I am not sure either. But I guess of the inexpensive woods it sounds better in most cases. Cherry, as an example, would probably cost more let alone Brazilian rosewood, cocobolo or African blackwood.
Even Michael Green who is an advocate of resonance control tunable speakers and rooms used to make Justarack racks with thick maple shelves. Mapleshade does this too.
All hardwood is nature's ideal dampening material. It can absorb and dampen vibrations coming up from the floor.
I would think the reason why maple is the most popular is that it is readily available and the most cost effective. So its used the most. And we have no shortage of it here in N. America being a renewable resource.
I think there is absolutely no way to predict the end result without trying it. Some tables, especially the Linn, are tremendously affected by what they sit on and others are not. Plus, it's not about damping per-se. It's about what your ears prefer. That's why some people prefer not to use record clamps - they feel the sound is too dead without the little bit of resonance created by an unclamped record. IMO, worry less about damping and more about what sounds good to your ears. Good luck.
I agree with chayro, no way to predict but butcher block maple is what I choose so I guess I like it’s sonic signature.
McMaster Carr has butcher block food prep sheets, thick ones, up to 2.25” if I remember correctly. Cheap as anything since it’s not audiophile related. One sheet would supply a system and perhaps a friends as well.
I was just looking elasticity and density on another site. Its a little more dense but also little more rigid, which is offsetting in simple resonance equation, so hard to say. Wood isn't so homogenous in all directions either. Going to be close in sound, I suspect. Sound like a setup for a shootout.
I have a freind who just had some amazing countertops made with this hickory ,and i said to myself hmmm and he said he has a 30"x24" peice left and well i think i might buy it off him.It's gorgeous and different.Seems to me denser would vibrate at higher frequency but hey i have really no idea honeslty .lol
I use a 3.5" thick 15"x20" Michigan Maple brand butcher block cutting board under my turntable. I got it from Overstock.com for about $90. Price fluctuates a little bit, but currently they offer them for $100.99 with free shipping. http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Maple-End-Grain-20x15-inch-Chopping-Block/3300227/product.html?...
Mine fits perfectly on a Technics SL1210 M5G. It lowers the noise floor, improving dynamics, clarity, and inner detail. I mentioned this to an audiobuddy with a belt drive Music Hall turntable. He picked one up and was also very pleased with the results. Just putting the turntable on it helps quite a bit, but you can get even more improvement by putting some gel pads under the cutting board and positioning the turntable on Vibrapod Cones and Isolators, which absorb some of the mechanical before passing the rest on to the cutting board.
It appears that unlike cables audiophiles just don't experiment with this. It is kind of surprising because the difference may not be subtle, especially when comparing maple to exotic woods. Turntables are really sensitive things and minor changes anywhere are easily heard. I simply don't have funds for this, exotic woods are quite expensive.
Albert, good to hear from you. Do you wish to compare woods under turntable for all of us? Of course, different tables may react differently but still..
"It appears that unlike cables audiophiles just don’t experiment with this. It is kind of surprising because the difference may not be subtle, especially when comparing maple to exotic woods."
Actually audiophiles experiment a lot with various woods as well as many other materials. From maple to cherry to balsa to Mpingo wood to bamboo to walnut to spruce to Baltic birch plywood and others. From Corian to high density fiberboard to laboratory grade granite to glass to bluestone to marble to aluminum and plexiglass as well as various combinations thereof. And in thicknesses from 1/4" to 4".
no goats no glory
Some tables, especially the Linn, are tremendously affected by what they sit on and others are not. Plus, it's not about damping per-se. It's about what your ears prefer. The Linn likes a relatively flimsy stand. This is what the British reviews say and it is what I heard. I had a Rube Goldberg setup with an old Torlite stand on top of another stand and it worked better than my very ridged Star Sound stand. Others thought so also. I can recommend upgrades to the Linn but not their own as they are ridiculous in price. I regret that my memory has been damaged so I will have to look up the compenets. I will post they them. The what something Hercules power control from Hong Kong is the only one I remember.
I am using the Sole sub chassis and arm board and top plate. They are very good and improved the sound considerably. The Linn is now the best turntable I have had and I prefer it to the Ravens of my friends. I will not say it is better as I have not heard them in my system but it more agile with the music while they are more massive if that makes any sense. Like any top components they all have their own sound.
If you use isolation under your table (Townshend Seismic Pods, roller bearings, air bearing), the material of the shelf will not matter (as much?). I still have a couple of Torlyte shelves, the extremely low-mass design (hollow balsa-wood construction---very stiff, very non-resonant) big in England in the 80's and 90's. Linn-inspired, of course. Some of Ikea's butcher blocks are made of Bamboo, somewhat low-mass. What's so special about Maple? The best drum shells are made of Maple because of it's resonance and long sustain, not what I want in a support structure for my table!
"What’s so special about Maple? The best drum shells are made of Maple because of it’s resonance and long sustain, not what I want in a support structure for my table!"
Actually that’s why you DO want maple as a support structure for your table. It’s the natural musicality of maple that makes it such a good material for all sorts of isolation and support projects, such as Mapleshade racks and stands and my own Nimbus sub Hertz platform as well as musical instruments. It's been used by luthiers for centuries. Hel-looo! It’s musical. It’s magic. I prefer grade AAA white maple.
If interested, I wrote this review on a similar line: https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/symposium-segue-iso-2
I had a maple butcher I used with my turntable and was amazed at how little isolation the maple provided.
That's why I mentioned rosewood as the next wood I would try after maple. Then cherry. Both are musical woods. Mahogany is another wood worth trying, would probably be too warm for my set-up. The place that you mentioned has purpleheart block for about $500. That's what I said - exotic wood is expensive if you want to compare even a few. I might try cherry, even if the difference was small it would be worth it. And if it makes things worse, well, I could use an excellent cutting board in the kitchen.
A suggestion: If it's density and stability is what you seek, you might try stone.
My shop (not audio, sorry) is next to a countertop firm. They generate an enormous amount of 'drops' from their projects, many suitable in size for any tt/arm combo. If you can generate a drawing showing what you want, they can make it.
And with the range of choices in material, pattern, and colors you could make something really exquisite for about what you'd spend on a wood one. Not that wood isn't lovely, but...
looks? sorry but yes again....
nuetral or even slightly warm yes again..
I use to be a woodworker among other things,i still have freinds who do corian,granite etc on the east coast but the cost to ship is wicked out west. alot of these companies ship cutting boards for free custom sizes.
I do like the look of wood all my other stand shelves are blackand steel..
"Tuning" an LP player by using a resonant wood support structure strikes me as wrong-headed as adding a tube buffer or pre-amp (or whatever) to add "warmth" to a system, as is often done to offset a "cold" CD player. The value of tube circuitry is it’s liquid transparency and high resolution---in contrast to the dry, bleached, colorless, and sterile sound of all but the best solid state---not in the "warmth" some attributed to tubes. Warmth is a coloration, just as is coldness. The best tube products don’t sound warm, and the best solid state doesn’t sound cold. If you have a system which produces a universally cold sound to everything played on it, adding a tube will not correct the situation---tit-for-tat doesn’t work in this case. Tubes should be used to prevent that kind of sound from being produced in the first place. Once it has, it’s too late for a tube to "correct" the situation. +1 and -1 sum to zero, but for a tube inserted in a system to exactly offset the cause of the coldness of that system is highly improbable.
But back to the topic. Surely I’m not alone in thinking a shelf/platform/rack should have no signature sound of it’s own. The "musical" sound I’m after is not that produced by the wood shelf under my table adding it’s own sound to that of the recording (or to the player, if that is the thought), but of the sound of the wooden instruments in the recording itself. Maple-shelled drums sound great because maple possesses a lot of resonance and sustain---good characteristics in a music producing instrument. Are ya’ll saying you want your table’s support to have a musical sound of it’s own? And that you think a resonant, ringing material makes for a "musical" sounding turntable support?
I use MM cartridge.
I also use one Walker Audio 1/2" resonance control disc placed on the maple platform next to but not touching the turntable motor. It tightens things up a little. But when I placed the second disc next to where tonearm was, it made the sound worse, though it certainly absorbed more energy. So, I still think that tuning in a general sense of the word is the way to go.
inna i was joking ..
bdp i have built my entire system to be as nuetral as possible.Personnally just my opinion ,i doubt i would notice or hear a difference in almost any material with the mounting i have.and you are correct i do not want the platform to do anything other then look good and not add anything.Thats why i was asking about the hickory i had a line on it cheap .I would perfer walnut as my classic is walnut.But i am searching out granite, corian or wood options(honestly i would perfer it to be black so i may stain or paint it ).I have 6"thick walls and a steel wallmount stand with massive isolation..my floors are rock solid i can have my table on top of my stand shelf mdf (spiked and filled with sand) and jump on my floor and nothing comes through my table.with it on the wall i could sit on the shelf .i was just curious on opinions thats all ..
"But i am searching out granite, corian or wood options(honestly i would perfer it to be black so i may stain or paint it ).I have 6"thick walls and a steel wallmount stand with massive isolation..my floors are rock solid i can have my table on top of my stand shelf mdf (spiked and filled with sand) and jump on my floor and nothing comes through my table.with it on the wall i could sit on the shelf."
As fate would have it the Earth's crust motion forces the entire building to shake and vibrate like a rug being shaken out, such that even heroic attempts to stabilize and keep everything "rock solid" actually exacerbate the situation. Since isolation can be defined by the "ease of motion" in the direction of the external force, say the vertical and the horizontal directions, for example. This ease of motion concept is actually the opposite approach from the "rock solid" approach. The most common ease of motion approach for component isolation is mass on spring. I have used laboratory black granite mounted on stiff springs though you might have to look high and low for a large laboratory granite slab. Bluestone is much easier to find in say 3" thickness and works well with or without springs.
advanced audio concepts
I will check it out . I am not having any problems with vibration that i can discern .. I am still using my stock classic feet and my wood is on spikes then wall mounted obviously sound travels everwhere but i’m not experiencing any audible vibrations ..
That’s what is so insidious. Everything sounds fine. There doesn’t have to be any telltale sign or giveaway that vibration, this very low frequency vibration I’m referring to, is an issue. Systems can still sound quite good even without vibration isolation. But everything's relative.
Adding to Geoff's comments the vibrations he describes (earthquakes, construction, passing cars) are very real and the effect of removing them (in my case by isolating my speakers) is profound. This is quite different from the normal (and also relevant) concern of isolating your components and sources from the effects of the speakers in the room
The following link from Townshend is a nice explanation with data
I understand your comment . I respect it and it all makes sense , but at what level are we talking "the absolute discerning ear"on the absolute set up .. For me personnally i live 3 hrs from an airport on my large off grid ranch , tremours yes occasionally. I believed at a point
(chosen by each individual and the finances) you have to concede to what your level of performance needs to be . I believe my setup is pretty bitchin and the entire room is setup for 2:1 and two listeners . To most people who come to my place im frikin nuts , at some point i have to say " my table sounds pretty dam good" and get some more music.i understand others have different opinions and there setup show this . I guess one mans floor is another’s ceiling.. I do like the ultra stealth ebm spoke of but i can’t find pricing. At some point isn't the vibration going to travel onto the cantilever or arm just through the air ?
Ole school wrote,
"At some point isn’t the vibration going to travel onto the cantilever or arm just through the air?"
excellent question. The acoustic waves traveling through the air don’t matter because speakers, even with big subwoofers usually cannot generate frequencies low enough to excite the cartridge or the tonearm, which are generally designed with resonant frequencies circa 10-12 Hz. Whereas seismic type vibrations with very low frequencies, including 10-12 Hz, can easily excite the cartridge and tonearm.
Without much experimentation(some, though), I liked Mapleshade's maple over butcher block(3 inchs each, and big brass footers-used on the floor) for my amp. I also thought the 2-inch Mapleshade maple board, with their rubber, cork, rubber footers, came close enough to my Mana table, that I don't think it's totally worth the extra money for the Mana. This was with an Ariston RD110 turntable.
Green wood does damp but still rings. Dry it out ad it gets worse.
You want something that doesn't ring and that has mass to block vibration coming up from below.
I use 2" thick slabs of Brazilian granite - I used to use a large cement paving stone but was redoing the kitchen and had to buy a slab, and there was extra, so - a nice polished slab for both systems. Works very well mass loading and damping, just don't set it on a resonant base.
The anti-high mass proponents will tell you that those designs don't "block vibrations", they just move them to a different frequency (lower) and transmit them longer---in other words, ring longer at a lower frequency for a longer length of time. That's why that crowd in England (all through the 80's and 90's) advanced the notion of very low mass, very stiff supports for turntables, such as Torlyte.
Max Townshend (and Audiogon's own Geoffkait---see above) will tell you that what's needed is a high-pass mechanical filter with as low a resonant frequency as possible. Do yourself a favor and watch the couple of videos on You Tube of Max demonstrating the effects of his Seismic Pod. It's an eye opener!