Stillpoints - snake oil?


Anybody here using Stillpoints Ultras? My dealer thinks highly of them, but I am very suspicious.
85feeb8b c8a5 4a21 be45 1dcd439bc581thyname
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" a lot of people here use them and swear by them, and will simply insult you if you voice your thoughts that they dont do anything as advertised"

Let's see, are you debunking the ones that "use them and swear by them" without  trying them yourself?

Nope - Snake oil is a traditional Chinese medicament utilizing fat extracted from the Chinese water snake (Enhydris chinensis.)[1] It is a rubefacient and/or ointment, and is applied topically to relieve minor physical pain. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for many centuries, and is a relatively common medication prescribed by doctors ascribing the practice of traditional Chinese medicine.
I did try some Ultra Minis under my TT and found a better deeper bass, however the midrange seemed to lose it’s luster. Also I felt the highs were more softened and a bit more subdued. So in my opinion they do make a difference, but didn’t solve the issues I was having. They are worth a try if you can get some on loan, in my opinion.
Did the manufacturer of the component's you are considering placing them under think highly enough of them to incorporate them into their design or is it only your dealer who sells them that thinks this highly of them?
@djones51 the manufacturer did not know what the Stillpoints are.

Is it recommended they are put first under digital devices, or Analog?
Thyname, you shouldn't be suspicious.  Vibration isolation devices generally work, how well they work is up to many different factors including the system's level of resolution. 

We used to sell Stillpoints we don't sell them now so we have zero skin in the game.

We were introduced to Stillpoints I don't remember how but we found them and decided to try a set of their footers, they were very good.


Stillpoints used to make . Theya space frame looking component stand that we compared to an HRS base which was $1,800.00 and the less expensive $1,000 Stillpoints product was superior.

We then got a demo of the Stillpoints rack about $12k and the difference in sound come from the amplifiers was very noticeable in fact the entire system's sound improved as much as changing a component.

The reason why vibration isolation devices work is simple all electronic devices are subject to microphonic induced distortions. 

Tubes as well as transistors will alter their performance when they are being vibrated. If you think of a transistor as a crystalline device if you vibrate it you will change the way a signal is passing through it, remove the vibration you will induce less distortion and create a cleaner signal.


You should get a demo of these devices and see for yourself. 


You should also know that there are less expensive devices such as the Isoacoustics which rival Stillpoints for a fraction of the price. We have not done a recent demo comparison of the Stillpoints vs the Isoacoustics so we are not sure which one is better we have the older stillpoints cones and the Isoacoustics do seem to rival them.. 

Start with you amp and preamp, play a piece of music you know for about 30 seconds from the beginning of the track. add one set of isolation devices replay the track, listen to what changes.


You should notice tighter bass, a more focused soundstage, greater micro dynamics. 


Then add a set under your amp listen for the same changes. 


Then add a set under your dac and transport same thing


Once you have three or four sets on your gear, listen again to a track and then remove the devices and see what changes, if you agree that the system doesn't sound anywhere as good, put them back in figure out what pieces and how many sets you need.

As long as your dealer lets you borrow a few sets of these devices you should be able to perform these tests for yourself.


Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ




If the manufacturer doesn't think they are needed, why do you? If the company that built my amp doesn't see a need for them I see no reason why I should second guess them. 
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Djones  every manufacturer includes a $2 power cord in the box to power their components. However many people have used high end after market power cords to glorious results.  So should a company then have to spend hundred or thousands of dollars to include a high end cord with their product?

The reality is most manufacturers don't want to add  additional costs to their products. Not to mention they might not want to be seen endorsing one particular brand of product. 


If for example Audio Research started putting in a $500 Shunayata power cord or an AQ or Wireworld one, how much would that add to the cost of their product? What if the end consumer already was using a more expensive power cord and didn't like the brand that came with the product, that means that nice $500 power cord wouldn't be used and the end consumer would have paid extra for a product they didn't use. 


Same things with vibration isolation devices there are a large number of companies that make these devices and some companies do use them, we used to sell Audio Aero CD players and they came with Black Diamond Racing footers. 


Try some you might like them.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
If they thought a $500 power cord was all that important to their product I assume they would contract with a company that makes them and place them under their brand. So it would be a $500 Audio Research cord not Shunayata. I recently bought a micrmega amp I'll email them and ask if I need such a cord and if I do why are they cheapo's and sell me junk.
Wow...

Dave and Troy have spoken/posted...

This alone would make me avoid them like the plague.

DeKay
" If the manufacturer doesn’t think they are needed, why do you?"

The manufacturer is building a unit to a certain price point, they are not interested in experimenting in after market tweeks. That said, there are many tweeks that do change component performance. It is up to the end user to experiment and decide if it is something they want to use or not.
If they come with the device then I'll try it since they are desinged to use them. I guess I'm weird I assume companies  selling expensive equipment kinda know what they are doing and like Audio Areo if needed they provide it.
Still makes no sense to me. If a $500 power cord makes an amp sound $500 better it would be to the advantage of the company to include such a cord since they could produce the cord for a fraction of cost, think scale, why Dell can buy cpu's a lot cheaper than I can, market the amp with the cords sonic advantage only spending a small amount on production. I gues stereo manufacturers need better R&D and marketing people.
Any Stillpoints dealers here? Please PM
Roger Modjeski doesn't provide ANY power cord with his Music Reference RM-200 power amp, saying he figures everyone has an unused computer cord in a drawer, or will be using an aftermarket cord anyway.
djones that is just a silly argument.  Take for example an automobile Ford could make tires for their cars themselves it isn't practical, Pirelli has invested millions of dollars perfecting their designs, molds, tread patterns, carbon black compounds, etc. 

You are assuming that a power cord is a simple piece of wire, sometimes there is a lot more going on with weaving, custom materials, custom dielectrics and so on. 

Cable companies specialize in creating vey advanced designs that are sold because they a product sound better even if sold wholesale that additional cost will have to be factored into the products selling price which now will be more expensive. 


Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
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" Still makes no sense to me."
You are looking at it the wrong way. First, there are 100’s of aftermarket power cords available. I see no reason that high-end audio makers would waste time & money on a process that would not make them any more money. One gets a generic cord (low cost) with your purchase that will work fine for many users. YOU have the option to experiment with aftermarket cords or not, YOU decide. The manufacturer will not and should not recommenced one over the other, there is no upside for them.
I use them. I like them. I recommend them. Galen Carol sells them through his website. Other dealers do the same. Galen is a very good dealer. I've made several purchases from him. I have found that in my system the Stillpoints Ultra SS devices have the most positive impact under my source(s), DAC and preamp--in that order.
Yeah, I assume a mains cable is wire and if the wire meets the specs then it's going to work optimally for what it was designed for and the manufacturer who sold the 'wire' with the component stands behind it , just like Ford isn't going to put sub optimal tires on their cars or expect people to go out and buy uber expensive tires and toss the ones out they sold with the car. 
Do these high end audio makers recommend any of these $500 cords or $1000 isolation devices? Does say Esoteric say if you use a $ 500 AQ cord and Stillpoints our amps sound a hell of a lot better? We recommend you buy them. Maybe they do I have no idea. 
People can spend money on what they want. The OP said he or she was suspicous. I am simply saying if the companies who make these products don't think their products need more isolation to work as designed why would I think they do? 
I did a shoot-out of a number of different coupling and decoupling devices under the tube rectified power supply of my phono stage several years ago.  From cheap to expensive. Some I had on hand, some I bought.
Almost every one changed the sound to varying degrees. Whether that was beneficial or "better" depends on what you are trying to achieve. The Aurios (I forget which model, it was like an enclosed roller block) had the most profound effect, but caused a stridency to leading edges of notes that was intolerable. The Vibrapod puck plus cone was one of the better, cheap alternatives with little noticeable downside on my system. Some of the others included an old set of Goldmund cones, HRS pucks (plus plates), Herbie’s footers and the Stillpoints SS.
I am using the Stillpoints, which increased clarity without the negative (stridency) of the Aurios.
I do like the Stillpoints LP weight and use it in lieu of the factory screw down clamp on my Kuzma XL. It also made changes to the sound, but I concluded those were beneficial.
I think when you have a ’tweaked’ system and you are making further changes it is sometimes worthwhile to "un-do" or remove the tweaks to check what a "new" device is doing against a baseline~
It’s odd ever since the advent of the Vibraplane and Townshend’s and Bright Star’s air bladder iso stands more than 20 years ago the subject of vibration isolation should still be so misunderstood and somewhat shrouded in mystery. It’s not really rocket science. It’s very simple. The difficulty arises in the implementation. That’s the Art of isolation. That’s why results often vary. Not to mention the glut of iso devices now available. How can anyone compare them all?

 If the vibration isolation method is mass-on-spring AND the instructions for setting up the platform are followed how can you lose? To be as completely effective as possible, isolation should occur in all six count em directions and should start as low in frequency as possible. Everything else is some kind of compromise. Rome was not built in a day.
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the manufacturers do not want to include expensive isolation devices,  so that the customer can choose which brand/type, if any, they prefer...I like the Mapleshade maple boards and brass cones under my equipment...
same for power cords, fuses, cables, etc...
Do these manufacturers at least recommend the use of an expensive isolation device, cord, fuse , cable , etc.. in order to get the best sound from their devices? They can leave out specific brands if they feel uncomfortable recommending them but in at least a generic sense do they recommend one go out and purchase these things so their stuff will perform better? I'll email the maker of my amp and see what they recommend. They spent the R&D building the thing, I am not an engineer or designer of these things, I assume they know what they are doing so I'll trust their advice and if they say yes it will improve them then I can consider if I want to spend my money on them over a consumer proclaiming yeah I spent $5000 on tweeks and damn they work great!! 
I know some do...when I purchased my first Classe amp, the manual recommended an upgrade power cord...
they do know what they are doing, but they also have to sell and do business...and they can't alienate their dealers by recommending products and brands the dealer doesn't carry...
fortunately most of these products can be tried either free or for minimal cost and decide yourself after listening in your own system...
Who said anything about recommending particular brands? I said generic. If the dealers providers of  amps, transports, TT etc.. convey to the dealer hey such and such cord or interconnect , isolation device works great with our product I am sure the dealer would be more than happy to sell them in his store . This is simple marketing 101 to create relationships,  assuming of course the manufacturer believes these added devices actually  work.  Here a simple example,   say the maker of my amp, micromega advises their dealers that for example  Audioquest products work great with our amps then unless the dealer is a moron they are going to tell potental buyers, you know micromega recommends AQ products with their amps and will for sure start carring AQ if they don't already. Nothing I keep reading here makes any sense from a marketing standpoint on thus reluctance of manufacturers recommending products that their suppliers and dealers could also sell IF THEY WORK. Now if they DON'T think they make a difference then I can see the downside of recommending something. Good lord GE not only recommended Finish dishwashing detergent with my new dishwaher they gave me free samples with it.  I guess with the knowledge they were going to alienate loyal Cascade users. 
Either way, the OP is working with a dealer, and should get a free trial , then easy to decide 
djones51, I believe equipment manufacturers have a pretty good idea of there customer base and choose not to jump into that kettle of fish for that reason. When it comes to power cords, interconnects, isolation devices, you name it, we don't agree on anything. 
It’s hard enough competing in today’s high end marketplace. There’s no need to jump in and get involved in the latest audiophile issues like fuses, powercirds, wire directionality, vibration isolation, any of that stuff. Besides most high end manufacturers are pretty convinced their components don’t need any of that crap. They’re fine without it. It’s kind of the same reason many audio stores do not go out of their way to use tweaks in the store systems. It’s because they think people just want to hear the pure sound of the components. Ha ha ha!
Boxer12, That's certainly possible. My original point to the OP before being side tracked on cables etc.. was about isolation devices and my advice is ask the manufacturer what is their opinion on using these devices. Since they designed the componet and have their reputation as well as a monetary consideration I would tend to trust their advice as to what is required for the device to perform at it's optimal level. They might advise the use of these devices. I would rather have their opinion over a hundred ancedotal testamonials. 
OP here....

I just ordered a set a four Stillpoints Ultra SS. I decided it was worth trying. Thanks everyone for chiming in
Thyname, I hope you find it was a worthwhile investment. If not hopefully you can get a refund. 
Big ripoff there are much better foot e.g. Magico feet,Marago mystery feet,also Loyd 1 etc.I find they tilt the balance toward the highs which in my system is thin,lean and not at all desirable.This is why there are always many on the used market.

The Isoacoustics Orea Indigo costs ~$60 per footer.

The Isoacoustics Iso-puck costs ~$110 for a set of 4.

The Indigo is marketed to home audio; the Puck (at least according to their website) to the pro audio market.

Am I missing something here, beyond the basic math?

Of course they are snake oil.  Transistors and ICs are not microphonic, and the laser in a CD player is servo-controlled to read accurately (not to mention that the encoding of the data stream on a CD includes error correction). There is some logic to installing vibration isolation on your turntable. And vacuum tubes are microphonic, but rubber isolated tube sockets and not putting your amplifiers in front of the speakers is probably 99% effective for reducing any effects. Save your money and upgrade your speakers, or invest in room correction instead. I wouldn’t have anything to do with a dealer who was pushing this nonsense. 
d2girls "because learned med have told us so. *snickers* "
men are bad - chocolate is good. (snickers bar) 

For @ebm  @twoleftears @phomchick ...

According to many reputable people, not dealers, in various forums, the Stillpoints are different than the other options. Perhaps Ansuz Darkz are similar technology, but they are even more expensive. Even two guys I know locally that have been doing this for years, they had tried all kind of things with no results, until they installed the Stillpoints.

So I decided to give them a shot. I have learned over the years that the best thing to do when in doubt, is to try something. Everything else is just opinions, often without any actual experience. Yes, based on description, and application, in theory these sound very suspicious, as my OP said, but I will soon learn myself.
Only one way to know 
Only one way to know
I wonder if I pick up this cast iron pan that has been in the 400° oven, if it will burn me? Only one way to know.
agree, some things we should not try

but when a friend offered to loan me a set of Mapleshade boards and cones...
Fear and loaning on agon. 😳
It borders on alien possession