Which components to put Nordost Sort Kones under?

Or should I say, “Under which component to put the Nordost Kones?” Whatever.

I’m about to get 3 x 3 sets of the bronze/ceramic Nordost Sort Kones. They’re on the way! I saw a demo a while back where the rep for Nordost simply put the Macbook Air he was playing from on a set of the Kones and the change in the sound was immediately palpable. And dramatically for the better. I’m going to abstain from the usual cliche jargon nonsense. (“blacker blacks”, “less smearing”, “larger soundstage”. etc…) I’ll leave that for the pros. All I know is that it sounded better. So fast forward several months and I have finally gotten around to ordering the Kones. So my question is where to put these bad boys? I don’t play CDs pretty much ever, so that’s out. I play a lot of vinyl and from my music server, so I’m thinking of starting under my Mac Mini and Anthem pre/pro. I’m a little torn as to whether to put the others under my NuWave DAC or my Mcintosh amp. I’m leaning to putting under the DAC since I think I may need more than three Kones to support the weight of the Mac! Maybe even 5. (edit: from Nordost FAQ: “The Sort Kone AS will support 75 lbs or 34kilos per piece. The other Sort Kones will support 100lbs 45.45 kilos per piece.”) I was thinking the TT would be a little clumsy on the Kones and hard to level. Still, there a lot of vibes coming from a TT, so it is tempting. And what about under the P10?? Or the Phono converter? Hadn’t thought about that one. Does anyone have experience with these at all? Before anyone says, “you be the judge and try different configurations and settle on the best one”. I say, have you ever tried to lift a Mcintosh amp? A P10?? Not an easy thing to do, especially if you’re doing it by yourself. My wife and girls are not a lot of help with moving these things! So I’d like to keep the experimenting to a minimum. Thanks in advance for your comments!


amgradmd said . . . the change in the sound was immediately palpable. And dramatically for the better. I'm going to abstain from the usual cliche jargon nonsense.
Too late; you already wrote "palpable."

I would start with the DAC.

Elk said
amgradmd said . . . the change in the sound was immediately palpable. And dramatically for the better. I'm going to abstain from the usual cliche jargon nonsense.

Too late; you already wrote “palpable.”

I would start with the DAC.



I posed that question to Nordost and here is their reply:

"OK, first thing is the concern of weight under your amp. Each sort kone handles 125 LBS so three under your amp would support 375 LBS so all you need is three assuming your amp weighs less than 375 LBS.

Personally based on experience I would start with one set under the pre-amp. That component is critical. Second, I would go under the amp. Whether tube or solid state those amps have large transformers and filter caps which cause enormous vibration. Getting that out of the signal path is very important. With your last set I would go under the DAC.

You need 4 from a stability standpoint under a turntable or even better 4 sort fut if your table has threaded inserts under the bottom. So only having three shifts the focus to the dac. That is also making the assumption you listen to digital and vinyl equally and they both are important."

So there you go. Looks like I’m starting with the amp, preamp, and DAC! At least having 2 sets of the Kones under the amp and preamp will allow for me to easily experiment with the last set under the Mac Mini versus DAC versus phono converter. Can’t wait to try them out. I’ll keep you guys posted. And Elk, that means more audio-speak jargon will be headed your way!

So I have had the Kones for a little while now and must say that I am pleased with them. I initially put them under the pre/pro and my Mac Mini server and DAC. I noticed a small but noticeable improvement in the focus of the sound (jargon alert!). Things seemed a little tighter overall with more precise percussion and tighter bass, especially. When I would compare double dsd rips of vinyl back to back with the vinyl, with care taken to equalize volume, I could not easily tell a difference between the two. Before I could pretty readily discern the two. So now I knew there was a real advantage to using the Kones so I got another set for the turntable and went about comparing the vinyl to the digital again. Then when I put the brass/ceramic Kones I was floored! What a big difference! All of a sudden the bass was much more meaty and impactful with the percussion almost as if it were in the room (was listening to Santana Abraxis on MoFi Ultra Disc - wonderful!). Individual voicing was better defined (more jargon). There was more of a difference pre and post with vinyl, definitely, than digital. It stands to reason since there is a huge moving platter and electric motor in the TT. Finally, I did another rip of an album I had recently copied, this time with the BC Kones under the TT as well as under the Mac Mini. I then replayed the before and after files and found the newer files with Kones to be superior. I then compared to vinyl and once again the digital copy was close the the original as before.

So there you have it. I think the Kones are the real deal. They’re not cheap, but worth the investment. At least for me they are. I am intrigued by the titanium and ceramic Kones, but they are very pricey ($370 per!) and only give modest improvements over the brass, from what I’ve read. Oh, I forgot that I had a set of the aluminum and steel Kones to try and barely noticed any difference with them. At least under my Mac Mini. The ceramic and brass seem to be the sweet spot in price and performance for me. Hope this helps somebody.