|Posted by kboe on August 15, 2011 at 8:55 PM|
Maple Wood Button Footers
Reviewer: Kevin Pope
Source: Pure i20, ALO iPod dock, 160GB iPod Classic loaded with AIFF
Amp: Schiit Asgard Headphones: AKG K-702, K-240 with Cardas replacement harness, K-130, Sennheiser HD-598
Cables: Power - Cardas Quadlink 5-C, Pangea AC14, AC9, Analog - Cardas Quadlink 5-C, Verumecce DIY interconnects
Rack: DIY rack with solid Maple hardwood shelfs, Mapleshade Cable Trestle, Wall Trestle, wood button isolation feet
Power Conditioning: PS Audio Duet
Sundry Accessories: Woo Audio headphone stand, Sennheiser headphone holders
Review Component Retail: $3.00 at your local hardware store
Our very own Stuart, aka Deep Sounds got me started, so blame him! Over a few e-mail exchanges, Stuart challenged me to remove the cork I was using under some granite slabs I had working as primitive vibration control. Removing the cork was a revelation. I can't explain it technically, nor do I care to, but the result was nothing short of miraculous. Divine might go to far, but not by much. Stuarts Sound Surfer cables work their magic through clarity and resolution. Removing the cork worked just the same way. Clarity went up just as it does when you go through a true component upgrade. Not the usual side-grade, but a true upgrade.
Later I would remove the granite all together, with a similar jump up in clarity. After doing some point and click research, mostly concentrated on sites and manufactures that reckon transforming vibrational energy rather than trying to squelch it is the better way to go, I bought some maple wood furniture buttons. After all, you can only transform or transport energy, you can't destroy it, so why try. MapleShade is one such manufacture that has built a reputation for using vibrational energy in it's favor to add fine flavors to the sonic presentation, and is where today's tip/review came from. Famed Franck Tchang's ASI HeartSong racks and Yamamoto's SoundCraft racks do the same thing, but for more money.
This review will concentrate on a much, much more budget friendly response to the resonance game. Not thousands of dollars, not hundreds or even tens of dollars. Try $3.00 plus tax at your local hardware store! Granted this review will only look at footers, not a rack, but the idea and principle remain the same. For a whopping $3.00 I bought a pack of 25 maple wooden buttons used to fill in recessed screw holes in furniture making. These go under your components just like any other footer. I started out by using them only on the amp, and just today got more to put under all my components.
After a few days of fun later, I realized that I was having more of just that, fun! More general detail, greater dynamic swings, extended highs and lows with better microdynamics, (that's where emotion lies). By microdynamics I mean a type of much subdued vibrato, a signature of a great artist. Listening to the fantastic soundtrack The Fountain, I heard the slightest tonal intonations used by the performers from The Kronos Quartet during the opening track "The Last Man". This is bone chilling, goose bump territory. Minimalist string stuff usually is. Intonation is how we as people gauge a persons level of seriousness or playfulness durning a conversation. It only makes sense to listen for the same thing in a recorded performance. The first time I heard these microdynamic details was when using a pair of Sony MDR-R10s at a local HeadFI meet about 6 months ago. It blew my mind that there was so much more emotional content to uncover in my cd’s. These maple wood buttons bring one step closer to that goal. Not of complete resolution per say, that would be missing the forest for the tree, but rather heightened emotional "resolution".
What's equally amazing is that this refinement of content showed up everywhere. Bass drums in orchestras gained detail and a "therness" I'd not usually associate with them is classical performances. Because of their placement in a typical setup, the bass drums and percussion are usually over powered to some extent by the other members of the orchestra. Now the textures of the drums and xylophones, the bells and snare drums came through, pardon the phrase, clear as a bell.
I've also found that I turned down my usual volume levels by about 10% or so. What I normally listened to on the dial was just a tad to loud. Backing down a tish brought the volume back to long term comfort levels. My idea being that the increased level of refinement brought to the table no longer required stouter levels for me to search for.
I would recommend everyone go out and try this tweak. Even if you have a better vibration/resonance system currently, the education this provides is far above the $3.00 asking price. It'll give context to the more expensive feet you have, as it has for Mark, aka Rdr. Seraphim. And if you have no experience with this type of tweak, it'll give you a taste of what's possible, of what's left to explore in your system. And of course should you hear nothing, or not trust what your ears tell you, then just put back in your apple earbuds and go download some 128kbps stuff off iTunes. On that note,
Categories: Cables & Tweaks