Is it a foot, a support or an Acoustic Purifier?
By Roy Gregory
As a listener, even more so as a reviewer, there are certain accessories or bits and pieces that you come to rely on. When it comes to equipment supports, the Neodio Origine B1 footer has been an ever present since its arrival, half a decade ago. Along with the HRS Nimbus (and Vortex) and the Nordost SortKone TC, the B1 has been pressed into place under equipment, on top of equipment or, in the case of the French footer, even placed on furniture or floorboards around equipment. It has been positioned on top plates, screwed into the underside of speakers and sat under AC distribution blocks. Over the years, I’ve managed to get a handle on just how and why the B1 works and that’s increased its effectiveness even more. It seems that there’s almost nowhere that the B1 won’t work and won’t deliver a musical benefit. That universal nature and sheer flexibility have kept it close at hand, an invaluable contributor to final system performance.
Like a Grand Prix Audio Apex, the B1 acts as both an absorber and an isolator, with no direct mechanical link or energy path between the top and bottom surfaces. That makes it different to the SortKone and, despite appearances, the Nimbus/Vortex, whose polymer pads offer frequency specific behaviour, soft at low frequencies, rigid at higher frequencies (the high-pass frequency is tuned according to the intended use – hence the two different designs…). I’d characterise those as grounding or coupling devices, providing an exit path for internally generated energy, channelling that energy into the supporting surface and relying on that surface to absorb and dissipate it. The Neodio and Grand Prix footers act in both directions, up and down, seeking to isolate sensitive circuitry from both internally generated and structurally transmitted energy. Or, in simple terms, they sink energy away from the chassis itself and inhibit energy passing from the supporting surface into the unit.
Which approach you adopt depends on circumstances and the supporting surface, be that a shelf, a platform or the floor. A solid floor like the Music Room works well with a grounding/coupling approach. The more flexible floor in the Reading Room carries more energy, making structure borne feedback a greater problem and bringing isolators into play. But understanding how the different footers function helps to both explain why some of them work on top of products as well as underneath and suggest other ways they might be used. Except that that all just changed… Meet the Neodio Origine B2.
Outwardly almost identical to the B1, the B2 is differentiated by a narrow, black band around its middle in place of the metallic silver one on the B1. Otherwise, it’s the same dumpy 65mm diameter, 32mm high cylindrical shape, with the same raised, flat disc in its top surface and the same M6 thread in the centre of that, so that you can add threaded adapters to screw the footer into the underside of suitable units, racks or speakers. Depending on the length of the threaded adapter, this also allows for levelling/attitude adjustment. Just like the B1, each B2 is capable of supporting 30kg/66lbs. Other than that, the only difference is the designating logo on the underside, which will read B1, B2 or B1 Evo. What’s a B1 Evo? A B1 that has been upgraded to full B2 spec, meaning that owners of original B1s can have those pieces converted into B2s. You must send a minimum number of three units to be converted and it will cost you €120/unit.