Center Stage 2

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#1
I have been trying to find time to post my thoughts about the recent switch from Center Stage version one to Center Stage 2 in my system. When Joe announced the introduction of the version 2 my first thought was how one could improve on a product that I thought was perfect in every way. I remember several years ago I had similar thoughts when Shunyata introduced the Triton 2 when I also thought this product was so perfect in every way. Well it is obvious that something so new and so different in the audio marketplace results in learning on the go and much to my amazement Joe has found a way to make these feet better by addressing three very important issues. In his announcement Joe states

1. He has decreased the amount of vibration moving upwards through the foot

2. He has decreased the amount of noise inherent to the materials in the foot

3. He has increased the amount of entropy transferring out of the component

In Joe's opinion this results in nothing lost and everything gained


As for looks the two versions are identical visually in every way except for a superscript "2" after the Center Stage name

IMG_6877.jpg


I received my shipment of feet on July 23. I have gone through the settle in process on 6 previous occasions all with the version one footers. On each and every one of those occasions there was an almost immediate degradation of sound that slowly resolved over the next 7-10 days in my system so I was expecting the worst but hoping for the best.

I have a total of 60 Center Stage feet 2 under my system. I have 44 of the 1.0's under all of my front end equipment and 16 of the 1.5's under my amp and power supplies.


With the help of my wife we got all 60 properly seated in less than 30 minutes. It was nice to find that I did not require the use of a single shim to get a perfect application to the component above.

I powered up my system and let it warm up for 30 minutes before listening. The first night I played some of my favorite demo disks to get an idea of what I was hearing. Well much to my amazement, unlike 6 prior applications I found that immediate impression was "this is very listenable". There was definitely some roll off at the top end and the bottom end sounded loose and tubby. Inspire of this the 2 hours of listening always had something great to hear, so much so that I found I wasn't paying too much attention to the deficits but rather was drawn in to the midrange which was spectacular from the beginning

I will discuss in a bit what I heard when allows said and done but I do want to comment on what I did as an experiment to shorten the settle in time but for now I'd like to go day by day in what I heard

The following day I followed my usual routine of playing a demo disk in auto replay for 8 hours. I always listen to the same few tracks in the final half hour to understand the changes heard. Well by the end of day 2 the mid range always had something good to hear. It was the top end rolloff and loose tubby bass that was now more noticeable. One of the demo disks that I use to get an idea on what I hear with strings is Rodrigo y Gabriela Live in Japan. Suffice it to say that whatever track of that album that I played it was virtually impossible to say with any certainty that what i was hearing was two guitars. It sounded dreadful. I didn't know if it were a guitar, banjo, violin except to know that there was sound of a very loose bunch of strings.

On day 3, I started to play the same demo album and it still sounded like crap so I decided that I would play that album all day in auto replay at a slightly higher than normal spl. When I listened 7 1/2 hours later there was marked improvement in the sound with the tone and timbre improving. I wondered if I was onto something. In other words I wondered that if playing music which I know is still problematic and exposing the system to all of the same frequencies perhaps this could facilitate the settle in process

On day 4 I then had the brain wave that rather than playing a diversity of music all day wondered if the settle in might be hastened (made shorter) if I play something that exposes the system to the full sound spectrum. For the past 10-12 years I have used all of the iterations of the System Enhancer made by Jim Auld at Purist Audio. This is 78 minutes of computer generated white, pink and brown noise with many different algorithms he developed for this disk. It is his recommendation that the disk be used when any new equipment is introduced to the system. He suggests playing once at normal listening levels and then repeat it 4 more times at decreased spl and after the 4th spin he feels the system has settled. He also recommends using the disk once a month prophylactically. Jim also now makes the disk in a vinyl version and also a digital version with a USB thumb drive.

I figured I would give it a try. Well 7 1/2 hours later I can say that I was shocked that most everything sounded dramatically better.There was much better resolution of the strings hear previously. Midrange IMO was flawless. The top end roll off was almost gone and the deep bass was starting to come in. It was noticeably tighter and better defined. I thought this little experiment was leading me in the right direction as I felt that with a 4 spin play of the System Enhancer disk I was 80% where I was wanting to be

Days 4, 5 and 6

Once again I played the System Enhancer Disk 4 times. By Day 5 I found the system to be vastly improved. There were a few isolated instances that the sound would drop off for a while and then return as if nothing happened. In fact I called Joe to reveal my findings and said that if there is more settle in to be had the overall sonic benefit might be minimal or difficult to hear. IOW I was thinking that by day 6 the settle in was pretty much done

Days 7,8,9

Just to be sure I played the System Enhancer for 3 more days and to my ears there was little if any change.


So what did I hear different from the new version that I felt was better than version 1


A simple observation was that there was an ease of presentation that for me made the music more natural

This biggest change however was the timbre, tone dynamics and decay. I felt these were so real that I couldn't stop listening. There was no glare or top end fatigue. Everything sounded natural and I felt that I could hear deeper into the voices of the singers or the musical instruments themselves

But here is the real kicker. If you all remember I finally removed my pair of Fathom F113 subs from my system and my deep bass comes now only from my speakers. Well for my amp that produces all of 32 wpc the deep bass was the best, most articulate and well defined that I have ever heard in my system. I was shocked but elated by that finding

Finally the Immersive Effect of the version 2 is much deeper and wider than version one and in fact on the Rodrigo and Gabriela album I had never heard the Immersive Effect ever until I used the version 2 feet

I can say that the version 2 feet are truly so much better than the first version BUT having said that, if one has heard only the first version he would be eternally happy

I am convinced as well that the addition of the 1.5's under my amps and power supplies paid big dividends in the development of the deep bass


In the next few months there will be several published online reviews of there Centre Stage 2 all of which continue to espouse their amazing virtues.


Also for those who want to try my little System Enhancer experiment here is where you can order it in all 3 iterations

http://www.puristaudiodesign.com/Data/products/line/line_syse.html

I am also convinced that using this System Enhancer reduced the settle in time in my system by at least 3-4 days

I am now going to use the Vinyl version as I start the settle in on the analog side of my system

I do know that Joe is presently swamped with work but as he stated he will be offering an upgrade path from the version one to the version 2. For those interested you can contact me by email or private message here or at www.pitchperfectsound.com

As users of the product have posted here time and again, the use of these feet for the money, in essence is the least expensive but best way to do an immediate system upgrade. I have been taken to task here by one member who was critical of the feet as well as my decisions in my system upgrade.He suggested the CMS racks were not necessary and perhaps a better speaker should have come first. Suffice it to say that a year ago, all of these things were on my radar but having these Center Stage Feet in my system has for now obviated any desires on my part to consider a new speaker etc

All of this sounds too good to be true but all I can say is once people try these they cannot ever get enough of them as some users have ordered from me on 7-8 different occasions as they continue to insert them under their components.

There are many feet on the market many with similar modes of action but when it comes to Center Stage Feet I can say with certainty that there is nothing like it in the market today. It is Joe's feeling that in 17 years of being in this business, the Centre Stage footer is the best product he has ever brought to market. It has been mentioned previously that the idea and development of this foot has been based upon his top of the line Olympus rack and shelves.

I do have several demo sets and if any are interested please contact me. You won't regret it
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#2
There are now several CS2 users around the world. I am hoping that those who read this thread might comment on their own observations with the CS2. Also there are many users now who have both versions in their systems. Have you been able to do an A-B test with the two versions and if so can you post your experiences

Finally, several users have reached out to me regarding upgrading their series one to the current version. I have replied in private to all of you. I do know Joe is working hard to catch up with his back orders. Once he is caught up and the smoke settles I am hoping to have more information for you
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#3
I spoke to Joe yesterday. He is working on the logistics of the upgrade. He is trying to catch up on all his backorders and told me that he is shooting for September to begin upgrades for those so desiring.

Many have already contacted me so I am certain it will be on a first come first served basis
 

mountainjoe

Industry Expert
Mar 25, 2015
86
0
6
Bay Area, California
eigenaudio.com
#4
I’m on day 1 with the CS2 footers and one of the first things I noticed is the clarity in decay and sense of space. Imaging is nice right out of the bag and mid range seems more relaxed (as in flowing with a greater sense of ease).

Will see how it goes - so far so good and can already tell these things are better than the first generation.

Cheers, Joe

Full disclosure - I am a Center Stage 2 and CMS dealer.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#5
I’m on day 1 with the CS2 footers and one of the first things I noticed is the clarity in decay and sense of space. Imaging is nice right out of the bag and mid range seems more relaxed (as in flowing with a greater sense of ease).

Will see how it goes - so far so good and can already tell these things are better than the first generation.

Cheers, Joe

Full disclosure - I am a Center Stage 2 and CMS dealer.
Hi Joe

Interesting comment because when I started last week the first thing I told Joe was how great the decay is compared to the first version I also said there was an ease of presentation such that it sounded more natural to me.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#6
Here are the finalized plans for all of you who have contacted me regarding upgrading your CS feet to version 2

The upgrade will ONLY be available during the month of September. For those still interested and wanting to do the upgrade, please email or message me for particulars. Joe has stated clearly that the upgrade is only available in September. Many have been in touch with me and already made arrangements
 

mountainjoe

Industry Expert
Mar 25, 2015
86
0
6
Bay Area, California
eigenaudio.com
#7
Some further comments on the settling in process for the CS2 footers:

I did find that settling time was shortened considerably and the initial negative effects were less than with the first generation design. That said, my equipment is sitting on a CMS MAXXUM rack so this may well be a contributing factor - I was using a different rack when I first added the gen 1 footers to my system.

In regards to first generation compared to gen 2 performance, the clarity around leading edge transients, quality of decay on trailing edges, lower noise floor, and improved bass articulation and reach are all noticeably improved. Initially when hearing about the gen2 footers I thought I could forgo upgrading all of my gen1 footers as I was quite happy with them and thought that any improvements to that first design would be incremental and not that significant - especially given that I now have a MAXXUM rack.

What I've found instead is that the improvements are significant enough to warrant upgrading to gen2 - i.e. having heard their effect, I don't want to go back! :D

The noise floor with vinyl playback in my system is now astonishingly low - and that alone would be enough to compel me to upgrade without the other aforementioned benefits.

Lastly I wanted to mention that I was fortunate to host Joe Lavrencik (and his lovely wife Joy) for a San Francisco Audiophile Society event at my house this past Saturday. Joe gave us some great insights into his design approach and working principles behind his CMS rack systems as well as for the Center Stage Footers.

L1003049-1024.jpg
L1003050-1024.jpg

As part of the event we did some A/B/A comparisons of the CS2 footers against a set of four Stillpoints Ultra 6 and Ultra SS footers and also 4 of the Magico QPod footers. The footers being compared were placed under my DAC and also under my Aurender streamer. I won't go into all the details of the comparisons as we ran several combinations of footers under both pieces of equipment but suffice it say, the consensus was that CS2 was better by a good margin than the others in terms of resolution, imaging, bass, and dynamics.

Hearing the Ultra 6 footers under the DAC was a revelation - these footers added a high frequency emphasis and etch that would be very fatiguing to my ears if left in place. The overall clarity that the CS2 footers contributed to the sound of my system is compelling and was noted by many in the audience - as was the enveloping soundstage.

I was concerned that the A/B comparisons wouldn't be as obvious given my gear is all sitting on the MAXXUM rack and that all of the other components were sitting on CS2 footer, but the difference was clear. On this last point, one of our members asked "if the rack is that great, why do you need the additional footers?" - to which Joe replied that the feet of a component defines the last interface to the chassis and that stock feet usually do a poor job of dealing with intrinsic or extrinsic vibrations. If you don't address this last interface to the component, you are not going to achieve the best possible performance. That is also why he does not recommend standing the CS footers under the stock feet - the whole point is to eliminate these and interface directly to the chassis.

Cheers, Joe
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#8
Some further comments on the settling in process for the CS2 footers:

I did find that settling time was shortened considerably and the initial negative effects were less than with the first generation design. That said, my equipment is sitting on a CMS MAXXUM rack so this may well be a contributing factor - I was using a different rack when I first added the gen 1 footers to my system.

In regards to first generation compared to gen 2 performance, the clarity around leading edge transients, quality of decay on trailing edges, lower noise floor, and improved bass articulation and reach are all noticeably improved. Initially when hearing about the gen2 footers I thought I could forgo upgrading all of my gen1 footers as I was quite happy with them and thought that any improvements to that first design would be incremental and not that significant - especially given that I now have a MAXXUM rack.

What I've found instead is that the improvements are significant enough to warrant upgrading to gen2 - i.e. having heard their effect, I don't want to go back! :D

The noise floor with vinyl playback in my system is now astonishingly low - and that alone would be enough to compel me to upgrade without the other aforementioned benefits.

Lastly I wanted to mention that I was fortunate to host Joe Lavrencik (and his lovely wife Joy) for a San Francisco Audiophile Society event at my house this past Saturday. Joe gave us some great insights into his design approach and working principles behind his CMS rack systems as well as for the Center Stage Footers.

View attachment 43422
View attachment 43423

As part of the event we did some A/B/A comparisons of the CS2 footers against a set of four Stillpoints Ultra 6 and Ultra SS footers and also 4 of the Magico QPod footers. The footers being compared were placed under my DAC and also under my Aurender streamer. I won't go into all the details of the comparisons as we ran several combinations of footers under both pieces of equipment but suffice it say, the consensus was that CS2 was better by a good margin than the others in terms of resolution, imaging, bass, and dynamics.

Hearing the Ultra 6 footers under the DAC was a revelation - these footers added a high frequency emphasis and etch that would be very fatiguing to my ears if left in place. The overall clarity that the CS2 footers contributed to the sound of my system is compelling and was noted by many in the audience - as was the enveloping soundstage.

I was concerned that the A/B comparisons wouldn't be as obvious given my gear is all sitting on the MAXXUM rack and that all of the other components were sitting on CS2 footer, but the difference was clear. On this last point, one of our members asked "if the rack is that great, why do you need the additional footers?" - to which Joe replied that the feet of a component defines the last interface to the chassis and that stock feet usually do a poor job of dealing with intrinsic or extrinsic vibrations. If you don't address this last interface to the component, you are not going to achieve the best possible performance. That is also why he does not recommend standing the CS footers under the stock feet - the whole point is to eliminate these and interface directly to the chassis.

Cheers, Joe
Hi Joe

I couldn't agree more about the timbre and decay as I mentioned it as well in my OP

What is important is that version 2 deals with the foot itself

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/show...Settle-In-Time&p=523763&viewfull=1#post523763


Joe has found a way to make these feet better by addressing three very important issues. In his announcement Joe states

1. He has decreased the amount of vibration moving upwards through the foot

2. He has decreased the amount of noise inherent to the materials in the foot

3. He has increased the amount of entropy transferring out of the component

In Joe's opinion this results in nothing lost and everything gained
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#9
for all of you patiently waiting to upgrade your original Center Stage feet to the Mark ll version I have begun sending out invoices to everyone. I am reasonably certain that I sent invoices to everyone who had been in contact with me over the past few weeks however if you did not receive one or remain interested in the upgrade please contact me ASAP as the upgrade will be available only during the month of September
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#10
To all those patiently waiting be advised that if you have received an invoice and you have paid it, you may now begin to send your Center Stage feet back to Joe for upgrade to Version 2.I have supplied Joe's send to address to everyone who has received an invoice

For those still interested in upgrading your version 1 Center Stage feet please PM me as the window of opportunity closes at the end of September
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#12
Has anyone tried Center Stage Feet under speakers?

What's the weight range per foot?
I do have several members who use either the 1.0's under lighter book shelf speakers and others using the 1.5's under larger book shelf speakers but the reality is that they are not designed for under speakers.There is some talk as to whether Joe will bring a Center Stage foot to market designed for under speakers

The 0.8 weighs 2 oz

The 1.0 weighs 3 oz

The 1.5 weighs 10 oz
 
Sep 27, 2016
331
3
18
California
#13
I do have several members who use either the 1.0's under lighter book shelf speakers and others using the 1.5's under larger book shelf speakers but the reality is that they are not designed for under speakers.There is some talk as to whether Joe will bring a Center Stage foot to market designed for under speakers

The 0.8 weighs 2 oz

The 1.0 weighs 3 oz

The 1.5 weighs 10 oz
OK, if Joe is taking requests - a speaker footer with center threaded insert would be nice. I'm a bit tempted to go with Stillpoints Ultra 5, since I've been told that the Ultra 6 tends to push things too far towards analytical. But even with the Ultra 5s, I'm a bit concerned about the outlay for 8 feet and then winding up with a sound that I can't tolerate.
 
Sep 27, 2016
331
3
18
California
#14
OK, if Joe is taking requests - a speaker footer with center threaded insert would be nice. I'm a bit tempted to go with Stillpoints Ultra 5, since I've been told that the Ultra 6 tends to push things too far towards analytical. But even with the Ultra 5s, I'm a bit concerned about the outlay for 8 feet and then winding up with a sound that I can't tolerate.
PS I meant to ask the load range for each footer. I.e. how much weight can they support while still being effective.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#15
OK, if Joe is taking requests - a speaker footer with center threaded insert would be nice. I'm a bit tempted to go with Stillpoints Ultra 5, since I've been told that the Ultra 6 tends to push things too far towards analytical. But even with the Ultra 5s, I'm a bit concerned about the outlay for 8 feet and then winding up with a sound that I can't tolerate.
I know he reads these threads so he will know your request. And yes an adapter would be required for center threaded insert


FWIW I was heavily invested in SP Ultra 5's and Ultra 6's and found exactly what you posted.
 
Sep 27, 2016
331
3
18
California
#16
I know he reads these threads so he will know your request. And yes an adapter would be required for center threaded insert


FWIW I was heavily invested in SP Ultra 5's and Ultra 6's and found exactly what you posted.
Did you find the Ultra 5 to your liking, or still too analytical? The threading recommendation would probably be 1/4-20 as standard and refer to Grainger or the like for adapters. :)
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#17
I had a total of over $45K in Stillpoints in my system. I used the Stillpoints adapter specific for my Wilson speaker and yes the Ultra 5's were just too analytic for my liking.

I sold them for almost my original investment and purchased Center Stage and pocketed a bunch of money left over
 

joelavrencik

[Industry Expert]
Nov 15, 2016
197
0
0
Chicago
www.criticalmasssystems.com
#18
Below is the text of a review of Center Stage2 by Alan Sircom, Editor Hi-Fi+, just making its way onto the shelves in the UK. The strength of the review lies in its espousal of everything Center Stage owners have already said that these audio feet bring to their musical experience, including the sense of immersion in the sound field, improved detail and musicality, bass articulation, improved pace rhythm and timing and, most importantly, the feeling that you’re getting the best out of your components and you’re hearing what the recording engineers intended.

Owners of Center Stage have had the jump on industry professionals in terms of experiencing the benefits of CS. But, it’s always gratifying when the professional’s experience the same thing you do.

EQUIPMENT REVIEW

Critical Mass Systems is well known for making some of the finest (and largest) high-end audio equipment support systems money can buy. So, it might come as something of a shock to discover that CMS maven Joe Lavrencik’s best-ever product might just be an inconspicuous vibration-control foot called the Center Stage2.

Joe is being perhaps understandably reticent about discussing the inner workings of the Center Stage2. According to the company’s white paper, Center Stage2 is made by “choosing and sequencing materials that possess the perfect combination of damping, elastic modulus, and thin rod speed to lock in the desired effect.” That effect is, “a catalyst in a complex energy reaction that occurs between your equipment and its environment.” The idea is that kinetic and vibrational energy act in an unregulated and undamped manner inside a product and Center Stage2 can “change the prevailing state of equilibrium in that energy reaction and to permanently hold it in a reduced or damped state.”

According to Lavrencik, “Center Stage2 was designed to exacting specifications using material science and First Law of Thermodynamics principles. It also relies heavily on the Second Law of Thermodynamics to meet its performance objectives. There is no new physics in Center Stage2, we’re simply applying physics in new ways to an audio foot.” Lavrencik focused on three aspects: impedance mismatching to greatly reduce vibration moving upward from the floor, the reduction of the noise inherent to the materials used to fabricate the foot, and a means to transfer entropy out of the component.

What this means in real terms is a black anodised aluminium foot with an almost free-spinning aluminium foot pad on the base, and the top is covered with stiff, black paper-like material. You have three sizes of foot, dependent on the mass of the device and the size of its own foot. You need four feet per device. They are placed on the underside of the device, not on a screw-head or as a footer under the component’s own feet. It works on practically everything except turntables and loudspeakers (but including turntable power supplies).

Here’s where it gets weird: you stick a quartet of Center Stage2 under your source component and… it sounds terrible! Add a set to your preamp, power amp, or integrated amplifier and the sound gets even worse. Your hitherto full, detailed, and dynamic sound is transformed into something thin, muddy, and flat. Next day, it gets a little better, then it gets worse, then better still, then worse again, and so on. Generally, it fills itself in from the bass upwards, with the bottom end being the first to return to prior levels. You’ll get about a week and a bit’s worth of audio mood swings. And it’s at that point the transformation happens and the system blossoms.

You notice this change by a shift in your internal dialogue. “I’d forgotten just how good that really is!” (referring to both record and equipment) seems to be the first sign. About an hour later, you find yourself composing a thank-you email to the designers of the components in your system. Although it’s the bass that first comes back, it’s the midrange that seals the deal; the enhanced clarity, the walk-in detail to the soundstage, which seems to not change a thing, all the while being far more enveloping than before. This is no small change, and as the listening progresses, you begin to find this feeling of being immersed in the music, which truly transforms your listening sessions, and it becomes uppermost in your requirements for a good system. Everything just seems more natural, more real, and more like the recording engineers and the equipment designers had in mind when they got creative. And the Center Stage2 is also one for the Pace, Rhythm, and Timing (PRaT) obsessives, in that a device resting on a set of four Center Stage2 seems to keep time better than ever. But it’s that envelopment that really captivates you and takes your attention. If you were a PRaT obsessive before you put a set of Center Stage2 in situ, you become a sonic envelopment obsessive who likes a bit of rhythm afterward.

I’ve used all kinds of feet and pods and the like before. The best of them seem to align one product to another harmoniously. Center Stage2 is not like that; instead, it erases many of the impediments that hold back a device. In the process, it gives the device resting upon these devices a promotion. Even the best audio devices have hidden strengths the Center Stage2 can unveil.

You can even gauge the magnitude of improvement to be had by the level of initial awfulness of the system sound, and this is also a gauge of equipment quality – things that can never blossom will never have much of a shine knocked off their performance at first, but that’s pretty rare. It’s also self-sealing as the kind of product that is unlikely to resolve enough to show what the Center Stage2 can do usually costs less than four Center Stages, and I doubt anyone is ever going to put a £500 device on £900 worth of Center Stages. Once you get to £5,000 though… Center Stage2 makes a hugely convincing argument.

Unless you are pathologically impatient (or a reviewer/inveterate box-swapper who changes components in a system on an almost hourly basis) there are no downsides. OK, so if the underside of your component is more screw-head than base-plate, then there might be installation issues, and you might find your system might need a spot of speaker repositioning to accommodate the system improvement, but that’s it.

Most audiophiles have a drawer filled with magic cones, domes, pods, and pucks. All of these devices were bought initially claiming a lot, and all tried, praised, used… and removed. The Center Stage2 – I feel – is different. They have staying power. I suspect those who try them will never look back. Instead of being next year’s drawer fodder, the Center Stage2 makes you enjoy your system more and does so for longer. Judging by my reluctance to unpack components in a Center Stage’d system (which, to me, means empty pages and ultimately no job) I’d go so far as to say the Center Stage2 will make the MTBF (Mean Time Before Futzing round looking for a new audio product) stretch out longer. You only change devices when dissatisfaction strikes, and Center Stage2 helps keep that dissatisfaction at bay.

In truth, I’m envious of those who don’t have to put their system into a permanent state of flux because they can gain the most benefit from a set of Critical Mass Systems’ Center Stage2. Let’s not understate their importance… all other things being equal, I’d be happier using a comparatively inexpensive system resting on a quartet of Center Stage2 than I would a more esoteric system just sitting on ‘regular’ equipment supports. Although I’m generally a ‘different paths up the same mountain’ kinda guy, I can’t help thinking that this is the best of the best. If you can take the short-term pain, the long-term gain is more than worth it! -Alan Sircom, Editor, Hi-Fi+, Issue 163
 

joelavrencik

[Industry Expert]
Nov 15, 2016
197
0
0
Chicago
www.criticalmasssystems.com
#19
OK, if Joe is taking requests - a speaker footer with center threaded insert would be nice. I'm a bit tempted to go with Stillpoints Ultra 5, since I've been told that the Ultra 6 tends to push things too far towards analytical. But even with the Ultra 5s, I'm a bit concerned about the outlay for 8 feet and then winding up with a sound that I can't tolerate.
Hi Bazelio

We should have the foot available in early 2019. There are a few things having to do with adjustability and performance I want to make sure are perfect before I release it. But it will be made so that it can be screwed into the speaker if necessary.
 

Barry

Member Sponsor
Jan 8, 2012
207
0
16
Somewhere near Philadelphia, USA
#20
I got the Center Stage CS Version2 feet at the end of July. Here's my update. As you'll recall, feet were placed under my CD player, a Marantz SA7S1; my phono stage, an ARC REF 10 phono; and my preamp, an ARC REF40 Anniversary. The power supplies of the latter 2 components, the active Pass Labs XVR-1-3 way crossover, and my 3 power amplifiers used the stock feet.

Once the footers settled, my initial impressions, posted earlier, were borne out over long term listening as follows:
1) There is a very noticeable increase in the size of the soundstage both depth, width, and height.
2) Images are really more solid and 3 D, not as flat. Attack and decay are more natural. Sounds are more present.
3) The sound stage is more continuous. It's may be hard to know what that means until you hear it.

While I did notice a significant change in deep bass at first, my longer term impression is that the bass did not change so much from where it had been, without the footers, once things settled in. This is a little bit hard to judge accurately as you do gradually get used to what you are hearing over time. It may be that putting CSs under the other equipment and amps would have changed this. I'm not taking the CS footers out to confirm this!

You may need to make some systems adjustments to optimize what you're hearing, but wait till things settle in. I played with my subwoofer levels, but ended up where I started. I did find I had to re-level my speakers to take advantage of the improved precision of the sound stage.

My break-in experience may be somewhat different from others based on what I'm reading here. I clearly heard major improvements in early listening unlike some others. Like others, however, my system did go through several episodes of some of the most peculiar changes in dynamics, frequency imbalances, and what sounded like volume changes that I've ever heard. I can't tell you how long break-in will take, as I was not able to listen continuously in the weeks that followed installation. It was all worth it in the end.

I'm sold! The Center Stage footers are a very worthwhile investment. I've done several thousands of dollars of equipment modifications and component upgrades over the years, but never heard anything quite like what these do to let your system sound more life-like. At some point, I'll buy more for the rest of the system.
 

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