The perfect murder? Or KIH #100? Keeping it honest. That's what the three letters of my 99-episode KIH column for stood for. Here I'll apply the same idea to testing Kepler's efficacy on the tempered glass of my desktop, no listening involved. I simply parked one of Andrew Startsev's SC5 cubes on Piotr's M10 (s)quad, then cued up some porky club beats and rested my open palms on the leather-clad glass. Did I get 100% isolation? Nie, towarzysze. Not so, comrades! Whilst the difference was admirable against zero Kepler—and superior to sundry spare footers I'd tried here earlier before giving up and moving the speakers onto their own stands—engaging the sapphires didn't eliminate all vibrational transfer. It didn't burn that bridge. Some traffic still got through. Naturally a floor with joists, beams and other interruptors is rather better damped than an amorphous piece of 120x60cm hardened glass. In the spirit of KIH, I simply can't say that Kepler is a final solution. It probably gets us 90% there. Over lesser footers which only manage 50%, that's serious progress. It's just no proverbial black hole which mechanical energies enter to be swallowed up in whole, never to be heard from again.

Saying so takes nothing away from the fact that any removal of noise always equals more signal. When a company like GigaWatt or Shunyata suddenly release a power filter that measurably eclipses their prior best, our perfect contentment from before suddenly hears that more is possible. Compare to despair. That's the allure and agony of high-performance audio. Sooner or later, somebody clever always finds ways to milk a bit more performance. On the desktop, Kepler really was the best I've yet tried. But getting the speaker back onto its secluded perch eliminated all mechanical coupling to the glass top. And that Kepler couldn't do yet. Considering how expecting it might be a foul against reality, I had the score 2:0 Poland vs Eire.

After my short game of footsies not under but on the table, the action moved to the main rig. The first audition pulled out the massive Carbide isolators from under the big 2×15" sound|kaos sub. Piotr's went in. Listening plus hands-on-floor testing with the carpet rolled back showed them to be unexpectedly effective, just not quite to the extent of the primarily viscoelastic Texans with their spring action in the vertical axis. Like the upstairs Dynaudio sub, the Swiss Ripol's opposed woofers are inherently force cancelling. That quiets down the enclosure. But it doesn't kill structural coupling to the floor. Minimizing that reaps immediate benefits. Those are obviously relative to how 'dead' or 'live' a floor is. In our case, hi/lo-pass division between mains and sub sits at 80Hz with a 4th-order Linkwitz-Riley active filter. It's the silver box next to the Enleum amp. It expands the sub's cardioid dispersion across a good two octaves. That cancels two room modes and improves the time-domain behavior from much reduced reflections across a broader bandwidth. It's self-explanatory. Whatever you do to this sub to play cleaner becomes more important than if it were merely tasked with handling the first octave. Effective structural decoupling is key. For less than the €270/ea. Carbides and certainly with a far smaller footprint of lower elevation, a €450/4 Kepler set would get one very close to the big boys. 2:1 Poland vs. Eire.

The M6 and M10 hex keys on the Carbides are those provided by Divine Acoustics.

Next I replaced the sub's Kepler set with the stock hard-coupling footers. Hello worst-case scenario for the speakers which now sat on an agitated floor. Their cheap Go-Parts then upgraded with Kepler to isolate what protecting their majority bandwidth from the sub's resonance dump into the wooden floor would reap. If Kepler had come in a close second to the Carbides as sub isolator, it trounced the budget single-ball footers under the speakers. Whilst the sequence of importance—that's about what to do first—clearly begins with the subwoofer, if you don't have one but instead bass-extended mains played back loudly, two sets of Kepler are a very smart and attractive investment. They cost far less than one Ansuz Darkz Z2S at €3'500. 3:1 Poland vs. Eire.