Sunshine Co. Ltd. Is located in Tokyo Japan where they specialize in making products for use with audio components such as audio boards and insulators. To top it off, they also make turntable mats and record stabilizers for the audiophile who wants to tweak their ‘table. Considering my love of LP records, hearing this brought great joy to my heart as I am sure it will to others who love vinyl. What sets Sunshine Ltd. Co. apart from most other companies is their use of Magnesium as a primary substance. Today, there are many audiophiles spending large sums of money and time searching for ways to reduce or eliminate unwanted vibrations from entering back into a component and distorting the music. At work within an audio system we have vibrations emanating from not only electronic devices themselves, but also parts of the room reflecting back into the components. This interferes with the clarity of the sound we are hearing due to said vibrations negatively affecting the critical needle-LP interface. Unlike when I was a young man, many audiophiles today understand that components perform at a higher level without any added non-musical variables interfering with their primary function of recreating music. There is a good deal of products on the market to help one do this. Some being quite expensive, frankly, and all that work with a varying degree of effectiveness to achieve this common goal. One need only do a quick Google search to find a list of companies that use a large variety of substances to accomplish the goal of a "quieter" home audio system. According to the Sunshine's Japanese website:
"Magnesium is a unique material absorbing vibration, quickly dissipating heat. At the moment Sunshine is the only company in Japan using this unique material."
Sunshine makes not only their S50 ($150) under-boards for components and loudspeakers; they also offer S4 ($160) bases to place under or atop these boards. These spacers may also be used alone without any under-boards at all. It was fun playing with the many ways in which to utilize the above and the website goes into further details giving suggests as to how one might best want to place them about your audio system. You might decide to use three, four or even more S4 stabilizers with the S50 under board or to use a variety of them directly under individual components by themselves. You could use three S4 stabilizers to form a triangle with the boards or four forming a square or rectangle base, just let your imagination be your guide.
I suppose you could even use one, if you wish, and knowing audiophiles some will probably experiment. We all have done the mixing it up to better understand the change in sound of one's system. If we cannot have fun with our hobby to enhance our musical enjoyment then what are we in it for? Of course the S50 audio boards used by themselves under components are an excellent option. If space in your audio rack is at a premium, then these alone should suffice. For this particular review I kept it simple, and thus utilized one S50 under-board placed beneath each loudspeaker and one S4 base under each corner of that board for a total of four in all. My audio room is not carpeted and so everything sat directly on my hardwood floors.
The S50 under-boards are made from pure Magnesium sheets framed with a high-quality Russian Burch border. "Heat compression alone will not get rid of all unnecessary sounds. Hence, Japanese high-technology is also used to completely eliminate unnecessary metallic sounds. "Use is quite simple as it need only be placed under the loudspeaker or component to work with obviously no break in time being necessary. As for the Magnesium Large Base S4 components, they too are quite simple to use and once again will obviously require no break in time. They come in two pieces, one with a hole in it and the other with a small round peg sticking out to fit into that hole. Simply place one atop the other so that the round peg fits in the round hole and voila, you are done. Of course if you prefer you might decide to use just one and not raise the product quite as high. The S4s can be placed under or atop any of their under-boards or to be used alone directly under a component or loudspeaker. You might want to experiment with how many and in what configuration you prefer but other than that really quite simple to implement in order to get a desired effect. Before trying the S50/S4 combination with my CD player and preamplifier I experimented with the effects both had on just my Magnepan loudspeakers alone.
Music To My Ears
Switching over now to a vinyl recording of Born and Raised by John Mayer [Columbia 88691 97606 1], the combination of S50 / S4 again did not disappoint. Turning the volume up about as much as my poor ears dare listen, everything stayed nice and focused without a smearing of the musical content. Vocals always sounded quite natural with my Magnepan 3.6 speakers, but now the lower frequencies had a feeling of being that much smoother and this was a pleasure to hear. It was definitely worth lifting those loudspeakers up off the floor onto these new platforms and the effects were more than subtle. It was now time to pull out my French vinyl pressing of the Jimi Hendrix / 6 Greatest Hits [Barclay 80 589]. I was not sure the last time I heard him in person as it could have been at the Woodstock concert in 1969 or maybe his appearance on New Year's Eve at the Fillmore East in New York City, but either way his performances always left me being quite awestruck. Closing out the second side of that album was the song "Fire" and with these combined products from Sunshine his magical talent was set free from within the record grooves with all the focus, speed and detail originally recorded there. Moving onto that classic song "Foxy Lady", I was presented a very realistic image of separate individuals laid out within a solid three dimensional soundscape with a noteworthy mention of a greater sense of depth. Here once again bass imaging was well defined and quite powerful.
It was now time to do a little shuffling around of products and so out came the S50 and S4s from under my loudspeakers. They were then substituted for some three layered wooden bases I had made for use both under loudspeakers and components alike. This was done so as to test what effects the S50 under-boards might have on my preamplifier and CD player without completely taking the concept of using an under-board of some sort under the Magnepan loudspeakers. It should be mentioned that while it did not matter with my particular loudspeakers, as their ribbon tweeters run 55" in length, other loudspeakers might benefit by having the S50 and S4s elevating them up a bit higher. That is because it is a good rule of thumb to have the tweeter at ear level or as close to it as you can. If the S50 / S4 combination would help by raising them to the desired level then so much the better.
After making the above substitutions under my components, Jack Johnson To the Sea [Brushfire Records B0014266-02] CD never sounded quite so good. It was not just one song but the entire album that seemed to elevate its level of sound reproduction up a notch or maybe two. The music came across as more relaxed and natural, less artificial in nature. As for the mid-range and tweeter they seemed a tad clearer with bass notes sounding fuller. These characteristics occurred when S50 and S4's were placed under my components and to an even greater degree when used under my loudspeakers. As a reviewer I tend to listen very intently for even minor changes when trying to ascertain if a product is having any or what type of effect on my system, whether that effect is good or bad. My feeling about them was definitely positive in nature and using the S50 and S4s under my loudspeakers and components alike made for a more involving musical experience. Each change in placement, going from loudspeakers, to CD player and preamplifier, added just a bit more to a greater sense of realism within my system. Having experimented with isolation devices numerous times in the past there was always a cumulative effect which occurred when using them with multiple components rather than just one. As the saying goes, "The more the merrier".
The Listening Environment
S4 Magnesium Large Base (4 Pieces)