It’s also time to insert the Mk2 Spike Shoes. You are probably not expecting much, but it soon becomes obvious that the benefits of this simple upgrade are substantial. The first thing you’ll hear is the expanded range of harmonic colour and the extra shape there is to notes. Listen longer and you’ll come to realize just how much air and depth are added to the soundstage. Play the Kertesz New World [Decca 478 2826] and the spatial, harmonic and dynamic benefits are immediately obvious, from the studied pacing of the unmistakable opening passages, to the timpani detonations that underpin the first crescendo. Why the disproportionate improvement? Because the spike shoes govern the rack’s interface with the outside world and, in turn that means they impact on every component supported in the rack: one-set of spike shoes will improve the performance of your whole system. There’s also nothing stopping you using them under speakers/stands although here you’ll want to take care to compensate for their physical depth – otherwise you’ll likely be lifting your speakers away from their floor reinforcement. Just compare the height of the speaker on its original footers and with the Mk2 Spike Shoes in place and adjust the spikes accordingly – assuming of course that you’ve really nailed your speaker set up in the first place. If not, here’s the perfect excuse to revisit this critical issue…
Blue Horizon correctly suggests that the basic rack is just a starting point. Their strategy is to first add additional isolation platforms to the support levels and then to split the levels into a stackable solution, with levelling cones between each shelf, creating a good, better, best progression. I tried this approach and while the Sanctum isolation platforms work in the context of MDF shelving, that pairing is outperformed by a single bamboo shelf and it certainly makes no sense to me to place a slab of isolated MDF on a bamboo supporting surface. So, having discarded that option, instead I opted to add an additional short layer to the base of the rack – effectively standing the rack on an amp-stand. Even I was surprised by just how successful this was. The increase in dimensionality, transparency and immediacy was remarkable and would have been reward enough, but on top of that, the increase in musical fluidity and articulation was astonishing. Performances became far more lucid and purposeful, taking on a natural shape and sense of proportion, with the Kertesz disc – as well as Morphine and a little Vampire Weekend – confirmed that the bigger and more demanding the piece, the bigger and more demanding the system, the more apparent the rack’s benefits become.
For me, the standard PRS rack with its bamboo shelves (and couplers) combined with the Mk2 Spike Shoes is definitely good. Adding a decoupled level to the base is definitely better, but best of all, it opens the way to using more sophisticated couplers sitting between your electronics and the shelves to really release your system’s musical potential. If you are still subsisting on your first or even an inherited audio rack, do yourself a favour. You underestimate the musical importance of system support at your peril and, whether you are looking for the starting point when it comes to serious system support or it’s high-time you got round to properly supporting a serious system then the Blue Horizon PRS sets the benchmark. Pretty, effective, adaptable and upgradeable, this is the point at which audio support solutions become more than just furniture.
Type: Modular equipment support
Shelf Material: Bamboo
Uprights: Solid stainless steel
210mm/8”, 300mm/12” or 410mm/16”
Footprint: 600 x 450 or 1140 x 450mm
Shelf Finishes: Natural bamboo, black or white gloss
Prices: From £1,459
Mk2 Spike Shoes: £79.95
Manufacturer: Blue Horizon