Audio Equipment Review By: The Stereo Times,
Mike Silverton (Second Report)
Component specific. SRA isolation platforms conform to the
width, depth and weight, and where necessary, the irregular
contours of the hardware they support. The platforms here
reviewed retail for $685each.
Silent Running Audio
325 Hubbs Avenue, Happauge, NY 11788.
A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME….
Since I've already recommended with maximum enthusiasm the
Silent Running Audio VR Series platform under my Mark Levinson
No.39 CD player, I'll try to be brief. Silent Running Audio
acoustic isolation and resonance control devices uniquely
conform to the size and weight of the component they support.
While this bespoke congruity is pleasing to the eye, good
looks aren't the main point: the closer the platform's horizontal
dimensions to the component it supports, the less opportunity
for resonance transmission. Coatings also count. These VR
Series audio isoBASE pieces are finished in a composite that
includes rubber and glass, its first purpose resonance and
EMF cancellation. Form follows function, and the form is most
SRA's Kevin Tellekamp brings a background in stealth and
resonance-control technology, military and civil, to his isoBASE™
lines. He calculated and constructed the two VR Series Audio
isolation platforms he recently delivered for my Mark Levinson
amps to support 200 pounds each. Because a component's weight
is critical to its SRA platform's effectiveness, the compound-filled
balloons within the upper part of each duplex unit differ
in number and size from those within the CD player's platform.
When Kevin set the first of the two amp platforms in place,
he stood on the thing and did the twist. He wasn't showboating
- merely checking. When I jostle one of my massive, SRA mounted
33H's, it moves just enough to show that it "floats."
I'm reminded of the old Neolite shoe-repair slogan "Strong
but oh so gentle!" (If you can recall the picture that
went with the quote, you're probably using a walker.)
Few audiophiles disagree that acoustic isolation and resonance
control are sonically significant. Even fewer disagree that
the plenitude of problem-solving approaches is confusing.
I won't pretend I've taken in the scene. Still, I'm pretty
sure that, designwise, nobody goes about his business as Tellekamp
does. And then there's his curriculum vitae: the man mastered
his resonance-control disciplines in the most demanding of
arenas before he even thought of applying them to audio. All
right, let's say for argument's sake that my good opinion
of these SRA pieces does an injustice of omission to other
With respect to the manufacturer-designers I slight, and
I've no doubt I do, I can only say that Tellekamp's high-tech,
component-specific approach, its price point and eye-appeal
sum to a delight. (Who would argue that $685 for a complex,
custom-made component is a steal? We spend more than this
on our interconnects!) Tellekamp and associates had no pieces
lying about awaiting insertion under Mark Levinson mono amps.
To maintain a component-specific inventory for even the most
popular audio gear would be absurdly difficult for a outfit
many times SRA's size. Before anything got cut, the man needed
to know the dimensions of the 33H's footprint and its weight.
(SRA has most of this information on hand. Sometimes Kevin
needs to ask. A new, economy SRA line, Tremor/Less,
offers generic platforms the end-user adjusts for weight.)
In forming an opinion of these SRA VR Series audio isolation
platforms for my 33H's, I spent more than the usual amount
of time listening to imperfect recordings. As a reviewing
tool, there's something be said for this approach. I determined
I was hearing shortcomings with greater clarity. But that's
my obsession: proximity to the recording, steller, middling,
and godawful bad. (Audiophiles! Wake up and smell the ozone!
We've nothing to lose but our illusions! We do not get "closer
to the music," however endearing our sound systems. There
is nearfield listening, of course, but that's another story.)
I've drawn my conclusions from first-rate recordings too,
of course, and the striking thing here is differentiation.
An unusually resonant and somewhat misty Marc Aubort-Joanna
Nickrenz production of Brahms' two piano trios could not be
farther in character from a promotional set I recently received,
recorded live (with applause) by Mark Willsher at Skywalker
Ranch, Marin County, CA. Super sound, fine playing, and an
interesting program: Mozart's K.464 Quartet in A major, Beethoven's
Op. 18, No. 5 in A major, and a new work, Don Coleman's Quartetto
ricecare. CD ROM enhancement to boot! Worth looking into.
The 5¼-inch-tall platform under my CD player appears
more or less to be one piece, its inner section protruding
but slightly below its outer shell. The amps' VR Series platforms
stand 5¾ inches high. The section that does the floating
sits, its five spikes (four at each corner, one at the center)
coupling with their steel cups fixed to a two-ply slab that
in turn spike-couples to the floor or other surface, for the
protection of which, SRA provides five more steel cups to
be used at the consumer's discretion.
The agent bonding the bottom section's two ¾-inch-thick
plies looked special enough to prompt an enquiry. Tellekamp
describes the lower of the platform's two parts as consisting
of twin slabs bonded under high-pressure with a proprietary
damping material - the interesting-looking stuff - which he
also sells to high-end component manufacturers. Urethane foam
surrounds the spikes. According to its designer, the bottom
section addresses low-frequency floor and airborne vibration,
"as most amps are set up close to the speakers."
While I've no precise understanding of those SRA ingredients
hidden from view, I can say with certainty that baloney isn't
one of them. This is the real deal.
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