Confessions of an Audiophile Junky-I Got Center Stage With Pitch Perfect Sound

steve williams

Site Founder,Co- Owner, Adminisrator
Hi micro

I am just seeing this.

You put forth some interesting postulates all of which I have found to be exactly the same in my system.

1. I also commented that initially the volume in my system had to be turned down but after the feet had settled in, I also found that best sonic effects were to turn the gain control back to where I customarily listen to music. In all 4 occasions in which I inserted the CS feet into my system I had to turn the gain control down initially only to go back to my normal listening levels

2. Like you I wonder if there is a different settle in time with different shelves. Now with so many users in the field we are starting to sense that indeed different shelf types will affect the settle in time

3. Finally you have discovered something that I have wondered myself but have not had sufficient product in my hands (as they fly out the door quicker than I receive them) and that is the efficacy of CS feet under power supplies. I have 6 power supplies in my system and never had 28 feet extra at any one time to place them in my system. There was never a doubt in my mind however to get a new data point from yourself confirming that is most appreciated.

I receive a large new shipment of the feet later this week and should have sufficient product to get them under my power supplies.

The other thing about which I totally agree is that the effect of these in one's system is indeed cumulative and yes just as you suggest, they are very addicting
 
Jun 5, 2010
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I listened again to my main system today, and Holy Smokes!! The resolution was simply fantastic! The effect on me was awe striking and mesmerizing. The focus I have listening is so enhanced, and somehow it seems that the music is also focused on me, sucking me in, and I felt like I was in my own world. When "Fever" starts, I had always thought that the orchestra begins, stops, then the solo trumpet answers, stops, then orchestra again. Apparently, the orchestra continuously plays very softly when the solo trumpet enters, the trumpets fades and the orchestra gets louder, then they stop for a moment before the stage is turned over to the finger snappers, double bass player and Elvis. There is more than one finger snapper and they dance around stage center with Elvis. I must have repeated this song for one hour figuring out how it was patched together and amazed at the skill level of the engineers who were able to seamlessly arrange everything together. Each time I repeated the song, I followed a different player or group of players. Apparently again, this was at least two totally independently recorded sessions that were deconstructed and reconstructed. This level of resolution is totally new in my experience and I am already addicted to this level of resolution. The effect of this resolution is so compelling I can really feel the musicians communicating to me; this feels beyond being in the venue watching them perform. This feels like the other audiences have disappeared and there's just me and the musicians and I am immersed in the music. This is the second product that Steve has guided me to that I really love. His credibility with me keeps growing. I will be ordering more of these footers to install on the other components along my chain. If it made this much difference on only the source components, I really want to learn what more can do. I have not listened to the other source components on the main system yet, nor to my bedroom system yet, but what I just heard is convincing enough. I will be very surprised if I will not like the effect on my other source in the main system or bedroom system. For now, I will listen to other recordings on this chain. Incidentally, the source I listened to is an Audio Research CD 7. I will also keep my mind open in case I am underwhelmed when I listen to my other sources.
 
Jun 5, 2010
826
0
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Tonight, I turned on my bedroom system. I'm not listening to Elvis anymore. I put on Kyung Wha Chung Con Amore. This is a violin and piano cd. My first impression is that there is a new level of clarity. Everything sounds clear and differentiated. Just like in my main system, I can follow each instrument independently. Aside from that, the clarity of the intrinsic sound of each instrument is clear enough that I can identify each instrument easily. What I am hearing is literally the removal of layers of veils. There is more on the piano. The piano sounds more complete. It is as if I am listening to a much larger speaker. It is difficult to believe the Von Schweikert VR 1 has so much low frequency weight and the size of the piano has never sounded bigger through the VR 1. I really feel myself drawn into the music. Music is simply more involving and more interesting to listen to. All these additional musical informations were there but are now uncovered by merely controlling the vibration in the source component. I'm amazed by this product!
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
10,986
1
38
Manila, Philippines
Can't wait to hear them under your Tentation in a couple of weeks time Sam. Yes it is on it's way back. :D
 

steve williams

Site Founder,Co- Owner, Adminisrator
Over the past 4 days I have found myself in yet another settle in period with the CS feet. As an update I had center stage feet under all of my components for the past 6 weeks and was mesmerized by the sound I was hearing. To date I had not inserted the center stage feet under the 7 power supplies (6 Lamm and the PS to my Doshi tape pre) as I had never been able to retain sufficient product to place under my power supplies and also because I was uncertain as to the extent of sonic improvement if placed under my power supplies. I was encouraged however to do such, having read microstrip's favorable comments with the feet under his power supplies

On Tuesday evening placed 8 tall feet under my amplifier power supplies and 20 regular size under the remaining 5 power supplies. It was late and I didn't get a chance to listen until Wednesday afternoon. My first impression was "WTF" is going on as the sound on this first listen was perhaps the worst I've heard initially when listening to the sound with the feet. I figured this was going to be fun listening to the changes evolve as the feet settle in.

I have used the same system of burn in with these feet on each of the 5 occasions. I started first with the digital side of my system and played a demo disk from Philip O'Hanlon that I have used on each previous occasion. On the first 3 days all harmonics seemed to have gone down the drain. Strings seemed absolutely lifeless with no air around the strings. It sounded like a wire vibrating. A song by Leonard Cohen presented a voice that sounded absolutely horrible as that guttural tone of Cohen's voice was lacking.One track on this demo record is Welcome To My World by Depeche Mode. Previously the deep bass at the onset of the song was the best deep bass I had ever heard in my system. Such was no longer the case. The bass was incoherent, bloated and virtually unlistenable. Another song on that disk was Lester's Methadone Clinic by Sonia Dada. In the past when listening to this sound the back up singers could be heard along the right wall coming way forward of the plane of the speakers. This immersive effect was no longer heard. Another track was Sibelius Violin Conderto in D minor Op 47. In previous listening the harmonics on the violin were the best I've ever heard but now the strings sounded like a twangy mess.

Having experienced the same observations in the past with the CS feet I knew I was in for a many day ride and followed my game plan. I played the same disk in auto replay for 8 hours and over the course of the next 3 days I only listened for the last 30 minutes of each 8 hour session to determine what if any changes I heard.

The sound was pretty awful through yesterday morning with zero changes. It wasn't until late last night while listening I was amazed to hear a marked improvement in the midrange. My previous experiences were that the midrange seems to develop first with these feet. On the same demo disk was Lori Lieberman singing A Piece of Me. Hearing this last night was simply fantastic. Lori's voice was in the room with me and her back up singer was but a foot to her side as well as her violin backup on her other side was as real as it gets. A relisten to Lester's Methadone Clinic I now began to hear the vocal accompaniments stretching along the right side wall.

If things repeat themselves my anticipation over the next 3-4 days will be a better midrange and mid bass with the deep bass being the last to fully resolve.

So for now I can say unequivocally that having the CS feet under one's power supplies will definitely result in sonic gains. My plan is to continue to run the digital side of my system for another 3-4 days and then go the analog side and begin to play vinyl. I will leave playing tape until the very end because so far the feet under my Studer as well as under the Doshi tape pre has produced the very best sound that I have ever heard in my system. I commented on this recently when listening to one of Ed Pong's new tapes. My anticipation is that listening to the effects under the tape side of things will be the most revealing. I plan to post my thoughts here over the next week as the system begins to settle but finally yesterday after 3 days there were well heard sonic improvements

The last song I played last night was Welcome to My World. Although the bass sounded somewhat tighter and more listenable it was still pretty fat and bloated. Leonard Cohen's voice last night was finally beginning to sound like him
 

steve williams

Site Founder,Co- Owner, Adminisrator
well here I am on Day 10 with a total of 28 CS feet under my 7 power supplies.

As I stated a few days ago I have never had a chance to place these feet under my power supplies until only recently because quite frankly I was uncertain as to predicting their efficacy because IMO the power supplies weren't in the signal path. Having read a favorable report in this thread by microstrip regarding use of CS feet under his power supplies I decided to do the test myself.

As noted above, the initial 2-3 days of use had findings consistent with use under the signal path. Bass was loose and tubby. The top end at times was unbearable. Strings lost their harmonics. It was total chaos

The turn for the better started around day 4-5 and finally by day 8 I couldn't have been happier

Here is what, for me, was the biggest revelation of these feet under the power supplies.....As you all know my amp is the Lamm ML3 Signature which is 32 wpc Class A. My bass has always been precise and articulate but for obvious reasons lacked that visceral slam that big SS amps derive

Such was not the case now. I was amazed to find that the dynamics, speed and slam as wells the tightness of the deep bass was nothing that I have ever heard in my system. The midrange was lush and the top end had clarity and air around the strings, more so than I have ever heard in my system

Playing Welcome To My World by Depeche Mode produced probably the best and tightest deep bass I have heard in my room with my amps. It was startling.


What also was better was the Immersive Effect. The first time Joe and I heard and experienced this immersive effect was playing Lester's Methadone Clinic where the back up singers could be heard part way down the right wall. Yesterday when playing the same song I was amazed to hear the same back up singers extending outwards to almost half way down the right wall. It was like I was in the room with them

Over all my findings with the CS Feet under my power supplies has produced an improvement that I wasn't prepared for. The added slam, dynamics and tight deep bass has brought a realism to my system that I never thought possible. The effect was there before but not to the extent I could hear it now

Thanks microstrip for doing the preliminary experiments.
 

jadis

Active Member
Apr 28, 2010
6,201
0
36
Manila, Philippines
Last Sunday, I was in the house of Jack bringing some LPs and during which, to my pleasant surprise, he told me he was gifting me with some CS footers for my electronics. :D Many thanks, my good friend. I am quite aware of the footers courtesy of this thread, and I have braced myself for the day 1 jitters, so to speak. I keep an open mind and put down some notes as I do the 'settling in' process, and on the very first minutes of playing a familiar cut of Brothers Fours Sings Beatles Songs - If I Fell, I immediately noticed a distant, recessed sound stage - like the guys stepped back into a small cave. The sound stage was squashed and truncated and not wide as before. Voices of the 4 'brothers' were anemic.

Day 2: Voices and sound stage now more up front, and the 4 brothers sounded more 'healthy'. There is some grain in the voices compared to before the footers went into place. Strings are now more fleshed out than day 1, and have some 'steely' character.

Day 3: Voices now fleshed out in the speaker plane as it were like pre-footers days! Same volume level though it seems to sound a bit louder and totally healthy. Tonight the voices are smooth, with a little 'tingle' even, that was not present in Days 1 and 2. Pinpoint imaging is now evident, with placement of string palpable and rock solid. The 4 brothers are now singing harmoniously with very little grain. I am amazed.

Day 4: In a word, Musical! The slightest grain has disappeared. Voices are round and full-bodied and even the strings have no harshness at all. Sound stage is not just at the plane of the speakers and back, it is at times in front of the plane projecting 3D imaging. I now hear a certain violin at far back center on the cut If I Fell, that I had not heard before. Amazing. At this point the CS has made the overall sound surpass the no CS era (I was on tiptoes/sorbothane feet before). Also I played a cut of Nimbus Mountain Dance for the first time with the footers. Bass was more dynamic and punchy than ever before the CS footers. And piano is sparkingly clear to boot. Wow!

Day 5: Brothers Four voices has now a very deliberate tempo/beat - they are now like serenading a girl. :) Guitar tones are prominent and very sweet. Fact it, all instruments and their positions are very easy to pinpoint, even with eyes opened. So I decided to play an old favorite, a cut from there original Bob and Ray Throw a Stereo Spectacular (RCA). Well, SHIVER ME TIMBERS! The big band players just filled the whole room with music, and the complexity of the brass instruments all meshed up into one unified, wide and deep, ball of musical air. Monster sound without shrill and the bass was rock solid as I've never heard before prior to the CS.

So far, there is no doubt in my mind, and ears, that these CS footers improved the sound of my system. I had told a good friend here that had I upgraded my Magnepan 2.7 to 3.7i, I would have expected such kind of dramatic and radical improvements, and here I am, enjoying such improved sound from the CS footers. Thanks again, Jack, you have made my day, and perhaps, my succeeding days in my audio life. :)
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
10,986
1
38
Manila, Philippines
12 more pieces for my own use please Stevie :D

Phil, glad you are enjoying them. You've been such a great friend all these years finding all those hard to get LPs and tubes and never ever fleecing me. I had a feeling these would up your your system which was already an imaging champ. Just a small token of my appreciation. :)
 

jadis

Active Member
Apr 28, 2010
6,201
0
36
Manila, Philippines
12 more pieces for my own use please Stevie :D

Phil, glad you are enjoying them. You've been such a great friend all these years finding all those hard to get LPs and tubes and never ever fleecing me. I had a feeling these would up your your system which was already an imaging champ. Just a small token of my appreciation. :)
:) :)
 
May 30, 2010
13,900
3
38
Portugal
12 more pieces for my own use please Stevie :D

Phil, glad you are enjoying them. You've been such a great friend all these years finding all those hard to get LPs and tubes and never ever fleecing me. I had a feeling these would up your your system which was already an imaging champ. Just a small token of my appreciation. :)
Please do not deplete Steve's stock - I will need an extra 8 footers soon! The piles of small empty black boxes are spreading and I am still needing more ...

Recently an experienced installer come to listen to my system again - and his words were simply "your system sounds more correct than ever" - just that. He was not aware of the footers, but listening to a few track of Peter McGrath recordings of opera was a great experience - I have listened to them in shows or demos, but never they sounded so real and emotional as in my system.

And I have now confirmed my feelings - these things can be a nuisance for people loving fast shootings or A/B comparisons, particularly if you have key pieces such as DACs or preamplifiers with CenterStage footers and are comparing amplifiers - a "bare" amplifier sounds "thick" and "bloated" compared with an amplifier provided with footers well burned in.

If I was using the experimental method I should now take all footers from my system and listen without them during a week to confirm their excellence by absence of effect. But I really do not want to do it - it is sounding so enjoyable, and I have a few new recordings to listen. It is like diets - they always start tomorrow!
 

steve williams

Site Founder,Co- Owner, Adminisrator
Are these footers slated for a review in Stereophile and or AS ?
Yes

Several reviewers have them now from TAS as well as from other zines
 
May 30, 2010
13,900
3
38
Portugal
Today I re-listened to an abused recording just to please an old friend who was visiting - the classical Jazz at the Pawnshop vol II, but the FIM SACD. His first reaction - it sounds like you are playing again the old LPs but without clicks! He pointed one particular aspect - the explosive bass dynamics, even at low levels, and the presence.

As I had some help I risked taking the footers away from the DCS Vivaldi DAC and GAT preamplifier and re-listening. Well, it was not so bad as I had feared, but the performance became static. The feeling that musicians were moving the instrument in space disappeared. My friend was more critical than me, claiming large losses in the sax sound, becoming less "lippy" and a "slower" sound.

The simple re-introduction of the footers clearly improved the sound, but we had enough of Jazz At The Pawnshop and moved to other recordings without comparing with the initial sound. And I confirmed where there is now a large difference in mys system since the footers started playing - piano recordings, even some CD's that I never considered very good became very good - you feel more presence and finesse in the fingering, as well as increased dynamics. Horowitz in Concert (CD, CBS) was really enjoyable.

One extra point - this improvement is noticeable even when listening at 5-6 meters and far from axis.

One final question to Joe - what is the best type of "non audiophile" (this excludes CMS...) rack to use with these footers? Solid wood, mdf, glass or composite/damped shelves?
 
Last edited:

joelavrencik

[Industry Expert]
Nov 15, 2016
197
0
0
Chicago
www.criticalmasssystems.com
Today I re-listened to an abused recording just to please an old friend who was visiting - the classical Jazz at the Pawnshop vol II, but the FIM SACD. His first reaction - it sounds like you are playing again the old LPs but without clicks! He pointed one particular aspect - the explosive bass dynamics, even at low levels, and the presence.

As I had some help I risked taking the footers away from the DCS Vivaldi DAC and GAT preamplifier and re-listening. Well, it was not so bad as I had feared, but the performance became static. The feeling that musicians were moving the instrument in space disappeared. My friend was more critical than me, claiming large losses in the sax sound, becoming less "lippy" and a "slower" sound.

The simple re-introduction of the footers clearly improved the sound, but we had enough of Jazz At The Pawnshop and moved to other recordings without comparing with the initial sound. And I confirmed where there is now a large difference in mys system since the footers started playing - piano recordings, even some CD's that I never considered very good became very good - you feel more presence and finesse in the fingering, as well as increased dynamics. Horowitz in Concert (CD, CBS) was really enjoyable.

One extra point - this improvement is noticeable even when listening at 5-6 meters and far from axis.

One final question to Joe - what is the best type of "non audiophile" (this excludes CMS...) rack to use with these footers? Solid wood, mdf, glass or composite/damped shelves?
Hi Microstrip

Thank you for your question. Center Stage was developed on “non-audiophile” surfaces to make it effective across the widest possible range of high-tech, low-tech and non-tech surfaces. I can say with high certainty that CS will work on all home furniture surfaces and acrylic, wood, mdf, glass, carbon fiber, stone variants such as slate, granite, marble and cement, and high-tech surfaces and metals.

As a footnote, many of the high-tech devices imported into high end audio from other disciplines are effective at lower frequencies, but not as effective as frequencies rise into ranges where the bulk of musical information exists. Center Stage would also be effective on these high-tech “not-originally-for-audio” devices.

I hope this helps.

All the Best

Joe
 

steve williams

Site Founder,Co- Owner, Adminisrator
Just a quick announcement here.

Over the past several weeks I have been inundated by requests from members in Hong Kong, China and Thailand to purchase CS feet. Until now Joe and I have had this market closed however because of this strong demand we have opened the market to purchasers from Hong Kong, China and Thailand.
 

LL21

Active Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,547
0
36
Just a quick announcement here.

Over the past several weeks I have been inundated by requests from members in Hong Kong, China and Thailand to purchase CS feet. Until now Joe and I have had this market closed however because of this strong demand we have opened the market to purchasers from Hong Kong, China and Thailand.
Fantastic! Congrats and best wishes...
 

dafos

New Member
Sep 17, 2010
307
0
0
It’s been about 3 days since i installed the footers under the phono stage and preamp and two days under the power amp.

Maybe I’m lucky since I didn’t seem to have suffered the trials and tribulations of the break in period of these devices.

To summarize, there are days when our systems can’t seem to do no wrong and you just can’t pull yourself from the listening chair except to pluck and play cd,or,lp after another, an endless “one for the road” before hitting the sack. Unfortunately, the days when the system is in the “zone” doesn’t occur with regular consistency so we try to figure out why, maybe the kids were polluting the power line with computer garbage, or the cables were moved an inch or two, or did I inadvertently move my seat from the sweet spot just the day before? Who knows but I’m sure most can relate to this experience.

Now imagine your system being in the “zone” day after day, night after night, hour after hour, even after it’s ben turned on and still stone cold. That in a nutshell has been my experience so far. It’s useless for me to go into specifics cuz I wouldn’t know where
To start. All I know is what I hear is consistently excellent and Heaven only knows how the system will sound in 7 days after the alleged full break in period. I leave it up to Jadis and Mullard and the others who have tried these devices to give you a blow by blow account of the improvements they experience on a day to day basis. As for me, im just gonna listen and throw away my reviewers cap. It’s 3am and I need some sleep...
 

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