Do isolation devices really help?

I am curious about your thoughts on isolation devices--cones, pads, etc.. Do they really help? I can maybe understand how they may help with a CD player because you have a rotating disc moving picking up signals. But for solid state equipment like the preamp and amp I really don't understand what they would contribute for improving sound quality. I'm thinking about cones, etc for my CD transport. Any advice and comments about effect on other components?
Yes they do help.
Some components benefit more than others.
It depends on how critically you listen to music.
Some of the benefits can be a little subtle.
Others can be huge.
You need to experiment a bit.

If you use the right ones they can really transform a system. They have different sounds so you have to determine which one will be right for you and your system. Remember there is airborne vibration and floorborne vibration and resonant frequencies. Everything has a resonant frequency. Take a resistor for example, the floorborne vibrations or it's own resonant frequency causes a vibration in the resistor which causes a false voltage to occure which in turn makes a sound that isn't supposed to be there. Now this is a grossly oversimplified explination but it gets the basic point across. Cones use the Coulomb theory to direct vibrations away from the unit they support. The most detailed sounding ones I have tried are the Soler points sold here on Audiogon by member name esoler. For a bit of a warmer sound put his pucks under them. These are the best bang for the buck. I havn't tried the Nordost titanium but some have said they are the best but very expensive. Hope this helps. Happy listening! John
No they don't. Just think about this. After you put all your electronics on the best cones, pads, concrete, whatever; how do you keep them safe from airborne resonances? They can't. Case closed. You should couple, not decouple. I could go on, but is would be a lot easier for me, and you as well, if you (I just wrote this review, a week ago)go into the archives and look up Sistrum Mini Monitor Platform. There's oodles of stuff in that review to get your gray matter perking.
Yes, they really do help (or at least change the character of the sound you hear). Check out the following article accessible via the archives page of : "Electro-Mechanical Convergence: How can it affect your audio gear?"
Isolation devices in conjunction with equi support (after all, the equip IS sitting on s/thing, isn't it?) produce the following general effects (VERY generally speaking):
*shift in tonal balance; i.e., it may shift the perceived reproduced spectrum, say, upwards...
*extend the spectrum; ideally both ends, all other *good* things remaining equal (i.e. more perceived bass, treble). Speakers are obviously correctly placed!
*change tonal balance, i.e. part of the spectrum is perceived as being more pronounced than before -- hopefully, correctly so.

In short, you're "tuning" or getting rid of the deleterious energy that seamingly compromises the performance of yr equip.
These are the product of coupling, decoupling, and generally protecting equip from vibrations of internal &/or external origin. Sometimes, rendering a piece of equip rigidly inert to movement also helps...

I.e. I'm just repeating the above in a different way! For specific products & practises & tricks, there's lots of literature in the archives.!
Try Aurios under your CD player (I recommend the 1.2s). Then YOU answer the question.
One isolation product made a complete difference under my tube pre. A Symposium Ultra shelf. Expensive , yes, but an amazing improvement. Literally, I woudl have to change the component to hearas muchadifffence. It took my BC3 Galatea to another level. If this makes sense, it was more quiet, more dynamic and more extended. Amazing prduct that I highly recomend under anything tube. I am going to try it under my Meridian player next. I am currently using Sympoium Rollerblocks under my Meridian and the change was subtle but better han any cone I have used. The highs were more extended, dynamics improved and low level bass improved a smidge. I highly reccomend you try out the stuff from Symposium!
Yes they help. Warren is correct in that they do not have much effect and can actually work against air born motion, and in some cases coupling is the way to go here. As has already been mentioned different devices will have different effects on different equipment. Some subtle, some large, some will even make things sound worse. In general you have to experiment to figure out what type of devices work best for what pieces in your system.
Another generalization is that coupling speakers to the floor cleans up the soundstage, tightens the base. This is in line with what Warren has said. The speaker is creating air born motion and you would like it to remain rigid to create that accurately. Now, that said, there are those that use vibrapods or roller bearings under their speakers and swear by them. These devices have not worked for me for speakers, but I obviously haven't heard these other systems.
Other devices produce internal vibration. A CD transport is an obvious one and these frequently benefit by absorbing that mechanical energy with vibrapods. (again a generalization)
My amplifiers have huge transformers in them that have a 60Hz mechanical oscilation (all transformers do to some extent--but the really large ones are worse). I use a roller bearing system for these. It couples the transformer to the floor, but allows the 60Hz energy to be disappated laterally. This has been an extremely effective isolation device for me.
My examples show you three types of devices that work differently: absorbing energy such as vibrapods, coupling, such as spikes, and coupling with disappation, roller balls. Shelving can also make a difference, and I've been using a combination of granite and corian.
I do have a friend that has the ultimate isolation device. All the equipment is in a separate room from the speakers. Of course it's all isolated independently in the separate room.
Where does all the air born resonances go to after they get into your electronics? How do they escape? It would seem that these isolation devices, in themselves, help keep those resonances right where you don't want them. You want all resonances to escape and go to the floor. Everything should, rack as well, be coupled with cones. I use Audio points, and am very happy. Sistrum Rack System does this (resonance transference) better than any I know of, as do their speaker support systems.
Yes! I have #2 Vibrapods under Amp and CDP and the sound is just clearer, more focused. Short story, I originally put mouse pads under the Vibrapods and while it improved the sound (versus w/out them) it was still lacking something. Clarity and detail to be precise. After reading A'gon I came to the conclusion that the mouse pads under the Pods was overkill. Went out and bought bath tile, put them under the Pods and "low and behold" there was my clarity and detail that was missing.

So, such isolation devices do matter.

The answer is this simple: My wife noticed the dramatic difference. She is not an audiofile enthusiast.

By the way, she notices change in cabling also. It's just hard to get her to sit down and experience these changes, but when she does, she experiences the sonic improvement, well, WOW!

Like I said, she is not an audiofile enthusiast but no longer thinks I'm crazy. Now I'm merely addicted.
Yes, they certainly benefit the manufacturers. Do you, personally, think that shoving anything under solid state components produces any kind of change in the sound? Obviously, nothing can stop people from believing anything they want. Audiophilia is ripe with delusional behaviour. So long as you believe, you will hear. Can anyone prove in any valid way that solid state circuitry is microphonic? Plenty of replies that no proof other than your own ears is required is the usual rebuttal. So be it. Don't sell the farm (hi-fi or otherwise) to procure vibration dampening materials or stands and such. If it's cheap, use it, can't oit.
Pbb: of course the manufacturers benefit. Similarly with components, music, performers, milk producers, micro-software producers, self-professed gurus, demagogues, and many others :).

This is most unfortunate.
I.e. that person(s) known or unknown benefit, probably financially, from activities of a similar or dissimilar nature...

But the original question was, does s/thing that isolates help? Not how/whether manufacturers of same benefit -- or whether it's acceptable that such products are in the offering. Cheers!

Does that mean you don't leave milk and cookies out for Santa? I bet if you have kids you do.

I'm 38, still believe and still do!

Matty :>)
I highly recommend Lloyd Walkers'Valid Pts,They have made a significant improvement in my "mostly"solid-state system.If you are interested in trying them,I can get you a discount and 30 day money back guarantee ,Happy tuning! Tom
There seems to be a huge difference in my enjoyment factor when I sit on pads versus cones. I prefer the pads.
Donald, I couldn't resist the previous attempt at humor. Seriously, this subject requires experimentation. My turntable doesn't want anything other than a well-coupled stand to sit on. My electronics don't seem to care one way or another and my CDP likes a weight on top of it. From what I've read in the forums previously it takes time to find what works unless you bubble wrap the world.
Well said Pbb. As long as we can`t agree on how we are to know if any device makes any audible difference, then we shall never agree on whether there is any benefit from using said devices. Anecdotal `evidence` is useless in this discussion. If someone hears a difference or benefit (and I won't dispute that assertion), good for him/her, but it is useless knowledge for someone else.
Hi Donald: You may find that a quality (isloated)equipment stand is all that you need. Lovan makes a fantastic, inexpensive (Classic II series), modular (available in 6" and 10" --between shelves) stand , tri-pod style that looks great and is very effective in isolating components from vibrations.
There may be some effective isolation feet/cones etc. out there, but it is my belief that a well-engineered audio component would be designed with the knowledge of microphonics, what type of "footing" to use and WHERE to (specifically)position it.

peter jasz
Yes, under your CD player try the Daruma's 80% of the Aurious or Symposium roller blocks. You can find a dealer or manufacturer who will offer in home trials.

No brainer.
Nothing in archives under "Sistrum Mini Monitor Platform" or even "Sistrum".
Things that make you go hmmmmmmm.
I believe that the Systrum is distributed by Star Sound and is designed by a former Essence Audio employee.A manufacturer/distributor advised these under my table.I insisted on Walker Points.I had to contact him to determine the cause of his delay.He said "he was amazed at the sound of his product/change that the Points made.
Generally a "soft" foot will warm up the sound,at the expense of top and bottom end extension."Hard" usually tightens things up-beware of metallurgy and termination of said device.Improper termination can lead to ringing/brightness.
In my opinion they do affect the sound but in absolute terms they do not deserve the hype and certainly the exorbitant cost-perhaps they constitute the most easily ''get used to it'' upgrade in any system. Beyond the electromechanical explanations, the cheaper, the better is nowhere more suitable. I have a sumposium acoustics shelf under my Sony 777 but the law of diminising returns puzzles me hard.
Good-day all,

Cdc, please try your search again for Sistrum Platforms as much is written here.

You may also visit our website at and review a few equipment reports from some very critiquing and experienced Editors from this Specialty Audio Industry.

Regards to the Mini Monitor Sistrum Platforms which are scheduled to release this November 14, 2002, photographs can be obtained through email. Simply request the images from our contact page and we will forward them on to you.

The review of our SMM-1 Sistrum Platform for small monitors that appears on this site was written by one of Audiogon’s long time participants whom we have sold one of the initial pairs manufactured.

We have always made it a habit to sell our newest designs to some of the highly qualified veterans in this audio market. This strategic process helps us in determining the finality of design prior to the initial production run that is offered to the mass market. We title this procedure Beta Listeners.

These Beta Listeners are chosen at random. Some of these listeners have even initiated projects for us based on their previous purchases or futuristic insight as to what products are needed to enhance the enjoyment of listening. They have helped us understand audiophile’s first impressions that aid us in finalizing all of our designs. This process insures that the initial production run is simply the finest product we are capable of producing. It also insures that our level of quality control is maintained at all levels of production and shipping.

We listen to what the listener is searching for and apply our technology to those requests thus inventing newfound processes and products that simply make us the company we are.

For those audiophiles who do not believe in resonance control and/or the ill effects caused from its presence, contact me. Based on applying geometry through the understanding of physics and the variables that exist, we will provide you some additional technical insight. We can also provide you a few experiments you can try on your own without even purchasing any of our products.

Star Sound Technologies, LLC has a reputation for quality of build and function of design thus our 100% Total and Complete Customer Satisfaction Guarantee remains our focus for success.

Our company profile and the invention of our products through applied sciences are very much the result from our Beta Listener programs. We owe so much to a very few.

Although I do prefer one on one contact with the public (always feel free to telephone me toll free 1-877-668-4332) I felt the need to respond in writing.

Thank you for your time and please do not construe these statements as a method of advertisement, - for our commitment to further the enjoyment of music is always our first and immediate protocol.

Very truly yours and as always – Good Listening !

Robert Maicks / SST, LLC
I recently placed my ss monos on wood amp stands with wheels. The overall system sound became softer and more pleasant.
What kind of wheels? Should I get radial tires for them? Isn't it anathema to have casters under racks? Aren't spikes or cones de rigueur?
Oh boy Pbb, now you have done it!