European Vibraplane?

I was trying to find an EU analog of the Vibraplane and came across Iso-Plate from Thor Labs:

The specs look a bit worse then Vibraplane 2210 (resonant freq. is said to be at 3.5max vs 2.5Hz). The pricing, esp. without the breadboard is aceptable. I'm wondering if anyone has tried it?

I would not be concerned with the small difference in resonant frequency.

I see the Thor is priced in USD. You say EU analog of Vibraplane, is the Thor available where you live for a great price? I notice they have a web link to distributors so perhaps best to contact one near you with questions.

With any of these active platforms shipping is one of the overlooked factors. They typically weigh between 150 and 200 pounds before addition of the required air pump.
The Vibraplane was a Newport Corp. microscope stand modified to provide lateral isolation in addition to vertical, not sure about the rotational directions, possibly rocking and rolling isolation. Since the Earth Crust motionproduces a lot of energy in the 0-10 Hz range, every Hz you can reduce the resonant frequency is important. Below 1 Hz would be outstanding. The number of directions of isolation is also pertinent. As I recall the Minus K has a resonant frequency of around 0.5. Now we're talking!
The price they quote based on my EU IP is 870EU (+VAT most probably), 900x600 unit. They have warehouses and manufacturing plants in EU, so shipping should be within reasonable limits. Apart from that the platfrom without the breadboard is "only" 30kg or so.

I do not know if this is the exact analog of the Vibraplane, it seems the construction is a bit different, so I'm looking for any info/feedback in audio application.
I have not heard that model but it's design is similar to Vibraplane. It should work wonders with your audio components, especially if you need to isolate a turntable.

In short, I would have no concerns purchasing it, especially if you have some guarantee and shipping is not too dear.

If that does not work out, another option is a used Vibraplane at Audiogon or Ebay. Only the air pump requires voltage match with your location. The Vibraplane itself is completely mechanical.

Here is an example of used Vibraplane. They can be had for less.
Albert is correct you can get them used for significantly less than new but WARNING!!!! Over 12 customers have bought used recently and every Vibraplane came damaged ( one guy bought several extra just to use for parts). These used VPs carry no warranty and most needed 1 or 2 isolators replaced at a cost of $450 per isolator. Customers get very upset when they find out the cost of replacement parts so just want to make sure all are aware.
Best of luck and please make sure they ship them in their original packing.
Steve, I think we are actually in touch--you are getting quotations to EU for me :-)

Buying Vibraplane used or from SOS in US doesn't resolve the biggest problem which is shipping. Hence my search for an EU alternative.
Townshend Seismic Platform looks interesting, from UK.
Yes, from the specs Minus K seems way beyond the competition. But I'm wondering if anyone has ever heard a difference between VP and MinusK (in a system with a serious bass capabilities of course...and probably with less than optimal floor, e.g. suspended).
It's an interesting question which iso platform is The Best since a lot of the "art" of isolation involves how the platform is supported, how the component is supported and, like you say, how bad the situation is to begin with. We do know that Earth crust motion, in and of itself, is sufficient to cause problems. Halcyonics, a Swiss German iso table, is interesting and there's always Newport Corp. and TMC. Myself, I like hardened steel springs and heavy masses.
IMO There is lots to learn about isolation for audio components ... from what i have seen/read these vibraplane type isolators only isolate in the vertical?!

There is only one device I know that will isolate in ALL 6 axes ..."vistek" will do this but they are stupid expensive!

when i was searching these were the top!

Fidelity Forward

We discuss all the exotic options when most have their turntable sitting on spikes on a wobbly stand.

A single Vibraplane is a miracle under a turntable and very cost effective. Four Stillpoints Ultras is $900.00. You can purchase a used Vibraplane for that and pick up a cheap pump and be in business.

I don't know about Newport Corp. that Geoffkait mentions, but Vibraplane is a product of Kinetic Systems and is only one of several isolations stands they offer.

Here is specs on Vibraplane I purchased. Good numbers and good price.

Horizontal Natural Frequency 1.8 Hz

Isolation Efficiency @ 5 Hz 81%

Isolation Efficiency @ 10 Hz 95%

Net Load Capacity @ 80 psi 450 lbs.
Lharasim, the Vibraplane isolates in BOTH the vertical and horizontal planes.
I bought 3 VP's new from SOS and never had any Problem. But I never move them with filled feet. I think, that is the reason why some don't hold the air. It is mishandling from owners.
Such devices are based on brain, the pricing is made for professional users. I doubt, they would accept the High End calculation... (High End is a filled air tube in a wood box for several hundred $ ...)
I also listened to Minus-K with the same turntable...good luck with that units. It starts moving even when you move the Tonearm to the first track. Even when someone would pay me for it, I would refuse to use it. They are ok for units with centered weight, but that's it.
When you are in Europe, try it. Check the specs, what load it needs ...
Syntax wrote,

"I also listened to Minus-K with the same turntable...good luck with that units. It starts moving even when you move the Tonearm to the first track. Even when someone would pay me for it, I would refuse to use it. They are ok for units with centered weight, but that's it."

The best isolation occurs when the motion is obtained with the greatest ease. It's a blessing and a curse. ;-) However, this might not be advantageous for turntables and even CD players that produce rotational forces. As I recall the Minus K negative stiffness machine used to be the Newport Corp Sub-Hertz Platform of yore and was modified for the audio market. Ooops, there's that name Newport again. I was under the impression that the rotational capability around the vertical axis of the Minus K had been disengaged but I might be mistaken. I also recall that the (Newport) Sub-Hertz Platform would go into its rolling swaying motion of 1/2 Hertz when a penny was placed on the top surface.
This is what my (obviously small) brain started to figure out with Minus K: very low f_res @ relatively low loads gives ultra low stifness and potential of being sort of wobbly. You seem to confirm that. As I see it, the difference between a turntable and e.g. an electron microscope is that the latter is pretty much static, while turntable is obviously rotatig, generating (micro)vibrations. What can be very efficient for isolating static loads from external vibrations, may have problems when the load is non-static: it has to deal with both external and load vibrations--it can get "confused"

The main reason for my inquiry is to isolate my deck from the suspended wood floor. As I understand the max power from e.g foot steps is located between 10-15Hz, so a f_res of 2-3Hz should in theory be enough. Thorlabs is a bit shy on the data of the platform, stating only f_res<3.5Hz and strangely wide load range of 45-180kg. If that f_res is at the max load, then the platform is substantially worse than the Vibraplane. I'm waiting for the additional data from Thor.
BTW, it's 1150EUR shipped in EU and the horrendous Swedish VAT paid. I'm also waiting for a quote from a EU Kinetic Systems distributor on 2210...let's see.
Ok, got the quote on 20x24" Kinetic platforms in EU: 2180EU passive, 2990EU active...and that is before German VAT of 19% and ex. shipping...well, this is beyond anything reasonable, given US prices. Steve's Vibraplanes shipped here would be cheaper...all that crazy pricing seems a function of the airmail post only across the pond (USPS stopped surface service in 2006 or 2007).
Just an FYI. The Vibraplane units made for SOS has 7 upgrades over a standard microscope Vibraplane. Things like added dampening under the top plate and skirt just to name 2. Do they sound the same? No, close but the ones for audio are sonically ahead of the standard units.
This is all nice Steve, but without a reasonable shipping service to EU, were are left pretty much vibrating here ;-)
I learned from one US RCM importer that the reason behind the
cease of sea freight by USPS was some unfavourable change of
global sea spedition laws in 2006. IIRC, US book vendors managed to negotiatie with USPS 1 more year of service. Since 2007 we can basicly ship chips over the pond.
What does "SOS" mean and what is the price and model number (series) for "the ones for audio"? The website doesn't list anything designed specifically for audio.

Thank you.
I have three 24"X20" Vibraplanes from SOS (Sounds of Silence). Two of the units are active (requiring a compressor) and one is passive (bicycle pump). I did try two used units found on Ebay for $350-500. THEY DID NOT WORK. I tried to use parts from both to make one functional, but in the end, it was just too frustrating. Repair estimate from Kinetic Systems was about $1,600 for each unit, so I went ahead and bought new units. The old style isolators and valves are no longer supported. The new units function perfectly.

One unit is under my 120 lb turntable and the other two units are under my SS amps. They each improved the sound, pretty dramatically. I was surprised at the improvement under my amps but was lucky to have borrowed a pair from a friend before I bought them.

I also had Steve from SOS order me from Kinetic Systems, two 135 lb steel ballast plates finished to match the VP units. These plates combined with the weight of my equipment approach the maximum design load for the units and thus they optimize the isolation.

Adding the steel ballast plates improved the performance of my components almost as much as adding the VP in the first place. These are very heavy units and extremely effective. They must be placed on a very sturdy platform, but the results and value are outstanding. They are much better than the Townshend Seismic Sinks. Details can be seen on my system page.
Thanks for this info, Peter.
Bydlo I understand all to well about shipping costs, even shipping these within the USA we charge customers between $175 - $225 so what we quoted you was extremely reasonable. It still adds that much more to the price and we haven't talked about import taxes at your end!
Regarding Minus K, I have my TW sits on a platform on top of Minus K so aligning center of gravity on Minus K is a breeze even on unit like TW AC one where the motor stick out on one side. Regarding motion when moving tonearm, are you using your feet? Top platform on Minus K can move easily with enough force but seriously, moving a tonearm? May be if the whole turntable setup is 5 kg? I use a 100+ kg model as my TW+ Platform is just above 100kg. The amount of force to overcome the inertia is way way more than force require to move a tonearm. I certainly never notice any lateral movement on Minus K when I move tonearm in normal playing.

Never had a chance to compare to Vibraplane as it is not locally available and shipping from Europe or US would make it far more expensive than Minus K so that is not an option for me for now.
Looks like Newport is at the heart of those isolating platforms. They have their own technology:*&x2=sku&q2=BT-2024

As I understand it's active: there is a mechanical level sensor, coupled to a valve which controls the airflow to each isolator:

The performance plots show a good 2.5Hz resonant point.
If it's available in EU for the price they show, it'd be very attractive.


The "Drawings" tab explains it but should be probably viewed upside down.
A Newport engineer recommended these:

Very reasonably priced, but certainly not as efficient as the Vibraplane. They do have isolators with terrific vertical and horizontal isolation (1/1.5 Hz respectively), but the load required is just not practical for home audio application.
Then there is also this:
Those compact, low profile units would seem best for low shipping costs to EU.
Just put them under a steel ballast plate (obtained locally) to get the total load
close to the max. design load and that could be a very nice solution with a quiet
compressor. Has anyone tried these?

If you're referring to the SLM series isolators from my first link, you only need a bicycle pump, not a compressor. The S-2000 series isolators need a minimum of 660 lbs to perform, so they are arguably not suited for home audio use...

The platform from my last link uses four isolators that Bydlo linked and looks like the equivalent to the Vibraplane and Minus-K, but the price is not listed.

Assuming the SLM series isolators do a decent job, they indeed might a pretty good deal and an alternative for those who can't afford a Vibraplane.
Peter, all that is available in EU: as I learned Newport has a warehouse in France. BT-2024 automatic platform sales for:

1869EU+VAT+150EU shipping within EU (unavoidable) which in my case gives 2450Eu...2/3 of the price of te deck I want to support...

I made a mistake, the fres is 3.5Hz not 2.5Hz (tricky Newport started the scale on their curves from 1Hz not 0Hz..), so the same as the Thorlabs unit, which is manual (ok with me) and sells for 870Eu+25%swedish VAT+50Eu shipping=1130EU. I'm waiting for more detailed info from Thor re performmance (esp. fres vs. load info).
Sorry that I was less than clear in my post. I am referring to the CM225 low
profile isolators with built in leveling valves. They need a compressor and can
support 60 lbs each for 240 lbs total. If the turntable is 100 lbs, then a steel
slab is another 130 or so and that could be very effective isolation.

I find that if you are isolating a turntable which needs to be absolutely level, then
the self leveling feature is a must. Manually adjusting the height every day or
two is not worth the cost savings for the more basic isolators, IMO. I also found
that with my passive Vibraplane, I had to fill it up slightly every three days, and
that was not fun because of the need to relevel the system. The active units with
a compressor and self leveling are MUCH more convenient, if slightly more
expensive and complex.
This is probably what is inside their benchtop 1/2 the price. The full Newport catalogue is available in EU so shipping (apart from the Newport crazy intra EU flat rates) and esp. customs should not be a problem.
The other EU option--ThrowLabs, seems completely unprofessional: they have removed all the specs of their platforms from the web (good that there is a link at the beginning of this thread) and on my question to the tech support about f_res vs load they said they don't know and asked ME where I took f_res<3.5Hz from HAHAHAHA! Probably they make their platforms as an unimportant acessory which must be in the line and don't give a s...t about it.
Mechanical springs have some interesting advantages over air bladder and air spring systems. It is much easier to maintain mechanical spring iso systems since there are no porous rubber bladders, no air fittings that can leak and no air pumps to buy. Mechanical spring systems are inherently self leveling and since hardened steel springs don't change their spring rate over time like porous fabric of the air springs/bladders they remain level.

Mechanical spring systems are not over-damped, whereas air bladder and air spring systems, due to the nature of many stiff rubber bladders/springs, can be over damped. Mechanical spring systems are much easier to tailor to load requirements - the only thing the user needs to decide is what type of material he wishes to use for the heavy mass, if any. Smaller size mechanical springs do not require pre-loading with heavy mass if the component weighs enough - another advantage. Smaller springs, by virtue of their low profile, are very stiff laterally so they can support loads with relatively high center of gravity such as turntables with high-mounted heavy platters.

Finally, mechanical spring-based systems are inherently inexpensive since the springs themselves are inexpensive and heavy masses can comprise almost any stiff, massive material like granite, flagstone, bluestone, marble, even stacks of ceramic or marble tiles, many if which are inexpensive and easily obtained. Plus no air pump is required, and no air fittings. Resonant frequencies of simple mechanical spring based iso systems can be obtained on the order of 2-3 Hz without much difficulty.
Geoffkait, thanks for your very interesting and informative post. Are you describing a commercially available unit or is this more of a DIY type of project? You describe many advantages over air suspension, so I would think there would be many products meeting this need, but I am only aware of the Minus K brand platforms which are quite expensive and do have the center balance issue from what I read.

I agree that the life span and maintenance of an air based system long term may become an issue. My three new Vibraplanes do give great isolation performance and have really helped the sonics of my system at a fairly reasonable cost.
Peterayer, it's more of a DIY project, I am pretty sure there are no commercially available units like the ones I have in mind. I designed the first Sub-Hertz Platform for the audio market, the Nimbus Unipivot, a 6 degree of freedom, single airspring design, about 15 years ago. I developed a mechanical spring based platform, the Promethean, about 10 years ago, the primary advantage of which was that it was modular and could support almost any load, unlike Nimbus...and it was a 2 Hz stand. Some of my Promethean customers had really big turntables like Raven, VPI and Verdier, also amps like JC-1 and the big 200 lb Classe amp. My current DIY project is based on small hardened steel springs and heavy mass. Because the springs are only one inch high compressed they can be placed directly under the component in many cases.
Peter, all that is available in EU: as I learned Newport has a warehouse in France. BT-2024 automatic platform sales for:

1869EU+VAT+150EU shipping within EU (unavoidable) which in my case gives 2450Eu...2/3 of the price of te deck I want to support...

If you had a friend in the US buy it for you and ship it to Europe, you'd save a big chunk of money...
Actusreus how would buying in US then shipping from one private consumer to another save money? Most large companies that do a lot of shipping get discounts of 10-40% off regular shipping costs from us mere mortals!
Because the price of the platform is much lower in the US to begin with. If you then have someone located in a different state buy it, you will also save on the sales tax. I also expect that shipping would be less than what the company would charge as they generally use standard service that might not always be the most economical way to ship.
Actusreus you must be talking about another platform and NOT the Vibraplane. We don't charge any sales tax on ANY equipment we sell (Thanks to the wonderful State of NH, Live Free or Die!) and second we only charge actual shipping charges and in fact offered to pay over 1/3 of the shipping costs to Poland, yes still expensive but have you ever tried shipping something that weighs almost 185 pounds from point A in the USA to point B? (UPS and FedUp have a 150 load limit).

(Dealer disclaimer)
Steve, I very much appreciate your offer but I turned it down not only because of the still high cost even after your rebate, but, most importantly, because of the EU draconic customs. I take it as a point of honor not to pay any customs, taxes etc I can to the hands of the, so called, "authorities" and cretins alike, but in the case of a direct airport shipping of such a massive piece this would be unavoidable. I'm very much looking into Newport's CM-225 isolators that Peterayer pointed to, in a diy skirt+plate construction.

I'm talking about the Newport platform. I don't know how much a Vibraplane is since you never answered that question in this thread. From the legal standpoint, I don't see how he would have to pay customs since the purchase would take place within the US. So a much lower price, no sales tax, and no customs. There is the issue of shipping to be sure, but I shipped a big mountain bike to Poland from NYC once and it was not prohibitively expensive. I know people would also ship big TV sets to Poland years ago, which arrived just fine. Obviously he would have to trust the person and the person would have to be willing to go to such great lengths to help him, but it is doable.
Actusreus, Newport platform BT-2024 from the Polish distributor is 2450EU all the taxes and shipping paid.
Expensive...BTW, could you please tell me how much is the BT-2024 on US Newport pages? I can't access them due to my EU IP I guss. In EU it's 1869EU before VAT and shipping. Same with CM-225 4 pcs set. Thanks!

Shipping Vibraplane platform privately is of course doable, I'd a have a freind who would be crazy enough to do it, but
1) if you or people you know shipped mountains to Poland before 2007 there ws still a marine service offered (by USPS and other couriers/forwarders)
2) from my experience, EU custom theives would not clear it, even if you declare the value below 22,50Eu (this is what those thieves let us import duty-free)--the sole weight and the shipping cost will result in customs+VAT. This is how they work. They see 68kg, $$$ shipping cost, they add to that whatever you declare and apply their extortion to the sum.
I've already had this problem importing EMT930 from Chroatia.
Actusreus an active Vibraplane sells for $2500 (not including the compressor) and a passive Vibraplane sells for $2250.
Bydlo (btw, I feel funny writing this word as I grew up in Poland),
The BT-2024 is slightly less than $2000. I admit I don't know much about customs duties in Poland these days as it's been years since I sent anything there. However, I wonder if there is a provision for "gifts" just like there is a tax exemption for gifts in general. Might be worth to look into it. But from what you've described, it's indeed a robbery what they are doing. No wonder these platforms are so much more expensive over there.

Btw, Newport does not list the prices for these platforms on their website. You have to go through a sales rep to get a quote.


Thank you for the price info. I might be on the market for a Vibraplane soon (those damn flimsy apartments in So Cal are driving me nuts!) so it's good to know who to talk to. Just need to convince my better half I absolutely need it...Going to be tough!

Actusreus, "gift" marked on the customs declaration=be 100% sure of custom thieves attention! The customs practices are the same in all of EU.
Actusreus, trust me, you NEED a Vibraplane for the source, and perhaps one (or two) for your amps. They are one of the best investments I ever made in audio, and Steve at SOS is an excellent dealer with whom to work. They are wonderful products.