CH Precision - use the supplied spikes or substitute with footers?

MadFloyd

Member Sponsor
May 31, 2010
2,454
30
225
Mass
#1
Please excuse me if this has already been discussed; I've spent some time searching and didn't find anything.

There was a review by Roy Gregory in May 2018 wherein he commented that CH's internal spike system was detrimental to performance. I've pasted the text below.

I'm wondering who, if anyone, has experimented with this and if so what are your thoughts?

But as with so many Swiss manufacturers, time served at Goldmund is part of CH Precision's collective history, and it’s not possible to spend time working at Goldmund without developing a healthy respect for mechanical grounding. With that in mind, CH Precision has equipped each of its products with a spiked post in each corner that extends the height of the chassis to allow adjustment from above. These posts are wound down once the unit is in situ and then concealed by a rebated cosmetic cap in the top plate. Polymer (Delrin?) discs are also supplied to protect the supporting surface and CH recommends their use. Because all of the units share the same footprint, there’s also a suggestion that by dispensing with the cosmetic caps the posts can be used to separate stacked units while still maintaining a solid mechanical ground.

On paper, that all looks good; in practice, it fails to deliver and it’s not hard to understand why. Harsh? Let me make the case. First, nobody spending this sort of money on amplification should be neglecting proper investment in supports (at least not if they want to actually realize the performance they’ve just paid for), and even if the notion of a furniture-free stack might seem appealing, no manufacturer should be encouraging it. But more important, not only do the spiked posts fail in their primary role, even with the units stood on individual shelves or platforms, they are actually detrimental to performance. Heavy and magnetic, they don’t lock, allowing them to rattle; they have considerable unsupported length, which encourages them to resonate and being steel; they interfere with the delicate circuitry and the signals its carrying. Why go to all the trouble of machining casework out of aluminum if you are going to build a steel "fence" inside it?

The saving grace in all this is that it’s easy to demonstrate both the spike's malign influence and to eliminate it. Simply listen to the units deployed as recommended and then bypass their spikes with alternative supports (I used HRS Nimbus footers). The benefits in terms of noise floor, rhythmic articulation, focus and transparency are hard to discredit. As usual, experiment with the placing of the footers and you can gain further benefits. All of which suggests that while the corner posts pay lip service to the concept of mechanical grounding, they are neither ideally positioned nor actually effective -- just the existence and effect of those polymer discs should set the alarm bells ringing. The coup de grace comes when you remove the posts altogether; just listen to the soundstage expand while tonal colors and harmonics bloom. The conclusion is simple -- the grounding posts are best left in the boxes in which they arrive. It’s not often that a design weakness in any product is as easily rectified.
 

rsorren1

Well-Known Member
Sep 6, 2013
291
36
78
Dallas area
#2
Hi Ian. Hope you and Mrs. MadFloyd are well during this difficult time.

I can report what I've seen our owners, dealers, and what I do. I use the supplied spike system with HRS racks. I am satisfied with the results. However, several of our owners and dealers have demonstrated improved results in their environments using Nordost cones and feet, and HRS nimbus and Vortex in conjunction with HRS racks.

Roy Gregory is one of the finest reviewers in the business. His results seem to align with what our CH Precision dealers, who are also HRS dealers, have found regarding his use of Nimbus footers. In this area results likely depend on the specific environment in which our component is placed (rack, floor, room, etc). I always recommend trying before buying as I am sure you would do. Let us know what you find. You can contact one of our dealers to discuss their results further.
 

MadFloyd

Member Sponsor
May 31, 2010
2,454
30
225
Mass
#3
Thanks for your reply, Ralph.

The reason I'm asking now is I just took possession of an X1 to compliment my P1 and wondering what I should do in terms of installation.

When I read that review, I bought some nimbus footers and placed them under my P1 and was happy with the sound and called it a day.

The X1 is currently on a wood shelf of a rack that is NOT at the level of the rest of my system and I haven't tried using the supplied spikes. It's simply sitting on the default legs. Obviously I can experiment with three different configurations (default feet, supplied spikes or nimbus footers) but thought I'd seek out opinions, especially since Roy's findings in that review were fascinating.

By the way, does an X1 need break in? Does that apply to a component when it is just a power supply?
 

rsorren1

Well-Known Member
Sep 6, 2013
291
36
78
Dallas area
#4
Ian, first congratulations and thank you for the purchase of our X1! The P1/X1 is extraordinary and will give you MANY hours of musical enjoyment! I noticed you use a Kronos turntable and a Lyra Atlas SL Lambda. What a combination with our P1/X1!

Make sure you are comfortable with connecting the umbilical chord from the X1 to the P1. One side of the cord has pins and the other does not. This aligns with the P1 and X1 connectors. There is a "top" indicator on the inside of the connector as you look at it and this should be aligned with the "top" indicator on the P1 and X1 connector. Make sure the units are completely powered off (rocker switch off) when connecting or disconnecting the X1 cable. Once you have it connected the P1/X1 will behave as a single unit. The X1 benefits from break-in; I have found about 50-75 hours.

I would always try the supplied spikes first. Make sure you use the couplers underneath the spikes so as not to scratch your furniture/rack. Our engineers did spend time at Goldmund where they honed their skills in designing for resonance. Beyond that you may find that additional high-end shelves, racks, footers will improve the presentation in your particular environment.

Again, thank you, and ENJOY!
 

MadFloyd

Member Sponsor
May 31, 2010
2,454
30
225
Mass
#5
Thank you, Ralph!
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
4,382
974
385
Utah
#6
Please excuse me if this has already been discussed; I've spent some time searching and didn't find anything.

There was a review by Roy Gregory in May 2018 wherein he commented that CH's internal spike system was detrimental to performance. I've pasted the text below.

I'm wondering who, if anyone, has experimented with this and if so what are your thoughts?

But as with so many Swiss manufacturers, time served at Goldmund is part of CH Precision's collective history, and it’s not possible to spend time working at Goldmund without developing a healthy respect for mechanical grounding. With that in mind, CH Precision has equipped each of its products with a spiked post in each corner that extends the height of the chassis to allow adjustment from above. These posts are wound down once the unit is in situ and then concealed by a rebated cosmetic cap in the top plate. Polymer (Delrin?) discs are also supplied to protect the supporting surface and CH recommends their use. Because all of the units share the same footprint, there’s also a suggestion that by dispensing with the cosmetic caps the posts can be used to separate stacked units while still maintaining a solid mechanical ground.

On paper, that all looks good; in practice, it fails to deliver and it’s not hard to understand why. Harsh? Let me make the case. First, nobody spending this sort of money on amplification should be neglecting proper investment in supports (at least not if they want to actually realize the performance they’ve just paid for), and even if the notion of a furniture-free stack might seem appealing, no manufacturer should be encouraging it. But more important, not only do the spiked posts fail in their primary role, even with the units stood on individual shelves or platforms, they are actually detrimental to performance. Heavy and magnetic, they don’t lock, allowing them to rattle; they have considerable unsupported length, which encourages them to resonate and being steel; they interfere with the delicate circuitry and the signals its carrying. Why go to all the trouble of machining casework out of aluminum if you are going to build a steel "fence" inside it?

The saving grace in all this is that it’s easy to demonstrate both the spike's malign influence and to eliminate it. Simply listen to the units deployed as recommended and then bypass their spikes with alternative supports (I used HRS Nimbus footers). The benefits in terms of noise floor, rhythmic articulation, focus and transparency are hard to discredit. As usual, experiment with the placing of the footers and you can gain further benefits. All of which suggests that while the corner posts pay lip service to the concept of mechanical grounding, they are neither ideally positioned nor actually effective -- just the existence and effect of those polymer discs should set the alarm bells ringing. The coup de grace comes when you remove the posts altogether; just listen to the soundstage expand while tonal colors and harmonics bloom. The conclusion is simple -- the grounding posts are best left in the boxes in which they arrive. It’s not often that a design weakness in any product is as easily rectified.
There's nothing wrong with the CH's standard feet just don't use the spikes which I think suck too and you definitely don't need any other footers.

david
 

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