Speaker isolation or absorbtion - what is best?

I have Verity Audio Parsifal Encores on a carpeted concret floor in my basement, using the stock brass spikes. I am reading up on possible improvements through isolation/vibration control/absorbition.

There appear to be two schools of thought. "Isolation" decouples the speaker from the external environment, leaving the energy of the cabinet with no where to go, but prevents distortion caused by energy transmitted from the cabinet to the environment (e.g. a vibrating floor). My spikes on concrete are an example of isolation.

By contrast, absorbtion "drains" the vibration energy from the cabinets, thereby reducing its harmful effect on the speaker performance. Stillpoints and symposium are examples of absorbtion based approaches. This appear to me very opposite philosophies of how to go about improving speaker performance.

Three questions. First, is my understanding correct? Second, in my environment (carpeted concrete), which way should I go to get the best out of my parsifals. Third, what specific products (platforms, cones, spikes etc) have you used succesfully with the parsifals to achieve optimal isolation or absorbtion (on a carpeted concrete floor!)?
Some speakers vibrate (resonate) at certain frequencies. Some do not do so, noticeably, at any frequency. (I just use the hand test.) If you want to effectively drain this resonance, assuming you could do so at all, you need to know the frequency at which the resonance occurs and then find materiel that will absorb that frequency.

IMHO, concrete floors inhibit any 'drain' potential, with or without coupling with spikes etc. If you think draining away vibrations from your speakers will benefit the sound you need something between the speakers and the floor that will absorb the resonance frequency that the speaker is creating. To some degree your carpet and pad are already giving you some 'drain' potential. Absent specific information regarding the speakers resonance you can use a broad base absorbing materiel like sorbothane.

Now, my opinion about 'draining' vibrations - for the most part I think the theory was created by an artful salesman. Consider that the real damage is done when the resonance frequency causes some sonic damage. This has already happened before you could effectively 'drain' any vibrations. Unless the speaker actually has the capacity to store this energy, thus magnifying succeeding identical resonances, it is too late. I am unaware of any high quality speakers that actually have the capacity to store energy.

The only reason I would put spikes/cones between my speakers and a concrete floor would be to help stabilize them and I would be sure to penetrate the carpet/pad.

That stuff comes from my experience years ago with concrete floors. I now have wood floors and I use soft absorbant materiel to neutralize vibrations flowing in either direction.

BTW, play around with the alternatives and then trust your ears. If you can't hear it (the differences) then they must not, for you at least, exist.

FWIW, just my humble opinion.

BTW, nice speakers! Very nice.................
The only way to really know what will work best is to experiment. This is a matter of "tuning" so a change will alter the sound, but, there is no way to know if you will like or dislike the alteration.

As a broad generalization, the Symposium shelf under the speaker approach (I do that myself) works best when the speaker is over a suspended wooden floor. That is because transferring energy to floor causes the floor to act as a sounding board that muddies the sound. I have the flat bottom of my speakers sitting on a large Svelte Shelf with nothing between the shelf and the speaker (maximum transfer of energy from the cabinet into the shelf).

A shelf under your speaker could also change the tuning of your speaker by absorbing energy from the cabinet, but, I would bet the overall change in sound would not be that dramatic because you probably do not need to suppress the floor acting as a sounding board. Still, the only way to know is to experiment.
You also may send an email to VERITY AUDIO to see what they might recommended you for an improvement....
Good luck
Lateley I have had the opportunity to experiment with some products from UK manufacturer Vertex AQ, who approach the problem of vibration transmission within a hi fi system from a novel perspective.

I own Avalon Indra speakers supported by their heavy Apex couplers (spikes) to my carpeted concrete floor. The Indras are pretty well damped as enclosures go but I had been thinking of the vibration transmitted back from the speaker terminals to the amplifier and so on into the system and the negative effects of that vibration.

I am a complete disciple of Stillpoints technology and use the ESS405 equipment rack for my source components with Stillpoints + Risers under each unit on each acrylic shelf.

AC power distribution and CJ Premier 350SA amp are both supported on Stillpoints Component Stands with intermediate Stillpoints + Risers.

I use MIT Oracle MA-X interconnects and MIT Magnum MA speaker cables which have network boxes containig circuitry.

I have enjoyed a substantial improvement to resolution and soundstage/imagery by utilising a pair of Vertex AQ Moncayo speaker links between the MAgnum MA's and the Indra speaker terminals.

As a picture is worth a thousand words, here is a link to my Photobucket album pages http://s3.photobucket.com/albums/y76/crystalref/
The first picture on page 1 shows the Vertex speaker links.

The boxes on the speaker links contain an acoustic labrynth with single point contact on the silver cables, which pass through the box unbroken. The acoustic labrynth is designed to 'drain' vibrational energy from the cables, preventing it from travelling back to the amplifier and source.

In my case, an extra benefit is to isolate the network circuitry in the MIT boxes as well.

Vertex AQ manufacture complete system solutions for support, mains EMI/RFI reduction and viibration control. Check out their website here http://www.vertexaq.com/

Vertex Pico boxes can also be placed on top of speakers where this allows and are designed to drain energy from the enclosure via the acoustic labrynths within the boxes.

I have absolutely no commercial connection with Vertex other than as a satisfied customer.

I think my non-UK enthusiasts would be interested in reading about their products as I rarely find any references to them on Audiogon.

With reference to the original question. I have tried Stillpoints + Inverse Risers under the Indras but prefer the stability offered by Avalon's Apex couplers.

Now Stillpoints Component stands under each speaker would be another proposition!
Oops! Looks like the links didn't post properly, so here they are again.




As always with audio, it depends. With my old Focal Alto speakers they sounded best with spikes on couplers and Herbie's dbNeutralizer pads under the couplers. However, with my new Focal Scala speakers they sound best spiked directly into the floor.

There are no shortcuts, you have to try the options yourself. In this case, it's a relatively cheap experiment so there is no excuse.
All feets/ platforms will probably do something. Though, what they do, might be straighly the opposite to one another.
Generally speaking, spikes connects the chassis to the floor.
Which usually is no good idea. Springloaded or suspended often makes bass very dry and shy. Effect of this could be very high level of detail but a pronounced and not ear-friendly top. There are a possibility to use feets in conjunction with chassis drain-devices. But to fully determine which weight is not easy (on top of chassis).
However, it is not a bad thing to help the speakers get rid of stored energy as this tends to affect the overall sound very much. Some cases, cables choices become very different after and before the speakers are drained.
I understand what wonder about this.
I do not say this is your only choice, but you can look here for one choice.

Feets (you can order 4 instead of 3 per chassis):

Drain (mice and cone, same except for visual):

When i tried this, i must say, the effect is not at all small. A good speaker, can easily become extremely better sounding. (Mine is one example!)
This will most likely improve microdynamics, inner detail (as chassis vibration/ sound affects lesser), impact, start/stop-decay, bass nuance, air. The sound became clearer - less smear - less muddy. Intitially better speed (PRAT) and lesser sense of compression in woofer and upper mid.

This is part of what i notice in my system.

I hope that you dare try this and i believe the effect will put a smile in your face and ears.

I would try, from 4Kg's and up in weight for drain devies for full range speakers. I use Jumbo cone (one per chassis and four cat feets under speakers original feets).
At 700 a pop playing with absorbtion platforms/stands is not exaclty cheap, but the bottom line of the useful responses appears to be "try some alternative setups and see what works best". I will do just that.
Save some money. Try the Herbies products designed for speakers. 90 day trial period to boot so no risk. I use Adona platforms under my speakers, granite side face down. Works well for me on top of carpet.
Yes, good idea. It will give you perspective - which is good. I would say this works great, that i mentioned above. Better than changing cables, speakers (at times actually).
But all of us are different, and as it is too much bogus at the market, i understand some might think this is one of them.

Chime in if you find your key to all this!

Good luck:)