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Soundcare Speaker Spikes and Spike6s - Review

Those of you who read my initial review concerning the Spike 2s (refer http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/tweaks/messages/83445.html) know that I was mighty impressed with their performance on my CDT, DAC, and power amps. At the time I wasn't able to get the Spike 3s for my sub (1/4" threads) and Spike 5s for my Gallos (5/16" threads). I am now using the Spike 3s under my home made sub, and only two Spike 5s per Gallo (ideally would use four, placed two only at the front again due to stock availability). The speaker spikes are near identical to the original Spike 2s, just with a threaded section above the top of what would normally be a flat round plate where your source components would otherwise sit.

Initially I wondered if the Spikes would withstand the weight of my DIY subwoofer - at a guess 50 kgs, with three Peerless XLS drivers (2 passives) and a 36mm thick double boxed construction. However a quick look at Soundcare's website indicated they'd take up to 400kgs each! After reading that I didn't need to worry anymore - hell, they could even support me sitting on the sub...

So after about 20-30minutes of heaving (that was just to get me out of the couch), I managed to install the spikes under my sub. I made sure the locknut was snug against the cabinet, and perhaps those with some Locktite would apply it judiciously just in case vibes get the better of them and loosen them. This made the sub stand off the floor a little higher than before, but as the woofers fire sideways, it was only a small visual change. If you had wooden floors you could probably slide your sub with these on given a clear path. The design puts such a high load through a small area that I doubt your sub will move when playing despite the convenience of felt covered feet.

Without delay, I grabbed the more bass hungry DVDs/DVDAs I had sitting around, and Gladiator made it to the player. Those first few bass notes that strike deep as you first see the hand brushing the corn fields are loooow, and there was no doubt that their leading edge and resonance/vibrato was more easily to discern. Especially in DTS, what a great soundtrack this is, and the acting is superb also....but I digress...

The bass was clean, and flowed over me, yet was not localised to its source. Whilst the two passives firing on seperate sides to the active driver (facing me) help disseminate bass in the room, I give credit to the spikes for making the bass integration seamless. That, in my square unfortunate room (even with four bass traps) is a quite a claim. And I'm normally more aware of the room modes in the listening room, but I never came to find this to bother me. Perhaps this is the concept they mention that states it won't disturb your neighbours as much? Go figure.

After having enjoyed this increased level of bass musicality, I found I had a spare set of Spike 6s (the spikes with the plastic feet to screw to where existing feet are already) and they were looking for a good home. Given this review seemed to be heading down the DVD path, one side glance at my Sony 735D DVD player had it unplugged and before you could say "Stick those Superspikes on me you rascal", I had neatly fitted them to the DVD player. If you don't have screws to use, you can stick the plastic receptacles under your gear (although some components with metal boxes may have form in the underside of the box to increase its resonant frequency). Even though the Sony did have curvature in its surface underneath, there was sufficient room using the existing screw holes to mount the Spike 6s without concern. I was less enamoured by the size of the plastic feet - I think they could probably thin them down a bit for cooler looks, but otherwise I have no complaints.

I then played my DVDA of Fourplay, which if you asked me is the future of how good surround music could and should be. No matter what change I do this disc always brings out the information, in this case in six channels (even in compressed Dolby Digital). On 'Bali Run' the first picked bass note by Nathan East was palpable and again its decay and harmonics were easy to follow - but it was the realness of it that struck me anew. This was no synth bass, there was a musician behind it.

Track 2s '101 Eastbound' had the most solidified bass drum attack at the opening of the track that I'd never heard before in my system. In fact I even contemplated turning down the subwoofer but given the bass was so well controlled and clean it was easy and enjoyable to live with.

The other thing I noticed through these tracks is how much more open the multichannel sound seemed. Dynamics contrasts were more obvious, and talk about engagement - entirely so. Depth in the front stage increased, allowing what I am more used to hearing in my higher specced two channel transport and DAC. Whilst the Sony is a reasonable DVD player with Siltech caps, choke power supply etc, it is no EAD DVDMaster... I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the picture quality also improved with the Spike 6s under the Sony DVD player. Go and try it yourself and tell me if I'm wrong...the stills on the DVDA just looked clearer and with less obvious flicker into my 50Hz widescreen Phillips TV via s-video. Your mileage might vary...Whilst I thought this disc was initially rather produced sounding, it felt more organic and as a whole with the Soundcare products fitted throughout my system.

I then swung to my Miles Davis 'Tutu' DVDA, which I hadn't heard since starting this whole Soundcare exercise. The opening track Tutu just sounded cleaner, punchier and clearer than I ever remembered it - like I'd traded up my system. Tomaas had killer bass and the seperation of instruments on Portia was stunning.

You know when things are going really well, you can just crank on the volume, and everything stays composed. This was exactly the case here, and running my EAD Ovation 8 Theatremaster up to volumes of -10dB was no sweat, with everything singing along magnificently. With over 1600W driving all speakers you can imagine the new hairstyle all this power created...it wasn't pretty! Yet the music flowed in a completely unfatiguing way - and I thank the Soundcare spikes for controlling the resonances at high volume that would I suspect contribute to the muddiness and harshness often found in systems at higher SPLs.

I reiterate my enthusiasm for these products - I consider them one of the best bangs for the buck in hi-fi-dom. Their entire curriculum vitae speaks of increased musicality, focus, resolution, space and engagement. There is no downside I can determine except that the plastic feet could be smaller in size on the Spike 6s. Whether you've paid for an expensive isolation shelf or not, you just might be suprised what these devices can offer you. Hats off to Soundcare!

Cheers, Kendrick Pavey
(Refer previous post for system description)
Cheers, Kendrick Pavey


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Topic - Soundcare Speaker Spikes and Spike6s - Review - Triode Dude 19:13:09 06/23/03 (0)


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