I promised Noel at Skylan I would do a mini review on the SKY-4P20 20" 4 post speaker stands he sent me for my Super Alnico Monitors.
Some years back Omega on Skylan stands were often seen at trade shows and looked and sounded just fabulous together. Many an Omega customer put their speakers on Skylans back then. What happened? Why are they not seen together so much any more? Answer: nothing happened really, they just drifted apart. They are still as visually and sonically well matched as before, and they are coming together again. I am by no means saying Skylan is the only suitable stand for Omegas, but they certainly are a great match. Noel makes stands to fit all the Omega monitors now.
My history with Noel at Skylan goes back as far as when I started Audio Boutique. I was too cheap to buy a pair of his two post stands, so I built my own Skylan copy which serves me well to this day, and every speaker I put on them does very well.
When I ordered my 4 posters, Noel said they would ship in 2 weeks and true to his word, thats when they shipped, ditto all subsequent orders.
They arrived in a reasonably compact box that weighed around 30 pounds, and when I opened it the engineering of the packaging showed a lot of thought and care. Examining the contents showed a beautifully designed and made speaker stand. They are so well thought out that they about fell together in less than half an hour - everything fitting beautifully. Fit and finish are second to none and a lot nicer than my home made copies. During assembly I took a different route than what Noel recommended and did not fill them with rice, but instead put rubber dampers on the tie rods. I want to be able to take the stands apart without a mess. Addendum:
I should have mentioned using rubber dampers instead of ballast has also yielded excellent results sonically.
Instead of being mass loaded, the stands are now lossy. YMMV
The front end is the Resenessnce Labs Concero HD DAC, Cardas Clear 1 meter USB, Decware Silver Reference 1 meter interconnect, and Decware Super Zen Select with V-Caps, stepped attenuator, and 4ohm OPT, and the speaker cable is a secret, but really good. I have my reasons for not divulging. I feared the 93db efficiency of the Alnicos may be a problem, but from the first note my mind was laid to rest - lots of power. I personally think the efficiency spec of this driver needs to be looked into. They are SO easy to drive. My little Zen amp is the best tool I've found to test the true efficiency of a speaker. The only time I've ran a Zen amp out of gas was on a pair of 86dB inefficient two way sealed mini monitors.
From the first note the sound was sublime, totally unlike any speaker I've heard, including other Omegas. Rich and smooth, and so EASY to listen to with such tuneful integrated bass - the most reality I've ever heard in audio. The unballasted stands sound like they are working well and the rubber damper makes the tie rod dead as a doornail.
Noel sent along with the stands his Q-Bricks which are these little metal/rubber/plastic discs that look like flying saucers from some early 60s sci fi B film. They plug into the tie rod T-nut on the top plate of the speaker stand. The speaker then rests on the Q-Bricks literally tying the speaker through the tie rods to the floor. Years ago Royd Audio did a similar thing to wonderful effect. Today I played through a variety of music (mostly more complex) with the Q-Bricks in place and everything had such an effortless sound. Nothing even broke a sweat. The soundstage was huge with the recording venue faithfully reproduced. One word has summed up this rig from the get go: reality.
I then removed the Q-Bricks and noticed subtile differences, I mean subtile, but still noticeable. Marginally less refinement is the best way to describe the difference. Would I have been in bliss if I had never heard the Q-Bricks? Absolutely! Now that I have them though, I won't part with them. Skylan stands are often paired with Harbeth speakers which are lightweight and thin walled compared to the heavy Super Alnico Monitor and I feel the Q-Bricks may have an even more profound effect on the Harbeths.
Check out the accompanying pictures.
Truckbed rubber rod dampers and top plate.
Stock Sorbothane square pad and tie rod T-nut.
Q-Brick on right upside down with neoprene locating dimple. Q-Brick on left is flipped and plugged into tie rod T-nut.
The speakers no longer rest on the Sorbothane pads, but on the Q-Bricks.