Review Stillpoints Ultra Mini

"Tougher than the rest"

In the world of resonance dampers there are more than enough to choose from these days. In the 16 years that I am in audio I owned and tested different 'vibration' controlers. This is how I like them to call.

They all do 'something' but at the end the outcome is different depending on which 'tool' ( I think in tools; amp, source, speaker, conditiner, cables etc.) you put them under. They even can work against you.

At shows I have auditioned different Stillpoints several times. And I auditioned them at clients and old colleagues who own them.

It was Always obvious and clear that they were effective.

These days my focus is only on the best 'tools' on the market. I work with less brands and 'tools' than in the past. This gives me a superior endresult than what I could achieve in the past with more different 'tools'

Audio is in my opinion all about creating the best sound possible. The best quality Always wins and sells best ( in how I create sound).

I was looking for 4 small vibration controlers under my streamer. I wanted them to be small and good looking. As a perfectionist it needs to look good. Or I even will not be interested.

When you get the Ultra mini's out of the box they get your attention directly. Mannnn...they look áwesome. I got a big smile on my face even before I did audition them. Even the way they feel you know you got a 'unique'tool.

But the question is; what do they do to the sound?

Since 2007 my focus is only on 3 dimensional sound. I only sell tools which all can give a wide and deep stage. Within this stage instruments and voices need to be intimate and have the right proportion as in real.

Every system and tool I Judge from what I call 'TOTAL SOUND'
This is like a 'blueprint' for the absolute sound.

Regarding soundrealism the Ultra mini's made the sound even more involving than it already did. The mid freq. became more reaslistic. The high freq. were more open but sounded less harsh. The reason is that there is more authorithy. This gives you more grip and control over the mid and high freq.

3D stage; Stillpoints make your stage wider and deeper. I put a lot of effort and research to find the best cables in the world to create the best 3D and intimate stage possible. This part gets to an even higher level than without the use of them. When you hear to music you already heard for many hundreds of times, you know in a split second how much bigger the stage is. Instruments and voices become more what I call round.

Individual focus of instruments has become a lot sharper. It also gives you a more intimate feeling of the stage. I was surprised that instruments and voices could become that more apparent than they already where.

Blacks, here you win a lot. These days I choose those cables who also can give the best blacks possible. During small acoustic recordings you hear how much the blacks increased. I never heard these kind of recordings this intimate.

timing/speed; I never thought that they would work in this area so much better. It looks if the music is played faster. The control in the low freq. are stunning. Drums sound what I call 'shorter'

Resolution; this was the first part that got my attention when I listend to the first song. I could not imagine that the Ultra mini's could give you this more resolution. You hear many 'new'details you never heard before. There is also a lot more decay in the left and right corners behind the speakers.

Air; there is a lot more air around voices and instruments. They become more physical and touchable.

Freq. response; The low freq. are played faster and more controlled. But.....they even go deeper with the mini's. The high freq. sound a lot more open as well.

articulation of voices; this part got my attention when I started using professional acoustic measurments. The effort I already put in this part got to an even higher level than before. For example; 'Long Gone Before Daylight'from the Cardigans. The voice of Nina Persson during this number has become more clear than ever. She is playing with the volume of her voice. This makes this song a lot more emotional because her voice is so much more clear.

Hights; you can hear the differences in hights of recordings more easy and clear.

Compared to all 'vibration'controllers I owned and tested they are far superior. There is even no one what comes even close. It improves all parts for what I call 'Total Sound'

For the endresults it is one of the best bargains I ever auditioned in 16 years of time. I am a fool that I did not buy them earlier.

Just try them, and I can't imagine that you bring them back!

The review is about the Ultra mini. I wrote an email to Audiogon to change the title.

Next week I will receive the Ultra SS as well. I will write a review later about them.
If you like the Stillpoints, you need to try the Starsound Apprentice platform. Costs less, and gives amazing results. One reviewer already compared it directly to the Stillpoints, and the Apprentice won.
I know that you are interested in the best result, so you should try it.
Thanks Roxy, I personal do not like the looks. But there are enough people who doesn't care about this.
I will receive next week a set Ultra SS for my speakers. I will write a review about it as well.
I thought that you would say that. Do you really think that it is worth sacrificing performance for aesthetics? Of course I can understand if the support looked like 4 dented soup cans or the like.
For me it is a pre. As a perfectionist who even let his trousers make in italy as I have them in mind.

I have everything in my head before I buy it. It needs to be exact as I have in mind.

Beside me I know more people who like good looks of audio.

But what I do is that I will give a link about it to some distributers overhere.

Thanks for the information.
"For me it is a pre."
Do you mean for you it is a prerequisite?
In any case, I appreciate audio jewelry as much as the next guy, but not enough to pay the prices that they charge for performance that is the same or even not as good.
Bol1972, are you a Stillpoints dealer, or plan to be one in the future? If yes, you should add a disclaimer to this thread.
As far as I'm concerned most audio components are ugly and industrial looking. I don't find stillpoint supports attractive either.
I agree with you somewhat. Not too many audio pieces or accessories are beautiful, but if they are designed well for their intended purpose, without superfluous doo-dads just for effect, they can have their own utilitarian beauty. The particular platforms I am speaking of are pretty innocuous, and I agree, there is nothing all that great about the Stillpoints.
I thought it was very contradictory to Bol1972's oft stated philosophy of only using what gives the best result.
Suddenly, he's an interior designer...not that there's anything wrong with it.
I choose for the small Ultra mini's. I will even spray them black soon. I will make some pictures.

I also do not want the bigger ones under my amp and pre amp.

I will use the Ultra SS under my speakers. I will make some pictures as well.

I said some things how I see it. Clients can be different.

We also make our own furniture, we also like good looks!

Audio is a free world, that is a good thing :)
Bo1972, I have raved about the StillPoints Ultras since the SSs first came out and then the Fives and now the Minis. Under speakers there is no question that the Fives are best, especially if you can get four in contact with your speakers. This is also the case under amps. I use two StillPoints Component stands which allow you to get all four in contact with the bottom of the amps.

The major concern with the Minis is as StillPoints says shock. You can break the ceramic balls that make them work. So if you have help with a heavy preamp, you can probably use them. Remember that you can adjust four to get all in contact with the component. If not, use the SSs. I've had mixed results with the Fives under preamps, dacs, and other source components.

But audio isn't easy. Star Sound Technologies has a platform, the Apprentice, that rivals the StillPoints Ultras and sounds quite different. I've had several instances in my system where I either had to really use the Star Sounds or preferred them. I think there is little question that they sound faster than the Stillpoints, but their sound stages is quite different than the Stillpoints. I will leave that to your tastes. Both products put to shame other isolation and coupling devices. I've got boxes and boxes of rejects.

Oh, and do not spray them. For one thing the spray may get on the ceramic balls and ruin their benefits. Second polish them into a mirror finish. I have yet to attempt this on the Minis but on the SSs and Fives, I got amazing results. I did not discover this, Tripoint did and told me to do it.
I use 4 for a streamer of 7 kilo. I read about spraying them. I will not do it. Thanks for the information.

Next week I will receive the Ultra's. I will use these for my speakers.

It is a lot of fun to compare sound with the Stillpoints.

How do I know if the ceramic balls are broken?
Bo1972, I have no idea how you would know other than sounding different. I would suggest emailing Stillpoints to ask. I have always been careful so, I'm not worried about any of mine.

What Ultras are you getting-the SSs or the Fives?

When I first got the Ultra SSs, everything else sounded broken. The Star Sound pieces, however, are a different sound and also have been a sonic enhancement.
I will get the SS, the Fives are too big. I find these f...ugly. Not even for free I want them under my speakers.

What I said before: personal the looks are very important for me as well. I want it to be subtle.
Regarding appearance, with components on the Apprentice I'd say 90% of the platform is hidden from view(about all you can see are the brass cones). As Tbg noted they are exceptionally effective.
Bo1972, with black piano finish on the Tidals and the BMC Arcadias, the Fives look great and the SSs diminutive. I guess with wooden speakers the stainless steel would look funny whether it was the SSs or the Fives.

You don't ever want to hear any of the High Fidelity Cables. You might love them but reject having silver wires going everywhere.
I have quite small speakers. I will make some pictures and I will send a link when I have them.

I love silver. At this moment I am listening to my new Wel Signature inerconnect. It is one of the most impressive improvements I have ever auditioned.

Compared to the new Wild Blue Yonder the differences are huge. I did not expect this. In sound so much more musical. The differences in Heights are extreme Obvious.

Voices have more air around them. It is almost listening in a trance to voices.

Review in a few weeks.....mannnn I love silver. I will explain why silver in the world of highend is essential!!
Bol1972, try polishing your SSs. It is a real pain to do the Minis.

Go to StereoTimes and find the only Norm. That is one of my emails.
Thanks, I will try. I will keep informing you about the outcome and tests with the Stillpoints.

I have Ultra SS under all my components and speakers. A few weeks ago I substituted Ultra Minis for the SS under my DAC.

Dynamics flattened a bit with the Minis - how obvious this was surprised me. Music was just less impactful. Micro-dynamics weren't on par with the Ultra SS either.

Space took a hit too. The soundstage just wasn't as large, as wide, or as well-defined.

There was also what struck me as a whitening or drying out of the sound. This was the result of color saturation being reduced with the Minis.

The differences between the two weren't that large in the scheme of things and might not be as meaningful in systems that don't use Ultra technology throughout. Better to have Minis everywhere then to toss SS at just a few components.

In my situation though, this comparison confirmed for me that I made the right choice to go with the Ultra SS.
The fun thing about audio is that the outcome in other situations can be totally differend.

In my situation all parts got better. But I have to admit that I Always do a lot of research before a tool will be fitted into my system.

In my opinion Stillpoints can increase all the good parts you already created in your system.

I am looking forward what the Ultra SS will do under my speakers. I will write a review about the Ultra SS later.
Bo1972, I wouldn't bother with the review. Most of us have tried them already and many have gone on to the Ultra Fives.

Kennyb, yours was a very interesting post. I have done this only once. This was on a StillPoints Rack with their Grids instead of shelves. I removed the SSs from under a cd player and substituded Ultra Minis. Because the SSs often lock up as you tighten them to assure that all four are in contact, I suspect that the Minis, which were the victor in this instance, were the result of them not locking up.

I have always found four Ultra are much better than three.
I prefer 4 to make it more stable. The benefit that it also gives a better result is a nice bonus.
Agree that 4 are better than 3. Once I pulled the 3 from under my phono stage and used these to get to 4 under DAC, preamp, and amp. Nice bump in performance.

Getting to 4 under everything will come after I address a few things first. I still have the older cones under my power strip (Quantum QBase). Replacing these with Ultra SS will be a nice upgrade, as I've heard this already. Also still have cones under my turntable used in conjunction with a Vibraplane.

The reason I swapped the Minis for the SS under my DAC as some friends wanted advice on whether to stretch for SS. After that, the Minis went in between the head and base section of my Aerial 10T speakers, replacing cones. HUGE upgrade. The speaker bases each sit on 4 Ultras SS.
Next week In will place the Ultra SS under my speakers as well. After this I will put them also under my PLW-15 subwoofer.

I Always do it in parts, because I need the information it gives to me.
Hey, Bo1972:

Did you "place the Ultra SS under".....your "speakers"?

If you did, while doing so, were you wearing your: "trousers make in italy"?

How 'bout it, did you: " the looks"?
On the matter of ephemera, in manliness as in audio:

“There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself, 'Do trousers matter?'"
"The mood will pass, sir.”

P.G. Wodehouse, The Code of the Woosters
This pertains to the Ultra SSs, but I thought it might be of interest.

In '09, I took a pair of LSA1 Statements to my home in New Mexico with some nice stands and six OEM Stillpoints feet for between them and the stands. I never was told that they needed to be unlocked. Last year I sent these speakers to have Urushi cap installed. In just put them in place five days ago and really didn't like what I heard, but thought the long unused electronics, new caps in the speakers, and high sensitive HFC cables must need breakin.

Today I noticed the similarity between the OEM feet and the aluminum version of the Ultra SSs. I thought that perhaps the hard hats needed to be unlocked and sure enough they were all tight! It made a big difference, but I them remember how awful the Ultra ALs sounded. Having six SP Ultra SSs handy, I replaced those under the speakers. Wow! It really is hard for me to believe how much impact vibrations can have on ones system.
I will receive the Ultra SS this Wednesday. I will place them under my speakers and subwoofer.

I will write a review in about 1-2 weeks.