It's not your ears, most tweeks simply don't work. They're just a ripoff.
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I have the Ultras under my Elecrocompanient Nemo amps driving the low frequency,below 180Hz,of the German Physics Loreleys.BIG improvement.I have the aluminum Ultras under the YBA Passion 1000 monos,driving the higher frequencies no noticeable improvement.As to Polk comment about tweeks I was big skeptic myself,however I was proven wrong.Vibration isolation has significant impact on the sound.
Isolation can be really hit or miss in any given application. Different iterations make real differences in my setup. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not, and in each case pretty unmistakeable albeit pretty subjective as to positive vs negative. (I've got various options that I have been shuffleing about). The SS Ultras made a real difference under my speakers, and one that I preferred enough to keep them. If they're -- to you ears in your system -- not worth the $$, then consider yourself lucky and move on. There are most definitely cheaper options. And especially moving from, as you did, a fundamentally similar solution to a marginally different iteration of the same isolation solution for the same shop, incremental differences maybe shouldn't be all that surprising. To hear you describe it, though, you heard a measurable improvement. Whether that's worth the coin at the vanishing end of diminishing returns....that's up to you and no one else.
I just inserted Stillpoint Ultras into my system. Amazing effect right away, and not one that I expected....stage depth and holography increased by a factor of 2-3, stage width also improved although not as drastically as depth in front of and behind speakers. Micro detail easier to hear as well....instruments and cues have better separation and sense of being in a distinct location. My Maggies aren't the best at imaging, but the Ultras have definitely increased imaging ability. I put three Ultra SS with Bases under my Clearaudio Innovation Wood turntable (replaced spikes and screwed the Ultras into the actual pod threads)...large stainless steel bases sit firmly on a Symposium Ultra platform which sits on top a Quadraspire rack. Nice thing is the Ultra SS look custom sitting under the table -- adds to the beauty of the table and fits right in. The other Ultras (aluminum) went under my CJ 350 Amp...it quieted things down and had a relaxing ease introduced to the sound. Next up, 4 ultras under my Modwright 5400es. Under the turntable, these things are like making my unsuspended Clearaudio a suspended turntable...I can thunk the platform with my finger/hand and now the vibration is absorbed into the Stillpoints. A definite keeper.
Just as big an improvement with Aluminum Ultras underneath my Modwright 5400es sacd/cd player. Better space, lower noise floor, better articulation of each note especially bass. More holographic. Same effect as Ultra SS had on Clearaudio Innovation table. Stuff floats in space with better front-back staging, and is better defined in that space. Very good effect.
I had my Krell SACD player on top of a Stillpoints component stand, with the Delrin footers that come with the stand.
I replaced the top footers with the Ultra ALs and immediately and undeniably heard a big difference, along the lines described by Podeschi.
Now here's the strange thing. I then replaced the bottom Delrin footer with the older Stillpoints cones, and the sound got even better. However, I had one extra Ultra AL, so I replaced one cone with it - and I could hear an improvement. So I went ahead and bought more Ultras, and now I have the Krell sitting directly on 3 Ultra ALs screwed to the component stand, which is then supported by another 3 Ultras.
Amazing sound. Once you hear what it does to the front end, there's no going back. Beautifully resolved textures, no harshness or sibilance, and wonderful airy soundstage.
Wondering if the Ultra SS would improve things even more?...
Glaucon is smart. In a similar vein, I put four aluminum ultras under my Modwright 5400es, but then added a 5th ultra SS under the transport area....it added to the goodness...more solid imaging with more palpable bass all the way around. Best to experiment and add stuff to the equation. More is better in this regard.
Podeschi, do you have the Ultras pointing up or down? Are they directly in contact with the component or shelf, or are you screwing them into risers? I've done a little experimenting, and I find they work best pointing down, and screwed into the component stands.
Also, are the SS Ultras significantly better than the AL Ultras?
Glaucon, yes the Ultra SSs are better than the AL versions. I directly compared them. You would never consider buying the AL once you heard the SSs, unless your supper would not exist were you to buy the SSs. The SSs obsolete all prior isolation. The ALs do not.
But the SSs now are obsoleted again by StillPoints. The Ultra Fives are hideously expenses at $650 each! But under a $10k turn table they allow it to sound like a $40,000 turntable. In fact I have heard a $150,000 turntable that was very good but nowhere near what I heard with them under my tt.
I tried it both ways -- actually bought the inserts to match threads on Sony 5400 and CJ amp. First screwed in (with a gap between bottom of Stillpoint and bottom of Sony) with tophat facing down sitting on Symposium shelf. Then reversed them and placed the tophats directly underneath the CJ and Modwright, but deeper inside from where stock footers sit. I found this to sound better. Spoke to Stillpoints customer service and they confirmed sometimes it does sound better to have stillpoints sitting hardhat up under critical areas of the component (e.g.., where power supplies are). So on Modwright 5400 I have 4 Stillpoints Ultra AL sitting hardhat up directly coupled to chassis. Fifth SS Ultra sounds better with fat base under transport area and hardhat sitting on symposium shelf. For my Clearaudio Innovation Wood table, I screwed the Stillpoint Ultra SS fat base side into the table, smaller end of ultra into the optional base, which sits on symposium Ultra shelf. I'm so impressed I plan on buying the Ultra 5s for the turntable, and will move the Ultra SS under some Magico speakers I plan on buying. Cheers
Podeschi, you will be awed by the Ultra Fives under the turntable. I must say that four or clearly better than three if you make certain that all four are engaged with the component. I had the advantage of having those under the tt screwed into a StillPoints Component stand. Since there are no height adjustments on the Ultra Fives, you need a flat bottom to your tt.
I have heard that the Ultra Fives are clearly better than the Magico QPods even under Magico speakers.
I use the Stillpoint Ultra Stainless Steel (SS) under my speakers--Sonics Amerigos. They have been a huge improvement across all the usual dimensions--sound stage, bass, overall tone, etc. My listening room is carpeted and that has always posed a problem. But with the Stillpoints it has totally negated it that issue. It was a great investment.
However, for the rest of my system I decided to try Spiral Groove's Strange Attractors. These are (somewhat) more cost effective and I so I started out with using a set under my phono stage (Herron VSTPH-2). Again, another great bump up in my systems' performance.
Since then I've added the Strange Attractors to the rest of my system--under my line stage, amp and Finite Elemente rack. Again, each time I noticed a very nice improvement, especially when I put them under the rack. (I'm not using them under my table--Spiral Groove SG-1--as that has its own custom feet.)
Now, I feel like I'm really hearing my system at its best. It's really pretty incredible. (And I thought I was happy before going down this path.)
So, I am definitely a believer in "vibration control" or whatever you want to call it. Obviously, I haven't tried everything but I give two huge thumbs up to both the Stillpoints and the Strange Attractors.
Jpan, have thought about trying a set of the strange attractors on your speakers in place of the stillpoint ss ultra? It is my understanding that spiral groove makes ones for speakers that will take the speakers to another level. I am trying get my dealer to get me a demo set for my speakers, B&W 802D. I am also on carpet and using the spikes that come with the speakers.
Hifial...When I first started down this road my priority was the speakers. At the time, I don't believe the Strange Attractors were available. As it turned out the Stillpoints did such a fantastic job and I didn't think twice about it.
It was only after I decided to tackle the rest of my system that the Strange Attractors appeared on the market (or, at least, that's when I became aware of them). And, as I've said, since the Attractors were (much) more cost-effective I gave them a shot, starting with my phono stage. They turned out to work really (sort of amazingly) well.
I would say, in my experience, the performance of each is very similar. And, from what I understand about their design and materials they operate under the similar principles.
So, I would definitely give the Strange Attractors a try with your B&Ws. I'd be interested to hear your impressions.
Just a thought, but can't you go through an online retailer to try them out? I know you probably have some loyalty to your local dealer, but if they can't accommodate you then maybe you could find an alternative.
Either way, I am going to guess that once you try them, you'll be a convert.
Again, I was really very, very pleased with both. I'm not saying one is better than the other. They're both great--and we're lucky to have options in this area.
Jpan, given your recommendation, I looked up the Strange Attractors. I understand how the StillPoint Ultras work, but I must say I don't have much of an understanding of how the Strange Attractors work. They say the resonant energy is "refract, dissipate, and reflect the vibrations off a sequence of boundaries." I know manufacturers have to have proprietary secrets but this is too vague. They also show a black cone which would seem to go into the aluminum top housing. The cone would seem to be a composite material.
Can you tell us more about where you compared the Strange Attractors with the StillPoints Ultras and what the shelves were under both?
Tbg, Sure...but just to be clear I didn't do a direct comparison. It is more of an inference based on my investigation and listening impressions. Everything was done at my home with my system.
First, I started with my speakers because this had always been an area I had wanted to improve since I knew I was losing something b/c of the carpet. I read a review of the Stillpoint Ultras and from what I learned about them they appeared to be a good option. After I received them it took about half-way through the first song I played to realize these were very special.
Then, after some time had passed (6 months or so), I decided that I wanted to look at additional components to treat, starting with my phono stage. And, that's when I learned about the Strange Attractors. I think I got a mini-catalog from Music Direct and saw them in there (I remember the red color, which was striking). The description--at least to me--sounded a lot like the Stillpoints. I liked the price point and decide to order a set.
As it turned out, I had a very similar experience in terms of overall performance with the Attractors that I had had with the Stillpoints.
At that juncture, I didn't feel like I needed to go through the added expense of the Stillpoints, so I stuck with the Attractors. Then, I moved on to the rest my components--line and amp.
Finally, I finished with adding the Attractors with the threaded screws for my rack/shelves, which is the Finite Elemente Pagode Signature. This was pretty critical because, again, the rack sits on carpet. The result, another nice, big improvement. And that lines up with what I had read about these treatments--they do appear to be cumulative. But, getting that rack off the carpet was really crucial to me. I knew I was losing a lot of energy using the basic spikes that came with the rack.
So, my inference between the two is based on using the Stillpoints for my speakers and the Attractors for my rack. Both are sitting on carpet and in both cases it's as if there's nothing there at all. I mean I have really, truly, been blown away by these products.
If I did it all over again, sure, I'd love to A-B the Stillpoints and the Attractors under my speakers. But, my guess is that there wouldn't be a whole lot of difference either way.
Sorry if this was a long-winded answer. It's been a long day.
If you have more questions or want me to focus on something more specific, just shout it out. I'll do my best to give you my impressions. I've learned a lot from the Audigon community and I'm happy to help others through my experience.
Tbg...from the Music Direct web site for the Strange Attractors:
"In fact, Strange Attractors act very similarly to a diode, which allows energy to only pass one way and not return. Strange Attractors remove both internal and external sources of vibration, hold your components very, very still, allowing your components to finally deliver all the music in your recordings. The effect is absolutely stunning..."
There's more on the web page. Just wondering if that answers your question from a technical perspective.
Jpan, your's is probably a more common path to assessing the benefits of isolation feet than mine. Initially, I had no interest in the original StillPoints and learned that the new Ultras were quite different. Then I had the chance to hear speakers with and without them under them. I bought eight. These were the Ultra SSs. I removed the spikes from my speakers and screwed on the StillPoints. I was really in disbelief about the improvement. Gradually, I got more and more of the Ultra SSs and each and everywhere I put them, I got a great improvement. Ultimate I had 32 of them! Yes, this represents a lot of money but together they gave me more improvement than even a $100,000 amp would give. I concluded that after listening to the Ultra SSs that no other isolation device was anything but a toy. I literally have boxes of other devices that no longer have any value to me.
Then came the Ultra Fives. Are they five times better for having five of the "technology" units versus one for the Ultra SSs? That is really hard to say, but if you were ever to hear them under your speakers where you previously had the Ultra SSs, you would do whatever you had to to be able to get the Ultra Fives. And under your turntable, wow!
Well, like I said, I don't think there's much of a difference one way or the other between the Stillpoint Ultra's and the Strange Attractors. That is, expect the price.
I suppose the Ultra Fives are on a different level. And they better be -- they're $699 a piece!!!
I'm glad you found the ultimate. I'd love to try them with my Amerigos but, dang, that's a lot of coin...
Got them and put them under my Clearaudio Innovation Wood and using stillpoints bases under ultra 5s. I can literally bang the symposium shelf and nada -impervious to vibrations. Sonically dynamics are better, as is spatial resolution as is last iota of detail (top end opened up by 10-20 percent)...so sharper edges to notes. A step up for sure.
I have Ultra5s under Wilson speakers and Esoteric SACD player with ultraSSs under all units placed on SP rack and absolutely was floored with sonic improvement. Elsewhere on this site and the av.guide site I go much further into detail about when I bought my near dream system was was very unsatisfied until Stillpoint products were implemented. On the av. site my screen name is skyyone.
Like Tbg I have been floored be Stillpoint Ultra SSs and Ultra 5s positive effect on music playback. I have 41 ultra SSs and 11 Ultra 5s (8 under speakers and 3 under Esoteric SACD player) all on the latest SP rack. Elsewhere on this site and the av.guide site I explain in detail some of the noted differences if anyone is curious. I had spent 90M+ on a whole new system and was very unhappy. The SP products took me from sadness and gloom to dancing with Cheshire grin affixed on face while non-stop dancing. I swear this is no exaggeration and can easily demonstrate to anyone within earshot.
I use the 3 Ultras under my Raven one and found a marginal improvement over the Stillpoints with Risers.
On a different tack, I just got 2 sets of 4 Track Audio Isolation feet, to replace the Edensound Brass feet under my Daedalus DA-RMa speakers. They made more difference than any footer I have ever used before, deeper tighter base, better imaging. Like the Ultras, they are not cheap, but I highly recommend them for speakers. They are from the UK, but available in the US, through music direct I believe.
I am about to buy the Ultra Minis. I had ordered them from Music Direct - whose website said "3-7" days before they shipped. 20 days later, they had still not shipped, so I cancelled the order.
I have had considerable experience with Goldmund Cones, Cerabases, Cerapucs, Cera anything you can name, and many other manufacturers devices. Shaktis, which go on top of things instead of under them work under the same principle, and that principle is this: placement is the b**** of all isolation devices. Tube traps are the same, and I've had them since ASC opened in 1984. If items are not precisely placed, you will think you have lost your marbles and be disappointed. NO. You must spend the time moving them around. And when you move ONE and it sounds very good, LEAVE IT ALONE and then work on the second isolation device until it improves something really well. Then go to the third. Once you have things properly placed, where they do the most good, you can get to excellent. Roy Gregoy has the same mindset about this. Tom Miiler, in one article in TAS, warned that, if you thought you were going to plunk down (I think it was the RoomTunes) the devices and they were going to work, you were sadly delusional. Everything has a point where it reaches 98% of its potential, and anywhere else it is only at 70, and that's where many people lose their joy - and hope.
Gbmcleod, the magic of great realism in sound production is quite fragile as you suggest. However, it includes many things you don't mention such as the speakers, your position, whether the power cords are on the floor, whether the speaker wires and ics are close to power cords, etc. And there are limitations, of course, such as what others think of the system you have laid out. My wife said, "I'm tired of having a sound laboratory in my great room."
Presently, I am working with the room treatments which are so critical in my very small listening room in New Mexico. It is 10x13x8 feet. I found that one of my Zilplex resonators was one eighth of a inch lower than that on the other side and was moving the sound stage toward the other side. These things are very powerful although they are just one half inch in diameter silver bowls.
I should also say that seldom having the isolation devices in each of the four corners of a component is the best location for them. If you have great latitude for placement, put one under the main transformer. Trial and error is the only game in town.
I have Ultra Minis.
BY this time, Roy Gregory has weight in on The Audio Beat, a web magazine.He suggested line conditioner first, then amp, the preamp, the cd player, because, he says, power supplies generate tremendous noise and move them on into the components.
I put them under my ASL Hurricanes and heard a significant difference. However, it wasn't until the appeared under the Power Plant P300, that I truly "heard" them. Good Golly, Ms. Molly! The presentation came TO LIFE!!! Individual instruments, heretofore, playing along with a Geritol-type sameness, dynamically speaking, stood out as if they were doing solo turns. On the next Boxed set of Mecury Living Presence CDs, CD #23 with Farley, Grainger and someone else, and conducted by Fennell, it sounds as thought instruments are no longer playing in an auditorium with 100% humidity and 80% dew point. It's as though the dew point went down to 45 and the humidity 50. Subtle intstruments are obvious within the mix, ones that before you heard, but only has a "sound" never an instruments whose identity you could identify.
Nope. These are real deal.
Caveat: You MUST play with placement. A casual "lets-put-'em-here" toss will yield you less than stellar results. In fact, you'll wonder what all the fuss is about.
Gbmcleod, I find the use of SP Ultras, including the Minis varies greatly depending on the ac filter used. SP Ultra Minis could not be used under my HB Designs Acrylic PowerSlave as it isolation feet are too long and difficult to remove. I put two SP Ultra Fives under it, and it was a disaster. They robbed the sound of all dynamics, much like rubber and soft woods do.
I tried the Ultra Fives also under the High Fidelity Wave Guide unit on its rails and found no benefit, but directly under the unit worked quite well. I tried to use the Ultra Minis but it was just too precarious.
I have used SP Ultra SSs under several ac devices with great success. These include the Sound Application, the Synergistic Research Power Cell Mk I and Mk II.
I would imagine that the amount of vibrations allowed within the filter affects the effectiveness of the isolation feet.
I'm happy to hear the ultras didn't notably improve things over the aluminum, they ARE rather expensive. I have used the aluminum Stillpoints w/risers throughout my system for years. They REALLY do provide audible benefits at least in my situation, more in some applications than others. I have used the 3 point speaker stands under the Merlin VSMs for years to good effect, improving most areas of performance.
Agree with Gbmcleod, you must experiment with placement. Again effects vary depending on the component but overall these are very worthwhile. Another point to consider, they hold their value so if you purchase used, in the event they don't work in your situation, you will have little problem selling at close to what you paid.
Tubegroover, I didn't say the Ultra ALs were superior or the equal of the Ultra SSs. It was the existing special feet on the HB Designs Acrylic PowerSlave that were better than the Ultra Fives.
I use the OEM aluminum feet under my LSA1s in New Mexico and have not tried the Ultra Minis there as I don't want to know they are better. The OEMs have no resale value as only manufacturers could get them.
Tbg, I was directing my comments to the OP, not you. I hear you concerning trying the Ultra Minis and not wanting to know, neither do I considering the prices for the ss. Your reason for not trying is sound, yours being an OEM product with a very specific market to resell. Ignorance is bliss, at least concerning the wallet. These guys keep feeding on our inpulses as audiophiles but there comes a point where I'm not buying. I'm not going to pay those prices for a passive vibration reducing device so like you, why listen?
Using my wife's name to respond, but it's me: gbmcleod
I haven't placed speaker cables on the floor in many, many years, not since Enid Lumley said not to (circa 1990). Nor power cords. I've found that precise setup - which includes the room first, the electrical power second, and keeping cords anAd cables off the floor and isolation devices all third, set the stage for everything else to reveal itself. Leaving any one of those three out will dull the results and skew the actual performance of the products in the (usually) wrong direction.
The room is always the first thing I find most poorly addressed. Until the room is out of the equation, a person is wasting money on the wrong things. Of course, if you have a really large room, the room becomes less of an issue, although not a NON-issue.
All those things addressed, I'm sure you're correct. And I agree that
"seldom having the isolation devices in each of the four corners of a component is the best location for them." I'd never found that to be the way to do it. I usually slide the isolation devices all around a location (time-consuming to be sure, but I was the Equipment Manager for Fi Magazine before Harley was, so I do have some expertise in this) to find a "good" position, or I should say the improvement is "good enough." I then move to a second isolation device, slide that around and then to the third. After all 3 are in "good enough" positions (meaning the improvement in a soprano's vocal cords are pretty clear, especially trills), I then go back to the first foot and see if I can improve the clarity (and the transparency). Repeat ad nauseum.
I have no doubt that manufacturer's filters affect the sound, but if they can be turned off, i turn them off when I first get a product, so I can hear it "bare." I use the same logic listening to amps/preamps. First, I listen with the stock cord, and only then do I put in the audiophile-grade cord. It takes much longer, but a person can get a much better system with less money by investing 1), curiosity and 2), time. As Einstein once said, we should never lose our sense of curiosity and awe of 'the mysterious.' I think the same can be said for audio: magic happens much less expensively than most people know: they just don't have the curiosity of "I wonder what happens if I put this...here!!"
NOT investing time costs you a lot more money than investing the time in experimenting.
Gbmcleod, I guess there must be an interesting story behind your using your wife's name in posting.
I agree totally about keeping the cables off the floor. This is one area where reviewing gets to be a pain. I often end up with a snake's nest of pcs, ics, etc. behind my rack despite perhaps cleaning up everything maybe three times a year.
I was unaware of Einstein's remark, but will always remember a EE professor telling me that Ohm's law and a few others "totally" covered what happened in a circuit. Having been a grader in a physics course, I responded that I didn't think that was true. The look on his face convinced me that EE wasn't going to be a major I could tolerate.
On your room remarks, I would urge you to try Zilplex resonators. I have a big room in Texas and a very small room in New Mexico and both benefitted greatly from these guys placed where Zilplex says to place them. I have tried perhaps twenty other devices ranging from reflective mirror and absorbers to tubes, Tibetan bowls, digital equalization, etc. The Zilplexes are clearly the best at least in my two rooms. Obviously trial and error is our only way to assess the influence of anything, other than perhaps hosing down our system. : )
I suppose it is interesting, as an example of the capriciousness of this site's login issues.
The site kept telling me I had the wrong username and password - this, AFTER I had signed in to "My Page." I deleted cookies, closed down the computer, brought it up, and the site STILL gave me the exact same message. Fortunately, the first time it did that I copied and pasted my post into the "TextEdit" on my Macbook.
I'd like to try the Ziplexes. Who sells them?
By the way, my 2 meter Nordost Frey 2 arrived at my dealer's today. Installed them (in place of the 1 meter pair, since I needed longer lengths to go from preamp to amps. Longest pair of Nordost I've ever bought. $$$!!!) They actually sound quite good out of the box, unlike earlier models. Highly musical. And tomorrow, the Nola Contenders arrive! My cup runneth over, not to mention my electronics repair person informed me that the Hurricane amp was repaired and ready for pickup (I love my Hurricanes: their realism is astounding, regardless of their not being "tops" in the resolution sweepstakes). But back to the Stillpoints.
I'm completely thrilled with the Minis. I expected them to be great - but they are closer to "fantastic". Astonishingly so. Were I to have a state of the art system - or something close to it, or even if I upgrade further - I'll try the next Stillpoint models. For now, this is splendid!
I must say, there must be a reason the Stillpoints don't work under some devices.I wonder if there is some material in the device that prevents them (the Stillpoints) from demonstrating their magic. Must be some powerful voodoo in those other components hexing the Stillpoints. It is not, after all, an electrical interface. It is a vibational one. Unless all vibration is gone, this is a mystery to me. The closest I can come to the proverbial "curse" on a component/tweak not working is when I had the Black Diamond Racing Rack sitting on my Finite Elemente Spider Rack and put footers under an NAD C326BEE. The sound was grainy, like 800-speed film and NO dimensionality (not an inherent trait of the NAD BEE series amps). I couldn't fathom it. Eventually, I took out the Black Diamond Rack and put the NAD directly on the rubber pucks. VOILA! It sounded like the NAD. When I spoke to someone knowledgable about it, they posited that the Black Diamond, the Spider Rack and the footers I was using were "fighting" each other. It made sense, since the removal of the footers and the BDR Rack caused the NAD to sigh in relief, "That Fool. What the hell was he doing?!?!?! Putting competing technologies all together like that and not even testing it one technology at a time."
I never did that again. If I want a hard shelf on the Spiders, I just use maple board instead of MDF, and THEN put the component on that, as I did today. THEN, after listening to a few cuts, I inserted the Stillpoints. OH, BABY, give it TO me!!! LOL. It sounds great. I wandered in and out of the music room at several points during the evening tonight, thinking (delusionally) that the Frey had magically gone thru a time warp and broken in, but MAN, even un-broken in, it sounds as dynamic as hell, with instruments within sections jumping out towards you. Not a "reserved" sound in the least! It's like standing in front of a tiger's cage at the zoo: the tiger looks at you for a bit, not blinking, then quite suddenly rises to his feet, walks toward the edge of the cage...and before you can react, growls and simultaneously swipes at you thru the bars. Of course, you're too far back, but you still blink - if not let out a gasp and jump backwards, caught off guard by the suddenness of the tiger's lunge.
This would be, in audio terms, of the same speed with which the Stillpoints allow the (sudden) release of the dynamic inflections, as well as the dynamic outbusts, contained within a recording.
If you read Gregory's review on The Audio Beat website, he clearly states one must place the isolation devices directly into contact with the component and he states that removing it in any way from direct contact with the component has deleterious effects. Perhaps that accounts for your experience. I couldn't say myself. Just a speculation.
Gbmcleod, I think my problem originates from the power of the Ultra Fives. I have used them on top of many components with great but expensive benefit, but in some instances they do harm. It also seems to depend on what is under the component. Ultra Minis and Ultra SSs are okay but not Ultra Fives.
I really have no explanation for the problem with the HB Designs Acrylic PowerSlave.
I should note that in the vast majority of cases, the various StillPoints Ultra are marvelous. For their impact per cost, the Ultra Minis are clearly a best buy. I would not try them under 80 pound amps or speakers, however.
I have noticed incidentally that Minis are isolators under components. The ceramic balls isolate the component from the base of the Minis. I have had mixed results with the Ultra Fives and have yet to try the Ultra SSs. I think this is important for the same reason that getting cables off the floor are important, namely static electricity.