recommendation for turntable vibration damping

i recently moved into a new home and just completed a project to install insulation under the floor (in the crawlspace). this was done to save on heating costs, but i figured it would also help to dampen vibration from the floor. the floors themselves are fairly cheap with thin carpet over them. (we are likely to install hardwood floors in about a year or so.)

anyway, after the insulation project was complete, i noticed that if i tapped my foot (as in moderate footstep), i could see my turntable shake. i'm wondering what steps i could take to reduce this vibration.

here are some relevant details:
>> VPI Aries on a Bright Star Air Mass 19, sitting atop a...
>> Finite Elemente "Spider" rack built up about 24" with a preamplifier, CD player, and VPI SDS also on it/weighing it down.

the rack is modular (which has served me well during a few moves) and is lightweight.

i'm wondering what my options are for reducing vibration -- i don't think i can afford a big/heavy rack right now.

is something like a bright star 'big rock' advisable? i would imagine loading it down with sand would really weigh down the rack and, presumably, dampen vibration. (they're not cheap, though...especially for the size i need for an original aries. i don't have an outboard flywheel, but i may get one one day.)

i'm open to any thoughts.

thank you in advance.
You could put supports under your floor joists to stop the bouncing effect your experiencing. I take it since you insulated the floor you have access to them from your basement.
Have a look at either a Grand Prix Isolation Rack or a Vibraplane shock-proof table...

If your system 'shakes' when you tap your foot on the floor then even the best isolation system will not be of any help. Have you considered to maybe wall-mount the system?

Dewald Visser
Since you have access under the floor, you can support the area directly under your turntable by shoring up between joists and the earth.

Believe it or not, cheap automotive scissor jacks work very well. Put a couple of cinder blocks or concrete paver stones on the earth, put the scissor jack on top and twist the gears until it snugly contacts the beams.

Better yet, if you have room to pull a 2X2 or 4X4 through the scuttle hole, you can drag that over to where the joists are (under the turntable) and bring the jack up snugly against it.

Even a slight bit of extra support will make a world of difference. I have these under my floor, purchased a half dozen cheap jacks at Pep Boys automotive and did it myself.
Target wall mounted turntable shelves are simply the way to go.

Damping your turntable's chassis is so trendy but few realize it can also suck the soul out of it. Try the wall mounted shelf first; It's cheap and EXTREMELY effective!!
You might be able to use a wall mounted shelf ala Target.
We had similar problems in my Father's house. I ended up using some cinder blocks on top of the soil as footers, four floor joist supports and the longest 4' x 4" that i could fit into the crawlspace. The 4 x 4 was used as a brace between the top of the adjustable floor joist supports and the floor joists themselves.

Using this approach, the cinder blocks lifted the joist supports away from the soil, reducing their potential for rusting. The cinder blocks are also not going to rot over a period of time. Some use wood here, but i wanted to avoid that. This also made the supports more rigid, as i didn't have to extend them up as high. This basically resulted in a double wall thickness for the joist supports over most of their length.

On top of that, the load was spread out across the four floor jacks. This reduced the potential for "sinkage" of any given support point, reducing the potential for the requisite adjustment at a later date. It also helped to equally stiffen and level the entire area of flooring on that side of the room.

I placed the supports in the area located behind his speakers and in front of the equipment rack. By placing the supports further out in the room between the speakers and the rack of equipment, it not only helped to stiffen the flooring for both the rack and the speakers, but also to break up the nodes that would occur over the length of the floor. It also created a rigid break-point directly from the flooring to the Earth between the speakers and the rack. This reduces the potential for large amounts of energy to be transfered between them.

If i can recall, i purchased all of the materials while they were on sale at a local Menards. The total was something like $40 - $50 at most.

One thing that i would suggest before attempting ANY of this. Examine the area where you intend to install the floor joist supports and bring a tape measure with you. Take good notes. I say this as you need to know the appr distance ( height ) that the supports will be required to traverse. There are different length floor joist supports, so this will make a difference in what you need to purchase. Don't forget to take into account the distance "eaten up" by the 4 x 4 ( or whatever you use as a brace across the joists ) and footers, as you don't want to have jacks that are TOO tall after adding these in.

One more thing. You need to see which direction the joists run under the flooring and design your support system accordingly. Rather than having one long support spanning across the area, you might need to do a couple of smaller supports. If such is the case, the tape measure will come in handy, as you can measure what you need, cut to size and then bring it down with you. You don't want to have to try to cut the braces to size while laying in a crawlspace, etc... Sean
Thanks for all the thoughts so far. It sounds like getting into the crawlspace is going to be the most effective solution for reducing vibration from the footfalls.

It also sounds like the wall-mount option would be a good bet...although the quick search i did didn't turn up anything that seemed big enough for an original Aries TT. The walls around here don't seem the best...closing the front door firmly seems to cause things to shake. I wonder if it's 6 of one, half dozen of the other. after all, if i'm listening to music, i'm sitting down & not causing vibrations from footfalls.

Re: Damping the turntable's chassis...
I don't think this is what I was hoping for. Basically, I'd just like to give it a rigid support such that no vibrations are coming up from below the chassis. I don't wnat to "weigh down" the chassis or any such thing. Would a Bright Start Big Rock do that? I'm under the impression that it just limits vibration.


I'm also looking into/learning about the SRA products, but what I'm hearing so far is that dealing with the space under the floor is the biggest area for improvement, and everything else will not make much of a difference until that is taken care of.

For reference, my speakers are on heavy stands (w/ spikes), and it doesn't seem like they're really getting the vibration from the i wonder if part of this is just that the rack does not weight enough and the spikes are not penetrating the carpet/pad.

Thank you all! I appreciate your thoughts.
Hi Ebalog,

How's it coming along??

I just wanted to say: Don't completely dismiss the wall mounting option- it's superior.

Wall mounting your turntable is one of the best ways to isolate it. Even when vibration isn't as obvious (as it is in your case), wall mounting is still a choice method. You should brace the floors anyway- that will help no matter what you do with your TT. (my 2 cents).

If Target doesn't have the size you are looking for- try Apollo or Rega (Needledoctor carries both). A google search will turn up a lot of leads as there are several manufacturers making them.

Even a simple DIY wooden shelf will do wonders for your turntable. If you are mechanically inclined enough to tackle bracing and securing your floor joists- you can obviously build a high quality wall shelf that will not only look great- but will reap a LOT of performance increase for under $50 & a couple of hours' worth of effort. Look at the site and check out the DIY shleves for inspiration.

best of luck with your audio adventures and let us know how it all works out.

Take care.
thanks for the post. i didn't see anything at "".

i haven't made any progress yet, as i have been on-the-road, and i haven't felt like unpacking all of the boxes & such that are blocking access to the crawlspace. (i had to unpack and repack them so many times while getting the floor insulation done, and the prospect of doing it once more hasn't been appealing.)

i had a conversation earlier today, and someone mentioned the idea of measure the distance of the rack to the wall, then cutting two 2x4s to that length +1/4". that would brace the race to the wall and dramatically reduce lateral displacement of the rack.

that seems quite logical -- but it might not affect things is the floor is moving vertically.

as i contemplate this, i start to thing about how i am generally not moving around when listening to a record, thus there are no footfall issues (and no "major"/visible vibration). it's logical that there are still smaller vibrations which could affect the music, but i wonder if these could be treated by mass-loading the rack a bit, and using some air suspension.

i will investigate the wall-mount further to see if there is something in the size i need.

Just wanted to post an update. I have decided on a wall-mount solution for the turntable, as i believe that all other solutions are attempts to fix the vibration problem with results that may or may not pan out.

What I mean is that the floor is clearly highly compliant/springy -- so much so that the top of the rack visibly shakes with footfalls -- and is moving vertically as well as horizontally. Bracing the floor from below would definitely help, as would mass-loading the rack and changing the shelving.

However, as good as those solutions may be, I don't think they'll eliminate as much vibration in one fell swoop as doing a wall-mount -- and there could be more time and/or expense involved.

I'm going to see what happens with the wall mount. I have no doubt that all the solutions regarding treating the floor and rack would help with the rest of my system, but I think they're lower priority than dealing with the most sensitive source.

I hope to be in a better position to evaluate my turntable's true performance, as well as that of the rest of the system as soon as the wall mount is in place.

Thank you!
You'll really be happy with a wall mounted turntable. I used to walk with such care- now I can do whatever. Before I had a wall mount, I wouldn't want to get up during playback- not even to answer a phone/door for fear that I would make the needle jump! I felt like once to record had started- I was a prisoner. That's not to mention my active 3yr old who loves to jump around when the music is on. I was constantly trying to keep her from dancing, and I though 'What's wrong with this picture!? She loves music; Just like her dad.' Now it's nice to watch her do her dance routines without worry. :)

The overall fidelity was improved, too. Bass got tighter- highs more silky...
I just thought of something-

Why not consider buying TWO target shelves? If you did it right- you could space two shelves apart so that your TT was suspended in the middle gap (each pair of feet resting on 1 shelf). That way you'd have even better isolation, underneath access (for suspension adjustments), and room on either side for a dedicated phono pre and/or misc cleaning and maint gear.

I might do this myself!
Valve & vinyl: Better measure the distance between the TT's footers and the required spacing of the shelves on the wall before making that purchase. It would be a real pain to go through re-installing the new shelving in the manner that you described only to find that it won't work as planned. You don't want to ass-u-me too much on something like this : ) Sean
I did it with an old Michael Green AV clamp rack. What I did is discard the middle shelf. In between the top & botton shelf I placed two large hand selected cinderblocks,
some cut 2X4 wood planks under & above the bricks. Using spikes & floor protectors the entire rack was tightened & leveled. You can play a record, jump up & down right next to the table and your TT will not miss a beat. Thats what I called vibration damping
Installed the wall-mounted shelf today and it made a huuuuuge difference!

The impact it has was not at all subtle.

I need to preface this next statement by saying that I often do not hear the effect of some "upgrades" that folks rave about. (I'm not saying the improvement isn't there, but many times I just don't experience it.) I'm not a detail/soundstage freak, but did hear a couple things on records on familiar records that I'd never heard before.

This got me more of an improvement than I had hoped. I think I still need to address some of the floor issues (particularly bracing from below), but it's not as serious a concern with the rest of my system as it was with the source.

I was listening to a live recording of Spanish guitar and could hear some "hand slaps" against the body of the guitar that I'd not noticed before. I think previously they were muddled and lost in the vibration of the source.

Thanks for the advice. As mentioned above, I will still plan to sue it as I make improvments. I'm just glad the main issue is taken care of. Having the TT on a compliant floor really sucked all the life out of the system.
Glad you got your TT sorted. I feel for you guys with wooden floors! I used to live in a house with nasty wooden floors - what a nightmare. Luckly I now live in a house tha is as solid as a rock - with concrete floors with wood covering.

A solid support is absolutely vital for a turntable. I have exprienced that these brick-walls of my house also reverbrate at some extent and this worries me - if a supposed solid wall reverbrates - then what is good for your turntable?

Kind regards,
I purchased a finite elemente Pagode Signature wall shelf. They are pricey (not as pricey as the next higher model in the line-up), but it was so worth it.

To your point, any wall-mounted shelf will provide a solid connection with the wall...but what if the wall vibrates? Well, this seies of shelves take measures to reduce the vibration transmitted to the shelf from the wall. Further, there is really a shelf that sits atop the "frame" (which then connects to the wall. The shelf is further isolated from the frame.

The next level up takes this even further. It's double the cost and I'm sure it's better...but the "Signature" model is pretty stellar.

Just something worth investing. Also, finite elemente include a mortar kit to shore up mounts into brick and concrete walls. Wow.
Thanks again, all, for your replies.

Even though the TT is now on the wall, I realized that I should still support the floor from underneath.

I like the automotive scissor jack route, atop a concrete block (and potentially below a 2'x2" or 4'x4").

The area I'm trying to support is 13'W x 10'D, with joists running from front to back and spaced 16" apart.

I'm thinking that instead of just supporting the equipment/rack and area under the 2 speakers, maybe I should just brace the whole floor.

Any thoughts on how many jacks I should use in that space?

How much is enough to barely get by (I'm guessing area under the rack + 2 speakers)? How much is enough to "do it right"?

Also, if I go the 2'x2" (or 4'x4") route, would you recommend 2 (or 4) jacks supporting each board?

Thanks so much for your thoughts.
I told ya!

..wall mounted shelves are the way to go. I'm so glad you are reaping your just rewards. ;)

about the floor-

Block it first!! Whatever you choose to do for a pier, put a healthy amount of cross-blocking in between the joists first (say...every 2-3'. staggered) and I bet that makes a huge difference all by itself. Be sure to use the same dimensional lumber your joists are and be sure the wood is pressure treated.

I would do this: In an area where you have pre-selected to brace with a pier- drop a plumb line down into the soil and excavate a hole with a foxhole shovel that is below the frost line (whatever it is in your area) by at least a few inches and approx 2' by 2' square. Drop a large 18" by 18" patio stone of compressed concrete in the bottom of the hole and level it. Cut a piece of 6X6 PT lumber post that is exactly as long as the top of the stone to the top of your joist and then cut a notch in the post to accomodate your joist. Carefully tap the post in place and drill a 3/8" hole horizintally through the post and joist join and install a galvanized cairrage nut/bolt with fender washers. Double check for plumb and then tighten the nut. Back fill the hole and tamp it hard. 1 of these piers in the right location (after you have installed plenty of blocking) will make your floor rock solid. You can always add as many as you like- but 1 good one should be PLENTY for a room your size.
Thanks, Valve & Vinyl.

Dumb question: Does "blocking" refer to connecting joists with shorter pieces of wood (16" apart around here)?

The blocking could be hard to accomplish given that I just installed insulation between all joists.

I also may have screwed up because I didn't see your post before hitting the hardware store today.

I purchased a 4"x4"x8' and 2 adjustable floor joist jacks (the local hardware store only had 2) such that they are near the minimum of their range. I positioned the 4x4 so that it was perpendicular to the joists (it's supporting 6 joists). I used the jacks under the 4x4. I figured I would see how well it worked and then add more if necessary (I would need possibly 2 4x4x4' & 1 more 4x4x8' to cover it, given the pipe situation).

Does the method you suggested (hole + patio stone + pier) replace what I did above? It sounds like it does...and it sounds like a more elegant solution.

Should I not add the 2-3 additional 4x4's w/ jacks? The jacks (36") are like $30 a pop.

Thank you!!!

Lumber isn't cheap either. I just put in a new deck 12' X 12' and even though that's pretty small- it set me back nearly $2K. Ouch.

Yep- blockling is putting in a piece between the joists (or studs).

The only problem I see with your joist jack method is that you are at the mercy of nature, in that you will probably need to re-adjust it often because of heave and expansion/contraction. A jack like that indoors remains fairly stable; When it's exposed to temperature outdoors....

When a builder puts in a bathtub, stairwell, or anything else that requires either a cut-out in the joists and/or extra bracing, the common method is to add blocking. It may not seem like it would add a significant measure of support but it certainly does. When the joists are allowed to flex independently of each other- they do. When held to the rigidity of its neighbors (other joists)- they don't. Pretty simple.

Use whatever type of column you wish, but I would still block the joists to the hilt. If you recently added insulation, you could just make a header or horizontal beam to distribute the load of your column of choice. This could serve to replace the blocking (sorta). Make sure you toenail the beam in an X wherever it meets a joist though. I'd double up (sister) a 2X6 (at least) for your header/beam. 2X8 would be better. I'd put two columns (per beam) if doing this method.

Thanks again, V&V.
I ake your point about the joist/jack method being subject to the mercy of nature. That said, the crawlspace should be a more constant temperature than a place that receives a mix of sun and shade.

I'd think that any solution in the crawlspace would be subject to the same mercy of nature -- even the pier solution you proposed -- althoguh perhaps to a lesser degree.

I will see how feasible blocking is for me, given the work I did on the insulation.

If I read your response correctly, you think the beam idea that I've tried with adjustable jacks (2/beam) as columns is OK. I know it does not fully replace the blocking, but it sounds like it is an improvement, albeit one that may need periodic adjustment.

I added one such header/horizontal beam, and based on the location of equipment in the room and the space/pipes below, I feel like I need to add at least two shorter beams. I could not emply one to span the width of the space due to crawlspace constraints.

Since the listening area is one section of a larger room, do you think it's wise/appropriate/or unnecessary to support the rest of the room (i.e., no equipment will be located in this area)? The listening area is already divided from the rest of the room by a header.

Thank you so much! I am learning quite a bit and feel like I'm almost all the way there in terms of making an informed decision about the solution.

Considering that the work you are doing will not be "load bearing" per se- I think ALL options (suggested thusfar) are OK.

True, a crawlspace is not as extreme an environment as the open air. Your jack will prob be fine.

I think you'll be very surprised at just how effective a mere fraction of what you are proposing will be. Hard to imagine- but bracing just two or three joists alone will be a huge inprovement. Now- factor in what you are contemplating and multiply it by 200%. Your floor won't move by any measurable degree. Audio speaking of course...
Cool...that is an excellent way of thinking about it. It makes me step back and realize that this is quite an improvement, already.

I do plan to put 1 or 2 shorter (4x4x4') supports directly under the rack and other speaker.

Guess I'll focus on the space under the listening area and not worry about the adjoining space (separated by a header).

Thanks so much! I will report back with my experience.

Everyone has been very helpful; your suggestions have been taken to heart.