Do stands make a difference for equipment?

Does the kind of stand you use make a difference, especially with components other than turntables? I realize how much difference a good stand can make for a TT, but does it make much of a difference for your preamp, CD player, and other front end units? How about amp stands? I'm trying to decide if it's worth upgrading my stand to something more robust, which means pending $$$. I currently use an old Target T5 stand, which is similar to the Solid Steel 3 series, and have just switched to a Sound Anchor stand for my amp. Since I switched amps at the same time, and the amp weights 200 lbs., I'm not going to AB it with my old stand.
Would love to hear what experiences you have had with different stands.

Thanks and good listening,
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maybe you should mention what amp you have and ask what the best stand is for that amp

and of course search the archives for this question in general
I have found that Mapleshade Maple Platforms have helped with every component, either with the Mapleshade on the floor for amp, or on shelf in stand for TT, CDP, and preamp. Love the brass footers too.
They do make a difference but I wouldn't buy one at the expense of other equipment. If you are still building your system, I would get a rack last.
Star Sound Audio Points under my gear and subs, and Sistrum Platform SP-101s under my main speakers has made a significant improvement in my system's sound: clarity, naturalness, and ease of flow of the music. Under my main speakers on my suspended hardwood floor I could see, but under my gear? I was/am astounded.
You have a very good system, well past the point where a good equipment stand would make an positive audible difference. I use the Adona Zero SR4 and love it. To me, it had the effect of making the speakers dissapear more as sound sources, which probably has to do with the added stability lowering noise maybe. Who cares why; it looks great, has great access, and is super stable. I too used a Target T5 for about 15 years. No comparison. Core designs makes well engineered racks that are very attractive as well, but use a good bit of wood if that's your preference. We all know some of these brands can reach very high prices, but these two brands are within reason. Another good thing about the Adona is the great and easy adjustability of the shelves.
Reading what Rockadanny said above reminds me about Starsound. If it within your budget, I'm sure ut is better than what I have. I have the SP-101 supports beneath my speakers, but if I could afford the equipment rack I would buy one. They are the real thing.
I nam sure they do, as long as you avoid glass shelves. I use a good quality, but not expensive wood stand and add decent footers, which can be a cheaper way to good isolation, but I am sure they make a difference.
I would say TT> tube amp or pre amp> speakers, in that order of sensitivity to isolation
The British and American approach to audio stands is very different. The Brits favour a "lighter is better" approach to manage and channel away vibration and jitter. The US approach is a "heavier mass" isolation approach.

Which is better? Impossible IMO to generalize; it depends on your particular gear. Anecdotally IMO it further depends on added sensitivities introduced as one moves up the $$ chain for that gear.

I've bought and use(d) the stands and tweak products as follows:

(i) I had the Mapleshade Samson audio equipment rack/stand along with their brass footers. It/they worked relatively well in my old set-up, particularly for the CDP. I sold it cuz a dealer recommended a custom bespoke audio stand based on the UK model Naim Fraim design . I was skeptical, so I auditioned it at home -- he was righ-- that new stand outperformed it by no small margin. Curiously, in the new setup there are no brass footers either.

In fairness, the new bespoke audio stand is much much more expensive (6 X) and now it really shined that much more with much much more expensive hardware sitting on it (cdp and integrated amp ~ again 6 X) ) as my new kit . I am guessing that the higher up the $$ food chain one goes, the effects (and sensitivities) of ALL accesssories and tweaks become more dramatic.

(ii) Previously I also bought the MS kiln-dried maple 4 inch platform with the heavyweight brass footers for the old and new CDP to sit on. It worked relatively well in the old kit but was a dud in the new modded Naim Fraim approach set-up. I now use it and the footers as a very good isolation base in my "B" kit.

To ask which is the "best" is analagous to asking "how long is a piece of string? ASN: "... it depends(including budget)..."
A stand is at the 0.1% difference level.
Say you buy an expensive stand for whatever.. it may make a really small difference.. So.. is it worth the difference?
Not usually unless you are at the level where spending a few thousand is nothing to you.
The guys who say I put XyX stand under my amp and it was amazing improvement.. are magnifying the change all out of proportion.
Though i agree for TTs it is a different story.
I have not owned every rack on the market so I can't make a definitive statement on the subject like Elizabeth and it would be nice to know her experience with racks to judge the validity of her opinion. I wish her statement was true...It's not. It's an opinion based on incomplete experience unless she's owned every rack. The effect of proper vibration management and resonance energy transfer was a "slap you in the face" upgrade in my system. I can't make a judgement for anyone else, but I have Agear to thank for helping me understand it's importance. There is no going back for me.
A stand is at the 0.1% difference level.

Empirical evidence to support that statement? Current system or systems in which you have experimented with stands? That philosophy is a vestige of yesteryear when everyone had their gear sitting on the carpet.

I found this old article from 1992 documenting the speaker stand "debate." An interesting read. I do wish there was a little more data to substantiate the claims of current isolation technologies.. This is a little surprising since several companies have engineers involved.

Stands can make a significant difference in my experience. My non-audiophile wife could hear the difference in blinded tests. It is readily discernible and obvious. The degree of change can vary based on equipment type and design elements and degree of system resolution.

Start with your speakers and work backwards. I am a Sistrum fan and they offer a trial period. Stillpoints and Equarack are also good products that I have used. Try them and see for yourself. Don't be swayed by vague, prosaic statements by "Elizabeth" or me or anyone else.
I disagree with Elizabeth on this one.
Rockadanny, my results with the Star Sound Sistrum SP-101 stand and their brass Audio Points beneath all of my components is as you described.The improvement in sound was rather and plesantly significant.At least in my case they performed as advertised. I find them very cost effective for the improvement they provide.
The British and American approach to audio stands is very different. The Brits favour a "lighter is better" approach to manage and channel away vibration and jitter. The US approach is a "heavier mass" isolation approach.

Not true. Sistrum, a US company, favors the former approach as does Stillpoints. I guess it may depend on how you define "stand."

Interestingly, the article which I forgot to post ( references some of these issues.... Enjoy.
The guys who say I put XyX stand under my amp and it was amazing improvement.. are magnifying the change all out of proportion.

Rather, the people who say I can hear what another person hears .. are magnifying their aural/psychic abilities all out of proportion.

It is one thing to offer one's opinion on what they themselves have or have not heard, but to claim to know what all others have heard is preposterous.
My general impression of them is that on the whole they probably make a worthwhile difference, although I myself have only owned a pair of isolation platforms from Alan Maher that I finally pulled the trigger on only recently. But they've been some kind of wonderful. These are of the newer kind that offer electrical noise reduction and isolation in one product. My rig is a $5k, CD-only, preampless system and I started by placing one stand under the Oppo 103 transport and the other under a Ric-Schultz-modified DEQ2496 contest, a night-and-day difference for me. I will be buying 2 more stands for my monoblocks. For me too, there's no going back.
I do not waste my money sticking it into doodads. I spent it on the basic equipment.
I guess if you have state of the art equipment, and want to glean the last possible bits out of it, yeah, spend thousands on feet, stands and such. Knock yourself out!
If you have to live within a budget, then save your pennies for basic equipment. and skip the fancy stands, $1,000 feet, etc.
Just my opinion. Feel free to do whatever you want. For a person asking.. I gave my advice.
Racks. footers.. etc ALL get stuck into the 'Spend only about 10% of you budget on stuff besides electronics and speakers".

So if you want to scrimp more on cables to buy fancy feet no problem. I spent $1.25 per foot to buy Butyl rubber chemical bottle stoppers, size 10, lots of them for my glass shelf (cheap) stand.
Works great.
Allowed me to spend MORE on what matters.. like electronics.
When your doodads cost as much as your basic electronic equipment, you are in lala land. Even spending 25% on doodads is insane. Naturally you are free to disagree.
I guess it depends on what particular products Elizabeth, some are more expensive than others.The Star Sound Audio Points I mentioned are quite reasonable in price yet yield very worthwhile improvement that`s more than subtle. Their Sistrum stands are more money but are`nt excessively so, and boy do they work! It`s all a matter of perspective. These well engineered products will expose the often 'hidden' potential in good quality components.Effectively addressing vibration is worth the effort.
Ivan, you bring up another important point regarding your Maher stands: electrical isolation. How is this implemented in that stand? I presume you mean some grounding scheme using leads, etc. I am a big fan of electrical grounding schemes, and rather than run leads from my equipment chassis, I actually incorporate my sistrum stand instead. This was suggested to my by Starsound. It theoretically creates a larger grounding plane from what I was told.

Elizabeth, your position is a little contrarian in light of what most of us spend over an audio lifetime. However, I do agree with the allocating money wisely and according to scale. A $250 CDP does not necessarily warrant megabuck stands, but there are many good options out there. In terms of performance, you would be shocked by what a good stand like a Sistrum sp101 can do under a relatively modest set of speakers. It becomes a whole new entity and it is not simply 7.5% better....
I went from heavy duty glass shelves to Copulare wooden shelves and it made a tremendous difference in the playback of my source components and the amps. The sound improved tremendously. I also upgraded to a heavy mass Clearaudio MontBlanc turntable stand from a standard wall mount one, and again, it was an improvement in sound.
Elizabeth wrote a very good comment. Normally nothing can be added except you have such rattling units like Audioquest4life owns, then you'll run in a real problem, when a piece of wood (= Copulare, a German Brand) makes tremendous differences :-)
Investment in better brain (Design) is the way to go.
When your doodads cost as much as your basic electronic equipment, you are in lala land. Even spending 25% on doodads is insane.

Conjecture is not germane to the discussion. I will ask you for the second time: what stands have you yourself tried and what does your current system consist of?

Investment in better brain (Design) is the way to go.

Yes and no. What constitutes better design? A lot of us get suckered into paying gobs of cash for "better design" only to find out its slick window dressing. Syntax, what is your experience with dedicated stands, etc?
Are you familiar with the make up of Audioquest4life`s system? Why do you assume yours is of better design than his? your comment is arrogant and presumptuous.A good componeent will benefit with attention given to vibration and resonance.Are you saying your components are so well designed they are immune to further improvement?
Charles, it is not arrogant. I had Copulare racks :-)
Yes, my components are so good that there are no further improvements based on wood blocks. But you can try it yourself without spending a me
My steel stand has spiked feet and each shelve is also spiked. Under each shelve I have another shelve with 5 of Herbies big fat dots sandwiched between.
Total cost, about $500.
How much better can a expensive stand improve on this?
" Total cost, about $500. How much better can a expensive stand improve on this?

Excellent question. I can only relate actual experiences and not anecdotal experiences.

When my hardware gear (amp and Cdp) went from $4K to $24K the stand and isolation tweaks eventually went from $850 to almost $5K with no other stand tweaks. The speaker cables and ICs also went from $2K to $6K also.

Did I Gulp and sweat it? - U betcha. But did it make a difference? Again U betcha... and a very noticeable improvement difference - Go figger!

Acoustic room treatments with Echo Busters became the integral matched steps. Room nodes, first order reflections, bass damping and reverberation times et al all needed attention, along with tinkering with the speaker - to - listener positions .

Can I directly parse out with near accuracy just much of the overall improvement was attributed just to the stand?

Hmmmm ... not exactly, other than to say it was not subtle. Again I was the ultimate skeptic before.
I frequently agree with your no nonsense, common sense views on sound systems. If I were you, and had not experienced the difference that Sistrum stands could make under my speakers, I too would consider them a wasteful purchase. I recently spent $60.00 on EVS ground enhancers, and while they did add to soundstage coherency a little in my system, I probably would not spend the money again for the small difference I perceive. The $20.00 AMR fuse is a different story. A substantial improvement in midrange clarity for very little money. Would I spend 60 or 100 dollars on a different fuse if I knew for a fact that it was a little better sounding? No.
My point is that sadly, it is nearly impossible to know what is or is not going to be "worth the investment " in your system until you try it. It is always a gamble.
Where I disagree with you in this case is believing that spending more than a given amount on such things is foolish. I don't see why it would matter by what means improvement is made, as long as it is genuine. In the case of the Starsound speaker supports, there is a shocking level of improvement. Of course, in your case, you use Maggies, so I don't think it is possible for you even if you cared to do it.
I can understand your components may gain no benefit from that particular wood product. I believe that properly approaching vibration management with solid engineering-grounding solutions would improve the performance of all components to some noticeable degree.I agree that the level of change will vary depending on specific applications.
Agear: His stands are made with a 1/4" of proprietary material sandwiched between two 1/2" sheets of acrylic. There is a wire to be plugged into the system powerstrip, but it only actively connects to ground so no electricity is drawn from the wall. Posted the following reaction on his FB wall (business). At this point Alan had already stated that a component on his stand was allowed to operate entirely above its own internal noisefloor:

"Something else I discovered that I didn't expect. Using a modified DEQ2496 as a DAC. Stock or modified, there was always a slight dynamic penalty imposed when using the digital parametric EQ. Choosing a frequency and slope (or q) is no problem - until you go to move the level away from 0 db, either up or down. At the minimum step of .5 db there is always a noticeable reduction in dynamics that extends the width of the slope you've selected, but, oddly, no more than that. For example, if you choose a q of 3 octaves you'll hear that reduction in dynamics within that 3 octave band, but not beyond. Once you go beyond the first .5 db there is no additional reduction in dynamics no matter what level you choose, but there is always that initial penalty imposed as soon as you move away from 0 db. Normally this is a minor annoyance by itself, but if you select nearby center frequencies that have overlapping slopes, then you take multiple hits in that one general area and that's when it all begins to be a real limitation on the sound. As a matter of practice, I've learned to use the EQ for as broad and as gentle a curve as possible with the fewest number of overlapping center frequencies as possible to minimize all this (not really a bad rule of thumb with analog EQ for that matter anyway). But, a few hours after placing the DAC on the Q-stand, I noticed I could no longer hear this effect. If it is there at all, it is no longer audible. Then I remembered what you said Alan, that Q-stand allows the component to operate, in effect, free and clear of it's own internal noise floor (or words to that effect). more problem."

This was Alan's reply:

"John - In effect what you are experiencing with the Behringer is its version of digital circuit clipping most people confuse clipping with db output but clipping also applies to all internal circuitry amplitudes .so increasing/decreasing causes ringing artifacts to be super imposed on the signal but using the qCell or Tri-Cell platform under the component eliminates the ringing artifact at the source which quickly becomes apparent via playback just imagine the potential for project quality when this technology is applied from studio capture to playback".

Afterward, I then realized that the slightly increased tolerance of the main digital input meters on the DEQ (which hadn't been touched) was not my imagination playing tricks on me after all. This is also about the best way I'm aware of to take a direct shot at reducing digital "self noise" inside a component.

But, it was the overall change in sound quality that did it for me...far better vocal and instrumental hues and textures and ALL that good stuff!
Agear, at the end of day most stands should be seen as a design element. When you put some Sorbothane devices between Speaker and Stand (no matter which one) you have a very good working solution without spending big bucks.
When you want a real vibration transfer, the speakers should be screwed into the stand, no one does it, so you will find all kind of window dressing :-)
Oh, did I mention that for any of Alan's facebook friends, each Q-stand (what I use now, and will be buying more of soon) are only $350.00 each? Better hurry though, when Alan's new and only B&M store being built in Nashville comes online in the next few months, they will be a few thousand dollars each, according to Alan.
When you want a real vibration transfer, the speakers should be screwed into the stand
Not necessarily, or at least not as long as you believe in the Star Sound scientific perspective - simply bolting speaker to stand will not effectively accomplish "real vibration transfer".
Having tried Sorbothane padding vs. small pieces of blu-tac, I must disagree. You may prefer the Sorbothane to other interfaces between speaker and stand, but I didn't, and they certainly sound different.
This is also about the best way I'm aware of to take a direct shot at reducing digital "self noise" inside a component.

Bravo. Someone is taking the "discipline" forward through innovation. The whole concept of self-noise is integral to this discussion. It is akin to what Nordost demonstrated with jitter and cabling changes using software measurements. I know Starsound has provisions for formal testing in the works.

Total cost, about $500. How much better can a expensive stand improve on this?

There is only one way to find out! I have used Herbie's stuff in the past and it is a very good value. One thing to remember is that a lot of this comes down to system voicing. Herbie dots or Sorbethane or possibly Equarack can soften a front end that is prone to brightness. I have heard that.... the end of day most stands should be seen as a design element.

Au contraire. It is not decorative but is an engineered, holistic extension of your equipment. Again, that thought is a vestige of yesteryear. By way of analogy, look at how speaker manufacturers are pursuing mechanical grounding and isolation. Gone are the days of hollow, MDF boxes along with sideburns, tweed coats and crooked, yellow teeth...

I agree that one must not spend exuberantly to achieve positive results to damp or quell harmful vibrations; which in my opinion, negatively impact the playback of music from source components. The Schroer udn Schroer glass rack was a step up from the Saturn Spectral rack I owned before.

I am wondering why you opted to use the Ikea wood series of platforms which you are using now versus the Copulare you owned previously? I think your new implementation of vibration control would be a great solution for a few audio geeks wanting more than just standard vibration control. Es war ok, war aber nicht mein Geschmack. It is not my taste for both; looks and vibration control.

My analysis and decision making process wa sbased on aesthetics and proven results. I tested the Copulare racks at home before I purchased them. Both my wife and I agreed on the looks and well, the sound decision was also both of ours.

Here is a brief description of the Copluare racks I own.
Each Copulare wood platform is filled with a mix of two variations of sand to further dampen the internal grids. Each of the rack assemblies are fully welded and powder coated to whatever finish a customer wants and also filled with sand. The wood platforms can also be painted to whatever color the customer wants. Each wooden platform on the rack is spiked the braced metal frame with a screw-in spike and then rests on a leather strip which sits atop the mounting area. It is a three leg and three spike per platform system. The music was simply more focused, refined, articulate, and had more authority, whereas before, I thought the music seem to have an etch, something I always fought with. In comparison, the Clearaudio MontBlanc turntable stand is such a mass loaded beast, weighing in at over 225p pounds, I never have vibrational issues with the turntable. Enough has been said here about mass and the pros and cons.

Again, my opinion is that specific mass characteristics are more beneficial than others to achieve positive results in reducing or damping vibrational issues.

To better help the OP better answer the question, it is important to know and realize that any form of vibrational control, no matter what the costs, can impart a change to the reproduced sound, both; in a positive or detrimental manner. It is that alteration in sound reproduction where the OP must make a decision if it is acceptable or not to use the specific vibration control.
The OP has to decide if he seeks isolation type products or energy conduit -transfer engineered products such as Star Sound.They are very different.
tweed coats and crooked, yellow teeth
Yeah baby, yeah!
The first thing to do on your way to the design table for your first rack or platform rendering is to say to yourself over and over again..isolation is only possible in the absence of matter. Now to step two. Tom

"Bravo. Someone is taking the "discipline" forward through innovation. The whole concept of self noise is integral to this discussion".

I certainly agree. In general, electrical stands like these purify the DC and power conditioning purifies the AC. But, doing one alone only ends up revealing the shortcomings of the lack of the other. BUT, when you do Both, it seriously transforms your system...and I do mean 'transforms'! All this Alan Maher gear for me is now the single-most important 'component' in my far the first one I'd take toward building a new rig if I could only take one. But, you know what?? I'm not EVEN thinking of ever doing that. I'm sure some will think me crazy for giving so much attention to "tweaks", but I've come to realize that any of my prior notions of spending on tweaks "according to (any monetary) scale" were really a must spend according to a performance scale (same as any other component) to reap the best and most relevant benefits. And I think That's the way forward. But, by being well on my way toward having done that, I find myself already laughing like Renfro!! Regards. John
Higher resolution systems translates to higher speed.The more resolving the system the more challenging it becomes to control mechanical groumding distortions, phase timing issues, AC noise, room standing waves, and resonating frequencies. Like Ivan explained fixing one variable without addressing the other just exposses weaknesses in other areas. As we see from everyone's responses mileage will vary from system to system. Maximizing higher resolution while maintaining musicality is not an easy task.
Miguel, can you comment on your experience with grounding Sistrum stands since that dovetails with what Maher appears to be doing....
Himiguel: I think everything you just said is dead on and basically all of it will always be, for anyone who pursues this level of higher resolution in their system, a double-edged sword. Some will see that possibly 'never-ending' pursuit as a time and resource drain and will be content to pass on such a challenge and I can respect choosing to do so really. But, while investigating it, I actually found it all to be just what I was looking for: the key to maximizing the gear I have and yet continue to build a system with what has proven to have more than just a few genuine high-end traits, but with less cost, for me. You're quite right, it IS a technically challenging key, but, as I see it, it has not proven to be insurmountably so. I've seen most of my longest-held sonic problems steadily crossed off my list and in fact, even in the absolute sense, very few of them remain to be dealt with for me and I find myself now reliably closing in on what I've always wanted sound-wise...probably doesn't get too much better than that.
Ivan, Higher resolution is the road I've taken and it has taken me years to find what I was looking for. High resolution + noise removal is the only way to bring out the soul of musicians. The euphonic road like you said is not as demanding and is good enough for the majority of folks. Maximizing a higher resolution system is very costly and technically challenging. Once a high resolution system is maximized there is no going back. Happy listening.
Miguel, what stands have you used and what grounding schemes have you employed with them ala Maher? Results?
Agear, I'm currently using a Sistrum rack that is grounded to my Tripoint Audio Troy using a Tripoint Thor grounding cable. Due to the high sensitivity of the TROY, you can hear dielectric materials, purity of metallurgy, shielding designs/materials all are very audible when grounding the rack. The key lies in the dispensation of the energy coming from the rack at a higher speed. It's all speed!In the future I need to change the shelves to brass. Resonating frequency in proportion to their equivalent mass also becomes critical for ultimate voicing. When your room and system become that revealing not only do the scientific principles apply but also materials choices become critical. Folks get caught up with the gear, source material and never address these other issues in their systems. They really never get to hear their electronics or the recorded materials due to all the noise. I know you know this but I can't ilustrate the importance anymore of addressing grounding.
Miguel, I have all my Sistrum racks grounded to a binding post that connects to a dedicated ionic grounding rod for the room but hope to one day use one of your boxes....
Agear, everything matters the Troy will let you hear more of the ionic grounding rod benefits. Are you using bendonite to lower resistance with the rod? In the future I would love to ground your room to the Troy for a ride to audio heaven.
Yeah, the rod is encased in a proprietary Bentonite slurry developed by Lyncole, the designer of the rod.
I think that there is no substitute for a solid and massive rack. I also think that mixing materials lessens the likelihood of developing resonances. Sooo...I built my own.

For the vertical supports, I bought eight decorative concrete blocks and painted them with white semigloss enamel. I applied heavy felt to the top and bottom of each block.

I made the shelves from 1/2" granite tiles laminated on top of 1 1/8" high density fiber board. The mortar for the tiles acts as a dampening material. I edged the shelves with oak door stop stained semigloss black.

The whlole project cost less than $300. The beauty of it is that you can use any color granite (or marble) you want and you can paint the blocks any color you want.

I put one self directly on the carpet and built up from there. The rack is 78" long x 27" high x 17" deep. It weighs about 500 pounds. It has a total of 9 spaces (including the top)

Just a quick update. I ran across a good deal on a Solid Steel 5.5 demo, and pulled the trigger. I've been wanting something a little bigger than my Target 5 stand since purchasing my Krell Phantom III pre, which barely fits on the T5 rack.
The biggest difference in construction of the Solid Steel and my T5 is that each shelf is supported by 3 cones, and the T5 shelves were supports by flat corner tabs.
Even though I had filled my T5 with lead shot, I tried the new SS without shot first, and was surprised that it did clean up the sound a bit. I then filled the SS with shot. It only holds about 1/2 the amount that the T5 would because only the leg tubes are fillable. The T5 would allow shot to get into the cross bars as well. Still the lead did make another slight improvement. The results are a quieter background, wider and deeper soundstage, allowing a bit more fine detail through.
Now this isn't an enormous improvement, but well worth the cost of the rack. So in my case at least, racks do make a difference, but I didn't spend thousands on a rack either. Now the question is, how much do you have to spend to get all the improvement available? Will a rack two or three times the cost of my SS give that much more improvement, or will the diminishing returns set in quickly with a rack? As with any tweak, I realize the system it is used with will have an impact on how much the tweak is noticeable, so ....?
Any more thoughts?
Try Symposium Ultra platform it will improve everything.
A Symposium Ultra under my toilet will give me a "E"xcellent "B"owel "M"ovement? Just kidding :)