A friend and visitor to my music group just purchased the MinusK. It was a significant improvement over his Vibraplane. What I noticed was a blacker background (less apparent noise) and tighter, deeper bass.
He was not unhappy with the Vibraplane's performance but plagued with pump failures and grew tired of replacing them. I don't know if that's normal or his bad luck.
The only negative with the MinusK, the outer chassis rang loudly tapped with a finger and ANY movement above such as lifting or lowering the CD transport lid, sent the Minus K madly into oscillation.
Once stable from being handled, his CD player benefited greatly, so I guess that's all that matters. I have no experience with it's use with a turntable, but the ringing and jelly like movements would concern me, particularly with an expensive cartridge hanging out there.
It's difficult to have experience with both MinusK and Vibraplane systems in the same room with turntable and digital formats I would think.
I have the same 3 units on my short list. MinusK and Vibraplane were alone on my short list for possible upgrades to my system, with MinusK having a slight edge based on technical information. I was getting ready to order a MinusK unit when I got a call from Brent Rainwater (Brainwater on Audiogon) of Rainwater Audio raving about the Critical Mass System platforms. He claimed that in direct comparison with his Vibraplane, the Critical Mass platform was far superior. My ears perked up because Brent is a long time user of the Vibraplane in his reference quality system and because he has a great pair of ears. He couldn't stop talking about the Critical Mass, and he wasn't even a dealer for it at the time. So I have added the Critical Mass to my short list and will in fact try it first instead of the MinusK. I'll keep you posted. Perhaps, Brent could chime in and share the details of his observations. On the other hand, he may not because he has since become a dealer for Critical Mass.
First , I just picked up Critical Mass as a line for my company as I am in the initial stages of cherry picking lines for my new business Rainwater Audio . I pick lines I want to own in my reference system . My thoughts are that if the lines are good enough to satisfy me then they should appeal to others with good systems as well. My comments should be taken for what you feel they are worth. Having traversed through the minefields of isolation I have come to realize how important vibration control is . I have great respect for many of the companies out there as I personally own nearly a dozen lines that I have in 3 systems at this stage. David Elrod of Elrod power systems is a genuine person in audio and I listen with respect when he speaks. At CES , I went to the Elrod , Joule Electra , Critical Mass room at the Alexis. Both Mr Barber as well as David spoke very highly of Critical Mass isolation platforms. When I settled in back home I researched the company . Joe Lavrencik owner designer was pretty hush hush about the design but offered to let me try 2 Master Reference Platforms for my Conrad Johnson LP 140 monoblocs. Packed very well and beautiful built , I placed them in the system and heard nothing . I had replaced top of the line Sistrum for these. It actually sounded worse than the Sistrum . I called Joe and he said to wait 160 hours for break in . He explained that since the component sits on the :inner: platform , I should expect it to " settle " . I was told that the sonics would swing wildly and I possibly might have to adjust toe in of the sppeakers as a result. I have been to new Orleans and I know VooDoo when I hear it so I chuckled and went to the beach and when returned , there were 200 hours on the stands. That Monday I fired the system up and let it burn for a couple of hours before listening . To say I was astonished at what these platforms had done for my system would be a serious understatement. At this stage , this sounds like a pitch for the company but I am not shilling anything . I will say that the platform turns floor , airborne and component mechanical vibration into heat and dissapates it inside the platform draining it in effect if I understand him correctly . Personally , this is one of the few times I would gladly descend in to "hyperbole hell" and paint myself into a corner . They are that amazing . Every one of you that value isolation platforms owes it to yourself to try these components. He has recently made a significant improvement over earlier designs so I am told and they surpass in performance any previous model he has made up until now. I am sold completely . Brent Rainwater Rainwater Audio .
Simon Yorke recommends a 1 ton block of granite, i assume on a concrete floor. if that's not practical, a wall shelf onto brick or loadbearing wall is excellent, and personally i'd prefer that to active isolation devices like the vibraplane. That said, the Minus K is impressive indeed and a good solution if the table needs to be rack mounted. I'd still like the Minus K to sit on some mass and be decoupled though, so its not having to do too much work.
Thanks for all the responses. It sounds like both MinusK and Critical Mass have been compared to Vibraplane and both bettered it. It doesn't sound like anyone has directly compared MinusK to Critical Mass. I know that Critical Mass has three models and I don't recall where the Master Reference falls in that lineup without going back to the website for a check. I remember that the top of the line Critical Mass was more expensive than the $1800 MinusK. I didn't like hearing that the MinusK bounced all over the place and that the chassis rang. Anyone else have anything to share?
The $1,800 MinusK model (BM-6) you mentioned is their benchmarck. It's vertical and horizontal frequencies are in the neighborhood of the Vibraplane's. Since Brent Rainwater reported that Critical Mass System (CMS) is far superior to the Vibraplane, I was not even considering the BM-6. I was considering their models with better specifications: BM-1, 4, 8, and 10. However, these are much more expensive: all are between $2,300 and $3,950 (with no discounts in sight). According to the Positive Feedback Online review in issue 24, the top of the line Critical Mass' Grand Master is $1,700 (or $1,500 each for 2 or more). The middle of the line Master is $1,250 ($1,100 each for 2 or more) and the benchmark Reference is $950 ($850 each for 2 or more). These more favorable numbers, together with Brent's report persuaded me to start my upgrading with couple of the Grand Masters. If I am fortunate, perhaps I will eventually have an opportunity to compare the Grand Master to MinusK's better models.
you could easily get a cut piece of granite, have them polish it, and put some damping on the bottom. mass is what does it.
I have ordered two Grand Master supports from Critical Mass. I am told it will take 10 to 12 weeks to build them. Don't know if this is typical for every order or if other orders ahead of me are causing a delay. I have been searching for more info on this product but there isn't a lot available yet. I've read everything on their website.
I noticed that Michael Fremer checked out one of the Halcyonics platforms. There doesn't seem to be any flexibility in the Halcyonics line in terms of physical configuration and the prices are outside my budget. I do wish Fremer hadn't been so snitty about the software. It would have been nice to know more about this feature.
The Halcyonics are the only ACTIVE isolation supports of which I am aware.
Where do the HRS platforms fit into this hierarchy?
I made my own out od a Michael Green clamp rack for video applications. With the use of two good cut cinderblocks, some cut 2 X 4's to raise the table, spikes, floor protectors, a level, you are good to go. I support an old TNT MK-3 and you can jump up and down right next to it and will not allow the needle to budge. The Bass is very tight and the mids & highs are 3 dimensional. Mass loading is the key.
Simply put, under my CDP it smokes everything I've used to this point including, Vibraplane, Symposium Ultra/Series2 rollerblocks/tungsten balls, GP Audio Monaco, Solid-Tech Feet of Silence, SRA VR 3.0 Isobases, cones, pucks, sorbothane, etc.
Unlike what AlbertPorter reports, I've not noticed any "wildly" oscillations of the platform nor chassis ringing loudly. Of course there is some movement when you touch a suspended component whether it ba a SOTA or AR t-table, or a component mounted on Rollerblocks. This movement isn't abnormal and is part of the isolation mechanism. It shouldn't be a detractor to the benefits of these units.
In discussing audio applications with MinusK's David Platus, we discussed damping the top plate and he noted it would be easy to do. From my experience, it isn't needed.
The BM-8 isolates down to 0.5 Hz vertical and 1.5 Hz horizontal. Nobody is doing that. The MinusK has at least 8 issued patents related to their technology- not the ubiquitous "patent-pending" designations.
Take a look at their client list. Stanford's nanotachnology lab replaced all their air tables with MinusK as they isolate 10-100 times better.
What I'm hearing is mmore information, not the lower noise floor one hears with a PLC or power cord. I'd hypothesize that source gear is a lot more susceptible to low frequency vibration than we realize. This in turn prevents information from leaving the source and entering the signal path. If it isn't there, you'll never hear it no matter how expensive your other gear is.
This is serious gear. No audiophile psych-babble here.
Given the extent of the improvement this gave my system, the $2300 cost is relatively inexpensive.
"The BM-8 isolates down to 0.5 Hz vertical and 1.5 Hz horizontal. Nobody is doing that."
Well, I wouldn't say nobody.
Let me clarify. Nobody doing it affordably and readily suited to audio application that can show the data, patents. Halcyonics approaches that levle, but the cost is extremely high.
Ain't cost effective for a 177 lb Kuzma TT. :) Still curious about HRS effectiveness in this category.
Sndsrtaud: "Show me the data!" "Show me the patents!" That's pretty good.
Great post. How do you think the MinusK would do under a heavy mass table like the upper Teres line (360)?
Probably pretty good. Their BM-1 line can be configured to handle up to 700 lbs, but cost more like $4K which given the t-table's cost, isn't really out of line. It also can isolate down to 0.5 Hz in both horizontal and vertical planes. This low an isolation level would really get the stress off the cantilever assembly.
If someone has a product indicated as a BM shouldn't it be a 2 rather than a 1???
You still need help.....
Whart: I would pursue products from companies that provide technical performance data, at least from those making claims about resonance control. Resonance/damping curves help a lot, especially based upon the weight rnnge to be used. Vibration control is quantifiable. I would demand it and not accept subjective descriptions which do not specify and guarantee performance. Isolation below 10 Hz and especially below 5 Hz, the lower the better, is very important. Airborne vibrations have negligible effect compared with structural vibrations except when very close to the component being isolated. I certainly am not opposed to the subjective side of things, but when it comes to vibration isolation it's a lot more science than art. I would consider the MinusK products. Halcyonics is another.
And I would consider the trusty Nimbus isolation stand.
Gladstone: I agree! But it can't support a 177 lb. turntable.
You asked about HRS. I'm not familiar with this. Can you provide more info, a website, anything?
Here you go, Willster:
Since starting this thread I have had the opportunity to try a Halcyonics Miro 40 in my system. I have started with it under my Universal player just because it was a lot easier to set it up there. Results are superb. Best bass I've ever had. Excellent clarity. A real eye opening experience. All changes to the sound are positive.