Hedrich of Marigo Audio Lab could be the poster child for out-of-the-box
thinking in the realm of audiophile accessories. Since 1989 he has been offering
products that may seem to the suspicious mind both dubious in conception and
unorthodox in appearance. But in my experience his products have proven to be
extraordinarily beneficial in improving the performance of audio systems.
The first Marigo product I encountered, some 15
years ago was the Tuning Dots. At the time my listening room in California was
rather small, so my loudspeakers were definitely in a nearfield setup. My
listening seat was about seven feet from the plane of the loudspeakers, and I
had large windows immediately behind the seat. I suspected that the proximity of
speakers to windows was generating some unwanted resonances; I thought I could
detect a bit of upper midrange "ringing," especially on solo piano and
So, I installed Tuning Dots – flat, roughly
half-dollar-sized discs – onto the windows. Voilà! That subtle but annoying
trace of ringing was gone. My small listening space became much more accurate
and satisfying for the six years I remained in that location before my move to
At the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2009, I
encountered Ron Hedrich, who was demonstrating an early version of his Mystery
Feet. After a brief "in or out" demo, I was much impressed and asked
Ron if I could review them. He demurred, saying that they were a work in
progress, and perhaps we could arrange something later. But time passed and I
moved to Chicago in 2006, and in the interim I forgot about the Mystery Feet.
Then a few months ago Ron contacted me to ask if I was still interested. He had
finally, he thought, taken the concept as far as he could. Was I interested? You
bet! A few weeks later (these things are apparently a bear to make) I received
two sets of the RHX Mystery Feet.
Using the RHX Mystery Feet
To begin, I placed the Feet under my two Wells
Audio Innamorata power amplifiers, replacing the Gingko Audio Cloud 12 isolation
platforms. I had been using the Gingko platforms for several years, and I have
always found them one of the most effective – and cost-effective too –
isolation devices. However, the Marigo RHX Mystery Feet immediately improved
system performance. The soundscape became a bit wider and deeper, which was
somewhat surprising to me, as spatial dimensionality was already one of the
highlights of my system, and especially of the Analysis planar/ribbon dipoles.
Bass frequencies became deeper and tighter, high frequencies more open and
extended. Perhaps most impressive to me was the improved detail resolution from
top to bottom. There was simply more information than I had been getting
Next, I restored the Gingko platforms under the
amplifiers, and used the Mystery Feet under my tube preamp (which began as a
JoLida Fusion but is massively modified by Wells Audio with Bybee Music Rails
& SEAC Bullets, as well as superb NOS tubes. I haven't reviewed this preamp
because it is a custom job, not a standard product. But it decisively
outperforms my previous ($20K!) VTL 750 Series II, even after I had improved
that unit by adding Bybee Music Rails).
The second set went under my Modwright/Denon 3910
CD/SACD player with NOS 6900 tube output stage. Both of those components had
also been resting on Gingko platforms. After the change the sonic results were
similar to what I had heard from the amplifiers, but now with even better
overall results. I'm not too surprised by that difference. The amplifiers are
very solidly built solid-state designs. The Feet seem to make even more of a
difference under tubes than under solid-state designs.
Under the amplifiers and the preamp I configured
the Mystery Feet with two in front and one centered in the rear of the
component. But with the CD player, I got a noticeable improvement from reversing
that. Putting one Foot front center under the drawer mechanism and two at the
rear gave better focus and imaging precision.
Ron Hedrich had suggested that it would be
beneficial to rotate the Mystery Feet in place to achieve optimal results.
Although I faithfully followed his advice, I can't say that the rotations
achieved for me any perceptible changes in the sonic presentation. Initially I
was puzzled by my inability to hear a difference from this technique, as Ron
Hedrich's assertions typically are confirmed in listening. But as I was writing
this review, Ron explained that the audible difference from rotating the Mystery
Feet emerge only when the base is contacting the component and the center post
is contacting the shelf. I had not used the Mystery Feet in that better. So it
is not surprising that I heard no improvement from rotating the devices. In that
sense I failed to do is thorough job of evaluating the devices as I could have
done. But I urge anyone who tries the Mystery Feet to try that placement as well
as the one I used.
At $799 per set, the Marigo RHX Mystery Feet are
not cheap. But I have no hesitation in recommending them to the perfectionist
audiophile who can afford them. Although I didn't hear them under tube
amplifiers, the improvements I heard under my tubed front-end components make me
think they should be tried under tube amps. (Ron concurs.) And as my experience
showed, they are also quite effective under heavily built solid-state
In addition to the RHX Mystery Feet described
here, Marigo also offers the F6 Extreme Mystery Feet ($1199). I have not heard
those footers. Ron Hedrich describes them as virtually identical in tonal
balance to the RHX version, but delivering greater detail resolution and a lower
noise floor when used in a reference-quality system. In the last quarter of
2014, Marigo will release the RHZ Mystery Feet upgraded with improved composite
materials and completely re-engineered termination. The brass centerpiece is
replaced by composites. Those significant across-the-board sonic improvements
will only cost you $899 for a set of 3, and the F7 Extreme are $1395 for
set of 3.
In addition, trickle-down RHZ/F7 technology will
be available for factory-modified Mystery Feet upgrades on all earlier-model
Mystery Feet at $199/set of 3. In factory upgrades RHX Mystery Feet will become
the latest RHZ model, and F6 Extremes will become the latest F7 Extreme. Earlier
generations of Mystery Feet become Version 2 designation:
[Generation 1] TR and [Generation 2] TRi models
upgraded become TRi V2.
[Generation 1] VX and [Generation 2] VXi upgraded
become VXi V2.
Marigo products are sold by selected dealers, and
are sold factory-direct in areas that are not served by a Marigo retailer.
Marigo offers customers a 30-day trial with money-back guarantee upon return,
and a 5-year unconditional warranty on all Marigo products.