Introducing Center Stage 2M

PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
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You must have a much more special iPhone than I do. Besides, I absolutely do not care. I know what I hear and what excites me and that is enough. Come-on, surely you know that different speakers that measure the same do not necessarily sound the same. However, you have given me an idea. Since I got a new iPhone today, I am going to listen to it for a few days on speaker and then I am going to put it on CMS2 footers and see if it sounds better!

Russ, I am certainly not suggesting an iPhone video over Youtube is a substitute for what you are actually hearing in your listening seat. I am just curious to see if the dramatic improvement is audible over such a video. Having heard the prototype for the original CS footer in a friend's system, I think the difference before and after would be audible. I remain hopeful that someone will post the comparison.

Congratulations on your fine system as you have been dreaming about it for a long time, and these new footers are getting you that much closer.
 
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joelavrencikCMS

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Jul 30, 2021
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You must have a much more special iPhone than I do. Besides, I absolutely do not care. I know what I hear and what excites me and that is enough. Come-on, surely you know that different speakers that measure the same do not necessarily sound the same. However, you have given me an idea. Since I got a new iPhone today, I am going to listen to it for a few days on speaker and then I am going to put it on CMS2 footers and see if it sounds better!
I put my Samsung phone on a 1.5 playing through a pair of wifi speakers. I laid the face of the phone on the foot. It worked. YMMV.
 

BruceD

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Yeah, I blew it. I wish I would have also.
Lars and Roy Gregory did the Nordost Sort Cone launch in/out Music demos at an early RMAF --interesting while not earth shattering regards to changes the sonic differences--for the better with the Cones was evident.
The ones I attended were packed --so a pretty good response I felt for the brand .

Food for thought for your good self and product--heaven forbid if we ever get back to normality :oops:!

BruceD
 
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jeffrey_t

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Joe,
Have you considered any industrial applications for these feet? For example, Could they improve the performance of a MRI machine? There are many hospital power products that have been adapted for audio, I wonder if the reverse could be possible.
 

Tango

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I would love to hear some videos comparing before the footers and after footers to see if it was discernible. That would be impressive.
Howie. You should find two pairs and try under your amps. Then you will realize how amazing these footers are shaping sound.
 

joelavrencikCMS

Industry Expert
Jul 30, 2021
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Joe,
Have you considered any industrial applications for these feet? For example, Could they improve the performance of a MRI machine? There are many hospital power products that have been adapted for audio, I wonder if the reverse could be possible.
True story, so help me God:

We did an installation of CS2 feet in a reviewer's system. A real bucket list rig. Had to be over $1m easy.

He had 2 minusK platforms under a pre and phono, as I recall. If you don't know minusK, look it up. It's the real deal for electron microscopes etc.

He used a really nice wood rack. Nothing "special", just well made.

We pulled the minusKs out and put in CS2. He could immediately hear that CS2 was better for high end audio than the MK. That was an epiphany.

My point is that the CS family is made for high end audio. Imo, there's absolutely no way CS2 would be better than a MinusK under an electron microscope or an MRI machine. His and my devices do 2 different things and are designed for their particular specialties.

My going in assumption would be that the feet would not do what an MRI requires to function optimally.
 

Drpie

Member
Feb 22, 2019
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I use TAOC ASR racks and Synergistic Research Tranquility Base for each component (except for monoblocks).
I bought CS2 1.5 and CS2M 1.0. Should I remove SR Bases before testing? Is there any real CS experience on SR platforms?
 

joelavrencikCMS

Industry Expert
Jul 30, 2021
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I use TAOC ASR racks and Synergistic Research Tranquility Base for each component (except for monoblocks).
I bought CS2 1.5 and CS2M 1.0. Should I remove SR Bases before testing? Is there any real CS experience on SR platforms?
Yes, I would remove the SR. This is not a criticism of the Tbase. My concern is that it is a conflicting technology that will most likely, imo, interfere with CS2.

CS2 works with the component's circuits through direct contact with Its chassis. The Tbase will reach around CS2 and tweak the circuits through dial-determined electromagnetic field forces. Totally different.

It might be good enough to unplug them, but I do not know this for a fact. I wish I could help you more.
 

mountainjoe

Industry Expert
Mar 25, 2015
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eigenaudio.com
Now all I have to do is get my VSA Ultra 9's modified so that the LS 1.5's will work with their cabinet design. Unfortunately, the pandemic has made it hard to get Damon and Leif to NJ to perform the mod.
Hi Russ - I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what the LS footers do under your Ultra 9s if what I experienced with them under my Ultra 55s is any indication.

Cheers, Joe
 
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aniwolfe

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Mar 27, 2018
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@joelavrencikCMS

1.Can you please tell me when the backordered 1.5 models will be shipping again?
2. You mentioned that the paper material on top of the footer is an important element of the design. I just received a set of 0.8's and one of the footers has a portion that does not have enough adhesive, so its bubbling up. How can this be fixed?

Thanks
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
Joe sold out of his entire first run of 1.5’s in the very first day of release. My understanding is he won’t have the next shipment until end of August and then he’ll begin shipping probably early September
 

joelavrencikCMS

Industry Expert
Jul 30, 2021
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If I 'find' 2 pairs, I surely will! ;)
Based on the feedback we have thus far, and it is admittedly limited, my suggestion is to install the CS2 and let them settle fully under a component at the signal source or as close as possible.

You shouldn't need to do an A/B/A but up to you, of course.

Then, pull out the completely settled CS2 and directly insert the 2ms. Because the technologies are different, you will go through another settling period. At the end of that period, there should be no question that the structure of the soundstage has improved.

Patience is the key.
 

joelavrencikCMS

Industry Expert
Jul 30, 2021
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@joelavrencikCMS

1.Can you please tell me when the backordered 1.5 models will be shipping again?
2. You mentioned that the paper material on top of the footer is an important element of the design. I just received a set of 0.8's and one of the footers has a portion that does not have enough adhesive, so its bubbling up. How can this be fixed?

Thanks
Please email CMS regarding #2.

So far it looks like the end of August regarding #1 (as Steve said).
 

joelavrencikCMS

Industry Expert
Jul 30, 2021
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From time to time I get asked for a recommendation on how to A/B/A the feet without going back through the settling process in full. Here's what has worked for me (Ymmv):

Assuming completely settled feet:

Play your set of 4 to 6 analytical tracks on the settled system

Remove the feet and leave the room for lunch for 1 to 2 hours.

Upon return play your 4 to 6 tracks in the same order.

Immediately insert the feet. Play the tracks in the same order.

I hope this helps.
 

marty

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Apr 20, 2010
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Breaking in the CMS M footers
or alternatively….How I spent my summer vacation!

There are two stories to be told here- a long story and a short story. If you want the short story, I suggest you bypass most of this thread and get right to the end. In that case, you’ll find the result of a nearly 2 month exercise summarized with some succinctness and clarity. But if you want to opt for the longer slog through footer break-in hell, you certainly may choose the extra reading time although in the end, the result is the same. I’ll spare you the suspense. The M footers are quite good and importantly, offer some sonic improvement over the previous, already excellent v.2 CMS footers. Unlike my colleagues, it just took me a much longer time to come to that assessment since my typical MO is to change one piece of gear at a time and observe the sonic results before doing a more extended and simultaneous gear swap. A toe in the water first approach may have some advantages, but expediency is hardly one of them when you are dealing with multiple sets of footers for gear of different weights and purposes (pre-amps, server, DAC, phono stage, power supplies).

I received my “beta-test” M footers on July 18. It seemed that a reasonable place to begin was to substitute the set of CMS 1.0 v2 for a set of 1.0M under my Soulution 725 preamp only, since that is the centerpiece of my system. And so the ordeal began. I can’t say I had any great expectations about what to expect, but I knew from previous experience that the break-in curve for CMS footers typically ranged from 10-14 days or more (they were longer for V1 than V2) and so listening for the first few days was not surprisingly, mostly joyless. As you’ll see, the next week or so was a mixed bag where the theme of the sonic sermon was “the footer lord giveth and the footer lord taketh away”. The long story continues as documented by the following rolling emails I sent to Joe as updates.

July 24

Joe,
In Japan, when a train is supposed to arrive at the station at say 9:33, you can set your watch to it knowing it will be there at that time. The CMS footers aren’t much different when it comes to break-in, at least in my experience. All 3 versions have had a very similar pattern and the M is no exception. Like clockwork, the footer train finally showed up at the station on day 6, which is to say, the bass finally popped. That’s the good news.

Unfortunately, although the train is now at the platform, I’m not boarding it quite yet. Simply put, my system's performance is not yet the equal of what I had before I inserted the M version. The areas of the performance that are deficient are:

1) Although the bass now sounds as if it's cut from the same cloth as the rest of the range, bass definition is still truncated and overly damped.
2) Bass extension- there’s nothing much in terms of the resolution I was experiencing previously below 25 Hz.
3) Most importantly, there is a distinct lack of air and therefore my system lacks the “life” of the real thing. The “penumbra”
* of the orchestra is muted and has not opened up yet. One doesn’t need a symphony recording to hear this. A clear example is on any straight forward piano recording. The piano just doesn’t sound real- it has no vitality and at this point is inferior to my system with the v2 footers. I had to stop listening last night when I put on piano music. It was simply not enjoyable.

The good news is that I’m guessing, like previous versions, further improvement will be rapidly attained. As I recall from v2, day 7 should be significantly improved and ameliorate some of my main concerns. With v1, these improvements generally occurred on day 10-14; with v2, it was from day 7-10. Nothing to do now but wait.


*From something I wrote on the forum in 2015:
"But most importantly, it is also apparent in its rendering of the “air” of the orchestra, which I have previously called the orchestra’s “penumbra” (roughly translated: an area that lies on the edge of something; a fringe; related to, connected to, and implied by, the existence of something else that is necessary for the second thing to be full and complete in its essential aspect). The other term I like to use for this is the orchestra’s “corona of energy”, but they both reflect a similar idea".

July 29

Joe,
At your request, I’m providing feedback to date on the 1.0M footers which were placed under the Soulution 725 preamp only. I last reported to you after day 6, at which time the long-awaited beginning of good bass performance finally started to reveal itself.

Day 7- no listening- (Grandkids in the house)
Day 8- This was a session marked by slow improvement but in the end, it was not a satisfactory session as the performance was not equal to my 1.0 v2 so I was not eager to continue listening and realized that further waiting was required. Particularly absent was bass extension and top end air.
Day 9- no listening
Day 10. Finally, the clouds are departing and there are some areas where I think the 1.0M may be manifesting some very positive attributes. Overall, it is the first time I felt that I just might wish to keep these footers in lieu of the 1.0 v2 although I’m not quite there yet (details below).. The biggest area of improved performance as a results of 10 days of break-in is in the bass register. In particular, there is now more information in the sub 25Hz region with good articulation and good performance in the upper bass registers.

Before we comment on specific frequencies, it would be useful to review this chart.

Screen Shot 2021-09-05 at 2.22.41 PM.png

This is one of the most useful listening tools I have found for audio reviewing. It helps you understand the performance of your system in terms of frequencies as they relate to real notes. The most obvious takeaway is that virtually all music ever written for both the treble and bass music stanzas fall within a range that most audiophiles don’t appreciate as being essentially quite limited. Over 90% of all the music ever written falls between A1 and A5- a measly 4 octave range! Of course this is for fundamentals, not harmonics and overtones, but it is still very useful information. In fact, most of the bass range is generally narrower than one might think, and is surprisingly consists of only about an octave (55-110Hz) if there is not much deep bass.

Some good examples of 1.0M bass performance are as follows:

Example #1

Screen Shot 2021-09-05 at 2.24.09 PM.png

This is a superb but unique recording that transcribes Bach organ music into a stellar trio with Yo-Yo Ma on cello Ed Meyer on bass and Chris Thile on mandolin. (In case you don’t know Meyer and Thile, they are both MacArthur genius award winners, so they ain’t exactly chopped liver. More interestingly, they are not known as classical music performers but they sure can play Bach. Certainly Yo-Yo Ma thinks so or he wouldn’t have recorded with them and risk ruining his reputation as the leading authority on Bach’s music for cello). The transcriptions are just brilliant from the beginning to the end of this lovely album.

Listen to Track 1. It is Meyer’s upright bowed bass that is the focus here. It’s simple instrumentation and therefore very revealing. The roundness and completeness of the timbre of his bowed instrument is superior to that heard from the v2 footers and offers a level of articulation that really bests the v2 in the 60-100 region.

Example #2

Moving down the bass register in the 1st octave (32-65 Hz) , let’s listen to Beatrice Rana’s left hand work in her astounding recording of Stravinsky’s Firebird.

1630866330583.png

Track 8- listen to her powerful left hand starting at about 1:30 min into the final track of Firebird. This is what the left hand of a 9 ft Steinway sounds like when recorded and reproduced well. The combination of weight and articulation of the lower register here is impressive and again, is superior to the resolution I was getting with the v2.

Example #3

Transient bass
Jean-Luc Ponty’s album Tchokola

1630866362880.png

Track 9: “Cono” This is “hit you in the chest” bass drum and Tom-tom. Excellent resolution here for the entire bass range from deep to high bass.


to be continued....
 
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marty

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Apr 20, 2010
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Part 2

Bass example #4
Let’s move a bit lower into subterranean bass. Play these tracks from Reference Recordings 2011 sampler

1630867532934.png


Very few things ever recorded let you assess deep bass performance as well as these two tracks.

1630867553231.png

The Liszt piece is “bowels of the earth” bass impressive. Don’t even waste your time without subwoofers. The Respighi piece has it all from subterranean bass to upper bass. The lower brass and horns have real weight and articulation here much like the real thing and is once again a testimony as to what the M1.0 can do in the bass registers.

These examples highlight the bass strengths of the 1.0M footers nicely. However, the one area of the 1.0M that is unfortunately not quite as rewarding as the v2 yet is the overall sense of musical “life” that currently renders the midrange and upper registers somewhat compressed and lifeless compared to the performance of the bass register. I made a similar comment after the day 6 session and although it is better, it is just not musically correct. At least not yet. This can be also be heard in all the previous recording examples; i.e, the realistic presence or “life” of the mandolin is not quite there in the first piece, nor is there realistic “life” of Rana’s right hand on the piano. In fact, if I had to pick a footer to live with at this time, I would probably choose the v2 vs the 1.0M because of the sense of musical life and rightness in the former, even though the bass articulation has finally exceeded what I had with the v.2

Therefore, at this point, my plan is to leave the 1.0M footers in while I am away in Colorado starting Sunday. I think that break-in of the 1.0M is more similar to v1 (10- days) than v2 (7-10 days). My sense is that break-in is not yet complete on the M1.0 and 14 days or more may be necessary for the sense of “breathability” or “life” to reveal itself fully. My hope is that we will ultimately be able to say the 1.0M is superior to v2 in every way, but at this time, it is only the bass range that is clearly superior in some aspects..

Finally, although its completely hypothetical, I’d like to suggest why I think the bass performance of the 1.0M is superior to the v2, at least in part. My sense is that it’s not the initial transient of the leading bass note, but rather, it is the decay of the note which has a quicker settling time. That is what makes the overall articulation seemingly better. There’s less “hang” time (less stored energy?) and therefore what is being played just sounds more highly resolved. Not sure if that makes sense to you that’s the way I interpret it. The paradox then, is that the upper mids and treble seem slightly over-damped by comparison. Go figure! I sure hope this is only a matter of time before the mids/treble come around. We shall see.

In conclusion, I think the new footers may ultimately perform better than v2. However, break-in is a bitch (that’s putting it mildly). If they don’t eventually come around and have the sense of “life” that the v1.0’s have, I’ll probably try some long term creative mix and match approach to see if I can harness the best of both series although candidly, I would not look forward to going that route. In the meantime, patience is required. I would not be surprised if all my concerns are addressed after another week or so of break-in.

Joe, I hopes this helps with your assessment and sorry I could not be more enthusiastic at this point. FYI- all comments here are confidential however I did reply to Russ and Steve as well since they shared their detailed impressions with us which were more favorable than mine.

Aug 20
Joe,

Recall I left town for 2 weeks in back in Aug 1st and returned 3 days ago.
When I left, I had the 1.0M under the Soulution 725 preamp for 10 days (swapped out for 1.0 v2) and just while it looked like I was headed out of the break-in woods, I left town not being sold on the M's merits although I found them compelling (using my standard "single variable" experimental approach by putting a single set under the pre-amp only). However, immediately before leaving town, and not wanting to waste 2 weeks of break-in for which I wouldn't be there anyway, I inserted the 1.5M under the Extreme and didn't listen until 3 days ago. The preamp 1.0Ms now have nearly a month on it and the Extreme has about 3 weeks. Listening this week was still a struggle. Simply put, something just wasn't right. While I can appreciate that there is more "there" there with 2 sets of M's (more spatial detail and inner clarity, especially with regard to soundstage imaging) there was a disturbing trade off in overall vitality. The new footers still rendered things a bit more lifeless than the v2. It's as if there was an unnatural compression of the air or "penumbra" of the music. In more straight forward parlance, neither a simple piano or an orchestra had the right "bloom" that is a hallmark of the real thing, at least for me in my system.

I'm honestly frustrated as hell. The question now is whether to mix and match or find another approach that gets me where I need to be. Mix and match is an attractive possibility since there's no reason to assume that every piece of gear is best suited for with a specific size or iteration of any of the footers. I boiled it down to 2 options. Either inset the old 1.0 v2 back under the preamp and take a painful road of assessing one piece at a time, or add the recently received 1.5M under the Lampizator so now my entire digital source (Extreme/Lampizator/Preamp) is using the M footers in which case, we're back to break-in hell with the Lampi 1.5M.

As far as the Zanden phono stage- will I live long enough before I begin to play with the new 1.0M under that? Hmmm....

And that's when when I received the word from high above in which you said :eek::
FWIW, I'd put all the feet in at the same time. Staggering seems like an assured painful slog through endless settling insanity.

So that's exactly what I just did. (I also just added a spare set of 1.0 v2 under the separate power supply of the Zanden phono). So as of now, I have 4 sets of Ms running.
Extreme 1.5M
Lampizator GG2 1.5M
Soulution 725 1.0M
Zanden 1200 Mk3 1.0M (power supply uses 1.0 v2)

Time to just sit back and wait now. I'll keep you posted and check back in after 10 days or so.
In the meantime, if I ever get an email telling me there's a a next-gen v4 footer available, remind me to take a gun to my head....

Sept 4

Upon returning from an out of town trip for a week, I re-evaluated the system sound anew with the CMS array above. Unfortunately, the first impression I had was confounding. On the digital side, I noticed an uncanny amount of information and detail, but the overall impression was that I lost more than I gained. Most obvious was a loss of impact and vitality especially in the bass region. This was a nagging sense I had ever since I place the 1.0M under the preamp. My hope is that it would abate with break-in, but yet after 2 weeks, it was still there. My head was spinning. How could something so potentially good in some respects, sound so, well, disappointing in others? More disturbing was that I simply wasn’t sure what to do next, but I knew I had to do something.

My thoughts turned again to what I heard when I installed only the M footers under the preamp and realized that the quality I so admired regarding the life and vitality of the system with v2 footers were AWOL and I longed for their return. Therefore, at this point, I decided to remove the 1.0M under the Soulution 725 and re-install 1.5v2 footers. Voile! The beneficial sonic effects I remembered had returned. The effect was obvious but once again, required another 7 days for optimization. In summation, the “hybrid” system of footers I was now listening to the digital side (1.5M’s under Extreme and Lampi, 1.5v2 under the preamp) resulted in overall improvements that made for the best sound I had to date! I was smiling again for the first time in a long time. I mean months! I don’t pretend to understand why, but using the unusual pairing of the 1.5M under the Extreme and Lampi GG2, and the 1.5v2 under the preamp had dramatically improved the definition and musicality of the deep bass while simultaneously opening the top end so the air or “penumbra” of the hall returned in spades. At the same time, the added resolution, improved dimensionality and control that the M footers had added to the midrange remained unabated. In short, what I heard was paradoxical- the bottom and top opened up yet the midrange had more control. Although it is not offered as a scientific explanation, sonically it seemed as if the Q factor of the bass and top end increased, while the Q of the midrange decreased, especially when pushed hard (which seemed to reduce a bit of “edge” when the system was pushed hard). Quite the conundrum. But I also know what I hear and that’s really the only thing any of us can count on.

to be continued....
 
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