SOLID TECH ISOBLACK / FEET OF SILENCE isolation footers
+ Surprisingly effective isolation devices. Ameliorates vibration-induced fuzziness, raising the headroom on detail, and bass and treble dynamics.
– Not much except the price.
THEY say good things come in pairs. We certainly do with two sets of equipment isolation footers from Solid Tech of Sweden – the IsoBlack and the Feet of Silence.
Each IsoBlack footer consists of two pucks connected to each other by a series of pressure fitted springs. Each 50mm puck comprises a sandwich of laser-cut acrylic discs with an intermediate damping layer. Depending on the weight of the equipment in mind, the IsoBlacks allow for a fair bit of adjustments as each footer can accommodate up to seven springs.
The standard offering comes with three compression springs plus one 50% capacity spring for fine adjustments, allowing for a maximum load-capacity of about 5kg per isolator. Additional springs will bring the load capacity up to 11kg per isolator. Careful selection in the combination of springs and footers should allow for a wide range of equipment to be used with the IsoBlacks. The IsoBlacks come in either trio or quad packs and have a claimed 84.64% reduction in vibration at 20Hz with the IsoBlacks in place.
While the IsoBlacks form the basic isolator offering from Solid Tech, The Feet of Silence are the flagship isolator in addressing external as well as internal vibrations and resonances. Each Feet of Silence is essentially two anodised aluminium tubes nestled within each other and suspended by a trio of industrial quality springs which are guaranteed not to stretch over time.
As with the IsoBlacks, the Feet of Silence are available in quad or trio sets and come with an option of extension-springs suitable for either 1-3 kg per foot or 3-6 kg per foot. Set up properly, Solid Tech claims that the Feet of Silence will arrive at a resonant frequency below 3Hz.
After covering the math and making allowances for the weight of the components, there does need to be some placement twiddling to ensure that the weight of the component is equally balanced across the footers. This is particularly important if you’re using the footers in a trio as I was.
I tried the footers with various pieces of equipment and found myself pleasantly surprised. The Solid Tech devices throw an enveloping swath of pitch black backdrop to the musical presentation allowing for more detail and refinement to emerge. The noise floor just falls through the… err, floor.
This effect was evident across the different equipment, from source components to amplification and tube amplification in particular. Voices were more natural and articulate, with greater dynamics to be had at both extremes of the frequency scale. There was more air and clarity to treble definition, allowing instrumentation timbre to shine through. Attacks on bass lines were appreciably just a touch tighter and subjectively faster.
To be fair, the Solid Tech devices did not materially change the sonic nature of the components but allowed their innate performance capabilities to emerge. There was just more detail and less grunge.
Both the IsoBlacks and Feet of Silence work on similar principles and are unsurprisingly similar in effect. However, the Feet of Silence allow for even more detail to emerge from the soundstage. That being said, the IsoBlacks have more variability potential to accommodate smaller and lighter equipment.
THE LAST WORD
The IsoBlacks and Feet of Silence did spend an extended period in my household. In fact, I had requested for the IsoBlacks for a second run in my rig. Although the Feet of Silence best the IsoBlacks in outright performance, the IsoBlacks make a lot more sense from a cost-performance perspective. Both footers are recommended ancillaries but my money would go towards the IsoBlacks.
Dell XPSL502X, Chord Mojo, SMSL M8, Emotiva XDA, Thorens TD124 Mk II, EAR 834P phono / Amplification: Cary CAD-300SEI, Odyssey Audio Stratos Plus, Unison Research Simply Four, BelCanto S300, NAD 302, N.E.W. P3 preamp / Speakers: Sonus Faber Minima Amator, Zu Audio Omen / Headphones: Sennheiser HD580, HD595, Grado SR125i, Allesandro MS1i, Hifiman HE500, Stax SR207 / assorted cables
Price: IsoBlack – €68/€85 (3-pack/4-pack), Feet of Silence – €240/€310 (3-pack/4-pack)
Malaysian price: Isoblack – RM350/RM450, Feet of Silence – RM1,300/RM1,600
Malaysian distributor: Centre Circle Audio (+603-7728 2686) / Find your distributor.