Townshend Seismic Isolation Podium Platform Review:


Townshend Seismic Isolation Podium Platform Review:

Comparison:  To the Iso- Acoustics Gaia 1’s.

Procedure: I removed my Iso-Acoustics Gaia 1’s that I have had under my Focal Sopra 2’s speakers from their entry into my system to compare the sound with the Townshend Seismic Isolation Podium Platform.

With the 2 Townshend Seismic Isolation Podium Platform size 3 now in place. BTW,  I must add that I placed the order from Townshend in England from the USA on Tuesday, they were shipped on Thursday and I received both of them by Monday. Pretty fast shipping, Oh, if only the USPS could get there act together…

Starting with the bass. = There is definatly more clearly defined bass notes. Defined is my choice word. I listened to familiar tunes with prominent bass notes.  I like to imagine if I can feel a real bass player playing along. That is; with the power and tonality of a live performer. Can you feel the bass pluck?

Midrange. = I hear more hidden clues in the music. I listen for the clarity of the voice and instruments. Live recording’s is usually the best to examine. (See my conclusion below)

Treble. = The highs are extended naturally. Nothing added or taken away. I think the treble sounds more open, cymbals shimmer longer, better? Again, I think so.

Soundstage. = Definitely an improvement in both front/back side to side images. Very happy.

Conclusion:

Ok, I admit I am an old time rocker. My favorite group is Creedence Clearwater Revival. On the “Green River” tune (24/192hz download), previously I could sense the rhythm guitar of John’s older brother Tom strumming but could never quite hear it clearly. No wonder he got pissed.

Well today with the Townshend Platforms in place, I can hear the brother clearly strumming along, a little left of center, sort of floating above the speakers. This tells me that I am hearing deeper minute images that were once buried in the mix.

I like the livelier sound on the Led Zeppelin track “Rock & Roll” HD 24/96hz but it always seemed a little anemic, like it should sound more dynamic. Well now with Townshend Platforms in place it does! The drum whacks have more presence. And the cymbals really ride with the music. Most impressive.

The size of the Platforms fit my Focal Sopra 2’s perfectly, almost like they were made for them. Edge to edge in all directions, perfect fit. For smaller rooms the outrigger extensions may be cumbersome but in my open room they look fine.

Nothing negative to report, except maybe the cost. But I also own many Critical Mass footers that are quite impressive and I can’t believe what those little buggers’ cost.

Quite frankly, instead of trying other footers that are perhaps cheaper and sort of a band aid approach that will cause you to keep searchin’ for that missing element, go for the real thing(s) and finally enjoy your system.

ozzy


Bc4a0914 6194 48fd bd39 be2ab770836cozzy
ozzy, nice write-up; however you left out an important and critical detail - did your pup give the thumbs up?
Very interesting review thanks...
facten,
Well he did wag his tail...

ozzy
mahgister,
Thank you.

ozzy
Excellent. There's stuff like this that really matters, and Podiums are one of the bigger ones I have tried. But is hard to believe especially when only one or two talking about it. Really appreciate taking the time to write this up Oz, thanks!
Thanks millercarbon. Perhaps it is because there is no USA dealer. I know it made me pause. But John David Hannat from Townshend was very accessible and as I mentioned I couldn’t believe how fast it was delivered.

ozzy
Nice review. You can have the same results for much less money if you buy the bars instead of the podiums (that’s what Max Townshend said to me). Less easy to use I think.
 I had the bars, first under Analysis Audio Epsilon for a few years, and now under the Harbeth M40.2 Anniversary’s feet.
Townshend’s Pods under tube electronics are great also.
senza,
I understand what you are saying and I was contemplating getting them until I found this statement on What’s Best Forum about the two products.

"Got this response from a dealer to a similar query I asked and sharing for the benefit of all here:"
"For ultimate performance the Podiums are better than the bars, although both products are highly effective.
The Podiums spread the weight more evenly than the bars and are much easier to set up and fine tune. Also, for speakers over 50kg in weight, the podiums are very much recommended over the bars.
The bars are there really for customers that don’t have the budget for the podiums".

ozzy
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Nice work on the tweaks, tvad. Nobsound under tubes, springs in general, are quite the tweak for tubes. Pods are even better. Podiums are by far the better looking. Mine look almost like they were made for my Charcoal Moabs.


I find your review to be spot on to my experiences with Townshend products.
The first is a 'tighter' bass, more articutaled.
Second, is the 'cleaner' sound overall.

And, though you might be able to make something comparable, the Townshend products are attractively designed, which is probably why they cost more than others.

B
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Ozzy:
     Nice review. It always adds to the sport of this hobby when others are able to also review and share their opinion about equipment, an accessory, etc. I think you have only begun to see how much more you will be seeing and enjoying from your system with these in place. For want of a better term, the improvements somewhat sneak up on you when you don't expect them. You review is most detailed and informative. Things and experiences like this make you wonder how we many other things we may have gotten wrong (i.e spikes) and what else there may be we have to discover. Good luck with these and otherwise.
You got that right. Oz and some of the others have been around long enough to know this, but I was a huge fan of BDR Cones and stiff massive carbon fiber. Springs were such a radically different concept from the status quo it was hard to see how it could work. But the Townshend video was compelling, all the springs I tried were way better than BDR, and when finally Townshend turned out to be way better than all the other springs. 

Turns out there is a good explanation for why these things work. But there is also a lot of stuff out there that does indeed work, we just maybe haven't yet figured out how. And probably a whole lot more stuff that works but we haven't even heard of it yet. 
tvad, gdnrbob,pmiller115,milercarbon,
Thanks for your comments.
I am really glad millercarbon posted the thread. It made me dig deeper for info. I see that the platforms were also awarded accessory of the year by Audiophile Magazine.

I am using Critical Mass footers under all my audio components except the speakers and subs. They look relatively pedestrian and inexpensive but boy do they help the signal transfer and cost a lot more.

ozzy
I tried so many things, under speakers and everything else, and the BDR system of carbon fiber Cones and Shelf was so much better that it was my reference for decades. Then I was shocked to find springs so much better, and for a lot less money too which hardly ever happens.

Probably would have stopped right there were it not for John Hannant leading me onto the Townshend Pods and Podiums. They have been around a long time but pretty much off the radar here in the US and with nobody I knew about using them it took me a while to feel like giving them a try. Once I did though, wow!

Obviously others had used them before, just hardly anyone knew about it. When I find something really good like this, well it’s just the coolest thing to let people know. Don’t care if it’s a spring or a rubber band, a Schumann generator or a cable elevator, if it helps the magic I am all for it. This stuff totally helps make the magic.

This helps in a general sense too. Because the way I see it, what this shows is not just that this one particular thing is really good, but that this one fundamental concept is really good. That idea being, to leave each component free to vibrate on it’s own. Works with speakers, turntables, amps, source components. Works with speaker cables, interconnects, power cords. Recently cut my crossovers free from the brace they were mounted on, working on testing how well it works there. This is now as far as I’m concerned a proven concept.

Where else can we use it? Think of something, try it- find out!
"Because the way I see it, what this shows is not just that this one particular thing is really good, but that this one fundamental concept is really good." MC


I agree, but let's not forget that it wasn't so long ago that we were being advised to rigidly couple everything together as far as possible - speakers/stands/floor, tonearms/head-shells/cartridges.

Now were seeing a complete 180 degree turnaround in a matter of years. Some even going as far as introducing compliant cartridge mounting.

I still remember in Hi-Review of one senior reviewer casually admitting that he preferred his cartridge sound with the bolts slightly loosened but decided against it because of what his more esteemed colleagues had told him. 

A fine example of dogma-led thinking.



@senza,

I'm a little surprised that you found the Townshend bars to be effective under the Harbeth M40.2s. 

If ever there was one speaker brand where all of the effects of cabinet/driver resonance had been taken into careful consideration, it would be Harbeth.

With my Tannoys even a few 3mm x 44mm sorbothane/rubber squares have similar effect as the OP has described. 

Anyway it's good to know that even further improvements via the Townshend Platforms (or even undamped springs alone) might be available if the need ever arises.

Excellent review Ozzy!

I’m still waiting to pull the trigger on the Seismic Speaker Bars (I have other things I may buy first).

I’d considered giving the Iso- Acoustics Gaia’s a whirl but when building my turntable isolation base I tried the isoacoustics pucks under the platform and they didn’t do much to isolate relative to the Townshend pods I had, and I tried the pucks under my speakers too and didn’t particularly care for the results. I figure I’ll just skip them and go for the gold :-)
I mentioned in millercarbon's thread that I tried a cheap version of spring footers under my Thiel speakers and they amazed me in terms of tighting up the bass, opening up the sound, refining everything (though the sound got a bit too laid back).    I've been integrating a subwoofer recently and while it is also helping open up the soundstage more, it didn't have quite the amazing effect of making the speakers disappear and refining and digging out more information as the springs did.
@cd318,

I’m surprised also. But don’t forget the bars are under the Hifi Racks support, not directly under the speaker.
I will soon receive a pair of Kensington to compare with the Harbeth. So I can try with and without the bars.
The Review has returned!

ozzy
Thanks.
I also posted some pictures of them under my speakers in my systems page.

ozzy
@senza, yes it will be interesting to see what happens.

Much of what I've learnt about this hobby has largely come from the writing of two men - Peter Aczel and Alan Shaw.

The sheer depth of research, testing and innovation that goes into a Harbeth loudspeaker, particularly the design of its BBC style thin-walled cabinet, would suggest that a Harbeth loudspeaker might be the one place where speaker isolation would have no sonic benefit.

After all, haven't all the panels, the joints, the assembly, the way the baffle is attached to the frame, the way the drivers are attached to the baffle in a Harbeth all been designed in such a way to render cabinet resonances below the threshold of audibility?

Alan Shaw has previously indicated that he doesn't even believe that purpose built stands are necessary. Didn't he once test one of his designs as it was casually stacked on top of a pile of telephone directories?

So if some form of isolation is having a measurable effect, then perhaps someone should tell Alan? 

Could it be that even the much vaunted relatively low mass Harbeth cabinet is not as free from internal resonances (or ringing as MC likes to put it) as was previously thought?

I would tend to think anything mechanical must be affected by its relationship to the surface it's placed upon. Therefore it seems obvious that this must, to some extent at least, (depending upon the speaker and its location) also apply to loudspeaker performance. 

However it would still be interesting to hear what experienced loudspeaker designers think of this issue.
Wow that is one impressive fantasy you got going there!

Internal resonances are internal resonances, distinctly different than ringing, which is just a fact and not anything to do with how I like to put it. Actually for the record the ringing description came from Max and his video. But it is a really good and accurate description and so since I like to be accurate I use it.

Feel free any time you want to stop spinning fantasies and start writing clearly to use it yourself- when appropriate, please!
My Podiums and three Platforms were shipped yesterday and will be delivered Friday so I will be adding my views on Townsend soon! I'm a lot more excited about these devices than any of my previous tweaks or cables. So out of my prior experience and comfort zone! Is anyone thinking there is a break in period?
Did you order the Platforms for under speakers?

ozzy
@wokeuptobose,
No, there is no break in process. The platforms/pods/podiums just do their thing.
B
No, they are springs, no break-in. Just take your time getting them set up, speakers perfectly positioned, nice and level. Then kick back and enjoy!
@millercarbon,

"Internal resonances are internal resonances, distinctly different than ringing"


Thanks for the clarification. 
They cost more than whats on them but don't let that stop you.

Daddy's money so strong
Recently put together a DIY turntable platform: 1 1/4" granite slab sandwiched to 5/8" ground steel plate with 1/8" sound damping polymer between. Set this on 4 Townshend pods and plopped my Brinkmann Balance on top ... wow this I believe outperforms any HRS or SRA platforms I've had in the past with the advantage of the ability to level the gear with the Townshend pods.
Very impressed.
everest,
Nice DIY project. I would guess your slab/steel plate is pretty heavy. How many of the pods did you use?

ozzy
Thanks, yeah the granite/steel platform weighed in at approx. 120 lb. (about the max I could slug up onto the equipment rack) and turntable at 77, so I choose 4 appropriately sized Townshend pods and double sided taped them to the bottom of the steel. 
The spring action works great ... quite compliant yet well damped so almost zero oscillation.

Highly recommended for any non suspended turntable and the bonus is the ability to level the unit.
And all at a substantially less cost than most of the common commercial offerings.
Plus, you can make your platform to the exact size you want.
Really like it.
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everest,
Any plans to get the platforms for under your speakers?

ozzy