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&rotate=exif&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?