Vibration and Isolation at a budget?


Well, my system is nearly complete (for now), except for vibration isolation control.

I'm running a MMF-5>Slee Era Gold>Onix SP3.

Speakers: Onix Ref 1's and actually using a small musical x-sub right now (may or may not go away while comparing).

I'm in medical school, so budget is key. So, I"m wondering what some good tweaks are for this system. My speaker stands are solid and sand filled. My stand is a Salamander Archetype. The MM5-5 is a dual plinth with some vibration feet on it. I"m getting a cabinet builder to make me a 2" Maple Stand for the TT.

What else should I get? Are the vibrapods better than a maple stand? Anything for the Era Gold? Sub? The SP3 is on points right now, should these be placed in a vibrapod or something similar?

Thanks y'all!!
I have the Archetype as well, and it has inherently good anti-vibration properties due to the rubber washers. I haven't found a good reason, other than aesthetics, to add any more tweaks to my equipment.
Riffer: Very true, I have noticed it is very good for anti-vibration. Even with the sub going, which I can feel from my listening spot, I can't feel any vibration on the stand itself.
A good cheap tweak - and significantly better than Vibrapods (I've tried both) - are V-Pads available from Heating and Air Conditioning suppliers in most cities. V-pads are two pieces of ribbed rubber with 1/2" of cork in between. VERY effective vibration dampers that I use under my shelves and under my turntable spikes. Best thing is that they're cheap - about $2.00 for a 4"x4" pad which can be used as is or cut into 4 2"x2" pads that are as effective as the 4x4s.
Get some racquetballs. They cost about $0.50 to $1.00 each. Very effective.

07-27-07: Jgiacalo
A good cheap tweak - and significantly better than Vibrapods (I've tried both) - are V-Pads available from Heating and Air Conditioning suppliers in most cities. V-pads are two pieces of ribbed rubber with 1/2" of cork in between. VERY effective vibration dampers that I use under my shelves and under my turntable spikes.
Something like this?

I wonder if this is what Mapleshade uses as the source material for their Isoblocks?
"I wonder if this is what Mapleshade uses as the source material for their Isoblocks?"

You can bet on many times the cost of the same ones sold at any HVAC supplier. Call it an audiophile tweak, make silly claims of proprietary design, add a little voodoo and there you have it.
Here is a great site for different tweaks on a budget:
Also, click on "footers" at
where there are many affordable products to handle vibration.
The economical, and wonderfully effective, Big Fat Dots for beneath a speaker, and Tenderfeet for beneath a component, come with Herbie's usual, and remarkable, 90-day no-risk trial period.
Mapleshade uses two, glued double decker but crossways, for heavier units, and the same but cut into 2" blocks for lighter units. If you do the math you'll see their mark up is only normal amount necessary bring anything to market. It is a testimony to Pierre's commitment to offer real world improvements for reasonable cost, that he goes to the trouble of exhaustively researching cost effective tweeks that work and marketing them for the benefit of you and me. It is also a testimony that he believes in his products that he offers a 30 day money back guarantee. He is also VERY generous with his time helping folks on the phone. Projecting cynicism on him and others like him is unfortunate, unnecessary.

Dealer disclaimer.

On a slightly different note. There are two different issues with vibration control. One is to isolate components from externally generated vibrations such as airborn music sourced vibrations and foot falls with turntables. The other is evacuating subtle vibrations generated within the components by the circuitry itself as well as any vibes taken in from the outside. Many people believe that the priority is to evacuate with rigid cones rather than isolate with soft material and that the latter traps vibrations within the component, muddying the sound. The ideal seems to be a combination of evacuating with brass cones such as the Mapleshade Heavyfeet or Walker Valid Points, into a massive platform such as hardwood or granite, etc. which in turn is suspended by soft material such as sorbothane, the above mentioned Isoblocks, or a sand box arrangement such as Brightstar offers. This effectively evacuates, dissipates and isolates and can be quite affordable. At the least, experimenting with cones will yield surprising results if you've never tried them. There seems to be an advantage in bigger cones, thus the Mapleshade Mega Mounts.

It's not cynicism if it's fact. What Mappleshade if trying to pass off as customized vibration pads are the same gizmos available for much less at HVAC supply stores. He hasn't even changed the basic ribbed surface. It's cork and rubber, period. Custom-cutting them into 2" blocks is hardly worth the added cost, or justifies branding them as something different than what they are. The cynicism lies in companies overpricing products and pretending there's some special magic behind them. PT Barnum is smiling.
Whats the world coming to, when I was a medical student, I could'nt afford HiFi and spare time was spent in the Pub anyway. If you are not going the homemade route, another vote for Herbies. Sold direct, with good advice, but no fancy packaging, his products are great value. I recently put Isocups under my valve amps and big fat dots under my speakers, an immediate gain in base control and imaging.
Good luck with the exams, I still have nightmares about Histology and biochemistry.
Keep in mind Piper sells Mapleshade.

I believe I made that clear. My above post and this one are relevant to defending a well intentioned and exceedingly generous man and his work from illconsidered smear. It is also an attempt to inform similar situations. Neither Pierre nor myself are likely to get rich any time soon on the profits of IsoBlock sales.


cynicism is, by definition, in the interpretation of the facts. It is all too easy to assume an attitiude of distrust of those in business. If you ponder the economics you might find cause to reconsider. If the cost of four V Pads is $8, $24 is actually well below the typical 5 to 10 times parts cost markup enabling a product to be made availabe through normal distribution venues and for a company to stay in business and continue to provide a service.

The fact that you choose Pierre, who abhors inflated pricing, as your example of PT Barnum's edict, is inappropriate, to say the least. Pierre goes out of his way to come up with cheap and elegant answers to the challenges of music reproduction, cuts his prices in deference to the customer and to the exclusion of the usual profit reserved for dealers such as myself let alone distributors, fills his catalogue with free tweeks, makes himself available for questions on the phone, and offers a 30 day money back guarantee to top it off.

The following is a quote from his catalogue:

"After lots of tests with flexible suspension islolation mounts, I evolved the IsoBLock specifically for our maple platforms." ... " IsoBlocks are a rubber/cork/rubber laminate whose size and number of laminations I tuned by ear to give just the right vertical, horizontal, and torsional resonant frequencies for best isolation."

I find no misrepresentation in that statement. Those interested can judge for themselves. Certainly, there is nothing stopping someone from driving to their nearest HVAC supply store, buying some V Pads, cutting them up (assuming you have a band saw) and gluing them together. Just be sure to keep track of your gas, driving and work time, and figure in a little something for Pierre for taking the time to optimize the configuration, and then tell me $24 is exhorbitant.

I hope I've made it clear that, for me, this is not just about Mapleshade. They just happen to be a partcularly ironic example of this syndrome.
I tried EAR L-021 feet under an Aqvox phono stage and my Cornet 2; there was a significant improvement in mid-range and treble clarity with no loss of bass.

Available from Michael Percy $2.50 each.

RE: Pierre Sprey, the "fighter mafia guy": I bought his 2" unfinished maple platform for my turntable for $75 even tho' I made the 1 1/2" thick maple shelves for my rack myself a few years ago. I've been known as a woodworker around here since year 2000. After I factored in a trip to the sawmill, bench time and wear on my elderly body $75 was a bargain. I also blew a fortune, $25, on a set of iso-blocks. Call me crazy but finding them myself (I was aware of the HVAC connection) rather than pointing and clicking at my computer held no appeal. And the combo works.

You can read my upcoming review at
probably either the 1st or 16th of August.

I'm unpaid and, other than the expensive components I get for review, I shell out my own money for my DIY tweaks, mods and components. No shilling here.
You've made your position with Mapleshade quite clear in both this and the balance of your other advertisements (oops I mean posts) in the threads.

Thanks for the information.
Michael Percy also sells Audio Points which I believe are the cheapest good solid brass cones and a bit cheaper than the Mapleshade and Walker cones. If cheap is the goal, any cones will be better than none and there are cheaper ones.


Evidently, not everyone follows my ads as closely as you do. ;-)
Evidently not.

I don't mind though.
Thanks for the replies. With all this, what would be the priority of each of these?

Again, here's what's set:

1) Sand filled speaker stands
2) 2 inch maple platform for TT with brass cones
3) Built in points on amp

Now, priority questions on these.

1) Cones, big fat dots for speakers? even with sand filled?
2) Anything else for TT?
3) Anyting else on Amp?

Or, just get some big fat dots (or similar) on speakers and sub. Though, with the new era gold v, not sure if the sub will be needed anymore.

And to David12: I'm a little older going into school then others, so I've been able to build up a couple systems over the past few years. And, this system is in the music room/study, so I'll be in here a good bit as you know. And, any extra time will be spent with the wife and dogs. Thanks for the "good luck". Luckily for me, I've been running at Pathology/Histology lab at Emory Univ. so the usual Histology nightmares shouldn't be too bad for me...I'm more worried about Pharm.

Put your brass cones on the TT and four soft mounts like Sorbothane, Vibropods or IsoBlocks (in order of soft to not so soft) between maple and Salamander. At those prices you can experiment. Brass cones under Era with a weight on top. Remove sand from stands and put in a bag of the largest lead shot you can get from a gun supply shop in each stand before replacing what sand will fit. Put cones between speaker stands and floor. Be sure that cones pierce carpet if you have any. Ditto for sub. Get rid of the amp and buy a guitar. ;-)
I am looking into isolation products as well.

Sorry if I am highjacking this thread.....

I have a Blue Circle BC27 phono stage for audition now and if I raise the volume high enough, there is this very low frequency energy being reproduced by the speakers.
My Pro-Ject Tube Box MkII phono stage does not do this either with rumble filter on or off.
I suspect few things as being the cause of the problem:
1) The problem is feedback and not really a turntable rumble per say;
2)the table isolation;
3)BC27 stage reproduces these lower frequencies and Pro-Ject attenuates them.

I have my table simply on the top shelf of a Salamander Archetype 2 and there is nothing in between the shelf and the table. Table, a Pro-Ject Xperience, has stock cone feet.

Am I correct in my assesment of the problem?
How can this be cured?
If the isolation is the cause, would a Mapleshade platform with isoblocks be more or less effective than, say, Ginko Cloud 11?
isolation on a budget

probably more than you want to spend but
Silent Running Audio VR series stands took my amp, cd and preamp to new levels

their OHIO series is anything but budget
and when you get out of med school you can afford a CRAZ rack
Audphile1, a couple of basic solutions to try.

One option is a 2"-3" thick maple platform. There are some being sold on Audiogon for less than $100/ea. Place a double stack of 3/8" thick 40 or 50 durometer sorbothane between the platform and the surface on which it rests. This combo alone will help your problem tremendously, and it won't cost more than $150.

I use a similar set-up, but instead of a maple platform I utilize a Neuance platform made by Ken Lyon of Greater Ranges. The Neuance platform costs about $200 and can be auditioned for 30 days.

Give either a try, and my guess is you'll be quite happy.
Also, interesting, I've noticed, by searching the forums, that some use bubble wrap under the isolation platforms. This is kind of cool to exepriment with, as at least the bubble wrap costs nothing.
I have some 40 durometer sorbothane I can offer for a nominal sum pus the cost of shipping, if you're interested.
Tvad, I just scored a Pro-Ject GroundIt Deluxe platform at a pretty increadible deal! I am psyched to try it. It is still sealed in the box. I just picked it up. I may be interested in sorbotane. Supposedly the platform has coned feet, but I am pretty sure they're removable. I'll e-mail you as soon as I get to open the box and inspect what it is. Thanks man!