There has been a lot of talk about replacing the springs on the Michell Gyrodec and Orbe suspension. The springs provide a good level of isolation, however in the HiFi world we always strive for a little more. We developed the spring suspension replacements to do just this. We came up with our name ‘Pylons’ to continue with the civil engineering theme of our ‘speaker suspension bridges’.
We have many years of experience in HiFi isolation and odd though it may seem, the sound of the system tends to sound like the material the isolation is made from. It takes a while to get a feel for what we mean by this, but metals sound a bit harder, woods softer, plastics and elastomers a bit dull. They can all be used to good effect and the main point of providing isolation usually outweighs any subtle nuance that the material gives to the system. Indeed it can be used to advantage if your system has a particular issue.
With the Pylons we tried many designs for the configuration, tops and bottoms and what connects them. We tried wires and O rings and different threads, acrylic, brass, aluminium and different woods. We found that waxed cotton with ebony or African Blackwood made the best combination acoustically. They were more musical and revealed more detail than other combinations. We were not particularly surprised, as we had been using cotton damping in speaker and interconnect cables for years. These hardwoods are also used extensively in instrument manufacture for their unique and musical properties. So this is where we settled, developed the design and brought it to production.
If you have not tried the Pylons they are well worth a go, modification wise they are considered by many to be the best ‘bang for your buck’ you can get. The difference is immediately obvious, very musical and clear, as the reviews will testify.
On many social media forums there has been much discussion. People who have them are very positive, others are sceptical, which is to be expected, and some just make things up:
1. Where’s the scientific evidence.
2. Are they any good, is it just snake oil?
3. There have also been attempts to discredit them for less objective reasons.
We will try to address some of these points.
1. We have tried measuring the sound, but it is not easy to do. We know that our speaker isolation reduces sound travel through wooden floors by over 50%, but that was easy to measure as well as to hear. The problem with soundscape and dynamic response is that is it very hard to know what to measure. For speakers it is easy to analyse the spectrum and look for boom frequencies and drop off in frequency response, and though you hear these anyway, it makes it easier to fix if you know the values of the problem frequencies. Isolation is different as it is very subtly changing the shapes of the waves. A good or well trained pair of ears will hear differences, even when two curves look identical in the instrument readout.
When I was working on our reference system I changed the crossover and added a super-tweeter to each speaker. I got in Mr Ears with over 40 years of HiFi experience, Julius Hyde, to listen to what I had done. I thought they they sounded great but wanted to be sure. On sitting down he immediately said have you connected that left midrange driver round the wrong way. Indeed I had, I couldn’t tell the difference then, maybe I could now, but I wouldn’t put any money on it. It does show what a well trained pair of good ears can pick up though, so we tend to trust his judgement on things we make. If I can hear a difference it will be chalk and cheese to him, quite extraordinary, like a superpower! Anyway the point being we haven’t found a measuring device that can help us much with this type of modification. If we could measure it we would still rely on a pair of super ears to tell us what the readings meant, so here we cut to what is important, how it sounds. We are doing all this for the benefit of ears everywhere after all.
A good thing to do is to listen, then make a change and listen again. Undo the change and re-listen, often it becomes much clearer what the modification is doing when you remove it.
2. The Pylons really are very good, one of our biggest selling products that can now be found all over the world. We get great feedback and have many repeat customers. Much of our custom is from word of mouth and we have never paid for advertising. We can understand people crying ‘snake oil’ or ’emperors new clothes’ as some HiFi paraphernalia does fall short of hype and expectation. The Pylons are perfectly able to speak for themselves. The ebony and waxed cotton combination reveals so much hidden detail and gives a very smooth and musical sound with extended sound stage, huge detail and punchy bass. If you are brave enough to try them the results are plain to hear and will delight any audio loving ears. We will happily take returns if you don’t agree for any reason.
3. There is also some strange internet speculation: how the Pylons would fail if the string broke, producing some catastrophe of biblical proportions. We can assure you this would not happen and never has. I used to compete in strongman and I can’t break them. If a string was to fail, it would take a while for the string to pull through the holes and the suspended part of the turntable would eventually come to rest a few millimetres lower down. If you have ever worked with wax cotton thread you will know how strong it is, it will cut into your fingers before you snap it. The three Pylons will take over 120Kg, so the safety margin is huge.
Also that they cause the needle to jump more with suspended floors. They don’t make much difference, but they are not designed to address this issue. It is high frequency vibration that upsets the sound quality the most, this is where the Pylons make a big difference. Indeed, if you have a slightly unstable platform for your turntable, like a sideboard on a wooden floor, I would suggest you deal with this issue before doing any upgrades. Perhaps look at a wall mounted solution, or move your turntable to a different location. The standard springs are likely to be your best option until you are able to solve this unhappy situation.
Please be aware that what some people say on social media may have another agenda. If they are using our brand name “Pylons” and they are not from Solidair Audio they are an acoustically inferior copy and may cost more too.
Our new Dark Star 270 Speaker Suspension Bridges are now available. We have looked at the design, pared it down a bit and changed manufacturing methods to reduce cost, without any compromise to sound quality. These bridges offer superb isolation for speakers up to 275mm (10 1/2″) wide and almost any weight.
Many Hifi products use spikes as a basic form of isolation. They do have advantages in that they offer some sound improvement, their cost is low and they are easy to make height adjustable. We can now offer a product to offer much better vibration isolation for your spike mounted HiFi components. Our Dark Star Spike docking feet are designed to go under the spikes. They can take a lot of weight, so can be used under speakers and HiFi racks to offer exceptional isolation . They are easy to install, with no modification needed to your equipment.
We have been looking at an alternative to magnetic levitation for HiFi isolation. Our aim is to give a wider load range and more stability under tall or heavy speakers. The feet have a variety of cool materials. A carbon fibre main body with ebony and brass centre, suspended on a braided nylon web. Our testing has been giving exciting results with string theory feet performing to a very high level and doing just what we hoped.
Under speakers they were really very exciting, with comments like “where did the speakers go?” and “It’s just a wall of sound!”. We are now working on a Speaker suspension bridge with these feet. It also gives an option for those who are suspicious of magnetic fields. Take look here.
You may have noticed that we have been developing a new record clamp or puck, to secure your vinyl to the turntable. The idea is to clamp the record firmly to the platter to make the stylus work more efficiently. It also adds weight to the platter to further improve this. The core is designed to absorb noise in the spindle to give a cleaner signal. All of this seems to work really well. The first thing we noticed was a volume increase as the signal from the cartridge is greater. The background is quieter and the bass is delightful, hence the name “bass driver”.
We have been so impressed with the results so far that we have made a silver and ebony bass driver with the help of a dear friend and master flute maker. We hope to have some available to buy early next year.
Our new Solidair Audio Pylons are going down well. We are delighted to hear that our customers are as pleased with them as we are. These are one of the upgrades we do for the Michell Gyrodec and Orbe Turntables.
Some lovely reviews from our customers:
“…the pylons are”something else” beautiful, organic, well made and boy do they do the job. The platter now has a much more solid, positive feel, with no bouncing and the quietness between tracks on a record is scary. Excellent product all round.” RQ
“I love the new pylons for the Gyrodec, they are a big improvement over the original springs. Easy to fit and well made, they stop the deck from bouncing around all over the place when you change a record and they look great too. The sound seems a lot clearer, especially through the mid range, allowing more detail through than before. Vocals seem more real with added texture, the sound as a whole is a step up with the pylons fitted. They certainly work as claimed and I would happily recommend them to any owner of a Gyrodec. Many thanks for introducing yet another way of improving a great deck still further. Well worth the money.” AR
We have developed a new product to replace the spring suspension in the much loved Michell Gyrodec and Orbe turntables. They offer a significant improvement in the sound quality that the machines can deliver, well woth a look if you are lucky enough to have one of these delightful turntables.
We recently handed a variety of feet and speaker suspension bridges to Dominic Marsh, a reviewer for HiFi Pig. The review has now been published and can be seen on their website, along with all sorts of other interesting articles, in case you were unaware of the popular online magazine. The link URL is http://hifipig.com/solidair-audio-ukishima-magnetic-isolators/#more-35933
We are very pleased to have been awarded a highly recommended award for the products tested. Dominic has some useful insights into what we produce and aim to achieve with our products.
We have just made a set of speaker suspension bridges, destined for life under a pair of classic Lowther horn speakers in Kuala Lumpur. We are very pleased with the black anodised look, which compliments the brass so well, they should look fabulous in action. We have a review coming out soon in HiFi Pig, the online HiFi magazine, which includes a look at what the speaker suspension bridges do. We have not seen the review yet, but the reviewer was very complimentary, so we think he liked them as much as we do.
“As promised, I thought I would give you an update on the feet I bought from you a couple of weeks ago. They are splendid. I have placed them underneath a sheet of 10mm thick toughened glass that support my Monitor Audio GX300 speakers.
The main thing I notice is that they reveal more of the depth of the track being played. This comes across as discovering hidden backing vocals and a clearer differentiation in the instruments being played. It is much easier to discern additional instruments that were always there but could not be clearly located in the mix. The sound as a whole hangs together much more coherently and the feet have definitely made a noticeable upgrade to my system, which is all Naim apart from the Gyrodec SE (where your performance pack produces a similar excellent upgrade).
Many thanks for producing such a quality product in both and looks and performance.