Neodio recommends placing a B2, disc down, in front of each speaker. But note – not on a synthetic carpet: natural fibres may be fine, but you’ll need to suck it and see. This is something I’ve already played with using B1s. In fact, on my wooden floors I can achieve the same result by placing a single B1 equidistant between the speaker baffles – although once again, used in this location the B2 has a substantially greater impact. Other places where I’ve placed B1s in the past and now B2s, include: the top level of racks (either front and centre on a shelf or on top of the central post of my two bay, wood-framed RXR rack); on the mid level shelf of record storage units or book cases, closest to the speakers; on a mantle piece or window sill behind the system. All are worthwhile and I am inclined to work with those locations before dealing with the individual system components.
However, dealing with direct application, putting things on (or under) equipment is a far more familiar and intuitive approach. The good news is, that adding B2s to the upper surface of equipment casework is as easy as it is highly effective. In the case of the VTL equipment, I have achieved excellent results with a single B2, placed dead centre and disc down, on top of both the TL-7.5 audio chassis and power supply, but the killer application was on the TP-6.5 II phono-stage. A recent discovery is the Gidon Kremer/Juri Temirkanov, Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, a Melodiya recording with the USSR State Symphony Orchestra. Having discovered it, I splashed on a couple of different versions, a German pressing on Ariola-Eurodisc (89 696 XAK) and a Japanese RCA Victor pressing (VIC- 2049). Initial listening suggested that the Japanese pressing was superior – cut at a higher level and with wider dynamics. Kremer’s performance is fascinating: a world away from the familiar, romantic sweep of Heifetz or the precision and intensity of Batiashvili, his lines are more staccato and far more angular, the expressive range more ‘minor key’, the instrumental attack and tonality almost abrasive. However, once I’d placed the B2 on top of the TP-6.5 II all that changed. The Neodio ‘footer’ generated increased dynamic range, greater subtlety of textural and harmonic information, a more coherent and developed soundstage and a serious increase in musical fluidity. Grafted onto the Ariola pressing, those qualities brought the performance to light. The slight, abrasive edge to the fiddle was gone, replaced by a far more complex instrument playing a more finely defined line. The angular lines retained their dynamic impact and contrast, but now the soloist played through them with far less effort and much greater intent, broadening and underpinning their expressive range. The more coherent and clearly developed acoustic bound the relationship between orchestra and soloist more intimately, making the most of Termirkanov’s masterful direction. With the B2 helping out, the TP-6.5 II allows the performance to blossom into a beautifully proportioned musical tour de force. It’s that inner sense of balance that lifts the German pressing above the Japanese RCA, a recording that now sounds overblown and exaggerated in comparison.
Friends with everone!
Nor are the B2’s benefits restricted to tube electronics. It was just as effective on top of the CH Precision P1, L1, X1 and A1.5 combination and has become a permanent fixture atop the D1.5 CD/SACD player. In each case, they exhibited the same uncanny ability to extract or magnify the natural, human and expressive qualities from recordings, big or small, grandiose or more intimate. It might seem counter intuitive to get the same kind of musical improvement from placing a B2 on top of a speaker, a solid-state amp, a tube phono-stage or the mantelpiece, yet that’s exactly what they do: The nature of the improvement, the additional musical insight, is consistent and cumulative, it just varies by degree.