Townsend springy platforms for my Sasha 2s, springs not ISOA GIAS, HRTs for electronics???
I noticed a lot of discussion recently about springs as OPPOSED to spikes, Iso acoustic GIAS or HRT supports. I may be way late to the party, but in tracking this down I discovered the company Townsend. The engineering may be complex but the working concepts are pretty easy to grasp, but do they work? The company's suggestion was to remove my GIAS under my Sasha 2s and additionally add three platforms for my electronics, two under my ARC REF10 and one for my dCS Bartok. A 5K tweak is a lot but not out of the question. After all when a pair of Cardas interconnects is $4250, 4 to 5K for proper support for five components does not sound unreasonable if they make a significant contribution. Does anyone have experience in what I might expect these products will contribute? The pitch is to buy it all to get the best price, but is there a progressive implementation that makes sense? The company rep suggests replace the GIAS first, then source, preamp then amps. I can't wait to hear from the collective as while spring suspensions have been around forever on turntables, the trend I was aware of has been toward ridged coupling for speakers. Even my old Krell KSA had factory spikes for the footers. Old dogs CAN learn new tricks if it sounds better!
Yes they sure can. That was me last year. I was totally sold on cones and rigid vibration control. Springs were a hard sell but see my threads, the advantages were immediately obvious.
Ordinary springs like Nobsound are so good for the money, and I am a value-oriented audiophile, and Townshend are not cheap. But as good as springs are they do introduce color or resonance, even after careful tuning. The problem being ordinary springs are not damped. I went back and forth a while with John Hannant until it became clear Townshend was the answer to my "problems" if you can call better than just about anything else a "problem"!
You can see my recent system photos now https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8367 there are Pods under the turntable, phono stage, and amp. There are for now still ordinary springs under the subs. The Moabs are on Podiums.
These were done one at a time. Turntable first, completely eliminated all hint of resonance with a huge improvement in revealing the correct timbre of instruments and vocals. Everything just sounds a whole lot more like what it would in real life. Noise floor dropped too. Blacker backgrounds. Slightly deeper bass with greater physical slam.
I was doubtful Pods would make much difference under the tube amp and was surprised when they made an even bigger improvement than under the turntable! The phono stage was similar but sort of in between. So I can’t really say if there is a logical order to do them in, they just work everywhere.
Podiums are the most expensive so were saved for last. Was going to build a better platform for my DIY springs. But after hearing how much better Pods were, well why go to all that trouble for something not nearly as good? Smart move, the Podiums were the biggest improvement of all!
Well they should be for the money. Not cheap. But you do get what you pay for. Search around, there was someone recently who upgraded from Iso-Acoustics Gaia to Townshend and said it was well worth it they are much better. But I am afraid he may have posted that on the thread Ozzy started, which is a shame as Ozzy decided to delete that whole thread along with all the great information people had contributed to it. Oh well. My review thread is here https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/townshend-audio-podiums-the-full-review
The key as I put in my review, Max Townshend figured out a way to use just the right amount of damping to control the resonances that plague ordinary springs. Very clever design.
For sure you want Podiums under your speakers. Whether you use Pods or Podiums under the other components will depend on all kinds of things like the component, space and budget limitations, that kind of thing. If John Hannant or one of the others at Townshend is on it you are in good hands, everything he has said has checked out with me, big time.
+1. Though I don't use the Podiums under my speakers, I do use them, Platforms and the Pods under my equipment- to great effect- tighter bass, and more articulation of the notes. Worth the money, IMHO. And, they are built well and are attractive, too. Bob
I've purchased two sets of pods from the Townsend crew, I wound up paying over the phone with a lady named Sue, I figure that's his wife? All this based on MC's reviews and constant praise of the pods. Haven't received them yet. These will go under my TT's. Right now I'm using the isoacoustic pucks middle of the road units and as I remove them and place them back, make little to no difference, what a complete waste of money those were. Robber feet as I refer to them now.
Interesting question. They work great on my wood floor, a lot better than anything else I've tried. And there are guys with concrete and tile and hardwood etc. This is one of the demos that put me over the edge, Max stamps his foot from 15 feet away, you can see the spike speaker ringing while the Podium speaker is dead silent. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOPXJDdwtk4 That is one of those convention center solid concrete slab floors. Concrete transmits vibrations just fine. I knew this from growing up living in a basement, but still it is cool to see.
In spite of being isolating springs and all it does still seem to matter what they are placed on. Another guy on carpet said he tried a slab (wood or granite, I forget) under his and it improved detail even more. So I tried BDR Round Things under mine and sure enough, it was good before but even better with! No surprise I guess. None of this stuff is magic. It all works together. However good something is, it can always be tweaked and made just that little bit better.
Right. That's what did it for me. For a long time the prevailing wisdom has been to pretend that cones and spikes act like diodes that pass vibrations one way only. This never made much sense but it did seem to work.
Then Max came along and showed that not only do the vibrations go both ways, they come right back up through the floor into the speaker and cause the speaker to vibrate enough to smear transients and blur imaging and other fine detail.
It would seem that by allowing the speaker to move freely there will be a loss of dynamics. Because f=ma. But the mass of the speaker cabinet is so much greater than the moving mass of the cones this is negligible. What is not negligible is the ringing that is eliminated with springs. This is clearly demonstrated with the iPad seismograph.
What is harder to demonstrate, but easy to hear, is the improvement in detail and dynamics. Because dynamics are not just the absolute volume we hear, it is also the dynamic range from the quietest to the loudest that we hear. So while Podiums probably do take some tiny smidgen of volume off the top, they lower the noise floor so much that it creates the feeling of more dynamics not less.
This at any rate seems to be what I hear and noticed right away when using them. I know why I noticed too. It was because I was expecting less dynamics not more, and was surprised when it felt like more not less. Then I realized the reason: the ringing was gone!
I appreciate everyone's contribution, especially MILLERCARBON who has helped blaze this trail. I am in contact with John from Townsend and we are working on options. I told him I couldn't face trying to put the Sashas on the Podiums with the spikes and he said that I can slide the speakers flat bottomed onto the Podiums without spikes. That I think I can do. Has anyone compared flat bottomed versus spikes with the Podiums? I know myself well enough to know that if I do this Ill be listening and wondering if I am missing something additional by not putting them on spikes. If the bottoms are "flat" it doesn't seem like it would be a disadvantage. Coupling between the speaker and the Podium seems paramount. Its interesting that John continues to support his position that the Podiums are the first step, biggest bang for the buck step, over tackling the electronics. I've tried to get him to waver as I just hate messing with 200 pound speakers, but he remains steadfast in his position. My continued thanks to contributors.
I wouldn’t bother with spikes. But if it will bug you not to try them then by all means go for it.
My Moabs are almost as massive. Here’s how I turned it into a relatively easy one man job.
First, measure three corners of each speaker where they stand right now. Cut a piece of paper to match their footprint. Place the paper on the Podium centered L to R and back to where you think you will want it, with a lot more base sticking out in front than in back. Tape the paper to the Podium.
"Walk" the speaker off to one side. Put the Podium where you want the speaker to go. Measure to the corners of the paper to be sure it is exactly where you want it. Now all you have to do is walk the speaker onto the Podium.
Tilt and walk it close as you can get it. Watch the towers! When you’ve gone as far as you can this way, lean it onto the Podium, go around to the other side, and walk it the rest of the way into position. No heavy lifting, it is all a matter of balance and leverage.
If you want to do spikes, do spikes. Then use the same technique to remove them. Tilt the speaker to one side. Place a piece of wood under the raised side, remove the spikes on that side. Tilt and remove the wood, lower the speaker. Repeat on the other side. Leave the paper there to protect the finish on the speaker. Easy peasy.
Well, the game is on. I just ordered 2 #3 Podiums for the Sasha 2s, 2 #3 Platforms for the ARC REF10, an extra pod for the power supply box of the REF, and a #2 Platform for the dCS Bartok. I will let everyone know what I hear as I install it in a progressive way. (Not that I'm progressive, I meant in a serial fashion.) I plan to blame millercarbon if this does not meet every one of my audio wishes. I think others do that, so I'm just going with the flow!
That is a good plan. Rest assured you can blame me either way. Also you can blame me even for stuff I never came anywhere near! Robert Downey Jr warned me, goes with the territory. So long as you provide your own paint pen I am fine with autographs. Just please no cameras, the Millerazzi are beginning to annoy the neighbors.
Yes, they look great. They look more industrial than the ISO Acoustics. Look better and sound better, great! Plus, talk about first world problems...it looks like the person running the vacuum cleaner in my room can't run it into the sides of my Sasha's! Thanks for the posts.
As promised I received and installed my Podiums today. Thank you to Millercarbon and Ozzy for their encouragement as it wasn't so difficult to get my 200 pound speakers up on them. I just moved slowly and used towels to protect everything. I'm going to install my platforms over the weekend so this is just the Podiums so far. Also, I'm coming off of IsoAcoustics GAIA Is and the speakers are Wilson Sasha 2s. I have nothing but positives to say about the sound advantages of the GAIAs over spikes, especially their form factor and ease of use as opposed to spikes. That said at twice the price the Townsend Podiums need to be better. They are! Please forgive me in advance for my sometimes corny descriptions...I'm not a professional writer or reviewer! My most intense overall thought with the Podiums is how I am now able to track all the different melodies/instruments and vocals as distinct and separate rather than presented as a mass melody. For example on Mark Knopfler's 5:15AM his guitar just floats along distinctly embedded in the band, but clear to me in a way like never before. Other observations are as follows: -Bass notes sound like instruments not just a lower register sound. -Image is more precise laterally, vocals are in a specific place, and now not always centered. -increased clarity/focus is across the entire frequency range. That said, the upper midrange/female vocals are clearly more distinct/discreet. -I'm a more relaxed listener, probably less sibilance. (This is the first few hours so this might just be listener bias). -Goo Goo Dolls, Iris, lead singer has his own space and melody line, the rest of the band is clearly accompanying him...not a mass of sound. -Start and stop is more dramatic and note decay is longer against a quieter background. Along these lines I also notice a pace or timing improvement too. In the Shape of a Heart, solo vol. 2, Jackson Browne, the gaps are silent except for a little quiet whine of probably a string I never heard before in the "silence". -As far as a form factor, sometimes I think they look really cool and industrial, other times they look a bit much, and make my speaker look like a black octopus. That's a nit pick, whatever! In terms of value at $2600 they are the best accessory value I have ever made. Neil Gader in his TAS review said something like they were an essential upgrade. I didn't understand that then, but I do now. I recently bought two pairs of Cardas Clear Beyond interconnects(retail $8500). These were upgrades over a couple of very good $600 cables I picked through a shootout. The cable upgrade was clearly an improvement, but not of a scale of these Podiums, and certainly a dear price to have paid. The Podiums are a steal of an improvement in my system. When I started looking at this technology it went against everything I thought I knew about vibration and resonance control. The concepts are not hard to understand, but they were hard for me to believe. I'm a believer now! Highly recommended. I will let you know how the Platforms turn out this weekend. They are going one each under my two box ARC REF 10 preamp and one under my dCS Bartok streamer. As always, thanks to those of you helping me to learn more about this hobby!
Nice review, thanks! Especially nice to see someone transitioning from the Isoacoustics as a benchmark.
Having experimented with some spring footers and heard similar improvements to the ones you describe, I'm looking forward to picking up some Townshend Isolation Speaker Bars. (I would not be buying podiums because I like the more discrete looking bars, but also because I switch two different floor standing speakers in and out of my system and the bars allow the flexibility of fit I'd want).
+1, Congrats on your Townshend Isolated Speakers. Speakers of Sasha's caliber deserve an isolation product as good. I think a shout out to the nice folks at Townshend is in order. They make great quality equipment, and though not inexpensive, it does what it should.
@prof , I put the Townshend Bars underneath my Vandy Sub 3's. They work like a charm. B