Isambard Kingdom Brunel didn’t invent the suspension bridge, but his name is inseparable from the idea, in the same way that Rolls Royce is inseparable from automotive excellence and it’s hard not to think of such engineering excellence when opening the rather fetching box of this, a humble hifi shelf.. the Audio Suspension ASU 100.. Hyperbolic clap trap? My opening here maybe a little over the top, I’ll concede that much, but until you’ve seen the ASU 100 in the flesh it’s hard to appreciate just how beautifully made this support really is.
A thick, heavy, clear acrylic platter, with sculpted chrome clamps to hold it to the wall, and then the all-important suspension wires bolted in above.. As a fan of sound engineering it’s hard not to be impressed.
The ASU is as good looking as it is stable and well built. The next pleasant surprise in the box was a simple instruction sheet and a really nicely produced template, which marks out the drilling points from which the shelf is hung.
Now a confession, I am, in no small measure, a ham fisted dullard when it comes to DIY. I can barely open my tool box without damaging something – normally myself. Anyone old enough to remember Kenny Everet will remember Reg Prescott, the Darwinian self selecting DIY expert. I promise you, Reg is my DIY equivalent. I am dangerously incompetent with power tools. And so it was with some trepidation that I fetched my spirit level and blue tack, and fixed the template to the wall. Soon I had to do what I knew was coming. I’d known it since I’d collected the shelf from Adam’s house.. Affable and easy to get on with as he was, I had a sense of dread.. I had to unleash the beast. Open her up, and insert my chosen tool. Yep, the DRILL!!!! Oh, you may scoff at my over use of exclamation marks, but my walls are 90% Polly filler thanks to my exploits with the DRILL!!!!.
One phone call to a builder mate later and I was confident I had the correct drill bit in place. I pointed it at the template, drilled the holes, tapped in the rawl plugs, mounted the cleverly designed fixings and hung the shelf. I then used the super clever suspension fixings and the supplied turn-table spirit level to “fine tune” the shelf and get it bang on level. Even writing about it has made me feel all chuffed and gung-ho about my new found prowess with a drill. I am under no illusions here, we all feel like a super spy as we walk across the car park, in the dark, late on a rainy night; normally we would feel vulnerable, but, not tonight, tonight we are invincible.. We are READY. We can take on all comers, in fact, we’d welcome an attack, maybe a mugger will try it on, we will disarm them, throw them to the floor and knock them unconscious with a Karate chop, we will be all masterful and our date will throw herself at us right then and there.. not because we are skilled at such things.. No, no.. and not because we are international spies.. No, it’s because we have just left the cinema and watching a James Bond film does that to a man. Trust me, the simplicity of installation here was a similarly testosterone inducing thrill for a DIY’tard such as myself. I t gave me a dangerous level of confidence.
So, what’s it like up? The photos don’t do it much justice to be honest. It’s very pretty. A touch on the bling side perhaps, but very good looking. And solid. Even without the suspension wires in place it inspires confidence. Able to hold 25kg when fixed to a decent wall and wide enough for the large majority of decks, it’s well thought out and pretty damn immovable.
Does it change the sound of my HiFi? No. That may sound like a negative, but think on. My previous shelf was nowhere near as sturdy; it had an MDF shelf that would sing along with the bass. Bass bloom was common. It’s not any more. In fact, what I hear now is my turn table and nothing else. Truly that is what a support should do. It should do nothing. At all. No effect. This is not as easy as it sounds. Most turn table supports have an effect; they will vibrate and sing along. This is solid, heavy and sturdy. The cantilever design means that it wills itself to stay still.
The only problem I foresee for Adam, the designer and owner of Audio Suspension, is how he can make these quickly enough, because at only £250.00 (delivered) these will fly off the shelf.
Very rarely will I say this, but truly, no audition required. Just buy one. Fit it and admire it. Then enjoy the sound of the kit you bought, and nothing else.