Thanks for sharing your experience. I had quite a journey in trialing various isolation devices as well on my turntable,and found that they all imparted come sort of color to the music. The only isolation device that I've found to be completely neutral is the Minus K platform for the turntable. Besides spending thousands for a minus K platform, the next best option that I found (better than hockey pucks) was a three layered rubber isolation device made for industrial purposes to isolate various motorized components. The pieces I bought were manufactured by Vibrasystems. You can buy various sized squares for a few bucks.
Turntable Isolation Journey
Nearing the end of my journey to solve footfall & feedback issues in my small-room "home office" system with very bouncy floor and flexible walls. Turntable is the only source here -- and it’s a Clearaudio Innovation Compact with no suspension or special isolation feet. This system always sounded good, but was rendered nearly unusable at higher volumes due to turntable isolation that was inadequate relative to this room’s challenges. The worst artifact was when structure-borne feedback from the speakers would cause amp clipping on bass-heavy tracks. This clipping would manifest as an extremely loud singular POP sound, especially hitting the tweeters. It only occurred during the loudest parts of track with bass-heavy elements, and was so loud it was still significantly above the level of the music -- much louder than a POP you would hear from vinyl surface defects. The POP sound was startling, and clearly very bad for tweeters (fortunately my Tannoys seem to have survived several of these incidents). For a time I thought these POPs were from static electricity discharge, but they were NOT. In my quest I tried many solutions and tweaks over a few months, and I’d like to share a rundown of what worked versus what didn’t.
What Helped (MVP products & tweaks):
- Townshend Seismic Isolation platform -- Single biggest difference maker, for combating both footfalls and structure-borne feedback from speakers. Amazingly-well designed and built. Leveling was a snap. Well worth the price! If you spend money on isolation, spend it here. Highly Recommended. I’m now considering more Townshend products for under my speakers and in the big loft rig.
- Rack Bracing -- Pushed rack right up against the wall (stud / drywall) with a 2’x2’x2" Auralex foam panel tightly wedged in between the top half of rack & wall. This SIGNIFICANTLY cleaned up rack oscillation from footfalls. I see a LOT of folks with nice turntables atop tower-style audio racks, and they could benefit greatly from this "hack". It is cheap & free; the only downside is you may need to reposition your rack. I learned about this "hack" by a couple comments buried in "turntable isolation" threads searched via google. This really CANNOT be overstated.
- HOCKEY PUCKS -- Placed under rack spikes in place of the stock aluminum cups or Herbie’s Giant Gliders. Just let the spikes sink right in! This actually cleaned up the very last bit of energy from footfalls; foot stomps with needle-in-groove are now DEAD QUIET. super cheap and effective! Far superior to most audiophile footer devices. Might also help in rack bracing by tightly constraining the rack between wall & floor (Herbie’s Gliders were too slippery).
- Rack positioning -- Get your turntable & rack away from the speakers. If you can move the rack far enough behind your speakers, that might be OK, but most rooms cannot accommodate enough depth for this. Placing the rack several feet down a sidewall worked best in this room. Choosing a structural wall also aids in rack bracing. Make sure you don’t place the rack in a room "node" where bass is amplified. Walk around while music is playing to find a nice quiet-ish spot. I kept my amps by the speakers and ran 5 meter XLR cables from the preamp / rack.
- Critical Mass Sotto Voce rack -- the rack is gorgeous and nicely rigid, but doesn’t have nearly enough mass to combat the bouncy floor in this room. Once braced against a wall, the rigidity of this rack was allowed to shine. However, before the bracing, its performance was poor. I will say I have Critical Mass’s Maxxum rack in my (main) loft system on a more solid floor, and the immense mass & rigidity of that rack was game-changer for that system. I do like CMS products, but they are dearly expensive.
- Critical Mass Black Platinum filter -- Top shelf of the rack. This actually has a significant positive effect, but is limited to the midrange and treble frequencies. It cannot combat footfalls or low frequency feedback. I still like and use this platform, but at more than twice the cost of a Townshend platform it belongs in this category.
- SOTA Nova V Turntable -- I thought this table’s suspension would render it impervious to room issues, but it’s not. It helped with footfalls but some structure-borne feedback was still getting through. I suspect the suspension needs a tune-up. Quite frankly I think the OLD suspension (it started life as a 1990s Star III) was better tuned and more stable before it came back as a fully rebuilt Nova V, circa 2018. The new vacuum platter was a huge improvement but the new suspension has been disappointing. The Clearaudio deck also sounds a bit better, so now with the Townshend platform it’s an easy choice. Note that the Townshend also uses springs as its isolation mechanism, but I noticed that the Townshend’s oscillation is far better controlled and damped versus the SOTA. You can SEE and HEAR its performance advantage.
- ISOAcoustics Gaia III speaker feet -- these seemed to have some small positive benefit, but honestly not a lot. Not worth the money.
- Lovan Sovereign modular rack (three 10" modules high) -- these are very similar to the VTI racks I see everywhere (which I’m also familiar with). These racks lack rigidity and stability. I would not recommend placing a nice turntable on one of these racks. However, if you do, please brace it against a wall (Auralex foam works great). They’re relatively cheap and look good, so I at least understand their popularity. If you have this rack, at least try hockey pucks under its spikes :)
What Was Worthless (Don’t waste your money like I did):
I’m not going to bother expanding upon these; suffice to say they had no discernible positive effect.
- ISOAcoustics Orea Indigo feet (under maple board & turntable).
- Symposium Segue ISO turntable platform
- Herbie’s Lab Giant Gliders (steel) - Placed under Sotto Voce rack spikes
- Speaker spikes -- at least they look cool :)
The Minus-K solution looks amazing and was absolutely next on my radar, but the Townshend platform in conjunction with other noted factors has solved this particular system to my satisfaction :)
That's interesting on the Vibrasystems rubber, I'll look them up - definitely cool how effective some cheap solutions can be. And conversely frustrating how INeffective some expensive solutions are; of course every setup is different!
I just went through this recently when I purchased a (new-to-me) Herron phono stage (I couldn't resist when it came up for sale recently).
After getting it installed, I was having the same issues you are having. I spoke to Keith Herron about it,asking him about adding a resistor to knock those low frequencies out that are causing the problem. He talked me out of adding a resistor in the phono stage (which I had done on my Modwright) and just using an equalizer to get those low frequencies out.
I ordered a Schitt Lokius unit, and even though it's inexpensive, is a very good little unit, absolutely quiet. I can recceommend it if your fix is involved around doing what I I wound up doing.
Love the Herron, by the way. Regards,
Hi @mulveling It is no secret on the Gon that I have spent a lot of time over the years producing structures to support equipment and speakers.
It was my loaning to a friend the AT616 Footers I continually utilise so they could experience suspended speakers, that made such an impression that they were prompted to try out an easier to acquire design, which become Townsend Bases and are now advocates of these. I am more very confident in suggesting them to be tried as I have first hand experiences of Townsend Bases in use and the benefits they create.
We will have shared similar ambitions and intent, but our environments used for setting up the System are quite different to the one in your report. I started out on Concrete Floors and Concrete Ceilings with Brick and Plaster Finished walls.
I am now using my Structures in an environment where there are Concrete Floors, Dry Wall Board Ceilings with Brick and Plaster finished walls.
I also share the confidence you have expressed in the use of a foam, I use it as a Tier Material in a range of densities and even have one that has proven over the past seven years to be chosen over other options for materials that have a similar structural property. This foam is a product that is substantially compressed and weighs in at approx' 700Kg a Cubic mtr. As an up to date outlook, It does look like from now on Densified Wood is likely to supersede this Compressed Foam material in the positions it has been used.
Many years ago I tried affordable footers, inclusive of Squash Balls, Spent Squash Balls collected from Sports Centres and Hockey Pucks (some will claim a Hockey Puck should be spent as well when used as a footer material). One other affordabe footer that might offer a further improvement is a Astronomers Tripod Footer, they are like a Hockey Puck but absorb energy that would cause the resolution of the Scopes reflections to be less sharp, due to energy transferral through the Tripod.
I have really enjoyed the learning to be had over many years of creating structures, there is most likely a off the shelf short cut, but it will most likely come with quite a few 0000's in the price tag. Such a short cut will not allow for such investigations into how certain materials interfaced in certain ways can change a perception of how the audible qualities are effected. There is also the strong possibility the structures produced are performing as a close match or share parity with the off the shelf product.
I will also mention Solid Tech 'Feet of Silence', used as a footer in direct contact with the Plinth of the TT in use, this footer has shown to be quite an attractive option in place of the AT 616. I am yet to discover a footer that has made the same impression as this one. There are designs of footer available that are variant of the FOS, and are much more affordable. One forum member who has contributed regularly to the Analog Section, has made it known in a previous post they use a variant design and are quite impressed with how they perform.
+1 on the Townshend Isolation Platform. After hearing a great improvement in clarity with my Legacy spekaers using the Townshend bars over the Isoacoustic Gaia II, I tried the Isolation Platform under my Ovation. Previously I had the Isoacoustics Delos platform under the Ovation, and the Townshend improved over the Delos. While it isn't a night and day difference, there is defintely increase in midrange clarity, presumably by lowering of bass - mid bass resonance. Didn't really know it was there until it was gone! This wasn't as big of an improvement as going from the Gaias to the Townshend bars, though. Seems the Gaias were still transferring too much energy to my suspended floor.
Nice, the Herron is a very good phono stage and I still have one around. At one point I thought the different subsonic filtering between phono stages and SUTs could have some impact, but in the end didn’t find any meaningful difference among the combinations tried (4 different phono stages, including Herron with and without SUT). None of the phono stages were even slightly at fault here.
Your post reminded me, I also tried the KAB rumble filter. This was 100% effective at protecting from amp clipping and always kept the woofers rock solid steady -- no more flapping! However I felt it DID have a slightly negative impact on ultimate transparency and dynamics. If left with no other option it’s a good tool, but addressing the issue via proper isolation is superior. I feel my currently isolation grants (roughly) 90% the protection of the KAB, without sonic penalty.
Very nice! Thanks for sharing your considerable experience. I feel like a baby in this area, but am happy to at least be crawl-walking now lol. Concrete slab floor is a dream for a future system :)
You Ovation looks fantastic with that Tracer arm, on that Townshend! The Ovation and Innovation Compact are truly the "sweet spot" of the Clearaudio lineup. You can hear the same quality of sound that’s in the Master Innovation. I almost bought a Delos and am glad I didn’t, but it’s at least possible these products could be effective in some systems. I was also kind of shocked how much energy still gets dumped into my suspended wood floor through the Gaia III’s. Superficially these feet are "suspension like", but unfortunately they don't seem to be as effective as a real spring suspension. I bet the difference with a Townshend podium would be huge.
BTW killer setup @mulveling. Those Tannoys probably sound as a good as they look. I thought you were running Rogue monoblocks at one point? Edit: Thanks, the Tracer arm has been rock solid (so to speak) and I've run super light, high compliance to heavier mid compliance carts successfully, although my current Stanton has a resonant frequency of 7hz. Perhaps a bit shy of desired range, but doesn't seem to have a real world effect to my ears. Anyway, it seems both you are I are somewhat underwhelmed by the Isoacoustics products in our systems, I'm sure others have had better success.
Yes, I still have those Rogue Apollo monoblocks -- ran them as my main amp (in non-Dark and later Dark form) in the big loft system for the better part of 10 years. I tried swapping lots of components during the struggles with this smaller system. I must say, the Apollos are so powerful they were NEVER once driven into clipping, even at loud volumes with improper speaker & turntable isolation. However, I realized throwing gobs of power at the problem was not a proper solution. And in the end, I prefer the sweet refined sound of VAC tube amps, albeit at a much higher price tag per Watt. The Apollos are still great amps!
I've been really pleased with the Tannoy Glenair 10's in this small system. I have Canterbury GR in my main system, which I love, and have been surprised how well the much cheaper Glenairs hold up (unfortunately long discontinued). They're easily my 2nd favorite 10" Tannoy after Kensington.
@gakerty I wouldn’t worry a bit about that 7hz resonant frequency. As you know, these Clearaudio tables don’t rumble...at all. And you can get the ring clamp if warps ever cause woofer flapping problems. For a time I though I could (at least partially) address my issues by choosing an arm+cart with the "right" resonant frequency, but the truth is there’s no avoiding the need for proper isolation -- until you solve this, almost ANY resonant frequency will be excited by footfalls and/or LF feedback.
@mulveling It is the continuation of creating experiences with different materials in a Support Structure and the very positive outcomes, that has been the Cornerstone of my other endeavor, which has been to work with electrical interfaces, mainly those that are achievable by a non-EE skilled individual.
When the Source and System are able to deliver in a manner that has a much reduced smearing and the details, micro details and envelope of a note and vocal are manifesting in a way that is quite perceivable as being improved. Changes to interfaces that are effecting the signal path are able to create very noticeable affects on the presentation and quality of the signal. It may be time to swap out or reconfigure some of the Cables used. A change of a Cart' Tag Wire can be quite something. Tube Rolling if some tubes are kept for this can also be revisited, as there is even more on offer from these simplistic exchanges, when the source and speakers are delivering in an improved condition.
Thank you so much for your sharing your detailed report! Very informative indeed.
I was wondering if you could share a link of the specific 3 layer rubber pad from Vibrasystems that you found to be so effective?
Thanks again and best wishes,
Excellent detailed post and a terrific contribution to the forum! Thanks!
I also had a long thread on my trying out various solutions in building an isolation base for my Transrotor Fat Bob S turntable. It's amazing how similar our conclusions were!
First, my sources are all in a separate room from my listening room. That's already a good thing in terms of reducing any influence from the speakers in the room on the turntable.
But I had very little space and had to use my old Lovan tubular rack because it was narrow enough. But it's a pretty flimsy rack, not solid at all. Plus it was on a sprung wood floor and my tall son stomps around like Frankenstein, so footfall was an issue too.
I bought tons of isolation stuff, testing it in all sorts of ways with vibrometer measuring apps, to see which isolated best.
I tried sorbothane products, wall damping, isoacoustics, MDF, constrained layer damped metals etc. It was finally the Townshend spring-based Iso Pods that did the trick. They isolated waaay better than anything else. Put the isoacoustic pucks to shame.
So I ended up with the turntable on a 2 1/2" thick maple butcher block (wanted that wood look). Then that sits upon a constrained layer combo of two MDF sheets, which sandwich a layer of steel with wall damp material on each side. Man, just that MDF/Steel/Wall damp combo is super dead to the rap test!
Then under that I have the Townshend pods. The pods are really doing most of the isolation work. I can place my vibration app on the turntable and stomp all around the floor by the turntable and almost nothing registers.
I was impressed enough with the Townshend pods to try the Townshend isolation bars under my speakers (which sit on a shag rug over a sprung wood floor). In that case, once again, the spring based solution clearly isolated very well. If I was playing bass heavy tracks I could feel the floor (and sofa) vibrating but with the speakers isolated with the springs, the floor was absent of any vibration.
For me that turned out to be a good and a bad thing. The speakers did tighten up in the bass etc, but I actually preferred both the tone and the punchiness of the speakers just sitting on the floor. For my taste the springs isolated a bit too much and I lost some "room feel" in the bass.
So I've been on to experimenting with tons of stuff under my speakers. I have the Isoacoustic Gaia 2 footers and I preferred them to the Townshend, since there were a 1/2 point - they isolated and tightened things up, but not to the degree of the springs. It's clear that I want *some* isolation effect but also some engagement with the room. So I'm trying all sorts of combos.
This is where the hockey pucks come in! I actually replaced the Gaias on the front of my speakers with speaker spikes in to hockey pucks. I love the result. The pucks seem to keep things tight but still pass some level of vibration in to the floor, so the sound is also really punchy.
I've tried a variety of other things too and still experimenting. Right now I've put a 1 1/4" thick granite bass beneath the speakers too. That didn't actually tighten up the sound much in of itself, but I like the look and will try to work with it.
Anyway...thanks for sharing your results in such detail!
@noromance +1 for concrete
Although it's very difficult to implement across a bouncy wood floor.
My system is in the basement standing on very large marble and stone slabs, they standing on the concrete screed in the ground. I have called this infinite mass loading. If we can take the mass of Earth to be infinite relative to that of the little stylus riding the little groove.
Those suffering the pain of a suspended floor might consider putting two rolled steel joints in it spanning between two solid walls and build the system supports onto those. A radical solution but a solid one! When considering the cost, consider the cost of your system and media and the long-term compromised sound; not to mention the cost of all the isolation systems you want to try.
I am blessed with a concrete floor in my house-addition dedicated listening room. I have steel post supports in my stand filled with sand. I removed the spikes and set them on a single hockey puck. I have glued and screwed two piece of masonite under each shelf for great density and vibration absorption.
Audiophile riddle : What is better than a hockey puck?
Answer : two hockey pucks
Yes sir, I discovered this by complete accident. Per this discussion, I have three stacks of two under my Project RPM 10 isolation base, touching the base, not on the footers (experimentation recommended).
A tweak of the tweak : hockey pucks are seldom flat, with one side a little concave and the other a little convex. Flip them until they seat. I use three stacks of two under all my full sized rack components, resting on the chassis, not the feet. This works sometimes even with small components like the iFi microphono 3 (1 set of two). For other small devices and my Furman power conditioners, I have found folded rugs suffice and can be cut to size.
Thanks for the great feedback everyone :)
@macg19 Awesome -- you’ll love the Innovation Compact! I currently have this 12" Universal on it transplanted (left over) from my Master Innovation, but a Tracer or Graham Phantom should be an ideal match. I’ve actually been meaning to get my 10" Phantom over here -- I’ve preferred it to the Universal in prior comparisons, and was wondering if the 12" length might exacerbate isolation issues? And you’re right, this is not a proper use case the Symposium. I originally got it for my girlfriend’s Fluance RT85, and just had it laying around. But it didn’t help the Fluance, either :(
@no_regrets Thanks! However, it was the very helpful @pindac who has the recommended Vibrasystems product.
@deancacioppo A wall mount is an interesting option, but a) this system resides in my girlfriend’s home, and b) I was too lazy :)
@prof Awesome! That’s always refreshing to get validation from someone with a similar journey -- thank you. Hockey pucks under speaker spikes is a brilliant idea, I’ll try that. Also agree you’re onto something with finding the right balance between speaker isolation and room interaction. These various solutions clearly impact perceived bass response. Now that my isolation has been properly solved at the turntable, I’m free to get more experimental with speaker mountings -- I can pick what subjectively sounds best rather than having to choose feet for maximum energy reduction. Also, I really tried to figure out how to get the rack into another room, but it just isn’t workable in this particular situation.
@singingg Interesting note on the double hockey pucks! I was wondering why pucks might work so much better than (say) Herbie’s gliders, and part of me thinks it might have to do with the nice mass & size of pucks. No material, no matter how magic, can work effectively if there’s not enough of it. Even the "giant" Herbie’s gliders are simply puny compared to a single hockey puck. Pucks are massive enough to have effect, but still easy to work with under components. So that theory works nicely with your double hockey puck assertion. I just ordered 2 dozen more from amazon :)
And yes guys, concrete under your floor is the best lol. I feel like we can categorize rooms by their challenge level for vinyl sources:
Also forgot to mention, I’ve had these 1" thick granite slabs since forever. They ring like crazy. Tried them under my speakers (with Herbie’s Giant Fat Dots under each corner) and they just sounded BAD. Really bad. I realize this was not a good setup -- granite with proper damping (e.g. sandwich with sheets of some kind of isolation material) could possibly be great. But my lazy granite application was just awful. It made the sound bright, dry, brittle.
The Kuzma, like the Herzan, are active units and based on my discussions with Franc Kuzma and Mike Lavigne, respectively, neither product is designed to deal with footfalls, which the Minus K is capable of absorbing. Instead, those active units maintain a sort of constant balance through a feedback loop (my description may be crude but I understand similar tech is used to keep centrifuge floors level).
I’m running 245 lbs worth of TT, including HRS plinth it sits on- the Minus K has a metal top so you want something between that and the table/plinth unless the latter is already able to deal w/ a metal interface.
I use the largest bench top model- they are spec’d to load and you want to load them close to max to get the most out of them. Since I’m in an old Victorian wooden house with wood floors, the Minus K wasn’t an extravagance but a necessity. If you pursue the active isolation tables, make sure you have a stable base already because given my understanding above, they aren’t meant to deal with wallowing floors and the sort of resonance created by footfalls. I’d say the engineered slab is the start.
I'd love to try a Minus-K some day. Amazing tech; they truly look like magic! Though, I do feel this particular system is "well enough" solved for now. Perhaps my opinion will change in the long run.
Haven't tried an active platform either, but I've read enough -- like the problem with footfalls -- to give me pause on them.
I have my old Dual CS-7000 sitting on my file cabinet. Some would expect it to ring like a bell, but they don't understand that in addition to providing storage for media and cables, it is also a 700# fire safe on steel wheels which have only a very narrow line contact point with the floor. it even has spoke wheels for better isolation! For $50 at a surplus office furniture store it has a cost/benefit ratio that cannot be beat. At about 5 feet high, it puts the platter above the line of fire from the main speakers and just about the perfect height for me to check stylus condition and positioning.
For name-droppers, the cabinet is a 4-drawer Remington Rand "Safe-File", made in the USA some time in the 1940's. Many thousands were made, but you will do better looking in an office surplus store than an audiophile shop. I frequent both but only locally as shipping can be a bear in both categories.
"Precisely calibrated feedback can be of great value..."
I n my present listening environment, I have a Robust Design for a Cantilever Wall Mount Shelf that is set up to be used.
This can take substantial weight. I have used it with a Tiered Sub Plinth Set Up built of it and also have had a Sub Plinth Suspended from it.
Either of these methods have presented quite similar, their are small differences, as is always the case when a variant of a Support Structure is produced.
Due to Source Equipment Security concerns the Cantilever has not had the weight loaded in a manner I usually put in place on top of a Rack Structure.
The Cantilever Shelve is used for the Digital Source and the Rack is used for the Analogue Source.
When creating the Structure under the Rack, producing methods for the Bracing of the Rack (dense foam as separator and tension strap the Racks together), along with the methods used to produce the TT Supporting Structure above the Racks Top Shelve. The assembly has proved to be very good for creating interesting discoveries and continued reconfigurations of the Structure has really honed the presentation to one I do not want to be without.
The Racks come with a cost, but it is bespoke produced for me by a now deceased friend who's hobby was wood turning. Footers are going to cost varying sums of money, there is a need to Spend that is difficult to avoid or Clone, this will be needed if the better experiences are to be had through using certain types of footer. The combined cost of all the materials and footers collected over quite a few years is probably less than a £1000, the recent acquirement of Densified Wood Board has been £500, but I do see more of this to be purchased as it has impressed so much. For me, I have paid to learn a variety of lessons, certainly not the type of monies a dedicated Isolation Platform will command. I have been hands on, enjoyed the curiosities and thought processes used, the monies have been well spent in my view.
What is the outcome of working with the different interfaces that can be produced as a equipment support and for the management of energies thar are being transferred. For me the system that commenced being built approx' 20 years past and much of the early acquired devices that remains in use, is a keeper.
The system mounted on a well thought through structure has enabled me to have identified items used in the system that are in my assessments functioning as constraints.
The more recent choices made for the replacements of items recognised as constraints are pretty much showing to me, the system as built over many years is a superb experience and a is to be kept.
Run parallel with this the non-EE Skilled interfaces that can be put in place and there is something very special to be achieved. I certainly don't consider needing new anything at a get on board fee of $5k, 10$ or up to $50K, I have demo'd A/B against items up to these values, and am not feeling there was something amiss from my end.
Thanks for this @mulveling !
My main system is in my living room on a suspended wooden floor. My new Stabi R is on the top shelf of a SolidSteel 3 level rack. It sits on a Symposium Svelte platform which covers a Vibraplane. I bet the Symposium svelte shelf would work nicely on top of the Townshend Seismic Isolation platform, not for footfalls but for higher frequency vibrations. This is the advantage of the pricey HRS platforms. Their footers absorb down to very low frequencies and their constrained layer damping platforms absorb higher frequencies generated by the component. I use HRS shelves throughout my system. If I could only afford their racks as well...
I use the Townshend Seismic Platforms under my Vandersteen Quatro Woods. A vast improvement over Herbies gliders.
I am wondering if you could expand on rack bracing and use of the Aurelex foam. Not sure I understand what the foam is doing here and how the rack is braced.
The bottom line is Does It Work for YOU? Ingenuity and experience are often able to trump pure marketing hype and money when carefully accommodating the realities of the space you have to work with.
When I picked up my Nakamichi Dragon a few years back, the seller was listening to it using equipment that cost much more than I would ever dream of investing, and the sound was very good - even though it was in the middle of an active clothing warehouse. He had a small table, a couple of desk chairs, some wine, and very nice jazz to listen to. His point was that he can only demonstrate that the unit works well, but how it sounds to ME in My Home, is up to me - the system components and environment I choose to set up will make more difference than any one part, although each will affect the whole.
I, and I believe you, will never stop being curious if this or that little (or big) tweak will make the difference we are looking for, but in truth, all we have is the enjoyment of the journey. The road to Nirvana has no end except our own and it appears you have found a few things you can enjoy and be satisfied with (at least for now) along the way. I look forward to discussing many aspects of aural enjoyment in the future with many "Gon" devotees, each with different ears, experiences and resultant recommendations. My aging ears have not been golden in decades, but like you, I know what makes my listening area an enjoyable space.
It’s very simply just a shim of flat material that you wedge tightly between the rack and the wall behind it. Just push the rack against the panel to hold it tightly in place - press & friction fit. For the shim I’d previously used a semi-rigid panel (the red backing in my 1st turntable pic above), but now I’ve ended up using a single 2" thick Auralex foam tile. I like the foam because its compliance facilitates good contact area for both the wall and rack frame, plus it helps reject vibrational energy in the wall itself.
The idea is that nearby footfalls (on bouncy floors) cause a ripple shockwave which sends your rack into oscillation, because it lacks infinite rigidity & mass. The maximum displacement from oscillation is observed at the TOP of the rack (normally back & forth, but could also be side to side), which is unfortunately right where our turntables reside. Such displacement can easily excite the arm + cartridge resonant frequency (even if in the "ideal" 8 - 12 Hz zone), which causes us so much angst. The idea with the wedged material is to damp & reduce this oscillation, by bracing the rack against the wall exactly where it’s needed. This significantly reduces both duration of oscillation and its maximum displacement. It works kind of like a constrained layer sandwich that "changes direction": floor > rack feet > rack frame > shim > wall. It allows your rack to leverage the strengths of both floor and wall.
Before this "hack", what I noticed was a sort of tradeoff with my Sotto Voce rack frame which was rigid but low mass: the rigidity somewhat reduced maximum displacement, but then this rigidity happily transferred more of the shockwave energy to the turntable. Meanwhile the Lovan lacked rigidity which resulted in a HUGE max displacement, but the frame itself was kind of lossy on overall energy transfer. The result was that both racks were roughly equally bad with footfalls, but the more visible displacement from the Lovan was quite disconcerting to see. The wedge / shim trick works well with both racks :)
I was looking at SolidSteel racks a while ago and almost went that direction. Quite honestly they look like a solid back-for-buck on a nicely rigid rack. I think if you can get enough contact area on the frame to brace them against a wall, the result should be quite excellent. And yes, HRS racks look amazing too but like CMS they are quite expensive and I’m still not sure they’re a complete solution on their own to combat these really bouncy floors.
Interesting. My 1 1/4" thick granite slab did not produce a brittle sound at all. However, it is also sitting on a 1 1/2" thick layer of wood (Cedar I think) between it and the floor, which seems to further absorb vibrations. If I just hold up the granite and hit it with my knuckles it rings. But sitting on the wood bass the rap test yields a very dead "thunk."
Nonetheless I was actually talking with a contractor today about his building me an alternate version using a constrained layer damping approach. Two 3/4" slabs of granite, in between a sheet of metal (bronze because I like the color) with wall damping on both sides of the metal.
This formation worked remarkably well when I made an MDF sandwich shelf with the steel/wall damping in between. The difference in the knuckle rap test with just the MDF vs with the steel/damping included was pretty profound.
You had mentioned up earlier in this thread "....Besides spending thousands for a minus K platform, the next best option that I found (better than hockey pucks) was a three layered rubber isolation device made for industrial purposes to isolate various motorized components. The pieces I bought were manufactured by Vibrasystems...."
Would you be willing to share a link to these "three layered rubber isolation devices" with us. I'd really like give them a try, but I want to make sure I'm getting the correct ones.
Thank you so much and best wishes,
Oops, sorry it was indeed @drbond with the Vibrasystems recommendation - my bad! Could you please provide a link to us? :)
Yes, the Vibrasystems EVA-BFR was very effective in isolating and grounding my last turntable. They are specifically designed to reduce minor vibrations. I also tried springs, but I found that they induced a some what “tinny” quality to the sound. Hockey pucks did seem to ground the turntable, but vibrations seemed to be rather easily transmitted through even two stacked pucks. The EVA-BFR allowed the turntable to sound very grounded, much more detailed, and very neutral. Here is the link to the items, where you can buy various sizes: (let us know what your experience is with them)
I am very familiar with the Vibrasystems Sandwiched Blue Foam Pads, I was able to acquire these as a 300mm square that was a surplus material. I was also able to pass on as gifts these same pads to the local HiFi Group.
The Local Hifi Group are Gaia III users after my introducing them to the AT 616.
I also have used the same construction as the Vibrasystems Pad which is using a Sandwiched Cork. Each Types have been tried under as footers in direct contact with Sources, Amp's and Speakers and also as a Separator of Tiers in a Sub Plinth assembly.
My experience with these pads used as above is that as a alternate material in a structure they will change the sonic at the time of their addition, but are not able to offer a attraction that has been discovered from other designs for Footers that have been adopted.
My experiences of working with structures as interfaces for equipment and the loaning of materials and devices used for these purposes, has yielded very similar results to what has been realised when doing similar with a TT Platter Mat.
There is in my view no ubiquitous solution for a produced structure or use of a Platter Mat. When creating the experience, there are two factors to be considered. One being the capability of the device/materials in use to perform a particular function and then there is the unique preference for a sonic that is perceived as the most attractive to the end user.
The desirable sonic/presentation across a range of experienced users of audio equipment can be to the polar extremes. One seasoned user can prefer a lean transparent presentation, like myself, but where I stray is that I will welcome a little richness offered up for a certain genre of music, this makes my own preferences unique and I have worked to learn how to satisfy this within the used system. A SUT swap out, Platter Mat exchanges or a Cable or Valve exchange are easily carried out and more than enough to change the perception that a Lean or Rich sonic is presented.
Another seasoned user can pursue a Rich Warm Tone or even a Lush Overbearing Coloured Tone. There is certainly no correct or incorrect in my books, just end users who are happy with their creations.
As the OP's Thread Title suggests, A Journey has been undertaken to find a place where they are satisfied with what is used as a structure to get the best from their listening environment and to suit their preferences for how they perceive a sonic and presentation.
More importantly, as attractive as an Off the Shelve solution is, especially one that comes with a substantial purchase price, there is not any asurity, the sonic produced and the presentation is going to be satisfying to all who experience the device in use. For a selection of individuals it may be the very best experience to date, for a different selection of individuals the impression made may be quite different.
Hello again Mulveling,
Last night was a different sort of night. Although it didn't involve vinyl, it did involve one of my favorite forms of music, blues, and one of my favorite players of it, SRV.
Since my 3C24 tube amp was recently altered by its designer/builder, Paul Birkeland of Bottlehead, I am now sensing an emotional sensation I've never quite had before with SRV, or with my system.
For me, that kind of sensation (to that extent) has rarely been noticible as it was last night. What Paul did was change my 3C24 amp to run 812 output tubes. It's changed this amp in a phenominal way to something that invites that kind of connection. That's what it's all about, is it not?
Keep that enjoyment going, regards,
Thank you so much for sharing the link!
I’ll give them a try and report back 👍
1. Did you place them directly under the turntable’s feet or just under the plinth?
2. I see this company has rubber/steel/rubber pads as well. Did you happen to give those a try?
Thanks much and best wishes to all!
Yes, I placed the pads under the feet of the turntable, and noticed a significant audible change, but this is largely because I had a Rega P8, which is very sensitive to the surface that it’s sitting on. Try both, and see what you notice. It’s quite fun to experiment with little, inexpensive adjustments to the audio system!
I only tried the rubber ones mainly because they were suitable for the lowest load psi, and designed for small vibrations and designed for acoustic applications. The steel ones have a minimum load of something like 200 psi, as opposed to 2 psi for the rubber ones, and also there isn’t any mention anything about acoustic application or vibrations for the steel ones.
It all counts, everything. Isolating turntables from the environment is very difficult. You are trying to keep it from doing what it was designed to do and that is measure vibration. Concrete slabs are a great help with stability. Stability and isolation are two different issues. Foot fall problems are a stability issue. Feedback problems are an isolation issue. Some solutions affect both issues but are very interdependent. Concrete slabs are worthless if you have a wobbly rack. Your 10 year old should be able to run into the whatever the turntable is sitting on without making the turntable skip. That is the ultimate stability. This in no way guarantees good isolation. Concrete slabs do not isolate you from environmental rumble. Those of you with concrete slabs and subwoofers, put your stylus down on a stationary record and turn the volume all the way up. If you have a high pass filter turn it off. Look at your subwoofer bounce. Ideally they should not move at all. Turn on the AC and watch what happens. Check out the washing machine and the dishwasher. Only isolation platforms on ultimately stable platforms, tuned to a very low frequency will extinguish this. 1 to 3 Hz is the range most quote. The MinusK is so good at it because it is tuned in both the horizontal and vertical directions but put it on an unstable platform and it is a nightmare. Same goes for any suspension turntable although some are better at handling unstable platforms than others.
@mulveling, I am not sure why you had so much trouble with the Sota. Did yours have the magnetic thrust bearing? Eclipse drive? I did have an issue with feedback at a very low frequency with the Cosmos. It turned out to be the three chambers acting like a Helmholtz resonator. Putting a skirt around the plinth closing off the cavity below the turntable fixed that problem. Otherwise, I have been totally pleased with the table. I also have an ultimately stable cabinet on a concrete slab. The subwoofers remain fixed with the above test regardless of anything else going on including the 10 year old. As for sound quality, it has none. Turntables are not supposed to sound. Any differences are usually easily proven to be from tonearms, cartridges and adjustment.
+1 Townshend seismic platform. Improved the sound of my Rega P8 as their sales guy said, startlingly. I have a suspended hard wood floor over a crawl space.
Interestingly though, the platform actually created footfall problems that previously did not exist. When I spoke to Max Townshend about this (RIP) he was not surprised because of the frequency of his pods and footsteps interacting. He said the solution was to either live with inferior sound without his platform, or put the platform and table on a wall mounted shelf, which thankfully fit nicely and got the approval from the boss for it since it looks like it is almost sitting on top of the credenza where my other equipment sits (on top of Sympoium roller blocks). I guess I was solving multiple problems like @mijostyn was talking about.
I am sure the combo of the Townshend and the wall shelf make my TT sound like a far more expensive one and the vibration detectable versus the amp on the credenza was reduced like 99.9%.
@sokogear Yep, a suspension alone (whether SOTA, Townshend or other) is not enough to guarantee immunity to footfalls. A large enough displacement will still excite the suspension, which in turn can excite the arm + cartridge resonance, which will certainly flap the woofers and other nasty stuff. My room here is also a suspended wood floor over a crawl space. We appear to have very similar use cases :) It was a combination of rack bracing, hockey puck feet, and Townshend platform that got my setup "effectively" impervious to footfalls. The newly braced rack reduces maximum displacement enough that the Townshend successfully mops up the remainder. They really have to work in tandem (a wall shelf would be very similar in function to my rack bracing). And the acoustic feedback is also now also solved well enough -- yep they’re inter-related to some degree.
@mijostyn This is the older series Nova V (originally a Star III), not VI. No eclipse, no magnetic thrust. I was pretty bummed because VI was announced not long after I got the V rebuild done. And the VI upgrades indeed appear to be quite substantial. So now I have this V that’s still really nice but kind of a bummer when I think about it.
Sure, I didn’t give the Nova V a fair shake in this room, and I’m starting to suspect its suspension needs adjustment. If the tension & leveling on the 4 springs isn’t EXACTLY right you get all this jumpy side-to-side movement on excitation, which is really bad. Though I’m sure it would work well enough now with the braced rack. However I’ve already gone through a number of cartridges / arms / phono stages in this room and feel I’ve got a good handle on what each part contributes sonically -- previously went through the motions with these same parts in the main loft rig, too. The SOTA sounds really good but I’m simply preferring the Innovation Compact these days.
@ghdprentice My friend has his HR-X on an SRA and it worked wonders for him. But he’s got an extremely rigid massive rack on concrete slab. Totally different use case to this room. I can pretty much guarantee any HRS / SRA / CMS platforms will not "move the ball forward" for the significant issues posed in this room. They have to help absorb a relatively large displacement. And that requires movement (a suspension). Unfortunately I don’t see those 3-layer vibrasystems rubber feet doing the trick here, either.