How close comes Martin's final footware to his first drawings? What's the deal with wire suspension in the first place? The three f-words freedom from friction. Roller-ball isolators are inherently challenged by loads causing micro indentations in their raceways since the weight from above concentrates on very small contact points. Indentations oppose free lateral motion of such devices hence their MO. It's why Carbide's best uses ceramic races coated in vapor-deposited synthetic diamond and zirconia bearings. In this game, hardness is costly materials king. Wire suspension bypasses the contact-patch challenge but exploits the same pendulum principle of lateral freedom of motion. Unlike viscoelastics, wire suspensions require no spring-rate matching with the load. The only consideration is max weight rating. Martin's earlier graphic seemed to promise 50kg per wire. With three per, that'd make a footer quad good for—swallow hard!—600kg. That's half a small car. Even at 50kg per footer, 4/200kg would still cover 99% of prospective scenarios. Small but mighty? It's a super-effective if rare approach in our sector. Wellfoat of Japan are arguably deepest into applying wire suspension. Now our small Swiss boutique makes its membership bid to this most exclusive club.

With the middle footer's top pulled up, we see the upper ends of the weight-bearing dumbbells which pull down as the top plate pushes down.

Be it Magico or Wilson, top speaker brands have joined the post-spike era whose watchword is isolation not coupling. It's why both brands have engineered their own constrained-layer footer solutions. In the broader accessories market, Ansuz, Arya, Finite Elemente, Grand Prix Audio, Hifistay and IsoAcoustics make more popular isolation footers. All of them address the reality that to perform best, our primary hifi hardware needs a strong foundation of grounding, power delivery and resonance attenuation. I call these areas the shadow realms because they're off the map of the average shopper who finds chasing a glossy new speaker or über amplifier far more appealing.

Unfortunately that only invokes the law of diminishing returns. What's more, upgrades are based on never having heard what our original gear is truly capable of. In my experience, a sorted foundation has even budget gear perform well past its presumed station. And whatever upgrades we make to such gear now benefits from the law of increasing returns where small improvements get bigger because they're not held back by the unattended stuff in the shadow realms. Pursuing better lenses or a camera with larger sensor and higher pixel count is inherently limited when we've not yet bothered with a proper tripod and fill flash. Acoustic speaker/room interactions are notoriously unpredictable and cause for grave nonlinearities in the amplitude and time domains. Most listeners who rent even own simply won't tolerate acoustic treatments big enough to improve their bass or room reverb. Here it's important to know that some apparently acoustic effects are really caused by structural coupling. Those can be mitigated or eradicated with purpose-engineered isolation footers.

That's not voicing a system. That's reducing distortion. Lower distortion, often synonymous with less noise, opens doors to more effective system voicing with sundry performance tweaks which can finally shine not choke. So there's a sequence to building a mature hifi. Everything matters. Some of it just matters more; or must be sorted before another thing can step forward and be counted. Getting the most from our discretionary hifi funds thus depends on a proper succession of to-do items. In my book, proper resonance control ought to definitely precede our third attempt at an amp or speaker choice. I lost my own resonance-control cherry to Grand Prix Audio's Monaco rack which today has become an Artesanía Exoteryc double-wide downstairs and two 2-up Hifistay Mythology Transform racks upstairs. More Hifistay isolators sit beneath the downstairs speakers where Boenicke's SwingBase floats the sub. Upstairs a smaller 2×9½" Dynaudio sub sits on recently upgraded Carbide Base Diamond and Divine Kepler footers. Other foundational aspects are served up by Akiko, Furutech, LessLoss and Vibex power delivery and passive noise-filter solutions. I did try CAD grounding boxes but didn't find them significant. We all have limits of hearing, finances and conceptual sympathies. I stop at classic acoustic room treatments on walls or floor. All I tolerate are Franck Tchang's mysterious resonators. When it comes to playing footsies, my racks eliminate needing any specialized isolators under components. The rest of the gear is kitted out already. Going into this gig, the Vibra 68's primary appeal was packing the efficacy of my very best isolators into far smaller dimensions. That alone would be huge, anything more gigantic gravy.

Aside from two subs, I had other scenarios which might just react surprised. After all, a recent Base Diamond review had elicited unexpected results under a lightweight DAC already on the top shelf of a Hifistay multi-stage isolation rack. It simply looked like tractor tyres on a Mini. Clunky. Meanwhile a trio of Vibra 68 would sit just right. I was all set to scrutinize a set of strapping Swiss suspender samples.