Stillpoints Resonance Control & Sound Isolation
A necessity, not an accessory.
Roy Gregory’s bold statement in the July 2013 Audio Beat review of Stillpoints is as bold as it is apt. Resonance control and sound isolation is probably one of the biggest bang-for-buck areas of high-end audio system optimization. It’s also still too often overlooked or under-scrutinized when audio enthusiasts look for ways to improve their listening experience.
Maybe it’s because, except for turntables, we generally don’t see our amplifiers, preamps and other audio components move and vibrate, maybe it’s because high-end audio components often weigh a ton (how could they move when we can barely move them?!), maybe it’s because we used to stack our tuners, amps, and preamps without a second thought. Whatever the reason, it’s time to get over it and realize what science, sound, and common sense has laid bare: all our snazzy electronics and audio gear produces vibrations, waves, interference — put bluntly, it all moves.
In his audition of the Stillpoints Isolation System, Robert Harley, Editor of The Absolute Sound enthusiastically asserted:
“The increase in resolution was mind-boggling. I’m not talking about hi-fi resolution or the presentation becoming more forward or etched, but rather that about hearing much more musical information. Although the presentation was more detailed and resolved, it also had greater ease - qualities that are usually mutually exclusive. The combination of ease is a recipe for musical involvement, as ease fosters a relaxation that makes you more receptive to nuances of expression.”
Enter Stillpoints. Stillpoints makes products engineered to decouple components from each other, from the rack, from the floor. This lets each piece of audio equipment do its best without influencing other components. Stillpoints offers several different solutions for a wide range of systems, components and setups.
Stillpoints Isolation Technology Pockets. Stillpoints has invested considerable resources developing the patented core technology implemented into their line of isolation devices. Their Technology Pockets are revolutionary and are the only designs to utilize them (despite attempts from thieves to counterfit or copy their designs — BUYER BEWARE!). Stillpoints inner Technology Pockets convert vibrations into energy, which is then released as heat, providing ones system with consistent improvements in clarity, articulation, and soundstaging. Backgrounds become blacker, individual musical elements become more defined, and your overall musical experience becomes more enveloping. With the exception of the Stillpoints Ultra Mini, all Ultras as well as the Stillpoints ESS rack utilize these Technology Pockets.
The Stillpoints ESS Rack
The Stillpoints ESS Rack (Equipment Suspension Support) provides a completely resonance-controlled rack for your whole system — it also looks fantastic.
This is not your ordinary audio rack! The ESS Rack is a thoroughly researched and designed system that greatly improves upon the performance of components paired with it. It’s astonishing performance is acheived through the use of precision machined stainless steel (2.5x denser than aluminium), Stillpoints Technology Pockets (built into each support beam and Grid cross member beam) and steel suspension cables on which each shelf is suspended, adding further isolation for components. Acrylic shelves can be replaced with the optional Grid system - which enhances performance further.
In his review of The Grid System, Norm Luttebeg writing for Stereo Times declared: “I am amazed by the improvement I got with replacing the acrylic shelves with the new Grids. I got the best sound when I used four StillPoints Ultra SSs on the Grids. Three points obviously define a plane and would always be in contact with the component, but four Ultras in contact with a component are far superior…” Norm is absolutely spot on! The introduction of the Stillpoints Ultra 6 however once again improves upon the level of objective performance substantially.
ESS Racks are available in the following configurations:
» 2, 3, 4, or 5 shelves
» Heights of 28", 34" and 42"
» Single widths of 20" and 26" (weight capacity of EACH shelf is 250 lbs.)
» Double width of 40" (wight capacity of each shelf is 150 lbs.)
ESS Racks can be custom configured to include:
» 1" thick acyrilic shelves (3/4" are standard)
» Ultra SS Stillpoints are optional
» The Grid and Ultra SS and or Ultra 5 and or Ultra 6’s for shelves are optional.
Everything in my system has been chosen because it contributed to the reproduction of a realistic soundstage and the timbral accuracy of instruments, and I had long assumed that I was enjoying all that the electronics and speakers could give me in terms of that realism. The Stillpoints ESS rack showed this assumption to be baseless. From the sweetness of the highs to the solid bass, everything had a rightness to it. I suspected from the first listening session with my components on the Stillpoints rack that it was something special. You can’t see it working, but you sure can hear it.
Stillpoints Ultra—Maximum Flexibility and Performance
Stillpoints Ultras provide a highly flexible way to address different components (and the differing types and amoutns of resonance each creates).
The Ultra 6 is the newest addition to the Stillpoint Ultra line. It is the first Ultra to implement 6 pockets of technology in a single Ultra (and the first to use the patented technology pockets on opposing sides of the isolation device).
Ultra 6 isolators are IDEAL for use with source and amplification components (placed under an amplifier or preamplifier for instance, which in addition to superior isolation qualities, also provides for additional ventilation).
Ultra 6 isolators are designed to attach directly to the Stillpoints ESS rack via their rail system (which adds an additional technology pocket for a total of 7 pockets of technology when used together!) or paired with optional Stillpoints Ultra Bases.
Ultra 6 isolators are also an excellent isolation device for use with stand mount monitor speakers (attached directly to a loudspeaker stand, and then setting the monitor directly on the Ultra 6 isolators).
The Stillpoints Ultra 5 was originally designed for use with co-designer Bruce Jacob’s 9' Steinway Model D grand piano! As such, there are no theoretical weight limits or size restrictions with regards to high-end audio applications. The Ultra 5 has 5 pockets of technology and is an ideal upgrade isolation device for those looking to maximize the performance from their loudspeakers, audio racks or other heavy components.
Stillpoints award winning Ultra SS (SS / stainless steel) use a four-tier ball-bearing filter to prevent any unwanted vibration from infecting components (there are four levels of ceramic bearings — twice as many as the original Stillpoints).
Paired with the Stillpoints ESS rack system; attached directly to the rail system, or simply placed under components (with or without the optional Stillpoints Ultra Base), they are height-adjustable and will dramatically improve the sound of your components or loudspeakers.
The Ultra SS were awarded the Accessory Of The Year award from The Absolute Sound’s Editor-in-Chief Robert Harley.
Ultra LP Isolator (LPI)
Aptly named, the Stillpoints ULTRA LP Isolator is indeed just that! It is the ultimate record weight for turntables that can accomodate its size and weight. The Stillpoints LP Isolator slips over the spindle of your turntable, resting on the label portion of the LP. Using patented Stillpoints technology, this most effective design absorbs the micro vibration in the vinyl (a result of the stylus tracing the groove and noise from the turntable itself), resulting in better clarity, improved dynamic response and overall enhanced resolution. The sound is instantly more delicate, more open and lifelike. A surprisingly effective and simple upgrade!
The LPI immediately imposes a sense of balanced calm on proceedings: the band step away from the speakers, the recording becomes a single, coherent entity, while the stereo perspective becomes much more natural, especially in terms of height. The drum kit solidifies into a single compact unit, rather than having elements scattered across the soundstage, the chiming guitars are both better separated and more insistent.
But most telling of all is the drop in apparent volume; the music doesn’t seem so loud because so much hash and noise has been stripped away. The benefits of the Stillpoints Ultra LPI are not just about the loud bits. Its ability to increase resolution, poise and timing integrity is just as vital to small-scale acoustic pieces, a scenario in which its vitality, black backgrounds and dynamic discrimination really bring recordings to life, adding a real sense of delicacy and an inviting, open quality.
In fact, I’ve found no music that fails to benefit from the LPI and it has become an essential piece of the turntable setup.I’ve found no music that fails to benefit from the LPI and it has become an essential piece of the turntable setup.
– Roy Gregory, The Audio Beat, July 2012
» Reduces vibration in the vinyl
» Provides additional weight at the label area to tightly couple the LP to the platter
» Five Stillpoints patented isolation devices that convert vibration into heat
» Weight: 1.5 lbs
» Diameter: 3"
» Height: 1"
Stillpoints Ultra Bases add additional isolation, elevation and a wider base footprint for use with Stillpoints Ultras. Armed with an Ultra / Ultra Base, one can use the combination faced upwards or downwards.
The Ultra Base also works well under components that are sitting on floors as their polished stainless steel surface is unlikely to scratch or otherwise damage them.
Each Stillpoints Ultra Base measures 3" wide and 0.5" high.
Stillpoints Aperture Acoustic Room Treatment Panels
Stillpoints ERS Fabric is an ingenius yet simple to use tweek that effectively redirects, absorbs and diffuses EMI / RFI, lowering the noise floor of digital components, amplification components (amp & pre) and even loudspeakers and cables. No thicker than a sheet of construction paper, ERS Fabric is comprised of a blend of carbon fibers which are then coated with a metal substrate.
Stillpoints ERS Fabric is designed to shield your system from EMI (Electromagnetic interference) & RFI (radio-frequency interference).
EMI & RFI are disturbances that affect an electrical circuit due to either electromagnetic induction or electromagnetic radiation emitted from an external source. The disturbance may interrupt, obstruct, or otherwise degrade or limit the effective performance of audio components. These effects can range from a simple degradation of data to a total loss of data. The source may be any object, artificial or natural, that carries rapidly changing electrical currents.
This proprietary design is placed under components make it near impossible for EMI / RFI to penetrate sensitive audio circuits. Measuring 8"x 11", ERS Fabric sheets are easily cut to accomodate custom size requirements and come with or without adhesive backing.
When you hear the sound of your components not interfering with each other you’ll hear each part of your system working as it was meant to be heard. You’ll also wonder why it took you so long to implement such a simple, elegant, and effective technology.