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Anti-vibration feet

Pro Audio Bono
PAB ceramic 60 SN

Manufacturer: PRO AUDIO BONO
Price (when reviewed): 840 PLN/szt.

ul. Polnych Kwiatów 21
05-500 Mysiadło | POLSKA


Provided for test by: PRO AUDIO BONO


Text: Wojciech Pacuła
Images: Wojciech Pacuła

No 198

November 1, 2020


PRO AUDIO BONO is a Polish audio company specializing in anti-vibration products - feet, platforms, stands and racks. Unlike most companies of this type, it has developed its own solutions, certified by patents. The company was founded in 2010 and this year we are celebrating its 10th anniversary. We are testing the new PAB ceramic 60 SN anti-vibration feet.

AB ceramic 60 SN is the second product with which the Polish company Pro Audio Bono celebrates its 10th anniversary; the first were feet called PAB ceramic 80 SN. Their names encode three important technical information: they feature ceramic bearings, the feet have a diameter of 60 and 80 mm respectively, and the material of the bearing is silicon nitride.

I am talking about bearings because it is the choice of Mr. Władysław Skrzypczak, the head of the company, who distinguishes his products from others, also based on rolling elements. These are the company's own solutions, protected by patents: P.215645 - anti-vibration platform with a suspended shelf, P.216411 - anti-vibration rack with suspended shelves, P.223047 - anti-vibration foot on a rolling bearing.

End of March 2015, on the fifth anniversary of its establishment, the company launched the new PAB ceramic 5 anti-vibration feet. Unlike the previously produced feet with steel rolling bearings, the new products used self-aligning ceramic bearings in which both the balls and the rings are made of very hard sinters - zirconium dioxide, tungsten carbide or, in this case, silicon nitride.

A detailed description of the philosophy, methodology, techniques, etc. can be found in the PAB CERAMIC 80 SN FEET review. The PAB ceramic 60 SN model differs from them in diameter, but that’s not the only distinguishing feature. There are also few other changes in its construction that I asked Mr. Skrzypczak about.

| A few simple words…

Owner, designer

PAB ceramic 60 SN anti-vibration feet were developed at the request of our customers who liked the PAB ceramic 80 SN feet, but they could not use them due to their large size. The PAB ceramic 60 SN foot has a diameter of 60 mm and a height of 46 mm. It weighs 1.1 kg.

The reduced height of these feet allows them to be used as stands for floorstanding speakers and speaker stands for bookshelf models. In most cases loudspeakers and stands are equipped with spikes or other types of feet that are 35-45 mm high. In addition, the tested 60 SN feet can be used for other audio-video components, especially digital-to-analog converters (DACs), music file players, preamplifiers and turntables.

The PAB ceramic 60 SN feet are made of AIF 316 L stainless steel, containing over 62% iron, 18% chromium, 15% nickel and 3% molybdenum. Very important in these feet is the unique shape of their base, which is a half of the rotation ellipsoid with dimensions of 60 x 46 mm. Such a base has a much smaller surface of the foot contact with the surface on which the audio device is placed. It also enables a better conversion of the mechanical energy of vibration into heat, and then a better transfer of this heat to the environment (the side surface of the half of the rotation ellipsoid is much larger than the side surface of a cylinder of the same diameter and height).

In addition, the 60 SN feet differ from other Pro Audio Bono anti-vibration feet by:

  • position of the self-aligning ball bearing in the base,
  • using a ceramic bearing made of two ceramic sinters - zirconium dioxide (bearing rings) and silicon nitride (bearing balls).
As a result of these changes, different anti-vibration properties of the feet were obtained, translating into the timbre of sounds, the size of the sound stage and stereo effects.

The PAB ceramic 60 SN feet can be used upside down, ie with an ellipsoidal base. These feet can also be used with or without the tightened counter discs (which are included for each foot). It is recommended to use these feet together with the counter discs, because then the base of the device has more mass and better anti-vibration properties. WS

| PAB ceramic 60 SN

The two models of the anti-vibration feet from the company in question differ much more than just by their diameter. They feature, above all, a different shape. The '60' model has a shape similar to the truncated bullet we know, for example, from the PAB ceramic 7 SN feet. The upper and lower parts of the bearing were also swapped. However, these are still anti-vibration feet that are hard to confuse with any other ones.

They are very solid and very well made. Each consists of three movable main parts: lower and upper ones, connected by a bearing, and a counter nut, screwed on a threaded spindle. The pin itself can be short when we put the discs on the feet without screwing them on, or long when we screw the feet on. I must say that the counter nut looks really nice and it is easy to screw it on - it resembles the knob used to adjust the VTA in the Transrotor mechanism (more about it in the TRANSROTOR ALTO TMD turntable review).


HOW WE LISTENED TO IT | The PAB ceramic 60 SN anti-vibration feet have been tested under Acoustic Revive speaker stands, custom-made for me by Mr. Ken Ishiguro. They were factory-equipped with brass, quite simple feet, which I quickly replaced with small feet from another Japanese company - Audio Replas, model OPT-1 HR/8P, made of quartz (test HERE). Between the loudspeakers and stands I also use discs made of rock crystal, part of the original idea (Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010W).

The test consisted of a quick interchanges between one set of feet and the other. So it was an A / B / A comparison, with A and B known, with about 2-minute breaks needed for feet replacement. During the test, I used SACDs and CDs played from the Ayon Audio CD-35 HF Edition SACD player (note: soon, on the occasion of the 200th edition of "High Fidelity", a special version of the new COMPACT DISC CD-35 Mk II HF Edition player will be released!) and the Thrax Audio Yatrus turntable with the Etsuro Urushi Bordeaux cartridge, Shroeder CB tonearm and the new RCM Audio The Big Boy preamp; the latter costs 35 000 euro!

Recordings used in the test | a selection

⸤ AL DI MEOLA, JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, PACO DELUCIA, Friday Night in San Francisco, Philips/Hi-Q Records | Pro-Ject Audio Systems 6302137, „Hi-Q Supercuts”, 180 g LP (1981/?)
⸤ BRENDAN PERRY, Ark, Cooking Vinyl/Vinyl 180 VIN180LP040, 2 x 180 g (2011)
⸤ OLD BETSY, The Sound Of Big Ben Webster, STS Digital STS 6111129, 180 g LP (2013)
⸤ THE BASSFACE SWING TRIO, The Bassface Swing Trio plays Gershwin, Stockfisch SFR 357.8045.1, „Direct-To-Disc”,180 g LP + SACD/CD (2007),

⸤ ANDRZEJ KURYLEWICZ QUINTET, Go Right, Polskie Nagrania „Muza”/Warner Music Poland 4648809, „Polish Jazz | vol. 0”, Master CD-R (1963/2016);
⸤ AQUAVOICE, Silence, Zoharum ZOHAR 168-2, Master CD-R (2018);
⸤ ART BLAKEY & THE JAZZ MESSENGERS, Just Coolin', Blue Note/Universal Music LLC (Japan) UCGQ-9027, SHM-SACD ([1959] 2020)
⸤ MARK KNOPFLER, One Take Radio Sessions, Warner Bros., Reference CD-R (2005)

The Pro Audio Bono feet do something special with the sound - something only the best audio products can do: they don't change it, but transform it. The thing is that they leave all the components of the sound, but arranged according to a different pattern. Listening to SACDs and CDs, or LPs, I was not looking for “treble” in the sound, nor - since I’ve started to talk about it - “bass”. Because nothing special happened there. As I had had a very deep bass without PABs under the speaker stands, I had it also with them, as the treble was incredibly dark, and at the same time resolving before the switch, it was still like that after the replacing my feet with the PAB.

I'm talking about something completely different - showing the same things, only better. PAB ceramic 60 SN feet in a mechanical system with Acoustic Revive stands and Harbeth M40.1 speakers gave me a better resolution and better differentiation within what had been there already before. There were no more details, and I would even say it felt like there was less of it. But they started to "live", they arranged themselves in more ways, in a less predictable way. This is probably the first time when the anti-vibration element neither "improved" anything in my system, or "broke" anything. But it did one thing: it pushed all the elements even further up.

|1| Example number one: Brendan Perry and Wintersun from the Ark. It is a recording with incredibly heavy, low, synthetic bass, contrasting with the synthesizer parts played above. The PAB ceramic 60 SN caused these two planes - literally "planes" - took on their own character: the bass was more „bassy”, and the background in the middle of the band was more a background. Each of the elements of this recording seemed more massive and deeper. And it made it sound more natural.

|2| Example number two: the direct-to-disc The Bassface Swing Trio’s CD entitled The Bassface Swing Trio plays Gershwin, both in LP and SACD versions. This recording is somewhat "experimental", at least for the Pauler Acoustics recording studio where it was made. But the general character of the presentation, which is the way it was produced, is typical of them. One of these features is the strong presentation of the double bass, even to the point where it is about an inch before getting "too much". This is not the case, they are outstanding specialists, but they give their recordings just such a feature - saturation and strong bass, where it is less about control and more about mass.

With the Pro Audio Bono feet the recording took on a completely different "twist": it was better "produced", despite the fact that before that, it lacked nothing. The thing is that direct-to-disc recordings are somehow "hanging" halfway between the studio and the "live" event. The best jazz recordings I know are studio recordings from the 1950s - usually recorded on the so-called "Hundred", that is from the beginning to the end of the piece, but then edited, enriched with reverb, simply - mastered. The exceptions to this rule are Audio Lab Record of Mr. OKIHIKO SUGANO, but they are only exceptions (more HERE).

The SN 60 used under the stands made the recordings I am talking about gain character, mature and become more communicative. It was still a document, a record of an event with the least possible interference, but thanks to them, the event gained meaning, importance, it was in a word - better. It was as if something thickened the sound, and at the same time "illuminated" it. So I got both the directness and immediacy which characterize this type of realization, but also putting everything together into a coherent whole, a real story.

|3| Example number three: Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers album Just Coolin', released in Japan on SHM-SACD (available on Tidal, in FLAC MQA 24/192 files). It opens with the piece Hipsippy Blues in which they play in unison: Lee Morgan on the trumpet, and Hank Mobley on the saxophone, in which it resembles the first track from a published only four years later, but in the communist Poland, album Go Right by Andrzej Kurylewicz Quintet.

Without PAB feet, Just Coolin' sounded great, it is one of the best recorded stereo discs from the late 1950s (let me remind you that it was never released, its premiere took place in July this year; more HERE). But the feet made it sound noble, made it more valuable. While earlier the sound was very good, but not as good as from the remastered version of the Go Right, with them it was much closer to the ideal.

I think it is mainly due to better handling of timbre and bodies of instruments. The instruments placed in the left and right channels had much better timbre with the PABs, they were also more three-dimensional. This is actually something that came back with each album and in a more convincing, more "real" way: the tested feet cause a kind of "thickening" or „enrichment” of the sound.

At first glance, guitars from the classic for the audiophile world of Friday Night in San Francisco, in the Hi-Q Records version, when the PAB stands were placed under the loudspeakers, sounded with them in a less selective way, as if the Japanese Audio Replas feet separated sounds better. And there is something to it. One thing that is not the case with PAB is the sense of such a good separation, at least when we compare this sound with these two sets of feet. With the PAB the presentation was more credible and more live-like - but in the sense that it sounded more like a live event, not as a "live" recording.

| Summary

Once again, and I can see that it keep happening to me, I could hear in my system "new" as "better" only due to direct comparison. Until I listened to the music with the PAB ceramic 60 SN feet under the speaker stands, the Japanese OPT-1 HR/8P made of quartz (if I remember correctly) won against all their competitors. Not because they are the best in the world, but because they fit best with the rest of the system and best fulfill my idea of "absolute sound". For the first time, I heard something better thanks to the Pro Audio Bono feet. Not just better, but definitely better.

The sound with them is resolving, extremely dynamic and has beautiful, saturated colors. The sound gains in density and fleshiness, while maintaining a perfect differentiation of colors and layers. It seems that the midrange becomes more important, but not by withdrawing its extremes, but by restoring the proper balance. Next to them you can put other excellent feet intended for decoupling loudspeakers and large amplifiers from the ground, and it will be up to you to judge which one you choose. In my system, however, I would choose the PAB ceramic 60 SN for my speakers.

Therefore, they will remain in our reference system, thus completing a certain stage of "tuning" the Acoustic Revive stands that I started a few years ago. At that time, I wrote that I would not stick badges with the name of the company because I believed that it was an "open project". Well - it has just completed. I guess it could always get even better, I don't know how the sound would change if I I replaced the quartz platforms with other ones. But that's a problem for another time. Here and now everything is fine.


Reference system 2020

1) Loudspeakers: HARBETH M40.1 |REVIEW|
2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

AC Power

Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

  • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|


Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

Record mats:


Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC