Spoiler alert: Holostage sound field isolators are the craziest, coolest, most mesmerizingly effective tweak I have tried yet. And I have tried a lot of tweaks!
Heartsound is the creation of Krissy Tetrault. (That’s French, by the way, pronounced T’ay-trow.) Seriously nerdy audiophiles will know Krissy as the silent partner working with Tim Mrock’s Perfect Path Solutions, who came up with such seriously effective products as Total Contact, Omega eMats and The Gate. When Tim suddenly passed a few years ago just as PPT was on the verge of a break out growth surge it was the end of PPT and threw everything into limbo.
Krissy however has emerged as the creative genius at the heart of it all. The last few years her novel inventions have brought great joy to her select little group of hard core audiophiles. We have been able to test, and to buy, things others can only dream of: a power conditioner that plugs into any outlet and works like the $5k The Gate, signal purifiers that clarify kind of like a Bybee device except for being outside the signal path, and more. And now this, the best yet, Holostage sound field isolators.
What the heck is a sound field isolator? Hard to say. Candidly, full disclosure, and being my usual ruthlessly truthful self, I just made it up. That’s right! Made it up! Out of thin air! So there!
Because, as usual with stuff I make up, it describes as accurately as possible what I think is going on.
Here’s why: we all know physical isolation with springs is one of the most beneficial things we can do with all our system components. With speakers, Townshend Podiums are a revelation. With components it’s Townshend Pods. With speaker cables, power cords and interconnects its Millercarbon Cable Cradles. In all cases, every single one of these, the thing they all have in common is isolation enables the component to reveal layers and layers of otherwise hidden detail.
The general principle then is when something is vibrating we want to facilitate those vibrations dissipating naturally, and as quickly as possible. Isolation does this by preventing the component (whatever it is) from exciting vibration in nearby materials. Podiums work so well because they allow the speaker to vibrate all by itself, without transmitting that vibration into the floor. This way speaker vibrations settle down a lot faster, and this results in revealing a wealth of otherwise hidden detail.
Anyone fortunate enough to have experienced Podiums, Pods or Cradles will know what I’m talking about. The amount of hidden detail revealed is simply incredible.
Okay, so what’s that got to do with these Holostage things?
Good question. Glad you asked.
Playing music, the sound waves necessarily set the whole room and everything in it vibrating. We all know this, and do all kinds of things to alleviate it, with absorptive panels, diffusion panels, and so on. All of them in effect hardly any different than the way we used to use pointy cones, massive granite or wood, sorbothane or other materials, to control vibrations before we discovered springs.
Holostages perform sound field isolation by working electrostatically in a way that allows the sound field to vibrate with greater isolation from the rooms own acoustic environment.
The exact content inside each Holostage is proprietary. But it is fair to say it is a complex matrix of piezoelectrically active crystals, nano size rare earth elements, and cryogenically treated isomeric water.
The piezoelectric effect is a property of certain crystals that generates a small electric current when subjected to stress forces. The spark that lights a butane lighter, pressing the button stresses a piezoelectric crystal, that charges a capacitor, that when fully charged suddenly discharges the spark. The famous Zero-Stat for records, when slowly squeezed the handle causes a piezoelectric crystal to discharge ions from the pointy tip of the Zero-Stat. So yes, the piezoelectric effect. It's a thing.
Krissy has mixed together some incredibly piezoelectric crystals, combined them with a lot of the same materials physicists are working with trying to achieve room temperature superconductivity, and come up with sound field isolators that do for your room what Podiums do for your speakers.
Testing involved trying a number of different placements. Because of the way they work, in order to A/B they must be completely removed from the room. Anywhere in the room and they exert their effect. Best of course is distributed around the room, as this creates more of a zone of field isolation.
This is the first point to keep in mind: anywhere they are used, however they are placed, the effect in terms of revealing layers and layers of previously hidden detail is remarkable. Moving them around subtly shifts the effect, somewhat similar to the way changing the number of Nobsound springs affects the sound, albeit much less dramatically.
Distributed to near the four corners of the room opened up the sound stage to the point it felt like a sound sphere. Airy extension goes on and on. Intoxicatingly so! A huge space opens up around the speakers, extending far off in all directions. This is NOT a case of the sound stage placement of instruments expanding. Every image source location stays right where it was, only even more so, with an even greater sense of focus and palpable presence. The expansion is in the acoustic space, the concert hall or recording studio. This becomes cavernous. Subtle details trail off sometimes seemingly endlessly.
Keeping them in the same squarish configuration but moving them in closer shifts the balance somewhat away from space and air and more to a kind of warm solidity. You don’t just hear the voice of Sinatra, you feel the presence of his whole body. My personal favorite is with the front two out near the front L/R corners of the room, and about 4ft high, with the back pair to the left and right just behind and a little lower than my ears. The sound like this is just crazy spooky captivating!
In terms of trying to quantify the magnitude of improvement, always tricky, but it is roughly on par with Townshend Podiums. Which is in itself remarkable, seeing as the Holostages cost a fraction of their price. Small, versatile, and highly effective, Tetrault Audio’s Holostages are a revelation, and highly recommended.
We welcome questions and comments. Please use Contact Us on this page and Millercarbon will reply, and Tetraultaudio@gmail.com for Krissy Tetrault.
Krissy is always cooking. Her Tik-Tok channel is nothing but her mixing and cooking and having fun in her kitchen. Which instead of flour and Cuisinart is nano powders and wire. Instead of baking she freezes. The Holostages that come out after cryo bend reality. She is the Oracle lady in The Matrix, baking away, her treats making her audiophiles heads spin trying to understand what is going on. We enjoy the result, but how in the world can this be real?
Don't know. But it is.
Newest version Holostages arrived the other day. Knowing how powerful these things are they are stored outside the listening room until the system is nice and warm. This might sound crazy. But years ago testing the old PPT Omega eMats a number of them were brought in and absent-mindedly sat on a sub to await testing. Immediately the soundstage deepened with big warm round bass. WTF?! Removed from the room things went back to normal. They work much better closer to components and spread around more, but you get the idea. Holostages are MUCH more powerful and effective than eMats ever were. So, in order to get the most realistic reviews, we take precautions.
Starting with four original Holostages arranged around the room as described in the original review, the new MkII versions are brought in and added one at a time. First one on the Pass XA25 amp. Rich warm full and wonderfully deep music ensues. A little too full and warm. Moving around a little, spaced about an inch or two just below the amp sitting on the BDR Shelf towards the back of the amp strikes the best balance in my system.
That one nailed down another comes in. This one settles in front and center, pretty much right in the middle between the conditioner, Pass, and Dayton sub amps. Right about where my old lava lamp used to go. (And probably will again- bulb burned out!)
The Origin Live Sovereign turntable with Enterprise arm and Soundsmith Strain Gauge cartridge is on a BDR Source Shelf, with the Townshend Allegri Reference preamp and Rens Heijnis modified Strain Gauge phono stage just below it. This creates a lot of source components close together. The third Holostage is tried here, and what an experience this turns out to be!
First of all, keep in mind that with everything described so far, and even more so for what is to come, no matter where the Holostages are placed they result in a profound sense of deep black cavernous space. This does not seem the least bit unnatural. Quite the contrary, it seems to be a direct result of a lowering of the noise floor. Not obvious noise either, although that does also seem to be the case. But much more so a reduction in noise that otherwise seems to be woven into the signal. Kind of like RFI. When RFI is removed we get the same sort of sonic bliss. Okay, so keep this in mind. Placed anywhere at all in the room Holostages achieve some degree of this. How much and what kind is where placement comes in.
The turntable put a spotlight on this. Just one placed under the turntable, towards the front, was huge. Like some big dial you turn to expand the soundstage and it just got cranked past high noon. The top end got liquid dreamy. We're talking maple syrup. With a big slab of melted butter. Delicious, but probably not for every meal. Moving it around, same level but towards the back, for whatever reason now this seductive dreamy liquidity is matched with presence, extension, and air. Holy smokes we are in heaven!
This quite honestly sounds so good we are gobsmacked, all thought of serious reviewing comes to an end, and the fourth Holostage is left sitting on the dining room table for days. Meanwhile old LPs are pulled out, and we all know Parsons genius but no way I Robot was ever this good!
So here's the thing, why this Update is so worth doing. We all at times find ourselves with a sound that we like a lot and would probably fall in love, if only it were a little more warm and liquid, or present and extended, or the soundstage is a bit flat or narrow or whatever. If you ever find yourself feeling that way these new Holostages provide just the kind of fine-tuning you may be looking for.
These bespoke Cable Cradles are honestly a fantastic product. I can't imagine any other cable isolation/elevation product performing better than these, and especially anywhere near this price range. Attractive, minimalist and effective design, and the rubber-like grip on my wooden floor was an unexpected bonus feature. They are smaller and sleeker than I imagined from the photos. I have my critical components on Townshend Seismic isolation pods, including power amplifier, and my speakers on Seismic Bars, and these cradles fulfill my ideal complimentary vibration isolation tweak to complete the entire chain's isolation factor at the highest level. Very fast shipment, and Chuck proactively sent some information and instructions with the tracking number. Thanks Chuck. These should fly.
Charles Messier was a French astronomer. In the 1700’s Messier began a catalog of objects in the night sky, a catalog that is used to this day. Astronomers like numbers, they like names, and they like their history. M101 is a galaxy, number 101 on the list Messier made. Thus, M101.
Or Moneoone, if you are astrophysicist audiophile Lubos Dostal and looking for an interesting name for your new company making high end speaker cables, power cords, and interconnects. So don’t say “mone-oone”, say “M101". This mega-review will cover the full range of Moneoone cables, including a few prototypes.
The story of how this came to be is a fascinating one. It never would have happened, but for my outspoken view that making DIY cables is a waste of time. Whatever you plan on spending on parts, spend it on one already made, it will be better. Been pretty vocal about it, even challenging people to prove me wrong.
Lubos decided to take me up on it. Sent me one of his power cords. This first PC was captivatingly fast, detailed, and with wonderful imaging. It was also tilted up and thin, with little body and no bottom end. Oh well. Not surprised. Except for how good it was at what it was good at. But that it was uneven and unbalanced, is par for the course for DIY.
The surprise came when Lubos called back. Far from being surprised he said yes, he was going for imaging on this one, and has a new one that addresses these weaknesses. "Would you like to try it?"
Talk about unexpected! This was around a year ago. In the time since we have had the pleasure of evaluating the full range of Moneoone cables, well the single ended variety anyway. We’ve run them with tubes. We’ve run them with solid state. We’ve run them with some very expensive and well-regarded cables, primarily personal favorites from Townshend Audio and Synergistic Research.
All cables were run in 24/7 at least a week, until stable. Then when moved into position for testing they are given additional time to settle back in. Yes, this happens. Yes, we can hear this. Handling changes things, we know it does, and we allow settle-in time to eliminate this influence before drawing conclusions.
Introductions and backstory out of the way, let’s get to the reviews!
Moneoone is a new startup from astrophysicist audiophile Lubomir Dostal, specializing in high end cables.
Moneoone Flare is M101 entry level, comparable to Synergistic Foundation series. This PC is fairly thin diameter, and very flexible. A welcome relief compared to so many that have to be wrestled into position.
The harsh reality of high end audio is that you really do get more when you pay more. The way this works is, the lower the budget the greater the compromise. Use a freebie black rubber power cord and you really do get what you paid for: nothing. Jump up to Foundation or Flare, the improvement is obvious. They sound great, until compared with ones even more expensive. The smart compromise here is to go for a nice smooth pleasing sound. Because at this level it just isn’t possible to have detail and dynamics, speed and liquidity, all in one.
Achieving this compromise is something the Flare (and Foundation) does beautifully. No, they are not anywhere near as detailed as the (much more) expensive power cords. But it is surprising how fast this ceases to matter, and how much musical enjoyment Flare provides. Having no distracting aberrations makes it very easy to relax and enjoy the ride.
So much so, had to keep reminding myself to pay attention and look for faults and weaknesses. They are hard to find. Everything sounds as it should, just not as vibrant and real as with the higher priced wire. Sharp details and dynamics are softened a bit. Kind of like, there was a magazine that was very popular in college, which we would of course buy only to read the articles, and while flipping the pages one might occasionally catch a glimpse of the most tastefully softened photography. Sometimes one might even fold out. Ahem. If you get my drift. Flare would go well with the sort of gear likely to be used with a cable at this price level. It is more expensive than Foundation, but very similar, and the performance improvement is very much in line with the price.
From top to bottom:
Flare, Nova, Millercarbon Cable Cradle
Moneoone Nova is somewhat thicker and less flexible than Flare. Bright shielding mesh shows through the clear tight fitting tubing, giving Nova a rather unique appearance. Soundwise Nova takes a big step up. There’s more detail, with individual instruments more distinct and separate, and a greater sense of presence. Nova was one of the first, and here the longest, and was used with the Melody I880 and Raven Blackhawk tube integrated amps, the NAT SE2SE mono blocks, and my current Pass XA25 amp. It performed admirably and consistently in all cases.
With Nova we are a big step up from entry level. Clarity, the ability to keep separate strands separate even when the music gets loud and complicated with a lot of things going on, is greatly improved. Paul Simon’s Rhythm of the Saints is a tapestry of different instrumental threads. It is fascinating to hear Nova reveal more of them, and clearer and more distinct, without adding anything in the way of glare or etch.
A great many components trying to gain detail wind up presenting grain or a hyped top end in lieu of detail. Not so here. There is more air and life with Nova than other more expensive power cords I have tried. Imaging is solid, dynamics bring the music more alive. Nova is fast, and engaging, with a wider, deeper sound stage. Bass is solid, deep and powerful, with a nice top end. User Ozzy on another website had a very nice way of putting it:
"There is a feeling of intimacy in the soundstage that draws you into the music. Women’s voices have that “tongue in the ear” effect. You guys know what I mean…Very inviting. Listen to Linda Ronstadt sing “Blue Bayou” you’ll get it. The soundstage is wider and deeper. Usually when the music sounds this pure there is a sacrifice at the frequency extremes. But not with this cable. The bass is tight and deep and the highs shimmer elegantly. Since receiving the Nova cables, I have been playing music that I have heard so many times in so many different formats through the years that I could probably write the sheet music. And yet, now for the first time they sound entirely different and so engaging. Fantastic!"
That’s what we heard, and consistently, with the range of amps listed. Very nice value for money. Nova, a new star. Aptly named.
Top to bottom:
Hypernova, Flare, Nova
Billions of years later, if the star is massive enough, it reaches a point where gravity wins out over heat, and the star collapses until suddenly pressures rise so unimaginably high the whole thing explodes in an orgy of fusion so insanely powerful it simultaneously creates all the elements on the periodic table and spews them out into interstellar space. Look around, everything you see was created long ago in just such an event. Including every atom in the Supernova power cord. True story! No pressure.
The Moneoone Supernova is hand made, and not easily. Hot and neutral are divided into a dozen individual strands each. These are split into four groups of three, arranged in a circle, each group opposite the other. The whole configuration is then rotated to form a helix much like DNA. Down the center runs the single copper ground wire. The wires run through a series of little discs with holes that maintain spacing while providing flexibility. They are also the only insulators, the bulk of the insulation being air, the best insulator of all.
Look close, this can all be seen through the outer mesh. Not the most rugged design. Not recommended for those with clumsy kids or pets. Step on one, you may well damage it. Not for the inept or faint of heart.
Handled appropriately however, they have been maneuvered around plenty, bent 180 degrees even, and none the worse for it. Quite the opposite. Supernova is one mightily impressive power cord! On first impression it was hard to believe a power cord, any power cord, can make such a huge improvement.
For sure some will doubt this. One such was over one time, swore there is no way. So we swapped to one of the freebie black rubber abominations like what he is using. Then after playing a track we put the Supernova in. The instant the needle went in the groove he exclaimed, “Wow!” This was the lead-in groove. Hadn’t even got to the music yet.
Tonal colorations and smearing I never was even aware of were suddenly just gone. Dynamics positively leap out of the speakers. Already good imaging became even more excellent. Natural acoustic, the sound of decay in the recording space, instead of being heard only at the end of a song or phrase was now audibly there a lot clearer and in a lot more places.
The Supernova was used with the Pass XA25 for months, and is totally addictive. Records that were ho-hum gained new life. Mickey Hart Dafos is such an exotic array of instruments it always struck me as more audiophile test record than music. In 30 years it’s been played maybe 3 times, usually a side or a track here and there. Just never got into it, though it was always clear this is a really good recording.
Now with Supernova it comes out and has me spellbound. Every instrument is so clearly individual and distinct, with so much character and this is all so clearly in a very real physical space, it is downright captivating! Some of the bass drum, whatever kind of drum it is you can practically see the skin vibrating it is so perfectly rendered. It gets played all the way through, the end of each side coming as a surprise. What an experience! From a power cord!
Supernova power cord without outer mesh reveals complex helix geometry. Copper ground can be seen ru
This one, there really is no such thing. Supernova, sure. Quasar, okay. Hypernova? Oh well, you get the idea: beyond Supernova. The one reviewed here is a prototype. Lubos is working on improved cosmetics and a few other refinements for the production model.
Overall however construction will stay the same. Start with the Supernova helix. Now imagine another smaller helix inside that one and twisted the opposite direction. One going clockwise, the other counterclockwise. Spent a good long time peering through the mesh trying to follow what is going on here. How he even is able to make this is beyond me. And by hand. Amazing.
Even more amazing however is how it sounds. Hypernova transformed the Pass XA25 making it sound like some unobtainable mega-buck mortgage the house amp. Somehow the little Pass became massively powerful, with iron grip in velvet glove control. Lightning fast, liquid, and with a sweet airy extension on top.
With Hypernova all the width and depth of the acoustic space is no longer something you hear every now and then, it is now evident throughout pretty much the whole recording. Instrumental tone and timbre is so clean and clear. Doug MacLeod’s guitar on the Reference Recording 45 Exactly Like This you feel the initial transients as the fingers (or fingernail, there’s a difference) pluck the string, the body of the note as the string vibrates, the bass thump and resonance of the body, and the wonderful long drawn out tail as all these details decay away even as the next note is being plucked. You ge the idea, the guitar positively comes alive.
With cymbals you can practically see the brass shimmer and shine as they tinggggg not tsss like a lot of lesser systems make it sound. If you’ve heard one live and unamplified you know the difference. Jim James guitar on Kansas City is so distorted the first few times I heard it I wondered wtf was he thinking? Funny thing, as my system got better and better so did that guitar. Now with Hypernova it still sounds like he’s using a lot of distortion, but instead of hearing mostly that now the tone and body comes through much better and the difference is huge. My interpretation of this is other cables smear the distortion to where it covers up the tone. Hypernova is so fast and clean it serves up both, as the artist intended. This is one serious, and I mean seriously good, power cord.
Top center: Flare and Nova power cords.
Middle left: Nova interconnects.
Bottom: Hypernova power cord.
The Nova in my system is a 2m RCA. It is run on the same isolation system developed for my reference Townshend F1 interconnect. As with everything else the Nova is run in 24/7 for more than a week (more like 2 weeks) before testing.
Don’t know much about construction beyond what can be seen: a teflon looking outer sleeve around mesh shielding, with some really nice YYAUDIO RCA connectors. RCA connectors tend to be either too tight or not tight enough. These are locking, and feel just right sliding on. Then with a little turn of the barrel they lock down snug. My favorite of all the RCA I have come across over the years.
Don’t mind saying I was a little hesitant using these in the beginning. Townshend F1 are awful nice and hard to beat. Not because they “sound good” but because they don’t seem to sound like anything at all. They just pass the signal, nothing added, nothing lost. Or so I thought. With Nova it was immediately apparent there was a lot more detail coming in one end than going out the other! Well maybe not a lot, but enough to notice easily and immediately. Had to pay real close attention for a while to satisfy myself the Nova wasn’t adding anything. They had a good deal more presence, which can mean more top end. A cheap trick used by some. But no, the top end was not tipped up.
Nova has more presence, but instead of the normal sense of prominent midrange, in Nova it is in the deeper sense of making the performer feel more present, more in the room. Palpable presence. Very nice. There wasn’t more top end, but there was a lot nicer extension. Wasn’t even sure these old ears could hear that high any more. Maybe the Townshend Super Tweeters help. Don’t know. Just count on hearing more air, and space. Nice. The sense of space and depth improved even more with Nova in there. They do cost a lot more than F1, about double. In line with their performance, I would say. Not a case of “diminishing returns”. This makes them in my book good value for money.
Top center: Flare and Nova power cords.
Middle: Nova interconnects.
Bottom: Hypernova power cord.
Not in the order reviewed, but saving the best for last. These are something special.
I mean that. In more ways than one. Hypernova speaker cables are an even more intricate double helix construction than the Hypernova power cord. So time consuming to build Lubos was only able to send me a pair in 1m. To test them we then had to use the NAT mono blocks.
This meant a bit of a compromise, as in order to make a valid comparison it would not do to change both amp and cables. Doing this how could we know what was amp, and what was cables? The solution was to use the NAT amp with the Townshend F1 and Hypernova speaker cables. The compromise being the F1 are 3m when we need only 1m. This we did, in order to be certain what we were hearing was cables alone, and not the difference between amps. The things we reviewers do for you guys!
After listening to the NAT with F1 a while to get used to how that sounds we went to Hypernova. This was quite the experience. F1 are so remarkably free of resonance and coloration they seem almost perfect. There was just this one little area of glare or emphasis, that I was sure must be room acoustics or something, anything but the cables. Wrong. Hypernova went in and the glare disappeared! Not that the glare was bad, no one ever commented on it. I myself was never quite certain if it was there, or just my ears acting up from tinnitus or whatever. Until with Hypernova it was just, gone.
That was just the first thing. With Hypernova the whole presentation is a much more relaxed, natural, fatigue free experience. The thing is just so fast everything starts and stops so fast, just like in the real world, nothing ever sounds harsh or sharp. It makes you realize, when something sounds this good it is a real chore to stop and think critically and analyze. Time and again I found myself lost in the experience. This is in my book the best one can say.
For all that, these had to go back to Lubos for repair. Long story, but the guy who had them before me must have stepped on them or something, they were when I got them damaged. I was able to perform a field repair and use them. Seriously doubt this affected their performance, but if it did just think of that, the ones you get would be even better!
I mentioned in the beginning these are something special, in more ways than one. To build just a single 1m set is two weeks of intricate involved precision work. Whatever he wants for this, if you are in such rare air or want to be, just get a pair. Then relax, and be done with cables. It is now almost two months since mine had to go back. I miss them still.
The sophisticated double-helix geometry of the Hypernova speaker cable.
NanoFlo surfaces again, this time in a Stereo Times review that raises more questions than it answers.
One of the great benefits of NanoFlo according to Chris Arnold is that it is NOT highly conductive. Because if it were, then it would have all the serious drawbacks of earlier contact enhancers like NPS-1260. Namely, getting even a little in the wrong place can create a short. So Chris was clear in saying NanoFlo was the first pressure activated contact enhancer. It only works to improve continuity in the tiny contact space in which it is under pressure.
Only now we are told never mind, it can be "infused" (whatever that means!) all along the length of a power cord. Why the sudden switch? Reviewer doesn't ask. Chris doesn't tell. Also, how in the world is it supposed to be "infused"? Seems that is something that could only be done during manufacture of the wire. Does Chris Arnold manufacture these cables? If so, that would sure seem to be a strong selling point. Why not tell us? Why didn't the reviewer ask?
The eBay ad states this power cord is coated tip to tip with superconductor. Then how can you safely touch it once it has been plugged in? The same eBay ad also shows EIGHT description revisions in two days! In one version the buyer is instructed to plug it in ONCE and leave it there. Easy enough to see why one would want to remove that from the description. But why was it there in the first place?
The sad fact of the matter is the original NanoFlo (as reviewed here) really does work as described. Myself and a few of my loyal followers scored, and we are all very happy. The original formulation as sold by Krissy really does work, and while it will NOT turn a freebie black rubber power cord into a Synergistic killer, it will upgrade it enough to sound better than a lot of them in the under $2500 range.
How you go from that to a Stereo Times review that comes this close to calling it the best ever, while neglecting so many obvious questions, is anyone's guess. Awfully hard to know the story when the story keeps changing.
If you can even find the story! https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/nanoflo-superconductor-holographic-3d6-review
Start with a truly incredible contact enhancer. Get someone with audiophile cred to sell it, by promising exclusive licensing. Provide no instructions. Promptly double the price. Threaten everyone who comes anywhere near the product, or even talks about it, with legal action of one sort or another. Go on audio forums, not to inform, but to spread lies and innuendo.
Then, within hours, take it off the market, and replace it with a - get this! - freebie black rubber power cord. For $1500! Oh, and put a ferrite choke on it. Seriously.
I. Am. Not. Kidding.
Normal policy here at Millercarbon’s Audio Files is to tell people about the really good stuff, and let the rest be. In this case though Chris Arnold messed with the wrong gal. He promised Krissy Tetrault (formerly of Perfect Path fame) an exclusive licensing agreement. He took advantage of her good nature, audiophile cred, and contacts. He even plagiarized “perfect path." The things he does, it's a wonder he doesn't call it "My Precious."
Shame on you, Chris Arnold. Shame on you.
Just my opinion folks. You want to try out his $1500 freebie rubber power cord, be my guest. Seriously. It comes with my highest recommendation- to be sure and return within the 30 days.
Coming out only a little less than two weeks ago, this stuff is almost as new as this site. Some of the leading lights in high end audio occasionally send me their newest and greatest for review. Nano-Flo™ is right up there with the very best.
A little background. I first became aware of the importance of contact enhancers in the early 1990’s. Even then there were a lot of them on the market. But truth be told, there was scant difference between them. Not like a month was devoted to testing one after another. Instead what happened was, once I heard the improvement clean contacts make it evolved into a regular thing to take the system apart every so often and thoroughly clean and condition everything.
Over the years so many were tried, and yet in the end it left me feeling might as well use a good clean cloth with alcohol. Which still to this day is pretty good advice. If you’ve never cleaned yours, or a year or so has gone by, you are overdue. Get on it.
This all changed a couple years ago when Perfect Path came out with Total Contact. TC, as it came to be known, was a game-changer. No mere contact enhancer, TC would darn near transform your system. Often confused with graphene, which indeed there was some in there, it lowered the noise floor revealing tons of spooky-real subtle inner detail.
TC however had one big problem: it was massively, highly, conductive. Even a tiny trace amount in the wrong place could result in a very expensive short circuit. When TC went off the market (long story) it was eventually replaced with a knock-off formula NPS1260 that came with massive danger warnings, for the same reason.
Still, these were impressively good products, for those of us careful and attentive enough to use them safely. TC was so good I thought it unlikely anyone ever comes out with anything significantly better.
Until now. I was sent a tiny sample in the smallest syringe I ever saw. A measly .5ml when full, this sample was only 0.1ml! An incredibly tiny amount. And yet it was explained to me that only the tiniest speck spread into the thinnest film would do.
Well then. Only one thing to do. Headlamp on, I went to work.
One thing I have learned working with stuff like this, start small. If you start small and hear anything you know you are on the right track. Also by starting small you have a better chance of learning if there are any differences when used in different applications. Something you just never will be able to figure out if done in one fell swoop.
Starting with speaker cables, TC was removed with alcohol and then the cable spades and speaker and amp terminals were given a super thin coat of Nano-Flo. When I say super thin, I mean super thin. In truth the coat is only visible as a slight oily sheen, and even then only when hit with bright light at the right angle. Super thin.
Put a record on, sat back...
Holy crap! What the…! In no time flat I was texting Krissy asking how in the world this stuff is so much better than TC?!
Krissy by the way is Krissy Tetrault, co-inventor of Total Contact (and a slew of other amazing tweaks) and who had sent me my sample.
The effect of TC was primarily a dramatic lowering of the noise floor, and reduction of noise similar to when RFI is eliminated. Nano-Flo was definitely doing this. Only better. The backdrop was now even blacker, and cavernous. Acoustic decay stretched out in time and distance. Way better than TC! But where TC worked to lower and reveal and that was it, Nano-Flo also worked to dramatically expand dynamics.
Dynamic range can be expanded two ways. One, lower the noise floor. Two, raise the transient ceiling. Nano-Flo was doing both. Best of all, it was doing it in a completely natural way that improved clarity and was lively and thrilling without ever being hyped, etched or fatiguing. I was quite honestly blown away.
Following the same excruciatingly miserly application techniques I went on to do as much of my system as possible. This was done in stages. Power cords, interconnects, phono cartridge pins, turntable motor connections (inside the motor pod), until eventually the last tiny dregs were scraped out of the syringe and onto the wires where the power cord connects to the plugs. Yes, I took my power cords apart and treated the wires inside the plugs. Would have done the same for AC outlets, but I ran out!
That is a LOT of stuff to do with just .1ml, and quite frankly takes a fair bit of dedication. But it gives you some idea just how far this goes if you are careful and do it right.
Pricing is $200 for the .1ml sample, $800 for the full .5ml size. Yes, believe me, I know full well how insane it sounds to be recommending this as a deal. But it is. These things are always hard to quantify, and this is hard to believe, but there are a lot of power cords and other things out there you could spend a grand on and not get anywhere near what this stuff does. Highly recommended, and then some.
Reader Bob wrote in asking about modifying his Tekton Double Impacts. One of the best mods for just about any speaker is a crossover upgrade. The steps are pretty much the same regardless of what speaker we are talking about. Moab are very similar to Double Impact. Since I’ve done a major crossover upgrade on my Moabs this is a great opportunity to talk about how and why that was done, and point anyone interested in the right direction.
There are a number of upgrade paths one can take- upgrade driver(s), internal wiring and connections, cabinet, and crossover.
Better quality drivers that are a direct drop-in fit and spec can sometimes be found. More often than not however the upgraded driver will have different output. This will call for changing crossover values to restore a smooth frequency response. If you are experienced enough to be comfortable doing this there are Beryllium tweeters that some find a worthy upgrade with DI, Moab, etc.
Internal wiring can be upgraded. Doing this on speakers with a lot of drivers can be a lot of work. Unless you have experience with the wire you will not know what to expect until after all that work is done. I have done this on a 2-way speaker, knew the wire, and it was well worth it to me. Tekton speakers with array have a lot of drivers. If you go this route carefully think things through.
Cabinet mods are even riskier. The cabinet should be rigid, and so it would seem easy enough to improve things by adding bracing. Some have done this, with mixed results. Another one that is a lot of work for uncertain results. The one method I know that is low risk yet reasonably effective is fO.q tape. This thin tape damps micro vibrations. It can be used as a driver mounting gasket, or to damp vibrations on the frame of midrange drivers.
This brings us to the one most valuable and worthy mod, the crossover upgrade. This one is my favorite, because as long as you are careful to not change any values then it can be done safely, without messing up the sound of your speakers and instead bringing out a lot more detail and dynamics. Cabinet bracing can alter character. The speaker can sound “different". Careful crossover upgrades are for when you want “the same, only better”.
Why is this? Aren't parts the measure the same all the same?
They are, electrically. The audio signal however is constantly fluctuating, with sometimes tremendous dynamics, other times infinitesimally subtle shifts. Electrical measurements gloss over all this, measuring only a steady state. The difference is easy to hear.
Cheap caps impart glare and grain. Expensive caps are refined and relaxed. Cheap inductors lose dynamic drive. Quality air core ribbon inductors brim with life. Cheap resistors are fuzzy and coarse. Quality resistors liquid and seamless. It all adds up to a qualitatively monster improvement.
The steps involved are pretty simple:
1. Find the crossover! Remove a woofer, have a look around. Once found:
2. Label all connections. Label the wires where they connect to the crossover, and label the crossover where it connects to those wires. Take pictures. You don’t have to know if the wires go to woofers or tweeters. You just need to know to be able to reconnect the crossover correctly.
3. Remove the crossover. Typically hot glued, so use a scraper or screwdriver to pry off. Unsolder and remove.
4. Leaving all the parts in place, unsolder them from each other and measure each individual value. Write it all down. Make a list. This will be your parts list.
5. Put everything back together.
6. Go shopping.
Reviews and opinions on caps can be found everywhere. I like https://www.humblehomemadehifi.com/Cap.html for caps, and you will want to do the same for resistors and inductors. Make a list with prices, work out your budget, and don’t forget to pay attention to the size of the parts. Quality parts are a lot bigger than cheap ones. A lot bigger! Also you can easily spend more than your speakers on caps. This phase of the project can take a while but is worth it. Keep reminding yourself over and over again how much more life and detail this will bring. Because it will.
Once you have everything all together:
7. Assemble everything connected lead to lead. Crimp your leads tight, then solder. Details matter. Align inductors so that the axes running through each one is perpendicular to the others. Try to have the signal going from inside to outside with inductors.
8. Vibration control. Some go the Full Monty and move the crossover outside the speaker. Another option is hot glue springs. Mine are on Townshend Pods. At the very least use a sturdier MDF mounting board, and fO.q tape.
9. Reinstall. This is where you really need those labels!
The beauty of crossover upgrades is they can be done in stages. You can do just one or a few caps, or resistors, or inductors, all at once or in any combination. Just do the same on both channels and you will be fine.
Speakers like Moab are virtually made to be modded. The whole cabinet is one large volume. Double Impact have internal partitions required for the mid bass drivers. This can make access a lot trickier. A good thorough recon pays big dividends later on.
The transformation a full upgrade can make is one that truly must be heard to be believed. Background detail, subtle inflections of tone and dynamics, top and bottom end extension- do it all and not one thing will fail to be massively improved!
Mine are mounted on a BDR Shelf, with Townshend Pods threaded into that, and all the individual components have a number of little tweaks applied as well. When put back together the contribution of the Pods was immediately apparent. Pods require no break-in. The crossovers sounded great right from the beginning, but then got better and better for at least a full month. It has been nearly a year now, and it still impresses me how good these Moab are.
Early version Supernova. Note complex helix construction seen through outer mesh.