-Jeff Dorgay, Tone Audio
Everyone on the staff has been raving about these things since CES, so I wanted to give them a try for myself (JO even uses two of them on the microwave and swears the chili tastes better). A miniature Symposium platform at two by three inches, they are finished to the fanatical level of the other full sized Symposium products.
As with many vibration control devices, the level of effectiveness is not quite as dramatic with components that have more robust mechanical construction, but I found a set of four FatPadz to help every component I used it with, enhancing soundstaging as well as lowering the noise floor somewhat. Surprisingly enough, three Fat Padz under my cheapie Pioneer 563 combination player, with an additional one on the top made a dramatic difference in sound quality. Using them underneath my inexpensive Klipch subwoofer in my garage system gave a one-note boom box a fair amount of bass definition.
To get the maximum effectiveness out of your Fat Padz when using them between your equipment and whatever rack or shelf you have it on, be sure to get the pad on a flat part of the chassis bottom (not underneath the rubber foot) and if possible, right next to any screws protruding out of the chassis. This will offer the best mechanical grounding for spurious vibrations in your component.
According to Peter Bizlewicz at Symposium, you can use a Fat Pad wherever you were using spikes before, with much better results and all of us at TONEAudio concur. No matter where we swapped out our spikes and cones with Fat Padz, better tonal balance was achieved, with tighter midbass and more accurate imaging. Again, I found the Fat Padz to work very well under minimonitors, doing a much better job than anything I have tried with my Quad 12L's.
The only place I couldn't discern a difference was in the chili taste, so I'll leave that one up to you. (The Fat Padz did however, do an excellent job of damping the tinny feel of the microwave's cabinet) I would liken the difference to that of buying a much better set of interconnects between your preamplifier and amplifier in terms of magnitude, but because the Fat Padz really help out with midrange and upper bass bloat, they do more for your system's ultimate resolution.
The bad news is that if this is your first experience with Symposium products, you will want more. Watch for our review on the Ultra Base next issue. The Fat Padz are keepers.