Well, it LOOKS like crap...
I've been having some difficulty getting my turntable properly set up in my new house - I posted about this months ago, got some good ideas, none of which worked or were practical for my situation. To recap the basic problem, I had a Roksan Xerxes on a wall mounted shelf. The wall is an outside basement wall. The shelf is screwed into the studs, but I don't think the studs are tightly secured to the concrete, and the wall seems to resonate a great deal.
I finally decided to give up and put the turntable on the floor (concrete covered by carpet). This resulted in a nice improvement in sound quality, though there still seemed to be an edge to the sound. I started looking at floor mounted stands and ran across reviews for the Vibraplane. In searching for more info I wound up on some website that was talking about the resonant frequencies of tennis balls. TENNIS BALLS???
Now the vibraplane looks very cool, but the entry level price of $2K gives one pause. However, I can certainly afford $10 for a bunch of tennis balls, so I started rumaging around in my basement for something to contain a whack of tennis balls. I already knew how the rest of the thing would work:
I would stick some extra spikes on the bottom of the three pieces of 18"x15"x1" MDF that I had glued together in hopes of making a less resonant shelf for my wall mounted turntable stand (a dismal failure). I would sit that structure on top of another 18"x15"x1" piece of MDF, which in turn would be sitting on top of a bunch of tennis balls. The only thing I could find was the top of a plastic storge bin that had raised edges inside that would properly contain twenty tennis balls.
So, a trip to the dollar store and $7 dollars (CDN!!!) later, I arrive home with twenty tennis balls. The balls go into the plastic lid (it sits upside down of the floor), and the first piece of MDF gets laid on top of the tennis balls. Damned if the stupid thing doesn't roll back and forth, and side to side by about half an inch each way. THIS WILL NOT DO!!! I am almost stumped, when I spot an unused U-Haul box left over from my move last year. The box gets cut into pieces, four pieces get folded in half, and stuffed into the space between the edge of the lid and the sides of the MDF. Not only is the MDF sitting snugly, but I burst with pride from having invented the first audiophile cardboard.
Well, the 3" thick slab of MDF (with spikes no less!) goes on the single sheet of MDF, which is jammed into place with audiophile cardboard sitting on tennis balls inside the lid of a plastic storage bin lying upside down on the carpet of the floor of my room (there's a flea on the hair of the nose of the frog....), and the turntable complete with it's own proprietary 6" stand sits on top of this highly complex and technically sophisticated structure - the platter of the turntable itself is now about 18" off the floor. Out comes the level, and....it's not even close.
Now I didn't feel like messing around with the screws on the Roksan stand - they were level when the thing was on it's wall stand, and they were level with it on the floor, and of course I'm figuring that's where the stupid turntable is going to wind up being within about 15 minutes - so out come two more pieces of audiophile cardboard folded in half to act as shims to level up the table. Not perfect, but close enough to call it a day.
As I wander to the LPs I giggle maniacly, because this thing looks so damned stupid, and I've wasted a good hour running around buying cheapo tennis balls, sticking old spikes on MDF, and tearing apart perfectly good cardboard boxes. Anyway, on goes Donald Fagan's "The Nightfly", and.......
HOLY CRAP DOES THIS SOUND GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Better timbre, lovely warm and rounded mids - particularly vocals - punchy, tight, deep bass, better imaging and depth; you name it, it was better. It was not just a little better, it was holy s*** better! I've been spinning records like a banshee all afternoon, and they are all better! Way, way, better.
My fear is simply this - this "isolation unit" cannot stay this way, I will have to build a more permanent solution before my audiophile cardboard starts to flatten. does anyone have any opinion how this project might be better finished? I was thinking of making a shallow box out of MDF, putting spikes in the bottom, inserting the layer of tennis balls then putting the single layer of MDF on that. I would try to make the piece of MDF slighly smaller (1/4 or 1/8 inch) than the length and width of the box so that there would be a small gap between the edges of the box and the edge of the single shelf. I was then thinking of sealing the crack with silicon to keep the shelf motionless. Or should I use precision cut audiophile cardboard?
Any thoughts? Anyone? Bueller?