STILLPOINTS COMPONENT STAND SS
I have been a fan of Stillpoints products for as long as I can remember, stemming from my first set of Stillpoints Ultra Minis to the recent pair of Component Stand SS located underneath my monoblock amplifiers. I am convinced that Stillpoints products are the reference for vibration control. Stillpoints products extend from vibration feet to LP Isolators to their unbeatable high-end audio equipment racks. I have owned various Stillpoint products, including Ultra 5, 6, and Ultra Mini, along with a four-shelf audio equipment rack. I would be remiss not to mention Stillpoints Aperture 2; these acoustic panels are among the best I have owned when placed correctly in the room. Paul Wakeen and his staff have dedicated many years and resources to eliminating sonic vibration along with room acoustic improvements.
In my opinion, an audio system, if done incorrectly, can ruin an audio system’s ability to perform to its maximum potential. For example, when I worked as an aviation research engineer for a large aviation research firm, I had the opportunity to work alongside a metallurgist. Our main task was to evaluate minor and significant cracks in aging aircraft, sometimes caused by excessive vibration. To assess discovered damages, the metallurgist used a very expensive microscope. Next, a microscope was placed on top of a costly vibration stand. The calibrated microscope stand was used to eliminate any potential vibration effects observed through the microscopic lens. Any movement caused by vibration would/could affect how a discovered crack is determined and evaluated.
The paragraph mentioned above can be interpreted or compared to how sonic notes are listened to relating to audio systems. For example, when vibration affects an audio system, the affected sonics can potentially smear music notes. My first experience with an anti-vibration audio stand occurred years ago; it was the Halcyonic Silencer active isolation platforms. Clement Perry utilizes a pair of Halcyonic Platforms underneath his Behold BPA768 amps. Until this day, he still uses them. The Halcyonic Silencers are one of the best I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. The positive effects were stunning, and when the opportunity presented itself for me to audition a pair underneath my own German-made Behold BPA768 amplifiers. I immediately heard it, as the sonic results were just as stunning. One crucial caveat prevented me from purchasing the Halcyonics — way too pricey. Stillpoints, in my opinion, are the voice of the audio industry when it comes to vibration elimination products. Their products have long set the industry standard in every way. Stillpoints will not rest on their laurels, and this is evident by continuous improvements to industry-standard products already being manufactured. This level of excellence prompted me the opportunity to report on their newest product, the Stillpoint Component Stand SS.
The Stillpoints Component Stand is Stillpoints answer for audio systems requiring remote placement of stereo or monoblock amplifiers too large to place in a standard rack. The Stillpoints Component Stand SS can also support individual components should that be the preferred approach. The versatility of the Stillpoints Component Stand SS is not limited to electronics but can also be used with AC conditioners and subwoofers.
By removing the component’s original feet (or making direct contact with the bottom chassis), the micro-vibrations generated by the electrical current running through the devices on the circuit board and following the circuit board standoff to the chassis bottom. Like the ESS Racks open design, Stillpoints Component Stands allow air to move freely, thus cooling components naturally. This intricate design features set Stillpoints excellent products from the rest in the industry. After the successes of the original component stand, Stillpoints has accomplished over ten years of research and development before releasing the new Component Stand SS. The Stillpoints Component Stand SS is an excellent design for amplifiers and associated components that illustrates how one uses any Stillpoint isolator, such as combinations of the Ultra Mini, Ultra II, Ultra SS V2, ultra 3, Ultra 5 V2, or Ultra 6 V2.
The Stillpoints Component Stand SS is a rigid, minimalist design with a purpose. The robust stainless steel frame design allows components of high mass to be supported easily. Many other stands or platforms designed for this purpose are large squares rectangular plinths. These stands, with large areas, are subject to becoming resonant diaphragms themselves, absorbing and reflecting airborne and mechanical vibration.
The stainless steel Component Stand frame is available in three-leg or four leg versions, in nine and eleven-leg lengths. The Component Stand is used with the Ultra Mini, Ultra II, Ultra SS V2, Ultra 3 V2, Ultra 5 V2, or Ultra 6 V2. Note: There is a set screw in each leg and a provided wrench to tighten the legs in position and set them snuggly to the hub. This application is essential when a fourth leg is introduced. Machining tolerances are very tight, but when you add a fourth leg, one leg will not be as tight in the hub, thus requiring a tightening of the set screws once the required leg spread distance is determined.
Tuning the stand to our component is one of the strengths of the Component Stand SS. The legs can be rotated around a central hub to accommodate components of multiple sizes. For example, you can move the Ultra filtering devices along the rail system in each leg within the frame. Adjusting the location of the filter along each rail allows you to determine the best position to both support the component and maximize the filtering of vibration-borne resonance for best fidelity. This system allows components to perform at maximum potential.
Component Stand Assembly Setup
When the UPS delivery man delivered my package from Stillpoints, I was very excited. One thing I don’t like is assembling new items. Before opening and removing the box’s contents, I noticed it had a hefty weight. If memory serves, it weighed over 25 pounds; however, to be fair, it also included six new Ultra 6 V2’s. The package included; Two sets of three 9-inch legs, each with Stillpoints Ultra bases, one control hub for each stand set screws, and tools to assemble the stands Six Ultra 6 V2 Stillpoints. The Assembly of the components stands was pretty straightforward. No fuss or hassles; I accomplished this task just by looking at the picture on the box. If I can do it, anybody can, very user-friendly, and it took approximately less than 10 minutes.
The finishing touches
My next task was to determine stand component placement. I already knew where and how I intended to place each Stillpoints Component Stand SS. However, I also knew I would later replace six Ultra 6’s with six Ultra 6 V2. So I decided to use the Ultra 6’s I previously owned initially. I screwed in each Ultra 6 (Three on each component stand) and placed each in the desired area with that task at hand. Next came the unwanted task to lift each 95-pound Behold amp onto the frame. The rails on each leg caused the ultras to move in either direction of desire. Next is the tuning process, and I found it extremely useful. The component stands need to be set up and sit perfectly on each Stillpoint; this action is essential. Although not mentioned by Stillpoints, I felt this part of the setup could be important during critical listening. Once the Behold BPA768 amplifier was relocated on each side, it was easy to make subtle balancing adjustments due to the flexibility of the rail system. Living with the Ultra 6 Stillpoints for many years, I have to be honest; what came next was not expected. As a reviewer, it is always good to keep an open mind. Anticipation is not an option—the facts, just the facts.
When I accepted the task of reviewing the new Stillpoints Components Stand SS, I must be brutally honest. I thought, “how in the world am I going to hear any improvement compared to the sound I already have.” I was already familiar with the sound of the Stillpoint products. So let’s face it, I owned the Stillpoint rack, the Ultra 6’s, the 5 Apertures, etc. However, knowing the history of Stillpoints’ relentless pursuit of perfection excited my curiosity and challenged my ability to accept this challenge and report the outcome.
For the first month, I listened to the Stillpoint Component Stand SS with the six Ultra 6; there was a distinct improvement, especially in the imaging. Improvements to the imaging hit me immediately, as there was no doubt about how the images of the musicians appeared more solid and lifelike. So having the sense of being there when listening to a sound recording makes the experience much more involving. Those who are fortunate enough to own any version of Stillpoints know precisely what I am talking about. However, with the addition of the rail system of the Component Stand SS, I was taken to another level, especially when the imaging projected such an emphatic sense of solid mass. I did not experiment with moving the Ultra 6’s around because I was satisfied with the presentation from the initial setup.
After approximately one month of listening to my system with the Stillpoint Component Stand SS, I replaced the Ultra 6 with the updated Ultra 6 V2. I was somewhat reluctant to accomplish this step due to the excessive weight of the Behold amplifiers (110 lbs each!). Ultimately, I repositioned the stands, changed the Ultra 6, hooked up all cables, and balanced the amps. Once again, no easy task!! My goal was to be as wholly unbiased as possible during this phase; in other words, no expectations. Would any significant changes occur by swapping out the Ultra 6 V2s? My faith in and trust in Paul Wakeen and his staff was solidified at that time. “Hell Yes,”
Not only did the imaging improve, the music’s presentation as a whole shot up a notch. However, whenever a reviewer attempts to explain how the sonics of a system miraculously improved, audio reviewers tend to utilize a plethora of buzz words to try and communicate specific experiences. For a metallurgist to accurately evaluate the size of a crack through a microscope, they must be able to see the damage without any vibration influence. Sonics can be related to the same; it will not be represented truthfully if the note is blurry or exaggerated. Thus, there you have it in a nutshell; everything just sounded better.
Sparkling clean are the words that come to my mind when describing the sound of my system with the Stillpoints Component Stand SS and the Ultra 6 v2. A higher degree of clarity was apparent, along with detail and imaging. I became immersed in the music like never before, wholly removed from the listening space, into an atmosphere of pure musical enjoyment. Over the next month, I listened to several jazz recordings along with symphony and specific vocal recordings. (None disappointed throughout). For example, the late and great Al Jarreau’s CD titled “Accentuate the Positive, blew me away. The song lyrics band presentation was spot-on. All accompanied music tracks were supremely recorded, mastered, and expertly captured with the addition of the Stillpoints Component Stand SS and Ultra 6 v2.
I have been in the high-end audio business for over forty years, either as a music lover, equipment collector, or reviewer. One of the most common mistakes audiophiles make is neglecting the importance of vibration control and room acoustics. Audio components are designed to deliver music under the most extreme conditions; however, to accurately represent what’s on your music source, one must address damaging additives, such as vibration. Stillpoints have built their reputation at addressing these evils and are leading the audio industry. The new Stillpoints Component Stand SS coupled with Ultra 6 v2 has, without a doubt, taken their new products to the next level and, in my opinion, still leading the industry. If you could only experience what I have over the past three months, you too would whole-heartedly agree; however, not only would you agree, you will be contacting your dealer for a set. Trust Me.
Stillpoints Component Stand SS
3- 9″ Legs $2398
4- 9″ Legs $2898
3- 11″ Legs $2698
4- 11″ Legs $3198
Ultra SS v2
Set of 3 $896
Set of 4 $1195
Ultra 6 v2
Moreno’s Associated Components
Behold BPA768 stereo amplifiers (2)
Preamp Behold APU768
Loudspeakers YG Acoustics Sonja 2.2i
REL G1 MKII Subwoofers
Digital Source PS Audio Perfectwave SACD Transport
PS Audio Direct Steam DAC
Streamer Auralic Aries G2.1
Analog Sources Pro-Ject RPM Carbon
Otari MX5050 BII2 Reel to Reel Tape Deck
Cables Hemingway Sigma Speaker Cables
Stealth Audio Digital Cables
Hemingway AC Cords
AC Conditioner PS Audio P20
Stereo Times Masthead
Frank Alles, Mike Girardi, Key Kim, Russell Lichter, Terry London, Moreno Mitchell, Paul Szabady, Bill Wells, Mike Wright, Stephen Yan, and Rob Dockery
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