I replaced the hefty stock Focal spikes with Stillpoints Ultras, sat back, and was shocked by what I heard. With the Stillpoints, the soundstage opened up with greater width, depth, and bloom around images. The sound became even more detached from the loudspeakers, with a greater solidity of images between and around the Focals …
… The bass improved to a similar degree. The bottom end became tauter, better defined, and cleaner. The Stillpoints made the midbass a bit leaner, but more articulate. The improved midbass conferred greater clarity in the midrange, as well as in the bottom octave, where very low bass notes were more audible and defined once the midbass was better controlled. Bass dynamics were also improved; notes seemed to start and stop more quickly, giving the presentation greater dynamic agility and conveying more of the musicians’ dynamic expression.
Finally, replacing the stock spikes with Stillpoints make the background “blacker” and quieter, allowing greater clarity and resolution of very low-level information. Sounds that had been somewhat undifferentiated with the stock feet became vividly clear. For example, percussion instruments that produce a series of very fine transients (shakers and guiros, for examples) sounded much more real with the reduction in transient blurring. Moreover, it was much easier to identify exactly how the instrument produced its sound. All this added up to a more lifelike reproduction.
~ Robert Harley, The Absolute Sound, November 2011, Issue 218
A surprise for me occurred when I stuck my head in the Berning suite. This system consisted of the Peak Consult Empress speakers powered by a combination of Berning electronics. These included his Micro Z headphone amp used as a preamp. At $750 for this unit I was stunned. This was connected to his Zero-Hysteresis (ZH) 270 stereo tube amplifier that produces 70 watts per channel and was used from 200 hertz down. Cost for this amp is $4,995. For driving the top section of the speakers, the Berning Ziefried OTL amp was in place. This mighty 10-watt amp drove the stink out of these speakers and was used from 200 cycles up. The cost for this amp is $5,750. Overall – the sound in this suite rocked. It could easily be as delicate as you could imagine. On the other hand, throw some solid jazz or hard-hitting. R & B and you’d be surprised. Very dynamic, good extension on top and bottom, open, deep and clear soundstage. Wow -- what a surprise.
~ Bill Wells, Stereo Times, January 2006
I’ll begin with the Sound Sensations room where the high-sensitivity (96dB) Ambience Reference 1600 ribbon/cone hybrid loudspeakers ($12k) were being driven beautifully by the Audio Aero Capitole CD player and the Berning Siegfried tube power amplifier—a 10W, 811-based, Class A, single-ended-triode design from high-end legend David Berning that is priced at $8000. The sound on the Barber Violin Concerto (the Isaac Stern/Leonard Bernstein recording on Sony CD—a disc I often bring with me to shows) was simply gorgeous…
~ Jonathon Valin, The Absolute Sound, January 2006
But the ultimate proof of the small is beautiful maxim was to be found in the Stillpoints room. Here, an Audio Aero Capitole CD player was feeding some seriously wild prototype amps from David Berning, hooked up to a pair of the small but perfectly formed Verity Audio Parsifal loudspeakers. Naturally enough, the entire system was Stillpointed to death, with component stands under the speakers and the latest and far more aesthetically pleasing version of the equipment rack supporting the front-end components. The pre-amp in particular is worthy of note, a vacuum tube design running from a switching power supply, you twist the values to control the volume! It’s okay, they run pretty cool, but this is one amazing looking piece of kit. Not, however, as amazing as the sound, which was lucid, colourful, dynamic and totally free of both the boxes and the mechanics of reproduction. The music really breathed, occupying clearly defined acoustic space, different for each recording. The natural unforced presentation was underpinned with real dynamic jump and life allowing the performers to really communicate and hold your attention. This was one room that I kept returning to, and delivered what was for me, the best sound at the show (by quite some margin).
~ Roy Gregory, HiFi+, Issue 39, pages 27-28, 2005
The Stillpoints Room displayed a complete line of Stillpoints Component Stands, ESS equipment racks, and Stillpoints, supporting Audio Aero Capitole CD player with a David Berning microZOTL pre-amp and Berning Siegfried OTL single ended Class A amp. Analysis Plus cables connected all the components through Ambience Reference 1600 Loudspeakers. The sound was dramatic, open, airy, and extremely natural. I would have loved to have heard this system in a larger room, however, even in a standard bedroom the sound was really outstanding.
~ Richard Foster, HiFi+, Issue 42, page 26, 2005