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From Ireland to Switzerland. After placing my prepaid order, Ardán promptly did their bit with order confirmation and tracking number emails. The stands went airborne April 10th as promised. Upon the parcel's arrival in Geneva it was Friday the 13th (ha!) and Swiss customs duly went into lock-down mode. Clearance delay. Did they think IRA to wait for the sniffer dogs? Not. Ardán's Orla Fullam-Smith contacted the shipper to learn that DHL had overlooked the delivery-duty-paid shipping doc section. On April 19th the shipment finally departed Geneva. Brent Smith offered a small discount via Paypal for "troubles caused" but as this wasn't their fault I politely declined.

With active monitors Ardán's cable management crosses speaker leads over power cords at a proper 90° angle.   Assembly time. "The EVP-M1 is a precision device and each wheel nut needs gentle but firm two-finger tightening only. Please do not use any tightening tools. The clamps around the main barrel loosen to be shifted to the correct width for each speaker and then retightened equidistant to either side of the center assembly. During tightening one needs to rock the clamp gently back and forth to seat it until no more play is left and the clamp is rock solid against the barrel.

"The rubber IsoBase™ comes with loosely attached U-shaped silica-filled pipes. Take a moment to insure these pipes are seated properly before locating the stand's base on top. Don’t be concerned if the silica has settled a little unevenly. You can run your fingers around the pipes to settle them more if you wish. When placing the speaker on the rests it may take a few adjustments to get the fit exactly right but the end result will reward your attention to precision.

With the IsoBase™ perfectly tracking the contours of the immaculately cast stand base, the layout atop your support surface of choice is completely intuitive.

The depth of this assembly will move your speakers forward from where they might have been. In a usual desktop setup that's not bad. It means the screen will be well set back.

If you're crammed for space however, the metal base can easily stick out past the back of a desk by quite some degree. If you're a stickler, simply glue the rubber mat to the base so it won't detach.

One glance at the next four photos tells the sonic story to anyone who can add 1 + 1.

The visually most obvious correction is the orientation of the tweeters. They no longer fired into my sternum with all the significant HF attenuation and its many sad consequences on soundstage precision, tonal balance, transient articulation and treble shimmer this entailed prior. Now the tweeters aimed properly at my ears. That can be fine-tuned with the big knob whilst the speaker are loaded. It's ultra convenient and as close as audiophiles will ever come to auto-adjusting seats in luxury automobiles. Listeners of different height can very quickly accommodate the speakers for their personally appropriate tilt-back angle. Just twirl a knob.

At 13cm Mass Fidelity's Model 1 speakers are unusually narrow. Even so the Ardán stand adapted perfectly. Admittedly the aesthetics of 8cm of thick tube protruding on either side were less than ideal but in fairness the vast majority of speakers will be far broader to require that extent of reach.

Not obvious from the photos are the improvements particularly in upper-bass punch and general bass clarity. Ardán's very effective isolation scheme eliminates the pervasive mud factor which coupling to a resonant table top represents with its many co-chattering denizens. Subtracting that interaction has an immediate and very direct effect. It's most noticeable in the lower octaves but a logical consequence thereof is a clearer midrange especially on complex bass-heavy material.

The upshot is as basic as it is profound. Quality monitor speakers require and deserve proper stands to perform as their makers intended and their specs promise. You won't get fully locked-in image specificity or localization focus unless the path lengths of both speakers are identical and the tweeters aim directly at your ears. You won't get midrange clarity and bass intelligibility until the droning mud resonances from mechanical interactions with the support environment are bled out. All this is audiophile 101.

Apple iPod (160GB, AIFF files), Cambridge Audio iD100, Wyred4Sound mINT - screen shows stands hanging over table edge

It's because as engineered a solution as the EVP-M1 wasn't available before that the extent of before/after differences should still be surprising. Naturally this also depends on the quality of your speakers and electronics—how much potential remained untapped—and how compromised by convenience or lack of attention your setup was. The better your gear and the more bass-capable your speakers, the higher the return from this elevation pro™ stand. At €488/pr it's not appropriate for Electric Avenue specials. With Mass Fidelity's Chinese-made speakers priced at $995/pr, spending half that on a stand might still seem off-kilter. Then you hear the improvements to ask yourself where else applying the same sum would matter as much. You'll come back to this stand very soon if not right away. Ben Webster's speakers were decidedly good enough to fully benefit from the Ardán stand and beg for it once funds allow.

On the subject of begging, Brent Finlayson Smith and John Gallen already have a cheaper version on their books. It will retain all the functionality but save funds on materials and detailing. And though specifics are still shrouded in Irish fog, Ardán Audio's upcoming models—I've seen the full catalogue prior to the lifting of the news embargo—will contain very clever variants to adapt the present recipe to various floor stands. So let's get our Gaelic on. Ardán. It's a higher place that elevates our sound. Ar fheabhas!
Quality of packing: Very good.
Reusability of packing: A few times.
Ease of unpacking/repacking: A cinch.
Condition of component received: Flawless.
Completeness of delivery: Perfect.
Human interactions: Very good.
Pricing: Fair.
Final comments & suggestions: None. This is a completely thought-out product that applies itself to the chosen task with intelligence on the drawing board and brilliant execution on the manufacturing floor. The Italian sub contractor casting the base should be complimented in particular. That structure is a small industrial piece of art.

Ardán Audio website