Review: Aurios Media Isolation Bearings Pro
After holding out for well over a year, I finally tried out a "bearing" type isolation product. I went for the best of the Aurios Media Isolation Bearing product line, the "Pro" model. The prices have come down on both the new and used markets making them almost justifiable. Still $100 per bearing is a lot to spend on a footer product, and I was very skeptical going into the trial. The idea of these "bearing" products is to isolate the supported component from the rack/floor vibrations through the use of ball bearings. In the Aurios products three bearings are used verses the single bearing in the Daruma 3 product. The results are the same, the bearings are allowed to move in a horizontal plan, thus breaking the component from the shelf.
O.K. so that is the theory, but I am still skeptical. I was advised to use three bearings on each speakers Dunlavy IVa, 185 lbs, and my digital front end Sony SCD-1, 55 lbs. While waiting for the Aurios to arrive, a friend and I discussed the physics behind these things and how allowing the speaker to float was not going to work. "Impossible, I've been scammed, another product to add to the closet", we were in complete agreement.
I received three sets of bearings, very funny when I opened the first box and there set into a foam surround were three 3" diameter metal disks freely moving around, they looked like three "Bobble Heads." After a few scarey moments my friend and I had the Aurios under the speakers. The moment of truth was at hand. "UNBELIEVABLE, HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?, NO WAY IT'S THIS MUCH BETTER SOUNDING" This went on for a while, the two of us throwing out every audiophile phrase we knew. Tighter bass, crisp clean highs, palpable, dynamic, depth, IMAGING, clear, focused..... We were amazed, this was truly jaw dropping. (We did go back to the old spike method just to see if we had been in the sun too long during the day on the boat) No this is and was amazing. We also tried to analyze the speaker vibration pattern. With no Aurios the speaker had quite a bit of vibration/movement at the top. The sides seem to react with the bass, and the floor, the floor vibrates and bounces out from the speakers for quite a ways. With the Aurios the speaker is dead still on top, the sides near the tweeter have a very faint inner vibration, and the floor is quite! The bass is tighter and with a stronger punch, but no vibration or movement even when I played double bass pieces LOUD. Placing the last set under the SCD-1 found a similar experience but not to the same degree.
Big problem!!!!!! Every aspect of the presentation was improved, including the high frequency. I'm not a fan of ultra etched high frequency. This is called edgy, bright, etched, fatiguing, electronic and more than any adjective, metallic sounding. "Something must be done or I'm leaving with the first violin" I said to my friend, and it's my house and my system. There is no possible way I could listen for an extended time with the system sounding like this. So out they came again. WRONG, now I know what was possible, that detail and imaging must come back, but the highs must be tamed. I tried everything I had, E-A-R footers, BDR cones and pucks, Sorbothane, brass, titanium, wood, MDF, if I had it I tried it. Over the next few days a solution began to appear. #3 BDR pucks between the Aurios and the speakers. This was cleaner and more open than the pucks and cones in between and yet the brightness was gone from the speakers. Now the SCD-1 player was much more sensitive to footer material. I settled on E-A-R rubber footers, two on the disk under the platter, two under the transformer and one on the other side (the light side of the unit) Three was too much dampening in the highs, and a bit of slowing of the signal came about. One was just a bit too edgy still.
So with a whole lot of taming, these are a must have for my system, and I might add a bargain. If your not willing to find the right material to tame the metallic sound, these my be very disappointing indeed.
Now my question on these "bearing" products. How is it the result of using them is a dead still speaker with greater dynamics and punch? I simply do not understand how when allowed to move it feels dead still, and when it's spiked to the floor it moves.
Sony SCD-1 with Mod's
Placette active pre-amp
two Plinius SA-102 amps (bi-amp vert.)
Dunlavy IVa speakers
Hydra power conditioned
Nordost Valhalla interconnects and speaker cable
NBS Statement power cords
Final Daruma 3II