Isolation Devices: Any Good Ones?


I'm considering some Isolation devices to place under my Esoteric X-05 CD player. I have actualy tried Stillpoins Ultra SS ($675 for 3) and they did make a difference. I'm interested to hear from those of you who have tried others like Wave Kinetics ($700 for 4), KWO Super Heated Metal Foam Pedestals ($415 for 3), Nordost Sort Kones ($260 for 4) or any others that markedly helped vibration control. Thanks!
shoff
Schoff,
I use large Tupperware-style containers filled with dry sand under all my components as well as speakers. This is the best I have found and I have used many isolation devices, some very expensive and well-known ones. The sand boxes beat them all by a country mile. In my system.
I have tried many, all of whom helped but whose sound differed considerably. Synergistic Research MIGs are good at a RELATIVELY low price. FIM roller bearings [ I am a sometimes FIM dealer] work well also. Star Sound brass cones and Melange cryo treated metal foam pucks both work but give very different results; the SS seems to tighten the sound while the Melange dampens it. Which is better depends on the rest of your gear. Some prototype ones from Skylan are very promising but no details yet. All ears and most gear are different so there can be no "best" one for all situations.
Most all equipment is sensitive to what it is setting on. There are some exceptions like Audio Research CD players because they have built in isolation beginning with the CD3 MKII. The cones are sometimes too powerful and can alter the tonal balance a little too much. I have heard that if you collect some rocks from Wyoming or Montana and sit on them you will hear a noticable difference in sound. I think you should try it and let us know what you think.
Stanwal,
I had the SR MIGS and sold them off. The sand boxes blew them out of the ball park. Sand boxes may not look pretty but since the music is the most important thing you lose sight of them pretty fast.
I am slowly becoming a fan of high-end audio. We are currently placing more high-end hi-fi products in our reference playback suite.

Our recording studio has had great success with the Sistrum products under our recording desk, digital effects processors and microphone tube pre amps. There is a pair of them available on this site at a very reasonable price.

In speaking with the manufacturer, Sistrum products have been out of production for the past two years as the company has relocated while recovering from a flood. They stated that the twelve year old Sistrum will be back in production later this year along with a couple of new products that improve upon the Sistrum values.

We would enjoy hearing from the forum experience as to how these older designs might be compared to the newer cones and products mentioned in this thread.

Always looking to improve sound quality and enjoy reading all the opinions and input.
Sitting on rocks from Wyoming or Colorado? Hmmm, I'll have to give that one a try.
I favor butyl rubber bottle stoppers. Solid rubber. about one iche high, Size ten is about 1.5" wide base. 1.25 inch wide top.
Best part is dirt cheap. they cost about $1.25 each.
I must have fifty of them now.
I use them under most stuff.
I also own some of the urethane domes..

Feel free to spend a ton of money on doodads for footers.
I use fish bowls filled with liquid mercury. It takes a while to break in but when it does you loose all sense of connection with anything at all related to the transmission of musical harmony. Tom
Bungee cords rule. Relatively low WAF.
i'm a big fan of the Wave Kinetics A10-U8's under components. i use 8 sets of 4 in my system. some light-weight gear i use 3 underneath, my 60 pound amplifier i use 6 underneath. lowers the noise floor, increases detail, transient snap, and image focus. the degree of improvement does vary from one product to another. and you want a grounded rack for the A10-U8's to work their best. i use the Adona racks.

i also use the Wave Kinetics 2NS footers underneath my speaker spikes. similar effect to what i listed as benefits of the A10-U8's but also improves bass articulation (lowers distortion) and soundstage depth increases.
I use fish bowls filled with liquid mercury. It takes a while to break in but when it does you loose all sense of connection with anything at all related to the transmission of musical harmony.

Sounds like a killer acid trip, I'll have to try that out!
09-12-12: Theaudiotweak
I use fish bowls filled with liquid mercury. It takes a while to break in but when it does you loose all sense of connection with anything at all related to the transmission of musical harmony. Tom

Get ready for heavy sushi listening that could also report weather temp ....
For a far greater positive effect on vibration control please consider the Synergistic Research Tranquility Base.
Under my Marantz SA11-S1 SACD player I have experenced an impressive improvement. The base combines isolation control, decreasing emf-rf noise, and improving the ground plane. The effect on sound is a wonderful combination of increased detail, improved black background, and no listener fatigue.
Theaudiotweak,
You must be highly toxic from breathing mercury vapor. Sand is non-toxic.
Here is an AA thread about how people have used sand boxes very effectively in their systems:

http://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/t.mpl?f=tweaks&m=112135

If you have no experience here you have no idea. There are folks who are laughing at the HiDiamond laugh-in. There are folks who laughed at the Synergistic Research laugh-in that ended a long time ago. Some are still laughing alone by themselves in the corner when everyone else left the party to get their rest. Same for the Bybee laugh-in. Same for the Shakti laugh-in. Same old boring same old.
Davidpritchard,
Thanks for your impressions. I have been looking at them but have not heard from anyone who has actually used them -- before your comments.
Sabai

You can smother in sand and so are the affects with it's use in audio. Of course the same can be said and heard with MDF and all its glue glory. Tom
I often go to Audioasylum for a good laugh myself. Look at this thread:
http://www.AudioAsylum.com/cgi/vt.mpl?f=general&m=631918
This thread reminds me of many others where people were falling all over themselves LOL-ing in public about Synergistic Research products and Bybee products and some other unusual products they had never tried. Jack Bybee made a controversial comment about some of these folks -- and I could not agree more. In the end, Jack Bybee and Ted Denney and a few other makers definitely had the last laugh.
I have a local guy that sells isolation footers there are made from silicone and they are quite impressive
I've tried many high priced footers from the likes of Rollerballs symposium products and recently still points
These in my sytem were the clear winner
I now have them under all my equipment and have some great results
I drank the liquid mercury and now my listening room is an acoustically perfect box six feet underground
Post removed 
The laugh is the playing with materials that only lead to a dead end. Nothing reactive or geometrically conductive in a bag of sand or a box of lead. These materials have a high saturation point but also have a very slow time release of that same energy. They cause much coloration to the device to which they are applied . Nothing musically pleasing about these materials. Tom
Tom, you are correct, sir. And they seem like SUCH a good idea.
Theaudiotweak,
It has also been proved scientifically that bees cannot fly. On the contrary. The result is very pleasing.
Theaudiotweak,
The problem is that you are listening to my system with theoretical ears. You are not listening to my actual system.
Sabai,
I have used the Tranquility Bases since June 1. A quite remarkable product. Excellent results under all 4 components I have now used them with- Marantz SA11-S1 SACD player, Marantz SA11-S2 SACD player, Art Audio PX-25 tube amp, and Eddy Current- Zana Deux OTL tube amp. The Marantz SA11-S1 had a significant improvement even though the player was heavily modded-upgraded. I find it interesting that both tube amps improved and that one amp has output transformers and the other amp does not use transformers. Next I hope to move my speaker crossover networks out of the cabinets and try the Tranquility Bases under the networks.
Theaudiotweak,
You stated, "... materials that only lead to a dead end ...". It has also been proved scientifically that bees cannot fly. I'll take my dead-end system any day of the week over any other system I have ever heard. And I have heard some incredible systems over the years. If you were listening to my actual system instead of listening to my system with theoretical ears you would be able to make an informed judgment. Everyone who has listened to my system has found the sound stunning, including my audiophile friends.
Hopefully you will see that you are listening to darkness in a near vacuum. Tom
You may venture forward by replacing all the vessels of sand with the same type container using steel shot or brass or bronze. These materials are reactive in nature. You should also experiment with the fill quantity of each. Overfilling will cause the system to darken suddenly. The container for these materials should also be reactive by design. The container should be mechanically grounded to provide an exit point for the resonance collected to vacate quickly. Tom
Shoff,
I just installed a set of Sort Kones BC model under my Bel Canto CD-2 (used as a transport) and have found the sonic differences to "my ears" to be dramatic. More air around every instrument, blacker background, tighter bass, and wider and deeper soundstage. I first heard them on my friends reference system (200G's) and even on that system although not as dramatic, the difference was obvious. Worth the try!
Zimwig, Have you listened to Sort Kones used in conjunction with an isolation platform or rack vs. basic MDF/Glass rack or shelf? Maybe that's why the difference on your friends system wasn't as dramatic. Different racks should yield different results.
I replaced 1 of 3 Cardas wood blocks under my tank heavy Theta Dreadnaught amp with 1 Nordost AC Kone and was startled by the improvement. Clarity, air, dynamics all better. All this from one Kone. So, I did the logical and bought one more. This went under the HT processor. Less but definite upgrade and every thing opened up, and movie dialogue got better. Next? No conditioners or PC upgrades yet, instead, I'll buy two more Kones and add in one or two at a time until the improvements stop or other issues surface. Context: I use Kimber IC'c, Aerial speaks, audience and Shunyata PC's, Cardas blocks and at least 2 Kones.
hi 
i have just experienced the biggest sound improvement ever to my system, i have been looking into isolation for ages and i also started a discussion, i have found by a country mile that isolating my loudspeakers with townshend audio seismic podiums was incredible  over the years i have tried various isolation ideas under my equipment but after isolating my loudspeakers i believe this is the very best place to start, if you contact your stillpoint dealer he will advise the same, if you got good results with stillpoints and can afford the stillpoint route go for it , if you have a townshend audio dealer near you get in touch and ask to audition the seismic podiums, they are a must have product in the uk and there is a uk dealer i know that ships to the usa at very nice prices i am not financially involved i was so impressed by the service i got and the performance made me gob smacked i think you will be amazed with the improvements i was and so are many other uk reviewers and audiophiles, i liked stillpoints ultra ss under my electronics but isolating my loudspeakers was the biggest upgrade in performance i have ever experienced, im 50 and been buying since i was a young teenager, good luck i dont believe your go wrong with stillpoints they mainly  get amazing reviews but very costly i didnt buy and im so glad i didnt 
I suggest you make your own isolation devices. All you need are some MDF boards (from Home Depot) and rubber equipment feet or casters (from ebay or amazon). You just need to sand and spray-paint them. Pretty efficient and cheap.
Isolate It: Sorbothane Vibration Isolation Circular Pad 50 Duro (.25" Thick 2.25" Dia.) - 8 Pack

I have a bunch of these under my stuff and haven't looked for anything else since I got these.  They are slightly sticky which is particularly good for the blu-ray player which gets bumped a lot inserting discs.  The company also makes bigger, smaller, square, circle, dome-shape.  Tons of options.  

Dont spend a lot.  Unless you have money to burn.  In that case, buy these still and send the rest of the cash to me.  


For cheapskate DIYers there's really no substitute for bungee cords. Mass on spring isolation. Real isolation. 

Look at Loyd 1 I'm now using them on all front end stuff they look great and sound even better.
What's "Loyd 1"?
Surprised no one has mentioned Herbie's Audio Lab. Their Tenderfeet work great, and are one of the real bargains in high end audio. Their tube dampers and other vibration control products also work very well.
tommylion +1 Herbie's has effective products for all areas of music reproduction. I've purchased from them 11 or 12 times and each time the product worked as advertised for me. Collectively I feel the improvement is only topped by a whole new system or a complete room acoustic makeover. 
Steve and Robert are great to work with, prices all our hobbyists can afford and even offered tips for internal parts micro vibration control that eventually I did almost my entire system with at a cost of $5.
A must in my opinion to have your system reach it's full potential.
Same here, but low price rule it out  for many . Can you imagine a Herby review in TAS .