One wouldn't consider using a screwdriver to drive nails or, for that matter, using a hammer to turn a screw, but in a very large sense of it, that's exactly what's being suggested when we hear complaints about the Ultra Platform's inability to correct severe low frequency vibration problems.
Regardless of what any preconceptions might lend it, Symposium has never claimed that the Ultra should be used specifically as a low frequency isolation device. What exactly IS it, then?
The Ultra Platform is "officially" called an "Energy Absorption Platform." It is meant to be used as a damping platform to improve virtually all aspects of sound reproduction across the audible frequency range with components ranging from turntables and CD players to very large loudspeakers. It was never meant to be an isolation-only device for extremely low frequency (below about 20 Hz) vibration; in fact, the Ultra Platform was designed purposely to be a "mechanical DC conductor" at frequencies approaching zero Hertz for purposes of achieving efficient mechanical grounding at DC, and therefore, using an Ultra by itself to eliminate extremely low (below 20 Hz) feedback issues will result in virtually no perceived difference - just as was described. However, if you want to get the best sound quality possible from your analog playback system, the Ultra WILL make a difference - a big one - when deployed as per recommendations.
If one has serious low frequency shock or vibration problems, these must be addressed first before the Ultra's benefits can be appreciated. Using an Ultra Platform to correct the extreme problems caused by, for instance, a sprung floor, is akin to putting superior tires on your car to address a problem with engine compression. The tires do one job; use something else for the other job. If someone has misled an end user to think that something else might be the case, let us apologize for such an inappropriate description by others. The Ultra is meant to be used as one aspect of an interrelated system of vibration control elements; by itself, it will not perform all aspects. While there are products which claim to be "all in one" devices, none do everything as well as can be realized by dividing up the whole system into specific jobs and applying the best technology to a specific function. This is why "all in one" stereo systems sold in department stores can't measure up to the typical "high end" system, with its separate source, preamplifier, amplifier, and speakers.
Symposium makes different components which work best applied to different problems; sometimes they can be used together to solve a set of problems. If one is looking for a comprehensive solution to the problems of low frequency vibration isolation, damping, mechanical grounding and RFI/EMI isolation, we would recommend they consider the Isis Rack, which addresses all of these problems in one system.
While some people have corrected feedback problems with an Ultra (it works very well as an isolation device throughout 9 of the 10 octaves of audible sound), we have specifically stated time and again that it was never intended to correct footfall problems. When set up properly, with efficient mechanical coupling between the Ultra's top layer and the component chassis, the Ultra Platform can and does provide a significant upgrade in musicality with analog turntables. Aspects most often reported by users include a quieter background, improved bass dynamics and resolution, more midrange bloom, eliminated or reduced high frequency harshness and a marked improvement in microdynamics. In the instructions, we recommend its use in conjunction with low frequency isolation devices ranging from extremely compliant feet to active isolation tables when placed UNDER (whether "down under" or not) the Ultra. The first review of the Ultra Platform by Michael Fremer, in the May 1997 Stereophile, gave rousing testimony to the Ultra's effectiveness with analog turntables when used IN CONJUNCTION WITH such a low frequency isolation device - in this case, a Vibraplane. I urge anyone who isn't familiar with this to reread the review, if not in its entirety, than at least the relevant passages on our website (http://www.symposiumusa.com/reviews.shtml).
Effective vibration control is not merely isolation; it is the intelligent combination of interrelated disciplines. Extremely low frequency isolation is merely one aspect of a more complicated problem, and to focus down only on one small region - that below 20 Hz - as being the only aspect of vibration control which determines a product's usefulness or value is - well, shortsighted, at best.
Thanks for the opportunity to clarity a few points.