On Solid Ground…

Of course, the results I’ve described involve only the R Shelf and it’s time to introduce a few of the alternatives. First up were the CH polymer footers, which placed between the titanium spike and the R Shelf softened the sound, rounded it off and robbed it of the planted, temporal security which had previously been so listenable and engaging. They were not much more successful on the harder surface of the HRS M3X platform. I didn’t try them on glass but that might be the one place they would work. However, on this evidence and on both these surfaces, the polymer footers are best used for positioning the CH units and then removed.

The Silent Mount titanium footers supplied by The Chord Company were almost exactly the opposite in effect. If anything they brought an even greater sense of planted solidity to proceedings, generating slightly more dimensional and richly hued instruments on a more clearly defined soundstage. Actually delivering a further upgrade in performance, these are definitely a success and even if I wasn’t worried about the pretty savage points on the spikes damaging the supporting surface, I’d definitely still be reaching for these. Note however that they are thinner SM-3 model with a shallow central pit. On the more common SM-5 version the pit is too deep for the short CH spikes, so order accordingly. The broader, 70mm diameter SM-7F would be easier to manipulate but I haven’t tried those and scuttlebutt suggests they’re best avoided. As to the SM-3, I like these – a lot – and will be experimenting further, to the extent of opting to include them in standard installations. For the meantime, house-proud CH owners with veneered or lacquered audio racks need look no further…

I repeated the whole cycle with the Ikea bamboo shelf with almost identical results, but when I swapped over to the HRS M3X it was a case of all change. In this instance the top surface of the platform is polished granite and while the CH spikes produced incredible focus and clarity, the music was also rhythmically stilted, with softened dynamics and a reduced sense of purpose, the result of a lack of body and substance. The titanium spikes were slightly better in terms of substance, but still sounded aimlessly disconnected and rhythmically bereft. In stark contrast, the Nimbus footers were a revelation, all body and energy, bustling intent, rich tones and natural perspective. Dimensionality was excellent and textural detail the best of the lot. Which only goes to show that HRS genuinely does know a thing or two about equipment support.

Crack City

But outside of the full, top-line and seriously expensive HRS solution (rack, top-end platform, footers and damping plate), the new CH Precision spikes represent not only a promise fulfilled but a serious upgrade for existing units. The aluminium spikes offer superb value but in performance terms, the titanium versions are more than worth the difference. Both versions are available now and owners of existing CH units and systems should form an orderly queue. Once you’ve experience the benefits, you’ll find them hard to do without. Hey, at least the cost is easy to justify. I have included Euro and US Dollar pricing, although exact prices will vary slightly in local markets.


CH Precision Hardened Aluminium Grounding Spikes