Back in 2021, my encounter with the Stacore Basic platform opened up a number of interesting topics and my evaluation led to many positive conclusions. Now, two years later, things have become even more interesting with the arrival of the Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra platform. As you can read in the review, the Advanced platform goes more than just one step further in eliminating unwanted resonances and vibrations.
Stacore is a small high-end audio company based in Gdańsk, Poland that designs, manufactures, and purpose-built advanced vibration-damping products for audio systems.
Stacore was founded in 2015 and the name is derived from Stability and Core. Stacore is also a fusion of the surnames Bogdan Stasiak and Jarek Korbicz.
It all started when Jarek, a theoretical physicist working on quantum theory, moved his system to an attic apartment in Gdańsk and struggled with unstable, sagging floors.
When he dropped the needle on his EMT930, he quickly realized that he would either have to find a complex solution to isolate the structural vibrations or also deal with the daily lives of his neighbors.
After long months of research and some experiments, he constructed a frame weighing over 500 kg with two independent pneumatic suspensions filled with an acoustically inert Italian slate. The results obtained were so good that the idea of a more portative platform combining the slate and the pneumatics was born.
At that moment he meets Bogdan, a co-owner of a small machine store with great experience in machining products and parts specifically for the marine industry.
Joining forces, they create the first prototype – a damped slate platform with a single-stage pneumatic decoupling device.
A series of listening tests in different systems yielded such promising results that they decided to commercialize the idea and develop the design further.
Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra platform platform is a unique solution on the market, providing two-stage, broadband vibration decoupling and damping in both the audible and subsonic ranges.
The Stacore Advanced model builds on the already award-winning Stacore BASIC audio anti-vibration platform and takes it to a new dimension by combining a pneumatic suspension from Stacore BASIC and a specially designed ball-bearing podium on the top. Unlike most ball bearings available on the market, those used in the Stacore Advanced platform are made of very hard materials: Hardened stainless steel and tungsten carbide. The bearings’ cups and races are designed and made in house from a special cryo steel, which guarantees optimal coupling with the pneumatic table, the highest efficiency, and long life thanks to a careful selection of materials.
The second platform nesting on the ball bearings – further improves isolation efficiency for lateral vibrations by “cleansing” what the pneumatic stage left behind. In this way, efficient decoupling of six axes is achieved, and Stacore envisioned this concept as a Holy Grail of vibration control.
Combined with their special design, this provides efficient control of the minuscule vibrations and long-lasting, trouble-free operation, even when used with heavy equipment.
The platform has been designed from the ground up to work efficiently and optimally with all sensitive components in the audio chain, including amplifiers, preamplifiers, turntables, CD transport devices, music servers, DACs, phono preamps, etc.
Each platform is packaged in an upmarket flight case to ensure safe transportation.
The sonic advantages of slate have been known for many years. However, there is no ideal material in nature and even slate has its own sonic imprint.
This natural metamorphic rock with a fine, foliated structure is the main construction material of Stacore anti-vibration platforms.
It has unique damping properties due to a combination of high mass, softness, and a fine-layered structure. Unlike the crystalline structure of granite, the layered structure efficiently dissipates vibration energy through friction between layers.
Stacore has enhanced the natural damping properties of slate with proprietary Constrained Layer Damping (CLD) technology. The result is a sonically transparent, high-mass combination. The framework of Stacore platforms is fully made of a CLD-damped homogeneous slate, directly imported from Italy.
It is the softest and best for sound, but difficult to work with when high esthetics is the goal. The entire construction of the Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra body must be done by hand, as there is no way to automate this process.
The meticulous work is commissioned from local master stonemasons with years of experience. Once a slab form is completed, a thorough high-pressure cleaning, drying, and repeated impregnation with natural oils follows.
This is also done by hand and takes up to 12 hours. The entire production is a costly and time-consuming process.
No corners are cut with this approach. All you see when you look at the Stacore platforms except for the control panels of the pneumatic platforms is the stone.
Stacore could have used cheaper and easier work with materials like steel or aluminum, as some of its competitors do, but they want to create what they consider is the best anti-vibration solution for audio on the market, without cutting corners or taking shortcuts.
Stacore Cryo Ultra Bearings
Stacore Cryo Ultra Lager. They are manufactured in-house from special cryogenic steel and significantly outperform the Cryo Max bearings. The new bearings have a different stainless steel composition and are cryogenically deep-hardened. Both the upper racing and the bearing cup.
The cryogenic treatment is performed in liquid nitrogen, immediately freezing the steel to a temperature of nearly -300F (-150C). This allows for the formation of a hard crystalline structure, resulting in an improvement of virtually all bearing parameters. Due to the special steel formula, Cryo-Ultra bearings are harder and stronger than Cryo-Max bearings and allow a maximum load of 110 kg.
The Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra platform is a two-part structure consisting of the supporting chassis frame, the second-stage upper platform, and the pneumatic parts and pressure tanks. It is an air-assisted platform with three separate air pressure chambers that can be individually adjusted.
The operation is simple and the installation does not require much time, but due to the heavyweight, it is strongly recommended that the installation is done by two strong adults.
The main frame must be placed on a solid foundation. The total weight of the platform is a whopping 207 lbs (94 kg). The foundation must be able to reliably support this weight, as well as the weight of the equipment that will be placed on the platform. It is perfectly fine to use the platform directly on the ground, regardless of the type of foundation (suspended, concrete, etc.).
After the main platform is in place, three steel balls are placed in their bearing nests. The bearings should fit evenly and solely support the top plate on the dedicated washers under the top plate, which should fit on the base so that they are proportionally aligned.
The top plate will swing slightly and for a relatively long time once swayed. This is normal and accounts for the performance of the vibration isolation.
The next step concerns the placement of the device on the upper plate. The optimum position should be chosen so that the center of gravity of the unit is just above the center of the platform. This is not possible for all components and is not essential for the proper functioning of the Stacore.
If the unit does not have a proportional counterbalance, the heavier side should be positioned over the two ball bearings, not exceeding the 243 lbs (110 kg) load, as a heavier load can permanently damage the bearings.
The next step is to pump up the air. Generally, any pump that can produce a pressure of 5 bar is suitable. Stacore has included a hand-sized pump that is powered via USB and performed this task seamlessly.
While air is supplied by the pump, all three switches must be in the up position to allow the air to fill the three pressure vessels. All four corners of the platform must be raised to the same height between 3mm and 10mm (0.1″-0.4″).
The optimum platform height for most devices is 3-5mm. This is the best compromise between sound performance and the need for frequent pressure corrections.
All switches must then be pulled down immediately to prevent air from escaping the air chambers.
The final step is to achieve a straight horizontal plane (bubble level). The platform base has three virtual support points located under the ball bearings. Each switch controls each point. You can reach the level by opening (up position) one switch at a time and slowly releasing the air with the release button. From the control panel, the leftmost switch (near the vent) controls the middle point on the left side of the platform. The middle switch controls the far right corner and the switch near the pressure gauge – the nearer right corner of the platform.
You can check the pressure in each of the sections by opening the corresponding switch (upwards) and the pressure gauge will show the pressure.
After a while, the reading will gradually drop to zero with the switches closed (pulled down). This is normal and does not affect the performance of the platform.
The pressure of each chamber can be released at any time via the drain button, which also allows the tanks to be completely emptied for transport.
No special maintenance is required for the Stacore ADVANCED platform except for an occasional (about every 1.5-2 months) check of the air pressure and a correction to compensate for the inevitable micro-leaks (when one of the platform corners drops below about 3 mm).
The slate surfaces, especially the logo, are sensitive to scratches, fingerprints, and stains. It is advised to use enclosed gloves to touch the platform and keep it away from sharp objects and liquids to maintain its exquisite appearance for a long time.
Police’s eclectic album Zenyatta Mondatta was way ahead of its time, and “When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best Of What’s Still Around” is still as relevant, if not more so, than it was back then.
Engineer Nigel Gray did a remarkable job recording the trio, and the Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra platform quickly showed its merits by picking up the spirit of “When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best Of What’s Still Around” and making it sound even more coherent and in sync.
Advanced Cryo Ultra gave the drums, lead guitar, and Sting’s high-pitched voice more physical presence, making the trio sound more visceral. Certainly not something I would have expected with such an effect.
“Egypt By Air (Earthrise SoundSystem Remix)” Bombay Dub Orchestra from Buddha Bar XVIII confirmed the positive effects of the Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra platform by bringing in a tighter low end, unexpected subtle explosiveness, faster attacks, and expanded atmospherics. The sitar’s decays also became a bit longer and blended more seamlessly into the mix without losing vibrancy.
The sense of the acoustic field also gained horizontal and vertical extension. These outstanding qualities also came to the fore on Dire Straits’ Love Over Gold, especially evident on “Telegraph Road” and “Private Investigations.”
I recently listened to the acetate of Love Over Gold and some of the qualities that this medium can impart come closest to the great qualities of the master tape. It was a startling surprise to find that the Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra platform exhibited some of these virtues with other sound carriers.
The “Semper Fidelis” from Brass & Percussion by Morton Gould and His Symphonic Band is an energetic piece with everchanging dynamics and a specific, demanding character, especially with heavy-hitting brass instruments.
Metallic percussion and brass instruments are particularly susceptible to the slightest change, as even a high-end audio rack or shelf can alter the metallic timbre too easily.
This is closely related to the overtones, but the Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra platform not only stayed on course with unique invariance. It also did not interfere with the lower and higher odd and even harmonics but helped to articulate some of the brass and orchestral differentiations that feel so palpable in real life, allowing them to cut through the fabric or orchestra with more tonal balance.
Eric Reed’s “Search for Peace” from the album Black, Brown, and Blue is another challenging track that can become tonally and sonically disoriented too quickly when something distractive is introduced into a well-balanced system.
The Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra platform maintained the solidity and firmness that was consistent from track to track, album to album. It took the experience a level up by expanding the development of sonic structure, enhancing rather than altering the texture of the music.
Keeping the music intact, not altering the course of the music, and not interfering with the delicate sonic interweavings is one of the most difficult tasks a component, whether passive, active, or electronic, can accomplish, let alone adding an objective differentia in favor of the more factual music reproduction.
And this is another characteristic that sets the Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra platform apart and deserves to be acknowledged.
Despite the lofty price, too many high-end products, especially audio stands, and racks can radically transform the flow of music. The Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra platform, on the other hand, acts in unison with the music, without side-tracking sonic fluctuations, but enhances the quality of playback.
There are two ways to look at the assembly and planning of high-end audio systems. Either you start from scratch with a clear focus and knowledge of what you want and have, or you add the equipment and appropriate paraphernalia as the system grows, changes, and expands.
There’s no doubt that Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra is a top-notch product to work with if you are starting from scratch, if you are on the quest towards the end-game system, or if you have already assembled your dream high-end audio setup. The Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra platform lends itself to all three approaches.
No matter at which stage, setting up a high-end audio system, fine-tuning, adjusting, and replacing components can be a taxing affair and this is where a product like the Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra platform comes in.
Stasiak and Korbicz designed the Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra platform to minimize inherent air resonances and micro-vibrations. As with anything, there is no panacea for mechanical and electrically induced interferences. The undesirable side effects are induced by components chassis, transformers, power supplies, motors, etc., and can be mitigated to some degree.
The Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra platform eliminates not only micro and macro resonances and vibrations, but also much of the mechanical hysteria.
Vibrations and resonances do not act as impartial forces. They occur in different variants that our perceptual apparatus decodes as artificial, which manifests as listening fatigue.
It is quite remarkable how our sensory mechanisms respond to the smallest fractions of these undesirable variables that can alter phase, timing, timbre, tone, and color. And these are the very ones to which we are particularly sensitive.
There are many uses for the Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra platform and you can make do with a single unit or expand it entirely as space and resources allow.
The Stacore Basic platform operates in realms of simple, but not simpler. The Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra Cryo Ultra platform stays in that line but takes the concept a few steps further. The elemental virtues of the Basic platform are there, but the Stacore Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra platform goes further in terms of detail, speed, and control.
There is something fundamentally right about the way the Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra platform works. Of course, results vary from component to component, but there is a recognizing pattern associated with performance gains with using Advanced Cryo Ultra under a myriad of devices.
The Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra platform boasts a sleek and elegant look, a minimalist monolithic appearance, and an appeal that goes beyond the mere decorum label, that some high-end audio racks and similar anti-vibration products cannot escape.
I have already given the Stacore Basic platform the Mono and Stereo Highly Recommended Product Award, and I am pleased to present the Stacore Advanced Cryo Ultra platform with the Upper Echelon Product Award.
This greatly devised anti-vibration system hides its inner workings under a stylish, understated esthetic, and what appears to be the sheer utilization of different ideas is actually a carefully engineered system with real potency to create a better listening experience, and this quality is not so easy to find. ⧉
- Special EU introductory price for Advanced Cryo Ultra is 6190 EUR incl. 23%VAT
- The dimensions: 580 (L) x 480 (W) x 140 (H) [mm]
- Nett weight: 94kg
- Maximum load: 65kg
- Larger custom sizes available on a special request
- Due to our optimized implementation of the ball bearings, an upgrade from STACORE BASIC/BASIC+ to ADVANCED is not possible.
Miszewo, ul. Kartuska 4
Tel: Jarek [EN, PL]: +48 660 156 173, Bogdan [PL]: +48 505 227 448