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Reviewer: Glen Wagenknecht
Financial Interests: click here
Source: Luxman Bird modified by Audio Upgrades to be a now tube-less, zero oversampling machine with integral volume control
Amplifier: Bel Canto 200.4
Speakers: Apogee Duetta Signature, Paradigm Servo 15 subwoofer
Cables: Signal Cable Silver Reference interconnects and speaker cables, Audio Art SE cable loom
Resonance Control: Solid Tech, EquaRack, Superspikes and Black Diamond, Weizhi Precision Gold Glory footers, Boston Audio TuneBlock2 footers
Powerline conditioning: Noise Destroyer power filtration
Room size: 12' x 17'
Review Component Retail: $100/ea. Viscoelastic pellets sell separately for a $10/bag of 10

Audio class suspension: It is surprising that the family of viscoelastomers is not applied more often in audiophile resonance control devices. They are the material of choice in industrial applications from engine mounts to stealth submarines. They are highly effective in preventing unwanted vibration from interacting with materials around them as well as providing inherently good damping. Viscoelastomers can yield extraordinary results if applied properly. Doing it properly however has been the challenge that most audiophile designers shied away from.

Joe Ciulla of EquaRack is one of the few to accept that challenge. It has been his adventure to perfect and champion the elastomeric resonance control solution. Following the introduction of his highly successful isolation rack, he decided to concentrate on a compact product which would offer similar results but could be applied to existing setups. Thus the MF-1 footer was born. The product line has grown to include a shorter version of the original footers for those with height issues and speaker footers. EquaRack has chosen the Internet-direct sales model but is also available through select dealers.

Joe Ciulla believes that an effective audiophile resonance control device must meet both the criteria of isolation and damping and differentiates between the two as follows: "Isolation refers to the process of preventing (minimizing) externally generated vibratory energy from reaching a structure or component. Damping is the dissipation of energy in a vibrating structure or component." He states that "…the footers are not tweaks or tuning devices. They are not additive devices that shift tonal balance or exaggerate certain frequencies. Instead, they are subtractive because they minimize degrading vibratory energy."

At the core of his design is the use of viscoelastic pellets which are effective in a very specific weight range. The correct number of pellets will yield a suspension in the same manner as tuning a spring suspension on a turntable does. For an elastomer-based suspension to work, it must be weight specific. EquaRack’s product can be custom tailored to match the requirements of almost any component.

That high level of adaptability is a strength of the design but places a necessary responsibility on the purchaser to customize the assembly of the feet. Mr. Ciulla is upfront about this and gives extremely detailed instructions with diagrams on how to achieve optimal results.

The EquaRack MF-1 footers come well protected. The components are nestled in cut-outs in a block of sponge foam and individually bagged. Included are machined anodized aluminum top and bottom pieces for each foot, a bag of viscoelastic pellets and a plastic alignment sleeve. The manual is e-mailed to the customer as a PDF attachment. "The footer has an array of round counter bores in the top surface of its base, into which the user places from (1) to (16) viscoelastic pellets depending upon the weight to be supported by the footer. A single viscoelastic pellet has a maximum recommended weight capacity of 3lbs, and each footer can accept up to 16 pellets, therefore each footer has a weight capacity of 48lbs. + a 5% margin = 50lbs. Higher loading is possible but will result in declining effectiveness and durability of the viscoelastic pellets…the pellets will provide undiminished performance for at least 5 years and likely much longer if they are not significantly overloaded."

The underside of the aluminum top piece has a set of recessed machined rings to secure the pellets. Both top and bass have a shiny viscoelastic mat or coupler fitted into a recess, where they make contact with the shelf or component. This adds damping. Assembled, the dimensions of the EquaRack MF-1 Footer are 1.320" height with a diameter of 1.840".