Speaker Isolation -- Experience with Townshend Seismic Isolation Podiums


Over the past several months the new Townshend Seismic Isolation Podiums have been receiving some interesting and positive press. Living as I do in both an earthquake zone (Pacific NW) and in a busy urban setting with a lot of rumble from construction and passing vehicles I thought these could be worth exploring for my setup. As I was not able to find a US distributor I purchase direct from the UK (via Analogue Seduction, highly recommended). I placed an online order, with follow up to confirm the size and weight of my speakers and about six weeks later they turned up on my doorstep (the platforms are made to order with loading on the cells specific to the weight of your speakers)

The Isolation Podiums are basically four load cells attached to a robust platform onto which you stand your speakers. While not cheap ($2500 for the size I needed) they are very well designed and easy to use. For example I was concerned about being able to move my 275lb Magico Q3s up onto the platforms -- actually it was easy as the platform at 20mm is lower than the speaker spikes so it was simply a matter of unscrewing each spike and shuffling the speaker across. Once onto the platforms fine leveling was easily possible by adjusting each load cell. All in all the podium system is very well designed and works exactly as intended.

But how does it sound? With several days listening experience I cannot recommend this product too highly for anyone who wants to hear the best from their speakers. My room is custom designed with a concrete slab floor so a solid surface but of course subject to external vibration. Prior to the podiums I'd been enjoying deep and dynamic bass but had occasionally felt that the sound became congested in more dynamic and complex material. With the podiums all of this clears up. First impression may be of less bass but as is typically the case this was a result of a reduction in boom and smear and instead more of the open sound of real bass (think of a bass drum as being more "whoof" than "thump" after the initial leading edge - too often the sense of large volumes of air being displaced is lost. In addition I became much more aware of all the rhythmic leading edge detail in bass guitar passages, all the little cues the bassist is putting in. Furthermore it became much easier to resolve bass alongside other instruments. Example in point "Bye Bye Blackbird" by Nancy Harms (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd4tQrndlFw). This opens with deep full bass which is a first test but then quickly becomes quite a crowded and in many systems overloaded mix. With the podium in place all of the instruments became much easier to separate and what had been a congested and even edgy mix became clear.

One final and unexpected change is how you can now more easily hear the recording venue. Listening at the start of recordings the sound of the room itself is a very low level mix of rumbles which (when it's present on the recording) is all too easy to lose -- the podiums help uncover this detail and create a much greater sense of real instruments in space. All in all I'd recommend you give these a try and no need to believe in voodoo to buy in to this tweak.
Convert?fit=crop&h=128&policy=eyjlehbpcnkioje1mtm0mdyyodusimnhbgwiolsicmvhzcisimnvbnzlcnqixx0%3d&rotate=exif&signature=0ccdd52247155fe16cdc22e48c450e3f4252814313620f15d6be6cf4cdee3e0d&w=128folkfreak
I believe I have the original versions of this product, which were then called speaker cradles (bought them a good number of years ago).  I pretty much agree with you point for point, and on a suspended floor they are especially effective.  I had wondered whether part of the improvement I heard was due to raising the tweeter height a little bit, but after experimenting to take that variable out of the equation I determined that was not the case.
FolkFreak, the US Distributor for Townshend Products is Dan Meinwald. Here is his website:
http://www.ear-usa.com/

I’ve been contemplating the use of the Townshend Speaker Podiums as well for my Marten Bird 2 loudspeakers (Might be switching to Marten Coltrane Tenors soon.  If that happens, I might order them for THAT speaker).

Nice turntable! I have one on order. Planning to run a Helius Silver Ruby Tonearm, a Kuzma 4 point and a Schroder Reference on a detached arm pod I had custom made for it.
I see the Pods on the website mentioned but no platform.
Thanks Shaizada -- I know Dan and am aware he distributes Townshend but as Ozzy pointed out neither he, nor any of the US sellers, have specific details on the podiums. From others I do know however that the US pricing is basically the same as the UK (although the recent weakness of sterling is another reason to consider buying direct I suppose). As these are all custom builds you are also not going to get them any quicker wherever you buy them. Whatever speakers you use I'm sure they'll work well

Regarding the DiscMaster there are a few things to bear in mind. As this is a suspended design you will need to get springs that work with the mass of your tonearms. The Kuzma is a very heavy arm (2kg) and I'd worry that it will unbalance the turntable -- this would be the one I'd mount on a stand alone pod if I was you. In any case make sure Dan provides you with a good range of springs so that you can get the armboard to level. Finally it's essential that the allen key securing the arm board is tight with the board mounted level, easy to miss, especially as the table comes with really no setup instructions --- ideally having Tim walk you through set up is the way to go.
I run Stillpoints Ultra 5s with 100Kg speakers.(Vaf I-93mk2) Should I expect a positive result with the Podium??
Stump
I think you will like the results with the podiums, not sure what size suits your speakers as I am not familiar with them but as long as you ensure that the speakers will sit easily on the base and the weight rating is good (100kg is no issue) then you should be fine. Townshend recommends you remove the stillpoints and any manufacturer spikes and have the speakers sit directly on the platform. Presentation will be different to what you are familiar with along the lines I described in my original post
If you don't need the platform of the Townshend podiums, the Seismic Pods themselves are considerable cheaper.
I should probably update this thread.

I did end up moving to the Marten Coltrane Tenors speakers (from the Marten Bird 2), and am considering maybe loading them up on Townshend Podiums next. Right now, I have my whole Stillpoints ESS equipment rack on weight matched Townshend Dual Pods per corner for a total of 8 pods. Also setup my EAR 890 monoblocks on Townshend Seismic platforms that were custom cut to fit the amps.

Finally, the EAR Discmaster is on the top of the Stillpoints ESS rack and totally disconnected from the floor vibrations now. Got an increase in black background and dynamic range, but more importantly, no speaker vibrations feeding back into the setup.

Also, apart from the Helius Silver Ruby, I have the Kuzma 4 point also loaded up on the Discmaster.  Luckily, I was able to use properly matched springs within the Discmaster pods that balanced out the whole turntable.  I leveled the whole affair and it sings beautifully! Here is a picture:

https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5593/30252622330_f0d25cb15f_b.jpg
shaizada -- thanks so much for your update, great to hear about your positive experiences with the Townshend products

Also congrats on the DiscMaster! Mine is currently sporting a Durand Kairos/AirTight PC-1 in the first position and a Wand+/Miyajima Zero in slot two.

https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/5707#&gid=1&pid=6

I have a Acoustical Systems Palladian on order to replace the PC-1 and am toying with adding an AS tonearm as well -- the DiscMaster really makes it easy to swap tonearms once you have the spring balancing down (and a good stock of springs on hand), great to hear you were able to get the weighty Kuzma all set

Have you ever tried rotating the arm board so that the two arms are at 2 o’clock and 5 o’clock (i.e. board is positioned on the right rather than behind) -- I understand this was the original design intention?
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Folkfreak

May I ask do you still use the Townshend Seismic Podiums or did you switch to Herzans for your speakers?  I could not afford the Herzan TS-150 but I am thinking of getting myself a pair of these for my NOLA Metro Grand 2s.

Thanks

I mean I am thinking of getting the Townshends for my NOLAs.

@agriculturist I still use the Townsend podiums under my speakers. I would imagine placing a speaker on a Herzan platform would actually cause some major problems as the output of the speaker transmitted into the platform would then be attempted to be cancelled causing all sorts of issues. In other words Herzan cancels vibration from outside the instrument, not from the instrument itself.  Try at your own peril! 
Thanks for the warning folkfreak.  I won't get the Herzans for my speakers then!  But I am thinking very seriously about a pair of Townshend Size 3 for my NOLAs.  The Townshends would replace my Stillpoints Ultra Aluminums with Stillpoints Ultra Bases with Herbie's gliders underneath the SP bases.  I have the sense that the Townshends will make for a better solution all around including of course primarily the sound.  
I'm not sure if the new Townshends are like my Townshend speaker cradles, but if they are keep in mind that they will raise the tweeter level of your Nolas (as they do mine).  Now this may not matter if the Stillpoints, etc. that the Nolas are on raise them to the same height as you would have with the Townshends, but it is something to consider.
Thanks @rcprince for the warning.  However, I believe that the Townshend podiums will actually lower the speakers elevation by as much as a couple of inches.  This, as you guessed, is because of the 2+ inch combined height of the SPs, bases and Herbie's gliders.  I believe the podiums raise the height by only 20 mm.  

I imagine you are very happy with the Townshends?  Did you ever try Stillpoints under the NOLAs.
@rcprince re tweeter height you make a fair point but as the Townshend podiums are designed to be used without any other sort of spike or footer (i.e. You have the bottom of the speaker flat on the podium base) the added height is offset by the elimination of the existing spikes etc
Thanks for the answers, the podiums are apparently a little different than the cradles.  Never used Stillpoints, though I had tried other various isolation/coupling devices under my prior speakers before settling on the Speaker Cradles, which made the biggest positive difference by far.  I now have the Nola Micro References on their stands with their pointed feet on the cradles, and found that I had to raise my listening position a little to get the best integration with the tweeters (it's best to have your ears level with those ribbons, I've found). The older platforms seem to work pretty well with those pointed feet, they may act as a drain for any energy coming from the stand.  Haven't tried it without the feet, just too old and lazy to take everything apart.
Thanks @folkfreak and @rcprince for the help with your experience with the Townshend.  I got a pair of podiums from nick at emporium here through Audiogon.  Will post here about my experience after I receive and install them.  I expect the results will be good.
hi,
check out Audiogon for sale lists for discounted Townshend Audio podiums and other Townshend Audio products 
Hi Nick At Emporium is a great guy to deal with he stocks all the Townshend Audio products at great prices Podiums, Pods, Super Tweeters that is were i get my Townshend Audio products in the UK 
You will love the podiums, so easy to set up, measure where your speakers are then move the speakers out the way, place the podiums in there place, you can level by twisting the bottom discs if your floor is not flat, then simply place your speakers onto the podiums,

At the corner of each Podium  use the top knobs on the load cells to raise and level your speakers you just simply twist one way for up and one way for down its clearly marked and so easy to twist, its very important to check the platform is completely off the floor by about 1-2 cm is ok, once speaker is leveled and the platform is not touching any part of the floor give the speaker a little push so you can witness the speaker slightly rock then it will go back to original position, congratulations your speakers are now acoustically isolated from there environment,

Be prepared to witness your speakers vanish and what will appear is a big holographic musically satisfying 3D picture i will say no more and wait for your own description if you need any help or advice please feel free to contact me i will be glad to help, if you cannot afford Podiums go for the speaker bars to experience Seismic Speaker Isolation all you need is the weight of each speaker and the footprint regards john
Thanks for the tips on set up @mains.  Will post my impressions here.
Hello folks!

I'm going to experiment with the Seismic speaker podiums as well.  I was wondering if anyone has thought about the speaker weight distribution?

My speaker cabinets (Marten Coltrane Tenors) are full carbon fiber (so they are very light overall), but the front baffle is wood and all the drivers are mounted there.  This makes the speaker front heavy.  The speakers are 86.6 lbs each.  Do you guys think it might be fine to go with 2 green dot springs in the back (min weight 17 lb, max weight, 35 lb per spring) and 2 blue dot springs (min. weight 35lb, max weight, 75 lb).  Or shall I stay with all green dot springs?

Hello folks!

I’m going to experiment with the Seismic speaker podiums as well. I was wondering if anyone has thought about the speaker weight distribution?

My speaker cabinets (Marten Coltrane Tenors) are full carbon fiber (so they are very light overall), but the front baffle is wood and all the drivers are mounted there. This makes the speaker front heavy. The speakers are 86.6 lbs each. Do you guys think it might be fine to go with 2 green dot springs in the back (min weight 17 lb, max weight, 35 lb per spring) and 2 blue dot springs (min. weight 35lb, max weight, 75 lb). Or shall I stay with all green dot springs?

>>>>Ordinarily, all springs would have to be the *same spring rate* - otherwise the speakers would flop over. I have not seen Podiums but the way to deal with uneven weight distribution for anything on *independent* springs is manually move one or two springs slightly in the direction of max mass until the object on the springs is level. Same for leveling turntable or CD player. If the podiums are all one piece you can try moving the speakers along the podiums back to front until they’re level. If the poses are moveable then just move the poss in the back toward the front. I daresay most speakers have most of their mass in the front, so undoubtedly they thought of this issue.


@shaizada re your concerns on weight distribution I think the option recommended by Townshend is to locate the speaker slightly back in the platform that way the tendency to tilt forward is countered as Geoff suggested.

Please do however consult with the dealer who is supplying you as they are the ultimate arbiter. The podiums are usually custom built for your particular situation so they will know what is best to do
@geoffkait @folkfreak , thank you both for the input.  I appreciate it!
If you get pods instead of platforms, you can put a pod under each front corner, and one in the middle of the rear.
By way of update, I am extremely happy with the Townshend podiums I recently got myself from Nick at Emporium HiFi here on Audiogon.  I got the Townshend Speaker Podiums Size 3 for my Nola Metro Grand 2 speakers.  I replaced the 8 Ultra AL Stillpoints plus Ultra SS bases with the Podiums a couple of weeks ago.  I set them up right away when I got them, although not very well, but even so I was blown away by the improvement I got relative to my previous Stillpoints set up which was itself very good. Then with @mains' (and Nick's) help I corrected the errors in my setup.  Basically my error was that some corners of the podiums needed to be freed up and moved around as the speakers were not bouncing freely although they were moving.  Now everything is fine and its all just great.  The strongest recommendation from me for the Podiums.  And thanks for the help @mains.
For anyone owning speakers that already have outriggers attached to their bottoms, you can get individual Seismic Pods and bolt them onto the outrigger arms, at a considerable savings to the Podiums.
Guys, anyone care to comment on how much better the Townsend Podiums might be, as against three or four pods?  It may be no one has had the chance to do a direct comparison. I use Track Audio Feet at the moment, which are also very good.

 I'd like the Podiums, but they are'nt cheap, a consideration for most of us.
I've not compared the individual pods to the podiums but despite the lower price there are a couple of things I'd bear in mind

Firstly getting a set of pods under your speakers may not be easy especially as they will be pretty unstable until you have all 4 in place. Not a one man job for sure

Secondly depending on the footprint of your speaker it may be less stable on the pods than the podiums. Tall narrow speakers on pods might be worrisome. The podiums act as a wider base
@bdp24 Do the pods already have a screw hole for doing this?  I've had a hard time finding a picture of the top of the pods...  my outriggers don't have a top bolt, the spike just screws into the housing that attaches to the base of the cabinet (Coincident speakers).

thanks,
Chris

cal, each individual Pod is bolted or screwed onto a flat disc, for stability of the Pod itself. The Pods that come with the Isolation "Bar" are bolted onto that Bar, via holes in the top of the Pod. I'm assuming the Pod with bolt holes may be ordered from Townshend Audio. Hope I'm correct! 

folkfreak makes a good point, that the Podiums---with their wider-than-the-speaker footprint, will provide more stability than individual Pods merely placed under a speaker. My point was that, if one already has outriggers on their speakers---which also have a wider footprint, the Seismic Platform is not needed, only the Pods, which may be bolted onto one’s already-owned outriggers.