Continuing the exploration of high-end audio accessories, we delve into the realm of Graphite Audio and their interesting IC-35 Premium Isolation Cones.
A Brief History of the Brand
In 2008, Szymon Rutkowski embarked on a thorough examination of the available anti-vibration and isolation solutions in the market, recognizing their impact on sound quality. After a decade of experimenting with various off-the-shelf solutions, Rutkowski concluded that he had never been completely satisfied with the results. Typically, depending on the solution applied, certain frequencies were exaggerated, resulting in a sound that was far from the natural and vibrant experience of a live performance.
In 2018, Rutkowski made the decision to search for the ultimate solution that would capture the natural timbre and vibrant atmosphere of live performances. Drawing from his previous experiences, he knew that using metals, ceramics, or glass as raw materials was not an option, and he needed to discover something new and unique.
After 2.5 years of prototyping with different plastics and polymers, when Rutkowski was confident in having almost achieved the desired polymer composition, he introduced a specific amount of graphite—a breakthrough. None of his 20 beta testers wanted to part with the prototypes, thus giving birth to Graphite Audio.
It didn’t take long for Graphite Audio to gain international recognition and attract customers from all around the world.
Graphite Audio has doubled its presence at the Munich High End in 2023 compared to 2022. Graphite Audio products were showcased in eight rooms, and Rutkowski rightfully takes great pride in this achievement.
The following collaborations were featured:
- Graphite Audio / AudioNec / Rivera / Esprit – CLASSIC 100 and CLASSIC 100 ULTRA Isolation Platforms, CIS-35 and CIS-60 Cable Isolation Stands
- Wiener Lautsprecher Manufaktur / Digitale Audio Systeme – CLASSIC 40 and 100 Isolation Platforms
- TAD Labs – ISSB-40 Isolation Speaker Spike Bases
- Lampizator / AlsyVox / Taiko / Omega / Pilium – IC-35 Premium Isolation Cones
- Way Cables / Stenheim / VDM – CIS-60 Cable Isolation Stands
- hORNS / David Laboga – CIS-60 and CIS-35 Cable Isolation Stands
- KORA High Fidelity – CLASSIC 40 Isolation Platform
- Innuos / Estelon – CIS-35 Cable Isolation Stands
Lukasz Fikus, also known as LampizatOr, is a strong advocate for the IC-35 Premium Isolation Cones. He utilizes them in his personal system and showcases their performance at various shows.
Each review is inevitably limited to a few album/track selections. Here are a few that highlight some of the virtues of the Graphite Audio IC-35 Premium Isolation Cones.
Dire Straits is often overlooked when it comes to music, but there is no doubt that Mark Knopfler is one of the most distinguished guitar players that influenced thousands of guitarists and musicians. Any music pundit who feels inclined to critique should pick up a guitar and attempt to replicate even a fraction of the tone, feeling, and timing that Knopfler effortlessly delivers.
“The Telegraph Road” is a complex piece with intriguing dynamics that even reflect the differentiae of orchestral composition. However, to truly decipher and experience this, a high-end audio system needs to be fully optimized and well-balanced.
Knopfler’s inspiration for “The Telegraph Road” came from his journey (on a tour bus) down the actual Telegraph Road while delving into Knut Hamsun’s Nobel Prize-winning novel, “The Growth of the Soil.” By considering this linkage and tracing the recollections and decades of momentum that followed the book’s storytelling publication in 1917, one can slowly unravel the track’s narrative and deep musical storytelling.
The most captivating aspect of what the Graphite Audio IC-35 Premium Isolation Cones contributed to the rendition of “The Telegraph Road” was a steadfast reproduction that avoided introducing any speck of self-imprint or coloration, which is too often associated with the addition of audio footers.
This was further evident with Steve Tibbett’s “Black Mountain Side” from Hellbound Train – An Anthology.
What the Graphite Audio IC-35 Premium Isolation Cones achieved was beyond expectations. They introduced a newfound sense of reality, creating a Caravaggesque canvas density, portrayed in a much more captivating manner than when compared with their absence.
“Alternate One” from the album The Alternate Blues by Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Freddie Hubbard, and Clark Terry features an all-star team including Oscar Peterson on piano, Joe Pass on guitar, Ray Brown on bass, and Bobby Durham on drums. However, the true cherry on top of the cake is the presence of trumpet and flugelhorn virtuosos Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, and Freddie Hubbard.
With the Graphite Audio IC-35 Premium Isolation Cones, the exceptional rhythm section managed to break free from the constraints of the rhythm tier that some audio accessories regardless of price can introduce, while maintaining the full small tin orchestra’s gusto and charm.
The IC-35 Premium Isolation Cones brought forth no unwanted coattails, but their impact resulted in natural-sounding rich, and velvety notes and tones. They allowed the decays and delays to resonate with natural clarity, guileless elongation, and finesse, creating a truly immersive and captivating listening experience.
“Flight Of The Cosmic Hippo” by Béla Fleck & The Flecktones is undoubtedly a sonic tour de force. The energy conveyed in this track must be experienced firsthand to fully comprehend its magnitude, provided that the high-end audio system is capable of doing so.
With no need for mental gymnastics, the IC-35 Premium Isolation Cones were able to further solidify the already firm foundation and exert even more control over the energy and sheer impact of the music.
And the final proof of the raison d’être of the IC-35 Premium Isolation Cones was witnessed in “Pata Pata” by Monday’s Jazz Quintet from the album African Jazz Standards.
The Graphite Audio footers ingrained “Pata Pata” with a refreshing solidity, providing a strong foundation for the ethereal melodies and giving them an unwavering presence.
The IC-35 Premium Isolation Cones succeeded in extracting a deeper sense of reality from the eerily beautiful tracks of African Jazz Standards, where, as previously demonstrated, an unbroken wholeness prevailed.
Graphite Audio’s ultimate aim is to help extract as much information from records, CDs, locally stored audio files, and streaming as possible and deliver it naturally and pleasantly.
The carefully crafted polymer composition ensures optimal vibration damping, enabling audio equipment to operate at its peak potential.
The IC-35 Premium Isolation Cones uniquely encapsulate and tame unruly oscillations that threaten to distort the purity of the sound. As a result, the sound becomes clearer and more refined, breathing life into the music, captivating the listener’s emotions, and leaving an indelible impression.
The addition of graphite, known for its conductivity and structural strength, also adds an extra layer of stability to the footers. A “secret” ingredient infuses the footers with undeniable solidity and resilience.
Graphite Audio’s IC-35 Premium Isolation Cones lend soundness to the foundation upon which audio equipment rests and surprisingly bring wholeness and an ingrained order to the nature of the music.
Graphite Audio’s research with this graphite and polymer mixture brings various notions together, delivering a higher degree of musical reality where everything feels coherent and harmonious, creating an undivided whole despite the joining of different strands of music. That alone is worthy of all the praise.
While other footer solutions can introduce pixelization and strip music of its soul, Graphite Audio’s IC-35 Premium Isolation Cones offer unique advantages that preserve the integrity of the music.
These isolation cones allow for a deeper grasp of reality, achieving a higher level of accuracy. They challenge old prejudices and demonstrate that Graphite Audio has succeeded in melting them away effortlessly.
With their proprietary polymer composition and added graphite mixture, these footers contribute immensely to the overall sound performance. Graphite Audio has discovered a way to harmonize these different materials, surpassing expectations and delivering remarkable results.
Considering all these factors, I am delighted to award Graphite Audio IC-35 Premium Isolation Cones with the Mono & Stereo 2023 Best Buy Product accolade. •
- 779€ for a set
- Set 3 Cones and 3 Bases
- Height 35mm
- Base Diameter 40mm
- Cone Diameter 35mm
- Max load 50kgs/set