I don't believe that most of them provide "reference level" support systems, although some like Kharma seem to make a serious effort. If all of them did, Stillpoints wouldn't be in business. Certainly audiophiles with modest systems can't be the target customer for their best offerings.
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Your point is well taken. On the other hand, what does the Stillpoint contribute in the case of a state-of-the-art cost-no-object speaker design? I think that the designers of said speakers would consider their choice of footer to be intrinsic their designs.
In other words, maybe the Stillpoints will emphasize certain qualities and downplay others, but is this perhaps working against the intended design and voicing of the speaker?
I'm right in the middle of a very extensive process of reviewing isolation devices for a review in the future for my website hometheaterreview.com. I have had in house many highly regarded footers, platforms, and racks to see what their effect would be on the performance of different gear and speakers. The results so far, will not surprise seasoned audiophiles, is that you never know what the results to be until you experiment in your own system. Some of the most highly regarded and expensive platforms/footers sucked the life out of my system, while other less known, less expensive devices produced wonderful sonic changes like more transparency/micro-details, better sound staging and layering, more accurate/taut extended bass, etc. The two very big winners so far have been: 1) For all upstream gear the rack and footers from Krolo Design. No matter what piece of gear I have put on the Krolo rack or footers it always has lead to significant improved performance with no negative effects at all. 2) For speaker isolation the Sistrum Apprentice Platform/Audio Points from Star Sound Technologies, which is not even this company's reference level device, had a beautiful effect on my Lawrence Audio Cello Speakers. Both company's offer home audition periods and charge very reasonable prices for their very high quality devices. Hope this helps, good luck with your experimentation.
In other words, maybe the Stillpoints will emphasize certain qualities and downplay others, but is this perhaps working against the intended design and voicing of the speaker?
Maybe or maybe not, idle speculation can't carry us very far. The company has been around for some time now and continues to introduce innovative products. My Teres turntable came with a set of original Stillpoints and they work well in reducing mechanical vibration. Most of their footers work on a wide range of audio products, not just speakers.
Stillpoints Ultra Mini, Ultra SS and Ultra 5 Footers, and ESS Equipment Rack
Wow! very interesting findings. I just got the Star Sound Apprentice platforms a week ago and completely agree with what you wrote. I have them under components(very good results) and speakers(the most impactful location) utterly improved natural sound across the board, .
I`ve heard/read very good things said regarding the Stillpoint products (haven`t used them myself). The Apprentice is really something quite special for the fairly modest price.They have a high -performance/value ratio.
I'm glad that you experienced such wonderful results in your system with the Apprentice platforms. I highly recommend that you might want to audition at least the footers, if not a rack from Krolo designs, for your upstream gear. Just by using the Krolo Design's footers, they come in 3s, on different racks what they do has been amazing regardless of what I have put on top of them. When I have used the "Full Monty" the Krolo rack and footers the combination has been absolutely superlative in my system. The designer, Mirko Krolo, is a great guy to work with and has come up with beautifully built pieces that are based on a very intelligent application of isolation/bleeding off vibrations in his designs. I have have his reference TOMO rack in house right now and it has been significantly better then six other stands, racks or platforms in its effects at bringing the performance of my reference system to a qualitatively higher level that I did not expect to happen. What the TOMO rack does sonicly is of course the most important factor, however it does not hurt that it is one of the most attractive racks I have ever seen or ever have had in my home.
Yes Teajay, interesting findings. I have tried Stillpoints under my components and speakers. I got great results with Ultra Minis under my AC regenerator and more subtle ones when used under my DAC and integrated amp. Results have been less impressive when used under my Sonus Faber Auditor monitors. Maybe this is because the speaker and stand was supposedly designed together?? Anyway, I am going to give the Audiopoints a try under my speakers. I wonder if there will be any benefit given that my SF stands already has spikes.
Had 12 Ultra SS that went under my speakers/amp. Junk I say !! Big $$$$ rip off. It just didn't sound right. Installed my Equaracks footers back and back came "that certain sound" that draws one into the music.
All my gear is on Sistrum stands. Speakers/amps/Dac and power supplies. Only HRS platforms come close to Sistrum stuff.
Each device will have its own theory for why/how they work better than another.I don`t know which is superior, I can say that the Apprentice are very effective with their mechanical grounding approach. For all I know the Stillpoints could be equal,better or worse.You`d have to listen to a them as Teajay did and decide.
This makes me wonder that perhaps Stillpoint's approach isnt the best for monitors which may seem to benefit more from coupling to large mass like to floor to deal with airborne vibrations whereas floorstanders have more issue with internal vibrations so fast dissipation is better?? Their weight already creates solid contact with the floor. Clearly I am not expert in this area but this may explain why I didnt hear much of any benefit from Stillpoints under my monitors.
I use stainless steel Soler Points on my speakers. They are great. The local shop here stocks many sizes, but Ed Soler is a local to the shop so it's easy to have him make them to order. The ones I had made for my speakers are about two inches at the base and about two and a half inches tall if I recall correctly. I provided him with one of the spikes that came with the speaker so he could match the threads. Spikes like mine are not cheap at $60 each, but they are proportioned perfectly for my speakers, the point is very sharp, they look great, and they work great.
I wouldn't say Stillpoints are junk. There is no audiophile product that is universally liked which is the fun/frustrating thing about our whacky hobby. For me, the Stillpoints worked great under my Ps Audio P3 but did nothing when placed under my int amp and cdp. Now this could be because my ears are not that acute or because my system is not resolving. Who knows. My wallet and I are just thankful. I just move on to the next tweak and say that the Stillpoints just didn't work for me but that doesn't mean they won't work for someone else.
I'm getting great results eliminating the stock spikes of my Zu Audio Definitions Mk 4 spkrs, and placing them on a combination of Symposium Acoustics "half" Rollerblock RMK Jrs with HDSE ball bearings, on Symposium Svelte Shelves.
Doing a great job of eliminating bass bloat, making the sound at once more airy and more grounded. Quite a feat.
And with the combination at about half the cost of Stillpoints Ultra 5s, this can't hurt!
Seems logical to assume that the makers of megabuck speakers would use superior footers in their designs.
One would assume so, but sadly its not always the case. Footers, or rather mechanical grounding technologies, seems to often be last on the list for speaker manufacturers regardless of price point. How many times have you seen cheap steel spikes on a 40K pair of speakers? Or an MDF box with rudimentary rod bracing and dynamat type internal sheeting? I personally believe mechanical grounding or isolation or whatever you want to call it is foundational and can transform a speaker far more than driver or cap selection. Everyone fixates on that, but it should be secondary.
I have owned Dale Pitchers speakers (Intuitive Design) on and off since 2006. He is on the lunatic fringe in this area and has incorporated mechanical grounding elements in his speakers for over 25 years. He has used Stillpoints until fairly recently. I have done a lot of experiments with them, and they are efficacious. In some of my applications, they did seem to inject a little midrange glare (and you can argue that is a byproduct of the equipment design and not the points...who knows). I personally prefer the Sistrum products under my equipment (Sp101s) and speakers (Apprentice). In my opinion, the more resonance potential in an audio device, the more efficacious or impactful they are (subs>speakers>amps, etc). Sistrum, like Dale, has been at this for a while, and mechanical grounding is their core business.
Teajay, we look forward to your review. I had not heard of the Krolo stuff before. I scanned his website, and it looks like he is an interior designer by day? He seems to use an amalgam of materials in his designs, including wood, aluminum, etc. Very aesthetically pleasing for sure, but I could not drudge up design particulars, engineering elements, etc. I assume you have access to that info?
Psag, this a thoughtful thread. Being a thoughtful guy, you owe it to yourself to fiddle in this area. Forget about price and just try it.
Mechanical grounding is a fundamental issue and shouldn`t be ignored.Your comment about capacitors is interesting. I replaced the lone capacitor in my speaker crossover with a Duelund CAST and the improvement was immediate and obvious,it got better yet with time(it was money well spent). I`d say that placing the speakers on the Apprentice platforms resulted in an even larger margin of improvement(which is saying something!).This is good engineering/design with excellent implementation.
They are fairly stable but not as secure as the original cones due to 52 inch height and narrow footprint of the speaker(same cabinet as yours). They are in a seperate room and there`re no children or pets to worry about.The improvement is well worth it to me,I`ll just be careful around them.I use two platforms per speaker(speaker depth is 22 inches).
I haven't tried Stillpoints under speakers but I found them undesirable under source components. I bought a trio of Ultra SS and tried them sequentially under my Brinkmann Oasis, VAC Phi Beta preamp, and Manley Steelhead II. In each case, I found them to create a lot of air and additional separation of instruments, which was good, but at the expense of mid-bass weight and overall tonal balance, which was not so good. Ultimately, I found my system more balanced and natural without them. Actually, that's true of any footers I've tried and I've tried a lot of them.
For context, I have Adona stands with their multi-element shelving, and I use a Minus-K platform under the Brinkmann. Without the Minus-K, I might have liked the Stillpoints more under the Oasis, but I can't say for sure. I know Jay Kaufmann at Audio Revelation loves them under his.
I had the 101's under a previous speaker with great results in sound. Unfortunately one speaker was damaged due to the less than ideal support. Ya, it tipped over!
I won't take that chance again. To bad.
Perhaps holes can be drilled so I can bolt the stand to the holes in the speaker's bottom. This may change the sound and effectiveness however...
Wrm, your assessments are spot on. It still remains a chicken and egg scenario though, and that's why people should always experiment first.
Granny, you need to call Robert. The apprentice has a lower center of gravity and they now offer the threaded inserts. It will not be a problem although its a two man job.
Of course, you could always settle for less.....but what red blooded audiophile would!
The whole debate regarding mechanical grounding or isolation is interesting. Th ave audiophile brain still seems to be stuck in the 50s where speakers and equipment gets plonked on the carpet and/or ornamental wooden rack. I have read relatively recent reviews in magazines where equipment was stuck on a chair or on the ground in a poorly laid out room.
John Atkinson alluded to the history of vibration management in speakers here: http://www.stereophile.com/features/806
I have tried StillPoints Ultra SSs and Ultra Fives under three different speakers and often tried three versus four. The speakers were the Tidal Contrivas, the BMC Arcadias, and the LSA1 Statements. The latter are monitors and the SPs were used under the stands with the SP OEMs under the speakers.
My conclusions were that all speakers were improved with the SSs but never with the then available version made with aluminum and four were clearly better than three. Then Ultra Fives came along. The Fives are clearly superior to the SSs but are so big as to discourage use under components. Again four are clearly better than three. I use SP Component Stands under my monoblocks and my turntable with first SP SSs and later SP Fives mounted on the Component Stands. The SSs were good but the Fives are dramatically better. The same is true under my Bergman Sindre turntable.
I should note that four are much better if you take great care to be sure all four are equally in contact with the component or speaker. And yes, five are even better.
Finally, there are the Ultra Minis. They are quite small, effective, and cheap. I cannot hear any difference compared with the SSs. Comparing the Fives with the Minis is difficult given the size of the Fives. As the Fives have 5 of the SP technology in them, I doubt four Minis would be in the same league as four Fives. Maybe twenty Minis would rival four Fives.
For me I found Stillpoints SS worked well on heavy components (75 lb integrated in my case) and not so well on lighter components. I tried 3 and 4 SS's under my DAC and my transport; and I could barely tell a difference over some Stillpoints brass cones.... the SS's actually made the sound a tad dry and less involving. Wave Kinetics A10-U8's worked way better than either these; which is what I settled on. I had all three at the same time, so I was able to compare them directly. Also tried the SS under my speakers and they didn't work so well there either, but I blame my thick carpeting.
Psag, the StillPoints technology is to convert the vast majority of vertical motion into horizontal motion that is absorbed by the stainless steel and converted into heat. It is not specific to frequency.
In my experience one should avoid putting the STs on or below component feet or footers. I have never found doing so the equal of just avoiding the feet. I would never think of leaving speaker feet in position and using the StillPoints under them.
Since I have never found any Wilson speakers worth buying, I have never tried the SPs under them.
Robert will not give out demos for reviews.!!???? A breath of fresh air in this review crazy audio hobby.
Remember years ago SR Apex wire gave a wall to wall / 40 foot high / 100 miles deep stage with life like images only to read now the stage is deep/higher and planet to planet wide.
Go back even 3 years ago and read the reviews. Crazy writing.
Tbg, Wilson is not for me either, but I think its more an issue of preference than quality. My speakers are the TAD References One. The stock footers are simple cones, solid but nothing fancy. As good as the TADs are, I find that they cannot do some of the nice things that I hear with (for example) the Phy-hp30 driver in an open baffle driven by 10 watts of high quality SET. Maybe putting Stillpoints under the TADs would take me further away from the things I admire in those Phy-hp drivers.
In reference to some of the threads around footers and the channeling of resonances and vibrations, the theory of having such a device under your audio gear or speakers will most likely contribute to a change in sound quality.
As CEO/Designer of Krolo Design, I have manufactured Krolo Enhansers with 3 key criteria's in mind: 1) reduce distortion and vibration 2) reduce background noise 3) allow for a better soundstage. This was achieved by using two types of metals fabricated in two separate shapes with an air gap that allows the resonances to dissipate through that opening. Having such an air gap allows for a more realistic, wider sound stage. This is also true for the audio rack that I designed and manufactured which integrates the same principals, where both solid wood materials and metals are blended together to ultimately achieve the goal of reducing vibration while enhancing the sound quality. One of the unique features of my rack known as the TOMO Rack, is the decoupling of shelves from the main frame which has contributed to the reduction of vibration and distortion. Integrating wood with solid metal rods has proven to be a combination that works both in principal and practice. Certain elements must eliminate vibrations while others absorb. It is a complex issue to refine and get perfect. Currently Krolo Design products are being professionally reviewed by an Audiogon member, TEAJAY, for Home Theatre Review. It has been an honor to meet him at Axpona Chicago this year and have the opportunity for him to provide his feedback and professional opinion.
We have the Krolo Enhansers for $250 set of three and the Tomo Rack starts at $5,888. As audiophiles we never stop at pursuing the purest of music reproduction.