This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

This review first appeared in the July 2013 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read it in its original Polish version here. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own articles, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of High Fidelity or Finite Elemente. - Ed

Reviewer: Wojciech Pacula
CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Air V-edition
Phono preamplifier: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC
Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory Shilabe & Kansui
Preamplifier: Ayon Audio Polaris III Signature with Regenerator power supply
Power amplifier: Soulution 710
Integrated amplifier/headphone amplifier: Leben CS300 XS Custom
Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic + Acoustic Revive custom speaker stand
Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, AKG K701, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro 600Ω vintage, HifiMan HE6
Interconnects: CD/preamp Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, preamp/power amp Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo
Speaker cable: Tara Labs Omega Onyx
Power cables (all equipment): Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300
Power strip: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate
Stand: Base IV custom under all components
Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under CD player, Audio Revive RAF-48 platform under CD player and preamplifier, Pro Audio Bono PAB SE platform under Leben CS300 XS
Review component retail in Poland: €400
The Monolith Audio brand is a little enigmatic. The owners of this Polish company eagerly share information about their design but avoid disclosing much information about their team. "The design of this anti-vibration platform was created by a team led by Tomasz Kamiennik and Arkadiusz Supieta. We hoped to send you a regular production unit but as we didn't manage to start regular production in time had to ship the only one we had at our disposal. As it is pre production it still has some minor flaws which of course won't be the case with the final product. The official name of this platform is anti-vibration platform Monolith Audio, hence no model name. This how we wanted to express that this is our flagship model."

"Several people were involved so it would be difficult to name all even if we tried. Each brought something to the project in their area of expertise. Even if some inputs were quite small, they were still vital for the success of the whole project. The two lead persons were Arkadiusz Supieta and Tomasz Kamiennik. There are two more responsible for the block design and anti-vibration feet who do not wish their names disclosed."

"The previous version you reviewed some time ago was equipped with ceramic alloy feet but their production was so expensive that we decided to replace them with something less costly but equally effective from a sonic perspective. The recipe of our current alloy remains a secret by request of its designer. What we can tell you is that it's no aluminium alloy and that the designer has been active in the audio industry for many years." - Tomasz Kamiennik

Let's summarize what we know. This brand belongs to Polish company Audio, a domestic distributor of brands like Rega, Guru, Neotech and ArtAudioLab but also an OEM manufacturer of wooden parts. In fact the main field of this company's activity is the production of wooden components and raw panels for other manufacturers. Most of their output exports to the most demanding European customers. Audio owns its own CNC machining center, a 3D mould machine and professional dry and paint room. For OEM the company offers speaker enclosures, cases for audio gear and accessories, turntable plinths, platforms, bases and stands, wooden face plates, roll/spray paint finishing including high-gloss piano lacquer.

The platform under review today consists of two wood panels, a thicker heavier one for the top, a lighter thinner one for the base. Both decouple with small balls made of an undisclosed alloy that looks like tungsten carbide if I were to guess. I don't know what the ball races are made of. The company logo doubling as the name of the platform is engraved on the front. Although Mr. Kamiennik declared it a pre-production unit (I needed it delivered quickly to make my review deadline), apart from a few very small details fit and finish were great. This platform is very well made, looks terrific, is really heavy and its impact on the sound very obvious. When you look at it, see how it's made, then evaluate how it impacts the sonics of the device atop it, you'll have to admit that €400 are a real bargain.

Isolator interface. The platform decouples its two layers with three roller balls captured in concave ball races. When the upper board gets mass-loaded by your component, all three bearings attempt to achieve a balanced position. Any input vibrational energies attempting to offset this balance exhaust themselves as heat in the process. This obviously relies on precise placement of the top/bottom ball races to not bind up. Using a roller-ball suspension isn't a new idea. Key here is the material composition of the balls. It evolved over a few years of trial and error and the final choice is a proprietary alloy.

A series of Monolith Audio platforms for Rega gear - the side view shows off the 'reverse' butcher-block construction

Wood species. This bearing interface isn't the only vibration damper of this structure. The other is the choice of wood itself, namely Pine. But it's not any old pine wood but specially selected for tight parallel grain for best damping properties and a better look. Using alternate layers of hard/soft materials (glue and wood) in a vertical stave construction increases self damping whilst the lack of all knots eliminates vibration transfer between layers. Due to the final block structure which works a lot like overdimensioned Plywood, the company achieves a perfectly finished organic product that remains dimensionally stable under various environmental conditions.