Concrete Slabs

Here I go, perhaps stirring up some controversy.

I have two turntables, both sitting on a 400lb 17th century oak chest. The chest in question sits on a suspended wood floor in a 1985 post and beam house. I just started to play Mahler's 9th (DG/Guilini/CSO) on an SME 10 with an Ortofon Cadenza Bronze. It sounds as it should. But the point is that if I stamp as hard as I can right next to the chest, there is no interruption of the sound. Even if I take a deep breath and jump with both feet off the floor—nothing, nothing at all. So, tell me, what may I gain by pouring concrete here, there, and everywhere (as I believe someone once sang)?

Is this reverence for the ultimate solidity of a foundation the same kind of daftness as when someone says an interconnect must be as thick as their wrist, even though the component may pass the same delicate signal through a PCB trace of minuscule cross-sectional area? What are we aiming for?


Exactly where would you be pouring concrete? From my understanding, while concrete would help resonances somewhat for isolating components on your rack, the larger benefit is to get the most performance out of your speakers. Resonances from the speaker to the floor will bounce back less, and you will notice an audible improvement in imaging, clarity and speed. Of course, you can get pretty far with good isolation solutions. But I think the bigger gain would be seen from speaker performance vs improved imaging due to improved component isolation, which would be incremental in comparison. 

As crazy as it might sound, one of the most significant improvements I achieved whilst going through the various permutations of materials to produce a Structure to support the TT.

Was discovered when I placed a Steel Sheet of a Dimension 1100mm x 750mm x 15mm as a Base Plinth to Build the Racks onto.

It is a 'young mans sport' getting the Steel Sheet into place, but the recollection of the change that occurred one the structure was once more assembled was quite indelible.

The Steel Sheet today is rested/attenuated on Footers, which ended up being made up of Granite with a Cork Pad as the Base and a hard foam in between the Granite and Steel Sheet.

This is not too expensive to achieve, even if the Steel Sheet was to be cosmetically finished.

Sounds like you’ve got your turntable support reasonably well sorted. Congrats! In my experience: isolation isn’t a problem, until it’s a BIG problem. If you don’t have good enough support (combination of rigidity & mass), then footfalls and speaker energy through the floor can cause a large enough displacement (shifting the cartridge relative to platter) to excite your cartridge & tonearm’s resonance (8 - 12 Hz). This isn’t usually audible, but it can be enough to cause problems for your amp & woofers. It can even cause your amp to clip, which will send a nasty jolt to your tweeters. Absent that, it can certainly cause mis-tracking.

Concrete slab floor isn’t a complete isolation - it will transmit energy in the audible spectrum just fine - but that stuff can be handled in a number of ways, with audiophile footers or platforms. What concrete can do, is it vastly reduces the maximum displacement your cart & arm get subjected to. Because of its great mass & rigidity. Absent a concrete floor, isolating speakers and turntable are your next best bet. A properly tuned spring platform works great - Townshend podiums look interesting. SOTA’s 4-point suspension is amazing - it will absorb even large displacements QUICKLY and then dissipate the energy very SLOWLY at like 2Hz where it doesn't matter. Bigger SME’s also have very substantial elastomer suspensions, but your SME 10 appears to have a non-suspended design utilizing polymer layers.

@dogberry your system set up for your turntable is fine, enjoy your music and be grateful. Out of curiosity is there anything inside your 400lb 17th-century oak chest? If not perhaps some type of fill might be beneficial, most likely a trial-and-error experiment.

Creating a Structure to mount a sensitive item of equipment on is a Topic that will appear the more it becomes understood how the impact of the Ambient Environment on the equipment can be detrimental to it.

There is no harm trying out additional Tiers of Supporting Structure, between a TT and Table Top.

The New Addition of Materials and added levels of Isolation will bring something new to the perception of the SQ.

An assembly for a Support Structure is likely to be discovered that will surpass what is already in place.

It is the trialing of Support Materials and Isolation/Separation, that helps one determine where their objective is best served.  

Does a $4K Vibration Control Platform offer much more in control, than a well thought out structure that can be produced for a considerably less cost, or is the $4K Platform a shortcut to a Support Structure that can be mimicked using other types of Structure as a support, only Trials will assist with learning this.

As for the Oak Table a very affordable trial could be to utilise Newplast Modellers Putty. This can be used between the Oak Table Top and have a Sub Plinth Tier, seated on to it.

This as a method is now offering Two additional Materials as Tiers to create a Sub-Plinth, and can have a very valuable effect on the Damping Factor of the Structure and improve on the Dissipation of energies being transferred.