file GAIA 1 speaker isolators on Triton Reference

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GDHAL Posted 4 months 4 weeks ago
#30771
Today, I (with the help of Audiobreakthroughs technician) installed ISO Acoustics Gaia I speaker isolators on my Triton Reference speakers. This was very carefully planned out, in that I had extensive telephone conversations with ISO Acoustics, Golden Ear technical support, Audiobreakthroughs (the dealer through which I purchased the Gaia 1), more than one individual who already has a Gaia isolator (albeit model 2) on a Triton Reference, read hundreds (not 10 or 20) reviews (90% favorable, 10% unfavorable) and performed my own pondering of speaker physical stability (from falling over), cost to performance (i.e. value) consideration, and a host of other things.

The disclaimer here is my sound environment is already rather resolving and “high end”. I recently had installed GIK acoustic paneling, had that professionally installed, had my room measured by an acoustician, had dozens of audio club members over my place, and everyone without exception is completely wowed by the level of performance, tonality and overall presentation of the sound. So what was I to gain by installing isolation feet, I pondered.

It should be further noted that according to Audiobreakthrougs, Sandy Gross himself is using Gaia on his T Refs.

Additionally, I had a concern (stability) in-so-far as my speakers are placed on low pile carpet, which is over wood flooring. I can tell you right now, if you have your speakers directly on wood flooring, you definitely want the Gaia 1’s on your T Refs. In no way did I want to use the optional carpet spikes, because I recently found a problem in that my speakers were spiked to the wood floor through the carpet, and instead of decoupling, they essentially coupled with the floor as a resonance could be heard at certain frequency/volume. By all accounts I will never use spikes again. Ever.

Let’s start with the downside of the Gaia’s. First is cost as they are not cheap. I managed to obtain then for less than the MSRP, but still, it essentially works out to basically $100 per footer (to which you need 8) plus tax plus shipping plus tipping the helper.

Another downside is what I’m considering a product defect. The product is such that the footer logo must be in line with the speaker drivers (either facing forward or rearward). Thankfully, there is a large tolerance, given that the logo on the footer is rather long, so it is not imperative to ensure that, for example, the letter “o” is aligned to all other footers letter “o”. As long as you’re within the logo, that “works” (according to ISO Acoustics). The problem (design flaw and product defect as I see it) is that it is not possible to *perfectly* level the speaker by using the footer while simultaneously maintain the logo requirement. In this context, and by my standards, perfectly level means using a precision leveling measurement device (which I have) and being within 1/64 of an inch. You read that right. My personal standard for leveling is to be plus/minus 1/64th of an inch or better. With the Gaia’s, one can only hope to come within 1/8th of an inch, which in my view is not level. The aforementioned stated, if you already have perfectly level wood floors, then I guess this isn’t a concern. During the installation I spoke with ISO Acoustics about this dilemma and it was mutually decided to forgo precision leveling in favor of the Gaia logo positioning.

Yet another thing I can pick on is the rather small wrench (and you must use theirs) they provide, meant to tighten both the bolt (screw) to the footer and the top nut to the bottom of the speaker cabinet. It is so small that one cannot get enough torque on it to really tighten down what in my view should be really tight (however, remaining careful not to over tighten as this too is no good). One end of their wrench has “teeth” of sorts which makes gripping it and using it properly/effectively somewhat challenging, albeit doable.

Now onto what matters most. Is there a sound improvement? At this point, given that I just installed the isolators today, I haven’t had enough time to come to full conclusion. What I can say is that I did listen for twenty minutes or so to my standard “go to” recordings when evaluating systems, etc. There definitely was no downside to what I was hearing, and at face value and again quick review, I would say it is conceivable there is some slight benefit. Did I hear another verse in a song? Of course not. But in general the sound did seem to be *slightly* “better”. Yes, this could be the placebo effect or something else, and I do plan to do some critical listening and further evaluation over the coming days. Keep in mind and as I’ve stated, my system before the Gaia’s was already sounding spectacular (subjective of course and in my opinion) so I really am not expecting much. At the level my system is already at, only tiny incremental gains (or perhaps changes?) is all I really expect/want. I do believe that my speakers being on carpet with the stock Golden Ear rubber feet decoupled them from the floor rather nicely. These Gaia’s are likely decoupling them a bit (or perhaps a lot) more, but whether or not that translates into an audible improvement remains to be heard.

Some other things I like about the Gaia’s….I feel they “look” good. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And, to my surprise, they seem to actually *increase the speakers stability* on the (low pile) carpet. The speaker on the Gaia’s can gently move left/right/back/forth without tipping over. This is convenient (for me) as sometimes I brush against the speaker while walking behind it, (to get to the back of my components, cabling, etc.). As I stated previously, if you have a hard wood floor the Gaia’s are a must have and would probably yield greater sonic benefit than if on carpet.

Stay tuned.
Golden Ear Triton Reference (pair), Musical Fidelity M6si, Schiit Yggdrasil-OG-B, Oppo UDP-205, Emotiva ERC-3, LG OLED65C9PUA, Salamander Synergy Triple Unit SL20, Audeze LCD-X, GIK acoustic paneling
halr.x10.mx/TritonReference.htm ; halr.x10.mx/other.html

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GDHAL Posted 4 months 3 weeks ago
#30779
Guys, I was at one of my friends house yesterday (3/13). Attached is a photo of his $250K system. The speakers as seen in the photo are GT Audio Works Reference 3, costing $59,000 a pair. Note the footers on his speakers. They are GAIA 1's! Also note his $50,000 Lampizator DAC, which blew my Yggdrasil away. I, and one other audio club member were doing a DAC comparison.

Back to my GAIA's.. ISO Acoustics told me this would be the case, and low and behold they are correct. The footers (isolators) have managed to *perfectly* level the speaker right/left/back/front, despite the fact that the T Refs weigh in at 110 pounds (approximate) and are 65% front weight loaded (approximate). Weight distribution of the T Refs is confirmed with GE (weight distribution is essentially 65% front, 35% back). I was told by ISO Acoustics when doing the install not to compensate for the weight distribution of the speaker. By the way, I happen to have an extra T Ref base (off of the speaker), so my initially leveling was able to be performed perfectly because the center of the empty base is precisely level. Once the speaker is on it's base, leveling is rather difficult as there are very few spots (practically zero) in which to obtain an accurate level measurement.

Forget the leveling....Onto the sound....there is definitely an improvement! The speakers are benefiting by virtue of their being isolated (more so) from the floor and their ability to move ever so slightly to its own internal vibrations. The rationale for the GAIA logo's having to face front in line with the drivers (or 180 degrees opposite if you don't want to see the logo), ISO Acoustics states is because it further allows the speaker to move back and forth with the drivers. I do believe it is doing just that. Regardless of the "magic" behind it, I can hear sonic improvement.

I highly recommend the GAIA's.

Golden Ear Triton Reference (pair), Musical Fidelity M6si, Schiit Yggdrasil-OG-B, Oppo UDP-205, Emotiva ERC-3, LG OLED65C9PUA, Salamander Synergy Triple Unit SL20, Audeze LCD-X, GIK acoustic paneling
halr.x10.mx/TritonReference.htm ; halr.x10.mx/other.html
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MrFluffyWalrus Posted 4 months 4 days ago
#30849


......Additionally, I had a concern (stability) in-so-far as my speakers are placed on low pile carpet, which is over wood flooring. I can tell you right now, if you have your speakers directly on wood flooring, you definitely want the Gaia 1’s on your T Refs. In no way did I want to use the optional carpet spikes, because I recently found a problem in that my speakers were spiked to the wood floor through the carpet, and instead of decoupling, they essentially coupled with the floor as a resonance could be heard at certain frequency/volume. By all accounts I will never use spikes again. Ever.

......Some other things I like about the Gaia’s….I feel they “look” good. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And, to my surprise, they seem to actually *increase the speakers stability* on the (low pile) carpet. The speaker on the Gaia’s can gently move left/right/back/forth without tipping over. This is convenient (for me) as sometimes I brush against the speaker while walking behind it, (to get to the back of my components, cabling, etc.). As I stated previously, if you have a hard wood floor the Gaia’s are a must have and would probably yield greater sonic benefit than if on carpet.[/u]

Stay tuned.

Agree to the above on all points (and also yes, they ARE expensive).

I have the GIIs on my original T1s and the look, stability and sound went up 10 points after installation.
NAD M33 - Rega P6/Ortofon Quintet Bronze - Oppo BDP 105 - GoldenEar Triton One - Gaia II iso feet - IsoTek EVO 3 power cords and power boards - some wire...
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MrFluffyWalrus Posted 4 months 4 days ago
#30850


.......Additionally, I had a concern (stability) in-so-far as my speakers are placed on low pile carpet, which is over wood flooring. I can tell you right now, if you have your speakers directly on wood flooring, you definitely want the Gaia 1’s on your T Refs. In no way did I want to use the optional carpet spikes, because I recently found a problem in that my speakers were spiked to the wood floor through the carpet, and instead of decoupling, they essentially coupled with the floor as a resonance could be heard at certain frequency/volume. By all accounts I will never use spikes again. Ever.

......Some other things I like about the Gaia’s….I feel they “look” good. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And, to my surprise, they seem to actually *increase the speakers stability* on the (low pile) carpet. The speaker on the Gaia’s can gently move left/right/back/forth without tipping over. This is convenient (for me) as sometimes I brush against the speaker while walking behind it, (to get to the back of my components, cabling, etc.). As I stated previously, if you have a hard wood floor the Gaia’s are a must have and would probably yield greater sonic benefit than if on carpet.

I agree on all the above selected points, plus - yes, they ARE expensive.

I have the Gaia IIs on my original model T1s and really do think they improve the overall appearance of the towers. Stability on carpet is now excellent and the sound, in my smaller space at least did tighten up somewhat. Sure, maybe it's placebo but whatever...I like the sound and am happy in my personal audio illusion:) :) :)
NAD M33 - Rega P6/Ortofon Quintet Bronze - Oppo BDP 105 - GoldenEar Triton One - Gaia II iso feet - IsoTek EVO 3 power cords and power boards - some wire...
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