Sometime ago – in AIHFA (1) – I reviewed the excellent, beautifully made Track Audio Isolation Feet, in the context of an isolation platform, subwoofer, Ruark Equinox speakers and as replacements for the Mico Seki microsorber feet that the direct drive JBE Series 3 turntable came with as standard.
The standard Track Audio Isolation Feet did an excellent job improving the performance of all of these items, in the case of the JBE turntable to quiet a high degree but truth be told perched higher up than was aesthetically pleasing – either on bare spike point or in isolation cups – to my eye these large spikes didn’t sit well visually on the thin JBE slate plinth.
So my first thoughts on seeing these was to wonder how they would look and sound on the JBE (2)
Balanced Audio Technology VK52SE pre-amplifier, Music Reference RM200 power-amplifier, Passlabs X Ono phono-stage, Anthony Gallo Reference 3.5 speakers. Atlas Mavros xlr to xlr interconnects and speaker cable. Audience AU24 mainscables, Clearlight Audio Apekt racks, RDC isolation platform, Sound Mechanics M8 cones, Telos caps. No mainsfilters or conditioners were used during the review.
Thomas Dolby – Aliens Ate My Buick
Removing the beautifully made, Isolation Feet from the equally lovely presentation/shipping box I was reminded as to just what an amazing item this is and it really is only by handling these that one can fully appreciate why they are expensive. Quality engineering and clever design costs money and either of these Track Audio Isolation Feet designs fully justify their cost.
Even though the adaptor kit for the JBE, a threaded insert for the top of the Isolation Foot and correctly sized to the hole in the plinth screw had been in place for quiet a long time I was able to remove the inserts from the spiked Isolation Feet and screw them into the new design with little difficulty, another reminder of Track Audio product quality.
Comparing the two designs side by side it was evident that these new Isolation Feet reduce the overall length of the Isolator’s assembly by at least 10 mm to make a much more pleasing visual addition to the JBE turntable but how would it sound in comparison to the spike equipped Isolation Foot ? Lets us see.
As it turns out not only is the look on the JBE more in balance with the turntable’s overall aesthetics but sonically the new feet sound better too. Now the fundamentals are the same, as these feet work in exactly the same way as the old feet so the difference in sound is purely down to the interface, sharp spike point or convex disc.
Playing Thomas Dolby’s Aliens Ate My Buick album the spiked Track Audio’s had a wonderfully detailed and focussed sound, with excellent bass, particularly on the last track on side one – Pulp Culture but I felt there was a very slightly too HiFi presentation to this sound. First time round I had originally done the first review with my Graham Phantom fitted to the JBE, with an Ortofon 7500 cartridge but on this occasion an SME 5 tonearm and Audio Technica AT33 EV were in use.
Now the Graham and Ortofon are better in my view anyway than the SME 5 and Audio Technica but on other decks this combination would not normally have an overtly HiFi presentation but here they did – synergy not quiet at work perhaps or the interaction of Track Audio Isolation Feet with the RDC Aspekt racks top shelf (3). Anyway I am not sure what was at play here but whatever it was the result was slightly more HiFi sounding than I expected.
Please don’t feel I am damning the sound here, as it was very good, and this was only a very slight thing and in many systems would possibly not be the case or even perhaps a desired quality, but interestingly switching to the newer feet a quiet fundamental change occurred which suited this set up better and quiet possibly will others as well.
Changing the feet over, a not inconsequential task, was undertaken and sitting down to listen to Pulp Culture again was to say the least quiet interesting. The slightly HiFi quality I had observed earlier was absent, instead a slightly fuller, richer less spotlit sound flowed from the speakers. Soundstaging, imaging and bass detail and articulation was still excellent as it had been before but this time round it was like a slight suck out in the mid had been filled out and a slight forwardness removed.
Overall in this particular set-up, the convex disc equipped Track Audio’s sounded much better than the spiked version and it looked better to my eye on the JBE too.
I guess Track Audio brought these out as an alternative to spikes on hard wood, tiled floors for speaker stands, speakers and equipment tables and a fixed disc is possibly more stable and preferable to a spike resting in a cup, albeit a very high quality floor protecting cup but what they have also done is offered JBE (possibly other turntable’s and types of equipment) owners a visually and sonically better match for that vintage turntable.
I don’t have hard wooden floors, or tiles, nor do I have speakers that require replacement Isolation Spikes so I can’t try these out in any other application but in the context of replacement feet for a JBE Series 3 Slatedeck I highly recommended these Track Audio Isolation Feet.
(1) Original Review http://www.adventuresinhifiaudio.com/26/08/2011/track-audio-isolation-spikes-quality-and-beauty-in-engineering/
(2) My heartfelt apology to Mike for the delay in doing this review.
(3) previously it was a Target wall shelf and granite slab in use
Source of Review Product Loan: Manufacturer.
Address: Track Audio, Unit 3 Corinium Industrial Estate, Raans Road, Amersham, Bucks, HP6 6JQ