It can help a lot!
In my opinion, (as I don't use lp's), the CD player is the place to start.
The difference under my Marantz SA14 SACD player was monumental.
Yes it does. Although with a really good stand, it is my experience that additional isolation is not as big a deal. Vibration, especially on anything that has moving parts, is an absolute soundkiller. If a mechanism is rotating on the horizontal plane, and there are vertical nodes interfering with that, it changes the distance, and also slews the frequency. I have measure my system with various acceleromters, and the changes (or lack thereof) are pretty amazing. One thing about this... you CAN actually subjectively measure the effects of isolation/coupling devices using white or pink noise through your speaker with a broadband accelerometer. The effects, however, are both rack and equipment specific from what I have bothered to measure. I heard the most difference of anything by using rollerblocks under speakers and subwoofers, but turntables and cd transports seem to be very sensitve to coupling issues as well.
Consider taking advantage of the ninety day trial period from Herbiesaudiolab.com for Tenderfeet, or Iso-Cups with two different ball options, under CD player.
Even within the first few minutes, you will clearly hear the benefits for your favorite recordings.
Very reasonably priced approach, which has been as effective (or, more effective) than many other choices I have tried.
Every footer/base enables a somewhat different sound from a component, and Herbie's creations are easy to implement, and musically rewarding.
Once you hear what happens with your first component, you will probably want to try something under every component.
By the way, the Big Fat Black Dots under speakers are ridiculously good, for the money.
I have heard isolation make "changes" in performance on transports, preamplifiers, and power conditioners. Don't ask me to explain it. I have not tried isolation on amplifiers yet.
Unfortunately most of the non-platform isolation devices I tried hurt the sound. I said "most" since some did actually improve the sound.
I think it is more than just component specific. Nobody ever mentions the rack and shelf material being used but I think this would have to enter into the equation. Meaning an isolation device that works on a component on one rack may give different results on the same component on a different rack. Platform devices may be more consistent than non-platform devices. Just my opinion at this point. Not something I have fully explored.
Vibration is everywhere and comes from various sources. It could be from the ground, it could be airborne, it could be from the components themselves. I used to work for a high tech company and every single piece of equipment in every lab sits on some type of vibration table. It could be a 300lb slab of rock, a sand box, or it could be a air-based or mechanical-based vibration table.
I had a similar experience as Don s described. A friend of mine had tried several platforms and ended up with a 300lb slab under his tube amp. He purchased some Grand Prix Audio stands last year. They were made of some light carbon fiber material with stell tube legs. When I held one in my hand, I was thinking how something like that could be good for an amp. Well, after we put the amp on the stand, all of our eyes were ready to pop out. There were 4 of us in the room, and we went back and forth several times.
I would also echo Don s' point that different devices have different effects. I've always placed my SS amp on a BrightStar base, which is essentially a sandbox. After my recent amp change, I noticed the sound was slightly "lifeless". I think the sand was actually draining some of that top energy. The problem was solved after I swapped out the sandbox for a SolidTech amp stand.
As for racks, don't underestimate the effect. I've been using sand-filled SolidSteel and Lovan Sovereign modular stands, which I had considered doing a good job with vibration. Recently I switched over to a SolidTech Reference component stand after hearing what the Grand Prix stand was doing for my friend's system. I had always thought that my big projection TV was the culprit for my "flat" 2-dimensional soundstage. But with the new stand, I now have a 3-dimensional soundstage despite the TV sitting somewhat in between the speakers. (I'm sure if I remove the TV, it would sound even better.)
I think it is the most worried about problem in all of audio. The differences I have heard are insignificant or minor at most and no my hearing isn't damaged . The isolation choices and looks are great, the thick wood or stone slabs, the brass spikes, the gel pad,air pillows, Hocy pucks, racing carbon fiber rooling balls , miniature shock absobers all give the audiophile yet another way to spend a lot of money. The best isolation is to really go all out mass loaded RMI RFI and gamma irradiation proof. Thus dig a bomb shelter in your base or build at least 100 yards from any potential vibration. Have a very meticulous builder who knows how perilous vibration is make the shelter at least 4 feet thick on all sides using alternating layers of cement, copper, silver, Bbubble wrap big bubble inly, rubber and cement each layer about a half inch thick repeatedly until 4ft, thick use a small dor size made from the same embed all electric wiring cable etc through the walls the carefully put each component on a steel platform supported by a solid lead block use stel and lead to make a cover over each piece. It cost a lot but it was worthit the toughest thing is dipping the specker cables in molten glass and lead connecting them at over 10,000 pounds each was a bear. But now I can honestly say the black is blacker now the system is much clearer the bass is dynamic and punch yet musical. I am hearing things in the music I never knew were there, and that darned freight train sound I had all the time is gone.
lol. I just finished building my hometheater room if only i had known.
I agree with the spirit of Mechans' comments. Not that vibration and isolation are not an issue, but that with a few inexpenisve approaches you can address a lot of the problem without obsessing over it - the rest is dependent on the manufacturer building with approoraite internal isolation materials and mechanical integrity.
A good isolation system can make a big difference in a high resolution system.It can enhance the illusion of reality and increase one's enjoyment factor,or it can rob the music of life and deaden things.
The best that I have tried is the Finite Elemente Master Reference system in combo with the cerabase feet.
Supports tend to sound like what they are made of--a good reason to avoid funky synthetic materials and stick to wood and steels.
People can try to explain this away however much they want.. Fact is that a good platform (or rack) does wonders to most equipment. The differences are NOT subtle in my experience.
Just because you can't find a logical explanation for why things improve sound, doesn't mean it's not there. Science may be good for some things, but it has no place in the listening experience.
I agree, a good stable platform that is relatively inert can make a difference (big or small is rather subjective), IMHO, it doesn't require expensive, esoteric materials to provide a "good" platform. Solid maple with any kind of cone, or cushioning material (coupling versus decoupling) on a stable stand should do the job. Beyond that, I don't think you are going to find a whole lot of difference between different type of products. If the platform is basically inert, well you can worry about it, but this can quickly turn into an endless pursuit for isolation, and I'd rather focus on equipment changes that would make a more worthwhile differenece IMHO; but by all means, you do need a good, solid platform for your equipment.
In fact I do use relatively inexpensive isolation. I am glad to see that several of you noted the humor. I have a massive steel component rack and use cork and rubber pads under all of the pieces I also have spikes etc. But I can't see spending a almost a kings ransom for some of the offerings. I position the speakers in my main rig -well in front of the components, To get a reflection the sound has to travel over 70ft through two couches into corner alcoves and lots of stuff. the backwave is absorbed as resonant nodes in the speaker cabinets.
I really cannot see the utility of destabilizing the mass vibration stop and hold by using a sure fire way to get vibration to actually have a maginfied effect. For instance the rolling ball in a cup style.
Actually, the rolling ball is not a voodoo science. It actually came from building construction engineering. I was working at an architecture firm about 10 years ago when I first got out of school, an engineering firm came to do a presentation on the then new San Francisco Library that they had just constructed using this type of seismic technology. Each of the column has a "ball" bottom, and sits in a cup, so that when earthquake hits, the entire building will sway laterally as a unit, and prevent the building from collapsing. This technology was widely used in earthquake prone areas like Tokyo.
I've read some white papers on these ball/cup combo tweaks for audio, and they seem to build on the same principle to combat lateral vibration.
It makes a Big differnce especially when the volume is turned up .Silent running Audio are the best out there,their isolation works from 10hz to beyound 50k -no other platform comes close ,their patented technologys are used in every U.S and British Submarine out there ,check out their site, why do you think their top plaforms are
called Ohio class? I own 4 of them and each one if a sonic improvement .p.s they actually build the platform specificaly to your equipments specs per order.
Anyone familiar with the TAOC anti-resonance platforms?
"It doesnt feel like there vibrating or anything when i turn them on"
I'm no scientist, but I think we're talking about the movement of electrons here, and it seems to me that a seemingly insignificant vibration to us could seem like an earthquake to an electron. If this is incredibly stupid, please don't flame me. I'm just using what passes for common sense in the absence of knowledge.
If you move a wire in a magnetic field, it will generate a current. All the wires in you equipment if they move are generating new signal into your equipment. Unfortunately nearly all isolation devices have a resonant frequency down to which they help and below which they hurt but their effectiveness varies. Some devices combine multiple materials with different resonant frequencies.
Unfortunately, there is no real guide as to what will be best for your system and tastes. I would not recommend trying cheap and soft isolation. I hate the sound of wood, but you may like it. A big piece of granite at least 3" thick in a sand box is good and cheap. I have yet to hear a rack that is superior to my Mana stands used at level 5.
Thanks Tbg, that's what I meant to say.
Ive played with isolation, and it gave me negative effects. Subtle, but noticeable negative effects. It became bright and lost some weight to the sound while everthing else sounded the same. Im happy with the stock feet personally. At least in this setup(all ayre)Maybe next time, it will be for the better.
You really owe it to the readers of this thread to disclose your status as an SRA dealer.
Many people rely on these threads for unbiased and objective information.
One of the best inexpensive isolation materials available is corion,used by carpentry shops that specialize in retailing counter tops.It is extremely dense and has properties well suited to the elimination of vibration.Some retailers will have surplus pieces available which you can get cut to your specifications.
Stthomas, I have often had the same experiences with isolation. Many report how much they love maple, but for me it robs the music of dynamics and pace. I could hardly wait to remove it. I had tungsten carbide steel tiptoes made to support my Final Audio 300 pound turntable. With that weight the penetrated through two nickels. It sounded great as long as it was on the floor, a concrete slab. I have never had any luck with soft feet.
What would be ideal would be total isolation both from music reaching the equipment through the air and through the structure of your house and from vibration coming from outside. A railroad is about three quarters of a mile from my house and the soil here is clay. Some times when I am in bed I can feel the passing of a train. Certainly my system is shaken by it also.
There are very effective isolation bases intended for electron microscopes and other sensitive equipment. I have found they are great for stereo isolation.
Isolation; or are you really tuning the system to resonate at a particular frequency which you find pleasing- ie maple?
The exception being a Vibraplane.
Cdc, the Vibraplane is not one of the professional isolation bases I was referring to. It is nothing more than a lot of mass on a bladder. It behaves like a spring with a low resonance frequency.
I do agree that in general one must choose ones poison or resonant frequency that you prefer and can live with.