I am not sure where to start with this. The short version is the Isoacoustics Gaia is one of the best tweak upgrades I’ve made. The change is revolutionary rather than evolutionary. Long version as follows.
- Gaia II on Marten Duke standmounts
After some failed attempts with the installation of the Gaias when I first unpacked them, I realised that fine tuning of the device is not possible. I was using spikes before this, and when I first set the Gaias up music sounded worse. The bass turned woolly, sounding soft and mushy. It’s just a soft and smeared sound in the bass and midrange which is not good.
I tried repositioning the speakers several times but to no avail. In an attempt to boost the bass response I moved the speakers closer to the rear wall but the sound got worse without much improvement in the bass.
The next day, I continued to move the speakers around and almost gave up, thinking that the Gaias might be another overhyped product. Fortunately, I made a discovery that changed everything.
As the floor of the listening room is not a perfect level, I found that the Gaias were incorrectly installed when they made some rattling sound when I tried to rock the speaker stands in a diagonal direction. I then figured out that the height of few affected Gaias need to be adjusted accordingly to ensure that all 4 Gaias supporting a speaker are loaded with the same weight distribution. Few Gaias were then rotated 360 degrees clockwise and anticlockwise for proper loading.
From my observation, the design of the Gaia does not allow for fine tuning to compensate for uneven floor as Isoacoustics recommend or perhaps insist that the logo needs to face the front / listening position. Obviously this will affect the setting up of the level. Although I used a spirit level to control the level at the top plate of the speaker stands, the Gaia will mask the uneven level since the height of the device is not fixed as it can still move around in all directions attributable to the interface between the top and bottom housing. This may explain the wobbly speaker even though the Gaias are correctly installed.
Another aspect of the Gaia which I’m unsure of is on the tightening of the bottom nut which locks the Gaia in place. There is no issue with the locking of top nut which clamps onto the bottom plate of the stands. It’s the nut that locks onto the Gaia as I only tighten it with my fingers. When the Gaias are pressed firmly to the floor, the top nut appears to be automatically locked or tightened. I’m not sure if this is the correct way of installation but I can’t see any other way the bottom nut can be tightnened onto the Gaia.
I’ll keep this short. Once properly installed, the Gaias really work wonders. It will depend on the type of music that you play. With some music, there will be a small but appreciable improvement and with other types of music, the changes can be staggering, especially with rock and jazz fusion with a lot of transients in the bass.
The Gaias improved the bass response, considerably tightening up the bass. I would say that the largest improvement with the Gaias is in the bass. The bass sounds a lot cleaner and defined and packs a punch. Listening to some bass heavy tracks is a revelation. It’s the first time Rio Sol of Lee Ritenonour sounded so good. The bass was hitting so cleanly and with such power, I just kept turning up the volume as there was no smearing of notes or distortion detected. All of that are now gone.
Whatever smearing or distortion caused by vibrations from the speaker cabinet has been reduced or eliminated. Rock music which previously sounded horrible now sounds great. It was actually a surprise as I previously thought that the recording was poor. It turned out that the distortion I was hearing was caused by the vibrations from the speaker. Other vocal music all showed improved clarity with reduced smearing. The differences are all easy to hear.
Basically all music showed improvement with the Gaias. I didn’t expect my speakers to show improved macrodynamics with rock and dynamic music but they are really rocking splendidly right now.
The Gaias may not provide a total transformation to the system if you are looking for a drastic change (ie. a different sound or presentation) but they will surely improve and unleash the full potential of the speakers in properly installed systems. As you can tell, I am rather impressed with the Gaias. A recommended product in my book.