If you have a pair of loudspeakers that are too close to a wall boundary or stuck in a corner, or loudspeakers that are simply too big for your room (all common themes!) you can often end up with a system that can sound a bit ponderous and slow with overbearing bass response that can swamp and mask most of what the system is trying to communicate.
I frequently see speakers in many of the above situations, quite often the speakers are positioned in the only place where they can be sited due to room constraints (or wife constraints!).
I recently had a call from a customer who has a great system whose speakers can only go in one place due to the shape of the room and its layout. He has made lots of brilliant improvements to his system, he has a Vitus RI-101 integrated amplifier and a Vitus SCD-025 mk2 CD player/DAC and a pair of PMC Fact 8 speakers.
The Vitus SCD was the most recent addition and is a truly formidable source component. Priced at £19000 it is undoubtedly one of the very finest one box CD players that money can buy (it will happily sit alongside and outperform things at 2 or 3 times its price). It’s endlessly detailed and is absolutely captivating in the way it presents the music. With the addition of the SCD the presentation of the system changed quite dramatically. It was sending so much more information to the amplifier compared to what went before and with the majority of the customers extensive music collection it sounded magnificent.
There is a but coming though!
Due to the much greater bandwidth the system was now delivering the energy levels in the room were much greater than they were before. Not an issue on most music and well recorded music but for a selection of the customers favourite albums there was simply too much bass weight and it was a bit overblown.
In a dedicated listening room it would be easy enough to change the position of the speakers to alter the way the speaker interacts with the room, or move the listening position to suit, but in this room that simply wasn’t an option. Both are fixed in position.
The benefits of the SCD were so obvious to hear and changing back to the original front end wasn’t an option, we tried it and the good aspects of the SCD were just too good to live without in reality. So, the customer presented me with a challenge, keep the good bits, but fine tune the system to try and get rid of the excessive bass response on those problem albums.
When the system was first put together Stillpoints were used under the electronics to great effect. In typical Stillpoints fashion it was a pretty quick demonstration. They unlock so much more details and texture in the music by removing excess energy and allowing whatever you use them on to truly breath and open up.
Now, I must admit we had never tried Stillpoints under the speakers in this system. Based on how Stillpoints work and what they bring it was certainly worth floating the speakers to see what happened. There’s a distinct method to correctly install Stillpoints under loudspeakers to ensure they are working effectively. With the 6mm spikes removed and the same sized threaded adapters from Stillpoints inserted we installed some Ultra SS, spending a bit of time to get them perfectly set up.
From the opening of the first track (‘Bardo’ on GoGo Penguin’s brilliant A Humdrum Star) it was pretty obvious what had happened to the presentation. The bloom and overblown bass hump had gone and in its place the system sounded tighter, faster and incredibly dynamic. The Stillpoints hadn’t just cured the issue with the bottom end, they had totally opened up the speaker enabling to you hear more of what was going on.
After playing a selection of the customers music for a good hour or so (we deliberately selected the problematic tracks as well as some of the tracks which sounded excellent to start with) the customer was hearing subtle detail and texture he’d never picked up on before on all of his music, even the stuff that sounded great to begin with had improved quite dramatically.
Remember, Stillpoints are not directly in the signal path, they can’t add anything to the presentation but by effectively decoupling the speakers from the floor/room (or the electronics from whatever they stand upon) you let the system show you what is really capable of. You haven’t heard your hi-fi perform anywhere close to its potential if you haven’t heard Stillpoints in your system, you don’t necessarily need to float the whole system to hear the potential of what they can do as well.
We have the whole range available for demonstration starting with the entry level Ultra Mini, the Ultra SS, the Ultra 5 and the flagship Ultra 6. All Stillpoints are suitable to go under electronics, but only the Ultra SS are and Ultra 5 can be used under loudspeakers and it is these 2 models which are most popular. Most people are wary of the Ultra 6 due to its price point, but once you’ve heard an Ultra 6 there is no going back in reality.
Please don’t assume Stillpoints are an accessory, once you’ve heard what they do most customers will consider them to be a necessity, infrastructure for allowing your system to really let you hear into the music!