Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Sources: 2TB iMac 27" quad-core w. 16GB RAM running OWS 10.8.2, PureMusic 2.04, COS Engineering D1, Metrum Hex, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi La Scala MkII, SOtM dX-USB HD w. super-clock upgrade & mBPS-d2s, Apple iPod Classic 160GB (AIFF), Astell& Kern AK100 modified by Red Wine Audio, Cambridge Audio iD100, Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital, Pure i20
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Esoteric C-03, Bent Audio Tap-X, COS Engineering D1
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1, F6; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; Gato Audio DIA-250; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; AURALiC Merak [on loan]
Loudspeakers: Albedo Audio Aptica; soundkaos Wave 40; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Submission; German Physiks HRS-120, Gallo Strada II w. TR-3D subwoofer
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event MkI & MkII; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Arkana Research XLR/RCA and speaker cables [on loan]
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all components, 5-meter Zu cords to amp/subwoofer
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Rajasthani hardwood rack for amps
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: Irregularly shaped 9.5 x 10m open floor plan with additional 2nd-floor loft; wood-paneled sloping ceiling; parquet flooring; lots of non-parallel surfaces (pictorial tour here)
Review component retail: €2'470 for Krion turntable platform, €890 for matching steel frame, €890 for glass amp stand
Equipment isolation. Two guys sit in a tapas bar. Says one to the other: "My shelfless Artesania Audio Exoteryc rack from Spain is so selfless, it renders all add-on footers moot." The other guy is dyslexic. He heard 'mute' so says nothing. And that's just like the first guy's gear. Even so, that fellow can still add shelves into his frame-within-a-frame contraption which, from an outer exoskeleton, hangs an internal cage. There movable struts with adjustable upfacing Neoprene-padded footers conform to the size of his components.
He might add shelves to accommodate unusually small components which elude the tightest spacing of the rack's own contact patches; or to place two small components side by side. Or he might support an oversized turntable on top of the structure because it wouldn't fit inside. Thus far the Spaniards of Artesania Audio had offered triple-bonded tempered glass for those optional shelves which could double as dedicated amp stands. How specialty glass which is structurally amorphous rather than grainy can be an effective resonance barrier is demonstrated by Perfect8, Crystal Cable and Waterfall Audio. These three companies use glass for some or all of their speaker enclosures.
Yet as we all know, time stands still for no man. To my knowledge, British expat to Spain Cliff Ormand of Vibex was first to exploit his country's Krion material to trap bad hifi vibrations. A mix of aluminium dust and resin binder, Krion can be cast, cut, moulded and polished and is strong enough for architectural purposes (see above). Vibex exploit it for AC/DC filter enclosures.
But for nearly a year, there'd been murmurs. Cliff was working on a Krion equipment rack. Now his country men from Artesania have beat him to the punch with their latest: Krion shelf options for their top Exoteryc racks. As it happens, Crystal Cable's Minissimo monitor launched at Munich HighEnd 2014. It used neither bonded glass nor bolted aluminium panels like its stable mates. Instead it was machined from a solid German equivalent to Porcelanosa's Krion, i.e. aluminium flakes suspended in resin. Edwin van der Kley explained how these flakes act like stressed members of a bridge.
With all Artesania stuff, we're talking high mass. Having moved house with a double-wide 3-tier Exoteryc once already—both flats involved plenty of stairs—my back knows it all too well. The rack is a beast to move but once installed, quite easily slid on its flat footers particularly when used with the hard white and not neoprene pads. If I need to get behind my rack, I can easily pull it forward on our hardwood floor without marring it. The glass turntable platform is seriously heavy on its own. When it comes to shipping these goods, it rather impacts the transport bill. Ouch. But that didn't prevent Artesania global marketing director Cayetano Castellano from footing said bill for publicity purposes then or now. For this assignment, he proposed to send me two glass amp stands sized to fit FirstWatt's SIT1 monos; and an oversized aka turntable Krion platform with matching steel frame to use with my bigger Pass Labs XA30.8.
Artesania Audio with Krion amp stands and Exoteryc standard width rack at CES 2015 and
Ocean Way speakers, Viola, Nagra & SOtM electronics.
Artesania's Hungarian distributor shows off custom Krion amp stands and proper use of the massive turntable
platform plus Kuzma, Meitner, McIntosh, Ypsilon and Wilson Audio.