Why don’t speaker decibel waves wreck havoc on turntables, bouncing the cartridge off the record or inducing pulsations in pickup?
They do…not in a way the turntable or cartridge jumps but, if strong or hitting a light, sensible turntable, they do in a way that avoids super transparent and airy ambiance and focus and perfect bass.
In deed they do, and not in a subtle way. Placing a turntable in a corner in the same space as the speakers can accentuate the problem. In one home I actually placed the turntable in a room separate from the speakers.
As an experiment (with certain types of turntables), try using a turntable with the dustcover open, and turn the volume way up. If you don’t get feedback, the bass will become very muddy and ill-defined. The dustcover becomes a giant microphone. Learned this in my mid-teens when I couldn’t figure out why, all of a sudden, my system sounded awful in the bedroom. Turns out I’d moved the rack across the room, with the speakers facing the turntable.
Today, I place my turntable on a 3-inch maple isolation block that is supported by some IsoAcoustics pods. If I put my hand on top of the plinth, I feel no vibrations at all. It’s also out of the direct line of fire of the speakers. Isolated as best I can, in my limited space.
They do even with cheapo turntables. Back in the '70s, I had a Garrard changer… that thing would howl and even more so with the dustcover down. The vibrations can come from the air and the floor/funiture/shelf. I did two things as a teenager:
- Purchased a large patio stone from a local stone place
- Pulled some carpet padding from my friend’s basement
Put four little stacks of padding down first, placed the stone on that, turntable on that. Rock solid. That system of stability I kept with me through adulthood.
Oh, and I painted the stone gloss black… nice.
Something for you to try: Pull the covers from your speakers so you can see the woofers. Start playing a disc, then rap your knuckles on the shelf of furniture holding your turntable. Watch the woofers… oh oh…
Bruce in Philly
Good point, I remove the dust cover from my Linn Sondek LP when plistening to vinyl. My other two turntables either don’t provide for a dust cover (VPI) or require removal of the dust cover (Rega RP8) to play records.
I have a heavy turntable on top of a traditional wooden stack cabinet. I put it on wheels with Sorbothane padding and the turntable sits on IsoAccoustics pucks. I get no ground or air vibration issues.
It’s a bit ugly, so I’ve ordered parts to make a unit out of Perspex. The wheels can be elevated so that they sit on vibration rubber footers. I already have a Perspex plinth for the turntable that sits on springs cannibalised from Townshend bars, as I had to change the springs for a heavy subwoofer. Starting with a high mass turntable is a good start, but isolation is needed. Best is a wall mount, not always practical.
Four of these will cope with the entire hifi quite easily.
A 75 pound platter needs a whole lot of energy to vibrate. Way more energy than I will ever require. Every turntable manufacturer has a theory. How it works for this person or that person is too situationally dependent. Most vinyl fans solve it without great struggle.
My previous turntable weighed 6 pounds total. It had almost no plinth and just a ceramic platter. It was fine too. There are endless ways to deal with it. Sometimes you get lucky on the first try.
8 track cartridge players, they were stable too.
And not to forget, we also tend to get or stay lucky as long as we don’t know the actually existing shortcomings. Just by the old motto: as long as we don’t listen to the better, we stay satisfied with what we have and tend to think it’s perfect and further measures are obsolete
I just realized the last eight major components I have bought I never had a chance to try out first. Basically the only thing I did try out first were my speakers. During that trial I kept thinking over and over again “it’s amazing, but it’s so not for me!”. I ended up being wrong about that.
Maybe I depend on luck more than I should. Or maybe, as you say, I settle without knowing any better. But it’s not without trying to find better.
My daughter’s generation has no issue with “oh, this tiny speaker sounds fun!”. Maybe they are better off…
I’m sorry, too analytical…
Back in my early days in hi-fi, I had the opposite experience. I always played records with the dustcover up, but one day I tried it with it closed. The sound hitting the closed plastic box created some sort of concentrated, self-sustaining resonances that produced nasty feedback. Never tried that again.
It might depend on the dust cover material also. I’m not that informed on what types of plastics these are, but some have a “ting” to them when tapped (typical on turntables from Japan), where others are more of a dull thud, feeling more damped (Europe/UK). The turntables with the latter type of dustcover did not resonate much at all and I would notice no difference if they were open or closed. The others, though, acted like microphones, and were far worse when open than when closed.
I tend to play with the cover completely off. Unless it’s lower volume (background levels) and I can’t be bothered, where I’ll leave it on and close it.
The TT I traded in last year had many design/build flaws, and one of them was the dustcover hitting the record on the platter. Won’t mention any names, but it’s a brand I’ll never Czech out again…
I’ve looked into them before, but I’ve never been completely sold on the idea of a wall mount being “isolated” in other places I’ve lived. (I have no wall space now.) Maybe if the wall is on a slab foundation it could be stable, but in a house with a suspended floor, I feel vibrations in the wall if someone is walking across it, whether or not I’m near a 2x4.
It’s less evident on walls with wet plaster vs. typical builder-grade drywall, though, but mounting in plaster has its own challenges. Especially when the turntable approaches 50 pounds, or exceeds it. In tight quarters, finding a stud in a usable location to support it can be difficult. (With my TV mount, two of the six mounting holes are over a stud, held in with lag bolts; the other four use special wall anchors to provide support behind the wall.)
With isolation though, a wall mount could work out quite well, especially for someone who has different limitations on usage of wall space than I do.
This house is a mix–the original part is 83 years old and has wet plaster walls, but the back third of it was an addition built in the 1980s with drywall. My fun comes when I have to retape the ceiling seams before repainting, as half of them are coming loose.
Things are tight in this room as it’s my listening room, family room, and my work desk is in the back corner. Plus, rekkids.
BTW @stevensegal, those IsoAcoustics pucks work quite well. I also have sets under my speakers, which were designed specifically for speakers (they prevent front/back movement but dampen vibrations in all other directions). I believe mine under the speakers are the Gaia III, and I use the carpet cups (which have spikes on the bottom) to get through to the slab.
Unfortunately my natural assumption is brick/plastered walls.
I use the IsoAcoustics Iso-Puck76 under my speakers. They are matte black (my speakers are dark metallic grey). The Gaia II are far too shiny and three times the price. I telephoned IsoAcoustics and they told me Iso-Puck and Gaia do the same job, they just look different.
Even my Townshend bars that have natural steel cups got a shot of matte black car paint.
I hear ya. I grew up in a brick house with plaster walls, and the first house I bought was the same, but even older (1951 vs. 1960). My favorite house, at least layout- and location-wise, was a 1985 build, all drywall, and not all that well cared for by previous owners; the bottom half was brick, with the second level in siding. Current house is a 1940 build but with siding rather than brick, with the addition built in the mid 80s. And thankfully it was added onto, as these old bungalows were small and not laid out very well. The kitchens were so small that the appliances and two feet of counter space barely left room for a small kitchen table (these houses have no separate dining area).
Mine were purchased used, and the Gaia IIIs are the smallest in the line. So the price wasn’t too bad overall. The threads didn’t fit my speaker, but I bought tripod adapters and they fit just fine. Even the pucks under my turntable weren’t at full retail–a local pro audio store had some demos that were nicely discounted.
The almost finished article.
The shelves and top plate (to be replaced with a smaller one with rounded corners) sit on this stuff.
It’s a sort of gel-like thing that you can cut with a knife or scissors, has quite a high wobble-factor and absorbs vibration. The feet do most of the vibration control.
The phono leads are going to be concealed with some grey wrap.
This whole project, including the castors which were quite expensive, cost the same as a set of 4 Gaia 1.
…but didn’t you exchange a quite solid wooden turntable base on your previous cupboard for a quite thin, prone to sound transmission acrylic glass and as the turntable is placed at the highest point, even prone to instabilities of the rack? However, it looks nice!