Country of Origin


Base Micro

This review first appeared in June 2024 on HifiKnights.com. By request of the manufacturer and permission of the author, it is hereby syndicated to reach a broader audience. All images contained in this piece are the property of HifiKnights or the manufacturer – Ed.

Reviewer: Dawid Grzyb
Transport: Innuos Statement, fidata HFAS1-S10U
DAC: LampizatOr Pacific (KR Audio T-100 / Living Voice 300B + KR Audio 5U4G Ltd. Ed.)
USB components: iFi audio Mercury3.0
Network: Fidelizer EtherStream, Linksys WRT160N
Preamplifier: Trilogy 915R, Thöress DFP
Amplifier: Trilogy 995R, FirstWatt F7, Enleum AMP-23R
Speakers: Boenicke Audio W11 SE+, sound|kaos Vox 3afw
Headphones: HifiMan Susvara
Interconnects: LessLoss Entropic Process C-MARC, Boenicke Audio IC3 CG
Speaker cables: Boenicke Audio S3, LessLoss C-MARC
Speaker signal conditioning: LessLoss Firewall for Loudspeakers, Boenicke ComDev
Anti-vibration conditioning: 12x Carbide Audio Carbide Base under DAC, preamp and speakers
Power delivery: Gigawatt PC-3 SE EVO+/LC-3 EVO, LessLoss C-MARC, LessLoss Entropic Process C-MARC, Boenicke Audio Power Gate, ISOL-8 Prometheus
Equipment rack: Franc Audio Accesories Wood Block Rack 1+3
Music: NativeDSD
Retail prices of reviewed components in EU (incl. VAT): Micro as reviewed: €471/ea.; Base Micro (standard/Sapphire/Diamond): €199/299/499/ea.; Nano insert (Sapphire/Diamond): €50/150/ea., TwinDamp bullets: €69/3; TwinDamp spikes: €24/ea.; Stainless steel spikes: €7/ea.; Additional Micro ViscoRings: €19/3

Landmines, downsized. Carbide Audio are known for their Base isolation footers which combine elastomers and ball bearings inside very large bodies. Now that lineup features two noticeably smaller variants. The Carbide Base Micro is this review's subject. In a September 2023 review I wrote how some audio manufacturers focus on expanding their current roster while others prefer to perfect an existing design. Back then Carbide Audio pursued the second path. Fast forward less than a year and that's no longer the case. Today their portfolio accommodates three models with several upgrade options for each. Prior to tackling the new arrivals, let's recap the company's track record. In December 2021 I sampled the original Carbide Base here. Two springs later Srajan published his review of the Diamond version as did I. We can't know how useful these articles were to Carbide Audio founder Jeffrey Jenkins. The responses to reviews are difficult to measure by reviewers after all. With his distributor and dealer list rather busy now, I still like to think that our reports might have contributed positively. Then again, Carbide Bases are highly effective, nicely made and internally elaborate accessories which don't break the bank but tick all relevant boxes. Their maker also doesn't shy away from measurements to explain why and how they work. That builds confidence among shoppers. So Jeffrey Jenkins deserves success for all the right reasons.

Base and Base Micro.

They say that in Texas, everything's bigger. Carbide's Bases made that point by being the largest among their kind I've seen yet [upper left]. If you consider these anti-vibration landmines too colossal, their substantial round milled bodies are key to keep a critical internal viscoelastic sleeve in place. To remain effective, these tall thin rubbery inserts have to compress without bulging outward. Their sizeable enclosures enable one action and prevent the other. Form follows function in unusually large objects you don't want to step on. Somewhere during my experiments with Carbide's best efforts I wondered about their maker's next step. At that time he already had two brand new products in late R&D. By March 2024 Srajan got his hands and ears on that lot's first model named Nano. This smallest Carbide affair is based on just one ball bearing without any viscoelastic support. The second newcomer baptized Base Micro nicely fills the sizing gap between the firm's tiniest and largest footers but there's far more to it. To tell that story, a squad of six Base Micro with some extras recently arrived in Warsaw.

All Carbide Audio Bases are patent-pending hybrid designs which combine soft viscoelastic inserts dubbed ViscoRings and rigid ceramic ball bearings between hardened polished races. The latter decoupling method is for horizontal isolation and nothing new per se. The former is built upon a rubbery component formed in a very low shape factor to behave like a spring with both a low spring rate and low resonant frequency which in turn provides vertical isolation particularly useful to clean up our low bass. Although today's Base Micro is fundamentally the same soft/hard type, it's noticeably more compact due to using three small Visco nubs instead of one large ring. Less viscoelastic material translates to reduced damping compared to the larger sibling but they're still close. Three tiny blue, black or red viscoelastic cylinders installed in each Micro support loads up to 3.4, 6.8 and 19.3kg respectively and work best near their upper weight limit. It's simple math. A 10kg DAC will be happy atop three Micro with blue inserts while their black counterparts will float an amp twice that weight.

The largest Carbide Base Diamond features bits machined from a manganese-copper aka Mn-Cu alloy dubbed TwinDamp™ [Nagra use a very similar alloy under the tradename Exium in their flagship turntable – Ed.] It's among the highest-damping such materials and 10 x more effictive than pure copper. Although TwinDamp dissipates vibrations to heat just like an elastomer, it forces these tiny movements to occur instantaneously rather than over a few milliseconds. TwinDamp's quicker settling time makes it a faster more reactive material though not quite as efficient on damping as inherently lossy viscoelastics so it's not as effective under large loudspeakers. TwinDamp's lesser vertical isolation is due to its lack of mechanical compliance mandatory for isolating out-of-phase movements. This is a very stiff hard alloy after all but its responsiveness still a major asset. It behaves similar to elastomers on horizontal isolation and how it damps. When a ViscoRing compresses in response to a vibration, friction between the molecular bonds converts kinetic energy to heat. TwinDamp nets the same result via friction between the boundaries of its twin-crystal matrix.

If the available color-coded Micro nubs don't cover your load needs, hard TwinDamp bullets (€69/3) are a fourth radically different option that elevates the load limit to 158kg per puck and even promises desirable sonic perks under lighter loads. My loaner set came with these rigid inserts. In the package also were several red cylinders for reference and 18 optional TwinDamp spikes at €24/ea. A single Micro wants three spikes so €72 extra. If that's too steep, stainless steel equivalents are €7/ea. Although a circular ridge machined on Micro's height-adjustable base acts like a quasi spike, many of Jeffrey's customers report better sound with their Micro arsenal on spikes. He was interested in what I might say on the matter.