Product Review

By: Jack Roberts

Dagogo
09-13-03

Sistrum Speaker stands

Review: Sistrum Speaker stands & equipment platform Stand

This has been one of the most educational weeks in audio I have had in 30 years in the hobby. A friend of mine was going on vacation for a week and had just gotten a pair of custom made Sistrum speaker stands and wanted to know if I wanted to try them until he got back. We both have Audio Note AN/E speakers. Though he has the SEC Silvers and I have the Ses. Well as it happened I had just been on the phone with the importer of my WAVAC 300B amp and he said he used the Systrum platforms for all his equipment so I said sure I'll give them a try.

Last Saturday I put them in my system. First, I put one on the left speaker. Then I played some mono recordings and listen to each speaker separately. Well there was no doubt that the Sistrum stand tightened up the bass, it seemed that it also somehow let the speaker play louder, and it was much more dynamic.

So then I put the other stand into the system and I want to tell you my jaw dropped. If you think I'm exaggerating Monday morning I ordered the speaker stands and two of the equipment platforms, one for the WAVAC and one for the Sony 777 SACD player. While ordering these I learned from Robert at Star Sound (the Systrum and Audiopoints people) some more about how to set up the stands. I set up everything like he said and just couldn't believe the sound. The only problem was now I could hear some noises I had never heard before and sometimes they were irritating. Robert told me to be patient until the equipment platforms came in.

To my surprise they came in today and let me tell you they completed the treatment. The sound is just amazing. And what did they do for the sound of my system? First let me first describe the stands and equipment platforms.

DESCRIPTIONS:

I had the speakers on Audio Notes 4 legged, mass loaded steel stands. They were filled with a lead and sand mixture as described by Audio Note. The equipment had been sitting on DH Cones and Squares.

The Systrum stands have three steel legs that are filled with "MicroBearing Steel" fill that they make and sell. The three legs attach to a rounded triangular shaped steel plate that has musical note in the center. They attach by having Audiopoints screw into them through a slot in the bass. Then there are steel spikes that screw into the top of each leg. With my speakers I then used a coupling disc they make between the spikes and the bottom of my speakers.

The Systrum equipment platforms are similar. In fact the one under the WAVAC amp uses the same plate and has Audiopoints that screw into each other to create three points going down into whatever you are sitting them on and three that point up which the equipment sits on. The one under the SACD player has a larger bass and larger points but is basically the concept.

THE SOUND:

First, it is not subtle. My first reaction was where did that come from. It's much more like getting new speakers than new stands.

Efficiency: You can go to www.audiopoints.com and get a more technical explanation, but let me just say they play louder at the same place on the volume control then they did before. Dynamics: The Audio Note speakers are often described as the best of both worlds between horns and stats, but on the Systrum stands they are as dynamic as any horns I have ever heard and will play much louder than any single driver horn loaded speaker or stat that I have heard. A few years ago people use to talk about a speaker's "startle factor" and that about sums up the sound of this combination. It has taken several trips over to turn down the volume control to learn I can't turn up the quite passages to the level I use too.

Information, transparency, detail: These audiophile terms mean different things to different people but let me say there is simply a whole lot more information you can hear now. It's not so much like grunge or noise is gone as it is like there's just more to hear. You can more clearly hear the mics, the space, the phrasing, the subtle changes in pitch and tone. The soundstage becomes more believable. I don't mean in some phasey, deep, deep, and wide, wide way. I mean in a way where instruments and people have their own space and where you can more easily hear each of them. The Audio Notes were already the least boxy sounding box speaker I had ever heard and would not have believed that could have been improved, but I was wrong.

Bass: This was the only area I was actually looking to improve when I said I would try these. It seemed as amazing as the bass was out of this two way that it could be just a little quicker. Well, boy was I right. I have never heard bass like this before. I can now hear subtleties in the bass I did not know were on the recordings. I was just wanting a little tighter and quicker bass, but what I got was that and a lot more quality in the bass. It is now so easy to hear the differences in drums as they are being played. The notes on a bass are so articulate. It's just a whole new world on bass.

Let me close by sharing what is both a plus and a minus. Just as Audio Note has always said you should be able to hear differences, a good system should not make things sound more alike and these stands and platforms complete that for these speakers, but there is also no doubt that the system is less forgiving now.

The biggest differences between what I had and the Systrum products was the speaker stands, but the platforms completed what the stands started and some irritating noises and on sometimes even a little edginess that I heard before I added the platforms, went away with their addition. This seems to me to say that the stands allowed me to hear more of what the amp and player were doing, both good and bad. By the way once you get everything in place Robert has lots of ideas of little things you can do to dial things in.

I could not give a product a higher recommendation. I so wish I could have just gotten their rack instead of the platforms but, my situation does not lend itself to that at this point. My reason for sharing this information is that you may not be ready to even buy the stands, but at least go to their web sight and check with Robert on what you could do to start down the road to hearing what the equipment you have paid so much for can sound like.

Associated gear Amplifier: WAVAC MD 300B Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): None Sources (CDP/Turntable): Sony 777ES SACD with full Kern mods Speakers: Audio Note AN/E SE Cables/Interconnects: Audience AU 24 Music Used (Genre/Selections): Vocals, Jazz, Classical, and Rock Room Size (LxWxH): 19 x 14 x 8 Room Comments/Treatments: A little foam and lots of furniture Time Period/Length of Audition: 1 week Other (Power Conditioner etc.): 2 JC Audio ISOs

\Similar products Audio Note speaker stands, DH Cones and squares

by Jack Roberts on 09-13-03

As appeared on Audiogon.com




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