finite elemente was the go-to stand-maker for the European high-end cognoscenti for many years. Then it had what can best be described as ‘a bit of a wilderness period’. But now, with the pagode Mk II MR (short for ‘Master Reference’), the company is back in rack! We looked at three models from the new line; the HD02 MR Edition (designed for electronics), the HD02 MR Edition Heavy Duty (ideal for high to very high mass turntables, and the occasional preamp made of solid granite) and the HD09 MR Edition L amplifier platform.
There is a great degree of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ going on here. A lot of the changes are relatively easy to spot and very easy to hear, but the physical changes are not so radical as to make the newer models stick out next to any existing pagode Master Reference stands someone might already own. Yes, many of those existing pagode Master Reference owners might feel the pull of the upgrade when they compare Mk I with Mk II because newer is better, but if you liked the look of pagode Master Reference… you’ll like the look of pagode MR Mk II.
But let’s stay with the long-standing original pagode by way of comparison. It featured solid Canadian maple frames (it still does) with two vertical pillars per side (ditto) made of high-grade aluminium (see maple and pillars). The distinction between MR (Master Refererence) and MR Edition was – and is – that the latter has additional solid maple wood square long batons that provide further acoustical and mechanical damping of the aluminium pillars.
The first big design change for the Mk II generation was the choice of material for the platforms (shelves). Originally, these shelves were maple MDF veneered in maple with five little stainless-steel spikes that fitted the respective stainless steel cups within the tensioning frame at each level of the stand. Centering and stability was attempted via soft foam circular rings which kept the platform centered within the frame, although it could be moved laterally with a bit more force (soft foam the only obstacle). Lots of people used the original shelves without the soft foam centering rings as the sound improved... In short, shelves were very solid, very heavy and very dead in terms of overall damping. Those characteristics were offset by appropriate tuning of the proprietary resonators which, like tuning forks stick out of each side of inner bracing of each tensioning frame.