ELP laser turntable - any comments?

I tried searching for info on the ELP laser tt here and was surprised to find nothing. i'd love to hear comments from true vinyl lovers: how does this compare to other rigs you've heard?
if you're curious, the website is www.audioturntable.com
I have been told that the vinyl must be scrupulously cleaned before playing on this table.
A stylus will brush some fine dust aside with no ill effects.
The laser in the ELP will magnify dust with ill effects.(clicks/pops)
Fatparrot is right on.
Try this link. I have, too, read that the ELP Laser turntables magnify surface noise. For factor something like a Keith Monks or Loiricraft RCM into the total price, since you probably want to have a very great RCM to use with the ELP. Also I have read that it will not read translucent colored or clear vinyl. That's a pity about 5% of my rock collection is on this type of vinyl.

The new importer can be found at www.audioturntable.com
the importer claims that keith jarrett recommends this player. i love keith jarrett and, interestingly, his stuff sounds AMAZING on vinyl. who knows?

from reading between the lines on the website it seems you guys might be right about the dust issue. i hope they fix that soon because it's a great idea.

still, though, anybody out there who's actually heard one? anybody going to the show in nyc at the end of this month? i think they're going to have a set up there.
I heard one at the CES [2002 or 2003]. It was difficult to tell the sonic qualities, due to the other equipment in the chain. It is rather pricey, and has been carried and dropped by several distributors over the years. I would be concerned about future service. The old distributor, SMART Devices, had some pretty nasty things to say about the manufacturer when they dissolved their relationship with the manufacturer on July 16th, 2004 See the full story at this link:
SMART Devices
I sort of heard the table at the 2004 CES (didn't see it at 2005). Unfortunately, the demo equipment was so bad that it is impossible to determine the sound quality of the player. Either the distributor or manufacturers are complete idiots for assembling such an aweful, cheap, system, or they were trying to hide something.

One demonstration did show how the player was effective at handling damaged grooves from prior play under less than ideal conditions. The player can be adjusted to read the groove at different depths so that one can find a part of the groove that a bad stylus did not chew up. This part of the demonstration was effective.
I presume that the laser circuitry derives a digital signal from its optical inspection of the groove, which makes for the oportunity to do RIAA equalization and some pop and click elimination in the digital domain. But if the signal is digital, why bother with a mechanical recording media (vinyl) in the first place?

By the way, digital data can be recorded on vinyl, and played back with a normal phono pickup. At one time, on an experimental basis, stock market information was distributed this way, because a LP, once cut, can be rapidly reproduced by stamping out copies. At the time mag tape was the only other alternative, and mag tape takes time to copy because the tape must be drawn by the head. Digital data could use error correction encoding so that surface noise would not be a problem, but this digital approach would not work for music because the sample rate would be much too low.
I have heard this table on several occasions and have always loved the immediacy of the sound. The first time I heard it was about 15 years ago. It was in prototype and sounded exceptionally good until it encountered some dust. Most of us ducked. It was difficult to keep it running for very long.

It then dropped off the radar, but resurfaced at CES, 2004 when Smart was distributing it. As others have said the associated equipment in the demo was not first rate, but I was very impressed. They are also the distributors for the Loricraft cleaner and had purchased several used record in Las Vegas. After a thorough cleaning with the Loricraft, they were playing these records. I don't think there was a pop and click filter in the circuit, but there clearly was no problem with noise. The Sheffield record was quite immediate and an old Peggy Lee was better than I had ever heard it.

I had heard of dependability problems and learned at this CES that the manufacturer was no good at warranty claims. He is now distributing the Loricraft/Garrard 501 turntable and has no kind words about the ELP company.
Well, I read the review, and am surprised to find that the device claims to be completely analog. I wonder if this includes the focusing servos.

I bet you could do a better technical job with a digital approach (certainly the noise problem could be solved) but of course the "analog" label is probably very important in marketing the thing.
Arthur Salvatore has a somewhat informative page about the ELP: http://www.high-endaudio.com/RC-ELP.html
I think this turntable may be a technological tour de force ruined by mismanagement by the company. This would be too bad, as I always thought it had great potential.

Eldartford, I think you are probably right about the benefits of the digital approach, but this idea predates digital.
A dynamic phono pickup, MM or MC, puts out a voltage that is proportional to the RATE of stylus movement. A piezioelectric phono pickup (and there were some that were not cheap junk) puts out a voltage that is proportional to the DISPLACEMENT (distance of movement) of the stylus. And yet, both can play the same LP groove, and sound more or less the same. This has always puzzled me.

Now, I wonder what kind of signal the laser pickup produces...rate or displacement, or something else. Clearly there is room for a distinctly different sound from the same groove.
The sample CD they send out to show the ELP quality of
sound isn't very impressive. Hope the actual unit is
better. CEM
Wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot tonearm.
Unless you've got money to burn and like expensive toys.
Opalchip, I guess my behavior would suggest I entirely agree with you, but I did go back several time at CES2004 to listen to it. After perfecting the concept but failing in quality control, it is too bad the company basically walks away from purchasers.

I've lived with the Laser Turntable for nearly one year now, and tested it like crazy against my reference system (Simon Yorke S7, SME 309 with damping kit and Graham IC-70 phono cables, Lyra Helikon SL, Minus K vibration isolation platform).

First, just a quick clarification: the signal from the Laser Turntable is analog from laser beam to output. There are some digital components, but they are controlling the laser and carriage motion to track the grooves. Repeat: the Laser Turntable is ANALOG all the way.

Here's the bottom line: if you know the sound of live music - the timbre, harmonics, the transients - you cannot beat the Laser Turntable. My Yorke/SME/Lyra combination can't beat the Laser Turntable in that department. If you are in love with a dead silent background and listen to mostly recordings that were mixed from multi-track, you may not appreciate what the Laser Turntable can do. If you listen to acoustic works with simple mic'ing (Blumlein) - the Laser Turntable is pretty amazing in its ability to recreate the event.

The Laser Turntable does require CLEAN records. I use a Keith Monks RCM. But once you've cleaned a record on a good RCM, for subsequent plays a quick going over with a Hunt record brush or equivalent is all you need.

The Laser Turntable plays black records only. The more worn or damaged a record, the noiser the Laser Turntable is compared to a conventional stylus. On the other hand, really mint vinyl is quiet. The nice thing is that really mint vinyl does stay really mint with the Laser Turntable - "No Needle, No Wear" as ELP proclaims.

I think image stability and specificity is a little bit better with my Yorke/SME/Lyra combination. However, there are details that the Laser Turntable captures that the Yorke/SME/Lyra does not do as well. If you are looking for "bloom", the Laser Turntable doesn't really give you that (my RIAA preamp is the phono section of a Boulder 1010 preamp). The Laser Turntable might be a little less dynamic as well - but honestly I'd be splitting hairs on that call.

What I like most about the Laser Turntable:

1. convenience (random track access), and no wear
2. detail
3. no set-up (ie. VTF, VTA, SRA, antiskate, etc.)
4. no tracking error (it's basically a linear tracker)
5. convenience (drop the record in the drawer and hit play)

In a perfect cost-no-object world, I would have both a conventional turntable and the Laser Turntable. Each gives you a different perspective on the music. I like the dynamics and the silent background of the conventional turntable/stylus, and I really like the life-like detail of the Laser Turntable. The Laser Turntable just sounds right.

From what I can tell, the Laser Turntable is more popular among musicians than among audiophiles - probably because of the Laser Turntable's ability to re-produce such life-like detail.
Useridchallenged, what you depict is what I heard in several listens at CES 2004. It is good to hear from someone with no axe to grind.

I assume that you have had no problems with your unit, but are you concerned about the apparent lack of support from the factory?

Although you don't say, have you kept your other tt? Which do you use more?
I must express a dissenting opinion. While the ELP 'table is of significant value for playing rare records without wear and archival purposes, I do not find it exceptional sounding. It is competent, but I don't consider it to be up to the level of high end 'tables such as Simon Yorke, Walker, Rockport, and others. Demonstrations at CES have not been revealing due to the (in my opinion) lackluster associated equipment used. I heard the ELP demonstrated in a good system several years ago (Avalon Eidolons, etc.), and while the sound quality was very competent, I wouldn't consider it to be the equal of other 'tables in its price range.

And I'm very concerned about the longevity of the ELP itself - the design appears to be a dated, overly complex assembly that could be labor intensive to repair, and repair needs to be done in Japan.

I don't sell any turntables at this time, so please accept my remarks as ones by a longtime audiophile.
Essentialaudio, while I agree that the demo of the ELP was in a less than ideal system in CES 2004, I thought you could hear much of what was going on. I have no idea whether the ELP can reach the level of the best tables, such as the Loricraft 501, the Walker, or the Shindo Labs, but it certainly had a sound stage and detail that gave a realism to the recording that I found exceptional.

I also well remember the first prototype that I heard of the turntable probably 15 years ago. It had a magic about it but also had many breakdowns, and when it hit dust on the record, it tore your head off. I also am greatly concerned about the quality control and the manufacturer's indifference to customer service. The tale that Smart tells is very troublesome.

I apologize in advance - this is a long post...

I absolutely have kept the Yorke S7 - love it. I added a Clearaudio Syncro to it, which improved things. The Minus K vibration isolator is amazing - if you thought the Vibraplane was cool...

To answer your question Tbg, I'd say I listen 70% Yorke, 30% ELP. This is mostly driven by the nature of my record collection.

When doing critical listening, I will use both the ELP and Yorke. The Yorke/Lyra is quieter without a doubt, a bit more dynamic than the LT, and the soundstage is wider and imaging more stable with the Yorke/Lyra. But the timbre of the LT is so spot on, I just love it for acoustic / voice / piano (especially) / guitar and so on. And the LT can reveal more detail. It just sounds "right", and I just learn to live with the lighter dynamics and slight noise.

The LT is a different listening experience. I would not call it better or worse than a high-end TT, just different.

Rock, Pop - pretty much anything electrified or heavily mixed - I listen to on the Yorke. If I want dynamics and want to "rock", defintely the Yorke.

Anything acoustic I may listen to on either. If imaging is important to enjoying a particular piece, then it goes on the Yorke. If the "sound" of the instruments are important on a particular piece, it goes on the ELP. If I want detail, then ELP. Often you just have to try both to see which one you like better - sometimes which one I will prefer is surprising and unpredictable.

If the record is especially valuable and I want to listen to it several times in a row - it goes on the ELP. Knowing that there is absolutely no wear or damage to the grooves is worth something to me.

If I'm feeling lazy (ie. set-up of VTF, SRA, azimuth, etc.), the record may very well go onto the ELP. I have several cartridges in addition to the Lyra Helikon for coarse groove (78s), microgroove and monos - so sometimes swapping cartridges can be a pain and I just want immediate gratification.

People make a big deal about the noise of the ELP. If you have records in good condition, the difference in noise levels between the Yorke and ELP are negligible. If the record has seen some abuse or is dirty - yeah, the noise is more noticable. A good record cleaner will fix the dirt problem.

As for service, that has not been an issue. Last December I shipped my ELP to Japan for a motherboard upgrade. No problem, they turned it around in a week and I was only without the ELP for 2 weeks in total. The upgrade was also motivated by the development of an audible wow-and-flutter problem with the ELP. ELP rectified the wow-and-flutter at the same time at no charge. NOTE: My laser turntable is over 5 years old and has traveled cross country a few times as well.

The latest ELP mother board changed from socketed chips to soldered for the machine control, along with some better components in the audio section. I found that this improved the overall performance. To my mind, ELP is supporting their customers well - after all, I can get repairs and upgrades 5 years later.

I understand that the US distributor keeps an inventory of ELP Laser Turntables and offers US/Canada customers very good service. Although it still remains true that any service to the machine can only be performed in Japan.

The upgrade and wow-and-flutter repair with shipping to/from Japan cost me $1800. This has been my only expense in 5 years.

How much do you spend on cartridge and styli over a similar 5 year period? Cost of ownership of a Laser Turntable is actually relatively low once you factor in cartridges/styli, especially if you use your TT a lot or play modern and historical records.

As for the Smart tale, I think that there were some unrealistic expectations and some poor business judgment on both sides of the Pacific that led to the falling out. Smart may have expected the ELP Laser Turntable to be more like a high volume consumer product, and was surprised to find that it was really a low-volume build-on-demand service-in-Japan-only product. ELP may have falsely set that expectation - who really knows.

All I know, the ELP has done well by me. If I had to have one turntable, and one only, I'd keep the Yorke and lose the ELP. The only reason for such a decision is that the ELP is not good as a sole turntable because it cannot deal with colored vinyl and a conventional TT sounds better with more abused vinyl. But I really enjoy the luxury of having both!

FYI: for anyone considering a Yorke, you'll find that Simon Yorke is on an extended sabbatical from building turntables so that he can pursue his poetry and art. No advance notice, nothing. I think obsessing about the long-term health of ELP is no more a crap shoot than any other high-end audio product. I'm not saying that longevity is a non-issue with ELP, I'm just saying that you need to be realistic about these matters. Of course, the LT is much more difficult to service than a traditional TT, and the MTBF is lower.

In fact, I'm strongly considering upgrading from the LT-1XRC to the LT-2XRC so that I can play more of my odd-sized pre-RIAA records and shellacs.
Userid- Intrigued by the Minus K Device- What is source and model ??


I use the BM-1.

The Minus K vibration isolation platform outperforms air isolation by a factor of 10-100x. Air is fairly "stiff" (which is why it works well as a bearing, like in linear tracking tonearms and some of the high-end turntables). However, stiff is what you don't want your vibration isolator to be.

The Minus K vibration isolation platforms have resonant frequencies as low as 0.5 Hz horizontal AND vertical. Air systems at best will achieve 2-3 Hz resonance, and the big buck active isolation systems are still greater than 1 Hz resonance. This means that the Minus K isolators provide 90% attenuation of vibrations at 2 Hz, and 99% at 5 Hz, and 99.7% at 10 Hz.

Minus K isolators are passive - no air pumps, no electricity required. And they are light. The only way the air-based isolators achieve their 2-3 Hz resonance is by using high mass. So air tables are heavy, no question.

With the Minus K isolator, I can actually put it on my equipment rack and not worry about crushing it or having to reinforce the floor.

The 0.5 Hz resonance frequency has some other benefits. The isolation frequency is so low that it can isolate against low frequency building motions. Minus K is the only isolator I am aware of that will allow you to operate a SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) or AFM (Atomic Force Microscope) on an upper floor of a building.

I've talked to David Platus, the president of Minus K, and he understands vibration isolation better than anyone I'v met. The Stanford nanotechnology lab has replaced all of their air isolators with Minus K isolators to increase the resolution of their STMs (Scanning Tunnelin Microscopes). I had the good fortune of being invited to see the isolators in action - very impressive.

How does it sound?

Imaging is very focused, and there is a bit more space between instruments. The noise floor seems to have dropped a little (I didn't actually measure this). However, the bass seemed to be a bit softer. A quick call to Minus K, and they suggested I ballast the system. So I added a 75-pound granite surface plate between the isolator and the TT. This indeed did firm up the bass.

The WAF is a bit low. But I understand that Minus K is coming out with some new models with the same performance as my BM-1, but in a lower profile - which should have higher WAF.

Here's the best part - this is an industrial solution which can only be purchased directly from Minus K. What that means to us audiophiles is that we are not paying the 50% mark-up that high-end audio dealers hit us with (mind you, I don't mind paying the mark-up when my dealer earns it through good advice and loaners). So for less money than a Vibraplane, and without the grief of the noise and power, and with more performance, the Minus K solution cannot be beat.

Also, if you have problems with walking across floors and having to tip-toe up to your TT - this is not the case with Minus K. I read in a Minus K customer testimonial that a half-dozen scientists - as their final acid test - decided to jump as hard as they could on the floor around their atomic force microscope to see if the vibrations would be transmitted to the microscope. Jump as they did, the AFM never saw any of the vibrations.

I have visited the Minus K booth at various tradeshows (most recently Semicon, for the semiconductor industry). They have a really nice demonstration where they place the isolator on a shaker table, and on the isolator they place a free-standing quarter on its edge. The table is shaking pretty violently with 0.5" displacements. The quarter does not move, it just sits their balancing on its edge. They have also done this with a glass of water - you don't see any ripple in the water. Minus K products are very popular in physics labs as well, where they need superior vibration isolation for experiments.

Once again, I apologize for a long and perhaps overzealous post. But I am truly convinced that if you want real vibration isolation - just bypass all the audiophile "hobbyist" solutions that can cost as much as $10k, and go straight for the real deal - Minus K.
I just took a look at MinusK web site. Unfortunately the upper weight limit is 100 pounds. Great for most turntables but not for a Walker.

Thank you for the info though, it's a fascinating concept.

The BM-1 comes in a version that supports up to 700 lbs. I have the 150BM-1 (up to 160 lbs) which is enough to hold my 75 lb Yorke + 75 lb granite surface plate.

But, yes, the BM-6 is only rated up to 105 lbs.

I'm wondering if Minus K can customize a BM-6 for heavier payloads? How much does your Walker weigh?
I would have to guess, I have never weighed it. Probably between 400 and 450 pounds.

I did not see the model that supports 700 pounds. Guess I should have another look at the site.

The Minus K BM-1 has 0.5 Hz Horizontal and Vertical resonance, whereas the BM-6 has higher resonance frequencies. The BM-6 is like an air table (but without the air). The BM-1 is unlike anything else when it comes to isolation, outperforming pretty much everything.

Rumor has it that Minus K has a low profile model with 0.5 Hz Horiz/Vert in the works. But I imagine the payloads will be insufficient for the Walker.
Useridchallenged, I think this is the sophisticated controlled spring isolation base. Versus the acoustic feedback unit as the Stereophile show. It was from Halcyonics. Do you know if this is correct?

The Minus K products are based on their patented Negative Stiffness Technology. From a physics point of view, the spring equation is F = k * x, where k is the "spring constant" or "stiffness". Minus K gets their name because they have found a way to implement "negative stiffness" or "minus k" if you will. So, yes, the Minus K system is based on a sophisticated mechanism that includes springs.

I know little about Halcyonics except that it is an active isolator (hence it requires feedback). I just went to the Halcyonics website, and checked their specs, and Minus K still outperforms.

The Minus K set-up is pretty easy, you just dial in the payload (literally, there is a knob and a payload balance indicator), and you're done. It looks like the Halcyonics requires software and other tweaking to make it work.

Albertporter - does the weight of the Walker include the air isolator? Or is the 400 lbs just the platter/bearings/plinth/tonearm/motor? If you replace the air isolator with the Minus K isolator, you will probably strip out a lot of weight (and wires, and pneumatics) and probably save some space, too. I would imagine that the Walker platter/bearings/plinth/tonearm/motor would be well under 200 lbs. I know that my Yorke is about 75 lbs, which includes a 25 lb platter - all the rest is bearings/motor/plinth.
Useridchallenged...The Halcyonics table is completely self-contained and easy to use. Just adjust (knob) for the load weight (as indicated by a LED). At work it performed flawlessly in a critical optical task. (Eliminated ripples in a pool of Mercury).

The Walker isolators contribute the least amount of weight in this set up, just a few pounds for sausage sized PVC tank, some hoses and three pods. Holding them in my hands last year, I would guess the whole thing at 20 pounds.

The Walker base is probably 200 pounds and the platter is 75 pounds. Then there's the air bearing, tonearm, motor, motor controller and the platform.

I tried to get Lloyd on the phone for an accurate answer, but since he just returned from vacation (7K miles on a motorcycle !)he's been swamped.
Userchallenged and Albert, initially the Walker used Valid Points. I imagine that you could go back to them.

Eldartford, how good is the Halcyonic? Ideally, it would be nice to try both.
Tbg...I never used it for audio, but the task of eliminating ripples in a dish of Mercury is a real vibration isolation challenge, and the Halcyonics table came through with flying colors. At the time I thought that it would make a great base for a turntable. Now I understand that someone is marketing it to audiophiles.

Are you suggesting an A/B test against the Minus K ? ! ! :-)
Eldartford, Yep!

The Minus K vs Halcyonics would be a great test! Interestingly, they are based in Menlo Park, only a stone's throw from me (in San Jose). I'm wondering if Halcyonics would be open to providing a loaner for the test.

What's the Halcyonics cost? I need to dredge up what I paid for my Minus K BM-1 as part of the comparison.

Does anyone in A'gonville have one?

I noticed that the Halcyonics has a max payload of 220 lbs. On the other hand, the Halcyonics has a torsional stiffener, and the Minus K does not. Not sure how critical the torsional stiffener is, but when I talked to Minus K about this before I purchased the BM-1, they said it would be possible to add torsional stiffness/isolation to the BM-1 if I found it to be necessary. So far I've been fine without it.
Eldartford, see patent 4,870,631 on www.uspto.gov - that might answer your question about whether the ELP laser turntable senses rate of change or if the output is proportional to displacement. If I understand the Abstract correctly, it appears to be proportional to displacement. But one probably has to read more of the patent claims to verify that.
Useridchallenged...I think that Halcyonics has various models, some of which will support more weight. The 220 pound model should be sufficient for 99.9 percent of turntables.

Thanks for the info on the patent. I will look it over.
The Halcyonics page has changed. I can no longer find the nice looking low box that could support 220 pounds. All I can find now is the 40 and the 60 which differ only in the size of the platform. I do not know why the new model is no longer mentioned.
I am pleased to announce that my company, NABS, recently became the exclusive global distributor of the Halcyonics line of active vibration elimination products. Halcyonics products range from isolation platforms such as the Micro 40 and 60 units that actively eliminate vibrations from .6 hz to infinity to complete acoustic solutions that include active platforms with accoustically inert chambers that eliminate airborne vibration. Halcyonics has a broad range of products and sizes, with weight bearing capabilities ranging from 220lbs to several thousand pounds. Halcyonics has historically sold its products to the scientific community for use under scanning probe microscopes such as Atomic Force Microscopes (AFMs). With the use of Halyonics' active vibration isolation unit, scientists achieve atomic resolution with their AFM even at difficult locations.

The Mod-1M platform metioned above has recently been replaced with the Micro 40 and Micro 60 units which offer more information to users and alternative platform sizes. Both units can be used stand-alone or with with provided Windows-based software which provides further analytical information. In either case, setup typically takes less than one minute and essentially requires the user to push two buttons. The Halcyonics web page nicely describes the Micro 40 and 60 units:

"Micro 40 systems feature an automated transport locking mode and fully automatic load adjustment; they take only a few seconds to start up. There is no further adjusting or tuning required. Thus, the Micro 40 and 60 systems feature ideal portability for field measurements and presentations.

The inherent stiffness of Halcyonics systems is typically 20 - 30 times higher than that of a 1 Hz passive isolator. For this reason, the Halcyonics active isolation technology provides much better position stability than with any other passive system; which is a great advantage at many applications. Thanks to automatic load adjustment Micro 40 and Micro 60 units allow a wide load range of 0 - 220 lbs with just one version - this offers good flexibility also for future applications.

In addition to their high isolation from floor vibration through AVI (active vibration isolation), Micro 40 and 60 systems also dampen application-generated vibration by AVC (active vibration control), e.g., this technology isolates vibration caused when the user touches the equipment. Thanks to Micro 40 and 60, active vibration isolation takes effect right at 0.6 Hz and considerably increases from this frequency upward. Above 10 Hz, Halcyonics Micro 40 and 60 systems achieve an isolation of 40 dB - that means that 99.0% of the vibration is effectively isolated. A major advantage of active Halcyonics systems is that they do not have any natural low-frequency resonance, which is responsible for problems encountered with passive vibration isolation systems in low-frequency ranges below 5 Hz. Micro 40 and 60 systems isolate vertical and horizontal vibration as well as vibration generated around the vertical axis of rotation as well as both horizontal axes of inclination. The degree of freedom of the active isolation system is thus six.

Connected to a Microsoft Windows-based PC through the USB 1.1 port available as a standard feature on the Halcyonics Micro 40 and 60, these benchtop systems enable computer-aided selection of the technically optimal place for setting up equipment to minimize exposure to vibration. During this process, the application software uses the acceleration sensors built into the Micro 40 and 60 and performs a relative, comparative vibration measurement on various places of installation selected by the user. An evaluation of the measurement and graphic display of the vibration levels of the various places of installation then provide a recommendation for the optimal place to set up equipment in a lab. Moreover, the software permits graphic display of the sensor signals and PC-controlled activation or de-activation of active vibration isolation."

We are proud to note that the Mod-1m (now replaced by the Micro 40) was recently given an award by Stereotimes as a "Most Wanted Component." We are confident that for the audiophile looking for the ultimate in vibration elimination - cost no object - that Halcyonics products are the best solution of its kind. In this regard, we welcome the audiophile community conducting any tests against competitive products.

Although NABS' audio-web page is still being assembled, you are more than welcome to read about our global supply chain solutions at www.nabs.com. My personal moniker on Audiogon is Slaufer. You can be assured that NABS will work hard to respond to any of your questions. We maintain a team of over 15 degreed mechanical engineers around the world including 3 with advanced degrees in our New York office who can field any of your technical questions. Feel free to call me during normal business hours from 9-5pm EST should you have any inquiries.

With regards,

Sam Laufer
NABS, Inc.

OK Sam! A good posting.

I guess it's time for me to "disclaim" any connection with Halcyonics. I have mentioned this product only because I had such good experience with it in a non-audio job-related situation.

From a spec point of view, the Minus K passive isolator should be able to go head-to-head with the Halcyonics. The Minus K achieves 50 dB isolation at 10 Hz compared to the 40 dB of the Halcyonics. Also, the Minus K has a 0.5 Hz resonance, and the Halcyonics starts isolating at 0.6 Hz. For building isolation, the Minus K can handle fairly large horizontal and vertical displacements - 0.5 inch vertical and 0.75 inch horizontal travel. I'm curious what travel the Halcyonics has. Is NABS open to doing an AB comparison of the Halcyonics versus the Minus K isolators? I use the BM-1, and in my own testing have found that it outperforms air. It would be interesting to see how it stacks up against active isolation. How much does a Halcyonics isolator cost?
User, the 17.6" x 16" Micro 40 is $7890. I cannot imagine that anything like a .5 inch vertical or .75 horizontal travel could ever happen with the Halcyonics. The correction would have done whatever it could with even a fraction of this.

I am not in the least surprised that the Minus K outperforms air, such presumably as the Vibraplane and the Townsend Sink.
Tbg...If your TT moves 1/2 inch vertically, and 3/4 inch horizontally, I submit that you have best evacuate the house, especially if you live in California! As to specs...40 dB and 50dB are not significantly different in terms of real world effectiveness, and may be dependent on exactly how the number is measured. Same goes for 0.5 Hz vs 0.6 Hz. A side-by-side evaluation would be interesting, although I bet that either one would take care of the typical home floor vibration. In my experience acoustic feedback to the vinyl is the predominant problem after even minimal attention to floor vibration.
Eldartford, just think if the unit could keep the record playing in an earthquake!

What seems to be an interesting difference between the unit is that with the Halcyonic there might not be a resonant frequency. This may make no difference. At any rate I hope to get to try one in August on returning from Alaska.
NABS welcomes comments and inquiries regarding Halcyonics’ products and encourage the audio community to conduct objective A/B testing. We will do our best to facilitate and support any inquiries and or attempts at testing Halcyonics platforms. We are convinced that audiophiles will be pleased with the results of the Halcyonics platforms much in the same way as the hundreds of research laboratories around the world who have been using Halcyonics’ products for almost a decade. What makes the audio hobby so unique is the way in which different manufacturers approach similar problems in different though successful ways. Minus K and Halcyonics are examples of two completely different solutions for the same problem. No doubt, the Minus K and Halcyonics solutions go well beyond the standard vibration tweaks and platforms offered here on Audiogon.

In our opinion, the Halcyonics platforms offer some unique characteristics not found in any other platform marketed to the Audio community: (1) their unique combination of low profile, flexibility and performance; (2) their ability to provide ongoing feedback on vibration to users not only from monitors on the stands themselves but also through software that comes with each unit that provides a virtual oscilloscope to measure vibrations and assess the least resonant location for placing a stand; (3) their use of active vibration control which isolates vibration caused when the user touches the equipment; (4) their ease of setup – it takes literally seconds to setup the stands initially and no tuning or adjustments thereafter; and (5) their vast adaptive range of weight capability – the Micro 40 handles weight from 0 to 220 pounds, vitiating the need for different platforms should your equipment change, are just some examples of how our products differ from others on the market. Each user should examine their own priorities and needs in considering the value of Halcyonics or any other vibration isolation products. We look forward to participating in an ongoing dialog on this and other advances in audio technology.
Sorry, meant to post that with my NABS moniker.

Thanks NABS. I think the Minus K low profile (4-inch) platforms run about $2800. Payload capacity is a little over one hundred pounds for the low profile models, but goes up to 700 pounds with standard models like the BM-1 (which I think has a list price of $3650 or so). I'm excited to see the use of industrial vibration isolation equipment in high-end audio - I think Minus K and Halcyonics are the "real deal" when it comes to getting the absolute best mechanical isolation possible.
About the ELP laser turntable: Stereophile "kinda" likes it;
but Absolute Sound's review is pretty much a "thumbs down." I
think it is probably something that all of us would like to
"play" with, if we could find a dealer who would let us to
that without exchanging big gobs of money. But, as for owning
one, only some time with the unit would tell. If you have a
lot of old vinyl, as I do, the clicks and pops might be too
much to bear. Just think of a CD in which you could hear all
the dust that has collected. CEM
The Loricraft record cleaner seems up to the task of cleaning even old dirty records for use with the ELP. At CES2004, SMART bought old records in Vegas. They were terrible initially, but after a cleaning they worked great, especially the Peggy Lee. The ability to raise or lower the lasar allowed getting to a clean portion of the track.