Of course it's a sales pitch, he's in business to sell things.
33 responses Add your response
I've bought and used their products as follows:
(i) The Mapleshafe Samson audio equipment rack/stand along with their brass footers. It/they worked relatively well, particularly for the CDP. I sold it cuz a dealer recommended custom made audio stand based on the Naim Fraim concept outperformed it. In the new setup there are no brass footers either as it sits on glass shelves. In fairness, the new audio stand has much much more expensive hardware sitting on it (cdp and integrated amp) in my new kit . I sam guessing that the higher up the $$ food chain one goes, the effects (and sensitivities) of ALL accesssories and tweaks become more dramatic.
(ii) I also bought their kiln-dried maple 4 inch platform with brass footers for the new CDP to sit on. It worked relatively well also; but again, the custom modded rack above outperformed it again. I now use it and the footers as an isolation base for my "B" kit.
I second what JI35 Jmcgrogan2 say. I use Excalibur analog IC's (balanced) and the Double Helix digital IC's which I'm not giving up any time soon. I use 2 of the Double Helix IC's since I run one of them out from my Oppo 103 transport to a DIP Combo and then the other to the DAC. In this app there was absolutely no audible insertion loss or timing delay in using the pair of them vs just using a single wire from transport to DAC. The thing is that every other wires I've tried that with proved to have a decrease in resolution when using 2 of them, but not with the DH's. I also use and like the AC duplex. From my dealings with Pierre I get the impression that they focus as much as most, or more, on improving sound whether by high-tech or low-tech means - higher fi being the goal. Not all companies bother with that, so focused they are on trying to sell a single range of products. But, Mapleshade strikes me as the real deal. Not everything they make is the best in each category or anything, but all of their products (and tips and ideas) I have tried have proven very worthwhile to me. On Pierre's advice, I (carefully) removed the diffraction-inducing "phase lenses" on my titanium dome tweeters. Yes, there was slightly more HF beaming, but this was easily fixed completely by not toeing in the speakers. The improvement in soundstaging, HF clarity and dynamics, air and imaging was immediately apparent - and it really was twice as good as before.
Would I believe their claim that, say, for example, their powerstrip conditioner outperforms a Power Plant Premier? Absofreakinlutely! Although, a lot of that may be that the PPP is now starting to show it's age as more recent power solutions, Mapleshade included, can do the job without the penalty in dynamics the PS Audio gear has always imposed. Not ALL of them, but increasingly more and more.
But, despite (or even because of, sometimes) all their somewhat off-the-wall, or otherwise weird high-tech approaches, I'm sold on Mapleshade as a viable, rationally approached resource for discerning audiophiles. For me it's been one of the few such companies like that out there, but I've come to trust them implicitly. Regards. John
I use their Double Helix speaker cables and flatwire ICs as well and can't say it any better than Ivan. I've tried other, more expensive cabling and came back to the Mapleshades.
After reading what Ivan said about Pierres power strip, I just may dig it out and give it a try to see if it improves anything.
Folk should know that he was head of the design team on the F-16 Tomcat and A-10 Warthog and got in the secretary of wars hair over supply line efficiency in Europe (Pierre was right). Music was his second passion and his recordings are pretty darn good as well.
All the best,
I am looking at both the double helix speaker cables and the strange looking interconnects. For the speaker cables, it seems they are bare wire only - no bannas or spades? I was wondering how they compare to dmn and anti cables. I am looking for strong and clear bass and lower mids, not too much focus on highs since my room and setup emphasize the treble. Also, on the interconnects, they look irresistible to cats and pretty delicate in terms of just a plastic bag and a thin wire. Any advice on this?
I'm generally skeptical, but I own many of his products and CD's. I have been very satisfied with all of them (power conditioner, ic's, speaker wire and equipment rack). In particular, the modified Scott 222c I bought some time ago, is extraordinary. I own several expensive amps, including Leben and LFD and the Scott performs with the best of them.
sales pitch? you're kidding right? Anyway, after doing my homework (price being a factor, isn't it always?) I decided on having a rack built to my exact needs. Chris, the owner of Timbernation is a good guy and an amazing craftsman. Very reasonalbe prices and FREE delivery. Audiopoints and Herbies add a major price tag to the cost of my three shelf rack, but there is no way getting around that if you want Chris to build your rack. I had the Audiopoints drop shipped to Timbernation. I love the look and he will do the shelves to any size/thickness you want. I went with 2 inches thick, but four would have been better, but not with this wife.
Taters, yes I was thinking of the Stratum, but even Mapleshade's basic powerstrips can offer excellent dynamics basically because they don't take anything away from the wattage coming from the wall, whereas the PPP necesarrily imposes its own wattage limit. Macrodynamics can often be improved with the PPP simply by not using it and going straight to the wall. Many other conditioners also impose a dynamic restriction (check forums). The better ones have now gotten around this, but for better sound even than that, I would think the Stratum would be a great way to go. I myself use Alan Maher Design gear for that and I'm more than pleased, but if I weren't using it, I know I'd be making a beeline straight for Mapleshade.
Pierre is likely has been one of the few pushing maple for v.c. partly because he has championed using the right kind of maple: soft, yellow (not hard, white - which is more commonly used in construction and for wood products) maple that has been air-dried (not kiln-dried as is the near-universal practice) for a couple years. There are likely not many other makers that are willing to go to these lengths for the customer, let alone at the prices Pierre is charging. Maple is not the only audiophile-friendly wood specie though. American black walnut and myrtle are known to be excellent too.
Skoczylas, Pierre HATES redundancy in all things (after all, he worked for the government didn't he?) so if he can't redesign connectors to be more sonically streamlined then he will seek to do away with them and I would agree with him that unterminated speaker wires sound best (audio-wise, he and I are both minimalists).
But, while I'm at it, Nonoise wrote: "Folk should know that he was head of the design team on the F-16 Tomcat and A-10 Warthog and got in the secretary of wars hair over supply line efficiency in Europe (Pierre was right)". Indeed he was. Evidently there was the right way, the wrong way, the Army way and Pierre's way(!)...no doubt Pierre's was best!
I change things around every now and then and so far (knock on wood) none of the IC's have broken...yet (although I've always tried to be careful with them)...can't answer for your cats, though...
The Mapleshade sound tends to be very clear, fast, tight and extended across the board with excellent soundstaging, PRAT and dynamics.
I would not recommend the Double Helix for you based on this comment. The DH will NOT roll off the high's for you, so you would probably be better suited looking for cables that will attenuate the treble for you. Many out there will, Cardas, MIT, Monster, just to name a few. You may even be happy with Anti-cables or Morrow, pretty much any plain copper cable.
The Clearview are silver plated copper, and tend to be more revealing, but they are not for everyone.
I know you are largely talking about Mapleshade's non-CD items... but the Mapleshade CDs, while recorded well(generally well) are of third-rate music mostly and thus the Mapleshade CDs typify the audiophile problem... nice sounding... but music not worth listening to. Most audiophiles have a CD from mapleshade (or two)... and never play them.
Just wanted to chime in on trying my very old Mapleshade powerstrip. My amp is already straight into the wall so all I had to do was A/B my CDP into the Brick Wall surge protector and then into the Mapleshade powerstrip. After a dozen times it was clear to these ears that the Mapleshade PS was like going straight into the wall. Using the Brick Wall surge protector added more than a hint of smoke or fuzz, enough to obscure some detail which added a false sense of body or heft. That, and with the clearing up of details a bit there is a touch more microdynamics present with more air and extension. I guess that's to be expected but it's nice to hear it now.
Just goes to show that even a surge protector can dirty up the sound somewhat at the cost of protection, no matter what they claim. I guess I'm better off getting a longer power cord but for now I'm a bit impressed at what that strange looking power strip can do for keeping things cleaner sounding.
All the best,
Good value line as high end goes. No shortage of marketing and/or confidence or opinion in their products from Pierre. He's a good out of the box thinker. My only compliant would be he can be quick to jump to conclusions where his products are involved. Chalk that up to marketing/salesmanship. Well thought out products mostly nonetheless that I would consider if needed. Mapleshade recordings are a real sonic treat on a good system! The sound in the Mapleshade room at Capital Audio Fest last summer was below average though nonetheless. Tweaks can only get you so far.....
True. His methods are quite good are as his recordings but they're not for everyone. I don't think it would take much searching to find recordings he could have done better but such is the nature of the business.
On an aside and in keeping with my earlier post, taking my CDP off the surge protector and now off the Mapleshade power strip, going directly off the wall not only improved what I mentioned but now the dynamics are off the scale. I can't believe how restricting that surge protector was. I couldn't detect any difference when I had the Zu Mission ICs and speaker cable but with the Mapleshade ICs and Double Helix it would be readily apparent to a deaf person.
My Burson integrated has a stepped attenuator with about 2db steps between clicks and I didn't realize that I was using the lower setting of two that I normally use after going straight to the wall. Detail and dynamics were so much improved that at the lower setting I was hearing and enjoying everything as much as with the higher setting the old way.
With the higher setting comes an in your face presentation akin to sitting in the orchestra pit. There is just so much more presence, tactile feel, air and extension.
I know that amps benefit from better power but I thought that CDPs and the like didn't as much. This is from what I've read here and from my own experience but all the ingredients must coalesce to achieve great sound and the Mapleshade ICs and speaker cables do it for me, in my system, now that I've finally figured out the power side of the equation. Any other cables and I wouldn't be hearing what I'm am now.
And loving it. Thanks, Ivan, for mentioning the power strip. I had forgotten I had it and wouldn't have tried it again if it wasn't for you post.
All the best,
Nonoise, sorry, away from the computer for a while...great to see your having success...but, just so I'm clear on it, are you saying that, in your case, the Mapleshade powerstrip was better than the wall, or not better than the wall?? Just curious is all. Agree with you about Pierre's recording skills. He's very good. Also I think you're right about how revealing his cables (and even the Mapleshade sound altogether) is...more so, maybe, than most brands. Regards. John
Recently added the Mapleshade Excalibur IC's to my system. My tubed phono stage has a pretty high output impedence, and my cables have all been Spectral/MIT, good buys used, but favor low impedence SS gear. Out of the box, the bass perfromace was immediate. Over hours, I just couldn't get away from my LP's until my wife came down to check on me. Was listening to Simon/Garfunkel Concert in central park.
Wife, who has never cared about fidelity sat down, and remarked, it's like a front row seat. For 240 dollars, excellent upgrade and highly recommended.
John, Sorry I missed your post and that it took so long to get back to you. After experimenting with the power strip in and out of the loop, I found that the CDP sounded slightly better directly into the wall.
If I had to use it to satisfy the need to accommodate more devices, I wouldn't hesitate to use it, but I had another outlet close enough to use for my CDP. It hasn't that clean and tidy look (visually suspended across the side of the room) but I never cared about that.
All the best,