Marigo Audio 3-D Signature v2 Mat (discontinued)
THE ULTIMA SIGNATURE MAT HAS BEEN RELEASED
AND REPLACES THE 3-D SIGNATURE v2 MAT.
The MARIGO AUDIO SIGNATURE 3-D v2 MAT for CD & DVD utilizes a revolutionary and proprietary gold surface on top of anti-static black coating and optically absorbent green. This synergistically creates a new level of performance for both audio and video digital replay. With the MARIGO AUDIO SIGNATURE 3-D v2 MAT in a CD transport or a DVD player, you will see and hear a dramatic improvement. Inner detail, resolution, and ambient information is enhanced tremendously in audio replay. The harmonic structure of instruments and human voice are revealed to be strikingly more lifelike.
SECRETS OF HOME THEATER AND HIGH FIDELITY
3-D SIGNATURE MAT
Jason Victor Serinus
Journey to Another World
My most recent experience with the Signature 3-D v2 mat was at the home of a well-known writer/reviewer for major audiophile print publications.
Our auditioned tracks included Patty Smith’s “When Doves Cry” and Susie Ungerleider performing “Sacrifice”.
After listening to both vocalists, I asked if we could replay the tracks using the Signature 3-D Mat. The difference was startling. All of a sudden, voices and instruments transformed from flat, mono-dimensional presentations to rounded sonic images that bore a far greater resemblance to the real thing. You could feel the presence of the drum, the roundness of the strings, and the different layers of undertones and overtones that comprise the human voice.
Equally striking was the additional air and depth. Voice and instruments were now realistically separated, resonating in different acoustic planes rather than sounding crammed together in mono-dimensional space. Where before the voice had seemed somewhat dryly miked, it now sounded like it was recorded in a naturally resonant space. And where sonic images had hung in space as though they were lovely pictures on a wall, they now seemed to live in the space between and around the speakers. The most important change was the additional soul that these women’s voices exhibited. An entirely new emotional component was revealed, one that allowed me to feel the heart that motivates their singing.
Life is the key
The transformation was anything but subtle. It made all the difference in the world. What had before registered as interesting arrangements of studio-processed sounds now touched me as living, breathing artistic statements.
The essence of music was for the first time revealed through this system. And that’s what it’s all about.
What about Video Performance?
The difference in picture and sound quality with the Signature 3-D mat is astonishing.
Picture: With the Marigo Labs Signature 3-D mat:
1. the colors have far more life and depth.
2. Images also have considerably more detail and clarity.
3. There is an extra weight and roundness to the images that renders them far more engaging.
Sound: With the Marigo Labs Signature 3-D mat I discovered a previously unheard midrange fullness and tighter, more profound bass that rendered voices and instruments far more substantial, colorful, and lifelike. For the first time, I was engaged by the singing and playing.
More on Sonics
After revisiting my audio set-up, I realize anew what a difference this Signature 3-D v2 mat makes. One would expect Theta’s top-of-the-line transport and DAC to sound pretty satisfying without some mat sitting atop a CD. So it comes as a shock to rediscover just how much of my listening pleasure hinges upon use of the Marigo Labs Signature 3-D mat.
Take Reference Recordings’ issue of Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances. After playing the opening three minutes of this disc at least 350 times,
I think that I know what to listen for. Without using the 3-D Mat, I have a very nice sonic experience. Relistening with the Marigo Labs Signature mat in place, it’s hard to think of what’s not different.
1. The soundstage widens and deepens, providing a stunning sense of a full orchestra surrounded by an aura of natural hall reverberation. Much of this air and reverb was absent without the disc. What before sounded like a high-grade audiophile presentation takes on a life of its own, seemingly independent of all the boxes and wires arrayed before me.
2. The sound of massed double basses and percussion significantly increase, and is presented with greater focus. The additional mass and weight seem far closer to the real thing that I experience on a regular basis in Davies Symphony Hall.
3. The ring of the triangle, which seems suspended in space in actual live performance, lifts out of the disc and rings in my room in lifelike fashion.
4. There is far more life to highs, and significantly more detail to the entire presentation.
One single $199 Marigo Labs Signature 3-D disc transforms my system’s gestalt from “audiophile quality” to “musical.”
Every level of player I’ve tried the Marigo Labs Mat in, including five figure transports and players, the Signature Mat has taken the listening experience to another level.
Jason Victor Serinus
In video replay, the MARIGO AUDIO SIGNATURE 3-D MAT greatly enhances picture detail and dimensionality. You will experience an involving 3-D video performance as never before.
The Marigo Labs Signature 3-D Mat is the result of an effort to develop a new level of enhancement for digital replay, and its price reflects the seriousness of that effort. The new technologies involved in the mat include a carbon fiber and Kevlar composite matrix to control damping, embedded ultrafine silver wire for stray field suppression, proprietary coatings on both sides of the mat for damping, draining of charges, and spectra-modified light absorption, plus other original proprietary technologies developer Ron Hedrich chooses not to reveal to us. The mat is thin enough that it should not be a problem in most players, but if it does slip off the CD when the drawer is opened or closed, Ron provides some little rubber bumpers with the disc, which are affixed to the drawer and which prevent the mat moving around. The mat has a green side, which should be up for audio replay, including hi-res discs. The other side of the mat is gold.
I tried the mat on both video and audio sources, including my Dan Wright modified Sony S9000 ES two-channel SACD/CD player, my DW-modified Sony CE-775 SACD/CD changer, and the Pioneer DV-59AVi universal player I was reviewing. I began with one of my tried-and-true test CDs, an Opus 3 gold sampler titled “Test records 1, 2 & 3”, on which I frequently use the second track – a classical guitar quartet playing Telemann, and the third track – a traditional jazz ensemble. This disc has also had the thorough green pen treatment. Played straight thru my Sunfire preamp with the Source Direct option bypassing all digital processing, it sounded great without the mat. (The 9000 analog output feeds thru a Taddeo Digital Antidote processor prior to the preamp.)
Then I open the disc drawer and slipped on the Marigo Signature mat. The sounds of the guitars now had more pronounced plucking of the strings, there was more ambiance in the recorded space, the soundstage was wider and deeper, there were increased dynamics, deeper bass end, and the attack on emphasized notes was stronger. With the mat off the four guitars sounded perfectly on pitch and almost like clones of one another; with the mat in place one could hear minute pitch/timbre differences between the guitars that actually added another degree of musical interest.
On the trad jazz track the piano which opens on the left channel sounded rather distant and a bit dull without the mat, and the banjo solo which shortly comes up was a bit mild and reticent-sounding. With the mat the piano sounded closer and more realistic and the string tone and plucking of the banjo stood out with gusto. About the middle of this track is a loud centered soprano sax solo. Without the mat that was an attention-getter and sounded like my center channel speaker was operating when it wasn’t. However, with the Marigo mat it nearly knocked me over with its presence, solidity and impact. I noticed similar improvements on both of these tracks with all four of the players at hand, including my Rotel RDV-1050.
The second standard CD I tried was a new band disc from Bill Cunliffe titled Imaginación on Tori. The second track (Do it Again) opens with a section of various Latin-type percussion instruments – guiros, scratchers etc. While they were clearly laid out across the soundstage both with and without the mat, the mat gave all the instruments more crispness of delivery and subtle overtones that were not noticed before. I have a few discs in duplicate for comparisons, and one is an excellent BIS CD of Ernesto Lecuona’s piano music, Vol. 2. I put both discs (also green-penned) into my Sony changer with the mat on top of the second one so I could skip back and forth using my remote. The orchestral introduction on track 1 has a flute against a string section and the mat-less disc showed some edginess in the sound. The disc with the mat lost the edginess and sounded sweeter. On the solo piano pieces on the CD, the mat resulted in more upper harmonics, a crisper piano sound, and generally more life in the entire performance. I believe that with less solid and resonance-prone transports the mat could provide even more improvement.
I moved next to two-channel SACD playback, starting with a new CPO disc, Harpsichord Concertos of Benda. The mat brought increased low bass support, made the string tone more silky and achieved much improved soundstage depth. Without the disc the passages when the solo harpsichord came to the fore sounded as thought there was a partial lute stop in operation. With the mat on there were added harmonics to fill out the sonic picture of the harpsichord and it no longer sounded slightly muffled. I play and own a harpsichord so I’m familiar with what it should sound like.
The Water Lily Acoustics stereo SACD of Scriabin’s Divine Poem with Alexander Dmitriev conducting was next. This lush and sensual symphony opens with extremely low, murky-sounding rumbling involving tubas, trombones and string basses. Then over this background is heard higher-pitched strings. About this time, being a live concert, one hears a loud cough on the left channel. Without the mat the music sounded fairly impressive, illustrating the mid-audience acoustic viewpoint achieved by Water Lily with their single stereo mike for the entire orchestra. Adding the mat caused the higher string figurations to stand out in bolder relief against the rumbling underpinnings. And when the cough comes, one realizes before it was clearly spaced on the left side but nothing more; now there is the sense that it is a real person at a particular spot in the hall, and the reflections of the cough off the walls of the concert hall are clearly discerned.
When I compared the DTS 5.1 audio option on the new Image Entertainment DVD of Bernstein’s operetta Candide, I heard a major enhancement in sonics with the 3-D mat. The sparkling overture to the work sounded good without the mat but the mat immediately widened and deepened the soundstage, gave more bass support and in general more spark to the whole sonic picture. Using the mat resulted in an upgrading of the inner details, soundstage and ambient information.
So the bottom line here is that the Marigo Labs Signature 3-D Stabilizer Mat does work and very well too.