The Stella is Townshend Audio's latest and most elegant incarnation of a base that isolates the speaker from the floor.
But this particular variation uses an innovation called variable gas damping suspension, which can also be found on the Rock 7 turntable and yet here can support loudspeakers weighing up to 80 kilograms!
In fact, it's the perfect solution, if you've have taken your high-end system as far as cables, equipment supports and tweaks will allow without replacing the hardware.
Break the link
The standard Stella Stand is an X-shaped device that has sprung rubber bellows or 'dynamically variable gas-dampers' at each corner. These come in three variants according to how much mass the stand will need to support.
The Stella can also be used with both floorstanding and standmount speakers and has a bracket to stabilise the latter; the soft nature of the suspension means that a top heavy standmount needs to be bolted down at its base.
Townshend also makes dedicated stands for specific speakers and this is the one we were sent for review – in this case the Bowers and Wilkins 802D floorstander (£1,500). At 80kg this is at the top end of the Stella's raise the speaker about 35mm off the ground.
To use the Stella Stand these feet need to be replaced with the castors that are supplied as standard, so that the speaker can be rolled into place. This leaves it standing 70mm off of the ground. A change in height that might effect the bass slightly because the first reflection from the floor will be slightly longer, but we didn't encounter any reduction in low-end extension or power and could no longer feel the floor moving under our feet.
What you hear is a distinct increase in detail across the band. The bass becomes more articulate, so that you can hear more of an instrument's character, like MeShell NdegeOcello's bass guitar. This can often sound rather thick and heavy but not very tuneful, whereas the Stella opens up the sound and lets you hear her playing in full effect.
Expanding the sound is the Stella trademark and this is nowhere more obvious than in the midband, where there is considerably more nuance in voices and instruments, the inflections are better marked and the resonances of wooden instruments far more clear. It's quite a revelation in fact, we already know that the 802D is a great speaker, but you don't know what it's capable of if you've only heard it on the floor.
So, if you have found your ultimate loudspeaker, but would like to hear more of what it's capable of then the Stella Stand will be a revelation. It opens up the listening window in a tremendously revealing fashion and this means you can hear more of what's going on in the recording.
A secondary advantage is that it doesn't resonate the floor which means that sound transmission around the building is greatly reduced, so you can rock on without waking the neighbours. Result!
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