Audio Equipment Review By: Fi Magazine,
The 'VR" in Silent Running Audio's new VR
Series audio isolation system does not stand for 'virtual
reality,' although in some respects I guess it could. Kevin
Tellekamp's latest creation is far from "virtual;"
it is very real, indeed. Silent Running Audio, a Long Island-based
company founded by Tellekamp in 1994, is perhaps best known
for its remarkable equipment stands and isolation bases in
the more esoteric strata of high-end audio (for an explanation
of their technology, please see my mini-review of the SRA's
CLASS isoBASE in Ultimate Audio, Spring 1999). Their designs
are component specific, that is, tailored to an individual
component in terms of size, weight and weight distribution.
This limits their usefulness to a particular component and
it also makes them relatively costly.
High Impact Accessories However, the SRA VR audio isoBASE
seems to outperform any other similar device that I have had
the opportunity to try, so it is well worth the price. in
my book, if you're looking for the ultimate solution to unwanted
vibrations, this might just be the ticket.
Tellekamp admits to being somewhat mystified by the popularity
of various pneumatic component supports that have been introduced
in recent years. 'Since when is air a good vibration eliminator?'
he queries rhetorically. 'The vibrations from the audio speakers
to your ears pass relatively unhindered from the air!' (He
acknowledges that there are very fine, and expensive pneumatic
platforms for laboratory microscopes, but that these work
on a different principle with expansion chambers and the like.)
"Air might be better than a steel or wood shelf, but
that doesn't make it good, at least not in my opinion.' He
suggests: 'Try to put some foam between you and your speaker
drivers to see what happens to the sound. Foam is better than
air. As a matter of fact, at 70 degrees Fahrenheit sound travels
through air at 1087 ft/sec. An SRA isoBASE with its several
foam layers cuts the rate of propagation to 518 ft./sec....
Through the weakest layer!"
Esoteric foams are the key to Silent Running Audio's audio
isolation devices- many layers of different density foam.
Each layer handles a specific frequency range. The component
sits on a platform, which is separated from an inner 'RAFT'
(with its cone feet) by foam modules. This forces any vibration,
whether structural or component specific, to pass through
the foam modules, which creates friction that turns into heat.
The heat changes the durometer of the module and thus optimizes
the effectiveness of the base at that particular support point.
Foam module density determines the ability to handle weight.
That's why SRA pays attention to a component's weight distribution
over its footprint. These types of esoteric foam are utilized
in so-called 'stealth' technology by, among others, the defense
All of this requires a lot of work by hand, an expensive
process, and that's the reason the original SRA OHIO audio
isoBASE was fairly pricey (well, not really... certainly a
lot cheaper that a component upgrade that might produce a
similar improvement in a system) and out of reach of many
audiophiles. To remedy this, SRA has developed the new VR
series isolation bases.
The Silent Running Audio VR series isolation base(as in Very
Rigid) is a cost-effective design based on the more expensive
OHIO-class platforms and incorporating many of the same materials.
The VR takes a slightly different approach to eliminating
the vibrations, the most obvious of which is the layout. The
VR series uses a lightweight external 'pre-RAFT" that
allows for space necessary for SRA to use their own proprietary
super rigid materials in the design of the enclosures.
According to Tellekamp, their system's rigidity, not its
mass, allows the VR series of component bases to rival any
other isolation device available. Similar to the OHIO-class
of bases, the VR is built component specific and, like the
original T-Ford, it comes in one color, an attractive medium
I have a combination of OHIO Class isoBASE(under my LAMM amplifiers)
and VR Series isoBASE(front-end and speakers) isoBASEs in
my system, each one added after careful comparisons with other
devices such as the LaserBase, various cones and pucks, etc.
I find them to be superior to anything else I've tried in
terms of their effect on the sound in my room; they have proven
particularly successful under my speakers and front-end.
My Verity Audio Parsifal Encores have always been anchored
to my carpeted listening room floor by pointed cones or spikes.
Sitting in my preferred listening position, approximately
11 feet from the plane of the speakers, I could feel significant
vibrations from the suspended wooden floor coming up through
my legs and the sofa. Once I put VR isoBASEs under the speakers,
these vibrations disappeared. This means that the bases also
prevented them from affecting my front-end components, which
are located in racks placed on the same floor (not an ideal
situation). This was a very obvious, purely physical, demonstration
the effectiveness of these audio isolation platforms.
After introducing the VR Series isoBASES to my front end
as well, I sat down for some serious listening. The sound
had improved rather dramatically, especially in terms of focus
and harmonic purity. Images had greater integrity and were
much more 'visible' in the depth dimension. They were better
"contoured," with great tightness and no perceptible
smearing. 'Pinpoint" is a good descriptor here. The bass
improved in definition and punch and also seemed to gain a
measure of audio clarity.
Overall, I feel that my system has elevated to a new level
of sound resolution and detail since I incorporated the Silent
Running Audio VR isoBASEs. These are really quite exceptional
products, providing a level of isolation and resonance elimination
that is hard to come by with other isolation devices. It is
too bad that US-based audio retailers have not discovered
these products so that more audiophiles can get a chance to
hear and experience what good resonance control can do for
a stereo system. Highly recommended audio isolation equipment.