Suggestions please - Do I need isolation platforms?

Nice! But better on the road than the floorboards?

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Hi FR, yes the HRS Isolation platform is a significant improvement over the nimbus assemblies that Nick is looking top invest in, but as he says the only issue is the weight of the platform which is I think is 33 kg, and not advisable to sit on a wall bracket.

Mine sit directly on top of the Frame shelves but I had to get new glass made to accommodate the HRS platforms footprint. That was until I found out that HRS will make custom sized platforms, and I now have a few more sitting in the rack supporting the SNAXO, Phono-stage and Whest Buffer.

Every time I’ve added these isolation products I’ve had an improvement in the SQ and musicality of my system.

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Hi @llatpoh76 - is that the Stack Serene platform? Any idea how it works for an LP12 that hasn’t had the Stack treatment, or does it at least require using their baseboard? More generally, how would you describe the effect of the various Stack items?

One more thought - what about the manufacturers?

Linn seem happy that standard feet and a Trampolin2 on anything light and rigid (see Ikea) can’t be beaten, and would probably shudder at mention of a record clamp. They may be right for most systems/ rooms for all I know, but this experiment makes me suspicious.

Perhaps the next Anniversary LP12 will have Stack-style damping material in some of its internals or a new aluminium plinth. However, from what we heard, introducing a dedicated & really optimised support and/ or a Linn-approved ant-vibration clamp would probably have a bigger impact.

As for Naim, if the results for those not using granite shelves are anything like what we heard, Naim should be selling feet like the Nimbus assemblies for the more hardcore buyer or replacing normal feet with something using HRS-type tech to cut a lot more vibration on all the separates.

While no amount of positive comment here on HRS or Townshend or Isoacoustics will affect their sales, imagine the notice people would take of similarly positive reviews about (say) new Naim feet if they were suddenly available from your local dealer.

The fact that those HRS plates work at all annoys me of course, but it also makes me think that Naim casework (like 99% of hi-fi) is good and a place where some cash can be saved - but not un-improvable. Apart from producing own-brand damping plates, there is not much Naim can do now to improve this aspect for those of use who don’t have Statement amps (which have doubtless dealt with the vibration issues better than my olive-series boxes, Superline etc)…

Finally, it still looks weird that Naim does not make a wall-shelf, especially as they make a turntable. However, one reason may be that improving on budget shelf designs at all means adopting a completely different approach from that of the current Fraim (maybe more like the Solidsteel or stone platform approaches?)- and they don’t want to open that door at all. Just a thought.

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Yes, it is the Serene Platform, and it requires one of their baseboards, I’m using it with the Alto and considering an upgrade to Soprano. You don’t need any other Stack components, think of it as a Trampoline type of upgrade. To my ears and in my system this was the most significant LP12 upgrade I’ve made, with the caveat that I didn’t have a baseboard beforehand. It gave the table a heftier bass foundation that brought with it coherence everywhere esle, everything kind of fell into place generally speaking.

All the other StackAudio upgrades that I’ve made were simultaneous with the Karousel, so I can’t really speak to the effect each component had. Altogether they brought a lot of detail, a much better defined soundstage and clarity all across the board. Still there is something about the pre-Cirkus setup in terms of groovyness and musicality that makes me nostalgic sometimes, but absolutely no looking back regarding the Serene Platform/baseboard upgrade.

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Hi Nick,

I didn’t read all the responses here but looking at the partial image of your current rack, I suspect it’s just a normal rack which is not optimised for performance. I have very limited experience with racks but have acknowledged the importance of a good rack especially if the components are considered to be decent or high quality. A poor rack will affect the performance of the equipment that are placed on it, and this include the amps, pre and power amps. It’s not only limited to the turntable or digital sources. Hence, I am not surprised when you heard an improvement or difference with some of the isolation platforms or devices.

If the rack is poor, there are 2 ways to optimise the rack. You may add footers or platforms to individual components on the rack, or footers can be added below the 4 pillars of the rack supporting the whole rack. Or you can do both together.

I would add that the issue that I have with some of these isolation devices is a set of 4 may cost higher than the entire rack, and several sets would cost a lot more. It’s not an economical solution to add isolation devices to a poor rack unless the product is decently priced. However, the isolators that are effective ie. capable of making a positive difference to the components/system are usually costly.

It may be a difficult decision to pick between a good, usually costly rack, and a cheap less-than-stellar or poor rack optimised by isolation devices.

Thanks, @llatpoh76. I suspect that there are several of us who heard a Trampolin many years ago, didn’t like it, and so still have the original flimsy baseboard. I should probably have put prejudice aside here too and tried a Tramp 2, but to my ears hearing other LP12s with Tramps 1 & 2 not enough changed to make me think that they are a good addition unless you need one (in which case, there are other options).

The fact that the Stack Serene does such a good job for not much money is interesting. Has anyone compared it to a Tramp2?

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Interesting point, @ryder .

This stuff is certainly not cheap, but I am not sure that this is an either/ or question, or that the maths always works as you suggest - it depends what we regard as a ‘good’ rack.

Exclude my turntable for a minute. I could fit all my other boxes on 2 Fraims, each with 5 levels. I think that would cost £7K, no? Well-regarded racks from other firms are mostly cheaper, but not inexpensive. One can buy a lot of feet (and/ or other isolation items as required) from various companies for that kind of money.

Second, as mentioned, apart from the aesthetics, I would have changed my rack many years ago if I thought it ‘poor’ in sound - it is very solid, with spikes, oak legs and (very flat) granite shelves, built for hifi by HNE. It certainly seems to work as well as well-known racks I have heard many times in demos at dealers. Certainly, room effects (for example) are a bigger variable than the difference between how my rack and (say) a Fraim performs today.

I note that the other person with granite shelves (@GerryMcG ) also rates them as an alternative to the usual racks, and yet also thinks that clever feet improve the sound further. Similarly, @916SPS has Fraim stands, but found significant improvements (and not dissimilar ones from what we heard) by adding the HRS feet. I don’t think that any of us who have actually tried these things would say that they can only improve a poor rack, or that they improve things by less than changing one decent rack for another.

These things clearly don’t offer the visual value for money or dramatically different sound that one can get from (say) changing speakers. It also makes a system look sillier, while many leading racks look inoffensive or better. However, replacing Cirkus with Karousel and Lingo 1 with Lingo 4 don’t look impressive either - we do them for sound reasons only. Adding HRS feet in the most obvious places costs less than that and improves the sound by a not dissimilar amount from LP, and from other sources too, so in that sense the cost does not look uncompetitive.

One would have to take things a really long way to spend as much as it costs to add an XPS to an NDX2, and again I would argue that the scale of the improvement is broadly comparable (actually bigger at higher volume).

As for the turntable, a comparable LP12 at a dealer on a Fraim does not sound markedly better than my LP12 on my Targett stand - something checked many times. I therefore expect that the post-HRS & granite version will beat the Fraim option by about as much as it improved my Targett stand. Total outlay for turntable bits only would not pay for a Karousel or a Lingo 4.

Annoyingly expensive? Yes.
Possibly out-performed by a cheaper product I have not tried? Yes.
Good value on pure sound-per-£? Yes.
Elegant? No.

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:joy: have a look at Michael Fremer’s set up. I like him turn the light off and enjoy the music, I don’t care about the looks of it all :wink:. If the isolation devices help go with it as it’s all about the music :+1:

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Firstly, apologies for assuming that your current rack is not built or designed for hifi. I wasn’t aware the shelves are granite. It appears that your current rack is a good design which is rather solid. Good to know.

Secondly, I am not suggesting that good isolation devices can only improve on poor racks. I am aware that they are also capable improving on the sound quality of decent or good racks. As I have mentioned before on other threads, good isolation devices are capable of better performance than standard spikes on both racks and speaker stands based on my experience with Isoacoustics Gaia on speakers and Finite Elemente Cerapucs on the rack. It is the mistake on my part to assume that your current rack is less than stellar.

Lastly, I didn’t say these products make the system look silly. You may have mistaken me for someone else. I thought they look rather nice.

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Your picture is exactly what I mean by it starting to look a bit silly, what with the extra platforms, feet and the Snaxo at a jaunty angle.

HH thinks my set up looks silly - I didn’t take offence though :wink:

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@ryder - my apologies for being unclear. The view that they look silly is mine, not yours. How do you find Cerapucs?

Your general point that this stuff can quickly get disproportionately expensive, and won’t make up for (say) a dreadful rack choice or a poor source, is of course dead right. It may well make more sense to think about this stuff for a £20K hi-fi than for a £2K hi-fi.

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I would agree with this. I’ll try to make this short. The Cerapucs have been used on a decent rack which is a Finite Elemente Spider for more than 10 years. I have only compared the Cerapucs to the standard spikes, and as we all know it is almost impossible to AB test isolation devices installed at the base of a rack hence an accurate assessment may not be possible. Having said that I thought the Cerapucs improved on the standard spikes by providing an overall clearer sound with more defined notes. I didn’t switch from the Cerapucs to the spikes to reassess the situation as it is just too much work and hassle.

I consider the FE rack with Cerapuc bases to be a good rack. My impressions are validated when I bought a new rack last year. It turned out that the new rack is poor and the degradation in sound quality is very obvious. The new rack is placed in a different room, and the room may have an influence to the sound of the rack. Nevertheless, the sound quality took a dip when the same Naim amps were sitting on the rack. The rack came with spikes, hollow pillars(which I believe is the main cause of the poor sound) and MDF wood shelves. I managed to improve the sound of the rack by putting Nobsound footers below the Naim amps on each shelf. The spikes have remained as I do not wish to throw a lot of money on this set up.

The FE rack which is installed with the Cerapucs also has the Nobsounds on the amp and Ceraball on the DAC. In other words isolation devices are installed throughout on both the rack and components. The effects or improvements with these isolation devices on the rack are cumulative. I can even change the sound by changing the number of springs on the Nobsounds. I could go into detail but think I’ll just leave it at that.

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My racks are also from HNE. I also bought a large coffee table from them to match the stands.

@GerryMcG - I did the same.

My HRS kit is here! I haven’t detected a sound difference between the thinner damping plates that I had on dem and the thicker back one I actually bought, though I also haven’t done a back-to-back test.

All the pictured tweaks are staying. I’ll try Nimbus feet and plates on the power supplies too at some point.

I can also confirm, as @916SPS suggests, that Stephen Harper at The Audio Consultants is great fun and helpful. The set up in their shop is most impressive, if only to show how good the sound can be if visual effect and floorspace are literally ignored and ridiculous-looking power cables, speaker cables, interconnects, cable risers, platforms and the like are allowed to breed unrestricted.