Recommended Components Fall 2022 Edition Stands, Spikes, Feet & Racks

Stands, Spikes, Feet & Racks

Audio Elegance Furniture: $424–$6329
Audio Elegance's "aesthetically simple, sturdy designs" are available in three lines; in the upper two, Dakota and James River, only select hardwoods, softwoods, and multidirectional plywoods are used. Biscuit joinery is featured throughout, and finishes include catalyzed lacquers and hand-rubbed oils. Prices start at $319 for a Frontier Series amp stand and rise to $4759 for a Dakota Collection LP storage unit. Custom items are also available. (Vol.32 No.2 WWW)

Audio Points by Live-Vibe Audio: $129.99–$449.99/set of 3
Highly polished point of solid milled brass, claimed to have been developed along the theories of Coulomb Friction, transfer resonant energy through the virtual point away from the component. 28 sizes and thread combinations available. (NR)

AudioQuest Fog Lifters: $149.95/set of 8
It is felt by many audiophiles and some manufacturers that speaker cables, interconnects, and even AC power cords should not be allowed to touch carpeted floors, with their unpredictable dielectric behavior. JA found that AudioQuest's FogLifter offers an effective solution, albeit an odd-looking one, as it resembles a mutant crab holding its claws in the air. (NR)

AudioQuest SorboGel Q-Feet: $129.95/4
Each cute, Q-shaped SorboGel Q Foot measures approximately 3" in diameter and stands about 1" tall in its PVC holding tray. Like Bright Star Audio's IsoNodes, Q-Feet are black, slightly squishy, and somewhat sticky, and are designed to absorb resonances and isolate components from external vibrations. Each Q Foot is rated to support 6.5lb. Because of their larger size and slick, rounded trays, the Q-Feet were far easier than the IsoNodes to properly place under the Music Hall USB-1 turntable. Atop the Q-Feet, the turntable seemed more stable and less susceptible to shifts, found SM. (Vol.34 No.9 WWW)

Ayre Myrtle Blocks: $9 each
Designed and made by Cardas Audio, each Myrtle Block measures 0.618" by 1" by 1.618", in accordance with the golden-section ratio. Myrtle Blocks are meant to be placed beneath the actual structure of a component in groups of three. AD heard "subtle but unambiguously nice things" when he placed them under most components. Beneath speakers, however, "they robbed the music of so much of its emotional wallop that it was downright creepy." "In a properly run universe, these wouldn't work at all," sez WP. "In this one—and assuming every other sonic hiccough is attended to—they do help," though he refuses to speculate why. (Vol.29 Nos.1 & 3 WWW)

BDR Sound Enhancement Pyramid Cones: $20 each
"Expensive, but very effective," according to J-10. WP and JA, who generally use these whenever they need to support electronic components, agree. (Vol.21 No.6)

Boltz CD 600 storage rack: $329
expansion kits: $239
LP shelves: $749/three-shelf unit
Each additional shelf: $209
Surfing the Net (www.boltz-usa.com), MF found these do-it-yourself racks: each is 48" high, 24" wide, just 6" deep, and holds 600 CDs! You can double or triple the capacity with the expansion kits, and the racks are now available pre-assembled. Now available as equipment racks, TV stands, and LP shelves. MF bought the LP rack, which consists of a heavy base and three shelves; additional shelves (3' wide by 10" deep) run $189 each, and you can stack 'em to the ceiling! "Really well-made and incredibly sturdy," reported The Analog One. Free shipping. Surcharge for signature "Clear Coat" finish costs $40 for the rack and $20 for the expansion kit. Anthracite Metallic or Black Matte Texture finishes are included in the base pricing. (Vol.22 No.11, Vol.24 No.1)

Box Furniture Co. Equipment Rack HS3S: $3000
Box Furniture Co. racks have premium hardwood frames and plywood shelves. All joints are mortise-and-tenon, and catalyzed finishes are applied to all surfaces. Art used a single-width, three-shelf rack finished in Quartered Sapele. Beautiful and sturdy, he said, and equipment stacked atop it sounded good. (Vol.32 No.2 WWW)

Bright Star Air Mass 3: $218
Ingenious, inexpensive, and effective air-bladder product that damps out floor and air-borne vibrations, MF said. WP agrees. Originally called Air Mass 1. (Vol.20 No.2)

Bright Star Audio IsoNode feet, Extra Large feet: $49.99/set of 4
Large feet: $24.99/set of 4
Small feet: $14.99/set of 4
These small (1.25" W by 0.75" H by 1.25" D), squishy, somewhat sticky half-spheres of polymer are designed to be placed between a component and its shelf, where they absorb harmful vibrations. The IsoNodes effectively isolated the Music Hall USB-1 turntable from footfalls, and while they were easy to knock out of place when used beneath that turntable's pivoted feet, the IsoNodes were stable when used with other components, found SM. (Vol.34 No.6 WWW)

Bright Star Audio Rack of Gibraltar 1 equipment stand: $2150 ★
Bright Star Audio Big Rock 1.1: $299 ★
Bright Star Audio Little Rock 1 Isolation Pod: $179 ★
Bright Star Mini-Rock F VPI isolation base: $199 ★
Bright Star IsoRock 6.3S: $388
A very effective isolation system for control of unwanted vibrational energy. Individual components float on a sand bed for energy dissipation, and are weighted down with the Little Rock to minimize spurious vibrations. The payoff is enhanced resolution of the music's nuances, says DO. RN adds that this system consistently tightens the bass, increases sonic transparency, and smooths treble hash and grain. The Bright Star TNT Big Rock is a $275 sand table specially sized to support the TNT. MF, BD, and BJR all use one under their VPIs, as they provide a stable surface and offer such sonic benefits as a lower noisefloor and increased bass. The Mini-Rock F is specially sized for use under the TNT's flywheel. KR placed each of his Bel Canto e.One amplifiers atop an IsoRock and encased it within a Little Rock for a belt-and-suspenders setup that had the amps almost glued to the floor, creating as optimal an environment as possible. "If you are concerned about RF and other nasties thrown off by digital amps," he notes, "these little guys will let you rest easy." (Vol.16 No.5, Vol.18 No.11, Mini-Rock F; Vol.20 No.4, TNT Big Rock; Vol.29 No.11 WWW IsoRock, Little Rock.)

Bright Star Rack of Gibraltar 2 equipment stand: $2650
Rigid, super-stable platform for audio equipment, and the "carrier" for the Ultimate Isolation System: air-base (Air Mass) and sand-filled damping platform (Big Rock) makes a "sandwich" of sorts. The Gibraltar 2, with its two-wide, three-high, widely spaced, large shelves, isn't quite ready for MoMA and boasts no neon lights, but "in its simplicity and quality it's attractive, even elegant," said BD. He recalled Louis Henri Sullivan, who immortalized the phrase "form ever follows function." Suitable for turntables, superbly built, and the best BD has ever used. (Vol.23 No.5 WWW)

Bright Star Ultimate TNT Isolation System: $2397
Simple, affordable, effective isolation system for the VPI TNT that combines a static pneumatic isolation mount with mass loading. WP noted that "high frequencies seemed clearer, less smeared—harmonics leapt off strings and floated independent of the fundamental. . . Bass sounded more deep and taut, especially sustained notes or anything in the bottom two octaves of the piano." BD agrees, finding that the Isolation System lowers the TNT's (already low) background noise, resulting in subtle but noticeable improvements in image dimensionality, ambience, and inner detail. (Vol.20 No.7)

Gingko Audio Cloud 11 isolation stand: $599
The Cloud 11 uses up to ten rubber-like balls strategically placed between two slabs of acrylic. Mikey's sample was configured for use with the VPI Scoutmaster turntable. MF: "Putting the Cloud under the Scoutmaster resulted in a dramatic lowering of the noisefloor and an improvement in the 'blackness' of the background. Images stood out in clarified relief, bass tightened, transients sounded sharper and more natural. The differences were not at all subtle." (Vol.27 No.11)

Grand Prix Audio Monaco equipment stands: $3500–$15,000
Despite their stylish, lightweight design, a four-shelf Monaco stand can carry up to 150lb per shelf, for a maximum total load of 500lb. PB: "More than anything else, the Monaco brought a sense of focus and a difficult-to-explain sense of calm" to the sound of everything he placed on them. Loading the hollow stainless steel columns with lead shot produced another increment of improvement: "Backgrounds became quieter, low-level detail retrieval improved markedly, and dynamic contrasts took on greater subtlety and sharper contrasts." Using separate isolation footers under components only "muddled things," providing evidence of the "fundamental soundness of the GPA approach to vibration control." The amp stand is expensive but "works as promised and looks cool too," decided MF. A 3-shelf system costs $7500; 4-shelf system, $10,000; 5-shelf system, $13,500; base module, $5500; short or tall module, $2995; amplifier stand, $3150; Formula Shelf Carbon-fiber/Kevlar composite shelfc$2620. (Vol.24 No.7, amp stand; Vol.25 No.12 WWW)

Grand Prix Audio Monza: $19,550 for 4-tier carbon fiber platforms, bamboo shelves, and Apex feet
All models in Grand Prix Audio's Monza series of four-column modular equipment stands offer polymer-filled stainless steel legs and carbon-fiber support platforms; bamboo shelves rest atop the latter, isolated by Sorbothane donuts, and the lot is supported by Grand Prix Apex footers, which use rigid balls of different types as isolation devices. (Apex footers are available separately.) In the experience of JVS, use of Monza isolation products in various combinations resulted in notably increased soundstage depth (and distance from the listener), weightier and more substantial images, increased clarity, and other gains—and he found the Monza products to be superior to their predecessors in the Grand Prix line, the Monaco series. In Jason's system, "Monza benefits are profound. I would never want to go back." (Vol.42 No.11 WWW)

Harmonic Resolution Systems SXR Audio Stand: $23,375 as reviewed
The SXR frame system comprises solid, heavy aluminum struts and rigid shelves of cross-braced aluminum. Each joint is damped with a thick donut of polymer. Circular holes in each of the cross-brace's four corners accept the base's feet, which support its weight with an elastomer suspension that isolates in both the vertical and horizontal planes; each foot of a component whose weight is unevenly distributed can have a base with an elastomer of different compliance. "Adding the HRS SXR improved my system's focus and low-level resolution, and lowered its level of background noise," said MF. (Vol.32 No.2)

IsoAcoustics Gaia-Titan Cronos loudspeaker isolation feet: $1399/set of 4
IsoAcoustics Gaia-Titan Theis loudspeaker isolation feet: $799.99/set of 4
IsoAcoustics Gaia I loudspeaker isolation feet: $499/set of 4
IsoAcoustics Orea audio equipment isolators: "Indigo" $59.99 each, "Bordeaux" $79.99 each
Gaia and Orea isolation feet are both intended to isolate the products they support from their environment, and both are offered in different sizes/compliances, to suit various component weights. Gaias, intended to replace the spikes/feet of floorstanding speakers, are topped with threaded rods (plus adapters) and come in sets of four; Oreas are sold singly, their smooth tops suitable for supporting amps/CD players/etc. After using a Gaia I set ($1199.98 for two sets of four) with his Monitor Audio loudspeakers, RD reported hearing "an across-the-board improvement in the sound," and he noticed a similar if less marked improvement after putting Oreas under his PS Audio monoblocks. JCA had a similarly positive experience with the Gaia-Titan Theis feet supporting Revel Salon2 loudspeakers, as did MF with the Gaia-Titan Cronos feet under his Wilson Alexxes: "The improvement in low-level detail, resolution, image focus, clarity, bass attack and decay, and transparency were—I'll write it again— not at all subtle. They were huge!" AD put a set of four Gaia IIIs ($199.99) under the heavy wooden plinth of his Garrard 301 turntable and wrote, "the difference I heard was beyond my expectations." For the better, he meant. (Vol.40 No.10, Vol.41 No.2. Vol.42 No.6, Vol.43 Nos.10 & 11 WWW)

Magico QPOD3: $1450/set of 3
Magico QPOD4: $1850/set of 4
Comprising a complex sandwich of CNC-turned stainless steel, oxygen-free copper, black-anodized aluminum, and a blue elastomer damping material, Magico's beautifully made, luxuriously packaged QPod footers are designed to convert vibrational energy into heat. With three QPods supporting his Ypsilon VPS-100 phono preamp, MF noted smoother vocal sibilants, improved soundstage depth, and better-controlled bass. "Now I don't think I can do without the stupid things." (Vol.35 No.6)

Mapleshade Maple Platform: $75–$690
KM liked what this basic a 2"-thick board of solid, "ready-to-be-finished" maple did for the Music Hall MMF-7.3 turntable (Vol.39 No.9).

Salamander S40 Core Module Rack: $1557 as reviewed
In search of a rack that would hold his growing collection of gear and provide easy access for swapping review samples in and out, KR hit on a double-width Salamander Synergy S40 rack, which he custom-ordered with a pull-out shelf and six Salamander Robot Feet. The finished product stands 44" high yet is "impressively stiff and rigid." KR concluded: "[I]t looks good, holds everything, and can accommodate visiting review samples." (Vol.38 No.9 WWW)

Skylan Speaker Stands: $365–$735/pair
Made by Noel Nolan in Alberta, Canada, Skylan stands use PVC posts with top and bottom plates of vinyl-covered MDF rather than resonant steel. ST uses the 20"-high, four-post SKY-P4 20 with his Harbeth Compact 7 ES-3s and Triangle Comete Anniversaires, filling the columns with kitty litter. Prices vary depending on height and number of posts. Four-post SKY-P4 20 (20" high): $531/pair. Twin post model for Harbeth P3ESR: $285/pair. Four-post stands for big speakers: $600/pair. Add shipping. (Vol.35 No.5)

SQ Products (Sound Quest) Isol-Pads: $25/set of 4
Each 2"-square-by-7/8"-thick pad consists of two slabs of ribbed rubber sandwiching a layer of isolation cork, and is said to support 75lb. ST is in the process of putting them under everything. "I'm no tweaker, but they did clean up the sound wherever I used them." (Vol.28 No.12)

Stillpoints Component Stand SS: $2399–$3399
This adjustable, space-saving stand is available in various sizes and configuations. It can be spread out or narrowed as needed and locked securely in that position, to accommodate the bottoms or footers of amplifiers of various sizes. Although MF was not sure if using the Stillpoints amplifier stands under his darTZeel monoblocks made an audible difference, in his space-limited room, the Stillpoints made his reviewing life much more convenient. (Vol.43 No.11 WWW)

Stillpoints ESS rack: $8500–$70,000
Intended to both dissipate vibrational energies occurring within playback gear and isolate that gear from external energies, the Stillpoints ESS rack is available in three widths and three heights, with various shelf options. Pre-tensioned steel cables isolate the acrylic shelves from one another, and various of Stillpoints' accessory feet also play a role in the somewhat modular design. Praising its contribution to "blacker" backgrounds and more precise transients in the sound of his system, MF described the ESS rack as an "ingenious and, I think, extremely attractive package." (Vol.38 No.12)

Symposium Rollerblock Series 2+: $549/set of 3, $729/set of 4
For improved resolution from your CD player (or any other digital equipment), ST recommended these precision-machined items, which consist of a block with a ball bearing set in a hemispherical depression. Once they're in place, he said, the sound "just tightens up, cleans up, clears up. I hear more low-level information. Imaging improves. Timin+N176g, too . . . . Transients are crisper. I hear improvement in just about every respect." The only drawback (outside of cost) is that the player might "roll around a little" when you load a disc or hit Play. SD concurs with ST's enthusiasm; MF became a believer in the "high-roller" phenomenon when he put his Virgos on the similar Yamamura speaker bearings. (Vol.22 No.4)

Symposium Super Plus Platform: $799 ★
Symposium Ultra Isolation Platform: $799
The top and bottom of the Ultra platform are aluminum, while the middle is made up of several unequal-thickness layers of vibration-damping material designed primarily to drain vibrational energy away from your component, rather than to provide isolation from external vibrations or footfalls. It succeeded at lowering noise and enhancing resolution, while bringing "an entirely subjective sense of ease" to listening, said JM. The less-expensive platform jazzed MF with the "top-to-bottom authority, focus, and slam" that his system gained when the platform was installed under his turntable. Prices are for 19" by 14" size; 19" by 21" costs slightly more. (Vol.20 No.5. Vol.26 No.3 WWW)

Vibrapods: $6 each
KR: "Placed under CD players/transports, DACs and preamps, the small (1"x3" diameter), formed Vibrapods isolate and enhance performance. Five different models rated for loads of 228lb; match the quantity to the component. I keep a box of them around so that no component goes without." A KR favorite. (NR)

COMMENTS
Auditor's picture

The text under the J. Sikora Initial is the same as under the J. Sikora Reference, which is obviously a mistake.

John Atkinson's picture
Auditor wrote:
The text under the J. Sikora Initial is the same as under the J. Sikora Reference, which is obviously a mistake.

Fixed. Thank you.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

lesmarshall's picture

I was very surprised to read that the Benchmark DAC 3 is no longer a Recommended Component . In the earlier 2022 edition of Recommend Components , it was an A+ component . Your stated reason for the deletion was because it was not auditioned in a long while . Well why not audition it then ? Also, why is an audition necessary ? It measured as one of the best DACs ever . Why would its measurements change simply because you have not auditioned it recently ? I understand its your policy , but it seems rather unfair to Benchmark that you no longer recommend it for that reason . I believe a much fairer policy would be that a highly rated component should only fall off the recommended list if it is auditioned periodically and you determine that its current level of recommendation is no longer justified based on the factors that you use to include a component of the recommended list .

JRT's picture

Les, toward some light hearted amusement, consider a reductio ad absurdum.

The quoted material below was excerpted from the first version (published 01 May 1963) of Stereophile's recommended components, just the A,B,C rated amplifiers and preamplifiers:

Quote:

Preamplifier-Control Units
A: Marantz 7, McIntosh C-20
B, C: Dynaco PAS-2

Power Amplifiers
A: Marantz 8B, McIntosh MC-60 (footnote 5), Marantz 9A (footnote 5)
B, C: Dynaco Stereo 70

Footnote 5: mono amplifier.

Reductio ad Absurdum... Should the old gear listed above continue as currently recommended gear, or is it best left in its original context in the circa 1963 article? ...and why or why not? ...and is it a much too different set of cases for comparison? ...why? Would that old gear be good fodder for a listing of recommended vintage gear, and is that good subject matter for the current Stereophile readership? These are mostly rhetorical questions, but not all.

JRT's picture

Would you also include the essentially similar PAS-3, and then also the PAS-3X with updated tone controls, and then maybe also Frank van Alstine's improved Super PAS Three, etc.? The original short-list can grow large.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/recommended-components-1-0

https://www.stereophile.com/tubepreamps/1088vana/index.html

xtcfan80's picture

lesmarshall...a few years ago I believe it was the late Art Dudley who explained why gear drops off the RC list. Do a search and read it, explained in classic Art Dudley fashion. Cliffs Notes Version: GET OVER IT! A piece dropping off the list does not invalidate any past purchasing decision, only the ego of the complainer...

georgehifi's picture

It would be nice if the "title" of the piece recommended was clickable, so one could easily then read the full review of all these thousands of "recommended components" instead of searching like a ???

Just a thought??

Cheers George

liquidsun's picture

I must say I'm surprised to see Perlistens into Restricted Extreme LF category as I thought they were full range speakers.

Kal Rubinson's picture

For most, they will be full range but, as you can see from JA's Fig. 4, the FR is rolling off smoothly below 100HZ such that it will easily mate with a complementary subwoofer. I believe that was Perlisten's intent. That said, unless you are assessing the sound of low, low organ pedal tones, explosions or thunder, the bass from the s7t is clean, powerful and musically satisfying.

Robin Landseadel's picture

There's a lot of Dance Pop/Techno music that gives the lowest octave a workout. Managed to blow out the small bass driver from a Paradigm bookshelf speaker with a Sarah McLaughlan track---"I Love You" from the album "Surfacing"---a quiet ballad with a synth bottom without overtones, so there's pure, deep bass. Another good example would be the work of Bill Laswell, a producer/bass player.

Kal Rubinson's picture

OK but how is this relevant? On the one hand, I am not surprised that one can blow out the small bass driver in a bookshelf speaker. On the other, I doubt if it would do that to the Perlisten.

Robin Landseadel's picture

Blowing out the driver of a Paradigm Atom might not be meaningful save that I blew it out with a track that is low in level and undynamic. More to the point, it sounds like the speakers in question could use a sub. Of course, you pointed out that the speakers in question are designed to integrate well with subs. My Infinity 250 speakers, small floor-standing speakers, also requires a sub for deep bass.

What is meaningful is that there is more to the bottom octave than organ pedals and explosions. Lots of modern productions take advantage of digital recording/playback's ability to record/reproduce the lowest octaves of sound.

Kal Rubinson's picture

Yes, there is a lot more to the bottom end than I cared to mention but the distinction between the small Paradigm Atom and the s7t is that the former needs a sub (or a LP filter) merely to survive wide-band signals while the latter does not.

Did you read my comments about the Garage Door test? I doubt that either your Paradigm or your Infinity could compete with the Perlisten, with or without a sub.

Robin Landseadel's picture

Doubtless. My point was more about program material and really deep bass. In any case, my Infinity Primus 250s are aided by my Sonance Son of Sub. As the system is in a small room, it's probably as much bass as the room can take.

Anton's picture

I like to hit this issue and pretend all my Hi Fi gear is gone and I have to start over with my budget and this list.

Glotz's picture

Droooooool.. and I'm done FOREVER.

Soulution, MBL... heaven.

KEFLS50W's picture

It will be interesting to see if Stereophile catches up to the focus on active, integrated designs. The relevance of separates seems to be waning in comparison to these sexy and modern designs (many of which are good value to boot) from KEF, B&W, Q Acoustic, ATC, Dali, and others. LS50WII for example gives me access to high quality, high current class a/b amplification I would not have been able to afford with separates. On another note, why are REL subs not listed - they would floor the competition listed in terms of sonics and build quality. Sorry but SVS is a home theater product and KEF KC62 is for kids.

Apollo's picture

Focusing on the Class A Solid-state Two-channel Amplifiers for sake of my question, I am struggling with the broad price range, from about $1K at the low end of the range, to about $100K at the high end of the range.

At its simplest, my question is: why spend $100K for an amp, when one can get a similarly rated amp, and therefore a similarly good amp, for $1K?

I am asking without sarcasm, criticism, or prejudice. I want the best SQ. And I would rather spend the $ difference on something else.

What I find fascinating, is that more and more reviews across publications/websites conclude with the statement to the effect: "unless you want to spend more money, this piece of gear is perfect and all one needs".

So how can the $100K audio OEMs survive when similarly rated gears can be had for 100x less? What am I missing? Why spend $100K for an amp, when one can get a similarly rated amp for $1K?

xtcfan80's picture

"I am struggling" ...and maybe hifi isn't for you if you don't understand why some Class A gear costs 1K and some 100K...Be Happy and Listen!!!

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