Mapleshade boards under speakers

Anyone try these, either the finished or unfinished, 2 or 4", with isoblocks or brass feet?
My floors are soft yellow pine, and I've made overall improvements using a panel of birchply under them, wondering what the maple would do? He certainly makes great claims for them.

I know there has been a lot of claims with good succuess with Maple ,but i have tried Maple a couple of times and only come up with Smearing and Dullness..Maybe I have done something wrong but I would be cautious on this aproach..Hopefully you can get some positive feedback from other memebers..I have also seen others with granite slabs on the floor under speakers also.............
Thanks, Thorman, did you place anything between the flooring and maple board?

I've tried several types of wood already, with each having a certain sound, some way too soft, robbing the bass, or some too hard, making things brittle.

Afraid to spend the money on the rather expensive maple, so far.
Chashas1 :I tried it couple ways with Brass cones( spikes ) and also BDR cones..Didn't like it either way..I had better success with a
piece of Granite directly on the floor under speakers...Much crisper bass and better mids...Hey Maybe it just me I don't know..Haven't really had much luck with Maple..I have read somewhere that Baltic Birch is much better than Straight grain Maple...But as I said I am no expert on the subject and gave up with the Idea of using Maple......Maybe you are onto something with the Birch Plywood..Maybe if you can glue up some Birch Ply layers of it and come up with a 2" thick pieces ..that might work real well..Just a thought though........
I agree with the stone. I used a 1/2" slab of limestone with Herbies big fat dots. Big and cheap improvement over spikes onto carpeted pine. As Thorman found, tighter better defined base
I agree with the above..I tried maple w/brass under my Dynaudios on hardwood floors and hated it.Bought into the hype AGAIN!!!
oh oh, just on a whim I bought some of the mapleshade unfinished maple platforms, so I'll report back my impressions. I hope they don't suck! maybe I should have tried the cheaper granite first. we'll see...thanks!
Chashas1..If you find the maple isnt all its suppose to be like I did ....I went to a local headstone company and bought a left over scrap 1" thick slab for $ measured 4'-24"...Cut it myself using a circular saw w/diamond blade..cant get any cheaper than that...
I'm a big fan of maple platforms, the thicker the better. Deliver me from granite. Obviously YMMV :-)
Platforms under speakers alter the dispersion characteristics of a speaker no? I tried it and hated it. Under my subs that did wonders for them:O)
Right now I'm trying a 2by2 sheet of 3/4"thick birch ply, and loving it, tight, articulate, without accentuating anything. The maple has to be better than this or it's going back.
Dave Pogue, who made a comment here back in July, just got Mapleshade custom stands for his Gallo Ref. 3 speakers. The stands are big 4" thick maple platforms with the really heavy Megafeet and Heavyfeet under them. I brought one of my Ref. 3 speakers over to his place to hear the difference between my stock speaker and one of his speakers the new base. The Mapleshade stands made a HUGE improvement. So much so that I've ordered some for myself. This was on a carpet-covered cement floor, not a wood floor.
I spoke with Pierre a little while back about my setup with Gallo 3.1s. My current sound is so-so, and I'm 99% sure that it's all about the room.

Pierre's take on things is that it has nothing to do with the room, and that I should REMOVE all my absorption panels because they mess up sound. Then, if I add the 4" maple stands to the Gallos, and ideally ANOTHER 4" mape stand UNDER these, then magically the sound will be 100% better.

oh, also his rebuilt scott receivers sound vastly better than every tube amp on the marked under $5000 MSRP, and SS amp on the market under $15,000 MSRP.

While this may be a worthwhile upgrade to the Gallos (or any other speaker) his hyperbole pretty much scares me away from doing business with him.

He also recommends to sit no more than 5' back from the Gallos. The Gallos sound MUCH better to me from 10' feet away...

However - I do have the Mapleshade Liszt solo piano CD, and it is spectacular. Kind of a strange situation....

I recently purchased new speakers (Audiokinesis Planetarium Betas) to replace my SoundLabs. Now, the Planetariums are superb, but I found that I was missing some of the height dimension in the soundstage. The solution was to raise the main speakers to change the relative angle at my listeningposition. Initially, I tried a stopgap of stacked books just to see if it would do what I wanted. Big difference, in the positive sense. Then I remembered my old amp stands, which I had custom made from 4" lyptus (even denser than maple). That did it. In addition to solving the soundstage problem, midbass tightened up considerably. You can see these in my system photo if you care to have a look. The best part? The guy who did them charged me a total of $300 for both stands, far less than Mapleshade's equivalents would have been.

Speaking of Mapleshade, you'll also notice in the system pic that I'm a big fan of their Samson racks. However, I fully agree that Pierre goes way overboard with some of his claims.
Alot of good advice can be had from Pierre, but one must sift through the eccentric to get to the practical. When I thought my room was a problem He told me to rip out the cieling etc... Room placement was the only issue:O)
Thanks guys, very sound advice. I can totally relate to all your stories. I'm having great fun with the 2by2 birchplys I have under now, and I haven't even treated the raw wood yet. BUT, the mapleshade boards arrive tomorrow, so we'll see what the weekend craziness brings. I, too, give Pierre a wide birth. Yet, in his room and his setup, who knows? I agree, I couldn't sit 5 feet from my speakers.
Stick to your guns on that one, we all have different listening preferrences.
I would agree with Pierre that at times, a lot of the room treatment people do can really ruin the sound, and they just can't hear what they've done. Yet, I think room treatment, if needed, is very very necessary.
I saw the thread on the gallos and his boards. I'd love to hear it. I have no doubt it's great.
Dave b, do you think it's dispersion characterics or vibration control? I ponder this a lot, why birch sounds better than pine or concrete or that this maple may sound best.
Well, I'll let you know what happens. I may be a raving lunatic for Pierre come Sunday. It does bother me a bit that it's old growth maple. Let's hope the Sierra Club's not following the UPS truck down the lane tomorrow....
I use bamboo under my speakers over a new oak floor, and it works great. tighter bass, better imaging, etc.

What is the verdict on the Mapleshade platforms?
Love em! I received 2 of the unfinished 18 by 15 by 2 boards yesterday, with no footers or brass cones. At first I placed them just on the floor, like I had been doing with the birchply. Much better. Then I placed them on 3 wood buttons, attached with blutack, although I notice that Pierre hates blutack. Even as they are now, it's the best I've had under my speakers. Clarity improved from top to bottom, instruments stand out in greater relief. No frequency sounds overetched, all very natural. Bass is much tighter. So a very good investment. I may get some of his brass footers soon. I have some small brass cones I'll try later today. I have to say it's been the best tweek that doesn't sound like a tweek, if that makes any sense.
I suppose, in my severely technically challenged way of thinking, that it controls vibrations to the point where the speaker can play its best. I love them.

Thanks for the prompt reply to our inquiring minds. Interesting to me that the thick Maple slabs are that much better for your application than the birch plywood. This is what Mapleshade and other purveyors of solid Maple platforms claim - seems to work that way for you, although I understand the maple is thicker and a different variety ofwood, so not a perfect control of plywood versus solid slab in this case.

I think it is interesting that there appears to be such a broad range of experiences with wood platforms reported in this thread, ranging from "it works great" to "it did nothing" to "hated it". In the case of speakers where vibration is intense, cabinet designs vary greatly, and room interactions have a huge role perhaps the range of experience should not be that surprising.

I have found that using wood platforms for vibration control under many components in my system has helped tremendously in my fairly small and lively (many hard surfaces) listening area. I would suggest the greatest benefits have come from those compenents with moving parts - TT, CDP and of course speakers. I put this "tweak" in the top category along with power cables in terms of providing "astonishing" improvements in system sound.

Nice thing about tweaks like this is that it doesn't require any break in to enjoy. Improvements are noticed immediate or not at all.

PS - I am a fan of BlueTack and use it where it makes sense and sounds good - like attaching my speakers to bamboo platforms...
Has anyone tried maple butcher block? Butcher block is easier to source and less expensive. I have a local source for up to 2 7/8" thick. I think they will cut it to my desired size.

I am also interested in sources for solid maple. Where can I purchase that? Thanks
I neglected to mention that I may need a size larger than what is offered by Mapleshade. That is why I am searching for an alternative source or product (butcher block).
Late, as always- but I will offer my experience with maple stands, that echoes Thorman's.
No matter what combination of maple stands, mapleshade cones, and various elastic materials I used, the results were pretty much the same- dullness, smearing, loss of dertails and dynamics.
I've also had a few conversatons with some designers/ manufacturers of the support systems, who basically confirmed my empirical findings.
All had changed, when I switched to Sistrum platforms- without going into much detail, very significant improvements across the whole spectrum of audiophile virtues.
To oversimplify this approach- speakers need to be on a kind of support system, that can drain vibrations away from the speaker, and not to "isolate" speaker from external vibrations.

That is the point of large thick maple or other slabs - to drain vibration away from your gear while at the same time keeping vibrations from your gear, particularly speakers, from interacting mechanically with your floor and setting up unwanted harmonics in your room. This issue has been discussed in some detail in at least one thread on this forum before:

I think that the benefits of maple or other wood platforms for speaker and other equipment are highly ear, gear, rack and room dependent - so what works well for someone will not necessarily work well for others.

My "analytical" leaning CD player, sprung TT and less than completely rigid speakers cabinets benefit greatly from the application of wood platforms in my fairly lively listening room. While a softer or more neutral sounding source, very well designed speaker/spike system in a well tuned or dead listening room may not benefit from or actually be "harmed" by the characteristics imparted by wood platforms. YMMV.
There are definetely fans of all different kinds of support systems. In my personal experience, that I shared above, I've found maple NOT having any positive effects on my system. That is not to say it didn't change the sound, it did, and not to the better. But I can see, where someone might like that change. You are right, this issue is room and system dependent, but again, I have a distinct feeling, that maple is NOT a way to go. Hence only positive comments from the users of Sistrum, SRA and HRS support systems.
I think it would be helpful if posters mentioned what type of floor (and floor covering) they have under their speakers. To me that is a critical factor in deciding what spikes and stands to use yet most posters ignore that point. I am not surprised that opinions vary so widely. The conditions of use are not the same. Let's make posts more relevant by furnishing more background information.

In my area almost all of the new homes (including mine) are on concrete slabs. Downtown the floors are wood over basements or crawl areas. In the midwest where I grew up, basements are predominant. But not all wood floors are the same either. They vary in construction materials, methods, and age.
Ok, here goes, might be treading into deep waters, we'll see, a contrast in two systems with Mapleshade board.
My floor is suspended yellow pine, very soft.
Friends floor is deep concrete slab with hard wood, a very hard surface. (Pierre Sprey says this is a horrible combination.)
My speakers are Shahinian Arcs, four feet are some kind of hard rubber or plastic (again Pierre says this is very bad)
My friend's speakers are Rega R9's, twice as tall, have four spikes connected with some special basket.

At my house, after putting small brass cones (not Pierre's) under the maple board, nothing between cones and flooring, the sound is amazing. Best surface the speakers have sat on so far. The shahinians have always felt very wobbly, especially on my soft floor. Now they at least sit very flat with little to no wobble.

When placing the boards under the Regas, same set up, although we did put pennies between cones and flooring, his is much nicer flooring. There was instantly a height issue for one of the fellow listeners, tweeters going pretty high past ear level. Sound was tight, yet lost the bloom necessary to really sound fantastic. So in his situation, not a good thing. There was no smearing or dullness as some of you have commented, yet too lean. His speakers sit very well on his hard flooring, no wobble to speak of.
So, in his room, which Pierre states should be better, it wasn't, and I would have wanted my money back.
In my room, I'm still doing some fiddling, but you couldn't wrestle them out of my arms without loosing one of yours. I truly love what they do here.
My listening panel is coming over later to judge me, and the boards. We'll see....

Maril, could you give more info on the product you mention? website?

Don, Mapleshade does make custom sizes, and in his catalog has I saw a 24" listed.

In summary, in my softfloored room the boards bring such a new level of clarity I'm totally gobsmacked.

Oh, to answer earlier about birch, it was nice, but had a grainier quality to it. Perhaps it was just the type I used, Lowe's 2by2 by 3/4.
Hi, Maril, I found the sistrum website, looks interesting, and saw the dagogo review. Funny thing, I think the reviewer gave 3 or 4 areas where the sistrum made great improvements, and that's what I could have written about the Mapleshade boards, and that's without the fancier brass feet. Would be great to compare here. Except my speakers bottoms are not flat, so not sure if I could use.
My floor is carpet over concrete.
SYMPOSIUM makes a isolation stand for under speakers its much better than wood!!CALL THEM!!
All this hype about maple...Blah blah blah..I havent talked to anyone thats actually tried maple who cared for it in the slightest..Glad we all have options
You must have missed my posts. I've been using maple for years because it works better than anything else I've tried under components. And I've tried everything from inner tubes to marble.
I was only trying to find something to work on my soft floors, mapleshade seemed like an easy option, especially the unfinished version. and yes, it does sound better than anything else homebrewed that I've tried. It wasn't my intent to go for some kind of speaker platform, I didn't want to alter the design of the speaker designer. I'm just trying to alleviate soft flooring. Bring something over, I'd be glad to give it a try. For now, maple seems to rule.
No hype.
I checked out the symposium shelves, read a few reviews, looks cool, but for a set a little more than what I want to spend right now...maybe someday.
This is a great subject matter. I believe Maple Shade and Sistrum have similar philosophies, draining vibration (using brass) into another mass.

I have not yet ordered from Mapleshade, but plan to get their nano cartridge mounts. Sistrum, on the other hand I have a lot of experience with. Under my table, and speakers the Sistrum platforms do wonderful things - firmer, deeper foundations, increased focus, etc. For those not familiar, the sistrum platform sandwiches an acoustically shaped steel plate (or uber $$$ Brass in their yet to be released Stage) in between opposing brass spikes.

Mapleshade is doing a similar topography with wood. Whether or not a particular component or transducer will sound best draining it's vibration into wood or metal I suppose would vary based on it's materials as well as what type of floor it's sitting on.

I have been a firm believer in mechanical grounding since Goldmund cones (which I still use in some cases.) I wish more manufacturers would build in this grounding into their designs. Sistrum did build a triangular amp this way.

Regarding brass wood floor protection disks with my speakers, I have found that once I remove them (after finding the right spot for speakers) the focus goes way up - so don't discount the sonic benefit of being able to put spike holes in your nice flooring.

Ideally it would be great to order a set from each manufacturer and try them out if possible - and then try them under different components during the audition.

It's more than possible a few of the rights stands is all one might need to take their system from being an excellent one, to one of those truly magical systems we hear from time to time.
Emailists, I'm using the Nanomounts (just for the last 10 days) and trying to get a handle on their contribution to the sonics. I think it's positive, but pretty subtle. Note that the ones used to separate the top of the cart from the headshell area on your arm depend on both the cart and headshell underside being perfectly flat. I note in your pix that the cart extends pretty far forward from the end of the arm which would complicate the positioning of the Nanomounts there. Dave
As a user of Sistrum and maple platforms, I don't feel they use the same philosophy- maple has (as everything else) it's own resonance freguency, and instead os "draining" vibrations away from the supported component, they "accumulate" that energy, and then release it back ( approx. the same, as the speakers cabinets do, causing "smearing" of the sound).
Sistrum on the other hand do not store energy, because of the different properties of steel vs. wood, and do release the energy into the integrated metal cones.
Under the speakers, in particular, maple on brass cones absolutely "killed" the sound, robbed it of definition, energy and dynamics. Herbies products in the same application, were even worse.
Emailists, my experience with the 4" Mapleshade bases and brass footers
for the Gallo Ref 3 speakers was diametrically opposed to your view. Instead of
killing the sound, they opened it up and made it fuller and richer. and
substantially more dynamic. Compared to another (friend's) stock Ref 3 on a
direct side-by-side comparison, the speaker on the Mapleshade base was so
superior that we could hardly tell the stock one was playing. My friend ordered
the Mapleshade bases the next day. I see his comments are above. Dave
I have been using maple stands in various designs under amps, preamps, CD players, and speakers for a few years now. I have found I preffer maple to a few maunufactured brands including Sistrum.

I just finished building a copy of Mapleshades 4" maple stands for my Gallo ref 3.1 speakers. I did not buy the expensive brass footers, I instead tapped the holes I drilled for the feet to accept the feet that came with the speakers. They thread directly into the maple, no inserts. I also routed in a space to accept the grill which has to sit 1/2" lower than the surface of the stand in order to line up the screw holes in the back of the speakers. They sound better without the grills in place but I have a batch of grandchildren (all toddlers) and so I need to be able to have the grills in place some times. I don't think Mapleshade offers this option, but they should. It only took an hour to make a template for the router.

I set the speakers back up and listened this afternoon. I am very happy with the sound. Much larger and more open detailed soundstage. Imaging and bass have tightened up. A definite improvement across the board. I heard nothing that I felt was a detriment to the sound in my brief listening session.

Something probably could be gained from the addition of the brass footers, More mass and much better coupling to the floor, plus the brass factor certainly is something to consider, but the cost of the footers alone from Mapleshade is $788.00. I have $80.00 and a few hours of time in mine.

Mapleshade (style) stands under speakers, at least Gallo 3.1 speakers are a definite improvement.
I don't think you can automatically make universal claims for each product, good or bad. I think it to be very system dependent. The maple boards didn't work well with a friend's system, in mine they're superb. The Sistrum may have the same effect. Do they offer a return policy?
How does a platform or brass footer "drain vibrations"? Do vibrations act like heat or fluid and flow through materials? Wouldn't footers actually prevent propagation of vibration from an external region (like the floor) to the platform and component in question? Exactly where do these vibrations originate, and what direction are they moving in? Is "isolation" a better way to think about it?

Obviously I am confused about the vibration drainage concept (and a bit skeptical). However, I have heard differences myself, but mostly for spiking speakers to a floor, where the speaker itself is doing the vibrating.

According to Mapleshade website:

"You can't get good sound just by placing the speaker's flat bottom on the floor or on a stand. Because of the large area, low-pressure contact, much of the cabinet's vibrational energy is reflected back instead of being drained efficiently and cleanly down into the floor."

I find this only marginally satisfactory

A site selling Reference Points products ( claims:

"The sharp cone point couples to the shelf, floor or platform and acts as a mechanical diode, channeling vibration out and preventing unwanted ambient (floor) and stand vibrations from entering."

"Mechanical Diode"???

I guess the idea is that a given weight connected through a smaller brass point focuses energy being produced internally into whatever is below it. A massive maple platform is rigid to a point but has the capacity to absorb or dampen at least some of this energy, thus "draining" internal vibration "away" from speaker or equipment cabinets.

In the reverse direction, the thick slab of wood absorbs some of the energy from the floor or shelf and keeps it from entering the gear from the bottom up. The overall thickness and weight of these platforms keeps them from resonating like the back of a violin or guitar, but the resonant properties of the wood work instead to absorb and dissipate energy as wood fibers move slightly adjacent to each other - I assume generating some heat in the process.
06-16-09: Jrb25
How does a platform or brass footer "drain vibrations"? Do vibrations act like heat or fluid and flow through materials? Wouldn't footers actually prevent propagation of vibration from an external region (like the floor) to the platform and component in question? Exactly where do these vibrations originate, and what direction are they moving in? Is "isolation" a better way to think about it?

Obviously I am confused about the vibration drainage concept (and a bit skeptical). However, I have heard differences myself, but mostly for spiking speakers to a floor, where the speaker itself is doing the vibrating.
from my experience sometimes the original speaker feet can do a good job of keeping the floor-borne vibrations from reaching the speaker cabinet. There are a few speaker manuf who carefully select the speaker feet. Most do not perhaps knowing the customer is going to use some after-mkt solution. So, chances are very high that the speaker feet will need to be addressed.

Where do vibrations originate? They originate in the electronics itself. Current flowing thru electronics generates an EMF & that causes components to vibrate which eventually couple into the chassis, CD player drive is mechanically rotating & passes its vibrations into the chassis, power xformers vibrate (& even hum), if the chassis is not isolated well then floor-borne & air-borne vibrations get coupled to it. So, vibrations are everywhere & they can be destructive to audio playback.

How does brass drain vibrations? This is my understanding - Brass is an alloy of copper & zinc & the crystalline structure of this binary pair makes it a very good electrical & thermal conductor. WHen the flat portion of the brass cone is couple/attached to the underside of the chassis the vibrations in the chassis find a low impedance path. These vibrations create heat in the brass structure that is dissipated & the rest is conducted away from the chassis by the metal into the rack shelf (the pointy end of the brass cone is coupled to the rack shelf). Since the pointy end of the brass cone has a very small surface area the vibrations from the rack shelf find it hard to enter the brass cone - it acts like a high impedance point. Hence the analogy to an electronics diode wherein the brass cone is called a mechanical diode as it allows vibrations to drain from the chassis into the rack shelf but does not allow vibrations from the rack shelf into the chassis.
If you read Audiopoints' & Mapleshade's website you'll read that the purity of brass is important i.e. the alloy should be kept binary as far as possible. The reason for this, according to my understanding, is that addition of lead or tin or nickel reduces the thermal & electrical conductivity dramatically making it less effective as a cone. The mechanical strength is increased by the addition of these other metals but it seems that varying the content of zinc alone can yield a strong enough brass for audio use.
(someone correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks.)
Jrb55 and knownothing, good questions and points. In my somewhat limited experience with the mapleshade boards, I can say that the boards on the floor alone sound better than my floor by itself, and with my own brass cones under the boards things sounded even better. Has anyone tried different brass cones under the mapleshades, or did you go straightaway with their brass footers?
I can't say for sure if there's drainage going on or not, I can say there seems to be less vibration, hence the cleaner articulate sound.
I use two maple cutting boards sandwiched between two sets of grade 25 tungsten carbide ball-bearings under my 96lb. speakers. Removing the Brass 1/4 x 20 threaded cones that came with the speakers, and putting the 1/2 inch grade 25 tungsten carbide ball bearing in the empty slot works better in my system than brass cones under the maple butcher blocks. So maple and tungsten carbide ball bearing work very well together. This a form of floating your speakers.
Hi jejaudio, where's a source for ball bearings?
Do an Ikea Lack platform, like the Lack Rack, except you'd just be using the two bottom shelves of the set-up (base shelf + first shelf).

Ought to work well, no?
Wow, alot has transpired here since I last checked in! Anywho, wood that can absorb away the mechanical energy from the component/speaker most efficiently, while damping the back energy trying to re-enter the component/speaker, is obviously the winner. Maple does a great job, having to do with it's hardness vs plastic molecular configuration. The really complicated part is fine tuning platforms (or which component and how thick), using footers where needed, and applying anit-resonance devices/weights where needed in combination to achieve a desired result. I have used 4" butcher block under components with great results and 2" butcher block underneath my subs. The subs responded to brass footers under the platforms and in place of there own plastic feet. The components did not respond favorably to brass footers, and the weights were negligible. It is always a process continues scenario, as it should be, for maximum enjoyment of this crazy arss hobby =:O )
I have read all of the pro's and con's of speaker bases. So let me ask your opinions of my situation. I have some left over 2" solid American Red Oak from a mantle I have made. I have Kirksaeter Prisma 210 speakers for the front and rear. As I am remodeling my living room and putting in Oak Hardwood floors, I really don't want the brass spikes into the floor. My home is over 100 yrs old and the living room is over a dirt floor basement. The floor is 2x12's with gaps, covered by 3/4 inch OSB, covered by 3/4 inch Oak Hardwood Floor. Do you think brass cones on the base of the speakers into the 2 inch oak block will make a difference. I am willing to put the brass cones on to the oak slab but then I will have to use either the floor protectors or I was thinking about using the old glass furniture casters. What are your thoughts???
Here is another interesting article I have just come across. His theory and finding make sense. Give it a quick read and offer your thoughts.
Hi Sebrassch, I don't think I would use the glass coasters if I were you, although it can only take a few minutes to try it. Pierre from mapleshade says that using a disc or wafer under a point lessens the overall improvement. Let us know what you hear...