I have some Symposium gear in for evaluation and review, and while talking with Peter Bizlewicz, I started wondering about my carpet.
It’s Berber, with a pad, over concrete. “Basement standard decor”.
Gliders slide, sure, but they also don’t necessarily provide a clean mechanical ground. They also maybe-possible rock a bit. Maybe. What they don’t do is couple my speakers to the floor. That can be a good thing and a bad thing, theoretically, but I honestly haven’t noticed a ton of difference between spiking my speakers through the carpet down to the concrete over spiking them to the Herbies. Okay, more accurately, I haven’t noticed any difference.
What I’m thinking about doing is putting something between the speaker and the carpet.
There’s a couple of reasons. One, I think a “non-compliant” surface might allow me to do more interesting stuff with footers — the eFicion came kitted out with a full set of Stillpoints Ultras, and on carpet, they’re pretty much useless. But up on a plinth, that might be a whole different thing. Barry Diament over at Soundkeeper Recordings recommends “floating” speakers using some kind of ball-bearing system (Symposium Acoustics makes a reference grade system, called Rollerblocks, that would take this up several thousand notches). But all of this presupposes you’re using something flat to rest them on — hence, speaker platforms.
See, I was also worried about “ringing”. Peter suggested that I steer away from granite or marble — or even wood (even myrtle) — as all are “hyper-resonant”. Take a big sheet of the whatever it is and hit it with a hammer — if it rings like a bell with a nice, lingering decay, that’s a bad thing. If it produces a dull, muffled “thud”, or better yet, just breaks your knuckles, you’re moving in the right direction. Anyway, resonant materials can add sound back into, a.k.a. “color” the presentation of, devices sitting on them. Okay, this is not necessarily a bad thing — many folks actually like those colorations. People say they like maple, or myrtle for this reason. But it’s not neutral, though — this is artificial, and not what I’m after. Anyway, he suggest MDF, which I looked at on a trip to the local hardware store, but I couldn’t find any sheets there were flat — and at 2’x2′, it’d probably flex. Oh, and it’d look a little bit like ass.
Anyway, I called Jeff Catalano over at High Water Sound because I know he’d used something different than his usual SRA platforms at the Capital Audiofest back in 2010. He laughed and reminded me about edenSound — they’d made the plinth, and he’d loved it. Right on!
I called Dan, told him what I was trying to do, and a week later, my platforms were here.
The “standard” finish is what he calls “milled” — this is a very nifty, very lightly textured surface, and one that I used on my Mapleshade rack — I had my turntable sitting on it, and it was great. Here, I opted for the “bead-blasted” finish, which is a very slick, super-smooth finish that Dan says requires 81 passes to get right. It’s hard to mark (but not impossible), and almost looks “wet” to the touch. It’s also about as desnse and acoustically right as I can get — with out being a bell or being a dead sink. Dan designed some thin-carpet footers to slip under them, too — also made out of the TerraStone. I also got a pair of smaller platforms that I can slap components on (like my Odyssey monoblock amps), at the same time.
I reassembled my loaner eFicion F300 onto my new platforms shortly after they arrived — and immediately noticed a tighter and deeper bass. Hmm! Loving that.