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With the music selected and the system at the ready, it was time to put theory to musical action. Would the Audio Exklusiv products be able to match the competition or even set a new standard? The strengths that displayed themselves immediately with the footers were articulation and sheer raw resolving power to separate lines and details in uncluttered fashion. If you admire Frank Sinatra’s ability to enunciate every syllable with absolute precision, you would appreciate what the Audio Exklusiv product brought to the table. This was a broadband effect that extended from bass notes to the upper reaches without emphasis in any area. The start and stop of rapid transients had a razor-sharp clarity which enhanced low-level information. The feet lowered the noise floor and added a sense of ease that indicated a lowering of distortion. This stayed true throughout the review regardless of arrangement.

Dynamic behavior showed two distinct parameters during the initial setup beneath the CD player. This combination slightly favored attack over decay. This contributed to a sense of cleanliness and precision but somewhat diminished trailing edge information to create musical events with distinct hard edges. There was also mild compression of larger dynamic swings which combined with the predisposition to transients as increased perceived detail with a slightly subdued dynamic palette. Careful setup minimized the negative aspects and highlighted the positive characteristics.

Subsequent testing under the amplifier showed considerably better results in dynamic agility, exhibiting both a much wider contrast while retaining ability to reveal subtle gradation as well as a low noise floor. Trailing edges had longer and more detailed decays. Optimized the feet emphasized quick changes in dynamic information with superior control in the bass through midbass region as well as a squeaky clean sense of transparency. The d.C.d. base, alone or combined, allowed a greater level of detail to emerge as well as more realistic dynamic scale.

Frequency balance based on a tripod arrangement of the feet prior to the addition of the d.C.d. base was reasonably close to neutral, with a slight bias to the cooler side. Bass had excellent extension, power and control, proving the effectiveness of isolation against subsonic intrusion. The upper midrange was mildly highlighted to emphasize precision and cleanliness. The highs exhibited extension but the character was clean rather than sweet.

Increasing the number of feet from three to four added warmth and density in the lower midrange and upper bass without diminishing the original virtues. The addition of the d.C.d. base added to that progression by pushing the tonal balance into the territory of the Boston Audio TuneBlocks and the EquaRack product but remaining short of the midrange luminosity of the Weizhi Precision. When the German feet were operating at peak capacity, timbre accuracy on instruments was very good and with the exception of a mildly cool midrange showed no frequency favorites. The system displayed overall exceptional fidelity to the quality of the recorded event. Where source material excelled it allowed a clean window back through the playback and recording chain. Think electrostatic openness as a point of perspective.

The soundstage was wide with excellent lateral focus but in my preliminary configuration under the CD player slightly shallow. The progressive additions of extra foot and base increased depth and substantially improved dimensionality. These performance benchmarks were exceeded again with the placement of four feet under the Bel Canto amplifier without the contribution of the base. Instrumental placement and focus now extended into the increased dimensions to create a densely populated and highly specific landscape.

Hall information was handled with an emphasis on transparency. This was true for all applications. Ambient cues appeared only when excited by an interplay with the instrument. As long as orchestral information continued, there was rich acoustic data. When the music stopped, the hall was silent. The effect was intense momentary illumination of instruments and venue against a dark backdrop. Under the CD player, increasing the number of feet plus adding the base progressively increased the quality and quality of hall information but assigned to the amplifier there were again improved results of a larger recording venue with a richer sense of ambience.

The big picture. If the d.C.d. base has received disproportionately less coverage from me, it is largely because it did its job as an isolation platform in unobtrusive fashion. In testing it didn’t impose any character. Instead the base allowed the parade of various feet above them to concentrate their attention on component-induced resonances. Since all of the feet had inherently high quality isolation properties, the benefits of the base were subtle.

The sole situation where the d.C.d. base was tested without outboard feet was under the preamplifier. The Audio Space Reference 2S utilizes its own complex cascaded anti-resonant arrangement. It terminates in high mass and minimal contact points. Adding feet into this equation had the strong potential to work against the designer’s intentions. Here the solitary application of the d.C.d. base seemed logical and proved ideal. The Audio Exklusiv product didn’t interfere with the preamplifier’s own resonance methodology and merely guaranteed less outward interference which resulted in a greater level of clarity, detail and bass control. In every case where the base was introduced, the gains were positive and manifested as better information retrieval and subsequent improved presentation without the addition of intrinsic self character.

The contributions of the d.C.d. feet alone and in combination with the base were dependant on the situation they found themselves in. The most mercurial was under the AudioSpace CDP 8-A. Here the feet displayed distinct setup requirements and a highly cooperative relationship with the added base. In this situation the feet achieved optimal performance when married to the base and showed a disadvantage when used standalone in comparison to contending footers. To check if this situation was symptomatic or unique, the Audio Exklusiv products were relocated.

The EquaRack now replaced the d.C.d. feet under the CD player. After I optimized this arrangement to establish a fresh benchmark, the Audio Exklusiv feet were placed under the Bel Canto amplifier where in turnabout fair play they replaced the EquaRack. This methodology served multiple purposes. It allowed me to gauge the abilities of the d.C.d. feet in different circumstances and pinpoint intrinsic character. It also established how the product behaved as a pass-through device to see if it would allow the character of the preceding chain to emerge unaltered. The new stage was set. How would our German performers react? They shone. In this new environment the d.C.d. feet matched the opposition in terms of isolation and more importantly came to life in those parameters where they had exhibited relative weaknesses. The d.C.d. feet shed the dynamic reticence they had exhibited under the CD player and now evinced considerably wider dynamic contrasts. Combined with their predilection to accentuate hard edges on transients, this now gave music rapid-fire response and dynamic swings with some exuberance.

The open-window aspect of their presentation retained its clarity but also became more critical of engineering manipulations especially on vocal material where it unmasked trickery and paraded purity with a dispassionate eye. Transparency continued to have precedence over solidity although there was substantial improvement in this regard with better forward projection into the soundstage. Lateral focus remained consistent with prior results as well as depth cues, which were slightly shallower than those revealed by the EquaRack footers but exhibited remarkable instrument localization in an open sense of space. The German feet also allowed the amplifier to unravel dense information and simplify it into individual elements. All of these improvements were achieved without the use of the d.C.d. base, proving that in the correct circumstances the feet were exceptionally capable performers in their own right without the need for ancillary support.