find them very complimentary to the look of the speakers.

Sonically, there is the perception of a bit deeper bass response, which I think has to do with a very small bit of bass resonance being gone. Bass response, already deep, tonally great, dynamic and great,(did I say that twice?) gets a bit better defined. I also feel like there is definitely better delineation of instruments in the soundfileld and that there is a bit more air in the whole presentation. The Harmonia Mundi recording of Handel's Water Musick (their spelling, not mine) is a good example of this. It's a great LP and presents a slightly wider and deeper soundstage with the platforms in use, with a natural orchestral presentation. Vocals, such as Patricia Barbers music, seem to pop out a bit more than without the platforms.

The differences are not night and day in my system, and in my room, but are a worthwhile addition, at a very reasonable cost, to an already superb pair of loudspeakers. I can imagine that in many rooms, they would indeed be indispensible.

Best to all.
Follow up...In talking to Lou after the stands shipped out (Hi Fig, glad they arrived safely.) I learned that I should have been auditioning the stands with the supplied sheets of cork, which I assumed were in the package as a layer of protection between the platforms during shipping.

Lou expressed that the improvements would have gone even further if I had removed the rubber feet and sandwiched the cork between the speakers and stands, as Fig described.

Though there was a communication gap that resulted in me not using the stands as designed, I was thrilled with the improvements that I noticed with the (improper) use of the stands. If using them with the layer of cork will "squeeze" out a little more, you won't hear me complaining.

As far as listening with fresh ears, the DA-1's sounded just as great as they ever did. Becuase I was not doing an a/b comparrison, I did not feel that there was anything missing. However, getting a taste of how much more the DA-1's can do, I will be ordering a set of stands from Daedalus.
I'm guessing one of the reasons you guys are hearing different levels of improvement with the stands has to do with the configuration and construction of your listening space. In my experience, component isolation becomes less important when your gear is set up in a room constructed largely from concrete. It becomes more critical when you are dealing with wood over subflooring or floor joists with a basement below and walls constructed from plaster over lathe or, even worse, wallboard. Having moved my system at least 8 times over the years I've come to appreciate how better construction yields better sound--particularly in the area of bass reproduction. This is why I often take various reviews with a grain of salt unless they discuss in detail their room dimensions and construction features. I once had my system in a former creamery--four foot thick cement walls and a poured concrete floor. Other than the size of the listening space, which was a bit small and too square, this space produced the most rock solid and articulate bass I've heard. To conclude, I'll bet the benefits of the stands are greater in lesser sounding rooms. Fig--your concrete walls and floor are great assets and therefore the stands matter less in your application. Barrelchief, can you share your room details to test my theory?

BTW, Fig I am with you--the bass on the DA-1's is out of sight. I just played Donald Fagen's LP Morph the Cat and man, it is something to behold!

My room is tucked in a little nook/corner of my basement.

WALLS-All walls were wood framed, insulated and sheetrocked as per my acoustic designer's plans. Three of the four walls have cynder block foundation behind the framed walls. Bass traps & acoustic treatments (reflection absorption)etc. are in place, as per spec.

FLOOR-Pergo over poured concrete with large wool area rug

CEILING-Custom Diffusion System is integegrated into the wood floor joists of the 1st floor.

There is a known acoustic flaw in my room, at approximately 50Hz. So, unfortunately, at this time, I cannot give great commentary on the bass region.

Approximate dimensions of the room are 14'W x 16'L x 7'H. It has been a while since I've looked at the plans or measured the room. These are just rough guestimates.

I too bought DF's Morph the Cat (CD) on the day it was released...nice works.
Well, that pretty much shoots my theory down. You and Fig seem to have very similar listening spaces. However, after reading and comparing the two reviews again it seems that you both found similar improvements and differ only on the question of magnitude. Perhaps you guys have different conceptions of what constitutes significant change wrought by a new component or tweak. So maybe my theory isn't so off the mark after all......same (similar) rooms, similar effects by introducing the stands. Nothing wrong with twisting the intelligence data to line up with your position--right?
Fig went from audio points to the stands and B. went from stock rubber feet to stands. i think that's the real reason the for the diff in magnitude.

the room issue is why i don't make spikes standard, sometimes they don't make a huge dif, so far though these stands have made a significant improvement in any room. i'm very pleased with them.

Hi guys.

Yes, Barrelchief's room is similar in construction, but smaller in volume which changes things. 18 x 23 x 8.5-9ft ceilings, as opposed to 14 x 16 x 7 is quite a bit different with respect to total volume. Everything else being equal, with the Da-1's this would probably make it easier to get perfect sound in my room than Barrelchief's given equal attention to acoustics, as we both have done. I'm lucky enough to not have obvious room induced bass humps, which is a very common listening room problem.

None the less, the speakers definitely benefit from the stands. While I didn't try the stands w/o the cork, knowing Lou the way I do, the cork is obviously an important part of the system. I did find Audiopoints, as opposed to the spikes that come with the speakers, to make the sound the best.

I am now going to listen to Morph The Cat, as once again, Donald Fagan has made the same thing sound different, interesting and great.

Lou...The speakers are great.