what about an SRA CRAZ rack?
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It would seem reasonable to expect that the more one isolates components from vibration, the better. However, that is not always the case. To some extent, it is a matter of tuning the system to one's taste. I generally find that vibration control under amps and preamp/linestage to have a positive effect, though sometimes subtle. One tends to get a much more dramatic effect under a CD player. By the same token, it is even more likely that too much vibration control under a CD player will dry the sound out too much and make the system sound analytical and cold.
I would suggest getting only a few platforms at first and then experimenting to see where they will help the sound and where the effect is not salutary.
With all due respect to Larryi (whose experiences are his own and thus valid), I too thought that, based on what I believed was conventional wisdom, with isolation you start with the sources first (CDP, TT etc,). Seven years ago when my research led me to SRA, Kevin was adamant that I start with my amps (and at the time I thought he was nuts -now mind you he IS nuts but for other reasons - like he overbuilds EVERYTHING!).
Well, I listened to him and he was right. I started with the VR Series and then went to Ohio Class XL+ under my amps and they provided the most dramatic improvement.
I now am fully SRA-ed with Ohio Class under my amps, a CRAZ Rack and VR bases between the Rack and shelves for various components.
I have reviewed the VR and Ohio Class bases (when I was at Stereo Times) and recently reviewed the Craz Rack for Ultra Audio now that I am with Soundstage so I direct you there for my impressions. We all have our own tastes, preferences, needs and hearing acuity but for me, the SRA bases and Racks are built like tanks to exacting standards, are based on real science and, most importantly, DO NO HARM (which I couldn't say for everything else I tried - many of which did some very nice things but always with a price to pay somewhere else).
If I were you and if you can swing it, I'd put the Ohio Class under the amps and, as funds permit, VR everywhere else (or as one person suggested, a CRAZ for everything else - NOT the amps!). As suggested by Slowhand - talk to Kevin too - he'll be straight with you.
As Larryi correctly points out IMHO, it's really all about tuning our systems to our own tastes.
Juts my $.02 and, as always, YMMV
So you have VR on the CRAZ Rack? I've been wondering if that was necessary or if the CRAZ shelves were made of VR materials making it unnecessary. Can you specifically speak to the differences you noted between the Ohio Class and the VR under your amps? Since the amps seem to recieve the most benefit and you have had both under the amps, I'm really interested in your impressions.
I do plan to call Kevin but want to have some idea about what others have found, too.
I think you are using a Supratek preamp, which I will be too (my Sauvignon is due here friday), so I really appreciate your response.
Your logic of trying under various components with a few racks sounds logical, but I think the racks are relatively component specific. Certainly my 135lb amps would require a larger base than my pre or CD player.
I'm really on a 2k budget. Since I don't know the Ohio or CRAZ prices yet I don't know where that puts me, but I do think I could get 6 VRs for that amount of money, or maybe two Ohio Class for my amps and add the VR in the future.
The SRA platforms are very good. I don't know if they have changed the design so they can be adapted to be used with different components or whether each is custom designed to work with a specified component. In any event at the prices of many of these platforms it would be wise to demand response measurements and graphs, and avoid those who talk in vague terms about performance - not referring to SRA. For example, one manufacturer who shall go nameless gives nebulous information using pseudoscientific language about their expensive platforms which are sealed but contain nothing but blocks of compressed Sorbothane.
I am using the SRA Ohio Class isolation bases under my amp and the VR isolation bases under all the other components. I have been running this set-up for over two years now. During that time, I have used the Ohio Class bases under both tube amps (CAT JL-1 LE monoblocks) and solid state (darTZeel), and I have used the VR bases under a variety of front end components (turntable, transport, DAC, preamps). All I can say is that my experience squares perfectly with what Frank said above.
I think it's a great idea to start with the Ohio Class platforms under your amps and then to go forward with improving your rack and getting the VR bases once you recharge your budget.
Yes, I am using the Supratek Cortese preamp. The VR bases made a huge improvement in an already wonderful sounding preamp. The music has more impact and the space between instruments is more defined. Bass has a more solid feel and is more tuneful. The individual bass notes can be clearly heard even when the bass is further back in the mix. The music also flows better. I find that I can play music at low volume levels and still get the impact and feel of the music. I don't know the price of the Ohio class bases, but you could probably put VR bases under your entire system for the budget you have. Talk to Kevin at SRA, as he is a wealth of information. He will not steer you wrong.
I forgot to mention that the SRA bases are custom made for each piece of equipment. It is not a good idea to buy a used one that is not meant for your particular piece of gear. Kevin has a huge data base of equipment. he takes into account the size, weight, and weight distribution of each piece. The bases for my Cortese look exactly the same, but they have different weight to them. On the back of each iso base is a label stating the piece of equipment it was made for.
Yup, the SRA products are designed for components of specific weight, including a consideration of distribution of that weight. Still, one can get a rough idea about how additional dampening will affect particular components, by trying another component on a similar platform.
I have personally found such platforms useful for most components, particularly, my amplifiers (tube monoblocs). But, I have found that for some CD players, some platforms altered the sound too much (most well designed systems are, in a sense "tuned" so any drastic change is not going to be good). For example, when a dealer friend tried a Symposium Ultra platform under an Aero Capitole player, the sound became WAY too dry and analytical.
First, the CRAZ is not completely component specific like the VR or Ohio Class bases are. The isoPods under the shelves are customed designed for the weight of the components you are planning on putting on each shelf and can be replaced at no cost if you change components. The CRAZ, however, will not attenuate resonance/vibration quite as well as the VR or Ohio Class especially under the amps. My CRAZ was made so that I could use the VR bases with it if I wanted to, with the CRAZ addressing part of the frequency spectrum and the VR bases the other - but you do not have to use VR bases with a CRAZ.
All of that said, your budget will necessitate using the VR Series. This is no problem as they are incredibly effective in addressing vibration the proper way.
In MY system and experience, the Ohio Class bases basically just gave me 15-20% more of everything the VR series did. With SRA platforms - either VR or Ohio Class - you can expect the bass to get more defined but extend deeper and with increased harmonic richness, the mids to get clearer and more natural and the highs to extend higher but with less grain and glare. The other noticable effect is this feeling that you have just unleashed a retaining wall around your music - everything seems less "hi-fi" and more expansive but in a natural effortless way. As I said, these traits apply to both the VR and Ohio Class but you get a bit more with Ohio Class bases (e.g., even cleaner and deeper bass etc.). Since I type so slowly, I again refer you to the reviews which will give you more detail.
Hopefully this will help but call Kevin and get his input and don't forget to tell him I said he is NUTS (in a good sort of way!).
I have 2 Ohio Class XL+ for my monoblocks...I have a granite floor and thought that it was free from vibration..boy was I wrong...
Once they were installed, the sound just tightened up (bass was no longer loose and the rest began to focus better)...Sure there is residual boomyness in my set up, but this is due to the fact that my room is untreated.
If anything, go for the amps first, this way you can figure if you want to do the rest..
As Slowhand says, these units are built specific to your amps or other components..
I have not tried other isolation bases...but using HRS Nimbus (muddied the sound), ceramic cones kinda thin out the sound and Cardas blocks dont do anything much...
In fact, after putting these XL+ in, it showed up the weakness in my source...sound was not so alive as compared to before...
Hope this helps....
Larryi, your experience with an Ultra under an AA Cap begs further information, i.e., what electronics/speakers were downstream - not to mention what music was being played. In my system the results are a polar opposite to your observation. The sound is readily more articulate, yes, but the music is much more liquid and the soundstage is immediately larger and more transparent - certainly not dry and analytical. The AA Cap NEEDS to be isolated...IMO. Further, just as there is a greater tendency to achieve system synergy by employing components/cabling from the same manufacturer, there is a distinct advantage to using (in this example) devices from the same manufacturer; Rollerblocks and Ultra -or other - platform from Symposium. I would recommend that the next time you attend CES or RMAF you find the time to visit Symposium's room and arrange to hear an A/B session...WHOA, I won't go there...
Would have been wise to qualify that observation with a YMMV...
Thanks for your input. I've been talking with SRA and will definitely have to stay in the VR series but won't be able to do all the components at once because the prices are higher than I thought they would be. I'm not sure what component would cost only $350 as listed on their website, but none of my components are near that. So it looks like I'll have to start with a set of VRs for my amps for now and go from there, or look into some less expensive alternatives like Neuance or the like.
I thank everyone for their thoughts and as always appreciate the info.
I don't recall the specific associated electronics, but the system had Avantgarde Duos and tube electronics. The Ultras and roller balls worked well under everything, except the CDP. It's not that the system sounded bad, just leaned out the sound a touch too much. I think results are system specific and a matter of "tuning" the sound. It is BECAUSE these things are so effective and they do substantially alter the sound that results will vary substantially.
I personally use Ultra platforms and rollerballs under my amp and linestage. I also use Svelte Shelves under my speakers. With my current CDP (Naim CDS3), these devices help a little, but I actually cannot practically use them because there is not enough room in my rack (the player is a top loader).
I have seen the Symposium demonstration at a dealer and at CES. It is quite impressive.
Sorry for my lack of computer lingo, but there are two computer lingo terms that I don't know what they mean so a little shred of knowledge please. What is YMMV as mentioned above, and PRaT in relation to digital sources (pace, rhythm and transpearancy has been my assumption but I may be way off the mark)?
YMMV - your mileage may vary. In other words, or IOW (LOL - you must know that one...hah), there are very few, if any, absolutes...witness the difference in listening experience between Larry and I. Neither of us is wrong. This may be one of the most enjoyable aspects of this "hobby." Taking the time to critically listen to the additions/deletions in our systems forces us to reassess our efforts but in the end it is still about sitting down and reinvigorating our psyches through music.
I have twin Craz plus racks and a pair of Ohio Class XL plus2 isoBASES for my amps. This was way more money than I ever believed I would spend to support and isolate my components, but these SRA products and my dedicated AV electrical circuit system are the best money I have ever spent on audio and video. Other components may come and go in my system, but these are here to stay.
I researched audio isolation platforms from January to May last year. In the course of that research, I not only combed through the available threads here on audiogon and manufacturers' websites, but I spoke by phone with the manufacturers on my resulting short list. I also talked to some of my engineer and physics professor friends for help on who really knew what they were talking about.
It became apparent to me that Kevin Tellekamp knew more about audio isolation than all of the others combined. Besides that, he is a total perfectionist and a really great guy.
SRA is at the top of the food chain of audio component isolation. For sure, there are less expensive alternatives to SRA. I have not heard any of the SRA products other than the Craz plus racks and the Ohio Class XL plus isoBASES. However, personally I would prefer an entry level SRA product over any of the competition because I trust Kevin's science and art and I trust Kevin's character.
If you can swing the VR series over the Tremorless series of isoBASES, I would recommend that you do so because SRA's component specific platforms like the Ohio and VR classes are significantly better than the nonspecific platforms like the tremorless isoBASES.
Some SRA products are upgradable to support a variety of components and some are not. SRA products with the squared option are upgradeable. This includes the Ohio Class XL plus2 and the Craz racks. I don't know whether it includes the VR class, but you should ask Kevin.
It appears to me that you have reached the point in your research at which you should speak directly with Kevin Tellekamp if you have not already done so. Whatever you finally decide, I guarantee that you will be happy that you spoke directly with Kevin.
By now you can see that I agree with most of the comments made by others on this thread who have SRA products.
Best wishes for satisfaction in your component isolation search.
You have an excellent system, and I'd be interested in your comments on the Zyx Universe. I must tell you, I swallowed hard when pulling the trigger on the Craz Twins as we refer to them. But the sonic and artistic results are worth every penny. Wife and her friends love the look. I love the sound and the clean organization of the gear.
Also easing the burden on the cost was the realization that I can and will keep the Twins for the rest of my life and probably pass them on to my kids, a fairly unique statement about audio gear in my experience.
I haven't heard the Zyx Universe in it's final state yet but it's fabulous - very resolving, tonally accurate, great detail and neuance
can't wait to place it in my new triplanar vii arm
I hear it plays well on the graham as well
Mehran of Sora Sounds is great to deal with and found me a lightly used one
I have a galibier table coming next month - then the analog front end will be complete
you have a great wife for her to understand your 'isolation' quest considering the mega$
I still kick myself - I saw a craz 8 rack here on agon for $4k used back in the fall - wonder if he ever sold it
I could spring for a craz rack a little way down the road
single divorced so my only big itmes are kids tuition (gotta love State schools) and audio habit
I'm looking at a Moscode 401 hr amp next
read somewhere on agon of a guy who upgraded his whole system from 20 years ago and his most significant upgrade from a sound improvement end was the craz rack
peaked my curiosity
found the post
it was your's ed
The Silent Running Audio Craz rack costs more than $5,000 but INMO is the best high performance audio rack on the planet. I have upgraded my entire system during the past year, and after my speaker upgrade from my 20-year old Thiel 3.0s to Wilson Sophias and speaker cable upgrade from 16-year old MIT Shotgun to Transparent Ultra MM, the Craz rack made the biggest difference in my system -- bigger than upgrading my amps from ML 20.5s to Lamm M1.2s, my preamp from ML 28 to Ayre K-1xe, CD player from 16-year old Esoteric and Theta to Ayre C-5xe.
And you won't find a nicer or more knowledgeable guy to deal with than Kevin Tellekamp.
That's pretty funny. It remains true. The combination of SRA resonance isolation and a dedicated AV circuit system separate from the rest of the house beginning at the meter gives each component the ability to perform as well as it can. I also suspect that there may be a greater difference with well-designed but less expensive components because a lot of what you get as you go up the cost scale in high end is better isolation within the component and better power supplies.
That said, I'm still amazed at the difference cables can make even in my system.
I recently bought a cable cooker and have just gotten around to cooking my power cables. The difference is not quite as great as with signal cables, but it is still immediately noticeable. Not sure why cooking power cables improves the sound of the system, but it definitely has.
My room is pretty good acoustically, I have not addressed room acoustic treatments yet. Acoustics is such a black and difficult to predict art, I hesitate to address it at all.
OEM - I have four VR series platforms
turntable, cd player, amp, preamp
the change was dramatic, my jaw was on the floor
can't even imagine what the Ohio sounds like
start with one component if you like
It took all the stress and slight lack of resolve out of my cd player (audio aero prima) to where I no longer was looking for an upgrade, and did cumulative wonders with my moscode and dodd (amp and preamp)
you might start there
those that have ohio grade - would like to hear your comments
Sorry, this is a bit off topic: does any of you know the TAOC soundboards? I'm using two of them under my CD transport and DAC and I must say that they don't muddy or thin out the sound but bring along real improvements (more transparency, tighter bass and greater presence). They are quite affordable too, unlike the SRA Ohio XL bases.
I absolutely love the look of the Craz racks (the double wide is what I'd like to have) but they are out of my price range. Does anyone know of any racks with similar good looks and reasonable sonic performance but at more modest price points? It's the wood frame that I like as my system is in our living room.