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This review first appeared in the July 2013 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read it in its original Polish version here. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own articles, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of High Fidelity or Finite Elemente. - Ed

Reviewer: Wojciech Pacula
CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Air V-edition
Phono preamplifier: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC
Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory Shilabe & Kansui
Preamplifier: Ayon Audio Polaris III Signature with Regenerator power supply
Power amplifier: Soulution 710
Integrated amplifier/headphone amplifier: Leben CS300 XS Custom
Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic + Acoustic Revive custom speaker stand
Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, AKG K701, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro 600Ω vintage, HifiMan HE6
Interconnects: CD/preamp Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, preamp/power amp Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo
Speaker cable: Tara Labs Omega Onyx
Power cables (all equipment): Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300
Power strip: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate
Stand: Base IV custom under all components
Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under CD player, Audio Revive RAF-48 platform under CD player and preamplifier, Pro Audio Bono PAB SE platform under Leben CS300 XS
Review component retail in Poland: 6640zł platform + 2840zł set/4 Cera footers + 1400zł resonator

When it comes to perfectionist audio or audiophilia, opinions of outsiders—who don’t own any high-end hifi or sensibly set-up audio; don't have show exposure and usually don’t know the sound of live instruments and how it translates to recording techniques—degenerate badly. In most other industries such people acknowledge the value of tests and experiments which complement or even modify existing theories to advance the so-called state of knowledge. With audio however they wear blinders. They repeat ad nauseam that such and such theory does not predict and renders impossible certain results claimed in reviews. They often try to cement their opinion with specific arguments from textbook theory or at least their limited armchair understanding of it.

In audio too we constantly challenge existing knowledge and push its boundaries outward. Audiophilia is not about breaking the laws of Physics. It’s about a better understanding and interpretation of how those laws apply (and how we may apply them more effectively). If we were to believe theories and those engineers who don't actually listen to music but go solely by their sacred graphs, we'd still be listening to hifi powered by lamp cord built only on transistors or chips with deep negative feedback and multiple stages to correct each other all housed in substandard enclosures and placed on perhaps cardboard. We would listen to MP3 files since the ABX or double-blind tests conducted at the AES meetings on a representative group of industry people showed that no statistically significant difference exists between MP3 and CD.

Precious theory—that whatever matters sonically has already been measured decades ago—would remain intact. We'd simply forget about genuine playback at home and save a bundle. What caused this state of affairs? Why is it that people who should have an open mind, should be curious and thirsty for new answers are locked in their cage of idiotic denial which rejects all challenges to their mental comfort zone? Experience provides a clear answer. Ignorance. Although the basic ear tools of people deaf to the results of direct audition are the same, there's lack of training and holes in education and insight to interpret what's heard. This is perfectly illustrated by Finite Elemente.

On this German manufacturer’s website we find the following: "For the first time a hifi rack designer is using scientifically based arguments in his fight against sound-distorting resonances." It’s one of few examples proving that it’s possible indeed to verify and confirm the effectiveness (or not) of anti-vibration racks, feet and other accessories that convert input kinetic energies into output heat. Here Finite Elemente joined forces with scientists from the Fachhochschule Dortmund (University of Applied Sciences, Dortmund) to have its products measured, optimized and provide theoretical background in a document entitled Sound optimization of hifi racks using resonator technology (here). I know of two other makers which equally effectively use available theoretical knowledge by collaborating with technical universities and high-tech companies: Acoustic Revive from Japan and VertexAQ from the UK. [Companies like Grand Prix Audio, Silent Running and Harmonic Resolution Systems have always had the resources to perform the same rigorous type of measurements in-house and have designed their equipment accordingly for already many years. Finite Elemente's claim of 'first' is thus rather ill-informed – Ed].