Now they're off-desk on their own stands. In short, I've paid ramrod tribute to mechanical jitter if arguably just marginally with my main floorstanders. How would the Polish celestials do across my various interfaces? Decoupling has won more support of late since even high-profile speaker firms like Magico and Wilson introduced their own isolators in lieu of the formerly ubiquitous spike. That pointy thing tracks back to Steve McCormack's long-forgotten Mod Squad. Meanwhile Sven Boenicke's SwingBases have sung in/about isolation for decades already. It's far from a new concept, just one whose market acceptance took its time. In 2022 (yawn!) it's no longer news. Be it IsoAcoustics or Townshend, Audio Physic or Stillpoints, Finite Elemente, Ansuz or Nordost, there's an isolation device to suit divergent aesthetics, budgets, load bearings and outrageous claims. Materials range from composites to aluminium, graphite, titanium, tungsten, viscoelastics and unpronouncables. Strategies include ball bearings, springs, strings, particles, magnets, micro spheres and viscoelastics. In most cases we're told that vibrations turn to heat though no thermometer would flicker at the actual energy conversion involved. No matter the MO…
… the biggest concern must be effectiveness. For a first test, a desktop is ace. You could wear 100% ear plugs and tell a difference. Hands on deck whilst facing the music, either you feel physical vibes; or not. If there are none even with loud bassy fare, effectiveness is clearly good. How much translates once the same isolators face the far stronger forces of a big subwoofer on the floor is the next question. Besides listening, there's the BF test. For that you don't need a best friend, just bare feet. In our first Swiss residence, my system sat on a solid concrete slab. There I learnt that dense flooring can make for good vibration transmissibility. It's like the old Western movie trick of sending Morse code down railroad tracks by beating them out with a rock. So subtract carpet, shoes and socks from the in-between equation. Get your bare feet on the same floor which the speakers and sub sit on. That can be telling. If we feel squat even when bass beats hit massive attack mode, our isolators do their job to the needful tolerance. Many fancy oil-rig contraptions don't. What looks impressive on paper routinely is far less so in action. If you paid big, that smarts. This isn't about hifi jewelry or nerdy tweaks. It's a contract hit on vibrational transfer. Either it's a kill or it ain't. Half dead (cough) is the wrong answer. Get your money back.
If framing it in brutal terms seems distasteful, it's because of one too many clamorous claims. If we want footers as resonance shifters—attenuate some, amplify others—they only work as unpredictable tuning devices. That's a very different far easier job description. If we buy into effective isolation, the task is hard. Blow to smithereens the bridge across which vibrations travel. Easier said than done. Given that, you just knew that I'd ask the bloody question. The perfect murder? Piotr offers M6, M8 or M10 bolts for direct spike replacement. "I actually designed Kepler to replace spikes on speakers. Later it turned out to work well also under components. Now in fact I sell more under gear. For readers, a review under speakers is a really good direction because I designed Kepler for exactly that." Great minds. "Your set of 12 should ship in May." My pen was sharp and ready.
Copernicus speaker cable with violin-shaped acrylic splitters/dampers and silver/palladium/gold conductors in cotton/carbon dielectric with kautschuk seal. Insert shows one of Kepler's red corundum stones facing the weight-bearing bolt.
In the hunt after higher resolution, noise is public enemy #1. And that's what resonance is in the mechanical domain: noise. Wherever we reduce noise by even a little, we always get more signal in turn. It's the fairest trade possible. Here's another editorial on the subject. It introduces the concept of sequenced material coupling. Now a designer bonds/laminates or otherwise couples from very hard to ever softer materials in the direction of desired energy evacuation. Harder materials have faster energy transmissibility. That enables effective entry and dispatch, of material resonance from a component or speaker into the device. Its softer materials then get successively more absorptive. They restrict energy return. So mechanical energies enter then get trapped. Given Piotr's material mix, one suspects that similar thinking may factor for Kepler.
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