December 31, 2010

Nice Shoes from Atacama

I wanted to get some spike shoes for my loudspeakers. You know, that little coaster like thingy that goes under your equipment’s spikes to protect the finishing of your floor? Some also claim that they make a difference/improvement to the sound.

My loudspeakers were sitting on 1 ringgit coins, which, with their uneven surfaces, weren’t really protecting the wooden flooring when there was a 125lbs loudspeaker pressing down on them via 4 little pointed ends.

Remembering seeing some small no-name spike shoes, made from metal (which looked like brass to me) in Hi-Way Laser, I detoured to their showroom on my way home from work. I was thinking of getting myself 2 sets of 4. Alas, they ran out.

Kenny suggested Atacama’s spike shoes instead. Their price was affordable, at RM59.90 for a set of 4. So I duly paid and got myself 2 boxes.

The Atacama spike shoes are chunkier than the normal spike shoes. The top is a metal piece painted in black with a small indentation at the centre. The indentation is a nice design feature, making it convenient and easy to sit your equipment’s spike onto the shoe. The bottom is made of a hard rubber type material, making it non-slippery, and I believe also provides some measure of isolation from the vibration coming from the floor. I found also after a few days' use, the hard rubber created a suction effect, making the shoe stuck to the floor, the equipment placed on top of the shoes became more stable.

I first tried them out under my EgglestonWorks loudspeakers. I found that there were some small changes to the sound. Firstly, there was a little more incisiveness in the highs. However, there was also a little more warmth in the bass and the bass notes’ outline became less well defined. Investigating the matter, I found that the speakers would rock gently when I pushed on them. Well, it must be the rubber bottom of the shoes, which is slightly squishy and thus a heavy loudspeaker put on top of it would rock a little.

I did not like the idea of wobbly loudspeakers. Hmmm, where else could I use them? I looked around. Not under my hifi rack, it was already sitting on a quartet of FE cerapucs. Not under the monoblocks either, which have big rubber feet.

Ah, I know, I could use them underneath the spikes of my subwoofer, which is used for AV duty, and I could also use them under the spikes of the rack that houses the AV equipment.

Atacama spike shoes under the Q-AV subwoofer

Atacama spikes shoe under the AV equipment rack

Putting the Atacama spike shoes under them was a breeze. Easily done. For one thing, the subwoofer and the AV equipment rack definitely did not rock, but were rock steady instead.

Then I switched on the AV system for a listen.

Holy cow! What happened? I never heard it so good from the AV system. Clarity of soundtrack and dialogue improved. The sound was much more coherent. There was greater visceral impact from movie watching. However, the biggest improvement was in the bass. The bass from the Q-AV subwoofer was quite good to start with, but now it went even deeper and came better defined, it was clean and punchy, a big step up from before. It was an improvement that went beyond the relatively little outlay!

Well, so far, I have neglected my AV equipment. I paid scant attention to them after they were installed, they were just sitting there. It goes to show that a little tender loving care could bring big dividend from things that you have been ignoring all this while.

I believe they will also work in hifi, underneath your hifi rack for example. For the result I got, the Atacama spike shoes have proven themselves many times over their price.

Atacama is carried by Hi-Way Laser, contact Kenny at 019-2813399

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