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A new chassis noise reduction product from HRS: Vortex

Stephen Harper – Audio Consultants - Monday, June 06, 2016

This is a new chassis noise reduction product designed to work with the thicker and stiffer chassis that some larger and heavier electronics are constructed from. Similar to the Nimbus Assemblies but constructed from a stainless steel outer with the HRS proprietary damping medium incorporated within the Vortex, and a Nimbus coupler at the top that is designed to contact with the bottom plate of a chassis. 

The Vortex “footers” come in two versions. The V-150 is a fixed height design which has a shallow, but not sharp, point at the underside. The V-150A has an adjustable height device underneath, and a tool is supplied to do this height adjustment when this Vortex is placed underneath the chassis. When 4 or more Vortex units are used, this adjustable module ensures intimate contact of all Vortex modules used with the underside of the chassis being treated.

The first evaluation tests with the new Vortex assemblies were immediate and obvious. Just placing 3 Vortex modules under a chassis constructed with 13 mm thick aluminium plate, and another 3 under the separate power supply similarly constructed, produced an astonishing and exceptional improvement to the sound. Just a few seconds into the piece of music being played the sound improvements were evident, and were not subtle. This is compared to the same piece of electronics already sitting on 3 NA-150 Nimbus Assemblies and on top of a M3X-1921 base, but the move up in sound quality took me by surprise. Better transparency, wider and deeper soundstage (it was not bad before!), better separation of instruments and voices, better transient attack and dynamics. A complex early music vocal piece with 6 singers was much easier to follow as the reduced noise floor resulted in improved articulation. Focus of images was better within the tangible space that the recording was made in. There was no increase in brightness and the presentation was not more forward, as there can be with other steel/ceramic balls designs such as Stillpoints, Cerabases or Pulsar Points. The lack of forwardness is an absolute plus point, in fact the sound stage is deeper and wider. Removal of high end “fizz”, as I like to call it, is what Nimbus products do anyway. The Vortex assemblies take this to a whole new level. 

The next unexpected result was when the 4th adjustable Vortex assembly was placed under the chassis. A further step change occurred but this time the main benefit was to the tonal balance. There was more authority to the bass end of the frequency range which gave a more realistic balance to the timbre of instruments and voices, with added texture to strings being bowed or plucked. The complex resonances of a piano were more evident and the decays of sustained notes just went on and on.

We have demonstration samples for home evaluation. For owners of electronics constructed from thick plate or billet, such as Edge, Boulder, Constellation, Ayre, or Solution, we highly recommend an audition of this product to allow you to hear the true potential of these designs. Please note that with normal, thinner metal sheet chassis the standard Nimbus Assemblies will still be the first choice.

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