Center Stage Footers

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    • Von Schweikert Audio
Center Stage Footers
« on: 17 Jun 2018, 04:57 pm »
After I got back from the AXPONA show I asked Steve Williams if I could come over and have a listen to his system again...but this time with his system having all the CS footers in which I have not heard before and he welcomed me over.  Saturday, I went for a listen.  I will post what I heard at Steve's on his thread a little later.

What I was really excited about after hearing his system again and the pretty dramatic difference than what I have heard before, was that Steve was so gracious to send me home with 20 CS footers for me to experience for myself:)  After all the post I have read on these and about the super long settling period and the loss of sound quality during this time I must say my results so far have been quite different the first night.

The system I am trying the footers with first are the Von Schweikert E-5 tower speakers and Audio Alchemy's 200 watt monos, dac, media server, pre and external power supply.  MasterBuilt Signature speaker cables, Reference USB, Interconnects, and power cords.  The rack is just a cheap 4 tier wood rack.

When I got home Saturday early evening I immediately put the footers in.  Putting music on immediately had a severe impact on the bass.  It was loose and all over the place and the mid and treble were also all over the place.  I continued to listen for the next hour and heard the system transform.  It was shocking to hear the bass go from completely uncontrolled to within an hour FAR surpass the bass before the footers went in.  What the hell?  Why am I having such huge improvements within the first hour?  Not only did the bass blow me away now the mid and treble are way more focused, and the sound stage is even bigger than ever.  From everything that I have read this is not supposed to be happening.  My wife just got home, and I immediately had her come over and gave up my seat for her to listen.  My wife is not an audiophile but just a plain and simple music lover.  I asked her what she was hearing.  The first word out of her mouth was what did you do.  She said the sound was immersive lol.  This is not a word I would ever expect her to say and I found it very funny since this word has been used quite a bit in the description of what these footers do.

I listened for a few hours with my wife with music we are both so familiar with.  The sound stage was extending so far past the right and left speakers and crept up beside us. It was quite haunting.  And then play something with Q-sound like Roger Waters (holy shit!!) This system has always had a far right and left of speaker’s sound stage, but this was ridiculous.  Instruments had a focus and clarity that I have not heard from this system before.  In fact, the footers were a greater sonic improvement than me swapping out the Alchemy amps for a $27,000 amplifier.  I think the footers I have right now are roughly around the $6,000 retail.  $27,000 vs. $6,000 lol.  Talk about a no brainer.  But the footers are going to go under the $27k amp next😊 We left all the electronics on with no volume and went to bed.

First thing Sunday morning I plopped myself down for a listen and the system had changed quite a bit from the night before.  The overall tonality was fine, but the soundstage was now trapped between the right and left speakers.  After a few songs I said screw this and we let the system play at a moderate volume for several hours while we spent the day on the lake.  When we got back I took a quick listen and it didn’t seem to sound any different than it did in the morning.  I turned the volume down and did not return until the next night after work.  Of course, all day at work running through the back of my mind I’m trying to grasp what the hell is happening.  How could the sound get so good on the first night of having these footers in and on day 2 a total collapse of soundstage.
When I got home from work Monday night we were now right at the 48-hour mark of the footers in play.  I was extremely excited that the soundstage was back above the norm like the first night the footers went in.  Something still wasn’t quite right though and I’m not even going to begin to describe it.  I listened for a while using all the same songs I used the previous listening sessions and again left all the electronics on overnight.

While I was at work the next day, I had talked to my wife a couple of times to see if she was hearing any changes to the system and she seemed confused with what she was hearing which made my anticipation go up and seemed to make the day go slower.  By the time I got home the system had changed for the worst.  Now the highs were way out in front and the deep bass nonexistent.  I listened to a few minutes of a couple songs and couldn’t get in to it.  For the next several days I could here the system go all over the place.  Pretty much not fun to listen to at all.
After 11 days of having the footers I can really hear the system gaining in some areas.  The bass is starting to fill in and the mid/treble are still changing.

I left for Munich which was roughly 14 days away from my system and my wife played the system everyday while I was gone.  When I returned from Munich I didn’t listen to my system for several days since I have been with the ULTRA 11’s for a little over a week.

Finally sitting down for a listening session, the footers have been in for a month now.  First thing I noticed was the bass was extremely powerful but not out of place and it seemed to have much more musical information in the bass response.  The highs were very smooth, and the midrange sounded as if a smearing has been removed that just wasn’t possible with the stock footers on the electronics.  I was hearing so much more in the recording.  Backing vocals took on a new clarity as well as a more defined location within the mix.  On classical music I don’t recall ever hearing the amount of detail I am hearing now.  The music has always appeared as a wide stage with the speakers never drawing attention to them, but now it has gone to a completely new level.
For fun I pulled all the footers out and listened for an hour.  Everything pretty much collapsed which seem to be more severe than before I ever put the footers in.  Weird!  I put the footers back in and could hear the performance jump way back up.  That lasted for about 30 minutes before the whole system went to crap again.  It took a good week or two for the system to come back.  Really wish I hadn’t done that.

These footers are awesome.  It seems to be one of the most powerful upgrades to a system for less than the cost of swapping out a component.  I really wanted to hear what they could do under inexpensive electronics and I’m shocked.  Now the Audio Alchemy electronics have some serious Constellation DNA, so I do consider these not the norm for your average  $2,000 amp. I’m going to switch out the Alchemy gear for the VAC IQ200 monos, Master Pre, Lampizator Golden Gate (unless our Pacific show up soon), and Aurender N-10 music server.  Excited to hear what happens next!