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

Tango

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Mar 12, 2017
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How much is a set of CS2 1.5”?

Kind regards,
Tang
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
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Congratulations Joe. I am surprised by this announcement. What lead to the improvement of a product that was already so well received and was only introduced about a year ago? Is the long break in period addressed in the new design? Is there an upgrade path for owners of the first version? Can you share any photos?
 
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Blue58

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2013
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Sorry, I thought this was the Mama Mia - Here We Go Again thread.:rolleyes:
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
For those who have been patiently waiting for the arrival the CS2 and have placed orders, I will have the new versions in my hands thisWednesday and your orders will be sent out to you the same day
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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joelavrencik

Industry Expert
Nov 15, 2016
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www.criticalmasssystems.com
Congratulations Joe. I am surprised by this announcement. What lead to the improvement of a product that was already so well received and was only introduced about a year ago? Is the long break in period addressed in the new design? Is there an upgrade path for owners of the first version? Can you share any photos?
Hi Peter,

Thank you for your questions.

Many aspects of Center Stage were new to me (and certainly to the industry). The development of the original Center Stage took 17 years and a prerequisite breakthrough in (my) thinking that lead to the development of the OLYMPUS rack. I was interested in finding the “end” of what was possible with Center Stage and determining what the “end of what was possible” would sound like. I had no preconceived notions, just a curiosity because this step seemed like it had to precede the development of a loudspeaker foot and a turntable foot. After all, they all needed to integrate seamlessly into an audio system to improve playback. So, I guess your answer is, it was the creative part of the process necessary for advancement. As for the timing, sooner seemed better than later.

The long settling time is part and parcel to the 2nd Law methodology used in Center Stage. “Time” is a mandatory component of energy dissipation, so the time slog is still the case. It's worth it in the scheme of things, IMO.

There is an upgrade path. Owners can contact Steve to discuss this.

The newest version is visually identical to the first version with the addition of a superscript “2” in the name. Of, course there are other significant changes that result in the improvements noted in the announcement, but these are not visible to the eye.

All the Best,

Joe
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
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Wow, just 9 months btwn the first post for Series 1 CSF and Series 2.
Impressive.
 
Likes: bazelio

mountainjoe

Industry Expert
Mar 25, 2015
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eigenaudio.com
or going back further, Aurios, Black Diamond Racing cones, and Vibrapods (or even hockey pucks!)...all of which were "feet of the day" during their time. the fascination with feet is pretty funny to me over the years.
Lord knows there are almost as many vibration management solutions out there as there are cable manufacturers, but I can say these footers are unlike any other footer I have tried in the past including several that you cite above. The fact that these take several days to settle in and that they can make things worse before getting better, tells you they operate in a unique way that has not been seen previously in this industry (at least I am not aware of any other device in high end audio that behaves this way).

More importantly, the end result is a higher level of resolution, more 3-dimensional soundstage, improved imaging, and a very natural tonal balance and timbre - certainly compared to Stillpoints and the others I've tried.

Cheers, Joe

Full disclosure - I am a CMS dealer ;-)
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
or going back further, Aurios, Black Diamond Racing cones, and Vibrapods (or even hockey pucks!)...all of which were "feet of the day" during their time. the fascination with feet is pretty funny to me over the years.
Lord knows there are almost as many vibration management solutions out there as there are cable manufacturers, but I can say these footers are unlike any other footer I have tried in the past including several that you cite above. The fact that these take several days to settle in and that they can make things worse before getting better, tells you they operate in a unique way that has not been seen previously in this industry (at least I am not aware of any other device in high end audio that behaves this way).

More importantly, the end result is a higher level of resolution, more 3-dimensional soundstage, improved imaging, and a very natural tonal balance and timbre - certainly compared to Stillpoints and the others I've tried.

Cheers, Joe

Full disclosure - I am a CMS dealer ;-)
Its true Keith. I felt exactly like you a year ago when I said to Joe "not another footer"

But these behave like nothing in the market place. Keep being amused Keith. It's easy to comment if you haven't tried them. I even offered to come to your house and set them up in your system for you but you declined.

I would say in all candor, "your loss" as these act like nothing in the market today. As Mountain Joe posted it bests all the ones he has tried and I would second that for me as well. I can tell you that there are people all around the world who have ordered these from me as many as 8 different times for their systems.

So Keith, it's easy to make comments like you did but I was prepared to show you differently in your system and you said "no"
 

joelavrencik

Industry Expert
Nov 15, 2016
251
37
93
Chicago
www.criticalmasssystems.com
or going back further, Aurios, Black Diamond Racing cones, and Vibrapods (or even hockey pucks!)...all of which were "feet of the day" during their time. the fascination with feet is pretty funny to me over the years.
Hi Keith

Well, perhaps the answer is that everything does something and the ultimate efficacy of Center Stage, and any product for that matter, should be measured by the degree to which it helps bring the listener closer to “realism” or “truth to the recording” in audio playback. This objective is realized by eliminating issues that interfere with the engineering limits of your electronics.

The products you mentioned followed a similar path in physics that lead to audible imbalances in random wavelengths depending on each one’s configuration. You hear it. Center Stage adds new wrinkles to what has been done previously. so, CS is not the same and you can hear it.

Expanding on your initial observation, in one regard feet make a difference because the physics of vibration propagation has a well-known negative effect upon the operation of electronics after vibration has made its way in. In another regard, components generate energy when you turn them on and most feet cause the acceleration, magnification and retention of excess energy; another well-known negative effect of excess.

So, we’re reducing excess energy in a way that minimizes the addition and/or subtraction of energy that might otherwise result in wavelength deformation across the audible spectrum. Better put, we’ve gotten closer to the component’s optimal state of operating electrical equilibrium.

All the Best,

Joe
 

DaveyF

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2010
6,134
143
63
La Jolla, Calif USA
Hi Keith

Well, perhaps the answer is that everything does something and the ultimate efficacy of Center Stage, and any product for that matter, should be measured by the degree to which it helps bring the listener closer to “realism” or “truth to the recording” in audio playback. This objective is realized by eliminating issues that interfere with the engineering limits of your electronics.

The products you mentioned followed a similar path in physics that lead to audible imbalances in random wavelengths depending on each one’s configuration. You hear it. Center Stage adds new wrinkles to what has been done previously. so, CS is not the same and you can hear it.

Expanding on your initial observation, in one regard feet make a difference because the physics of vibration propagation has a well-known negative effect upon the operation of electronics after vibration has made its way in. In another regard, components generate energy when you turn them on and most feet cause the acceleration, magnification and retention of excess energy; another well-known negative effect of excess.

So, we’re reducing excess energy in a way that minimizes the addition and/or subtraction of energy that might otherwise result in wavelength deformation across the audible spectrum. Better put, we’ve gotten closer to the component’s optimal state of operating electrical equilibrium.

All the Best,

Joe
Interesting,and of course this has to do with the 2nd law of thermodynamics, isn’t that right.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
For those owners of the original CS feet and are interested in upgrading to the CS2 please contact me by email or PM for specifics
 

Barry

Member Sponsor
Jan 8, 2012
252
35
370
Somewhere near Philadelphia, USA
Wow!

I took delivery of 3 sets of CS Version 2 feet and listened to music for about 6 hours yesterday. 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 were left as is.

Right out of the boxes, the first thing you notice is the increase in the size of the soundstage both depth, width, and height. My dedicated room is somewhat less than ideal at only 14' wide and 8' high (and 27' long) , but the soundstage is now less constricted. There is now have a better sense of the music in the original recording venue's space. This is nice, but not what adds most to the increased sense of realism from using these.

A more subtle effect is that the sound stage is more continuous and of a piece from L to R. The air and reverberation trails from one speaker to the other. The music never emanated directly from my speakers before, but they've now totally disappeared. Everything is spread out in front of you in natural proportion to how it was recorded.

Once you listen for awhile, you notice the biggest sonic change. To me it's that images are really more solid and 3 D, not as flat. This is especially noticeable on center soloists/singers that now sound more "there". The change is similar, but maybe more pronounced, in moving from a very good SS preamp to my ARC REF 40 which already does solid images well. Related to the better 3D images and maybe because of it, I started hearing much greater instrumental separation - everything stands out in the mix rather than being buried in it. It's not overwhelming or disjointed, but sounds just right. You can "listen" to the forest, or focus on the trees. Often musical instrument sounds catch you off guard with their presence. There's increased natural definition, but it's not analytical at all. Image solidity and image separation in the acoustic space really make the music come alive.

Bottom line, there seems to be a reduction of temporal haze or smearing that's related to all of this above. This is much different than upgrading to a component with a lower noise floor - one that "lifts veils". My system was already very transparent. This temporal smearing I'll call it, wasn't noticeable before without the CS footers; just now, with its absence. The music is also a little more liquid and flowing. At the same time, everything sounds a little more dynamic with better pace. Tonal color are not at all adversely affected.

Oh, also very noticeable, the CS footers bring out deep bass that is taught and not bloated - even if you have 5 x 10" subwoofers per side like I do. Bass is now more foundational, in a good way, adding to an even better sense of tonal balance. This may require some minor adjustments in some systems.

I'm not sure about break-in time yet as there seem to be only improvements! The sound is changing. At the same time, you get used to it because it sounds so life-like. I occasionally noticed some disjointed sonics. If the whole system goes south and ends up back to how it sounds now, I'll be really happy and can live with the wait time.

The overall effect of adding the CS2s is, at times, almost magical. They not only fixed a few of my system weaknesses; but also, they cured even more serious issues I didn't even know I had. I doubt I could have gotten these results through component upgrades alone. I can't imagine what improvements would result from adding more of these, but I'm sure, I'll want to try.
 
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Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
Welcome to the CS Owners club Barry. I promised you that you’d be in for a ride with these.

I presently just added 60 of the CS2 to my system 3 days ago and these are truly a different beast than version one. I intend to post a thread soon on the day by day changes in my system with the CS2
 

joelavrencik

Industry Expert
Nov 15, 2016
251
37
93
Chicago
www.criticalmasssystems.com
Wow!

I took delivery of 3 sets of CS Version 2 feet and listened to music for about 6 hours yesterday. 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 were left as is.

Right out of the boxes, the first thing you notice is the increase in the size of the soundstage both depth, width, and height. My dedicated room is somewhat less than ideal at only 14' wide and 8' high (and 27' long) , but the soundstage is now less constricted. There is now have a better sense of the music in the original recording venue's space. This is nice, but not what adds most to the increased sense of realism from using these.

A more subtle effect is that the sound stage is more continuous and of a piece from L to R. The air and reverberation trails from one speaker to the other. The music never emanated directly from my speakers before, but they've now totally disappeared. Everything is spread out in front of you in natural proportion to how it was recorded.

Once you listen for awhile, you notice the biggest sonic change. To me it's that images are really more solid and 3 D, not as flat. This is especially noticeable on center soloists/singers that now sound more "there". The change is similar, but maybe more pronounced, in moving from a very good SS preamp to my ARC REF 40 which already does solid images well. Related to the better 3D images and maybe because of it, I started hearing much greater instrumental separation - everything stands out in the mix rather than being buried in it. It's not overwhelming or disjointed, but sounds just right. You can "listen" to the forest, or focus on the trees. Often musical instrument sounds catch you off guard with their presence. There's increased natural definition, but it's not analytical at all. Image solidity and image separation in the acoustic space really make the music come alive.

Bottom line, there seems to be a reduction of temporal haze or smearing that's related to all of this above. This is much different than upgrading to a component with a lower noise floor - one that "lifts veils". My system was already very transparent. This temporal smearing I'll call it, wasn't noticeable before without the CS footers; just now, with its absence. The music is also a little more liquid and flowing. At the same time, everything sounds a little more dynamic with better pace. Tonal color are not at all adversely affected.

Oh, also very noticeable, the CS footers bring out deep bass that is taught and not bloated - even if you have 5 x 10" subwoofers per side like I do. Bass is now more foundational, in a good way, adding to an even better sense of tonal balance. This may require some minor adjustments in some systems.

I'm not sure about break-in time yet as there seem to be only improvements! The sound is changing. At the same time, you get used to it because it sounds so life-like. I occasionally noticed some disjointed sonics. If the whole system goes south and ends up back to how it sounds now, I'll be really happy and can live with the wait time.

The overall effect of adding the CS2s is, at times, almost magical. They not only fixed a few of my system weaknesses; but also, they cured even more serious issues I didn't even know I had. I doubt I could have gotten these results through component upgrades alone. I can't imagine what improvements would result from adding more of these, but I'm sure, I'll want to try.
Hi Barry

It's really nice of you to post this. What catches my attention is the rather "immediate" improvement you're getting. This is usually not the case. Would you mind telling us the rack, or surface material, your components are sitting on.

Thanks!

Joe
 

Barry

Member Sponsor
Jan 8, 2012
252
35
370
Somewhere near Philadelphia, USA
Hi Barry

It's really nice of you to post this. What catches my attention is the rather "immediate" improvement you're getting. This is usually not the case. Would you mind telling us the rack, or surface material, your components are sitting on.

Thanks!

Joe
Steve Blinn Designs a former Audiogon dealer (may no longer be in business). Solid 2" thick butcher block maple shelves resting on sorbothane bumpers in a heavy aluminum contruction frame.

Watch, the sound will go to hell the next time I turn the system on. Here's an old rack pic.

rsz_img_3440.jpg
 

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