I was first introduced to Neuance isolation platforms, www.neuanceaudio.com
, from by my Audiogon friend Redkiwi. He has spent years testing shelving materials and rack systems. He was the first to introduce me to the "light rigid theory." Light rigid steel racks, NO SAND/SHOT FILL spiked firmly to the floor with a light rigid, well-dampened shelf, supported on upturned spikes. Redkiwi tested most of the materials possible for shelving including MDF, butcher block, Corrian, glass and stone. It was the discovery of the Neuance shelf that was the true breakthrough in the realization of the light/rigid/dampened notion. The old theory of mass loading either the rack or the component was adding energy storage, and therefore smears and lowers the resonant frequency. The light/rigid/dampened philosophy provides less smearing, by that giving better PRAT and resolution.
Ken Lyons of Greater Ranges discovered Neuance quite by accident. It has an extremely hard, rigid, thin and lightweight shell made from ceramic laminate. The core is a rigid foam board subjected to a controlled pressurization to create a low mass core of variable density that has very little energy storage. This allows the shelf to react to a large spectrum of vibration frequencies. This is the only shelf produce I am aware of that can control such a large spectrum of vibration, without influencing the signal with its own dispersion of energy.
They designed Neuance and sounded it using the Mana rack system. Mana is a light rigid rack with complete isolation designed as part of the system. Ken Lyons researched several rack systems. He found the Apollo Aria model 455 rack from May Audio Marketing 716-283-4434 to provide most of the benefits of the Mana system, but for a fraction of the cost. This is a light rigid steel sectional rack that is easy to use and can be configured to allow for as many shelves as wanted. Each tower starts with a base unit that spikes to the floor and additional shelf sections as needed. Each shelf section has four upturned steel spikes to support the shelf itself. The Apollo and Neuance are the cornerstones of my equipment support.
Effects of the Apollo/Neuance combination are quite noticeable. The signal is fast and articulate with a reduction of distortion, but somehow providing more tonal color. The leading edge of each note appears more defined with the proper amount of attack and pace. I notice better transparency, extension, dynamics and detail. Sound is stunningly open throughout the spectrum, but perhaps the most striking feature is that treble details are just absolutely fabulous, with no hint of smearing, glare or grit. Neuance simply highlights my system allowing me to hear my components for what they are. In my case they allow the tonal neutrality of my components to voice correctly without adding artificial color or bloom. Do not expect the Neuance to blow you away. Using it just seems to subtract subtle noise from the music. It does not add romantic qualities, as many vibration control devices do. Artificially warm or euphoric qualities added to the music often sound great when first heard, but over time the smear and bloom will get old.
When we use a Neuance shelf for the first time, the sound is quite warm and woolly, but the sound clears up after a few days. Allowing the shelf and component to settle in for up to a week is extremely important before we make any adjustments. For whatever the reasons, the Neuance takes time for the core to settle to the load.
If its found "tuning" the sound is necessary, playing with footers is the best way. Understand this will be adding resonance and smearing that will emphasize or de-emphasize certain parts of the spectrum - the result being a loss of PRAT and resolution. So be discriminate with the footers used. Redkiwi recommended E-A-R feet feeling they will "reduce distortion and add warmth and fullness to the sound, without any loss of detail or speed." He found E-A-R to be "evenhanded and better than any stock rubber feet, and more neutral than Vibrapods." I have taken that advice and found the E-A-R to provide a rightness to the sound with immediacy, openness and a warm liquid smoothness without upsetting PRAT and resolution. I have found some components do not react as well to E-A-R as others. In some instances the pace seems to slow and the sound becomes thick. For example I have found the factory feet on the Sony SCD-1proform better than any footer I have tried. With my Plinius SA-102 amps I am using Orchard Bay titanium cones and titanium pucks. These are extremely liquid and detailed and literally build on the merits of the Neuance. This is very unusual to find cones that improve the Neuance performance. I have tried several cones and footers with the Neuance, only the E-A-R and OB titanium have been successful. "Tuning" requires trial and error with your particular system, remembering again to let the shelf settle after we make a change.
One issue with Neuance shelves is that the heavier the component, the more they enhance unwanted warmth that creeps into the lower mid and upper bass. Consequently Neuance makes two products, an alpha (for light components) and a beta (for moderately heavy components). I hope Ken is still working on a shelf for very heavy components. At any rate, be sure to get the right grade shelf for the weight of the component to avoid any coloration.Associated gear
Sony SCD-1 SACD player
Placette active pre-amp
two Plinius SA-102 amps
Dunlavy IVa speakers
Nordost Valhalla interconnects and speaker wire
NBS power cordsSimilar products