Just a guess but I'd rather get a setr of Ginko mini's (or full coud) or BDR cones/pucks.Pierre makes some greast produsts but read his booklet fully.He say's to use longer not shorter speaker cables etc a lot of things that run contrary to conventional wisdom.I\a\Assume you have Mappleshde catalogue so you can check some of this out.
I have a VPI Aries & saw a dramatic difference when I moved from putting it on a granite shelf (on top of a wood diy flexy rack) to a maple shelf. I haven't updated my virtual system, but I have the flexy rack, a little (3/4") 4X6 graite plate, then a Xindak piece, another piece of granite & a 3" timbernation maple slab (then, the tt).
I use the granite/xindak/granite to provide 3 "single points" for the weight/vibrations.
Anyway, I believe that a lot of unsprung turntables could also benefit from wood shelves.
Just my two cents, no claim at expertise.
Check out Stereo Times online for an excellent article on audio system tuning with wood component supports:
"Art & Science of Audio Tuning: Part Four" which discusses the effect of different types of wood on sound. I've used thick maple shelves as well as experimented with small blocks of different types of hardwoods as the article suggests and there are definitely differences in how they make my system sound. You may find that a very modest investment in wood may get you a very satisfying improvement. It worked for me. If you like, I can even send you (at no cost)some extra blocks I have of Teak and Zebrawood to experiment with. Just contact me at:
email@example.com with your mailing address.
In my case (VPI Scout/Garrott Optim FGS) the maple platform absolutely improves the sound greatly over the sound I hear with the table sitting on MDF. I consider the maple platform a necessity it sounds so much better. Richer & more organic sound, better frequency extension (particularly the bass,) better retrieval of ambience information.
Thanks for the responces. Im looking forward to trying the ideas.
Be cautious about using absorbent materials. A combination of VSE Tri-Orbs, 4" Mapleshade shelves and (cork and rubber) Isoblocks under very high end digital gear proved to be much less effective than another, simpler solution.
Moving from an MDF-based rack to the Mapleshade Samson 2 made a HUGE improvement in the overall system sound - and most especially with the Aries. This was money exceedingly well spent.
Slightly off topic - I am presently having a pair of custom amp platforms being made. Dimensions will be 18" X 20" X 4". The stands will be made of lyptus, a denser wood than maple. It will be interesting to note the differences between these and a similar sized maple platform (which I'll be borrowing for comparison).
My rack also has MDF shelves. As an experiment, I bought a 3x20x20 maple block from Tonys Woodshop (tonyswoodshop.com) and a set of the 99lb Mapleshade Isoblocks to go under my Teres 255. At approx. $125 total cost, this is easily the biggest bang for the buck tweak I've made to my system. I'll heartily encourage trying it. Sonic improvements include a general lowering of the noise floor cashed out as blacker backgrounds, slightly better instrument focus, less lower frequency transient smearing, and most surprising to me, the soundstage lifted several feet.
Denser woods may very well give further improvements. The higher-end Teres models all gain mass via denser cocobolo or rosewood. I'd try the maple under your table first to learn if pricier solution is worth the additional expense. If so, you can always use the maple for an amp or a cutting board.
Has anyone tried Brazilian Pernambuco or American Ironwood? They are both used to make the best bows for string instruments.
Curious about the mention of Lyptus above, I did some investigation. Lyptus is actually a hybrid of two varieties of Eucalyptus grown in Brazil. It is apparently denser and also cheaper than Rock maple and quite stable for woodworking/milling. Even denser than Lyptus, and slightly more expensive than Lyptus and Maple is White Oak. I am attaching below some density and pricing info for different kinds of wood. Has anyone experimented with them in platforms?
Cost 6/4 $4.80 board ft.
Cost 8/4 5.24 board ft.
6/4: $3.94 board ft.
8/4: $4.02 board ft.
NOTE: Most highly recommended for stability, ease of milling, etc. .
6/4: $4.25 board ft.
8/4: $4.78 board ft.
6/4: $4.48 board ft.
8/4: $4.98 board ft.
Density: between red and white oak.
8/4: $5.15 board ft.
Density: even higher than White Oak.
Cost: $2.03 approx per board ft.
NOTE: Ipe may develop cracks.
An interesting discussion. There are various camps favoring steel/glass, shelfless designs, through MDF, to heavy hardwood. As with so much audiophile tuning, the optimal solution is probably equipment and room specific, as well as a matter of taste.
That said, this talk has renewed my interest in trying heavy maple or other dense hardwood. Most towns will have a good cabinet-maker who will put something together to custom spec for reasonable cost, or there are established audiophile/maplephile options.
When I moved my kit onto a wooden Isoblue stand, changing from another brand's steel support/wood shelf unit, I found a major improvement. But I seem to remember that before that, I'd temporarily enlisted our very heavy teak coffee table, with a ceramic inlay top, with unexpectedly good results.
Time to compare again. The Isoblue serves me well, but is designed for no more that 6 inch clearance between shelves, so its application is somewhat limited. Fat tubed gear will have to look elsewhere for support...
I have old Totem Sttaf speakers in my second system that sound astonishingly good on the solid foot of limestone at the base of my fireplace. Let's see...how much would a custom component stand cost; limestone shelves on maple supports...
This has been a helpful discussion for me. Thanks. I mentioned some of the above ideas to my audio dealer who said that I might want to compare Symposium Acoustic products. http://www.symposiumusa.com/products.shtml. Has anyone used Symposium platforms? What do you think?
One of my issues is that at least one shelf has to be MDF because I have an Audiomat Opera. It runs full out all the time creating a lot of heat, and I mean a lot of heat. Most hard wood, because of moisture, will warp. The Opera is a huge Pure class A integrated. So this is why I'm thinking of platforms under other components.
A Skylan damping pad might be useful for your Audiomat. (www.skylanstands.com )It is basically an MDF sandwhich with a damping material in between. Have you asked Audiomat, or Mutine, (their distributor in Canada, not sure about the U.S.)what they recommend? I envy you your Opera, I've heard great things about it.
02-22-06 This discussion on the advantages of maple shelves has given me a reason to rethink building a stand for my turntable using 3inch square aluminum tubing, heli-arcing the joints, powdercoating it and then filling the tubing with a urethane/ lead mixture to redude resonances. Maple would be easier to work with, and wouldn't require any additional damping materials. Anyone have any comments one way or the other?
I went to a local cabinet shop and had two 3/4" boards with opposite cross-grain patterns laminated together to prevent warping. They planed the 15.5 x 20.5 board to go on my Lovan Classic stand and I did the final sanding and finishing. Used Tung oil to seal the stain not varnish. I found that my VPI Scout sounded naturally warmer than previously having steel spikes sitting on cold marble. Total cost...approx $75.00.
3" solid maple butcher blocks cut to 18" X 20" are amazingly good under a table, I use one, its routed with rounded corners with a clear coat of some type.. using my table directly on it with the stock Spikes sticking into the block proves to be the best I have heard, and the block is sitting on a mdf shelf, but not directly it is seperated via rubber feet... I can fire my massive sub's 2 feet from the rack and you cannot even get the stylus to mistrack, jump, skip whatever at outrageous levels, very very solid and yes sounds far warmer and at the same time solid detail with clean image. So for how much you can get these things cut at a local butcher shop(I paid 100.00 totally routed and finished) they are I believe the best value and effectiveness... I would never use any stone under a turntable or digital, horrible results. Also, I use a 1.5" thick solid maple cut the same deal as the 3", and works very well under my tubes and Digital as well. all for around 200.00 total cost 3 shelfs, and everyone thinks they are bought from a hiend manufacture, all I need to do is tack on a little gold emblem or something and could go into business selling these for 4 times the price. Now I want to maybe work on bolting the turntable shelf to the wall directly any suggestions?
john boos 2.25" thick maple cutting boards are readily found, cheap and (in my system) a very effective platform for the table. I cutout a section of mine so that the table and motor are on separate boards, which improved the sound further.
I also purchased a 3" maple butcher block, custom made by tonyswoodshop.com, he did a great job, surprisingly inexpensive, looks really nice, and beefy, and i think it does improve the sound overall, by letting the music come from a
This issue about resonance damping and altering resonance behaviour is very complex. Wood has some sonic properties that you can hear easily in many cases: sound is more warm ("natural") with a wider soundstage. At the same time bass and midbass are somewhat emphasized, sometimes a bit blurred. But this type of sound is not specific for wood. It is probably accentuated by the use of wood. Whether this is an artefact (= coloration) or result of better damping of unwanted resonances, I don't know. The fact is: manufacturers, especially of turntables are aware of the resonance issue and know how to deal with this. Each manufacturer has his own solutions to this problem, so it is certainly not to be expected that wood provide a general solution to the resonance problem, like a panacea.
I'm having a mapleshade 24x24x4" amp stand made, to set my 143 pound yba passion 1000 power amp on, with mapleshade mega footers. I alos have their Samson II rack with 4" shelves. This is the first rack I've owned that really had an positive effect on the music quality. From design to bill bags racks. You would never think that this rack can make that much of a difference in the quality in the sound of the equipment sitting on it. It really works.
I made some platforms for some speakers out of white canadian oak and found the improvement to be MASSIVE in every way possible. There was MASSIVE imporvement in all areas. The speakers are 1975 B&W DM6 and they originally have their cast alloy "C" style feet. They measure 350d x 450w x 120h and weigh about 15kgs each. Over 1 litre of glue was used to make the two platforms. I stained them english walnut and finished them off with danish oil. The platforms were made with 19mm x 80mm tongue'n'groove planks glued together to get the platform sizes. Six platforms were they cross laminted together to form one solid slab. To finsh off, I glued more planks to "frame" the slab to hide all end grain. The platforms are supported on 4 brass adjustable cones/spike that I turned from 50mm brass stock, adding another 2kgs to the wieght.
Photos and details can be found on w w w . audioenz . co . nz clicking on "forums" down the left hand side, clicking on "D-I-Y" seciton, clicking the topic "Speaker Plinths/Anchors".
I can't help asking: why is maple so prevalent in audio racks and platforms? The common answer is: because it is a tonewood, which has been used for hundreds of years for making the best string instruments in the world. This is certainly true, but in a somewhat restrictive way. Maple has been used and is being used for contstructing the base plate of violins, violas, cellos and various guitars. . . but so has poplar, and cypress. Maple is more exclusively used for making bridges on string instruments. Yet the tonally crucial top plate is never made from maple, but is made mostly from hard spruce, usually felled from the northern side of Alpine hills. Bow sticks are made from Brazilian pernambuco, Brazilian Rosewood, Ironwood or even snakewood, while tailpieces are from Ebony, Rosewood or even Zebrawood. And the preferred tonewood for woodwind instruments is African Blackwood (or Mpingo) by far. Just try two otherwise identical recorders, one made from maple and one from Mpingo. . . I already know which one you will choose. . . the maple one will stay in the store. So, in the end. . . why only maple in equipment racks and platform? Are audiophile being blindsided by oversimplifications of historical mythologies? Or have all these other wonderful tonewoods already been thoroughly tested. . . and found to be sorely wanting? Or is it just a simple matter of price and availability in North America?
I always thought spruce was the preferred wood for musical instruments, especially if its from the Val de fieme(may have got the spelling wrong).
IME, MDF rings at certain frequencies so by itself doesn't work very well for 'table stand. I think you're on the right track with trying to isolate the MDF from the Rega.
I've built my own equipment and turntable stands using maple and walnut but they also incorporate sandboxes as shelves. I'm also building a pair of speakers using maple and walnut. However, maple directly under my turntable did not work well at all for me. It smeared notes badly and killed dynamics. Granite shelves in the sandbox worked much better for me. Similar experience with arm boards I made from maple and one from birch ply. I agree with the other posters that much denser, exotic woods work much better. Cocobolo, for example, is excellent.
I'm just making speaker platforms in the same vein as this thread. I was told "the harder the wood, the less sonic signature it will leave". So I compared the specific gravity and density of the woods available and have a couple of blocks of Wenge, ready to be oiled and finished.
I'm doing this b/c the speaker designer suggested it for a suspended wood floor. I will report results.
Hatari, I would be interested in the results as I have a suspended wood floor as well and have been looking for a speaker platform to deal with the issue. Feel free to email me offline with your solution and results.
Yes, a lot of spruce for bowed strings did come from the Val Di Fiemme (in Italian) also called Val De Fieme in Friulian language. But only tops and perhaps sides are made from the relatively soft spruce. The bottom was mostly made from maple -- or poplar, which is endemic to the Cremona/Milan environs. Even Antonio Stradivari used ultracheap poplar for cello backs.
Clio09: will do, am expecting all materials shortly and will finish oiling soon. Will post in a few weeks with results.
Please keep in mind that a thick slab (or laminate or butcher block) of any wood will probably act differently compared to a thin piece used in a musical instrument such as a violin or guitar. The musical instrument is designed for specific resonance qualities. And the slab is designed to????
Slightly off topic but not entirely. For anyone desiring an easy to apply and beautiful, uncolored finish for their wood projects, I recommend Osmo hardwax oil:
After using Osmo hard waxoil for two projects I will NEVER use tung oil again.
Surely we need to accept the fact that some resonances will remain no matter what we do. We balance the task of minimizing resonances with a certain degree of picking our poison as far as what remains.
I've posted comments about this on several threads on this forum - agreeing with Dan_ed on the topic of maple.
Having to answer this question on a regular basis, I was prompted to consolidate all stand/shelf commentary into a separate FAQ page.
There's far too much to repeat here, but if you're interested, you can view the following page:http://www.galibierdesign.com/faqs_stands.html
Thom @ Galibier
A hardwax-like treatment can also be easily done using 15% marine grade Tunc oil, 15% carnauba wax and 70% turpentine as a thinner. With this DIY version you may need much more than 2 coats. Anywhere from 6 to 15 coats lightly applied with a sponge may do the trick. You can use more Tunc oil and wax in the solution, but denser solutions are a little trickier to apply. Admittedly, I have no idea what any oiling does to the resonating properties of a platform. . . but it sure looks pretty!
Preferred tonewoods vary with application, ie. back and sides vs. top, wind instrument vs. string. In any case the function of a platform couldn't be more different than a resonant instrument.
what do you like better about the Osmo product?
Has anyone compare a maple platform using spikes vs. without using spikes. I currently have a Steve Blinn platform which my vpi scout is sitting on with spikes and on that platform, I have spikes on the mdf salamander shelf. I haven't had a chance testing but wondering if anyone has.
Piedpiper, I like everything better about the Osmo hardwax oil.
Most important is the finish. It has a nice luster and brings out the grain but does not build up and look plasticy(?) like varnish. Very durable since it is used extensively on floors (Europe and Great Britain). Easy to fix scratches.
Osmo does not color the wood. I used it on maple butcherblock (equipment rack and spiked platform for my power conditioner) and loved the results. First I tried Osmo and tung oil on a scrap piece. Tung oil gave a sickly orange color and darkened the wood. Osmo just brought out the grain and gave a natural looking satin finish. It did not hide the beauty of the maple.
I don''t like the price but feel it is well worth it.
Other plusses. Very easy to apply. Brush on and wipe off. Fairly quick drying so you can recoat the next day. A fairly environmentally friendly product. Pleasant odor with a low solvent concentration.
Guidocorona--70% turpentine!!!! Nasty smelling stuff. I used to paint houses way back in the oil paint/turpentine days. Never used close to 70% and it still made me sick. In fact, I am having a flashback. Excuse me while I puke up my liver.
Glad to read in your Faq that you also like sandboxes. I improved my sandbox by cutting up the wood plinth that rests on the sand to isolate suspension towers, motor, and flywheel from each other and prevent vibration from being conducted across the plinth. Then I converted my TT from sprung to hard suspension to improve coupling to the sand. The set-up was then significantly improved by adding springs to float the 300 lb. TT/sandbox combo. It's likely that any thick maple platform would similarly benefit from springs. The sandbox or thick maple acts as a dump for TT vibration, and the springs decouple the entire assembly from earth.
Dgarretson, swap out that maple with some jatoba, cocobolo or other really dense hardwood and I think you'll forget all about maple under your table. Even worse is spikes into maple.
what don't you like about spikes into maple?
You have beautiful woods in your plinth and custom rack, and I don't doubt the superiority of dense hardwoods. What I'm suggesting is that anyone with a hard-mount TT on a wood block or in a wood case (e.g. Lenco, Garrard)try floating the entire system (including wood rack) on another platform supported by heavy springs. Prior to trying this, I had shored up my floors & rack such that I could jump up and down without disturbing the stylus in its groove. But obviously there were earth vibrations still getting through, as the decoupling springs have made a further improvement. Now I can rest the needle on a stationary record and knuckle-rap the rack without a peep getting through to the speakers. Can you do this with your rack system?
Oopps. I forgot that I still have the old pictures up. That turntable is now siting on granite instead of the maple butcher block.
BTW, I did used hard maple for those butcher blocks.
I should disclose that my experience with spikes was with my Gavia. When I first received my Gavia last year I sited the 'table on the maple with the spikes directly into the maple. The sound was dull and lifeless to the point I was starting to wonder what I'd just purchased. So then I tried a little experiment with some sheets of aluminum and steel on top of the maple. That brought back the leading edge dynamics, but the music was still kind of muddy and lifeless. To make it short, I kept experimenting until I got to the granite shelf. That has really brought out the detail, punch, and bass. I'm not sure that granite alone would work as well if not sitting on the sand. And it could be that a thick aluminum shelf, like Thom uses, or a block of some dense exotic wood might be even better.
In defense of maple, the suspended Basis tables I've owned didn't seem to mind what they sat on.
Thanks for the compliment. I understand what you're saying about proper isolation and I agree that many 'tables will benefit from sandboxes, or springs. Even with the springs and sandbox, you may get a noticeable improvement by replacing the maple with either more dense wood, or granite, or even aluminum. Several people I've talked with have made that move and been very pleased with the results. I tried it myself and I have to agree with them. But then again, I've never used a VPI so it may be like the Basis tables and not really care what it's siting on.
I'm on concrete floors so I'm not concerned with the floor issue. No. If I tap on my stand I do get sounds through with the stylus in the groove. But what does that really mean? I don't need to rap on my stands while the music is playing. I let the drummers do that. :)
Currently my TT is resting on cut-up MDF pieces in my sandbox. As you suggest I need to try some exotic wood on top of the sand.
The fellow who turned me on to the springs had cement floors like you & was surprised by the improvement. Moreover, if you've got any vibration-generating equipment in the rack below the TT(e.g. AC powered devices), the springs above will decouple them from the vinyl. I would also think that most racks act as antennas for airborne sound waves. And then there's seismic activity & traffic on nearby roads.
Cows and coyotes. That's the local traffic in my neighborhood.
They are all still just plank wood, think bigger...
Yes, MDF will handle some resonance benefits due to it's mass... and more than the same thickness of solid plank woods.
All wood platforms can get good anti-resonance characteristics if you go very, very thick. This is where the price, finishing and weight becomes the factor.
There are many people out there that claim that one wood sounds better than the other, but all of them have little to no variance after our two decades of our in-house testing.
It's usually all in the marketing.
A thin shelf made from solid wood can only have a certain mass variance per thickness, period. The lower the mass, the more apt it is to turn into a "speaker". The best solutions are a very, very high mass platform... the materials for this are endless.
Very low mass platforms that are rigid turn into a transducer for vibrations, actually completely defeating the purposes of controlling sonic discolouration. If you look at Audiav's website under "theory" it explains much of this.
You can easily measure vibration and inert resonance of materials and always find that it REALLY comes down to other things besides wood selection. The only things that actually make a significant difference from different wood species is total mass.
So fear not maple, as it is the same as all the other woods dependant on overall mass. Stacking maple on MDF will yield a greater overall mass on the shelf and aid in dampening.