I cannot remember ever being excited by a loudspeaker stand as much as this (apart from that time I bought a pair of Linn Sara stands for my …..err ….. Linn Sara’s)
These little beauties come courtesy of an Italian company that I’ve not come across before called Solid Steel. Now it transpires that they have been making speaker stands and Hi-Fi supports varying shapes and sizes since 1990 with a mission “To serve music and nothing else”
When their rep turned up at the store with what we thought was just another pair of speaker stands to say we were a little sceptical was a bit of an understatement! When he took our little Acoustic Energy AE100 off their Atacama stands and put on the Solid Steel SS6 the sound was totally transformed. We just looked at each other with open mouths and promptly ordered some!
Now they are not what you would call conventional looking stands . They are three legged which makes them really easy to rigidly fix them to your floor. The nice chunky spikes help too!
They are made from tubular stainless steel and have a special anti-resonant coating. They have height adjustable spikes and it is possible to add mass loading too for that little bit of extra performance. The really clever bit is the decoupling between the stand and the top plate. This is achieved through three high precision ball bearings upon which the top plate sits and is held in place by a metal tube which itself is de-coupled by a rubber “o” ring…….all very clever! This effectively means that the loudspeaker will be effectively locked rigidly in space which will result in a much cleaner and more open sound.
They come in three different heights to suit whatever bookshelf design of loudspeakers you might have. Different top plates are also available for that extra bit of customising to your speakers. Heights available are 525mm, 625mm or 725mm.
They are designed to be used with the single column at the rear which Solid Steel claim gives them improved rigidity but if you really prefer the look of them the other way round then ….. hey rules are made to be broken!
For the purposes of this blog I set up a system comprising of Rega’s rather lovely Planar 3 turntable with an Elys cartridge running into Rega’s Elex R amp (both recent What HiFi award winners by the way!!). I chose to partner them with the ATC SCM11 loudspeakers and to start with I put them on a pair of the HiFi Racks stands which are no slouches in their own right!
I chose an LP that I am familiar with, the rather lovely new album by a band called Lump. Lump basically consists of Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay normally part of the band Tunng.
Lump have been described as a heady blend of wonked-out guitars, Moog synths and pattering drums set against droning colliding clouds of flutes with lyrics inspired by early 20th century Surrealism and the absurdist poetry of Edward Lear and Ivor Cutler, slicing through the apparent emptiness of contemporary life. My copy is pressed on lovely translucent green vinyl!
This album has some great vocals and wonderful deep low bass and when I swapped the HiFi Racks stands for the Solid Steel stands the difference was just staggering. The bass that was already lush and lovely became deeper and tighter and within the bass was revealed lots of deep growly detail. The mid range became more open revealing tiny vocal nuances that just were not there before. Rhythms clashing and colliding off each other become hypnotic. The ATC really need this type of platform to perform of their best.
This result has been repeated in store with every pair of speakers that we put on them making these a must listen to upgrade if you want to get the best out of your bookshelf speakers. Pop in to Audio T Cheltenham store to arrange either a home demo or a demo in store….you will be amazed!!