Letters • April 2016

SRA and Stillpoints?

April 19, 2016


I have something important and pressing to ask you about, and I believe your responses will be very interesting and helpful to readers. I have recently purchased some Stillpoints Ultra SS feet to try out, and I have reread carefully Roy Gregory's very extensive review on the topic. My dilemma includes potentially using these Stillpoints with my Silent Running Audio (SRA) Scuttle 2 rack, along with my Quadraspire bamboo rack.

So here is the situation. Roy advises floating the entire system with Stillpoints, starting with the speakers and working backwards but still using the Stillpoints on everything. Both racks house part of my analog chain. Roy liked the Stillpoints with the Quadraspire rack, but he does not address an SRA rack. And any review of the SRA -- and a response I got from Tim at SRA years ago -- states that equipment should keep their original rubber feet. I have read reviews where the reviewer ignored the advice and used several different types of points and cones, and these reviewers seemed to agree with SRA that the sound is always better with the original feet.

Tim once explained to me something to the effect that if one does not know what he is doing, then the points may not be large enough to dissipate the energy correctly and the energy will just reverse its flow back into the unit. But can that be any worse than rubber feet that trap the energy in the box in the first place? This makes no sense to me. If this Scuttle is such a superior energy-dissipation system, then wouldn't we want feet that allow the energy to flow into the rack instead of being trapped in the box? And haven't I seen pictures of SRA amp stands on top of SRA racks? So wouldn't Stillpoints underneath the equipment serve as another stand, a series of floating mini stands, in a sense?

I do get the fact that the top-of-the-line SRA racks are equipment-specific, using the weight and weight distribution of equipment to design a specific rack. But the Scuttle is not equipment-specific. So I do not see how rubber feet can be anywhere as good as Stillpoints.

Jeff Levine

In a certain sense, an SRA rack, either a Craz or Scuttle, is like a single large Stillpoints footer for all of your components (minus speakers, of course). It is a carefully designed means of dissipating energy, draining it into its shelves, the rack's frame and eventually into the floor underneath. This is why SRA counsels against using separate footers, especially those like the Stillpoints: not only are they redundant but potentially regressive (which I've experienced) when used with an SRA rack. So the answer to your question is to use the Stillpoints with your Quadraspire rack but not the SRA.

There is actually one footer that does work well with SRA racks: Ayre's myrtle-wood blocks, which transfer energy from each component into the rack -- which is the goal -- better than simple rubber feet. You can also place the blocks at strategic points underneath the chassis to aid the process. However, the Ayre blocks are not universally better, because some equipment makers (Esoteric comes to mind) engineer energy dissipation into their chassis, and the footers included with the products are part of this. -Marc Mickelson

Timbre and CEC

April 14, 2016


I agree wholeheartedly regarding the Timbre TT-1 DAC. I have heard and/or owned one along with the CEC TL1 transport. In fact, I have gone back to using my Timbre and CEC, a remarkably musical combination. Pry it from my cold, dead hands, they will.

Tim Adams

The TT-1 and TL1 haven't been in production for over twenty years, and yet they still make beautiful music here and now. I'd say that makes them audio classics. If you haven't used a Genesis Digital Lens in between them, find one. You'll be surprised at how much it improves their sound. - Marc Mickelson

A Eureka moment

April 11, 2016


We were reading your article "Esoteric Audio Rises Again in Phoenix" and just wanted to let you know that we are still here in tiny Eureka, California!

"Never mind big cities; name a medium-sized or even small city -- Shreveport, Louisiana; Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin; Eureka, California; Portland, Maine -- and there was a local dealer there. This shop was often the center of a vibrant audio community."

In fact, there are two hi-fi shops in my little town of about 30,000; ours is Northcoast Audio. Our competitor is just one block down the street. Here in the isolated backwoods of northern Northern California we are a proud throwback to the old-school hi-fi shop.

Being on a main highway in a touristy area, we get lots of out-of-town travelers who come through our shop. We can't count how many times we hear, “Wow. There’s nothing like this anymore where I live in [insert big city here],” always followed by "I've read about these [insert speaker name here] and always wanted to hear them in person." The Magnepan sign outside is what often draws them in.

Now, we aren’t anywhere as high end as Esoteric Audio, a bit more down to earth, but we still manage to sell brands like Magnepan, Rogue Audio, Parasound, Rega, NAD, etc. in our tiny arts community. Home-theater gear still keeps the lights on, but it allows us to have some great mid-priced two-channel gear too. And it's a genuine blast opening up the eyes and ears of the Bluetooth-speakered/crappy-earbud younger generation to what good sound can be.

Anyway, we just felt compelled to comment on your article. Hi-fi still lives and breathes in little Eureka, California -- and you've got fans here too.

Chris & Melinda Larsen

I live in a town of roughly 30,000 people and we have no hi-fi shops. Needless to say, I'm jealous of Eureka. - Marc Mickelson

Using one power conditioner with another?

April 5, 2016


I use the six-outlet Audience aR6 power conditioner, but because I use dual subs, only one sub is plugged into the aR6. The second sub is plugged into a second/spare line conditioner (from Rotel).

Can I plug my Rotel line conditioner into the aR6, one line conditioner into the main one, in other words? I can’t imagine it would be negative in any way. Sonically, I’m hoping it may benefit in that it's indirectly connected to the aR6. Have you known people to plug one line conditioner into another? is there any downside to it? I can’t imagine there would be, but an engineer I’m definitely not.

Sheldon Simon

There are instances where plugging one power product into another makes sense: for instance, if one regulates voltage, keeping it continuously at or near 120VAC, and the other is a strict AC filter or a power strip with no filtering whatsoever. But, depending on the technology used in both of your line conditioners, you actually may degrade the sound of your system by plugging one into the other. If both filter AC, you may end up with too much of what is normally a good thing. You will also effectively be adding outlets to the unit into which you plug the other unit, and this may cause you to overload its ability to deliver current especially.

But I would give it a try; experimentation will tell you the sonic truth here. If it degrades the sound, it wasn't meant to be. -Marc Mickelson

Reader list

April 1, 2016


Please add me to the reader list.

Pedja Pavlovic

Done! To join TAB's reader e-mail list and find out about new articles first, send a message to rl@theaudiobeat.com.


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