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Customer Testimonials


Since I've only had equipment running on the new rack for about 24 hours, I can only share some first impressions: It was readily apparent that music had more weight and more depth. Listening to 2L's release of Beethoven's "Harp" (opus 74), I literally felt like the cello had sufficient power to saw me in half! I know, its strange, but that was my reaction. Moving to some rock / fusion, the bass on Steely Dan's "My Rival" was tight, deep, and impactful. I felt like the mid bass from the rim shots was reaching out to punch me in the chest. This was quite a revelation; the first time I ever got beaten up by my stereo. Moving on to some of my preferred bluegrass, "Jerusalem Ridge" from Tony Rice's Bluegrass Guitar Collection sounded very close to the live performances I've attended. Instrument were well differentiated with excellent separation. The sound stage remained true to life, and this is very important to me. A small string ensemble should not be spread as widely as an orchestra. While it is impressive to hear a huge, wide sound stage; this is not how a bluegrass band should sound. The Samson has been a huge step towards bringing me closer to the music. Formerly, the components sat on a BDI entertainment stand with 1/4" glass on the top and bottom, and a flimsy 1/8" slab in the middle for the all important source components. The gains offered by the new rack have yet to be fully realized, but even very early on, I can say without any doubt or hesitation that this is the single biggest improvement I've made to my system. - Raymond E.

The Samson stand looks great, and to my surprise, had a considerable improving effect on the sound of my Ah!/Marchand/Bottlehead system. Thanks very much. - Joe P.

Just wanted to let you know that I finally set up my Samson after doing some renovation work - which took much longer than anticipated. The rack is terrific! I'm very impressed with the quality and feel secure that my equipment, despite its considerable weight, is safe and is producing just fantastic sound. I ended up moving the shelves around a couple of times, and even though this required some careful use of the level and tightening wrench, I couldn't be happier with the results. Thanks for all your help in arriving at the optimal combination of rack and accessories. Hopefully my photo comes through. - Frank

Why did I wait so long ? After years of tweaking (various cones, platforms, power cords and components) I am now the very satisfied owner of a Samson rack. Who knew (you, obviously)That a rack could make such an improvement in a systems sound ? The first CD I played was your new Redwine Trio disc. Pierre, you have truly outdone yourself on this one. The transparency and delicacy of this CD simply has to be heard. I was holding back tears halfway through track #1. The new rack was,of course, contributing it's full share, as I found out later with many of my favorite CD's. The "reediness" of wind instruments, the plucked guitar strings and the shimmer of struck cymbals all given new life and naturalness by the Samson rack. Add to this a completely silent background and a solidity to each performance that really makes for fatigue free listening. Thanks for designing such a superior and attractive product. Best regards, Jim

I am currently using a 48" SAMSON rack in conjunction with the Mapleshade platforms, brass footers and Isoblocks. Three components are mounted on the rack: a Magnum Dynalab tuner, Lindemann D680 CD player and a DIY passive preamp based on autoformer attenuation. The latter two are also on Mapleshade's brass footer-platform-isoblock support. My Berning Siegfried amp sits next to the rack, with footer-platform-isoblock support directly on the wood floor (no carpet). The rest of my system consists of Avantgarde Duo 2.2 speakers, Nirvana and Sahuaro wire and a CFX Sound Application conditioner. In electing the rack/platform/brass footer/ isoblock system, I have given my system over completely to the Mapleshade Component Mounting System.

The rewards have been tremendous. I'm no good at picking out some of the attributes that some reviewers can (e.g., a "midbass hump" or "discontinuities at the crossover region"). I tip my hat to those with the experience and acuity to do so. The distinctions I find easiest to draw are those that make the presentation less hi-fi and more 'concert hall' real. I go to a decent number of concerts, mostly classical and jazz. And I've found that as you swap equipment in a system, it isn't hard to tell which stuff is better at bringing you closer to the real thing. I find that the less I have to think, the better it is (a real advantage non-professional reviewers have - we're not being paid to dissect!).

When I first used the Mapleshade Component Mounting System for my old transport 6 weeks ago (in place of a Vibraplane), I was astounded. After I put the whole system on a SAMSON, the sound took another mighty leap in the direction of the concert hall and away from hi-fi. The change was consistent with what the platforms give, notched up by maybe a factor of 5. And I,wasn't changing from a cheapo rack - I was replacing Zoethecus and Sound Anchor racks. Example: The sonority of the concert piano takes on the warmth, body and aura of live music, with the sense of space and place wholly intact. In fact the much-abused word "holistic" is a great descriptor here - no sonic checklist, but a presentation that breathes. The sense of completeness is entrancing -- your urge to intellectualize is totally disarmed and you don't want it to end.

So what's going on here? Pierre is using materials that Alexander Graham Bell had at his disposal, not the NASA 'techno wonde' stuff that is all the rage. I have to admit, part of the enjoyment of the SAMSON is the utter directness and deceptive simplicity of its design. I have no doubt that there are equally valid high tech approaches that sound fantastic, but in my small sample it's not even close. I remember the story about the Buddhist artist who was praised for his sculpture. He declined the praise, noting that Buddha's head was already in the block of wood - he just brought it out. If the music is in your system, the SAMSON rack will bring it out. - David Z.

I bought the Mapleshade Samson 3 shelf rack more for its looks than anything else. But boy was I surprised by the sonic difference it made in my system. Overall, the sound improvement is as significant as a component upgrade. My previous rack was a relatively cheap Sanus -- MDF shelves and sand filled hollow tubes, sitting on AudioPoints on concrete covered by carpet.

First, the rack is simply beautiful. The pictures on the website and brochure do not do it justice. The quality of the 2" maple shelves is extremely high, with a very nice finish. The nickel uprights are very substantial - each weighs about 12 pounds. And the brass spacers, carpet points and top caps are huge hunks of brass. After seeing the quality of materials and workmanship, the $620 I spent seems like a bargain.

After several weeks of listening, here's what I have heard with the new rack. First, there is an overall smoother presentation and everything just sounds more natural, maybe less electronic. Especially voices and acoustic instruments. I don't know what is causing this effect, but the music just sounds more relaxed. The midrange is warmer and more 3D. Vocalists have more of a body attached to their voice (good thing when listening to Diana Krall!). Same effect for acoustic bass and kick drum. You can hear the body of the instruments. At the same time, there is more detail across the entire frequency from lows to highs. I am hearing more fine details in the music than ever before. The overall presentation seems to be more rich and more intense.

Although it was hard to do, I took Mapleshade 's advice and have my equipment sitting on brass points (Audiopoints) stuck right into the maple shelves without the little brass disks that protect the shelf. Yes, they have dug into the wood and have left marks, but the sound is worth it. Besides, if a shelf ever gets too bad I figure I can turn it over and use the other side.

Maybe this sound improvement is all in my head. Maybe I am "hearing" these things because I am now staring at a beautiful piece of furniture. I don't know. What I do know is that I am perceiving a big difference that is well worth the modest price.

System: Sony 777ES, GamuT D200 Mk2 & C2R Preamp, Audio Physic Virgo III, PS Audio P300, Nordost cables and interconnects, PS Audio power cables, Light room treatments. Room: 13 X 16 X 9

- Dave Neumann

Some recent additions to our family necessitated some revisions to my audio system. One item that was going to be replaced was a very nice and pricey carbon-fiber/stainless steel equipment stand that I had sold when I had my audio shop. The existing stand I was using is quite popular and does a nice job in wringing out everything your components can offer- or so I thought. Basically, I didn't need four shelves anymore since I went with some integrated components.

After a lot of research- and experience with many other equipment stands- I decided to check out the Mapleshade products. After some enjoyable conversations with Pierre, I decided to try the Samson rack, It arrived in about one week in several boxes. The finish is excellent and the grain of the maple looks great. Assembly took about 1 hour from unpacking to loading the gear. At first I dreaded having to thread the support rods, but the rods are extremely well made and the threading was effortless- no mis-aligned threads requiring Herculean strength to move the shelf nuts through. This is definitely not cheap hardware. Tools are also provided to make shelf leveling and tightening pretty easy. Once the shelf was assembled, a bit of tinkering with leveling the shelves was completed in about 10 minutes.

I still had my existing stand, so I had a chance to do some A/B comparisons. Simply put, the Samson (with Triplepoints under the pre-amp) held it's own against the over the 6x as expensive stand I was using. Transients were sharp and clean with no change in the tonal balance. The dynamic range also seemed a bit better with the quieter passages being more quiet. Low level resolution and vocal nuances were excellent. Adding in the detached 4" maple amplifier stand I purchased at the same time, the sonics of my system surpassed what I had experienced with the prior stand- and all this for about one-quarter the cost of the hi-tech rig I was using.

In my opinion, the Samson is a big time best buy and should be on a short list of anyone looking for an equipment stand that will bring out the best of one's components. - Mike Masztal