Very few of the many amplifiers, disc players, tuners, and other components I’ve owned through almost five decades of hi-fi hobbying have had notable footers. It seems that many equipment designers either don’t consider stability and vibration damping, don’t understand micro-vibration, or are bound by budget constraints.
That presents other audio engineers with a lively and diverse after-market for upgrade accessories. Having been impressed with the Montaudio Rangitoto R1 isolation feet (link here), I wanted to see what was suitable for heavy components such as monoblock amplifiers and loudspeakers.
The purpose of equipment footers is support, stability, air circulation for cooling, non-slip location, and cosmetic appeal. The Tongariro Premium Tuneable HiFi Isolation Feet are visually very neat and stylish, using quality stainless steel for the body with milled Walnut insert and engineered elastomer rings. There’s an indent on top to accommodate a spike, although I didn’t use them that way.
As well as looking good as a mount for equipment, these isolation feet perform two critical tasks. First, they keep external vibration from entering audio equipment. This is especially important for a vinyl record player or digital disc player, as external vibrations can cause the stylus to skip from the groove, and audio to stutter. Second, it keeps resonance from your equipment from bleeding through the surface it is resting on. Without isolation feet, vibrations can propagate through the material, causing buzzing or veiling of fine detail. I’ve been surprised how cleaner the sound is from my loudspeakers now that they are isolated from the floor.
The Tongariro feet are mechanically designed for heavy gear. However, for user safety as well as maintaining the full elastic polymer dampening properties, Montaudio recommend a maximum weight load of 40Kg per piece (or 160Kg for a set of 4). That accommodates big loudspeakers and amplifiers, and is more than enough support capacity for my system.
A key feature of the Tongiriro is its tuneable properties, where a single stainless post in the base can be rotated, using the supplied Allen key, to lift the centre wooden cylinder away from the outer stainless steel casing. This changes the vibration propagation paths by reducing the hard contact area between the wooden cylinder and the outer casing from a circular plane to a point-like post, and enables listeners to tune the dampening properties to suit their setup. The packaging provides a pictorial representation of the three-part construction.
Each foot weighs 275g – that’s midway between a packet of six Happy Pancakes and a jar of onion relish. They feel very substantial, and the finish quality is excellent. They’re 31mm high, and 52.5mm diameter.
As I have all of my critical components treated with vibration isolation (discussed in several of my other posts), I’ve tried them under several components, and they provide an easy, satisfying isolation and support solution, whilst elegantly adding to the appearance of my home audio equipment. It’s easy to see that they take the effectiveness of the Rangitoto isolation feet to another level.
If you want high quality isolation, and you don’t want rock and roll in your rock ‘n’ roll, give them a try. And they’re proudly designed in New Zealand.
Further details at http://www.montaudio.com
The local retailer is Soundlab, Flat Bush, Auckland. They’re also available from outlets in Australia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.