|Reviewer: Ken Micallef
Source: Krell SACD Standard player; Rega P2/Grado Prestige Gold cartridge
Preamp/Integrated: Atma-Sphere MP3 preamp
Amps: Balanced Audio Technology VK-75; Atma-Sphere MA1 Silver Edition monos [in for review]
Speakers: Proac 2.5 Response
Cables: Omega Mikro and NordOst interconnects and speaker cables
Stands: Salamander rack, Mapleshade Platforms, Conepoints and Isoblocks.
Power line conditioning: Shunyata Hydra-8, JPS Kaptovator and Omega Mikro power cords, Shunyata Powersnakes - Black Mamba, King Cobra 2, Anaconda Vx, Diamondback
Sundry accessories: none.
Room size: 24' x 12' with 10-13' sloped ceiling, short-wall setup
Review Component Retail: $299.95 standard black or clear 14" x 18" with 4 balls; also available: 20x14 - $329.95; 20x16 - $329.95; 26x20 $349.95
|Coming in right behind power conditioning as the hottest entry in the audiophile nervosa sweepstakes, vibration control is a tweaker's pursuit that attracts the mad and the maniacal, the foolhardy and the fabulously wealthy. Just as some used to say that anyone can build a speaker, you could also proffer than anyone with a decent set of tools and an eye for design can attempt manufacture of the ultimate isolation table, rack or platform upon which to position your hallowed audio gear. And many combinations of material have indeed been used: Glass, Teflon, marble, granite, stone, porcelain, steel, wood, aluminum, polycrystal, plus all manner of composite-to-space-age substances that claim inheritance from the NASA brain trust. But leave it to a relative newcomer in the game to try a seemingly obvious material: Acrylic.
|Why did you choose acrylic as the source material for your Cloud 10 platforms?|
|Acrylic has a very dense and irregular molecular structure that is not very good at propagating sound waves. This is actually a good thing because you want to dissipate the vibration as best you can. The balls play an even more important role in the design. We tested many balls of different properties before settling on the one we use. Its selection hinges upon factors like optimum absorption quality in certain weight ranges and lateral movement under loads etc.|
Since most gear will reflect the sonic signature of whatever it's placed upon, wouldn't acrylic create a rather hard sound?
|The appearance of a particular material does not necessarily translate into how it will affect sound. Properties like resonant frequencies or how it transmits vibration really determine how it will perform. That is why we spent time doing vibration, noise and listening analysis to verify that it works - as opposed to guessing or merely claiming that it does without possessing the empirical data to back it up.|
|Please explain the distribution of the balls in the platform and the effect of minimum vs. maximum number of balls.|
|Even distribution of the weight over the platform not only helps in leveling the unit but also facilitates more uniform dissipation of vibrational energy. That is why we have multiple dimples in the bottom plate to allow the user to choose the best geometry for the ball locations. Changing the balls' locations may affect the sonic performance of the platform, albeit in minute variations. Instead of prescribing what is best, we simply let the user decide what performs best. As for the optimum number of balls to use, a good rule of thumb is that each ball has a maximum weight bearing capacity of 20 lbs. and has an optimum load behavior of around 10 lbs. So three balls (the minimum needed to balance the top platform plate) can hold a maximum of 60 lbs. and works best with a load of around 30 lbs. More weight will overload the balls and make the suspension too soft and unstable. Less weight will make the suspension too stiff. One of the reasons we chose these balls is because they perform best with the typical weight range of high-end components (around 30-40 lbs). If the component is too light, the user should mass-load it with additional weights to get into the optimum range. If the component is too heavy, more balls should be added to return to the optimized load values.|
|Does the Cloud 10 "drain" vibrations from audio equipment or simply isolate it?|
The Cloud 10 works by isolating the component from vibration. We find that the component is most affected by low level vibrations that exist in the environment (caused by anything with a motor or transformer around the house) and vibrations caused by footfalls or external sounds/noise like music being played through the system. These vibrations are transmitted to the component through the shelf it sits on.