You can even gauge the magnitude of improvement to be had by the level of initial awfulness of the system sound, and this is also a gauge of equipment quality – things that can never blossom will never have much of a shine knocked off their performance at first, but that’s pretty rare. It’s also self-sealing as the kind of product that is unlikely to resolve enough to show what the Center Stage2can do usually cost less than four Center Stages, and I doubt anyone is ever going to put a £500 device on £900 worth of Center Stages. Once you get to £5,000 though… Center Stage2makes a hugely convincing argument.
Unless you are pathologically impatient (or a reviewer/inveterate box-swapper who changes components in a system on an almost hourly basis) there are no downsides. OK, so if the underside of your component is more screw-head than base-plate, then there might be installation issues, and you might find your system might need a spot of speaker repositioning to accommodate the system improvement, but that’s it.
Most audiophiles have a drawer filled with magic cones, domes, pods, and pucks. All of these devices were bought initially claiming a lot, and all tried, praised, used… and removed. The Center Stage2 – I feel – is different. They have staying power. I suspect those who try them will never look back. Instead of being next year’s drawer fodder, the Center Stage2makes you enjoy your system more and does so for longer. Judging by my reluctance to unpack components in a Center Stage’d system (which, to me, means empty pages and ultimately no job) I’d go so far as to say the Center Stage2will make the MTBF (Mean Time Before Futzing round looking for a new audio product) stretch out longer. You only change devices when dissatisfaction strikes, and Center Stage2helps keep that dissatisfaction at bay.
In truth, I’m envious of those who don’t have to put their system into a permanent state of flux because they can gain the most benefit from a set of Critical Mass Systems’ Center Stage2. Let’s not understate their importance… all other things being equal, I’d be happier using a comparatively inexpensive system resting on a quartet of Center Stage2than I would a more esoteric system just sitting on ‘regular’ equipment supports. Although I’m generally a ‘different paths up the same mountain’ kinda guy, I can’t help thinking that this is the best of the best. If you can take the short-term pain, the long-term gain is more than worth it!
Center Stage20.8 (2.03cm high, for devices weighing less than 45kg): £225 ea.
Center Stage21.0 (2.54cm high, for devices weighing over 45kg): £425 ea.
Center Stage21.5 (3.81cm high, for amplifiers on low tables near loudspeakers): £675 ea.
Manufactured by: Critical Mass Systems
Distributed in the UK by: Select Audio
Tel: +44(0)1900 601954