This is nothing new, but the places on which we set up our hi-fi equipment do make a difference to the sound. THIXAR is a new business based in Düsseldorf, which constructs special platforms with a promising concept behind them. I have already listened to the results of using three of these stands.
|The three absorber bases from bottom to top: The Silence Model with its spikes boring into the base discs, the Silence Plus model and the Entrance model without spikes. The aluminium base discs for the spikes can also be seen.|
THIXAR – the face behind this name is that of Dirk Rüdell, whose other career is as a laboratory chemist. When his own professional success, and the consent of his family, allowed him to purchase a high-quality hi-fi system some years ago, the question arose as to where it would make sense for the equipment to stand. With his own knowledge of chemistry, he undertook numerous listening tests to develop absorbing bases, made with acrylic or MDF housings around special silicone cores. This material is specially manufactured for his company. The name of the product, THIXAR, is derived from a technical term from the world of chemistry, i.e. thixotropy. This is descriptive of the stabilising property of gels when subjected to energy in forms such as shaking (as with a ketchup bottle) or vibration. Liquid materials which possess this property are called thixotropic. The consistency of the silicone in the THIXAR damping layer is a decisive factor in a number of ways. In the production process, the viscosity of the damping gel needs to guarantee a shape that remains stable over the long-term. In acoustic terms, the damping needs to combine with various weights and work for both heavy and lightweight hi-fi equipment. The effect needs to encompass a broad frequency range, especially in the bass registers, where distortions due to footfall can clearly be heard. Equipment base units firstly need to damp the resonant frequencies of the equipment housings placed on them as fully as possible, and secondly they need to isolate the equipment from external sounds such as footsteps or vibrations caused by the music itself. To put it another way, it is a matter of breaking what, in an acoustic sense, is a vicious circle of mechanical interference. The Silencer, made by German company Accurion and also vended by Dirk Rüdell exclusively, makes an impressively perfected solution for this. The only trouble with the Silencer is its purchase price of almost 20,000 Euros for a single stand, especially bearing in mind that a stand will be needed for each piece of equipment. I had a brief audio and visual taste of the Silencer when it was demonstrated at the “Norddeutschen HiFi-Tagen” exhibition. The effect is amazing. I have accepted an offer to test that equipment at a later date, though, because the concept of the THIXAR stands, single-handedly developed by Mr Rüdell, interested me so much that I wanted to test them and report on them to you first. There are three different models. The consistency of the special silicone, its unique properties used exclusively by THIXAR, needs special work. This work involves individually crafting each stand, at the maker’s factory in Düsseldorf. The prices of the various sized stands are indicative of the amount of craft that goes into the units, as all three differ surprisingly little in price. The differences in the amount of work are hardly noticeable. Each stand even has its own serial number, which I have never encountered before with comparable products.
|The Entrance stands on solid spikes, optionally resting on base plates. The triple-layer, “sandwich” design can be clearly seen.|
The small model bears the name “Entrance”. It features a sandwich design consisting of damping material between two layers of black acrylic. Five high-quality aluminium threads protrude from the bottom acrylic layer to accommodate three or four steel spikes. These are supplied with the equipment, along with four matching aluminium base plates for them to rest on, thus preventing the surface beneath from becoming damaged. In most cases, the ideal solution will certainly be to let the base rest on a surface via these spiked feet, but if spikes are not wanted, other types of feet can be screwed into the M6 threads. These can be obtained from hi-fi suppliers and well-stocked DIY stores. It is nice to see a manufacturer being so flexible when it comes to individual situations and the wishes of the customer. The dimensions of the Entrance measure 45 by 36 centimetres. This fits any kind of electronic equipment as well as many record players. Units can be specially tailored for size and colour on request, a fact which applies equally to the more expensive models.