What the *#[email protected] happened??

I'll keep this short, just hoping someone can let me know what's going on. I changed out the platform my TT was on to a much denser wood, and I'm not really happy with the results. The good, I can hear more detail in the music, subtle nuances are more prevalent, better instrument separation, especially in complex arrangements. The bad, the whole stage moved back and got flatter, it lost depth. And the 3 dimensional characteristics of the singers voice also lost luster, became flatter as it were. It almost seems like I'm listening to a stereo now instead of a live performance. I thought the heavier wood would improve the sound, not degrade it. 
Anyone know why this happened?
Adb3e4e4 c8c5 4fca 814c 4b05354282ddshawnlh
Could you tell us which woods you are taling about? Also, what table is that?
Generally speaking, it is not simple with woods. Maple is the most popular, I never heard anyone use ebony or ironwood, as an example.
You probably got a lot of vibration energy reflected back into your analog rig, among other possible factors.
Wood is 3" maple, TT is a ClearAudio Concept. Previous wood was just laminated pb, hence my surprise with the depletion of stage depth.
I am surprised too. I have 3" maple block under my Nottingham Spacedeck and everything is fine.
All vibration control devices are "tuning" devices--the fact that they alter the sound means that they can alter the sound for worse result.  Some people think that more vibration absorption or dissipation is inherently superior to less, but, I have found that that is not necessarily the case.  I heard a CD player placed on various Symposium shelves.  As one moved up the range to the thicker shelves that did more to attenuate vibration, the worse the sound became--even the sales representative from Symposium agreed that this particular CD player was not suited to such treatment.  I have heard the same result with some turntables that become a bit "drier" and more analytical sounding when thin plinths are replaced with multi-layer alternatives that do a better job of attenuation/isolation.

In the realm of vibration control, it really is a matter of experimentation.
 a bit "drier" and more analytical 
Spot on, thanks very much Larry, great explanation and excellent wording. Just wish experimentation wasn't so expensive.
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Technically the Symposium is not a vibration isolation device. Isolation devices are technically not vibration absorbers either.

Happy holidays 
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You could ask Clearaudio for the advice. As for tuning as opposed to just absorbing, I will be the first one to support this approach. After all I have Michael Green free resonance speakers. You can easily overwhelm them with very loud music, but within their operating range they sound very natural.
Still I am puzzled by the collapse of the soundstage depth that you experience.
Also, turntable is not a cd player, you cannot really extrapolate.
"Technically Symposium is better than wood."

Technically it's better than peanut butter, too.  Or say a can of Spam.
Hi Shawn,  Are you judging based on aural experience or based on sound reproduction?  You stated that with the new plinth you "hear more detail in the music, subtle nuances are more prevalent, better instrument separation, especially in complex arrangements."  That does not happen by a miracle.

The stylus must track the record groove more precisely to retrieve this sound information.  The stylus cannot selectively track the more complex passages and fail at the simpler undulations.

I suspect that you are listening to studio recordings rather than live recordings of acoustic instruments and voices.  Studio music sounds flat when heard as originally recorded.  Conversely, acoustic instruments have timber and when recorded in a hall (like classical music), they have an ambient sound.  Nothing is added artificially, like reverberation in studio-recorded music.

Before your new plinth, you believed your listening experience was like hearing a "live" performance.  But what you really were hearing is echo of the energy from the stylus tracing the groove and the energy resonating back into the stylus rather than being absorbed in the massive plinth.  Thus, it gave it a fuller sound, yet with less sonic detail, as you stated.

I suggest you listen to your new plinth for a while and experience what you have been missing.
Maple is the most popular, I never heard anyone use ebony or ironwood, as an example.
My plinth, platter and armboard are made of cocobolo, which is denser than ebony and similar in density to ironwood. The plinth and platter are also loaded with multiple chambers of lead shot. The maker (sadly, no longer in the TT business) experimented with and sold TT’s made from many hardwoods, including ebony, over the course of a 5 year development project. His findings were generally that, the denser the wood, the better the sonics... for the reasons Larryi explained. I heard several iterations, owned three, and completely agree with those findings.

Maple was tried early in the development and quickly discarded as less than satisfactory when compared to denser (though admittedly more costly) options.

Larryi’s post was astute. Listen closely and try to distinguish between sound that you "like" vs. sound that is more revealing of the actual performance as recorded in the grooves. On a sufficiently revealing rig, the artificial aspects of studio recordings become apparent. A good TT reproduces the truth, whether we like it or not, and it sounds like your tweak may have gotten you a step closer.
Thanks for all the info gentlemen, I appreciate it. And thanks for the detailed explanations redglobe and dougdeacon. I'm going to leave things as they are for now, and spend some more time listening to a variety of recordings that I'm familiar with. I have a feeling that you guys hit the nail on the head.

While I certainly appreciate the length of the explanation of various woods, I d respectfully like to disagree strongly on the underlying premise - that density of the wood is what’s important for the sound. In fact the better sounding woods such as Mpingo wood, maple and spruce, to name a few, are not particularly dense. I could post the table of wood densities but I’ll leave that for the student. It might have been I who mentioned ironwood as I often use that wood as an example of a very dense wood that doesn't do much for the sound, as a form of irony.  Get it?  Of course ebony has a wide usage in musical instruments as well as Mpingo discs and other audiophile products. I used to have an ebony turntable clamp product myself way back when.
Is it better to hear "the truth" and not enjoy it, or to hear something more coloured that you actually enjoy? I will take the latter.
Yeah, let's not get into the woods too far.
Cocobolo, which is rosewood species, and Brazilian rosewood could theoretically work in some applications. There is much more to woods than density. No-one makes guitars or violins from ebony or ironwood, though I heard than some do from African blackwood.
If I wanted to try something different under my table, I would try some rosewood species first and spruce second, for now maple will do.
One cannot improve upon the truth. The magic we are all seeking is locked. The record is a set quantity. There are mountains of magic in the grooves. The closer we come to unlocking that, the greater the enjoyment.

There are many ways to derive 'enjoyable' sounds which are far removed from the magic in the grooves. Anyone can be satisfied with 'enjoyable' sounds. After all, enjoyable is in the eye of the beholder. It can be anywhere on the spectrum of what is available. Sit back and enjoy what you have if that is what you are after.

The original poster has confronted the fact that with vinyl replay the support becomes an integral contributor to the overall result. The better the system that the turntable is in (arm/cartridge/phono stage/ amplification/speakers/room and set-up of all of the above) the more that this will become obvious. The only way to escape this fact is to go back to lesser quality reproduction which masks these effects.

Despite all of the achievement up to this point in vinyl replay we really haven't quantified all of the contributing factors in isolation from each other. It may well be that coming decades may see some breakthroughs that will shed a much brighter light on just what comprises the optimum approach to unlocking the magic in the grooves. I don't think that we are even close yet. I feel that we are still listening to 'enjoyable' distortions which are to a greater or lesser extent showing us a slice of the magic. If it were otherwise, if we were really raising the bar and eliminating the enjoyable distortions then the differing approaches would all sound nearly alike. An accurate compass will take one to a definite place, not 100 different places.

The search for just what is the truth locked in the record groove is simply a learning process and I think that the OP has found out that first hand experimentation is really the only way to learn for oneself. Any amount of reading can be useful but one's own experience is where one finds the limitations of relying upon another person's first hand experience.

In other words there really are in fact no simple answers to the OP's question. As it stands we all have to ask ourselves just how far we wish to chase the truth of these questions.
Since you have the maple, I would look at Mapleshade for what else they do with their maple platforms.  I've had good luck with their rubber/cork/rubber footers under the maple( i think I used just 3.).  As for talking yourself into something, I suggest you look at advice given to test-takers, where your first guess is usually the right answer.  Subconscious thoughts usually take into account many unknown factors, versus conscious thought.  I use objective factors as a check, not as a method to finalize things.  You might also search here for what people who have your turntable, or similar, use.
I learned when I had my Linn, the type of platform can have a major influence on the sound and there is no predicting which platform will suit your tastes best.  When I had the Linn on my Naim Fraim (rack) the standard glass shelf sounded best, but on the Target wall shelf, the glass was horrible and Corian sounded far better.  Just no way to predict the outcome of these things IMO.  
I use an UltraResolution Technologies platform (sadly, no longer produced to the best of my knowledge) under my turntable. It employs a high grade marble, laminated to a high grade steel via a 1/2" thick constrained damping layer. It weighs 85 pounds.

It is very dead- the resonances of the two outer layers rob energy from each other and are damped by the constrained layer. Its one of the very few platforms that, once installed, improved the presentation of the system in every way.

I've not found a wood platform that could do that. Wood has resonances, so while it might be very dense, if nothing is done to deal with the resonance, its a guarantee that it will be talking to the turntable sooner or later. That is why you hear so many different experiences with regards to wood platforms! I'm not saying wood can't be used and I am saying that measures have to be taken to deal with the resonances inherent in the material. If this is not done essentially you are tinkering with tonalities and other artifacts rather than really creating neutrality.
All right, finally getting some where. Came across a diy isolation table, and wow, it really really works, and costs pennies. No more mass loading for me, maple and granite be gone. I’ll be using this simple effective device until I can pick up a/some Minus-K BM8....s. 
Here’s a link in case you’re curious........http://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/turntable-isolation-platforms.224619/
I tried one of those Mapleshade maple platform  with their brass footers under my Well Tempered Turntable and it really drained the life out of the system. I sold it to a friend to be put under his Clear Audio TT. It worked fine for him. He likes it. I also use two Mapleshade platforms under my floor standing speaker and they did wonders for the sound. Go figure.
shawn, is the DIY isolation table you refer to a slightly inflated inner tube under a plywood shelf? If so, I’m with ya. I first saw it suggested by Frank Van Alstine about thirty years ago! Max Townshend offered a (discontinued) commercial product incorporating a tube, called the Seismic Sink (there is one on Audiogon right now). If you add a trio of roller bearings between the shelf and the turntable (or CD player, tube pre-amp, etc.), you really have good isolation down to around 3Hz. To do better than that you have to get a $2500 Minus K table or equivalent.

came across your thread and it intrigued me. Apologies I went and did it again by posting long... I get into this info dump & can’t seem to stop.
my Audiogon New Year’s resolution was to try to post more like ebm.
I can’ t seem to do it.

So here is some personal experience, hope it helps and be wary of those on forums who have a bias toward creating Audiophile Bedlam.

From my personal experience, its very important when looking at TT’s, to observe how they have been built (what the designer was thinking) to deal with resonances and how much decoupling is going on within the TT’s own manufacturer’s design. Each TT needs to be looked at on its own. The higher you go up in a company’s line, the better resonance control. You would think anyway. This makes sense as more dollars should buy better resonance control. But whether the designer chooses a coupled or decoupled design is matter of choice - to the designer. Good decoupled designs should be able to be placed on a platform, and the TT should not be as affected by changing out the platform the TT sits on as long as it is sturdy, does not move, does not like to dance, etc...

Now IME, wood plinth layering combinations, do also provide good resonance dampening (my Jean Nantais 100 lb Lenco is an example of this). When people ask me how it compares to the others I say - It sounds better than it has a right to - imo based on its design.

Shawnlh - if we take a look at your TT - The Clearaudio Concept.

Now you said

Wood is 3" maple, TT is a ClearAudio Concept. Previous wood was just laminated pb, hence my surprise with the depletion of stage depth.

Your TT’s interface with the 3" maple is this (taken from CA’s website)

Product Description

Beneath the refined, contemporary exterior lies a level of technical sophistication unique to Clearaudio. The Concept’s chassis comprises a core of natural medium-density wood fibre within an aluminium surround and upper layer incorporating a high tech synthetic compound. This composite of materials eliminates the detrimental effects caused by unwanted vibrations.

and under technical specs.

Resonance-optimised chassis

So it is a coupled design. There is no decoupling going on from what I can tell looking quickly. It is not surprising to me that changing out platforms changes the way the music is presented.

Now IMO Clearaudio based on your Original Post findings; should change the website wording "eliminates" to ......why don’t we pick a better word to describe what is happening. Maybe its just the German translation.

What do you think? Obviously a different platform that "changes" the presentation does not "eliminate"

ok Lets have more fun. Another higher up the line CA TT model .

Called Clearaudio Performance.

From the website

Resonance-optimised turntable, highly compressed wood chassis in sandwich construction embedded between two aluminium plates.

It’s website specs show a bigger, taller heavier platter, and the plinth is heavier, higher and deeper. Now interestingly this upper level table still appears to be coupled to the platform one uses below it. There is still no decoupling going on. IMO someone with this higher up the chain TT will still have significant changes to the music being played, using different platforms.

I kind of want to see whats at the end of the rainbow here... don’t you ?

Now the Statement top of the line TT model from Clearaudio.

From the website - the plinth.

Aluminium, stainless steel and bullet proof wood

Wow - Bullet proof wood. That sounds pretty cool doesn’t it ?

There’s more.

Patent pending non-contact magnetic drive system eliminates noise and wear.

Revolutionary Clearaudio magneticbearing design, eliminates friction with "floating platter".

A Magnetic Bearing !

Hey Geoffkait. Helloooooo! You know I kind of like this right ?

It also appears that the TT has some decoupling with four oil filled dampers

4 oil dampers for the turntable main chassis self-levelling system

What do you guys think ? Geoffkait - interested to know what would be your first mod to the Statement TT ?



So..... if your TT is not decoupled , IMO owners will be doing the TT shoe*** dance, but not with shoes. This time we will call it the platform dance.

***I like to call TT feet - shoes.

shawnlh - I hope this was fun and maybe helpful. It was for me.

apologize in advance for any typing grammar errors and the long post.

Happy listening
..... I also use two Mapleshade platforms under my floor standing speaker and they did wonders for the sound. Go figure.

Oregonpapa -  curious if your floor is suspended ?
bpd24, yes, the platform is an air bladder with rollers on top. Works a treat.

ct0517, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post, a plethora of useful info for sure. I always enjoy learning from those who are willing to share their knowledge, Thank you.
What's the first thing I'd do to the Statement turntable?  That's easy.  I'd add another five of those barbell weights to the ballast to get lower resonant frequency.