Friday, November 6, 2015

Just Arrived...Les Davis' CLD Prototypes

Mere moments after I finished my next Vinyl Anachronist column for Perfect Sound Forever, where I mentioned Les Davis' CLD material, I received a package in the mail from Australia with the first batch of footers that I will try to bring to CES next January. Les Davis sent me 32 pre-cut footers in two different sizes. The smaller round set, I presume, are for placing under the feet of components, and the larger square pieces are probably meant for placing under loudspeakers, especially between bookshelf speakers and their stands.

Again, these are prototypes, just the actual CLD sheets Les manufacturers and not a finished product. After hearing the sonic improvements of these sheets back in Sydney, I recommended that Les find a way to package them in an attractive way, perhaps sandwiched between pieces of wood, aluminum--anything attractive so that audiophiles won't mind placing them in a visible location on their equipment racks. My only concern was, of course, that the outer casing did not diminish the effects of the CLD material.

Now that I have them on my rack, I think they're visually interesting in their raw form. When you place them under amplifiers and CD players and basically anything in a big rectangular chassis, the thin footers disappear from view. When placed where they can easily be seen--in this case under my Unison Research Giro turntable and the Unison Research Phono One phono pre--they're still not obtrusive and I don't mind their presence at all. Perhaps an outer ring may enhance their appearance, but I don't want the price of these footers to increase exponentially just so they'll be pretty.

After just a couple of hours of listening, I still heard the same exact sonic improvements in my current system that I did with the Einstein/Brigadiers Audio/Arcam system back in Sydney. Using the wonderful, lovely-sounding Analogue Productions reissue of Dean Martin's Dream with Dean, I noticed a rather disjointed feeling between Dean and his backing band, which to me suggested that they were not recorded in the same space. There's a real center-fill problem with the band itself--guitar way over to the right, drums and bass way over to the left, with Dino smack dab in the middle.

Once the CLD footers were placed under the amp, turntable and phono stage, Dean and his band returned to the same studio space. The overall sound became more coherent, and more seamlessly blended from top to bottom. The footers also fleshed out the bass in the recording with more woodiness, more bloom. I removed the footers and listened once more (this is the best way to detect sonic improvements through changes in the system as well as minor tweaks) and I immediately felt like I was missing something. Dean's voice was a little drier, a little more distant.

I'm going to experiment with these footers a little more, testing their effects on system combinations that are both more resolving and less so. I'll come back with more findings in a few days.

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