Heads up for holiday closing 5th to 20th May

Please note we will be closed from 5th May until 20th May for a holiday. Orders can still be placed in this time, but will not be processed until we return. Please get any urgent orders in before the end of April. Thank you.

Dark Star speaker isolation review

A very happy new year to everyone. We had a surprise to start our new year off with a great review on our Dark Star 38 isolation feet when used under speakers. They performed really well as expected, if you have a few spare minutes you may care to have a look here.

Happy Christmas (no more shipping until after Xmas now)

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas.

Please note we will not be able to process any orders until after the Christmas break.

Michell turntable Gyro/Orbe performance pack now available in Black Aluminium

The ever popular Gyro performance pack for Michell Gyrodec and Orbe turntables is now available in a Black Anodised finish. The motor spacer is also available in the same black finish to go with the dark finished machines. The option can be found here (don’t tell Jonny).

Outstanding Engineering or Cornish Witchcraft?

A lovely review of our Dark Star Pylons

1st the PROS!
Installation was easy with the accompanying video
Listening – on Led Zeppelin II classic records Bernie Grundman cut. If the original Pylons felt like the band was in the room the Dark Star version felt like you were in their room.
Harry Belafonte at Carnegie Hall, analogue productions 45rpm you could hear his voice reverberating off the walls giving an unbelievable sense of the size of Carnegie Hall.
Scott Walker – Scott 4 original
With the Michell springs if felt like the violins were being bowed with hacksaws.
Massive improvement with the original solidair string Pylons beguiling with the new Dark Star version
Every record played offered greater clarity, transparency & resolution
Even more fascinating was moving from my stereo cartridge (ortofon winfeld TI) to my mono cartridge (ortofon cadenza mono) in my Orbe SME V.
Setup was done using the acoustical systems smart tractor plus the analogmagik software & test LP’s
There is just so much less sonic camouflage. If you dont think mono can deliver depth & imaging then they paint as compelling a sonic picture you will ever hear.
Not only were instruments stacked 1 in front of the other like a deck of cards, harmony vocals like the beach boys and the mamas and papas etc you can even hear the different heights of the singers
Yellow submarine from the beatles mono box felt like the waves were coming up to meet me.

If you have a dog it will get walked less
Cutting the grass will be put off until tomorrow
Jobs around the house will be delayed
Because either due to some outstanding engineering or some Cornish Witchcraft,
You’ll just want to keep playing record after record after record.

New upgrades for Technics turntables

We have been working with Sonik cables and accessories and one of our customers to produce a range of isolation feet for some of the Technics turntable range. We are pleased to announce the new isolation feet upgrade to fit the SL120 and SL1100 models. They offer a tighter bass and smoother treble for an all together more satisfying listening experience. They can be seen here.

Solidair Audio Fact Check

I am sorry to have to make this post, but the persistent harassment of any discussion of our products on certain forums has forced my hand.

Mr Peter Newby makes claims particularly about our Pylons and gives out false information and snide smears, presumably to try get people to buy his version instead. He even has the audacity to call his products Pylons which is an original Solidair Audio product name and so a breach of copyright. I came up with the name ‘Pylons’ to go with our Speaker Suspension Bridges, continuing the civil engineering theme. You will find no mention of the word Pylons in relation to suspension towers anywhere before we went public with it early in 2018.

Around August 2018 Pete Newby contacted me several times through eBay in regard to our Pylons which we had listed along with some other Solidair products. He claimed to be poor and wanted to make his own version which would not go into commercial production. I helped him with general advice and the thread size that Michell use on most of their turntables. He has a blog which was under the name Gwernaffield on Art of Sound where he posted cheap upgrade ideas for the Orbe. He was very insistent that I looked at it, which I did. There was a long discussion about many possible ways to get small improvements, but no mention of any suspension upgrades. I suggested he put a pack together and sold them to make it easier for people to implement his suggestions, but he didn’t want to do that. Approximately six months later I was contacted by someone concerned at the nature of Pete’s blog. Upon looking it up I saw he was explaining how he set out to make a set of spring replacements having seen our Pylons and Gert Pederson’s earlier design. Sadly every mention of Solidair Audio, Gert Pederson and sometimes even Michell Engineering was entirely derogatory to the point of libellous. I found he had repeated this blog on other sites including Vinyl Engine so put up a strong retort and much of what he had written was taken down. Vinyl Engine and another site immediately deleted his whole thread. Michell Engineering also put up a rebuke of Pete’s actions. I have kept screen shots of much of what he said.

Pete has and continues to make many claims about our Pylons, some of which I want to address here. According to Pete they need our magnetic feet to work, will let the deck swing all over the place, will scratch your vinyl and cause your stylus cantilever to break should the string fail. He even posted a photo of a set of our Pylons where he had to cut the cord with knife or scissors as it would not break to illustrate his argument. Oddly he didn’t do that to his own version.

He has repeated this many times on various Facebook sites as soon as any discussion comes up about Solidair Audio. He has sent out private messages to people, some of whom have passed these messages on to me.

As I said in my initial rebuke, his behaviour is unprofessional and it is utterly contemptible to do this to someone who helped him get started. (In his reply to my rebuke on 6-5-19: “yes you did help with the size of the thread” Pete Newby. You can’t even start to develop a suspension without this basic information.)

That’s the background, so I think I need to address the erroneous statements that Pete keeps putting up.

1. The Pylons need the Solidair feet to work?
No, the Pylons work really well with or without our feet, they are not needed. Some people with True Point suspension use our feet too and rate them highly. Pete also stated that he has never tried our feet and never would, so all this is pure speculation with no basis in fact or experience.

When John Michell designed the earlier Gyrodecs, which have really changed very little, he knew where isolation was needed and put it in. Some forty years on we have new materials and new ideas to improve the isolation, which is why this such a good turntable for a few tune-up modifications. The springs are the first isolation point, the spike feet the second. They both have different jobs to do and both help with sound quality. There is also isolation under the arm board and through use of a record clamp. Whether you want to change anything is and should be up to your individual opinion and needs. We try to make our modifications unobtrusive or in keeping as we don’t want to detract from the beauty of what has been for decades, the most iconic and affordable turntable, a true masterpiece of design.

2. The Pylons let the deck swing all over the place?

No. According to Pete, Gert’s suspension does this too. Gert uses wires to prevent this and the geometry of our Pylons does not allow the deck to swing. The angle of the strings in ours means the movement is already pushing uphill. The motor and the stylus can’t put in enough force to overcome this to lift the deck further. You can move it with your hand, but it will not move in service. No wow or flutter. Our new version has elastomer suspension and uses a high performance web to stop any lateral movement, as more flexible suspension can’t stop it on it’s own. This is why True Point have sorbothane packing inside theirs (Pete’s).

3. Will the string break and break your stylus?

No, the string will not break. I can’t snap the Pylon strings and though it has been a few years since I competed in Cornwall’s strongest man, I am no slouch. The waxed cotton is very strong and has been used for sail making to drive boats around the globe for centuries, it is very tough and reliable. One strand is enough to suspend the platter, the Pylons have eighteen. I even tried Pete’s cut the thread experiment which caused a slight jump in the record playing but no damage and certainly no broken cantilever. I am not sure why they should be knife resistant anyway, perhaps it would be best to just not let Pete in if you plan to spin some vinyl.
4. Will they scratch your records?

No. Pete thinks that you will have trouble with record damage if our Pylons are used when you have suspended floors. We have not found it makes a difference. Our feet help a bit and one of our customers was extolling the virtues of our puck (the Bass Driver) as it stopped record jumping for him with his suspended floor. With modern equipment the pressure is so light you should not get record damage even if you get a skip. No one is using the old steel needles these days are they?

5. The Dark Star Pylons
Pete now seems to think we have copied him for our new design. I had to laugh but no, our concept is unique and quite different from the way his works. It doesn’t even have O rings, which was Gert’s idea anyway, not Pete’s.

As with all things HiFi different people have different ears and like different things. The True point suspension is well received and has it’s fans. I have said before you will benefit from any of the suspension upgrades available. I have also said to Pete that he should be keeping it positive and just big up his product, all this negativity is just putting people off. Unfortunately, since our eBay chat, Pete has never replied directly to any contact I have made with him. I would be happy to see an end to this constant harassment and deformation, but there seems to be no reasoning with this man. Pete gets very upset about it all, so he doesn’t seem to be doing himself any favours here. I don’t know why he is so obsessed with us, but as he says, he likes winding people up, so maybe that’s it. I guess I will have to take heart that “there is only one thing worse than being talked about…”


Introducing the Dark Star Pylons

It has been six years since we invented the Pylons, a name which seems to have caught on. Our mission was to come up with a stand alone spring replacement to improve the sound quality of the Iconic Michell turntables by updating the well placed suspension. We have helped people the world over to improve their systems with this simple to fit and excellent value upgrade.

Thinking it time to have another look at them, we wanted to see if we could make any improvements. After producing many different prototypes and spending intense hours listening and evaluating, we have come up with a new version which we think you will like. The sound most definitely benefits in the vocal and upper frequency ranges, enabling more clarity to hear subtle detail, nuances and harmonies.

Moving to using an elastomer suspension with these was not without it’s issues. The suspension is free to move more and needs to be constrained from lateral movement, but without reducing the isolation from the chassis. We achieved this using a web to stop horizontal plane movement, which doesn’t transmit vibration on that plane. It eliminates any wow or flutter that a less rigid suspension can introduce. The vertical isolation can then be made with a more flexible material to further help with eliminating vibration in that plane as well as adding more damping into the system.

As well as acoustic excellence, part of our ethos is to keep the instillation straight forward and manufacturing costs down. We believe we have achieved this and can offer remarkable improvements for a relatively small outlay. The single best upgrade you can can make on Gyrodec and Orbe, we would like to introduce the new “Dark Star Pylons“.

Solidair Audio Aluminium HiFi isolation feet now in Black.

We can now offer our aluminium mag-lev isolation feet with a black anodised finish as well as our ever popular silver colour. They offer great HiFi isolation and they are relatively inexpensive. The smaller up to 4, 6 and 10kg feet are available now, as are the 15kg larger version. View them here.

They are a great way to clean up the sound in your system. They are very versatile and can be used under most HiFi components, even speakers. For heavy speakers see our Dark Star range.

Michell Turntable upgrades

Here at Solidair Audio we are renowned for our Michell turntable sound isolation upgrades. The Michell turntables are beautiful and very well engineered, they have isolation in the right places and sound great.

Why would you want to change this? We provide cutting edge isolation, using materials that were not available when these machines were designed. We can upgrade the sound considerably, without affecting the stunning good looks of these iconic machines. All our upgrades are reversable, requiring no permanent changes and installation is very straight forward. The machines we offer the most for are the Gyrodec and Orbe turntables, though we can can also help with older or simpler versions like the legendary Transcriptor and the more entry level Syncro and TechnoDec.

Where to start?

Most of the designs have the cone feet which are like spikes. These can be simply unscrewed and our mag-lev feet screwed on in their stead. Our Performance packs float the whole turntable in the air and isolate it from the platform it stands on. They also provide a degree of damping to absorb noise in the turntable.

The Gyrodec and Orbe have a spring suspension mechanism which provide good isolation of the turntable from the chassis, though can resonate and cause lack of top end clarity. Installing our Pylons opens up the sound with better clarity and sounstage. Improving the top end also makes the bass more punchy with crisper waveforms. These must be the best value sound upgrade available anywhere and are renowned the world over.

The armboard isolation has also been addressed with our Trinty. This is a sophisticated miniature isolation system which really allows the quality of your tonearm and cartridge to sing. It really is the cherry on the cake when it comes to liberating the best sound form your machine.

If you have a Gyro and you are thinking of upgrading to an Orbe platter, you could try our Bass Driver first. The platter change is a great sound upgrade, but we just love the look of the standard Gyrodec and we can get similar improvements without loosing the style. It gives a similar mass increase and improves the vinyl to platter contact, improving the lower frequencies. It gives more weight to the sound.