Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: 27" iMac with 5K Retina display, 4GHz quad-core engine with 4.4GHz turbo boost, 3TB Fusion Drive, 16GB SDRAM, OSX Yosemite, PureMusic 3.01, Tidal & Qobuz lossless streaming, COS Engineering D1 & H1, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi Formula, Fore Audio DAISy 1
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Wyred4Sound STP-SE MkII, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVC module), COS Engineering D1, Nagra Classic Preamp [on review]
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1, F5, F6, F7; Bakoon AMP-12R; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics One SE Up NC500MB monos; LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos; Audio Valve Baldur 300 [on review]]
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all components, Titan Audio Eros cords on conditioners and amp/s
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands [on loan]
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Review component retail: €5'900 [incl. 23% VAT]
Fringe. Not just a television show. Consider this excerpt from Fair Hedon's interview with mastering engineer Brian Lucey, in a segment on MQA: "...they've been targeting the weakest players in our world, the audiophiles. And they're targeting those most dependent on pimping new tech, the audiophile press." Today's pneumatic platform from Poland's Gdańsk pimps existing tech (air suspension + roller bearings + high mass) and targets it at the most secretive players in our world: the invisible actors of mechanical vibrations and speaker-generated air pressurization and how those might misread our playback script. It's a subtractive approach. It removes a source of potential distortion. That mechanical distortion begins outside the signal path but interacts with the signal in ways which are thought to be beyond the reach of more primitive racks, footers and pucks to cancel out. This fringe product is thus very heavy, seriously expensive and supports just one component. To kit out your entire rig component by component could easily go through more than most folks have invested in their entire systems. This is audiophile extremism. Proceed with caution. When theoretical physicist Jarek Korbicz promoted their "hand-crafted state-of-the-art platforms designed from the onset for audio not laboratory use" as "a fresh original take on several damping/isolation mechanisms to achieve wide-bandwidth six-axis isolation encased in impregnated premium Italian amorphous slate", I pointed him at our purpose-designed Spanish Artesania Audio rack. It's a multi-stage shelf-less affair. It renders most add-on solutions ineffective. Those would just pile one resonance control device atop another. I mentioned their simpler amp stand as perhaps a suitable starting place to review the Stacore. Jarek suggested that I put his device directly on the floor. Perfect. Time to go fringe.

Whilst our household has long since outgrown its futon stage—two-leggeds and audio gear alike camp out properly elevated these days—the floor notion did seem ideal for an A/B. If the Stacore platform was as effective as its concept and sticker promised, getting a fine hifi component off the floor and onto it ought to maximize the performance delta between either placement. In its Advanced form, the 58x48x14cm WxDxH Stacore platform weighs a dense 94kg and is rated for up to 65kg of loading. Let nobody say it does the real heavy lifting for you. That'll be on you, your lower back and whatever you put this on.

The pneumatics—think tyre pressure—claim to address single Hertz attenuation by operating in the infrasonic band. The addition of a shelf which rides the pneumatic plinth on Tungsten Carbide roller bearings in precision stainless steel races aims higher up the bandwidth. Specialty platforms from makers like Minus K show up in labs underneath high-power microscopes perhaps where the tiniest vibration would render a blurry image. The obvious questions are: is our hifi gear really that critical by comparison? Is our hearing critical enough in the first place to notice a difference? And if so, will we find that difference sufficiently persuasive? Stacore clearly believe in a triple 'yes'; and that being purpose-designed for audio makes their solution more effective and broadband than others which aim at purely industrial/laboratory use.

With Aries Cerat and Stenheim at the Dutch XFi show.

Townshend's Seismic Sinks are just one example for prior and competing art in our sector. Ditto for air-suspension turntables like those from Walker Audio. But with the Stacore Advanced, even DACs, preamps, amps and speakers can pimp out their air ride and do a Symposium roller block shimmy. It's really no wonder that John Darko's man on the street views extremist audio as teetering on the lunatic fringe. And yes, to maintain Stacore's recommended pressure for each of their four bladders (two are cross-linked), you'll need to pump them up every few months. Here air pressure equals resonant frequency. Incidentally, Jarek's partner in Stacore is machine shop owner Bogdan Stasiak who works a lot with naval industry. The company name thus is a contraction of the principals' family names; or an inverted 'core stability'. The genesis of the product was Jarek's time in a flat whose suspended floor and neighbours wreaked havoc on his vinyl. His DIY 500lbs isolation contraption with air bladders proved so efficacious that he decided to streamline the concept for a production version. As so often in this sector, the final product is the outcome of one man's quest for a solution to a specific problem for which his market offered nothing satisfactory. Help yourself and the rest will follow then becomes the road map to commercialization which shares a quest's successful conclusion with others. For those with less extreme wallets, Stacore have Basic and Basic+ versions. Here is a YouTube video wherein LampizatOr's Lukas Ficus reports on his experience with the Stacor platforms supporting his all-tube monaural amps.