Center Stage 2

PeterA

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PeterA and I, on opposite sides of the country, and without knowing it, auditioned CS2 feet (me in my system, and Peter in a friend's) at roughly the same time. Interestingly (or not?), when we compared notes, our observations were nearly identical. As I recall, the two most noticeable traits imparted on the sound by CS2 feet had to do with soundstage depth compression and leading edge attack. This despite the components and racks in question being entirely different. Empirically, I observe the soundstage effect in general causally related to isolation which results in damping. That is, I can minimize or enhance this effect by adding or removing isolation and damping. Attack and tautness are a bit harder to pin down but are certainly enhanced by coupling to a (fairly inert) substrate, and affected by the particular method of doing so, e.g. captive bearing, free bearing in cup, etc., and by materials choice, e.g. wood, steel, aluminum, combinations thereof. In the end, it's very difficult to walk the line between isolating and coupling in order to extract the best of both worlds. It's even more difficult or perhaps impossible to produce a one-size-fits-all product that pulls it off universally. So, I don't think we should be arguing over semantics, e.g. "coloration". CS2 feet have a sound that I've heard in my system, in one other system, and then was validated by others during independent audition. But then so do steel plates, which I use although not under every component. I disagree that some combination of rubber O-rings allows the steel plate user to arrive at uncolored sound. No, they allow the user to tune the coloration to their particular preference. And it's ok to refer to the sound of footer products or of steel plates as a thumbprint or coloration. It's also accurate to do so. If it gets you to where you want the sound, then just be happy.

Brian, yes I think we have similar impressions of the effect of these footers on the sound in your system and in my friend's system. I think it is very difficult to claim a device, component, accessory, is tonally neutral or does not add a coloration to the sound. How would one go about proving this? Neutral or colorless compared to what? Alternative devices under direct comparison, perhaps, but what is the ultimate standard against which we judge this? I like to make direct comparisons when evaluating gear and changes to set up. But ultimately, I compare what I hear from my recordings in my system to my memories of live music. That is when I really know progress is being made.

Listeners to these footers describe the experience as being closer to live music, with a more enveloping sound. The sound comes to life and bursts forth breaking the "fourth dimension" of the plane of the speakers.

What I found interesting when auditioning these CS footers is that regardless of what type of component they supported, or the music being listened to, their removal created the same effect on the soundstage and sense of energy and life in the room. This was regardless of music genre, scale, or recording venue. It also seemed independent of recording quality.

I would ask if these impressions occur on all music or simply on the recordings that capture this kind of enveloping spatial information and energy. For me, the goal is about retaining the maximum amount of recorded information and presenting it through the system intact and uncorrupted. The result should be natural, convincing, and pleasing. This means that different recordings will tend to sound more different from each other when the system presents this information faithfully. Recordings should not sound more and more similar to each other having the same kind of enveloping room filling sound if that information is not inherent or embedded in the recording.

When we try something new, we can usually tell pretty quickly if it takes us closer or further away from our goal, whether it is our memory of live music or something else. I prefer closer, and as that distance gets shorter, I know I am making progress. We can all claim it is only for our own happiness and enjoyment, but there is also how we each think the sound compares to our individual references. I don't know what else there is.

The stainless steel plates need to be tuned, that is for sure. How colored they ultimately become is a matter of perspective and comparison to alternatives, and to one's reference sound.
 
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microstrip

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(...) For me, the goal is about retaining the maximum amount of recorded information and presenting it through the system intact and uncorrupted. The result should be natural, convincing, and pleasing.

You are asking for two antagonistic desires. Stereo is a very poor standard, what we are doing is just selecting and manipulating information in our systems to get what we consider convincing and pleasing. Then a few consider it their own version of "natural" .

As far as I have understood your desires (I may be wrong) most time you do not want to listen to recordings the way the artist or engineer anticipate, but the way you remember listening to something similar.

This means that different recordings will tend to sound more different from each other when the system presents this information faithfully. Recordings should not sound more and more similar to each other having the same kind of enveloping room filling sound if that information is not inherent or embedded in the recording.

Not exactly IMHO. You can't reduce differences between recordings just to different types of "enveloping room filling sound". There is a lot more than that in sound reproduction.
BTW, if we need maximum faithful sound reproduction and differences we just have to listen through top headphones and surely, train ourselves.

When we try something new, we can usually tell pretty quickly if it takes us closer or further away from our goal, whether it is our memory of live music or something else. I prefer closer, and as that distance gets shorter, I know I am making progress. We can all claim it is only for our own happiness and enjoyment, but there is also how we each think the sound compares to our individual references. I don't know what else there is.

The stainless steel plates need to be tuned, that is for sure. How colored they ultimately become is a matter of perspective and comparison to alternatives, and to one's reference sound.

I am not so fast. I feel I manage to identify differences well, but most time I need significant time to know if it brings me closer or away from my goals. In fact, it is often possible that unintentionally we redefine our goals when listening to something new.
 
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PeterA

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You are asking for two antagonistic desires. Stereo is a very poor standard, what we are doing is just selecting and manipulating information in our systems to get what we consider convincing and pleasing. Then a few consider it their own version of "natural" .

As far as I have understood your desires (I may be wrong) most time you do not want to listen to recordings the way the artist or engineer anticipate, but the way you remember listening to something similar.

Fransisco, I am simply stating a goal. I am not saying it is achievable. Different approaches get you closer or further away from what is on the recording.

I want to listen to the music on the recording the way the musician and/or the engineer intend. I presume that most of the musicians and engineers of the acoustic music I prefer have the same intent as I do that the presentation is natural and reminiscent of the way the music sounded originally. We can't achieve perfection, but we can try, through our efforts to approach it in varying degrees.
Not exactly IMHO. You can't reduce differences between recordings just to different types of "enveloping room filling sound". There is a lot more than that in sound reproduction.
BTW, if we need maximum faithful sound reproduction and differences we just have to listen through top headphones and surely, train ourselves.

When I refer to differences between recordings, I mean all the differences, not just enveloping room filling sound. Some recordings don't have that sound. I am talking about spatial information, scale, tone, dynamics and other attributes. I don't like listening through headphones and am glad my system does not present music the way headphones do.

I am not so fast. I feel I manage to identify differences well, but most time I need significant time to know if it brings me closer or away from my goals. In fact, it is often possible that unintentionally we redefine our goals when listening to something new.

I agree that we can redefine goals. I did that recently. As my goal changed and I began to realize the sound I am after, I found it increasingly easy to hear differences between component supports, various power cords and cables, and room treatments and their effect on the whole sonic presentation. I was less certain before and was listening to specific attributes. I was a bit lost and confused and going around in circles. I am less so now but fully admit I have much to learn.
 
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Bobvin

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Peter

I was thrilled to read this. You are spot on! Bravo! Stay the course, my friend.

If you don't mind, I'll offer a thought. Be assured, I respect what you have accomplished.

What I am after is removing the 4th wall. For years, I was locked into thinking that music had to be behind the front plane of the loudspeakers. You could manipulate/improve the soundstage, i.e. wider, deeper, higher, lower, quieter, noisier etc. but the front plane was immovable.

It is my clear understanding today that components and loudspeakers are much more advanced than I once thought. Today, I know that removing the 4th wall gives rise to "realism" and listening in the realm of "realism" is something I could never go back from. Components can do it. Loudspeakers can do it. The fun is finding a way to unlock their true potential.

All the Best

Joe
Joe, interesting to hear what you describe as the 4th wall. In my own system recent changes have given me a taste of this. For years my Wilson Alexias have seemed to create a sound envelope that was planar, wide, moderately tall, and x number of feet deep. Think of a shoebox, for example. Adding a new cartridge and phono stage upped all parameters we care about in this hobby, but amazingly adding a new phono cable made a dramatic change. Several visitors have said they were struck how the sound now seemed to come forward into the room. I think of it as having moved from a thick plane to a hemisphere of sound. With the front edge of the hemisphere extending beyond the listening position.

Do you think we are describing the same thing?

(Peter, this is not to say this hemisphere happens on all recordings.)
 
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Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
I would ask if these impressions occur on all music or simply on the recordings that capture this kind of enveloping spatial information and energy.
Hi Peter

if it ain't on the recording it ain't there with the use of CS feet


It doesn't change anything except remove the stock foot from the equation allowing you to hear your component the way it was designed and intended . Perhaps you're missing my point........what you hear is ambiance, top to bottom expansion of the sound stage without any change in the sound and bringing the music forward to create a sense of immersion, which therefore moves you up into the soundstage creating that "I am there moment"

As for Immersive effect I can tell you that playing the remaster of Roger Waters Amused to Death in Q Sound will show you quickly what these feet do.

In my system the greatest boost in Immersive effect came when I introduced the LS 1.5's under my speakers
 

PeterA

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Hi Peter

if it ain't on the recording it ain't there with the use of CS feet


It doesn't change anything except remove the stock foot from the equation allowing you to hear your component the way it was designed and intended . Perhaps you're missing my point........what you hear is ambiance, top to bottom expansion of the sound stage without any change in the sound and bringing the music forward to create a sense of immersion, which therefore moves you up into the soundstage creating that "I am there moment"

As for Immersive effect I can tell you that playing the remaster of Roger Waters Amused to Death in Q Sound will show you quickly what these feet do.

In my system the greatest boost in Immersive effect came when I introduced the LS 1.5's under my speakers

Hello Steve,

I did not think I would be this involved in a discussion about audiophile footers, but now perhaps I am somewhat confused. My impression was that you had written here and elsewhere that when using the CS footers, listeners have an "immersive" experience and that they are transported to the venue, as in "I am there", meaning at the venue with the musicians, even up on stage I read somewhere, rather than "they are here" meaning in my listening room in front of me while I'm sitting on the couch.

Personally, I have both experiences when listening to music in my system, all highly dependent on the recording. Sometimes I am transported to the venue because the spatial cues of the choir singing in the stone cathedral are more apparent than is the signature of my listening room. This is because that information is on the recording and it is able to come through fairly uncorrupted by my system.

Other times, the singer and her guitar, or Miles and his band, are transported to my listening room, because the recording was made in a studio and is somewhat dry. There are few if any spatial cures on the recording to transport me to them there. The sonic signature of my room is now heard as the music moves around my room and the result is that the musicians are here in front of me at home.

You are writing that "...what you hear is ambiance, top to bottom expansion of the sound stage without any change in the sound and bringing the music forward to create a sense of immersion, which therefore moves you up into the soundstage creating that "I am there moment"."

This to me means that this characteristic of the music moving forward, and the listener being immersed in it, is overlaid onto the information from the recording and is heard on all the music you play. But then you write that if it is not on the recording, it is not there. What exactly is not there. The immersion? The music moving forward? Am I understanding you correctly or have I misunderstood what you wrote? When I heard the footers in my friend's system, I heard a similar effect on all of the music, regardless of the information on the recording. The soundstage, the breaking through the fourth wall, the sense of energy in the room was consistent regardless of recording. So in that sense, it seems we are hearing something similar.

It doesn't change anything except remove the stock foot from the equation allowing you to hear your component the way it was designed and intended .

It is difficult to assume how the designers intend their components to be heard as they have little idea how they will be set up in the customer's rack, or even what the rest of the system is, but surely they know how their gear sounds on its own feet when listened to at the factory. After all, they themselves chose the footers for their components for reasons, presumably sonic, and this is how they are sold to the customer.

How can you thus conclude that the designers intended their components to sound the way you hear them on the CS footers when they don't have those same footers when designing the component? Are you saying their component's potential is somehow known but locked up waiting to be revealed through the use of aftermarket footers in some customers' systems?
 
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spiritofmusic

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I can't comment on CS footers, but I concur with Peter's general point. After years of a soundstage and general presentation that was (in retrospect now I can see) fairly homogenous and fixed (neither "they are here" or "I am there", but some hazy mid point between the two), my dramatically radical tt motor upgrade has totally altered my perspective on recordings, space, imaging and micro cues.
Album after album in my classical collection now fills my room, sometimes the walls really don't exist, of course a small number are more constrained.
Fascinatingly, there is a hardcore of my more familiar rock favourites that are less well recorded, or overly multi tracked, or brickwalled, that resolutely stay constrained to the limits of the speaker plane and display little useable depth. No immersive energy on these.
I initially was hugely confused by this, but the dawning reality that my previous "one size fits all" sound has expanded every which way on Khatchaturian/Gayne Ballet, but Living Color/Times Up is super flat in comparison, suggests my system is really way more transparent and truthful to the recording. Uncharted territory for me.
So, as Peter says, for the CS footers to apparently be super expansive on every recording must by definition be an imposed character. I know I heard imposed characters with a fair number of other footers systems I tried...Stillpoints, Mooks, Isoacoustics Gaias...and rejected them for those reasons.
 
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Steve Williams

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I can't comment on CS footers, but I concur with Peter's general point. After years of a soundstage and general presentation that was (in retrospect now I can see) fairly homogenous and fixed (neither "they are here" or "I am there", but some hazy mid point between the two), my dramatically radical tt motor upgrade has totally altered my perspective on recordings, space, imaging and micro cues.
Album after album in my classical collection now fills my room, sometimes the walls really don't exist, of course a small number are more constrained.
Fascinatingly, there is a hardcore of my more familiar rock favourites that are less well recorded, or overly multi tracked, or brickwalled, that resolutely stay constrained to the limits of the speaker plane and display little useable depth. No immersive energy on these.
I initially was hugely confused by this, but the dawning reality that my previous "one size fits all" sound has expanded every which way on Khatchaturian/Gayne Ballet, but Living Color/Times Up is super flat in comparison, suggests my system is really way more transparent and truthful to the recording. Uncharted territory for me.
So, as Peter says, for the CS footers to apparently be super expansive on every recording must by definition be an imposed character. I know I heard imposed characters with a fair number of other footers systems I tried...Stillpoints, Mooks, Isoacoustics Gaias...and rejected them for those reasons.
Hi Peter

immersion is what I am referring to

some records I’m actually inside the soundstage.To me Peter when I go to concerts I always prefer seats up front than in the back but it’s the same music we are hearing.

So in summary I guess you’re correct when you say you’re moved forward
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
So, as Peter says, for the CS footers to apparently be super expansive on every recording must by definition be an imposed character. I know I heard imposed characters with a fair number of other footers systems I tried...Stillpoints, Mooks, Isoacoustics Gaias...and rejected them for those reasons.

no better arm chair quarterback than you Marc.
 
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jturbo

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Just browsed the posts from the past day or two. The top of the Stacore is slate about an inch thick. I Think that the there may be some confusion about it being Stainless steel.

Based on my success with the LS footers, im anxious to try the CS2 with my Stacore Advanced as well as my HRS platforms, which are granite topped.
 

PeterA

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Hi Peter

immersion is what I am referring to

some records I’m actually inside the soundstage.To me Peter when I go to concerts I always prefer seats up front than in the back but it’s the same music we are hearing.

So in summary I guess you’re correct when you say you’re moved forward

Hello Steve,

I think I get it now. You are always immersed in the sound and with some recordings you feel as though you are actually inside the soundstage up on the stage with the musicians - on center stage, as it were.

Are recordings ever made to present the listener's perspective as being up on stage? I listen mostly to classical and jazz LPs, and I have never been placed up on stage. The closest I have come to that perspective I suppose is Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. On that recording, the sound does come and hover over my head and to the sides of the listening seat at times, but the band is still in front of me on a stage and I am still in the audience. It is a pretty remarkable effect created I think by phase manipulation during the mastering process.

I too prefer sitting closer to the stage than in the back rows, as does my friend Al M. I like rows 7-15, center for orchestral music.

I never said that I am moved forward. You wrote that you hear "the music moving forward to create a sense of immersion" as an effect from the SC footers. BTW, you quoted Marc's post in your response to me, or did you mean to respond to him?
 
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spiritofmusic

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Hieukm

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Does electronics with a marble case render CS2 footer less effective? I have a trinity power conditioner which outer case made of marble. Today i put in my cs2 0.8 and it seems to have no effect.
 

joelavrencik

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I want to add some meaning to the term “neutral” as I use it. Neutral is central in all CMS designs; racks, amp stands, component feet, loudspeaker feet and the cradle we are testing now. For this thread I’ll talk about the component feet, but you can expand it to everything we make. Neutral means improving the performance of a component without changing the character/engineering attributes/sound/DNA of the component. In other words, when you install the feet under components in your system, your system still sounds exactly like your system, only better. It means that every aspect of sound quality we hold important improves and the presentation of the music is balanced throughout the frequency spectrum. No edges. No glare. Nothing missing. Nothing added. All music sounds better, but all music tracks sound as differently as they were recorded. You should be able to hear clear differences between tracks on the same CD or vinyl pressing, for example.

We are all DIY’ers. I am. You are. We just DIY-it in different ways with greater or lesser precision. Nonetheless we are all trying to make systems better. CS2 feet and the LS feet were developed with all of the electronics placed on carpet atop 1” thick MDF plates covered with black HPL. This amounts to virtually nothing other than a guaranteed level surface. Why? To remove the possibility of a thumbprint imparted by the support system under the feet/component.

I know CS2 works, because I have heard it in many systems, at many shows over many years. Every system sounded different and every track sounded different. And, more important, many of you say so. The challenge for DIY’ers is to make changes that allow you to play the widest range of music genres retaining the ultra-fine details that give each recording its character. Ultra-fine details break down the wall at the front plane of the loudspeakers.

CS2 (and LS) are designed for one purpose, to help the component perform closer to its true design/engineering potential. All components and loudspeakers can break down the 4th wall. To say that the elevated reproduction of ultra-fine details, the lowering of the noise floor and the removal of listening barriers - all while the individual character of the component and the recording is retained - is a coloration is patently absurd.
 

joelavrencik

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Joe, interesting to hear what you describe as the 4th wall. In my own system recent changes have given me a taste of this. For years my Wilson Alexias have seemed to create a sound envelope that was planar, wide, moderately tall, and x number of feet deep. Think of a shoebox, for example. Adding a new cartridge and phono stage upped all parameters we care about in this hobby, but amazingly adding a new phono cable made a dramatic change. Several visitors have said they were struck how the sound now seemed to come forward into the room. I think of it as having moved from a thick plane to a hemisphere of sound. With the front edge of the hemisphere extending beyond the listening position.

Do you think we are describing the same thing?

(Peter, this is not to say this hemisphere happens on all recordings.)
Hi Bobvin

Yes. I would say so.

All the Best

Joe
 
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heebrog

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I know CS2 works, because I have heard it in many systems, at many shows over many years. Every system sounded different and every track sounded different. And, more important, many of you say so. The challenge for DIY’ers is to make changes that allow you to play the widest range of music genres retaining the ultra-fine details that give each recording its character. Ultra-fine details break down the wall at the front plane of the loudspeakers.
Hi Joe,

I am always appreciative when manufacturers take the time to participate in forums such as this one to share their knowledge and insight.

I'm curious though how CS2 footers work in the context of a HiFi show with regards to "settling" times when it can take days to sound optimal?
 

howiebrou

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Joe, I would appreciate your advice with regards to your LS footers on my Goebel speakers. I have a preference for a fixed footer as I have no wish to see my speaker fall on someone or get damaged. Are the ones with adapters still available or is the cradle its replacement? Thanks.
 

joelavrencik

Industry Expert
Nov 15, 2016
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Hi Joe,

I am always appreciative when manufacturers take the time to participate in forums such as this one to share their knowledge and insight.

I'm curious though how CS2 footers work in the context of a HiFi show with regards to "settling" times when it can take days to sound optimal?
Hi heeborg

I appreciate your question. I send the feet to the manufacturer(s) I'm working with in advance of the show. They run the show components on the feet until everything settles. At the appropriate time, they shut their system down, pack up the show components and ship them to the show. We set up the system with the feet under the components. Then we turn everything on.

So, the last thing and the first thing the components "see" is the feet. There is "muscle memory", if you will. There is settling, but it's mostly electrical as you would suspect and not directly related to the feet.

Thank you for the question.

All the Best

Joe.
 

joelavrencik

Industry Expert
Nov 15, 2016
321
55
113
Chicago
www.criticalmasssystems.com
Joe, I would appreciate your advice with regards to your LS footers on my Goebel speakers. I have a preference for a fixed footer as I have no wish to see my speaker fall on someone or get damaged. Are the ones with adapters still available or is the cradle its replacement? Thanks.
Can you give me the model? I'd like to look them up online before I respond. Thanks!
 

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