Center Stage2 "LS" Series Loudspeaker Feet

Hello, Joe Lavrencik here, Critical Mass Systems. I wanted to thank Mike and Steve for allowing me to post on Audio Sharks and What’s Best Forum about a new product I developed. (Please excuse the photo inserts. Didn't know how to make them smaller)

Those of you who have read about or tried Center Stage2 will have a leg up on new readers because you’ll likely see many references to Center Stage2 in this thread. The news is that Critical Mass Systems has a new series of loudspeaker feet we’re introducing. Rather than initially sending the feet to a handful of reviewers, I decided to engage what I consider to be an objective group of beta-testers who would feel open about sharing what they experienced with the feet under the loudspeakers in their systems.

I asked Steve Williams to test the Center Stage2 LS 1.5 under his Wilson Alexandria X2 loudspeakers because they were heavy, big, ported, ultra-sensitive to change and made from a phenol-based cabinet material. The complexity of the driver array is mind boggling with respect to footer design making this loudspeaker perfect for a performance test. A total of 4 feet went under each of his speakers. Steve is hyper-sensitive to changes in his system and he, like the other beta testers, would never say anything good about something that did not advance the sound of his system. True, Steve sells CS2 feet, but adding unproven loudspeaker feet to a system as finely tuned as his was definitely a real test of performance and value.

I asked Mike Bovaird of Suncoast Audio to test the new feet because he had access to the Magico M Series loudspeakers. He tested the feet on the M2. This was important to me because the M Series are excellent products. The M2 is an aluminum-based offering and relatively small compared to some of the others in the test set. Also, Magico offers its own foot, the MPod, which is very well-known. I’ve had the pleasure of working with many Magico loudspeakers over the years and they are excellent. I have the very highest respect for Alon Wolf, Yair Tammam and Peter MacKay.

I thought it important to go head-to-head with the best performing foot I could find to see how our top-of-the-line loudspeaker foot, the Center Stage2 LS 1.5 stacked up. Those of you who know Mike, know he’s a no-bullshit guy who tells it like it is. This is important to everyone and especially me. The worst thing a designer can have in beta-testers are people who say something is good when it isn’t. Mike doesn’t mess around.

Along those same lines, I enlisted Damon Von Schweikert and Leif Swanson of Von Schweikert Audio to test the Center Stage2 LS 1.5 in their production facility on their VR-55. This loudspeaker has been around for a long time with well-known performance characteristics. It has a larger volume cabinet than the Magico M2 and is made from different materials. The VR-55 has a ported wood-based cabinet whereas the M2 is a sealed metal-based cabinet. Also, the VR-55 has a different weight and afforded the opportunity to test 4 feet directly under the component versus the 3 feet used with Magico’s more “disconnected” tripod base.

I have worked with VSA in many shows around the USA and they make a great product. Our working relationship made the evaluation process easy to arrange, but that’s where friendship stopped. Business is business. There is no way a well-known loudspeaker manufacturer like VSA would say anything good about a product that diminished the engineering of their own product in their own test room.

The beta-testers were carefully chosen because of their status as brutally frank people in this industry and because the loudspeakers they had available ran the gamut of materials and configurations generally found in the industry.

You’ll find this thread separately on What’s Best Forum and Audio Sharks. Having said this, the white paper is attached too.…….

 

Comments

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#41
There are two other speaker feet coming at a smalkerr size and price

say what you will dude but IMO these LS feet have brought my system to its final destination. The sonic improvement has to be heard to understand the fuss. The LS1.5 which I have are his top of the line. They are big and heavy. and won’t fit under every speaker. there will be two other sizes to choose from

as for the cost they are slightly more than the Magico feet and according to a post which was briefly in another forum the LS1.5 clearly out performed the Magico feet. Interesting that that post quickly disappeared.
 

joelavrencik

Industry Expert
Nov 15, 2016
258
39
93
Chicago
www.criticalmasssystems.com
#42
$9,600 for a pair of big / heavy speakers without the adapters? Say that five times with a straight face. That's almost $3,000 more than I paid for new my Joseph Audio Pulsars. The price per each makes it extremely inhibitive for the average audio type to purchase. I'm not saying they won't work as advertised but, with all due respect to Joe and Steve, I find the "hi end" pricing model to be absurd and beyond pale except, of course, for "luxury" watches.
Hi thedudeabides

The Center Stage2 LS 1.5 is the top of the line for loudspeaker feet. It really does work in a very big way. We will introduce more loudspeaker feet below this one as soon as we have them finalized.

All the Best,

Joe
 

thedudeabides

Well-Known Member
Jan 16, 2011
1,435
137
485
Alto, NM
#43
Understood Joe and Steve. As I said, I assumed they work as advertised. IMHO, comparisons to other priced products to justify the MSRP for another product in a similar genre is a somewhat dubious justification and fuels the current upward pricing swing in the hi end.

Best,

Gordon
 

joelavrencik

Industry Expert
Nov 15, 2016
258
39
93
Chicago
www.criticalmasssystems.com
#44
Understood Joe and Steve. As I said, I assumed they work as advertised. IMHO, comparisons to other priced products to justify the MSRP for another product in a similar genre is a somewhat dubious justification and fuels the current upward pricing swing in the hi end.

Best,

Gordon
Hi Gordon

Sorry. I responded and didn’t see that Steve had already done so. Pricing is a sensitive subject and I feel like to trying to justify this is leading with your (my) chin. So with that in mind and speaking about my own product, I think I can reasonably say there are features of the LS foot that make it expensive to produce. For example, making the foot height adjustable at the spike cup requires an extensive amount of internal milling of the upper cylinder and lower silver-colored spike anchor. These millings are invisible from the outside.

The metals inside the foot are alloys of titanium, tungsten, cobalt, carbon and aluminum. Aluminum alloys are not that expensive but the other metals are for sure. The tolerance between the inner and outer shell - to ensure the outer shell never makes contact with the inner structures - is +/- 0.0005”. We must do this to direct energy through specific channels inside the foot. Other milling tolerances inside the foot - to make the structures seat tightly together under load - can only be accepted at +/-0. Last, but not least, there are critical parts that can only be made by hand. The difficulty here is that the handmade part is an 8-step process for which, again, the acceptable tolerance is +/-0.

I don't know if this sounds like anything that drives up costs, but it most assuredly is. But, this is what it takes to elevate the performance of extraordinary loudspeakers without messing up some minute aspect of their performance. If I changed anything to cheapen the foot, lower the construction cost or otherwise lessen the effectiveness of the foot, the project wouldn’t have been worth the bother, imo.

Believe me, I respect you and your point.

Very Respectfully,

Joe
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#47
Dude

to give you an example of the materials and what’s involved the above pictures show a CS2 1.5 beside the new LS Series 1.5
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#48
The 1.5 weigh about 9-10 ounces whereas the new speaker foot LS 1.5 is 3.25” tall ( over 2x the height of the 1.5) and a weight of about 4 pounds.
I was the biggest skeptic and loving my system. As I’ve stated here many times my interest was piqued when I read Joes White Paper.
 

thedudeabides

Well-Known Member
Jan 16, 2011
1,435
137
485
Alto, NM
#49
Pricing is a sensitive subject and I feel like to trying to justify this is leading with your (my) chin.

Joe,

Thanks for the technical manufacturing info on your new product. Gives me a lot more insight into the pricing issue. Thanks Steve for the pictures. Wish I could try any of your products but they are way above my pay grade. :)

Best,

Gordon
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#50
Introducing the new Center Stage 2 LS 1.0

Suffice it to say that with the addition a month ago to my system of the new Center Stage 2 LS 1.5 I have been in hog's heaven as the changes to my system were so profound that I Neve r thought them to be possible

Joe just released the new LS 1.0 and I received 8 of them yesterday to try and compare to its big brother the LS 1.5.

The only downside was having to remove the present keepers in my system and audition this new set as I once again go through the painful settle in process

I always like to listen immediately after the feet are inserted to get a taste of what was to come as very quickly the sound stage falls apart and there then comes the 7 day or so settle in. My preliminary thoughts before the bass became loose and tubby and the top end bright and rolled off was an amazingly beautiful midrange which persisted for a few hours before the sound degraded. So my system is on now for most of the day's to follow

I took a side by side of the 2 feet

Although I have never weighed these feet I would say that the LS 1.5 weigh 3-3.5 pounds and stands 3.25" tall. The new LS 1.0 seems half the weight and about an inch shorter. The LS 1.0 is built around the 1.0 technology and like it's big brother the LS 1.5, the LS 1.0 has the equivalent of 5 CS2 1.0 feet within

I will report my findings over the course of the next week or so and once they've settled I will have some further comments
 

Kingsrule

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2011
990
205
455
#55
The model inscription (LS 1.0) is a very nice addition. I assume the 1.5's will have the same. Very discrete.

The company name on the opposite side however, not so much. Not into it at all
 

joelavrencik

Industry Expert
Nov 15, 2016
258
39
93
Chicago
www.criticalmasssystems.com
#58
The model inscription (LS 1.0) is a very nice addition. I assume the 1.5's will have the same. Very discrete.

The company name on the opposite side however, not so much. Not into it at all
Hi Kingsrule,

This is an interesting comment. I get what you are saying. I would prefer to have no markings on them at all. But, interestingly enough, most people want something there that states the manufacturer and the model. All things considered, I tried to do the least that would be acceptable around the globe as far as markings are concerned. I hope this makes sense.

On a personal note, if you ever want to try the 1.5s under your M6s, you have a money back guarantee from me. And an open invitation to post your findings here and/or on Mike's site. I think you would be very pleased, indeed. The feet are height adjustable and superbly voiced for what you have..........

Very Respectfully,

Joe
 
Likes: CKKeung

joelavrencik

Industry Expert
Nov 15, 2016
258
39
93
Chicago
www.criticalmasssystems.com
#60
Thanks Joe. I just might be convinced to try a set with that offer....
Cool. And, if you like, I'll make sure there are no markings on them. I should mention that the current markings are pretty small and facing upwards. I tried to do my best to make sure they were not be visible from the seating position, but........ Just let me know your preference.
 

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