Mr. Wang, can you tell us a bit about the theory behind the Terminator? 
A: The design of our unique vacuum structure and high-pressure air cushion of the Terminator T1 base is the same as the structural concept of a semiconductor vacuum chamber. The components are all semiconductor vacuum components. Their purpose is mainly for generating a totally sealed space inside the enclosure so that the trapped air inside cannot get out. What are the benefits of a confined space? Half the vibrational energy will first be offset. The steel shims in the middle of the Terminator T1 creating a vacuum will move up and down for adjustment. When the amount of air in a confined space remains unchanged but the space shrinks due to weight moving the steel shims downward, air density increases and shock transmissibility speed goes up. This pressurized air transmits remaining traces of input shocks to the 88 independent 360° annular vibration-guiding ball points rapidly and uniformly. Whatever residual energy remains is eliminated by the 25 graphite suppressors and inner center column.

Q: You describe your isolation feet as the most complicated in the world. Why did you choose this methodology over other options?
A: Vibration causes waves. Those waves can only be eliminated in two ways: redirection to elsewhere; or absorption. Common solutions for the first are tapered or spherical shapes. In our design, this is accomplished by the 85 coated steel bearings. Absorption takes into account that just like sound waves, mechanical resonance occurs at different wavelengths. Using dissimilar materials, specific wavelengths can be blocked. A single material will only be effective across one specific often very narrow frequency band and thus not be a comprehensive solution. Hence we apply composite materials. For example, our 25 copper-inlay graphite-coated suppression columns block variable wavelengths very effectively.

Q: One of the key differences in your design are interchangeable cores for system tuning. The Terminator 1 is the first isolation product I've come across to offer that route. Upgrades to higher-grade materials like harder more perfectly round bearings to enhance existing design properties I‘m familiar with. Ditto for weight-rated elastomerics. Interchangeable components for the sake of sound tailoring is different however. In the pursuit of absolute isolation, how can two different results be right? Why offer a choice?
A: With the Teflon column, the violin is softer, plucked sounds are gentler, the middle frequencies are more relaxed and mild. As a result, this column is suitable for systems in which the high and mid bands are brighter and more pronounced. As for the graphite column, the sounds are more energetic and their shapes more focused to be suitable for systems whose character is relatively soft and loose. Providing two center columns, the adjustment becomes more flexible. In the future, we plan to offer center columns titanium, copper, aluminium and stainless steel for further flexibility.

This marked the end of my first round of correspondence. The responses put things into a rather interesting context. The Terminator is to maintain consistent isolation properties whilst introducing the ability to slightly modify its own core to fine-tune system matching. Would the design match or exceed the isolation standards of more conventional approaches? Would the introduction of tuning flexibility compromise the anti-resonant properties? These were questions that could only be answered by listening. The test system was comprised of the Apogee Duetta Signature Speakers, Bel Canto 200.4 Evo amplifier, Tortuga Audio preamp, Wyred4Sound DAC-2 and Wyred4Sound Music Server running local files as well as 44.1kHz Tidal streams. Cabling was a full Arkana Physical Research loom as well as Wyred's own I²S cable. Power cords combined Arkana and Audio Arts. The Paradigm Servo 15 subwoofer was switched in and out of the circuit to assess Kat Audio's abilities to deal with heavyweight bass vibrations. EquaRack footers were used under the sub, DAC and preamp to maintain my prior reference point. The Bel Canto amplifier became the prime test bed for the three Terminators, first because it was best suited by weight, second because it historically made bold face the character differences of isolation devices. For comparative analysis, the Weizhi Precision feet as well as EquaRack MF-1 footers did duty under the amp. These are both ambitious solutions which represent benchmarks in my stable not only at their disparate price points but in absolute terms against every contender I have come across. The recording selection was eclectic, all of the customary audiophile reference pieces trotted out plus a healthy dose of general music running the gamut of technical merit. Out of the multitudes, here are a few.

"Blackstar" streamed from David Bowie's final offering eschews pandering to Pop and takes a hard ride into cutting-edge avantgarde. From a technical standpoint, this cut is highly layered and dense, employing an ambitious free jazz background that is both hypnotic and intense. Dynamics have very good gradation but showcase dark mood and flow over big bombastic swings. For artistic merit, Bowie didn't go out on a whimper but big bang. The album is a masterpiece that will prove inaccessible for some and addictive to others. "Mission Rome" and "Breaking in" from The Man from Uncle [Daniel Pemberton, Watertower Music WTM39694] are a pleasant surprise. They manage to capture some of the style and unique instrumentation of the period without resorting to simple imitation or reproduction homage. Recorded at Abbey Road studios, the soundtrack sneaks in harpsichord, cimbalom and the Hammond organ with a superb 60's flair plus a potpourri of styles including Spanish and vocals from the likes of Roberta Flack, Louis Prima and Nina Simone to name a few. It's got an infectious beat with a wide deep soundstage and dimensional instruments for an enjoyable step in different directions.

"Soledad" from Buenos Aires Madrigal: La Chimera [M.A Recordings M063A] is a superb purist recording by the masterful Todd Garfinkle. This cut features huge acoustic space, warm detailed guitar and the expressive vocal talents of Ximena Biondo. Unforced and ungimmicky, this is a lovely reference piece that manages to combine technical and musical artistry. "Sea Interludes: Dawn" from Britten's Orchestra [Michael Stern/Kansas City Symphony Orchestra RR-120-HDCD] is pure Keith Johnson Reference Recordings stuff, parading a big venue, high detail and exceptionally low noise for huge dynamic range that will test the abilities of your system to take on the assault of a full orchestra from a whisper on up. "Jeep Blues" from Jazz at the Pawnshop [Arne Domnerus, FIM LIM UHD071] was a nice Tidal find from the FIM catalog. This chestnut still holds up well as a classic live recording of warm approachable jazz with  the full emotional range of the sax. Originally recorded under the Proprius label in 1976, Winston MA brings his remastering magic to the FIM version. This album is considered by many to be the pinnacle of Jazz recordings. As we proceed, an important point to bear in mind is that any descriptions of the ‘sound' of the isolation devices are, of course, nothing but descriptions of the sound of the Bel Canto amplifier as influenced by different footers for pure cause and effect.

Since the Terminator 1 comes with the option of two different cores, I began with the graphite column and switched to Teflon later in the sessions. Upon first insertion, the Terminators were definitely not on their best behaviour. Words like congealed, undefined and bass heavy appear in my listening notes. I quickly realized that the suggested 2-4 week break-in would be mandatory. I made notes and comparative observations purely as historical reference points and avoided serious listening for the duration. Patience was the order of the day. When I felt that the footers had reached prime time, they were very different beasts. The Terminator 1 in graphite mode played like a testosterone-fueled dynamic gymnast. It was quick throughout the range with definition to spare, showing natural warmth in the acoustic bass range which complemented the subwoofer's floor-rippling subsonics with precise definition on test material. (Remember that the sub was used independent of the amplifier signal to check for level match and isolation.) Dynamics were handled in ideal fashion, running the gamut from low-level nuance to big swing. I heard no compression. This was wide-open throttle with good isolation to keep the presentation nuanced and lively in the face of both volume and sustained infrasonic assaults.