Best Vibraplane Compressor Substitute?

Just bought a 20 x 24" Vibraplane to use under my TT, and am very excited.

It comes without a compressor and I wonder if there's any reason to spend a lot of money, just for 'hot air'? (couldn't resist)

Really, is there any justificaton for an expensive compressor? The bladders on the item are purported to be sound, and if they're not I will replace them myself. The compressor will only come on as needed: I can 'top off' the machine before listening and disconnect it. The VP is not going to need air during a two or three hour session, certainly.

My thought is to buy a relatively inexpensive unit, and proceed as above.

I would appreciate your suggestions, and thank you in advance for sharing your experience.


So you have the active version? I thought the active version always kept the vipraplane perfectly tuned and level and the compressor turned on and off as needed? If you have the version that you manually adjust the height on then you can just use a hand pump. I use a bicycle pump on mine. It gets slightly out of adjustment within a week or so and takes about a minute to pump back up and adjust.

What model is the Vibraplane? Some are passive and some active. If you have active model I have the perfect compressor suggestion for about $600.00. (No I don't sell them, it's an Ebay thing).

If you want to spend "no" money, any compressor will work but some of the very cheap ones from Home Depot run 24/7 and have to be cycled on and off.
It's really about the noise generated. The supplied Jun-Air compressor makes a 'click' when it kicks on, but when running you can barely hear it; there's a reason it's used in dental offices. But you are correct - air is air, and if you can live with the noise, any compressor will do the trick.

Be certain to add additional mass to the Vibraplane - getting it in the range of its upper support limit (275 lbs) reaps vast rewards.
RE: $600 compressor


Can you please reveal the source of your $600 compressor (either privately or publicly)? I am interested in finding out....

SYMPOSIUM ULTA STEALTH TOP.Does not need air sounds more natural,more musical,better bass etc.
SYMPOSIUM ULTA STEALTH TOP.Does not need air sounds more natural,more musical,better bass etc.

Enlighten us please. What is the technical background for that?
I heard from Symposium owners exactly the opposite, but probably they have no knowledge about this unit.
I read somewhere that a Vibraplane owner was using a tank of compressed air to keep his active unit happy. Thus no need for a potentially noisy and much more expensive compressor. Except you have to keep an eye out to be sure the tank does not empty.
Compressed air tank is certainly the way to go.
Fill tank at gas station.
Emb, as Sntax stated I've too heard from others the Symposium Ultra is good but not even in the same world as a Vibraplane. Bass via a Vibraplane is tight and controlled and more important very natural sounding.
HI,Your right buy what you like i dont really care sorry.
Its great if you love air tanks and noise im sure its better.
Vibraplane is available in a passive Version or active (with a compressor). The passive one holds the level very long without any additional filling (my last one is more than 2 months ago and it was only 1 move with the pump per valve, no big deal).
I never had the active one, but when it is used with a compressor, it can't be a big deal in noise. Dental compressors are silent... A compressor only starts when the air flows out (this is normally only with linear Arm the case but not in a closed system), when the Air bladder is filled, it is done.
No need for the compressor to start.
The compressor I mentioned is available at Ebay, Silentaire Super Silent DR-150 for about $549.00 new in the box. Perhaps even less with some savvy internet shopping.

It's capable of 114 pounds, stores reserve air in a tank so there is no surge and comes on only as needed. This is the same Italian manufacturer that supplies Kuzma for their (sensitive) air powered linear track tonearm.

I've had my Silentaire for over a year and other than topping up the oil supply a single time it's required no maintenance.

Noise level is very low, 30 DB at one meter, although even that number is too high to have in the listening room unless perhaps in a closet.

The suggestions of an compressed air tank are certainly reasonable from a noise stand point but to have any real storage you need commercial refillable cylinders.

I would not consider anything other than a reliable, established supplier and only Nitrogen fill due to health and safety risk. I did extensive research a couple of years ago and decided the pump was easier and less risk in the long run.

Hello Everyone,

Thank you for your suggestions.

Albert, it's a model 2012-13 (13 designating vinyl top). I agree about Nitrogen: it is not only safer but as an inert gas, less reactive with the storage cylinder and the rubber of the air bladders. As the unit dates to 1998, rubber condition is a potential consideration.

Palasr, I'm already looking into sheet steel for a top. As my TT and plinth weigh ca. 80 lbs, I will be looking for 175 lbs of steel +/-. You are absolutely correct: a friend added 1" steel (150 lbs) to his Vibraplane and the improvement was shocking; immediately evident.

Elizabeth, Your suggestion makes great sense. Somewhere I have an old storage cylinder. My scuba tank would also do. Being a car geek, my air tank for topping off tires could be put to good use. I really like your common sense approach. Why is common sense an oxymoron?

My thinking is that the bladders should hold air for a five hour listening session. I can simply make topping up the air part of the pre-listening ritual, putting the remaining $575 into new vinyl.

Thanks very much everyone. If further ideas come to mind, please weigh in.

Best to Each of You,

Hello David,

I have the passive model. As others have written, and as you well know, its
placement under my turntable has brought big improvements to my system,
as has the 1" X 24" X 20" steel plate ballast. (photos on
system page).

It's not that the manual filling of the air pistons is that inconvenient. Rather I
think there are three issues that should be considered: the manual filling of
the air pistons, the manual leveling of the system and the overall height of
the system. I'm fairly certain that the active unit which you just bought has
the considerable advantage of the self-leveling feature which my passive unit

I find that I check for level with a bubble level on my turntable platter before
each listening session. It's usually fine. I readjust for level and fill the
pistons manually about once every week or two. If I were to buy another unit
however, I would pay extra for the active unit. Not for the automatic air
filling, but for the self leveling feature and for the maintenance of proper
height. It is a chore to flip each of the three switches on and off to level the
system and if you release too much air, you have to refill with the pump again
to maintain the proper height, which in my case is 3 3/4 inches. IOW, the
whole system can be level, but sink down 1/4 inch over time and that effects
the sound/isolation, so the platter may be level, but you may still have to
refill the pistons to get the system back up to proper height for better

In your case, I guess you have the automatic self-leveling feature and just
need to fill it up occasionally for proper height and pressure. I would prefer
that a machine do it automatically. The compressor can be located away from
the room, so sound would not be an issue.
I use a nitrogen tank. It's a little smaller than the typical compressed air tank. I doubt mine is more than two feet tall. I will warn that getting all the appropriate pieces to get it to connect to the air platform(mine was made by Herzan) took some research, but in the end it was worth it. You may also blow through a tank learning how to set everything up correctly, but once you get past the learning curve it is imo the ideal solution.

The last time I had to refill the tank was nearly 2 years ago. The cost to fill it with N2 was ~$40 or so. The regulator and "pieces" weren't cheap but I don't remember how much. I feel like it may have been a couple hundred bucks to get everything I needed, but since then it has required nothing from me.

Everyone's environment is different though and if there were children/pets running about or I had to put it in a high traffic area of the house I think it would be unwise.
+ Mab33's safety precaution!