Center Stage2 White Paper for Owners and Potential Owners

joelavrencik

Industry Expert
Nov 15, 2016
237
30
28
Chicago
www.criticalmasssystems.com
#2
Center Stage2
Designed by Joe Lavrencik, Critical Mass Systems
U.S. patent pending​

Introduction

There were several objectives behind the development of Center Stage2. Firstly, we wanted to develop a novel approach to solving the problem of vibration degradation in audio systems.

Secondly, this new innovative approach had to be applicable to the widest array of components possible. And, we wanted Center Stage2 to bring a consistent level of improvement to the least expensive systems and the most expensive systems.

Thirdly, we wanted to make sure that Center Stage2 was beneficial across the audible spectrum rather than effective in a limited range of frequencies.

Finally, and most important, we wanted to develop a product that brought methodologies found in our most expensive products to the audio community at the lowest possible cost.

We are thrilled with Center Stage2 and we hope you will give them a try throughout your system.

What was the Innovative Approach?

Rather than approaching the problem of reducing vibration using classic methodologies, we decided to try to “work the problem backwards’. So, we started with design fundamentals that rest within the discipline of material science. Firstly, we explored the properties of a wide range of materials. Secondly, we determined the correct sequencing of the material. Then, we established the proper proportions of the materials. Lastly, we added damping in the very last stage in an amount that would eliminate the internal noise of the product and the component without rolling off the top end of the acoustic envelope.

How Does Center Stage Work?

Gain, Relative Permittivity and the efficiency of electrical devices can be expressed as dimensionless numbers. For a moment, think of electricity as dimensionless energy moving through 3 dimensional pathways; printed circuit boards, resistors, capacitors, inductors, power supplies, wire, transformers, etc. When vibration is introduced into the atmosphere at the front baffle of the loudspeakers, vibration becomes a 3-dimensional form of energy that can only dissipate by permeating into 3-dimensional objects causing an unnaturally high state of mechanical excitation to occur within them; the objects vibrate. They will continue to vibrate when music is playing and eventually establish a relatively constant state of unnaturally high equilibrium that is well known to degrade the performance of audio components.

Center Stage2 helps components reach their engineered potential in 3 ways. First, they mitigate vibration coming up from the surface below them. Second, they cancel out their own noise. This very difficult accomplishment ensures truth to source material and truth to component engineering design. Third, they transfer entropy out of the component. The transfer of disorder out of a component is rooted in the 2nd Law of Thermodynamic and requires time; thus the reason for the extended settling process.

We thought about evaluating Center Stage2 using standard accelerometer tests but, we were getting audible results far beyond the expected norm; results so undeniably powerful we knew that something beyond that which an accelerometer could show was going on. Center Stage2 is a foot with a footprint that exceeds most anything we’ve heard from a “shelf”, or a “box”.

It might be appropriate to view Center Stage2 as a catalyst in an energy reaction. This catalyst is designed to change the prevailing state of equilibrium in the reaction, to establish a better state of equilibrium, and to permanently hold the better state of equilibrium. The shocking surprise is the sonic envelope of the better state of equilibrium.

The Total Immersion Effect

The Total Immersion Effect can be described as a highly articulated acoustic sound field that extends out from the loudspeakers and wraps around the listener. Another way to say it is, the listener is pulled into the recorded acoustic. The effect is the same expressed either way.
In a “normal” listening room, you see an image in space and you hear a musical event occur at that location. With the Total Immersion Effect, you experience something on the order of a 4k hi-rez 3D surround-event. At times, you see the image in space, you hear and see the musical event occur inside the image, and then you hear, see and feel the sensory event spread out around you from the soundstage. You become immersed by the sound field.

Knocking down the “wall” that separates the listener from the musicians at the front plane of the loudspeakers requires the electromechanical balance inside the components to reach an ultrafine point of equilibrium and to hold that equilibrium point across 20,000+ Hz in a fluctuating energy field so that the component can remain stable enough to create the Immersion Effect with consistency in the listening space.

What to expect during settle in

It might be best to think of the break in period as 7 days in hxxx, well, you get the idea. Center Stage2 is a catalyst in a reaction that occurs in, on and around the circuit boards of the component powered by energy produced by loudspeakers and, in measure, the component itself.
The settling in process can be likened to the swinging motion of an undamped pendulum. Upon release, the pendulum swings freely on both sides of an equilibrium point where it will eventually settle.

Because Center Stage2 will dramatically change the current electromechanical equilibrium of your components, you should expect your system to temporarily degrade at the outset. Your soundstage will then begin to reconstruct itself by gently tipping upward and downward as it establishes a new and better equilibrium point. “Better” is inexorable.

During the settling period, the listener will recognize that he/she is listening to a series of long, nonspecific frequency oscillations as the better state of equilibrium is slowly established. This is perfectly normal and should be expected.

In fact, these cycles are extremely important. During each cycle, the component is moving closer to a better equilibrium point, AND, at the end of each cycle, the noise floor will drop. Thus, each cycle represents a reduction in noise floor and the formation of a better electromechanical equilibrium point. The longer this cycling continues, the better your sound will become. In this respect, a 7-day settling period is a very good thing.

In the end stage, the oscillations will become ultrafine and be largely experienced in the high frequencies. They will be barely perceptible unless you really focus. It is extremely important to let the system play for at least 7 days before assuming it has reached equilibrium. Playing a system 24/7 is not always necessary, but the more playing time the better.

Your end of the Bargain, or Making the Experience Better

Center Stage2 is good for beginners and advanced listeners. The sonic fluctuations you may experience during the settling period will subside as time passes. Keeping in mind that Center Stage2 is designed to be neutral, here’s what you need:
  • Components crafted by a known and reliable manufacturer. Your components do not need to be among the “most expensive” or the purported “best” in the world. You will experience excellent results with low cost components. A host of components were used to design Center Stage2, some of them very low cost. This was done to assure consistency of performance. It is certainly true, however, that the better your components, the better your results.
  • Neutral wiring crafted by a known and reliable manufacturer. Some wiring is a “tone control”. Tone control wiring is not necessary. The more invisible your wire, the less it makes its presence known in your system, the better your results.
  • A Clean Circuit. It is important to make sure the “cheap” power supplies from computers, screens, servers and most turntables etc. are plugged into a circuit separate from the circuit servicing your main components. The dirt from these low-end plug-ins will contaminate your signal. You may not have heard the contamination before, but you will certainly hear it as the noise floor drops with Center Stage2.
  • Stable rack(s) and/or stand(s). Home furnishings are fine. Center Stage2 was vetted on various flat wooden surfaces with Janka ratings of 1200 and higher equating to an elastic modulus of 4 GPa or greater. This means that virtually any flat surface will net tremendous results. Having said this, the better the surface with respect to its associated and/or inherent technological properties, the better the results. The results on CMS racks is superlative. Please note that bare metal surfaces may not net the best result and separating the foot from the surface with an appropriate wood surface may be required.
  • Proper loudspeaker set up. This is essential. Center Stage2 was designed to be most effective in 2-channel stereo system listening rooms with conventional loudspeakers of appropriate size and design for the room, and with seating positions reasonable and appropriate for the loudspeaker and room dimensions.
  • When you put Center Stage in, pull every tweak out. Center Stage2 will take about 7 to 10 days to settle. Be slow, careful and cautious about adding any other device(s) back into your system. Keep in mind that Center Stage2 is designed to support 'truth to the component engineering" and "truth to the source material". Recordings should sound as they were originally engineered. There should never be homogenizing of the signal output. Adding Center Stage under more of your components is the only means to realizing the full “Total Immersion Effect” so highly valued in high end audio.
 
Likes: Bodhi

the sound of Tao

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2014
1,303
744
113
#3
Oh my heavens, one of my favourite posts ever... dimensionless energy moving through 3 dimensional pathways... that is just joyful to read. Thank you Joe, that just made my night. Absolutely love your work, both the concept and the way you just expressed it... awesome.
 
Mar 3, 2011
108
5
18
#4
Hi Joe, I have the rack and platforms under my tt and amps (cant remember the name, the one model below the totl thickest model). Do I need the CS2 too or do I only need the CS2 and not the rack/platform anymore? I have been very happy with the rack/platform over the years. Wonder to what degree will the CS2 bring improvement to the table versus full rack/platform, thanks.
 

joelavrencik

Industry Expert
Nov 15, 2016
237
30
28
Chicago
www.criticalmasssystems.com
#5
Oh my heavens, one of my favourite posts ever... dimensionless energy moving through 3 dimensional pathways... that is just joyful to read. Thank you Joe, that just made my night. Absolutely love your work, both the concept and the way you just expressed it... awesome.
Thank you!
 

joelavrencik

Industry Expert
Nov 15, 2016
237
30
28
Chicago
www.criticalmasssystems.com
#6
Hi Joe, I have the rack and platforms under my tt and amps (cant remember the name, the one model below the totl thickest model). Do I need the CS2 too or do I only need the CS2 and not the rack/platform anymore? I have been very happy with the rack/platform over the years. Wonder to what degree will the CS2 bring improvement to the table versus full rack/platform, thanks.
Hi Leyenda

I'm assuming you mean a CMS rack. I have something new coming out for tts later this year, so let's focus on the amps for now.

In general, CMS racks/platforms and CS2 feet do 2 different things. In fact, I think it's fair for me to extend the previous sentence to "all racks/platforms" and CS2 footers do 2 different things.

All serious racks/platforms focus on 1st Law energy conversion; vibration to heat. You can clearly hear the benefit of this approach. The better the rack/platform, the better the result. Let's call it a given.

With respect to racks, the problem we all have is that legitimate attempts to pull entropy (disorder) out of the component are confounded by the feet under the component. Most low budget feet available to component manufacturers are low budget junk, some are better. None are great, imo. So, they force the component to retain entropy (disorder). That's a very bad thing in high end audio.

So, when you put CS2 under your components on a CMS rack/platform (and most others including home furnishings) you're going to get a tremendous benefit you would not otherwise know was possible..

So, the honest short answer, in your case, is to do both. You'll never regret it. If the component works on our racks it will work better with CS2 included.

Thank you for your question.

All the Best,

Joe
 

Barry

Member Sponsor
Jan 8, 2012
222
12
18
Somewhere near Philadelphia, USA
#7
Hi Joe! Don't have CS2s under my amps yet, but thinking about it. Currently, the amps are on the floor sitting on 1/2" thick ceramic tile to protect the 1/2" wool carpet underneath (no pad) on top of a concrete slab (I'm banished to the basement....).

Not sure if the CS2s would work on this setup, but could change the tile to wood or something. Planning on trying this out with a spair pair of CS2s just to see. Any thoughts?
 
Sep 29, 2013
39
2
8
#8
"Third, they transfer entropy out of the component. The transfer of disorder out of a component is rooted in the 2nd Law of Thermodynamic"

Since the 2nd law is: delta S > 0, can we remove the CS2 after awhile?
 
Mar 3, 2011
108
5
18
#9
Hi Leyenda

I'm assuming you mean a CMS rack. I have something new coming out for tts later this year, so let's focus on the amps for now.

In general, CMS racks/platforms and CS2 feet do 2 different things. In fact, I think it's fair for me to extend the previous sentence to "all racks/platforms" and CS2 footers do 2 different things.

All serious racks/platforms focus on 1st Law energy conversion; vibration to heat. You can clearly hear the benefit of this approach. The better the rack/platform, the better the result. Let's call it a given.

With respect to racks, the problem we all have is that legitimate attempts to pull entropy (disorder) out of the component are confounded by the feet under the component. Most low budget feet available to component manufacturers are low budget junk, some are better. None are great, imo. So, they force the component to retain entropy (disorder). That's a very bad thing in high end audio.

So, when you put CS2 under your components on a CMS rack/platform (and most others including home furnishings) you're going to get a tremendous benefit you would not otherwise know was possible..

So, the honest short answer, in your case, is to do both. You'll never regret it. If the component works on our racks it will work better with CS2 included.

Thank you for your question.

All the Best,

Joe
Thanks for a very complete answer. I will try both some time in the future. From my read, the footer may have an edge. Was hoping I can skip the rack and just use the footers. Sorry Joe, I have to be honest, I love what your rack does to the sound, but I have the other half always crticizing about the looks :confused:
 

joelavrencik

Industry Expert
Nov 15, 2016
237
30
28
Chicago
www.criticalmasssystems.com
#10
Hi Joe! Don't have CS2s under my amps yet, but thinking about it. Currently, the amps are on the floor sitting on 1/2" thick ceramic tile to protect the 1/2" wool carpet underneath (no pad) on top of a concrete slab (I'm banished to the basement....).

Not sure if the CS2s would work on this setup, but could change the tile to wood or something. Planning on trying this out with a spair pair of CS2s just to see. Any thoughts?
My gut is that the tile set up would be ok. I'm no different than you and what would lurk in my mind is the same question, would wood be better. So, I'd settle them in on the tile, and later go to the local hardware store to get some 3/4" mdf cut to size. Keep the cost down, try the experiment and see which you like better. I developed CS on wood scraps from my garage (did not try tile). I wanted to be as tough as possible on the product.
 

CK Tam

New Member
Dec 9, 2018
6
0
1
Hong Kong
#11
Hi Joel,
My CD Player has a 40 mm thick platform relied on three independent stainless steel ball feet.
I would like to install CS2 1.5 feet under this 40mm thick platform, is it possible ?
Thanks !
CK Tam
 

Attachments

joelavrencik

Industry Expert
Nov 15, 2016
237
30
28
Chicago
www.criticalmasssystems.com
#12
"Third, they transfer entropy out of the component. The transfer of disorder out of a component is rooted in the 2nd Law of Thermodynamic"

Since the 2nd law is: delta S > 0, can we remove the CS2 after awhile?
Unfortunately, no. The fly in the ointment is the consistent (variable) magnitude of the energy field the component sits in. The mechanical energy produced by loudspeakers permeates into the component and your right back where you started from. You would hear a gradual sonic drift back to the original state of equilibrium.

So, lets's say you have a component chassis that has been knocked off of neutral by the manufacturer. There is 1 component I can think of made with a double bottom separated by a teflon buffer with a nylon pole connecting the top plate to the bottom. The manufacturer uses a proprietary foot that benefits from the teflon liner and the pole. I've never tried it, but my guess is that upon inserting CS2 in place of the proprietary feet, you would hear the teflon/nylon pulling the sound field in an unpleasant direction. In this example, removing the CS2 feet would return the component to its original state of equilibrium and that would be a good thing provided my suspicions were correct.

It works both ways.
 

joelavrencik

Industry Expert
Nov 15, 2016
237
30
28
Chicago
www.criticalmasssystems.com
#13
Thanks for a very complete answer. I will try both some time in the future. From my read, the footer may have an edge. Was hoping I can skip the rack and just use the footers. Sorry Joe, I have to be honest, I love what your rack does to the sound, but I have the other half always crticizing about the looks :confused:
Sorry, then I didn't give you a complete answer. You can skip the rack to please your wife. A happy marriage trumps everything. CS2 will do a great job for you on home furnishings.
 

joelavrencik

Industry Expert
Nov 15, 2016
237
30
28
Chicago
www.criticalmasssystems.com
#14
Hi Joel,
My CD Player has a 40 mm thick platform relied on three independent stainless steel ball feet.
I would like to install CS2 1.5 feet under this 40mm thick platform, is it possible ?
Thanks !
CK Tam
My suggestion would be bypassing the base and going directly underneath the CDP housing. CS2 is designed to work when it in direct contact with the component. (Beautiful CDP!)
 

CK Tam

New Member
Dec 9, 2018
6
0
1
Hong Kong
#15
My suggestion would be bypassing the base and going directly underneath the CDP housing. CS2 is designed to work when it in direct contact with the component. (Beautiful CDP!)
Hi Joel,
Thank you for your quick reply.
I have checked the possibility of putting the CS2 footers under the chassis , and I find the bottom of the chassis is too small to accommodate four feet. Therefore I consider to install the CS2 footers under the platform (acrylic look-alike material).
Cheers,
CK Tam
 

joelavrencik

Industry Expert
Nov 15, 2016
237
30
28
Chicago
www.criticalmasssystems.com
#16
I thought it might be beneficial to publish the White Paper for Center Stage2. This explains something about the product and offers important information that will definitely enhance your ownership experience.
Hi Joel,
Thank you for your quick reply.
I have checked the possibility of putting the CS2 footers under the chassis , and I find the bottom of the chassis is too small to accommodate four feet. Therefore I consider to install the CS2 footers under the platform (acrylic look-alike material).
Cheers,
CK Tam
Got it. CS2 should offer an improvement based on its 1st Law properties and in particular the 1.5 performance characteristics.

Please keep me posted on your experience back here on this thread.

Thank you!

Joe
 
Aug 28, 2018
58
15
8
Seattle, WA
#17
I do have a question regarding Center Stage or similar.

Does one realize the same or less when internal electronics are mounted to the underside of the top of an amplifier?

What about separate power supplies?
 

joelavrencik

Industry Expert
Nov 15, 2016
237
30
28
Chicago
www.criticalmasssystems.com
#18
I do have a question regarding Center Stage or similar.

Does one realize the same or less when internal electronics are mounted to the underside of the top of an amplifier?

What about separate power supplies?
This is good question. To be perfectly transparent, I never had the opportunity to test this. In fact, it never made my radar screen. So, I need your help. Can you please give me the make and models so I can do some research and get back to you. This is definitely worthwhile exploring.
 
Aug 28, 2018
58
15
8
Seattle, WA
#19
This is good question. To be perfectly transparent, I never had the opportunity to test this. In fact, it never made my radar screen. So, I need your help. Can you please give me the make and models so I can do some research and get back to you. This is definitely worthwhile exploring.
D’Agostino Momentum Mono’s. I have no problem helping :).
 
Jan 4, 2019
41
8
8
Toronto, Canada
#20
Joe,

I have just started to test two sets of CS2's. I have the large size under my amp and the medium size under my preamp.
I wish I had a few more sets to try elsewhere but that will possibly come later.

I have some of my gear on Symposium shelves. Remember those? I have the larger Ultra's and the thinner Svelte's.
Would you footers be expected to work together with these shelves or would it be better to leave the shelves out of the equation?

thanks,
Ken
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. A place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss existing and new audio products, music servers, music streamers and computer audio, digital to audio convertors (DACS), turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel to reel, speakers, headphones, tube amplifiers and solid state amplification. Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing