After my earlier Footer- and placement experiments using the Taiko Extreme Network Switch it is now time to see what happens when I move the Extreme Music Server from the Artesania Exoteryc Audio Rack to the Finite Elemente Pagode Master Reference Platform.

From the very first instance that the server entered my system, it was placed in pole position on top of an Artesania Exoteryc rack, directly on the beechwood footers that are part of the Carbon Fiber Linear Arms option. These feet are in direct contact with the server’s bottom panel and bypass the server’s own feet.

In the earlier Extreme Network Switch report, I only used the Pagode platform only as supplied, with Finite Elemente Cerabase footers. For this Extreme Server comparison, however, I wanted to be certain that the ideal footers were used, so, in addition to Cerabase footers, I also had Cerapucs and standard spikes at hand.

With help from my friendly neighbors, I moved the Extreme onto the Pagode, which was fitted with standard spikes. As soon as we tapped play (using XDMS NSM and local library content), all three of us were pleasantly surprised!

While the Pagode had not mated particularly well with the CH A1.5 power amp earlier, the match with the Extreme Server seemed to be highly synergistic. Of course, we were now using spikes rather than Cerabase, and the server was now sitting on its own feet, which I’m sure also plays a considerable part. Visually, the Extreme also truly looks the part on the platform that seems to be custom-made to be a perfect fit. The Extreme now sounded more solid and full-bodied but not thick and with a significantly more convincing midrange timbre. The Pagode was not more revealing, rather, it was more concealing but still, it somehow made for a more emotionally involving presentation. Tracks that sounded a little threadbare on the Exoteryc now felt more “live” and more organic. Ultimately, though, the Exoteryc did provide a more high-res rendition with better articulation and higher overall transparency.

Changing the spikes for Cerapuc we were again surprised at the large difference, this time not changing timbre, flow, or the organic nature, but simply improving the articulation, precision, and expression across the board. Now, subtle sounds that had been hidden in the mix (Pink Floyd’s Animals, for example), now stood out much more vividly. The only additional change that the Cerapucs introduced was a more solid foundation leading to bigger bass. But thanks to the increased articulation, this was not at all a problem. I still did not feel the Pagode was as “invisible” or as highly resolving as the Exoteryc, but it was certainly the more “musical”, more emotionally appealing, approach.

Finally stepping up to the Cerabase footers, the sound became so full that the balance was thrown off, particularly because the bass and lower midrange were now too thick. Along with this, we noticed that the dynamic behavior was less spritely and the aforementioned animal sounds were again buried in the mix. How interesting! These feet are rated for a 40 – 500 kg of component weight for which the Extreme Switch is indeed a little too light. But the Extreme Server weighs 50 kg which theoretically fits within the range. But maybe these feet only start coming into their own when an entire rack is resting on them?

In any case, whether used with normal spikes or with Finite Elemente Cerapucs, the Pagode Master Reference works like a charm with the Extreme Music Server!

As always, to be continued!

Christiaan Punter