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AudioFile Magazine Hitting The Right Nodes

The audiophile's quest for excellent sonic reproduction is a truly arduous task. It may seem that all he does is listen to music, but nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, the audiophile is constantly striving to improve his system, inching its performance ever so closer to his perception of the ideal sound. While upgrading equipment is a sure-fire way of achieving this, another avenue would be to optimize it, so it performs at its peak capability, or to put it simply - tweaking.

While there are many aspects to tweaking, one area that has the most credibility is the premise is that vibration - be it air or structurally borne - will adversely affect the sound. How component isolation is achieved, is as almost varied as the music that the enthusiast listens to, and there is a profusion of methods and devices available to the adventurous audiophile. Some work well, & some don't quite achieve what they claim, but rest assured that the Bright Star IsoNode feet fall into the former category.

Bottoming Out - And just what do the IsoNodes do to the sound? Well, there was definite improvement with the IsoNodes under source components - CD players, DVD players and even turntables.
With CD players, I found there to be a increase in resolution and detail - it's almost as if a layer of grunge that you didn't know existed but have been hearing through all this time was wiped from the sound This is, perhaps, attributable to the quieter noise floor. With turntables there was enhancement in low-level resolution, as well as an increase in extension of the bass frequencies. DVD players shared similar sonic benefits as CD players, but there was an added visual factor too, in the form of cleaner picture quality, a slight increase in color accuracy and overall better depth perception. Amplifiers too, benefited from the use of IsoNodes, though to a lower extent. There was some lowering of the noise floor, but notably, the amplifier appeared to have a slightly more dynamic nature than before!


Take A Node, Please - Isolation of components work, period, and there is no disputing the issue. As to the degree of improvement, there is an overall increase to every aspect of the performance, and not just the ones described. I even found the IsoNodes to work when combined with other devices. If you aren't using any isolation devices currently, then you must go and get a few sets of the Bright Star Audio IsoNode feet now - and at its asking price, you don't have a valid excuse to say no….
One of the cheapest and most effective isolation devices available.

Joseph Loh - Audiophile Magazine



MUSIC MATTERS IsoNode anti-vibration feet

When Leslie offered me two sets of IsoNodes from Bright Star for review, I quickly snatch up the opportunity!

I do not have to strain myself to realize the real forte of these little wonders. Many isolation feet improve imaging and definition, so what? These little wonders bring organic qualities to the music, bringing forth the essence of emotions rather than merely sound qualities.

Music came from a darker and quieter space. Not as in noise floor, but rather, cutting the music from fake airiness! You would not notice this before putting in the IsoNodes, but it is obviously noticeable without them. This enables the instruments to take on a more substantial body.

Indeed, these little wonders have got the perfect formula to sing with the harmonic nature of music making. The highs of the cymbals and hi-hats have got this lucid quality that cuts away the unwanted splash, and yet retaining the decay of the vibrating steel. Bass tightens up and was presented with tautness and solid textures.

All of this is only half which has me awed. Damn, could I have enough of these little wonders? No! With my Sony XA5ES, vocals were solidly placed, making them easier to locate. That is not all, the graininess was gone and the mids were smooth and harmonically rich! Reverb and ambience were rendered in great palpability and music came from a more cohesive canvas rather than individual space.

With Le Mon's sexy and sassy vocal, it is a sin to not appreciate what the IsoNodes could do! One could easily discern the minute change in intensity of her seductive voice - even the faintest sigh was captured with realism! In fact, the IsoNodes give her voice more subtle dynamic touches and they do bring the music presentation much closer.

I'm having such a good time with the IsoNodes that I'm not giving them back. Sorry Leslie, they are mine!

Contributed by: Lil' KC



TNT-Audio magazine IsoNode anti-vibration feet

The best option is IsoNode feet beneath the CD player. The biggest improvement will be inserting IsoNodes between it and the shelf. This was the best sound so far. Even skeptical Heather rated them really highly, noting that she was surprised at how cleanly and clearly the triangle and temple bells could be heard on the Chesky Sara K album "Closer Than They Appear". The IsoNodes were tried, excelling once again with vocals and treble. The noise floor seemed lower. Midrange was clearer, sweeter and more natural. In every other parameter a veil lifted deeply understates the reaction of the listening panel.
The Bright Star Audio IsoNodes do the best job of ameliorating the problems of structurally born vibration and acoustically induced resonant vibration in the player. They also make a whole range of much more advanced products, beginning with the IsoRock and progressing through various ranges, some tailored to specific products (VPI turntables, Cary & Jadis amps, etc.).

The IsoNode anti-vibration feet were the winners with the Quad. The IsoNodes lifted several veils of noise and opacity right across the audible spectrum from bass depth to shimmering cymbals. Voices, particularly, sounded more evenly balanced with the IsoNodes creating a more natural, less congested mental image.

The soft flexible polymer IsoNode anti-vibration feet consistently made most difference to poor chassis. Almost every commercial non-suspended product sounded better on the IsoNodes. Generally, the Bright Star IsoNode feet majored on lowering the noise floor, improving treble purity and clarity, and especially rendering voices more realistic and natural. This applies under amplification and CD players and analogue tuners. You should install one set of them directly under the casework of any steel or aluminum cased audio component. Purely electronic components (tuner, pre-amp, power amp) in clangy cases benefited most from IsoNodes, preferably two sets, one each above and below the component. Readers who buy a couple of sets will spend a few happy evenings experimenting and then enjoy results that are more cost effective than replacing all their cables. I suspect they will then buy more until the whole system is treated.

Reducing the effects of airborne and structure-borne vibration on all the components audio systems really makes a big difference to the musical effect. Vibration control interventions are cumulative. As more are applied throughout an audio playback system the effects add so that the total is greater than the sum of the individual parts. There seems to be no limit to the gains possible in ameliorating the problems caused by vibration.

I would strongly recommend the IsoNode anti-vibration feet.

Mark Wheeler - TNT-Audio magazine



Enjoy The Music IsoNode / IsoRock / Little Rock

As an introduction I would like to state that there is a great deal of interesting and valuable information available online at the Bright Star Audio website. While there, visit the various pages listed. I am under the impression that all or almost all was written by Barry Kohan. He ultimately covers more aspects of vibration and its isolation that you might be able to even think of including magnetic repulsion. His thoughts on the magnetic repulsion technique almost exactly paralleled my experience with some prototype models I still have. Barry's results, theories and product developments make an excellent starting point for almost anyone trying to figure out this disarmingly complex subject. Kohan's background arose from his work and experience at the generating end of this problem - loudspeakers.
The Bright Star Audio products that Barry sent are their least expensive as befits the stated parameters of this comparative review. The primary items were their bargain priced IsoNode anti-vibration feet available in two sizes. The large size are $19.99 per set of four, are approximately one and a quarter inch in diameter and three quarters of an inch tall and have a recommended component weight of forty two pounds per set. The smaller models are about half as large, have a have recommended component weight of thirty pounds per set and are just $12.50 for a set of four. They have an adhesive backing used to attach them to the underside of components. Often it works out fine to attach them directly to the stock feet if they are sturdy and solidly attached. Superior results were particularly noticeable on the initial impact of drum whacks and sense of the mallet striking.

Barry Kohan had sent along examples of their other budget priced items that complement or allow their IsoNode feet to perform at their best. The other products sent were their Little Rock 4 pods and a couple of Bright Star Audio's IsoRock 4 platforms. Think of "Rock" representing solid or inert, "Iso" as meaning isolation and "4" as being a smaller size model. The basic Little Rock 4 is quite inert and was meant to be used on top of the component to reduce and eliminate vibration.

The requirements for use under a component and damping on top are each unique and different. Someone at Bright Star is obviously doing research. The IsoRock is then "bottomed off" by the set of IsoNode feet included in this bargain priced and seemingly very effective design. Bright Star Audio also offers the rather well known Big Rock series, the Gemini isolation twins, Air Mass mounts and The Rack Of Gibraltar, but all are beyond the scope of this review. Communicate with them about their ideas and products to use under loudspeakers and subwoofers. Isolation is not just a sideline product for them. Maybe I will be fortunate enough to get to try some of their premium devices.

Listening to my system using the bargain priced IsoNode feet resulted in the same general sort of improvement. Next I took the Little Rock slab, stuck four IsoNode feet under it and then placed the Heart Player on top. You guessed it, another definite improvement though not quite the equal of using the IsoRock 4.

Next was a combination of Bright Star Audio items winding up as follows: Under the CD player went the IsoRock 4 which has IsoNode isolation feet, the Little Rock was placed on top of the player and IsoNode feet under the tubed preamplifier. The audible end result went beyond a slight but definite improvement to a significant and noticeable improvement that improved more as the volume or gain control was advanced. This setup definitely resulted in the most impact and deepest bass response in the review as well as the cleanest cymbals.

Shootout Results

It was easy to be impressed by the results offered by Barry Kohan's extensive range of products. His Bright Star Audio company has been recognized as a leader, if not the leader, in this field of audio. His Technical Talk writings on the Internet are clear and rather concise, making a surprisingly complicated subject understandable. No wonder when using the IsoNode feet as part of his IsoRock base under the player and then a Little Rock damping pod on top of the player the resultant sound quality was not to be equaled. Other companies simply do not import or offer a comparable range of accessory products.

Karl Lozier, Enjoy The Music



Enjoy The Music IsoRock 3 Reference

Impressive is the word that easily comes to mind when trying to describe this new Reference Series product by Bright Star Audio. It has more than a dozen layers of carefully selected and tested materials each for its own unique abilities. The now quite well known IsoNode feet make for significant improvements in audio quality when used under components.

This is a professionally designed and produced product by a, or probably the, leader in this specialty area. At CES in Las Vegas more than seventy manufacturers were using Bright Star Audio's products to allow their own products to sound their best. The need for this type of product is obviously self evident to other manufacturers and professionals. This platform is simply dead when hit or struck.

Impressive is also the word I am using to describe its performance! I first used the platform under the tubed Heart brand CD player and heard overall improvement in detail with some extra solidarity and punch in the mid-bass range as expected.

Unexpectedly the sound quality improved even more with the Cary player using Bright Star's Reference platform than with the tubed Heart player. That response was audibly extended even further into the truly deepest bass while tightening up the mid and upper-bass ranges allowing more detail to easily be heard. At the same time and particularly at the same time as deep bass notes were being played, music in the higher and highest frequencies became significantly cleaner, clearer and more naturally detailed, impressively so.

In the "Mars the Bringer of War" movement listen for the positive effect the IsoRock 3 Reference brings to the reproduction of the repetitive marching beats and the multitude of accompanying instruments, as well as the clarity of the perhaps exaggerated fortissimo cymbal clash towards the end of the movement. Particularly noticeable in the final movement, the organ plus chorus is a real showpiece musically and for demonstrating the dramatic effect of a good isolation platform. Hearing that profound influence, almost forced me to pull out that well-known Magic CD. The recording stands tall on its own merits and the impressive improvement in overall sound quality using this new Bright Star platform was apparent from the first measures on, along with noticeably greater clarity from the deepest bass pedal notes to the highest overtones. In all the above examples there was a very noticeable increase in soundscape depth extension with concomitant increase in subtle details in those newly exposed depths.

Bright Star's goal with the IsoRock 3 Reference was to come as close as possible to their ultimate cost-no-object products but at a lower price, smaller size and with no accompanying setup and no maintenance. Many people demand a "set it and forget it" type of product. That is exactly what the IsoRock 3 Reference vibration control platform is. I should mention that the addition of Bright Star's Little Rock isolation pods to the top plate of electronic equipment cases often offers an additional improvement by damping plus some models even have EMI shielding.

The IsoRock 3 Reference vibration control platform will impress you as much as it certainly did me.

Karl Lozier, Enjoy The Music



Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine
Building the Audiophile Recording Studio

Let's start with Bright Star Audio's remarkable contribution. Barry Kohan, the company's president, explains what this is all about. "As your system plays or records music, the component's chassis begins to resonate, and these vibrations end up getting transferred to the recording medium. These vibrations then contaminate the sound. Jitter in the digital bit stream increases, and other phenomena wreak havoc with the tonal quality-and it is audible. So in order to preserve maximum sonic fidelity, you've got to make sure that these vibrations do not alter the musical signal." So how does one control unwanted vibration and resonance in your signal path? "By eliminating it," says Kohan.
Bright Star's approach to that feat is to isolate each component in the chain. And they do it through high mass, high absorption, and EMI shielding products for each component in your system. Taken together as a total isolation solution, they stiffen the components, drain vibrations from the chassis, and protect them from electro-magnetic interference.

As it turns out, those ubiquitous component racks that occupy virtually every studio are anathema to good sound, as they readily transmit vibrations and resonance right on down the line from component to component, as well as creating a resonant structure within the cabinet walls - directly-coupled to your gear. It gets ugly. Get rid of 'em. At minimum, you'll want to fit shelves into the rack, and then place the components outfitted with the isolation products onto them.

More than a good dose of physics and materials science went into the design of these isolation accessories - and they do work wonders. Placing a small pickup on the component chassis, we measured the chassis vibrations with, and without the Bright Star Isolation System. Not only could we see the difference in the waveforms, we could hear it. No wonder this system was named Accessory of the Year by Stereophile. It really works. Bright Star also makes IsoNode feet which effectively shunt vibrations from monitor speakers. Very cool.

Bright Star system results: highs are much more crisp, and the bass gets significantly more punch and you'll hear surprisingly greater detail across the audio spectrum. And once you hear the effect, you'll never go back to the rac
k.

John Schroeder - Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine



TNT-Audio magazine Little Rock Pods

I do not just award an unconditional thumbs-up to whatever little gizmo gets sent to me.
In Part 1 of this series there was a glimpse of the hostile environment caused by airborne and structure-borne vibrations affecting audio equipment. If you are going to these lengths to control vibration, be prepared for the rewards are high. The benefits are much greater than fancy cables. In a cost/benefit analysis, for less than 150euro ($300) more sound quality benefits can be had from vibration control than a whole system rewire costing upwards of 750euro ($1500). And there is simply no point spending 150euro ($300) to upgrade an interconnect when spending half that amount on vibration control will have a much more useful effect.

Reviewers often spew out regurgitated chunks of sales brochures as though they'd come to the writer in a blinding flash. Barry Kohan, president of Bright Star Audio, explains his philosophy of audio isolation on their website far better than any paraphrased summary from me. His IsoNode is a very inexpensive audio product. Dramatic improvements were rendered by IsoNodes placed under cheap, clangy steel-casework. They provide a big sound quality difference from a tiny expenditure of money and time.
The earlier comparisons between a standard Naim NAC42.5 fully loaded with isolation products and a test-bed Naim 42.5 board in a cheap steel case clearly demonstrated that vibration control products work, so I agreed to try out the Bright Star Little Rock pods. These are designed to sit on top of equipment regardless of how that equipment is supported, though obviously, Barry Kohan would prefer that Bright Star products lie below each component too.

So on went the Little Rock 5, which is about the same size as a paperback book and sits snugly in the centre of the steel cover. I am surprised to hear what this modest little object improves, earning points for natural voices, treble clarity & reduced fuzziness, more points for bass tune/pitch, weight, tautness, vocal embodiment & tunefulness; soundstage width & depth and tangibility, making a total score of +15. It doesn't seem to matter what type of music I'm hearing, I hear it better with the Little Rock 5.
Placing the small Little Rock 5 on top of the Accuphase produces a surprisingly large improvement. Surprsisingly? A very complicated and densely orchestrated Prokofiev score is being broadcast as the LR5 is lowered into place. As soon as the LR5 sits on the Accuphase the soundstage opens up, the individual parts become easier to follow, and the dense orchestrations are less impenetrable. Surprised? I did not expect this much difference on a purely electronic component with a massive chassis. Even better than the LR5, with the Little Rock 4 the magnitude of improvement is clearly discernable. Three hours later it is still not hot and the sound quality difference is too great to consider removal. What more can I say? With the larger Little Rock 4 ($79US) the knuckle rap seems even more inert. Compared with the LR5, it makes the similar gains. The LR4 also scores a tingle-factor (the quality of music to raise the hairs on the back of the neck etc).

The magnitude of effect I have heard during these tests exceeds those of cable differences at much higher cost envelopes.

CONCLUSION

Early in this series I noted that there seems to be no limit to the musical gains possible from reducing the impact of vibration. I also noted the cumulative effects of vibration control. Vibration control interventions are cumulative - as more are applied throughout an audio system the effects add so that the total is greater than the sum of the individual parts. The IsoNode anti-vibration feet had already demonstrated their worth for resonant chassis components, especially with mass added above. The Little Rock 4 or Little Rock 5 each cost a similar amount as a budget interconnect cable. Once you have started you can keep going with increasingly expensive gizmos to tame every component in your system. At the prices of the Little Rocks and IsoNodes they are cost effective.

The scale of improvement over an un-isolated system is so great for so little money that this really is a no-brainer.

Mark Wheeler, TNT-Audio



Stereophile BRIGHT STAR ISOLATION SYSTEM

The Rack of Gibraltar is an open equipment stand whose rigidity and strength outclass the competition. From my brief encounter with Barry Kohan at CES, he came off as serious, with a flair for tackling technical issues without compromise.

Significant sonic gains were in soundstaging and dynamic range and contribute to a dramatically heightened acceptance of the illusion of live music. Being able to penetrate to the inner recesses of the soundstage places the mind a step closer to the gestalt of live music. The Isolation System reduced the veiling, or screen of fog, that interferes with the spontaneity of reproduced music. It removed the "lid" from "canned" music to the extent that I could gaze into the hall through a cleaner window. Once I was transported into the hall I could delineate the decay portion of musical transients much more clearly. It was as if the noise floor of the reproduction chain had been lowered. Hall ambience was resolved to the point that I seemed to be peering into the soundstage through a higher-powered telescope. Spatial outlines were more incisively focused. The same sort of heightened resolution extended to dynamic shadings.

The ebb and flow of musical phrases packed a bigger dramatic punch. The crucial range from soft to moderately loud bloomed with greater conviction. I felt closer to the source, to the fountainhead of the music's essence. From the sweep of a large orchestra to the intimacy of a solo instrument recorded up close, the music sounded cleaner, more expressive, and more solidly grounded in a 3-D perspective.

Final Thoughts - My experience with Bright Star's Rack of Gibraltar and the Total Isolation System strongly argues that to elicit the full sonic potential from most audio gear requires proper isolation and resonance control.

The Bright Star system can be seen as an environmentally safe haven for audio equipment, a place where insidious external and internal vibrational energy is safely dissipated. I can no longer tolerate the thought of using most of my gear outside of the Bright Star isolation niche. Do yourself a favor; pamper your equipment. You'll be glad you did.

Dick Olsher



The Abso!ute Sound No 106 AIR MASS 3 and BIG ROCK

I was so excited, at the recent CES, to see the Bright Star Audio Air Mass 3 pneumatic component base. For a mere $99 I could see what pneumatic suspension could do for my system.

Does it perform? Absolutely! Spectacularly! Stunningly! From the first cut of the first disc it was obvious that the Air Mass made a remarkable difference in my system. The Air Mass is one of those fundamental system improvements that illuminate - by its removal - a distortion that we've been accepting as an inherent component of recorded music. Without the Air Mass images are far less dimensional and robbed of much of their harmonic character making individual voices or instruments much less distinct. Without the Air Mass the clarinet and bassoon are absolutely stripped of their air, body and life. With the Air Mass the system's low-level resolution was greatly improved and it was better able to maintain the coherency and detail resolution. Ambience retrieval is also significantly improved. Images are more dimensional, their auras more realistic, and the ambience of the recording space around each image is more clearly rendered. The Rapsodie Espagnole is a startling example of how completely images, and the soundstage, can be re-created with the Air Mass in the system.

With the Air Mass the image center, the image of the violins themselves, remains locked in place and can be easily identified as the source of the sound. Without the Air Mass, the image center is much less distinct and in at the extreme, can be lost. The Air Mass improves the specificity of not only the images as a whole, but the image center, or the sound source, as well and when combined with a Big Rock, it offers both mass loading and additional damping that the competition doesn't.

It might have been simpler to just state that the Air Mass improved my system's performance in nearly every way. My listening notes bear this out, referring several times to "an increased level of emotional involvement," or the discovery of several previously overlooked "spectacular sounding" albums.

So add my voice to those singing the praises of pneumatic isolation, and mark my recommendation of the Air Mass as "unconditional." This nifty, simple gadget, based on valid engineering principles, does wonders for a system.

Brian Damkroger



SoundStage! THE ULTIMATE ISOLATION SYSTEM

I've been studying equipment racks, feet and support systems for a while now. I've known about isolation for a long time...after all, Navcom and Sorbothane feet were moderately good at isolation, but they never sounded very good as audio component feet compared to Audiopoints, for example. But Bright Star's Ultimate Isolation System uses a much better isolation method combined with mass damping and RF/EMI reduction. When I replaced the Audiopoints with a Bright Star UIS the sound quality of the amplifier took yet another step forward in terms of how sophisticated it sounded. Backgrounds became more silent and detail became more audible without any artificial enhancement. Soundstage depth improved enough that it made me question what I was hearing from a solid state amp - only tube amps do depth this well...supposedly. It may be that solid state amps just need the benefit of isolation and damping to approach the "tube standard" of depth performance.

My experience with the Bright Star Audio UIS has made me a convert to isolation. If you have cones or some type of soft feet under your components and think/thought they sound a lot better than the stock feet, the Bright Star system could more than double the perceived improvement when you changed to cones or other feet.

What we have here in Bright Star's product may be the best commercially available reasonable cost component support system that is available to audiophiles. The Bright Star Audio Ultimate Isolation System addresses isolation, damping the component's vibrations (either produced within the component or attempting to enter the component externally) and reduction of RF/EMI.

The Bright Star UIS consists of three parts. Each part can be purchased separately or together as a UIS. Different sizes are available to accommodate different sized components. Air Mass is best used on a rack shelf or on top of a low amp stand. You can use the Air Mass alone to achieve a high degree of component isolation but it really comes into its own when used with a Big Rock and Little Rock. Besides acting as a mass damping device, the Big Rock mass loads the Air Mass to lower the resonant frequency of the Air Mass quite a bit. This lower resonant frequency improves the isolation performance of the Air Mass enough to make adding the Big Rock quite worthwhile. The Little Rock further mass loads the Air Mass for another reduction in resonant frequency. The Little Rock is definitely an effective contributor to the overall success of the Bright Star system. With all three pieces of the UIS and my 55-pound amp, the mechanical resonant frequency of this isolation/damping system is in the 1.5 Hz range - very, very low.

Bright Star makes their own rack system with the same granite-look colors and lots of space for each component so each one can be UIS'ed. The Rack of Gibraltar series ranges in price from $599 for 3 components, which weighs 46 pounds empty to $1999 for a 6 component rack that weighs 202 pounds empty. Gibraltar 3 (three shelf positions - $599) and Gibraltar 5 (five shelf positions - $999) are supplied with Big Rock platforms as the shelves themselves. Big Rocks are optional for other Gibraltar racks. Air Mass and Little Rock are also optional.

That's about it... Bright Star Audio's Ultimate Isolation System is one of my "standout" products for 1996. The improvement heard from Bright Star's system can, subjectively, as much as double the improvement you hear from the best of other support systems and significantly more than double any perceived improvement from soft replacement feet or inexpensive cone-type feet. I can't tell for certain whether a $300 Ultimate Isolation System 3 or $478 Ultimate Isolation System 2 sounds better than a $2,200 Vibraplane. The Vibraplane may well offer superior isolation compared to an Air Mass alone. But the Vibraplane has no mass damping and no ability to block RF/EMI. The Bright Star UIS does more than other isolation-only products for comparable or much lower cost.

Doug Blackburn



The Audiophile Voice Vol1/2 BRIGHT STAR ISOLATION

I won't keep you in suspense. This is the greatest single improvement I have heard - Fully the equivalent of upgrading a component.

This product caused me to rethink and redesign my installation immediately upon hearing the results of but one Isolation System on the CD player alone. Bottom line: I'm isolating every critical component.

What the system did to the sound was not subtle. I never needed to go back and forth questioning what I heard. Coherence - the instruments are more precisely defined, emerging from a quieter background. Instrumental tone is more natural, relaxed and distinct. The "naturalness" and ease of the sound was ultimately what impressed me most.

Soundstage became broader along the rear wall, smack into the corners. It removed a lot of digitalis: the silvery hash associated with some CDs and also a lot of digital glut heard during crescendos of large orchestras. Within the reverberant space I could better make out placement of voices and instruments. Whereas before, only ambient sounds came from the rear corners of the room, I could now hear specific sounds. I heard more detail within the orchestra, which previously had only been part of the general sound. The tympani rolls were never this deep or well defined.

These kinds of results were repeated on CD after CD. Even Martin Denny's birdcalls seemed real. There's absolutely no mistaking what's going on hear - there's no going back.

How about on a piece of electronics? On an Audio Research SP-9 preamp, the isolation system eliminated about half the brightness that had become an annoying coloration of that unit. Strings sounded less screechy. Soundstage deepened and widened. Tympani rolls got tighter and deeper. Improvements were obvious.

More detail is heard because it is freed from the hitherto un-noted background noise. Dynamics are improved because the sound stands in starker contrast to the quiet. Isolation becomes more effective the closer it is to the component. If, for example, we rely solely on an acoustically dead rack or stand we are still not preventing air-borne or self-generated vibrations from affecting the sound. The Bright Star system fits neatly with this philosophy since it absorbs vibrations at the chassis. I have never before heard the degree of improvement that I heard when using the Bright Star isolation system.

I did notice a difference in my system - and it wasn't that subtle either. After I put my CD in the isolation system and listened for a week there was no going back. Once I had gotten used to the improved sonics, I wanted it that way all the time. This is one tweak that really works.

Russell Novack



The $ensible Sound BRIGHT STAR ISOLATION

When I used the Bright Star system with my CD player or CD transport I noticed immediately that several aspects of music reproduction were improved. Bass lines became easier to follow and had greater impact. The midrange became more focused. The quiet between notes was quieter and ambient sounds were more obvious. The attack, sustain and decay of individual notes became more noticeable. Images in the soundstage were more precisely located and the space around the performers became more apparent. Treble was cleaner and more precise sounding with better definition. Overall, music sounded more relaxed, taking one step closer to reality.

If you've got a good system forget that silver interconnect or garden hose speaker cable. For less than either of those shot-in-the-dark tweaks, Bright Star's isolation system will make a real and welcome improvement in CD playback. Highly recommended.

Bob Bottman



Positive Feedback BRIGHT STAR ISOLATION

Several months ago, Positive Feedback was approached by Barry Kohan of Bright star Audio to review their vibration control system. Since I had heard about these units I was very anxious to give them a try.

I put the Little Rock on top of my amplifier. The sound was much tighter and more controlled with the Little Rock in place. What next? It was time to put the Big Rock under my amp. I heard a much more noticeable improvement. The music was tighter and more precise. Overall, a pleasant step forward. After putting the Bright Star system in, it sounds like I spent $5000 on a new amp.

The Bright Star Audio combination is the best isolation product that I've found, it could really improve your sound.

Clay Swartz



The Abso!ute Sound No 95 BIG ROCK and LITTLE ROCK

My initial experience with the Big Rock is still the most instructive. I placed my Quicksilver KT-88 amps aboard after playing two orchestral pieces. Bass, which tends to be soft on these 60-watt monos tightened up considerably. Dynamics were punchier. Images were more securely positioned, with better focus. This scenario pretty much repeated itself with various other components. The Forte Model 4 amp used the system and benefited with a greater weight to performances, less congestion and improved pitch definition in the bottom. Resolution was much improved.

I was skeptical when Bright Star's Barry Kohan suggested a Big Rock between my Lead Balloon and my SOTA Cosmos. I assumed this part of my system was isolated and massed out. Wrong! The noise floor dropped precipitously. Images appeared in space with stability and control only hinted at before. With my Cosmos "Rocked Out", the articulation between instruments and the ambience retrieval told me this isolation system was in my system to stay!

Plain and simple, the Bright Star isolation system works - and works well.

Neil A. Gader


The Big Rock really works as advertised: the noise floor drops noticeably, the music is better focused with greater top-to-bottom control. You won't have to convince yourself your hearing an improvement-you'll know it during the first record played.

Michael Fremer


I've played around with turntable isolation platforms for more than two decades, and this is by far the best to date. In fact, the Bright Star is one of the few units that makes a difference in my dedicated equipment room - which is a separate room from my speakers.

The Big Rock equals or surpasses the effect of using a wall mount shelf to decouple the turntable. It does a fine job of damping out low-frequency air conditioner vibration in apartments, and the impact of heavy trucks moving along a major nearby road. In any decent real-world setup the Bright Star is a real gem, and the benefits are immediately audible. You will hear what your turntable and arm can do for the first time.

Anthony H. Cordesman



The Abso!ute Sound No 94 THE BIG ROCK 19 PLATFORM

Realizing the full potential of the SAMA modification requires attention to the placement of the turntable and motor assembly. VPI's Harry Weisfeld suggested trying the Bright Star isolation base. Combining the Split Plinth arrangement and the sand footing results in exceptionally good damping and isolation of drive motor vibrations from the turntable. This results is a more realistic musical presentation: greater low-frequency dynamics, a more natural upper midrange and cleaner upper octaves. Low frequencies more closely resemble those found on the master tape. Dynamics were less constricted, full-bodied and better detailed. In short, the music holds together better.

My ears tell me that the Bright Star is draining off or trapping excess energy that may result in cartridge mistracking. The mandolin retains its full, resonant feeling without an accompanying electronic ringing. High frequencies that were a tad muted and reticent are more open and better defined without any correspondent etching. Cymbals emerge from behind a curtain and are more dimensional. Adding the Bright Star base to the VPI turntable decidedly elevates the performance level for a minimum investment.

Myles B. Astor




The Audio Observatory Vol.3 No.2 THE BIG ROCK

I will not be listening to my system without it again. The effect is not subtle. Music is what the Big Rock allows. The improvement was nothing short of amazing. The sound has greater purity through the midrange and greater ease up high. Best of all is the increased definition and snap of bass transients. The Big Rock quashes resonances to a remarkable degree. All in all, the Bright Star Big Rock is one of the most musically effective components that you can buy. Recommended with great enthusiasm.


Paul A. Cervantes



Positive Feedback Vol6/7 No6/1 BRIGHT STAR ISOLATION

The Sweet Spot - Placing the Bright Star Air Mass under a component does provide sonic improvement. There is better background detail, better imaging and more articulation. I normally use the Big Rock and Little Rock under all my components and have been very pleased with the results, so I suppose that nobody will be surprised when I say that the Ultimate Isolation System should be considered by anyone serious about totally isolating a component.

Clay Swartz



Positively db's Feedback

The latest product in the Bright Star line-up is the Air Mass. When combined with a Big Rock and Little Rock this stack-up has a very low resonant frequency. Press on one corner and it bobs back and forth at about .05 Hz - perfect for isolating floor motions. Other air isolation devices, even some more expensive ones, do not get this low resonant frequency correct.

I'm now convinced that as big an improvement as clamping and Audiopoints were, Bright Star's Ultimate Isolation System is significantly better. I keep thinking "sonic purity" when I try to come with words to describe the effect. Backgrounds are quieter, detail and harmonics are more complete…the amp sounds more sophisticated, as if it were a much more expensive component. The performance is magnified with the Bright Star Ultimate Isolation System. Bright Star has hit on the right combination. This system far outperformed the alternative turntable support systems.

What you will hear will be so wonderful that you will think that you died and went to heaven. Everything just gets better. The cost/performance ratio is so high here that a Bright Star setup should be considered mandatory. Buying a different amplifier that improves the sound this much just might be impossible AT ANY PRICE.

On a scale of one to ten, I would give the Bright Star Ultimate Isolation System a ten!

Doug Blackburn



Stereophile THE ULTIMATE TNT ISOLATION SYSTEM

Harry Weisfeld called and mentioned that he was enthusiastic about the Ultimate system - very enthusiastic.

The Ultimate TNT system works like a charm. I heard a substantial improvement after installing it, hearing details that were previously inaudible but had always been present. Bass sounded more deep and taut. I could hear farther into the spaces in which the music took place. I found the added detail, the deeper tighter bass and the clarity of the highs to add significantly - and that's what it's all about.

What I like most about the Bright Star Ultimate TNT Isolation System is that it's simple, affordable and it works. I can confidently predict that anyone who owns a VPI TNT will notice a substantial improvement in the performance of their turntable for less than the cost of a pair of high-quality interconnects. I'd call that a bargain.

Wes Phillips



Bound For Sound No5a/92 BRIGHT STAR ISOLATION

So what's a Big Rock isolation platform? It's probably the most easily understood tweak in the world - and it works. Yahhhh, that's good! Everything was immediately a little cleaner, and low and behold, the electronic background, from which the music emerges had been moved back, way back. This is exciting stuff. It's exciting because the music starts to take on a life of its own when the noise background starts to recede in a major way. Everything you hear is truer to its source - the blurring is way down. Tones grew noticeably richer with a more complete harmonic envelope. The decay of notes from CDs became more natural and ambient information was more complete.

I'm pretty impressed by what an equipment foundation c
an do to the sound of an audio system. It settles the sound down, like adjusting the focus of a fine camera; making everything sound a little sharper, a little cleaner and a little more lifelike. Major improvements are possible in all areas of music reproduction if one uses the Bright Star isolation system throughout.

Martin G. DeWulf



Audiotechnique THE BRIGHT STAR BIG ROCK

Bright Star Audio manufactures an equipment isolation platform, the Big Rock. A CD player, turntable or other component is placed on top isolating it from outside vibrations. It is very elegant and very effective.

Weng Cheung



AUDIOPHILE No 72 BRIGHT STAR ALTAIR PRO SPEAKER

Bright Star Audio is famous for its speakers and vibration control products. The Altair Pro's cabinet and exterior design are extremely well executed. Bright Star's Dynamic Dipole Design achieves a three dimensional soundstage and peak sound quality.

The Altair Pro ($3000) presents an extraordinary three-dimensional sonic effect which draws the listener into the music. Its performance is similar to that of the Avalon Ascent ($12,500) - only better.

The Bright Star Altair Pro is one of the top choices available to the audiophile. This is High End.



SUONO (Italy) issue 391 THE ALTAIR SPEAKER SYSTEM

The very intelligent speaker system from Bright Star Audio is a Dynamic Dipole Design in a cabinet incorporating synthetic materials. The sound is excellent. The performance is far better than the price would indicate and this makes them incredibly competitive.



The Audio Observatory Vol4/1 ALTAIR LOUDSPEAKER

The Altair is nothing if innovative. It's clear that a good deal of design and engineering has been expelled on this speaker system.

The Altairs handle subtle imaging and staging better than any speaker that I've ever used. In well-defined recordings the sharpness and precision was little shy of awesome. In this regard the Altair is as good as I've heard.

The midrange is especially adept at presenting voice with truth and precision. The Altairs managed to capture the glowing warmth of Margo Timmon's fluid vocals and the tubey crunch of the opening guitar chords, not an easy trick. This is but one example of the quite nearly perfect tonal and timbrel balance that the Altairs posses from the mids on up.

The Altairs will play quite loudly without fatigue. It used a 10" woofer than can move a whole hell of a lot of air when it needs to. The Altairs provide an amazingly effortless portrayal for speakers of their size or price.

The Altairs succeed to an almost uncanny degree in combining the spaciousness and sweep of the best dipole planers and the dynamics, punch and precise imaging that seemed so elusive to dynamic designs.

The Bright Star Altairs join that rarefied class of speakers that perform so well that they challenge the capabilities of speakers costing thousands more. Always truthful, never overdone or flashy, they are recommended highly.

Paul A. Cervantes



HiFi and Musik (Sweden) THE ALTAIR SPEAKER

At the recent CES, prices were so high that the consumer was assumed to be crazy enough to pay just about anything! One exception was the Altair from Bright Star Audio. The sound was very airy and seemed to come out of a pair of large panel speakers.



Audiotechnique (Hong Kong) THE ALTAIR SPEAKER

The Bright Star Altair is a top-of-the-line product and the sound is out of this world. It has tremendous imaging; the audio range is very intricate and is quite well balanced. This is a pioneering design and the sonic effect is quite phenomenal. They are an outstanding value.

The Altair's design has been carried out completely and successfully. It is elegant and performs very well - like a much more expensive speaker, achieving sound quality that is close to perfect.

I am extremely impressed with the performance of this speaker system.



The $ensible Sound No.43 THE ALTAIR SPEAKER

This unique speaker is the brainchild of Bright Star's Barry Kohan, company president and resident speaker guru. And a gifted child it is…a prodigy even. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Holy holography, Batman!! I sat almost slack jawed as I "looked" into one of the most dimensional soundstage illusions ever. The Altairs disappeared. Their soundstage presentation was the Big Sky of Hi Fi - airy, spacious and dimensional. The Altairs are something special with startling realism. They were detailed, clean and smooth with absolutely no harshness - just music. They portrayed acoustic music as you'd expect to hear it live.

The Altairs are an excellent, well-crafted product. Their soundstaging is easily the best I've heard. These speakers embody what Hi Fi is all about - playing music so it sounds like music. They leave little to be desired. Highly recommended.

Bob Bottman



Audio Magazine Vol76 No7 BRIGHT STAR ALTAIR SPEAKER

The Altairs represent quite good value for the money. They presented a very spacious sound coupled with precise imaging. Laterally, the Altair's coverage was even and excellent.

The Altair's power handling was excellent. The system has an excellent energy-time curve. Horizontal coverage is also very good. The Altair could handle voltages in excess of 30 volts without any unacceptable noises - higher than any system I have measured! The woofer did not exhibit any dynamic offset, a rare characteristic. The low-frequency power handling was superb. The sine-wave sweep revealed a very solid enclosure. The group delay is quite flat - the result of the careful alignment of the system. Distortion at 440Hz was below the detection floor of my test gear. The peak input power rose smoothly with frequency, reaching about 5,100 watts.

These speakers offer an excellent combination of super-modern good looks, impressive performance, low distortion and high power handling and premium audiophile traits.

D.B. Keele, Jr.



Bound For Sound No.2A93 THE ALTAIR PRO SPEAKER

The Bright Star Altair Pro speakers were working their best. The Pro is a serious Hi End speaker system that has the rare ability of combining speed, extension, power and imaging.

Martin G. De Wulf
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