Country of Origin
Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" November 2020 iMac (i5, 256GB SSD, Ventura 13.3, 40GB RAM), 4TB external SSD with Thunderbolt 3, Audirvana Origin, Qobuz Sublime, Singxer SU-6 USB bridge, LHY Audio SW-8 switch, Cen.Grand DSDAC 1.0 Deluxe, Sonnet Pasithea DAC; Active filter: icOn Gradient Box 2; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos, Goldmund/Job 225 on subwoofer; Headamp: Cen.Grand Silver Fox; Phones: HifiMan Susvara, Meze 109 Pro; Loudspeakers: sound|kaos Vox 3awf + sound|kaos DSUB15 on Carbide Audio footers, Audio Physic Codex, Qualio IQ [on loan] Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 6 x 8m with open door behind listening seat
2nd system: Source: Shanling M3 Ultra into Soundaware D300Ref SD transport to COS Engineering D1, iFi iDSD Pro Signature or Denafrips Terminator Plus 12th Anniversary firmware; Preamp/filter: Vinnie Rossie L2 Signature or icOn 4Pro, icOn 4th-order/80Hz active filter; Amplifier: Crayon CFA-1.2; Loudspeakers: MonAcoustic SuperMon Mini or Acelec Model One + Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF, Akiko Audio Corelli; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~3.5 x 8m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win10/64; USB bridge: Singxer SU-2; DAC: legacy Auralic Vega; Head/speaker amp: Enleum AMP-23R; Speakers: EnigmAcoustics Mythology M1; Headphones: Final D-8000
Upstairs headfi system: Source: Shanling M3 Ultra, Soundaware D300Ref; DAC/headamp: iFi iDSD Pro Signature; Headphones: Meze 109 Pro
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe; Loudspeakers: Zu Soul VI; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail: €599/ea.
"A while back I mentioned us developing a new product based on our Carbide Base footer. It's finally ready and called Carbide Base Diamond. It incorporates an additional ball bearing isolator in the top center of the standard footer. This new isolator is audio's first with bearing races machined from solid ceramic then coated in PVD¹ diamond. The high hardness of the raceways resists deformation by the ball bearings which focus pressure into an infinitely small point.
"This can cause subtle indentation even under modest load. The presence of an indentation increases the force required to set a bearing in motion to adversely affect response to low-amplitude vibrations. Sustained contact with an indentation also allows more time for vibrational energies to reflect out of a bearing through the entry point. By minimizing indentations along with other design criteria, the continuously moving bearings in our footer can now better sever the vibrational exit path.
"The upgrade also includes a manganese/copper twin-crystal alloy. This exotic material has a damping capacity over 10 x greater than copper. We use this TwinDamp™ in four critical internal areas [see right]. The ball bearings are zirconia. Would you be willing to try this new footer? Your insight is especially valuable since you have so much experience with our original footer.
"Initially we anticipated the Diamond version primarily under sensitive electronics. We later discovered it also excels with bass thanks to the very low horizontal resonance frequency of the additional isolator. It might be interesting to try under Martin's sound|kaos sub?"
That was Jeffrey Jenkins of Carbide Audio. Jeff is from Texas where everything's bigger. I can relate. Our Zu subwoofer is man height, our sound|kaos sub runs dual 15-inchers, our Artesanía Exoteryc rack weighs too much. After my review of Jeff's first footers, I'd acquired a quad for our big sub. The other review samples forwarded to Martin Gateley of sound|kaos. He duplicated my sterling results and permanently integrated Carbide footers on his oval dipole Liber.8 speaker and Gravitas subwoofers.
At Munich's Hifi Deluxe Show 2022.
Now Jeff's premium version has taken a page out of the Ansuz/Nagra playbook. Ansuz layer up ever harder materials like aluminium titanium nitride, scandium, tungsten and zirconium for their Darkz ball-bearing footers. Nagra's flagship turntable exploits Exium, a manganese/copper alloy developed by French foundry LBI on behalf of their country's aerospace program. In the ball-bearing/raceway game, Leonard Cohen's You want it Darker becomes 'You want it Harder'. Diamond races with zirconia balls are that. Shazam?
¹ "After polishing, our bearing races coat in amorphous diamond using physical vapor deposition. This outer layer has an extreme hardness of up to 6500 HV. PVD diamond also has a low coefficient of friction of about 0.10 or about 1/10th that of polished steel. This further reduces the rolling resistance of the bearings within their raceways.
Let's unpack. If you ever had a boom truck pass you by—literally and figuratively—you heard how woofers bolted to a car chassis turn an entire vehicle into a giant resonator. The same goes for a piano's soundboard or the bodies of stringed instruments. They add acoustic gain and enrich timbre with deliberately resonant tonewood. Why wouldn't we want the same effect between our room and its speakers/subs?
Structural gain is always late. It's behind the beat. It also migrates unhindered into adjacent rooms. That becomes noise pollution for co-dwellers and neighbors and an eventual eviction notice. Meanwhile lateness is an echo trailing the original sound. It overlays and envelops subsequent sounds. It's mud in the tonal domain, blur in the time domain. It's what happens when acoustic generators particularly of long strong wavelengths better known as loud low bass couple to floors then walls. Our home's structure begins to vibrate. Like reflective room gain, that's free amplitude so gratis loudness. If you want boom, voilà.
If it's precision you crave, boom is the last thing you want. The antidote is effective decoupling.
Shy of suspending speakers and subs with a wire harness off a ceiling—or on swing suspensions à la Boenicke or Wellfloat—one now looks at roller-ball footers, viscoelastic isolators or a clever combination of both. Carbide specialize in the combo. The Diamond upgrade leaves Jeff's existing viscoelastic sleeve unchanged but hardens his ball-bearing interface then injects TwinDamp™ alloy into strategic places to increase the footer's self damping. From that we expect an even blacker hole to disappear mechanical vibrations into. We expect a more effective decoupler for our transducers or electronics. By mounting one of the included spikes into the floating center, we insure ideal contact with a component's underside; and can get by with three Carbide bases whilst bypassing our component's four stock footers..
A quad of Carbide Bases disrupts vibrational traffic beneath a Dynaudio S18 sub
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