+ anti-vibration feet + resonators
Manufacturer: development & design 4U GmbH
hen it comes to perfectionist audio or audiophilism, the opinions of people outside the audio industry who haven’t got anything to do with it or in other words don’t own high-end or at least sensibly set up audio systems, have not been exposed to high quality sound at audio shows and usually don’t really know the sound of live instruments and how it translates into recording studio techniques and hence the sound played back at home, degenerate. While in most other industries such people are able to acknowledge the value of tests and experiments that complement or even modify existing theories (the so-called state of knowledge), in the case of audio they put blinders on and repeat ad nauseam that “such and such” theory does not predict anything like that. They often try to support their opinion with specific arguments which, however, are derived from the same theory, or at least from what they understood and learned from it. Yet in audio we do exactly the same – we test the existing knowledge and push its boundaries further. Audiophilism is not about “breaking” the laws of physics. That’s nonsense. It’s about their better understanding and interpretation. If we were to believe engineers-theorists who do not listen to music but are instead turned on by their measurements, we would still have been listening to music on audio systems powered by lamp cord, built only on transistors or even ICs, with deep negative feedback and multiple stages to correct each other, housed in substandard enclosures and placed anywhere, even on a cardboard. We would all have been listening to mp3 files, since the ABX or "double-blind" tests conducted at the AES meetings on a representative group of people from the industry showed no statistically significant difference between MP3s and CDs. The theory would have been intact and we would need to forget about genuine music reproduced at home. What caused this state of affairs? Why is it that the people who by definition should have an open mind, be curious and thirsty for new answers, are locked in their cage of an idiotic “NO” that rejects any criticism? Experience has provided a clear answer – it’s because of their ignorance. Although the basic tool of people who are deaf to the results of direct listening tests or auditions is the same, lack of knowledge, in reality they (I apologize for the "us" and "them" that quite unintentionally came out as a kind of segregation) have gaps in their education. Which is a perfectly illustrated by the example of Finite Elemente.
We find the following significant statement on this German manufacturer’s website:
Finite Elemente employs its own characteristic method of eliminating vibration or actually converting it into heat, which is broadly similar to that used by both above manufacturers. All the components are rigidly connected and their overall mass is small.
I also added to the system a component with perhaps a slightly misleading name – Resonator 1000 Hz, designed to minimize vibration at this frequency. It is a flat disc with the diameter of 120 mm and the height of 28 mm. Its aluminum enclosure houses a vibrating component. The latter comprises of metal strips coupled in the center by a 35 mm steel cylinder that protrudes down 1 mm from the bottom to be in direct contact with the top surface of an audio component it is placed on. The whole unit weighs 380 g and is available in silver or black. It operates on the “minimum energy principle,” or in other words the second law of thermodynamics. It states that if we have two flexible surfaces of different weights connected to each other, the lower mass element absorbs the kinetic energy from the one with greater weight and turns it into heat, provided that both have the same resonant frequency. As the name suggests, the Resonator 1000 Hz is tuned to the frequency of 1,000 Hz (1 kHz) and helps to suppress vibration of that frequency. It costs 1,400 PLN per unit. I used two of them during this review.
Records used during auditions
"Theoretically" (I am talking about widely accepted knowledge that is taught at most technical universities) the sound of audio components should not be significantly impacted by the type of surface they sit on. The system from Finite Elemente – even without knowing the measurements taken at the Fachhochschule Dortmund – proves it to be a nonsense. The changes it introduces to the sound are big, even very big and markedly different to just about any other platform and anti-vibration system we review in this issue of "High Fidelity". At the same time, it is the only system whose reception at first is not clearly positive, far less enthusiastic. This experience teaches humility towards one’s own expectations and perception of one’s own knowledge. For the first time in a long time, since the review of the Acoustic Revive RST-38 platform, I have been able to go forward, deeper into what I think I know about audio.
The Pagode Edition with the CeraBase Compact feet and the Resonator 1000 Hz discs that minimize vibration took it a step further, though in a very similar "style". I say “further” as I already had in my system the large RST-38H platforms under the Harbeth M40.1 stands. It turned out, however, that the euphony which I thought I’d dealt with once and for all, without losing tangibility and fullness, richness of sound, was still present in my system. I was of course aware of a slight preference given by the speakers to frequencies below 100 Hz, but I did not think that it was combined with a sort of blurring the attack and boosting the lower midrange. It was not a simple emphasizing of that range but rather such shaping of the sound that results in it being "thick". This distortion has its roots in the superimposing of the sound and distortion, something much more difficult to correct than usual dips in the frequency response.
The same thing happened with soundstaging. The impressively vast soundstage on The Modern Jazz Quartet album Pyramid, resulting from a simultaneous recording of all instruments with fairly closely placed microphones that’d also caught other instruments, narrowed down with the reviewed platform. Or so I thought. I listened again to the first track, then again and again and once more. After each single "try" I became keenly aware of what was really going on. Apparently, the Finite Elemente system preferred the sounds reaching the microphone directly. All the others were conveyed equally well, but due to a relatively higher level of the former they descended into the background. Now I better understood the ideas of sound engineers who had worked on the album. Earlier I wondered sometimes why they’d needed so unnaturally inflated soundstage. Now the cymbal crashes were better defined and the sound had an overall better definition and nicer body. I think that previously a part of the seeming "space" was in fact noise, something related to a disturbance of the sound field. The Finite Elemente calmed it down.
This German anti-vibration system is outstanding. It does not alter the sound in the sense that the sound’s color WITH and WITHOUT it is identical. Its effect doesn’t show in certain aspects but is manifested in a more structural way. The improvement of definition and transparency, but not at the expense of richness, covers the whole frequency spectrum and not just its selected band. It’s an overall, homogeneous effort. After this kind of experience, we begin to look for things we can improve in our own system. We begin to think. And that is what separates us from unreflective barraters. Hallelujah!
The products from Finite Elemente including the Pagode Edition platform, the CeraBall Compact feet and the two Resonators 1000 Hz were reviewed as a whole system. The platform was placed on the floor, in front of my equipment rack. The Resonators were placed on the metal covers for the amplifier’s output transformers. The testing was a multiple repeated A/B/A comparison, with the A and B known. Since the Pagode was the only platform that did not fit on the top shelf of my Base rack, comparing it with the "bare" rack shelf was one of the two I did. The other one included the amplifier placed next to the rack, directly on the floor. Given that the changes in the sound with the Finite system were very similar for both comparisons and differed only in intensity, I discussed them together in the “sound” section of the review. Sample tracks had the length of 1 min. and as such were shorter than usual, but that allowed me to make more comparison swaps before fatigue set in.
- Turntable: AVID HIFI Acutus SP [Custom Version]
- Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory ZERO (mono) | Denon DL-103SA, review HERE
- Phono stage: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE
- Compact Disc Player: Ancient Audio AIR V-edition, review HERE
- Multiformat Player: Cambridge Audio Azur 752BD
- Line Preamplifier: Polaris III [Custom Version] + AC Regenerator, regular version review (in Polish) HERE
- Power amplifier: Soulution 710
- Integrated Amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
- Stand mount Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
- Stands for Harbeths: Acoustic Revive Custom Series Loudspeaker Stands
- Real-Sound Processor: SPEC RSP-101/GL
- Integrated Amplifier/Headphone amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
- Headphones: HIFIMAN HE-6, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-300, review HERE | Sennheiser HD800 | AKG K701, review (in Polish) HERE | Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, version 600 - reviews (in Polish): HERE, HERE, HERE
- Headphone Stands: Klutz Design CanCans (x 3), review (in Polish) HERE
- Headphone Cables: Entreq Konstantin 2010/Sennheiser HD800/HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE
- Interconnects: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, review HERE | preamplifier-power amplifier: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
- Loudspeaker Cables: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review (in Polish) HERE
- Interconnects: Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0PA | XLR-1.0PA II
- Loudspeaker Cables: Acoustic Revive SPC-PA
- Power Cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300, all system, review HERE
- Power Distributor: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate, review HERE
- Power Line: fuse – power cable Oyaide Tunami Nigo (6m) – wall sockets 3 x Furutech FT-SWS (R)
- Power Cables: Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version, review (in Polish) HERE | Oyaide GPX-R (x 4 ), review HERE
- Power Distributor: Oyaide MTS-4e, review HERE
- Portable Player: HIFIMAN HM-801
- USB Cables: Acoustic Revive USB-1.0SP (1 m) | Acoustic Revive USB-5.0PL (5 m), review HERE
- LAN Cables: Acoustic Revive LAN-1.0 PA (kable ) | RLI-1 (filtry), review HERE
- Router: Liksys WAG320N
- NAS: Synology DS410j/8 TB
- Stolik: SolidBase IV Custom, read HERE/all system
- Anti-vibration Platforms: Acoustic Revive RAF-48H, review HERE/digital sources | Pro Audio Bono [Custom Version]/headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, review HERE | Acoustic Revive RST-38H/loudspeakers under review/stands for loudspeakers under review
- Anti-vibration Feets: Franc Audio Accessories Ceramic Disc/ CD Player/Ayon Polaris II Power Supply /products under review, review HERE | Finite Elemente CeraPuc/ products under review, review HERE | Audio Replas OPT-30HG-SC/PL HR Quartz, review HERE
- Anti-vibration accsories: Audio Replas CNS-7000SZ/power cable, review HERE
- Quartz Isolators: Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010/CP-4
- FM Radio: Tivoli Audio Model One