Review: Daedalus Audio Isolation Stand/Platform for DA-1
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...
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 4.5%...you 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.
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