Footers- Break In? Such A Change.

So, I know components and cables break in and this has always been a source of mystery, not to mention the EE’s and the naysayers who believe firmly it is just not possible.

I am of the mindset based on my actual experience that electronics need power run through them for a time to perform their best. And that may mean hundreds of hours of electrical energy running through the item to fully form.

So, with this understanding I use this as the preamble to what I will describe next.

Footers. You know those little devices we put under our components, speakers etc., to isolate or stabilize the item.

Well, I must disclose that I have always been a tweaker and have tried many of the accessories we add to get the best out of equipment. I have also tried so many footers, many brands, types, even some DIY etc.

Critical Mass makes racks and footers. I have always wanted their racks, but due to my needed configuration just never have tried a rack. But I have tried the footers. The ones I have are called the Center Stage 2(CM2). I have them in the 1.0 and the 1.5 versions. There is also now a newer version called the 2M.

Anyway, these CM2’s is amazing. When you first place them under the equipment the music becomes dull, soundstage is narrow and the highs/lows are restricted. First comments you will have is; WTH?

But, wait about 7-10 days and these footers really open up and improve in all aspects that is important in sound reproduction.

How the heck a footer breaks in is amazing to me? The only thing that makes sense is that they must be adjusting to the weight that is on top of them and it takes that long to adjust.

Anyway, these are kinda relatively expensive but since the newer versions are now out perhaps you can grab some at a good discount. These will probably be the last footers I will ever own… Maybe?

I highly recommend them, even as strange as they are with break in.



I am still amazed that footers can make any difference at all. Back when I was sure they wouldn't I read about a footer tweak on TNT Audio that cost me $2 and a dept store. I was all set to mock and ridicule those who were using such foolishness. Not N o o o o o o . It was a shock to me but it sent me into examining tweaks even more. For years I made my own roller block footers that also work pretty good. I'm trying springs now. I can't say that they are worse but not sure if they are better either

I think break in might occur with anything that is movable. IOW, stuff like a foam, or spring, etc. The roller balls are moving inside a cup so i don't believe they would break in because nothing is flexible


Good point ozzy.  I'll go further and say that copper wire does not break it.  it is your ears and mind that change.  Now some things do break in, especially things that get hot or operate at a molecular level.

Coincidentally, I just bought a pair of podiums from Townshend and the literature says explicitly that "No breakin is required".   I greatly respect Townshend for saying this.

The breakin/burnin claim is almost universally used knowing that if we get people to use it for a few months before returning it, it greatly reduces the number of returns.

As for how much difference they make, I was skeptical.  Thought it might make some difference in the bass.  I was shocked.  it was such a big change I had to start all over tube rolling.  I wouldn't say it was 100% positive.  But in the end, it was quite an improvement.





Thank you @ozzy. Good info.


I must admit I always take on a skeptical look at new tweaks… hoping over and over that it would not matter. But, alas, it always does. I guess while I find it monotonous that everything matters… on the other hand, my system sound is the additive result of a dozen tweaks. So, I take some pride in having done the work and am now reaping the rewards.

Thank you for the comments. I must mention that I also have the Townshend podiums and yes you could tell instantly the improvement.

But the Critical Mass footers are a different animal, they do take time to perform. They don't look much like Hi-Tech from the outside. I wonder what is inside of them?



I don't think it's strange anymore ozzy since I had the same experience years ago with the Starsound speaker and component platforms.

Same experience here with black ravioli footers. Methinks it‘s due to gradually improving the connection with the chassis of the component in question, thereby draining internal vibration. It does take a day or two…

Thanks for those posts. The Starsound breaking in does seem strange also.

I have never heard of the Black Ravioli are they pads?

The Critical Mass footers do seem to have some type of mechanism inside, I just don’t know what.


I know that with carpet piercing footers it can take some time before the footer reaches a solid contact with the floor beneath the carpet and under pad.  

I just added a set of Gaia II's to my Dynaudio monitors and am working up a proper review to post. I can tell you that they made a huge difference in bass sq that seems to clarify the midrange. It's what I expected and hoped for. The difference was immediate and may have "smoothed out" over time but I can't really report a break-in period. Film at eleven.

I actually use real ravioli for my footers and find that the stuffed ones add that certain magic. And if you use the real ones, there is zero break in time.

Thanks again for the additional comments.

  • Yes the carpet piercing points do take a while to settle though the carpet, especially if you have carpet padding.
  • I also used the GAIA 1’s under my Sopra 2’s they are very good.
  • The Ravioli pads, I have heard of them, never used them though. Sounds like Bo probably prefers them with sauce...



They are in my experience the best footers for both speakers and equipment around. The material seems to come from a submarine noise proofing project and literally zaps grunge from your system. I haven’t found anything better, yet

@ozzy - You may already have checked out any CM forums over at whatsbestforum, but if not here's a link that has a number of them and might give you more insights from user experiences


I also seem to recall that Jay tried them out a while back and commented on his amp thread on here

Sirius should have a comedy channel with just people reading posts from these forums!


Don‘t know the answer; they are though designed to be mass loaded and weight is actually desirable

Thank you all for the comments, even the SA ones.

I have tried many footers, Stillpoints, Synergistic, Nordost, Black Diamond, and on and on. But, I have never had a footer react this way- breaking in.

I hope more of you can try them before you make an opinion, the final result after breakin is stunning.


So, I guess I'm not crazy... here is what I found about the CM footers.

"The curious thing about the CenterStage2 is that you know when its working because it makes the system sound a lot worse, at first. Until the footers harmonise and begin to correct those impedance mismatches and beyond, the sound of the system goes thin, light, bright, and the soundstage and dynamic range all but collapse. Then, as it begins to settle, the sound undergoes a quick and significant change for the better, and it keeps getting a lot better. We felt that “You notice this change by a shift in your internal dialogue. ‘I’d forgotten just how good that really is!’ (referring to both record and equipment) seems to be the first sign. About an hour later, you find yourself composing a thank-you email to the designers of the components in your system. Although it’s the bass that first comes back, it’s the midrange that seals the deal: the enhanced clarity, the walk-in detail to the soundstage, which seems to not change a thing, all the while being far more enveloping than before. This is no small change, and as the listening progresses, you begin to find this feeling of being immersed in the music.”


Ok, while I've never heard a footer break in, it could make sense if compression of materials within footer would settle over time. However, based on weight of component footers under, the exact final resting point of these materials would be highly variable. Over compress or under compressing these internal materials could result in less than optimum results.

It’s you that changes from day today. It’s what you believe is going to happen that is the magic. Your ears change every day, different days there’s more earwax or it moves inside your canal. It’s how tired you are that day it’s how relaxed you are that day. If you’re rushing it in a hurry and try to listen to music you can’t relax. If you’re having a relaxing day can you go and sit down and listen to your system I bet you the music sounds more magical then on a day if you try and force it. 

It’s you that changes from day today. It’s what you believe is going to happen that is the magic. Your ears change every day, different days there’s more earwax or it moves inside your canal. It’s how tired you are that day it’s how relaxed you are that day. If you’re rushing it in a hurry and try to listen to music you can’t relax. If you’re having a relaxing day can you go and sit down and listen to your system I bet you the music sounds more magical then on a day if you try and force it. 


I don’t agree, you probably should try it before you close your mind.


Ozzy, I get that, but wouldn't you think there is some optimal amount of compression for these footers. Some footers are offered with different models of same footer, depending on weight of component. Another,  are those popular multiple spring footers in which individual springs can be removed or added. Idea is optimal amount of compression for weight of each component.


Back to these footers, lets say component weighs 20lbs, each footer compresses to certain point, 40lb component will further compress footer, there may be a certain finite amount of compression that will sound best. If this case, I'd expect lighter weight component may sound light and airy, compress footer further, may sound darker, more muffled. If this not true, why would footer sound change over time? I'd suggest your footers  settling over time to it's final compression setting, you may or may not have found it's sweet spot. Will every component, regardless of weight find this same sweet spot?

Best I can say is based on my actual experience, I placed them under the component where I thought would work best. And boy do they deliver.


Well you are a Lions fan. Delusional like cubs and Buffalo fans. 

Humor dude.  


The Critical Mass footers are rated as .8 size for components under 100 lbs. The 1.0 for over 100 pounds. Not sure what the 1.5 is rated for but I am using four of them under my Lumin X1. I think you can go lower than the max weight I have listed just not supposed to go over.


I think I broke my foot once. Took a month or so before walking became normal again. Is this a belated April 1st post? 

Ozzy, how long did it take for the CM footer to settle in to reach their potential?  Hours, days week?

Post removed 

In my experience the critical mass footers are as Ozzy describes them. Nothing subtle or subjective.  Placing them under my integrated tube amp elevated the entire musical spectrum in my system. Could not believe my ears. I noticed less of an additional improvement when I added them under my DAC. I have never really found a "tweak" that really did a lot for me. I can't think of one "tweak" that really impressed me unless I wanted to imagine something, which I am not inclined to do. Not so with the critical mass footers in my system. As all things, Im sure system dependent.


Glad to see that another has tried these footers. I consider them essential to my overall sound pleasure.

Did you also experience the weird break in?



Well, I’m happy I found this thread, because I had a similar experience and I’m still busy playing with the decoupling of my system, I’ve been busy with it for a couple of weeks now, swapping various footers and trying to get the right balance between precision and musicality (much harder than I thought, by the way).

I’ve had the experience first with some AliExpress footers (3 ceramic balls pucks, ala "finite elements" without the price tag): I put them under an Ikea APTITLIG board, with my CD transport resting directly on the board. Not a good way of doing things but I was experimenting stuff. Anyways, from the moment those footers were under the board, the sound became open and wide but also lean with anemic bass. It was late that night and I decided to just go to bed and take them out the day after. But, to my surprise, when I played some music the day after the sound was much more "grounded", the bass was back (with a revenge!) but there was less bloom and openness. NOTHING ELSE had changed in the system, so I concluded that after a few hours, the footer settles in, maybe at microscopic level - the ceramic balls taking their final position, maybe, I don’t know, but it was very different.


Since that day I’ve been playing with a few different footers and I’m still busy with it, under my transport, under my preamp, I have a few different footers, some are soft and some are hard, and I have to say, it almost always changes (for better or worse) after a few hours of installation.

Now I must say, my system is a magnifying glass, every little change is heard big time, it has to play a part.

@ozzy  and I have to add, I don't believe it was all in my head. I know sometimes being tired or moody changes your perception of sound, you may think the sound is harsh or lacks musicality for example... BUT not when it comes to bass. Bass is tangible. It's almost physical. You cannot "imagine" a lack of bass, specially in a system where bass is felt by the body, when it disappears, it's not in your head. When that tactility goes away, it's not in your head, it's happening for real, and of course, when it comes back too. My opinion anyways.

Here is what has just been posted about the Critical Mass footers on another forum by a Critical Mass dealer.

"What people fail to understand tis that this Footer is based on Second Law of Thermodynamics and materials physics and essentially is dumping the entropy and finding a new point of equilibrium. It has nothing to do Wirth the weight of the unit"

Not sure I understand this though.


‘Dumping the Entropy’? Definitely gobbledygook! I’d love to have a physical explanation for superseding the Law of Entropy…might be really handy for cleaning up my den!

It really does sound mysterious and confusing. But theses footers are really something. That is, in improving the sonics of my components.


I first tried CMS footers a couple of years ago on a lark and ended up with 11 sets of them I liked them so much.  As to their explanation of why they work, I don't think they're doing themselves any favors. Totally unintelligible.  I can live with the break-in time - everything breaks in. 

Recently tried the CMS LS loudspeaker feet. These were even better in terms of sonic improvements.  It's a shame they're so expensive.  I normally wouldn't pay a lot for this kind of stuff, but I'm at the end of the line as all my components are keepers. 

I generally wouldn't advise anyone to focus on cables, footers, and other tweaks  unless their system was pretty much settled and what they're going to keep for the long hall.  



do you think the townshend vibration control products will be better than the CMS? I don't think that they make anything that'll be as good as the podiums for speakers.

I really think both products are amazing. But thus far I have only tried the Townshend Podiums under my speakers and the CM footers under components.

My next speaker unfortunately will not be able to try either product based on the way they are designed.