The Mana Acoustics Clamp – customer review

The new Mana Acoustics Clamp grips the chassis of a HiFi component, suspends it in a resonating frame, and supports it with 4 spikes in place of the original feet.

A new Mana Clamp

A new Mana Acoustics Clamp

The improvement in sound is stunning. And once the clamp has been installed, it’s possible to start using multiple layers of glass within stacks of Mana Sound Stages, Frames and Amp Racks.

This is an independent customer review. I have been buying Mana tables since the early 1990’s. My ambition is to get the best music possible, on a limited budget.

 

Installation for the Mana Acoustics Clamp

This shows the installation sequence I use for Mana Clamps. It is illustrative. I do not guarantee it works for everyone, and I am not liable for any damage occurred to people or property if you follow this sequence.

  1. First, I switched off the power amplifier. Then I switched off the rest my system.
  2. I removed my HiFi component from the system. I turned it upside down and removed the feet, then put the screws back. (When I tried with the Linn Majik, the feet could not be removed so I positioned the clamp with bars fractionally away from the feet.)
    Mana-clamp-setup-step2-4362
  3. I turned the HiFi component upside down and put the frame upside down on it. I centred it. I used four of the nuts as temporary separators between the frame and base of the HiFi.
    Mana-clamp-setup-step3-4365
  4. I tightened the sideways nuts. With some HiFi I used indented discs supplied by Mana, with others I used pennies, and with some I used none even though that meant the spikes made small holes in the side of the case. I tighten to the point where they won’t slip, but not so much as to deform the casing. The example below shows where I used a disc for the front spikes and no disc for the rear spikes – to illustrate the difference.
    Mana-clamp-setup-step4-4367
  5. I removed the separator nuts.
    Mana-clamp-setup-step5-4374
  6. In the centre of the crossbeams there are two bolt holes. I added the two upwards central spikes. I used just a light touch to avoid vibration, avoiding bending the bar. I added nuts to avoid them shifting later.
    Mana-clamp-setup-step6-4371
  7. I put the entire thing the right way up, in its final place, then used visuals to get it horizontal. (It would be better to use a small spirit level.)
  8. I tuned it. This is similar to tuning Mana tables. Knock with a finger knuckle on the metal next to each of the spikes. Adjust the 4th spike until the sound is similar. Tighten the nut on the 4th spike, then doublecheck by tapping with something metallic – I use a small screwdriver.
  9. Whenever I use a clamp above glass, I add small pads and stick one on the glass under each of the spikes. The pads improve the sound by ensuring good contact with the glass. They also reduce slipping when knocked accidentally.
    Mana-clamp-setup-step9-3653
  10. I then reconnect the HiFi wires and check these are correctly setup.
  11. Now I add power. As usual, the power amp is switched on last.
  12. I listen to the change. It always comes immediately. But I’ve found that it continues to improve for a day or two. (That’s similar to HiFi cables settling in.)

 

The tests

In my system, I’ve used them on:

  • A solid state streamer with separate power supply (Naim 272 and XPS) – it was transformational on the streamer and good on the power supply.
  • An integrated streamer (Linn Majik, 2012 model) – transformational.
  • Two different preamps (both from Avondale) – significant on the solid-state preamp and modest on the power supplies.
  • Three power amps (Naim 250-2, Anthem PVA4 and borrowed Mana Stealth monoblocks) – all stunning.
  • An AV Processor (Anthem MRX520) – stunning sound difference, including for the preamp circuits when it’s handling music instead of films.
  • A NAS drive and network box (Melco HA-N1A) – stunning. (N.B. The Melco is a medical-grade Linux computer and network switch, handling digital signals – it’s not HiFi.)

For types of sound difference, please see The Sound of Mana. For a scale for measuring the size of these differences, please see Guide to balancing a Mana system.

 

The downsides of the Mana Acoustics Clamp

Naim-preamp-clamped-3654Appearance. Compared to the most beautifully engineered HiFi cases, the clamps are retro. However I’ve got some old kit that looks cool with clamps, like an upgraded Naim 32 preamp.

Foot removal and unusual sizes. Some HiFi has feet that are fixed. Check this BEFORE ordering from Mana, because they can make frames with extensions.

clamp-on-heat-sink-4372Vampire bites. The first of the clamps relied on tightening spikes onto the side of the HiFi cases. This makes small indentations in the side of the case – vampire bites. Discs are now provided to avoid this and for use with HiFi with cooling bars. The discs have to be tight to avoid slipping, and this may compress the outer casing.

Highly addictive. I found the difference so stunning that I kept going back for more in my search for better HiFi without breaking my bank account.

 

What’s special?

Here’s how a clamp differs from conventional HiFi feet:

  • Contact with the surface below comes from 4 sharp and rigid spikes instead of rubber or nylon.
  • The connection with the sides of the HiFi means the components are suspended via the frame.
  • The metal frame consists of horizontal bars that, even with the central spike, have a flex and resonates at high frequency.

Please see The Rise of Glass in HiFi for some thoughts on why this works.

 

Related articles

New Mark 2 Sound Stage and Sound Frame – doubling the performance improvement, and looking better

Guide to balancing and maintaining a Mana system

The Rise of Glass – once you start using the Mana Clamp (or speakers on spikes) then there are some amazing things that can be done by swapping the boards for more levels of glass

The Sounds of Mana – what to listen for, and how to balance the upgrades

 

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