Turntable placement


Hi,

The reason for my post is that I want to share what I discovered about turntable placement that has made a huge difference in the quality of the music I'm able to get out of my system.
My listening room is relatively narrow and long. For years I had my TT and other electronics up against the back wall between my speakers. My speakers were about 3 feet in front of my rack.
A few months ago I upgraded my tonearm wand to the new VPI 3d arm. I thought it sounded great on most recordings but started to notice that if I crank up the volume it would start generating a low hum which would get progressively louder. I quickly understood that this was a feedback loop between my speakers and the higher sensitivity of the 3d arm to external sources of vibration.
Anyway, it occurred to me that we spend so much money on top of the line racks and isolation footers and platforms but most pictures I see of peoples systems has the turntable sitting between the speakers which I assume has an effect on vibrations hitting the tonearm, especially unipivot arms.
It was obvious to me that I needed to get some distance between my TT and my speakers. I was using 8 feet of Clear Day double shotgun cables which I really enjoy and decided to call Paul from Clear Day. Anyone who's ever dealt with Paul can attest to the fact that he's just a great guy and a real pleasure to deal with. Anyway, I discussed my issue with him and asked him about getting a long run (18 feet) of the double shotguns. Instead of selling me the new cables, he suggested I first go and purchase some cheap wire at Home Depot and make sure the new placement of my TT eliminate the issue. I have no affiliation with Clear Day or Paul other than having purchased his cables but I have to say that it’s rare these days for a vendor to really put their customer's interest ahead of their own.
I followed Paul's suggestion and I was totally blown away by the improvement in clarity I obtained by moving my TT away from my speakers even with the long run of cheap wire.
I placed my order for the longer cable run (Paul also took my existing 8 foot cables as a trade in towards the new cables) and I can honestly say that moving my rack away from my speakers was one of the best system changes I've ever made.
andarilu
The best way to site your turntable is to play some bass heavy music on
CD through your system, now put your head where you want to site the
turntable. Move it to another possible place that you can site the turntable.
You should clearly hear areas of bass reinforcement and cancellation ; you
can confirm this if you have an SLM. Site the turntable in the quietest area.

Of course the best place is in another room but this is impractical for some.
Great advice Viridian. I did that very thing several years ago which resulted in moving my TT from the right-hand corner of a 60" shelf within a wall alcove, toward the left corner which then placed the arm arc/cartridge more toward the mid-point of the shelf and away from corner nodes. I thought it sounded OK in the original position but the change resulted in a more precise sound when the corner bass nodes affecting the cartridge were reduced.

Many years ago I did have a friend who placed his turntable in another room. Not exactly convenient but it did sound very good.
Yet today, most continue to place the TT between the speakers. Why? It looks nice being you can gaze on it when listening. Call it 'eye candy'. The acoustic energy that flies around the room when the speakers are playing hits all parts of the TT, rack, components etc. Yes, another room would be ideal for all components. Better yet, design a closet in the room that is acoustically shielded. Works wonders. I know, but no one will see the 'stuff'. Hey its about better listening. Your significant other will 'love' you more.
For years, I had my table about 12' to one side of the listening area on a piece of stone and that worked very well with my unsuspended Rega Planar 2. It picked up just about everything. After making the change to my Sota, I didn't notice any difference resulting from placement other than its far greater mass requiring much heavier stand construction. My most recent installation has the table again between and behind the speakers inside a very large stone and Formica faced plywood structure. I can't detect any resonance there, either. Not sure how much of this is the isolating design of the rig or just the sheer mass of what it is installed in. One day, I'll get a picture posted but in the meantime, I feel that more mass in the stand is better when you can't isolate by distance.
Of course the best place is in another room INSIDE A VACUUM CHAMBER, but this is impractical for some.
Fixed it for you!
Effischer, turntables/arms/cartridges are subject to two types of vibrational energy - structural and airborne.

WHAT we place our tables on affects the structural element, WHERE we place them if affected by the airborne. My comment above only attempted to address the airborne element.
Precisely my point Pryso. I spent a lot of effort and money on structural isolation but neglected to address airborne isolation until it presented itself as an obvious problem and when I did address it, the improvement was not subtle.
For most amplifiers vis a vis most speakers, short runs of speaker cable are desirable when possible. On the other hand, one also does not want long runs of phono cable. Faced with a dilemma similar to yours, I chose to use rather long ICs between my line stage and my amplifiers. The amplifiers are sitting on isolation platforms in between my ESLs, which, being ESLs, do not have much radiation in their lateral plane, anyway. (A possible world record for the use of commas.) Thus I can use 4-foot lengths of speaker wire but need 20 feet of IC between preamplifier and amplifier. That's well tolerated by my fully balanced output preamplifier and balanced input amplifiers. The net result is copacetic to say the least. My turntables are sitting less than 3 feet from the phono/line preamp on the wall behind my listening seat.
@ Pryso, I understood your post. I was merely offering comments on my personal experiences with tables picking up resonances, both airborne and structural.

The Rega picked up everything and the only thing I ever found that worked was moving it far enough away from the speakers that its arm and cartridge didn't pick up airborne resonances and putting it on a big enough stone to damp out the structural resonances.

The Sota is far less susceptible to picking up resonances of any kind, and all the less so with the fluid-damped Graham arm I installed a couple of years ago. The custom-built entertainment rack I have it in has an additional 1000 pounds of mass (sandstone slab hearth base, concrete faux-rock fascia and Formica over a 3/4 inch thick, 18 ply marine grade plywood substructure).

My hearing isn't what it once was, but I can't detect the rig picking up anything in any frequency range no matter where I have the attenuation set, not even when there is a train going past on the spur line about 1500 yards away from my front door and I'm in a no-signal segment on the vinyl. I can hear the train and feel the vibration through the floor of my home, but none of that makes it to the cartridge as far as I can tell.

My solution isn't for everyone, but it did work for me and ticked a number of my aesthetic boxes as well. Like I said, sooner or later I'll get photos appended to my system and you can check it out.
Andarilu, I very recently was getting acoustic feedback thru my speakers. I have a VPI Super Scoutmaster Ref. with rimdrive and 10" 3D arm, and all of a sudden was getting a noice thru the woofers which would increase as the volume was raised. It was driving me crazy. The solution was to place cork under the turntable's footers (Edensound Terra Cones) and the Symposium Ultra shelf it was sitting on which eliminated all acoustic feedback. My turntable and equipment rack have always been between the speakers.
Andarilu, I very recently was getting acoustic feedback thru my speakers. I have a VPI Super Scoutmaster Ref. with rimdrive and 10" 3D arm, and all of a sudden was getting a noice thru the woofers which would increase as the volume was raised. It was driving me crazy. The solution was to place cork under the turntable's footers (Edensound Terra Cones) and the Symposium Ultra shelf it was sitting on which eliminated all acoustic feedback. My turntable and equipment rack have always been between the speakers. I also use Clear Day cables and totally agree with you about Paul and the beautiful music it makes.
To Lewm re: "...a possible record for use of commas..."

Obviously you were never a reader of the oft ballyhooed HP, the James Joyce of audio related writing.
I put one of the Gingko isolation platforms under a turntable, which I thought sounded good already, about 8 years ago. I was shocked, and haven't had a table without one under it since then.

In my old house, which was pier and beam construction, and about 80 years old with a spongy floor, I could jump on the floor in front of the table and it would still not skip. Also, no feedback no matter where I put the subwoofer.

I love those things.
Did read HP from issue one of TAS, but I do not recall him as a prolific user of commas. His sentences were long, though.
I initially put my trusty (old but amazing, bought a couple of years ago with an Akito arm) Linn Basik on top of my rack…bad bad bad. Then I read the instructions in an archive someplace and it advised a "low mass stable stable" or some such and I had the exact table hanging around. Zero acoustic feedback (a few feet from the right speaker) and the table, which I had intended to replace with something "better," is still there and sounds great…now I might keep it until it blows up.
Had exactly the same thing happen Wolf.
I am firmly with all the Brit companies who preach the low mass gospel.