IsoAcoustics GAIA II Isolators, My Take

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ttocs

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After over 3 years of wondering, and almost exactly 3 years since a pretty impressive demo, I am now auditioning the GAIA isolators. I'll just refer to them as feet most of the time, but interchangeably as isolators.

I'm cautiously wading into this pool with hope that these feet do what they are purported to do, and, that they provide a similar experience to what I got at AXPONA in 2019.

Seismic Isolators provide a great benefit for those who live and work in large buildings. The Earth vibrates and moves, wind forces tall buildings to sway, and isolators reduce the feel of these forces so the building occupants don't feel the effects. I'd say it's mostly from this technology on a grand scale that audio equipment isolators on a small scale came about. Removing or reducing unwanted vibration is a good idea I don't doubt that isolation is beneficial to some audio equipment, maybe even all equipment, but my take right now is solely on the GAIA feet and my speakers.

Speakers vibrate. The vibration can be transferred into the floor unimpeded, or impeded ("coupled" or "decoupled"). Which is better? I think it's viewer's choice. Try both ways and decide. Normally, when thinking about this, most folks first think of using the floor as a bass control of sorts. But with the GAIA feet, it's really more about the presentation. Bass is part of it, but when I installed the GAIAs on a subwoofer and measured before/after and looking at SPL, Frequency Response, and Waterfall plots, there wasn't much difference in the first two and a bit more difference in the Waterfall. I didn't really do the testing as scientifically as I'd like to have done, but even so, if there was a major difference to be had it should have shown up somewhere.

So that was with just one source of sound, how about two sources, like Left and Right speakers? This is where it gets interesting. I measured each of my speakers (L, R,) and both together (L&R), and it was when both play together that differences show up. It was so difficult to maintain continuity between the before and after that I can't rely on the measurements to be accurate, but there probably is some validity in them - so I'm repeating the process but will be meticulous about it. As such, I've come up with a game plan to keep the speakers placed exactly the same when measured with spikes/cups and GAIA feet. I plan to try this over the weekend.

Meanwhile, I notice a difference in the soundstage. It seems both baffling and logical. I thought, if one speaker doesn't show much difference, then maybe both together will present a difference. I figured that maybe there's some sort of cancellation or something destructive that isolation helps with. Listening sure seems to bear this out, at least with a single compare. Going back to spikes, I'm hoping, will impair the soundstage back to what I was used to hearing. And before going back to spikes I will meticulously measure how the speakers are currently setup, and then match the setup with the spikes installed (it's actually easier to do it this way because the GAIAs need to be installed with the emblem facing forward, so they must be adjusted in full-turns only, whereas the spikes can simply be screwed in however many full and partial turns as necessary to match the feet.

The soundstage seems more "complete" somehow, more alive with the GAIAs. I haven't moved about much recently to know exactly how large the sweet spot has been, but it might be better also. I'll need to check these things out and compare to spikes, then back again. Once this has happened I'll be able to better explain things.

My decision to keep or return the GAIAs will totally depend on if they are destructive in any way to the sound. If they reduce sound quality in any way, they'll be returned, if not then I'll keep them simply because I like the way they look and how easy it is to move the speakers - even if they give no other other benefits vs spikes. But as I said above, it seems the feet have altered how I hear the soundstage in a beneficial way, so . . . .

It'll be a busy weekend for me.
 

Big Dog RJ

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G'day,
some interesting experiments going on there, that will certainly keep you busy.

Just my 50cts worth on the Iso Acoustics Gaia II's vs spikes.

At our old place I used spikes on the Quads, Ethos, and CLX's. It was wall to wall carpeting so the spikes made a very solid contact of decoupling at minimum point, and the speakers didn't sway...

Then when we moved to our new place, in 2018/19, there's no carpeting, other than in the bedrooms. So right throughout the living area and rest if the house is bare tiles that were placed upon solid concrete flooring. This was not a good solution for spikes. It also damages the tiles and placing small metal discs under the spikes tends to move slightly, so nothing's solidly placed.

I then visited one of trusted mates place, who also has the CLX's and he had installed the Gaia's with great success. Obviously acts as a coupling solution, it also a suction surface underneath them, which helps to secure each Gaia firmly on the floor supporting the weight above it, which are the speakers.

The Gaia's most interesting function is its isolation mechanism and design. It really works supremely well compared to the standard spikes supplied by ML. They have a suspension system that absorbs every minute vibration emanated from the speakers. The LF detail is noticeably improved and the bass lines are much clearer, easy to follow and reproduced with finer detail. It's as if looking through a lense and obtaining that perfect focus, sort of snaps into place.

There's another mate who placed these under his Ren15a's, however his room is fully carpeted. In this particular case, granite bases were used to reinforce the effect of Gaia's. Since they aren't so effective on soft surfaces, I think spikes would suit better.

Re. To adjusting the Gaia's with their labels facing forwards... forget it! This is close to impossible and we both felt the idea of having the label facing forwards doesn't yield any added benefits. What's the science behind the labels? I believe it's more a marketing ploy. If the suspension mechanism only works with labels facing fwds then it's not functioning to full effect. We also tried this on the Ren15a's to no significant difference.

Overall, the Gaia's do make a significant difference and the improvement is remarkable, at least it was for all three of us!

Cheers, RJ
 

ttocs

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Overall, the Gaia's do make a significant difference and the improvement is remarkable, at least it was for all three of us!
Cheers, RJ
Thanks for your take on the Gaia's.

I haven't had time this week to work on Gaia stuff since receiving my new C18 on Saturday. I shifted into center channel setup and break-in since this is something I really need rather than want. It's all good. Just that much more fun!
 

tonyc

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I have been using Gaia's under my Summits for a couple of years now and I absolutely agree they are better than the stock spikes and better than the stillpoints I tried previously (and cheaper than the stillpoints). They improve the sound exactly as described. I was so impressed with the results I got a second set for the Aeons I use as my surround system mains. I also use the equipment footers under my Focus C18 with the same improvements as Gaia's. You will love your C18 more! I could not use Gaias on my C18 due to space issues in my rack. I am slowly putting the footers under ALL of my components in both the big rig and the surround system. This is one company whose products are uniformly beneficial. I hope to get another set of Gaia's for the BF 212 in my big rig and a set for the Descent sub in my surround system. I also use them under my ML soundbar in my bedroom with similar results. I do have the labels facing forward because I am superstitious! The ONLY caveat I would add is that I have not used Gaias on a carpeted floor. I have tile in the big rig room and laminate in the surround room.
 

tonyc

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Oh by the way, I tried an Sbooster power supply with my Focus C18 and noted improvement in clarity of spoken dialog and a lower nose floor. Unfortunately my recently rescued feline from Hell (Bubba Subcat) knocked it off the rack and messed up the cable connector and I haven't had it repaired yet.
 

PeterHo

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I have been using Gaia's under my Summits for a couple of years now and I absolutely agree they are better than the stock spikes and better than the stillpoints I tried previously (and cheaper than the stillpoints). They improve the sound exactly as described. I was so impressed with the results I got a second set for the Aeons I use as my surround system mains. I also use the equipment footers under my Focus C18 with the same improvements as Gaia's. You will love your C18 more! I could not use Gaias on my C18 due to space issues in my rack. I am slowly putting the footers under ALL of my components in both the big rig and the surround system. This is one company whose products are uniformly beneficial. I hope to get another set of Gaia's for the BF 212 in my big rig and a set for the Descent sub in my surround system. I also use them under my ML soundbar in my bedroom with similar results. I do have the labels facing forward because I am superstitious! The ONLY caveat I would add is that I have not used Gaias on a carpeted floor. I have tile in the big rig room and laminate in the surround room.
Hi RJ,
did you notice the beneficial effects of the Gaias even at moderat listening levels or only when cranking up the volume?

Regards from Germany
Peter
 

ttocs

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Trick Or Treat, see my feet, . . . .
GAIA-feet_9026-2000.jpeg
 

Big Dog RJ

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Hi RJ,
did you notice the beneficial effects of the Gaias even at moderat listening levels or only when cranking up the volume?

Regards from Germany
Peter
G'day mate,

The overall difference in using the Gaia's is based on the principles of coupling the speakers. Whether it's de-coupling or coupling is immaterial as long as the end result is audible. When I fitted them first, I noticed a much lower noise floor, very smooth bass lines and more definition in low frequency (LF) layering. Initially I was wondering if some LF information was missing... but then I realized that it's there, only when the recording calls for it, and the speakers reproduce it! So in other words, all the bass definition and LF details are far more apparent, as long as the recording has it! Similarly, when the LF is cleared up or more detailed, other areas, such as midrange and HF's are much clearer, overall a profound balance.

As for volume levels, it was the same even at low levels, all the information evident, and particularly on higher levels, there's no movement or hardly any vibrations as such. So everything is transferred through the speakers, rather than the floors or cabinets / frames if that makes sense. I firmly believe that these accessories are really well designed and well though of. In all areas of improvement, they're quite remarkable!

Hope that helps! Cheers, RJ
 

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I'm also trying to get the Gaia's on the BF210 sub... but my ML dealer is still trying to figure out the thread size. Unfortunately he doesn't carry the Iso-Acoustics line of accessories, probably needs to order from the supplier or another dealer that represents the product. Hence, probably not cost effective either. I guess, I would have to approach that supplier from where I bought the Gaia's initially. Price point was fine, just a matter of dealing with whom I prefer. I also feel that the Gaia's will improve things further on the BF210 rather than the supplied spikes but I can't be convinced until I try it out.

Until then, enjoy those fine tunes!
Cheers, RJ
 

ttocs

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I'm also trying to get the Gaia's on the BF210 sub... but my ML dealer is still trying to figure out the thread size.
What about taking one of the spikes to a home store, go to the "fasteners" aisle, and look for the thread guide that's usually mounted somewhere in the machine thread fastener area. It's a board with all the different sized nuts and bolts mounted on it so you can insert your threaded item into various samples to see which one fits.
 

msimanyi

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I'm also trying to get the Gaia's on the BF210 sub... but my ML dealer is still trying to figure out the thread size. Unfortunately he doesn't carry the Iso-Acoustics line of accessories, probably needs to order from the supplier or another dealer that represents the product. Hence, probably not cost effective either. I guess, I would have to approach that supplier from where I bought the Gaia's initially. Price point was fine, just a matter of dealing with whom I prefer. I also feel that the Gaia's will improve things further on the BF210 rather than the supplied spikes but I can't be convinced until I try it out.

Until then, enjoy those fine tunes!
Cheers, RJ
I’m using them on my 210s. I believe one of the standard parts included by Isoacoustics took care of it. Pretty sure I’ve only ordered special studs for my speaker installations.
 

ttocs

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Looks great. I would imagine the bolt pattern would be the same on the Impressions? Did you have to order anything (bolt) special or did they work out of the box?
I don't know the thread size for Impressions. Might be the same, dunno.

The GAIA II comes with 3 thread sizes/pitches, but none fit my Expressions which take 3/8"/16. The dealer should be able to find out the correct size/pitch.

Regarding length, get the "Long Thread" version so you can change the tilt if you want. The short thread fits, but doesn't allow for any change in tilt. I was sent 3/8"/16 Short Thread the first time, then received the Long Thread, so that's how I know the short will work but with no tilt.

So, the dealer should be able to supply for free, or, contact IsoAcoustics directly and they can contact Focal-Naim for you, or, contact Focal-Naim directly. But start with the dealer who has the most invested in your happiness. Just remember that the Long Thread adapters are free, including shipping.
 

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I don't know the thread size for Impressions. Might be the same, dunno.

The GAIA II comes with 3 thread sizes/pitches, but none fit my Expressions which take 3/8"/16. The dealer should be able to find out the correct size/pitch.

Regarding length, get the "Long Thread" version so you can change the tilt if you want. The short thread fits, but doesn't allow for any change in tilt. I was sent 3/8"/16 Short Thread the first time, then received the Long Thread, so that's how I know the short will work but with no tilt.

So, the dealer should be able to supply for free, or, contact IsoAcoustics directly and they can contact Focal-Naim for you, or, contact Focal-Naim directly. But start with the dealer who has the most invested in your happiness. Just remember that the Long Thread adapters are free, including shipping.
Sweet!!!! And you're right. I reached out to isoAcoustics today and they're shipping me adapters.
 

ejspain

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Ok I pulled the trigger and ordered 2 sets of the Gaia II for my Impressions but I also wanted to load them up on these outriggers instead of installing directly to the speakers. I like these from Soundocity but they're not taking orders now. Anyone know where I can order something similar and comparably priced?
 
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Big Dog RJ

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What about taking one of the spikes to a home store, go to the "fasteners" aisle, and look for the thread guide that's usually mounted somewhere in the machine thread fastener area. It's a board with all the different sized nuts and bolts mounted on it so you can insert your threaded item into various samples to see which one fits.
Yes, in fact I did that with the spikes on the CLX's, took them to Bunnings (similar to Home Depot, Timber & Hardware etc). Then took that to the dealer who supplied the Iso Acoustics brand, by the time I got to his place, which was quite a drive in bloody traffic!... he tells me, "oh! You're here, I've already figured out the thread sizes for you mate..." uh?

Anyway, I was there to pick up some MoFi sleeves for my LP's and some cleaning solution. So now, I can't be bothered going to the hardware store, plus it stinks in there! I'm not sure what it is, smells like ... oh it's bad mate, must be those rubber hoses or something, I've got to take deep breaths as if deep sea diving. I'll just wait for my dealer to jump for joy with the good news on the threads.

Cheers mate, RJ
 

Robert D

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Yes, in fact I did that with the spikes on the CLX's, took them to Bunnings (similar to Home Depot, Timber & Hardware etc). Then took that to the dealer who supplied the Iso Acoustics brand, by the time I got to his place, which was quite a drive in bloody traffic!... he tells me, "oh! You're here, I've already figured out the thread sizes for you mate..." uh?

Anyway, I was there to pick up some MoFi sleeves for my LP's and some cleaning solution. So now, I can't be bothered going to the hardware store, plus it stinks in there! I'm not sure what it is, smells like ... oh it's bad mate, must be those rubber hoses or something, I've got to take deep breaths as if deep sea diving. I'll just wait for my dealer to jump for joy with the good news on the threads.

Cheers mate, RJ
You should try to bottle thst stench. I bet there is a market for that! Kids buy candy that tastes like grass and poop.
 

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