What are isolators isolating?

I’m pretty new to all of this - tweaking at least. What are isolators isolating, vibrations from the floor or air? Or both? A new to me PSA P5 just arrived, and of course I am thinking of power cords from the P5 to my amp, etc. Then I read about putting isolators under them. On it goes.

I have not been too concerned about vibrations, at least from the floor, because my system sits in a “nook” in the wall next to a brick chimney with the front edge of the shelf in the nook supported by brick tied into the chimney brick that sits on the concrete foundation one floor below. The P5 will sit in the “wood box” cupboard under the nook, not on the same brick, so I plan to put isolators under it.

However, I am wondering about my turntable. It is not a heavyweight. As stated, what it sits on is a shelf on the chimney brick. But, I just got new to me Ohm Walsh 4 speakers that I certainly feel through more than my feet.

The question is this - will isolators help the turntable with the vibration from music that I can feel in my chest, stomach, and eyeballs? Corollary question - dust cover up or down?

Damn those speakers anyway. (Love ‘em. Was playing a Soul Jazz New Orleans Funk album loud one night and a bat started flapping against the window like a moth.)

thanks in advance for your thoughtful replies.


B&O RX2 tot
Sound-smith SMMC 1
B&K PRO-10MC Sonata Series
B&K EX442 Sonata Series
Ohm Walsh 4’s
REL T5 (times 2)
Coming soon very soon - PSA P5

Starting with the dustcover, I will let some of out turntable guys give you a definitive answer, but I always closed mine on tts that had hinged covers, but remove them on my tables that they just sat on.
I would guess by now you have looked at the various options for isolation.
The best equipment stands like HRT are designed to isolate their shelves from the floor and from the other shelves. Which with turntables is essential. The problem is if you have wood floors that cause your stylus to be interfered with, the whole rack will move. There are isolation pods that can work under those conditions, but are usually quite expensive, as they have to work horizontally, as well as vertically. I think the better solution is a wall mounted shelf. Fastened to the wall studs. You will still want to isolate a lightweight table from the frame and/or the shelf. Vibrations from sound waves is best handled by placing the turntable in a place that is not being loaded by the bass waves. So never stick a rack in a corner. Someone who has lots of knowledge on acoustic treatments can recommend the best location. You should be getting a proper amount of bass in the sweet spot. If you walk around the room you will find places where the bass is too much compared to your sweet spot. Corners are the worst, so easiest to experience.
Things like cones can improve your sound, or a least change it, but won’t really isolate a component. It takes products that have a design that really does isolate between the component and the shelf. Check out:
They make some good products, with sane prices.
With the P5 I would be most concerned that it is getting good ventilation, preferably a separate circuit, then some isolation.
Both Music Direct and Audio Advisor allow returns. Either one would be a good place to try out the different types. The Cable Store has a lending library of cables and isolation products. They are a little more expensive, but you are buying their expertise and their lending library of products.
To answer your question, true isolators are isolating the component from the shelf, and the shelf from the component. The only thing that helps with vibration from sound waves, besides placement is mass loading,
and sound deadening products. Something you can’t do with turntables. Other than turntables, usually only components with tubes are bothered by sound waves, or vibration from other components.
But these small details and tweeks on their own that seem to do very little, are cumulative. They can be the difference between ok, and getting the very best out of your system.

I second the wall mount shelf for TT. Made a huge difference in my setup.


In my experience having tried multiple isolation products over the years (none of them are cheap) the best ones are from Townshend Audio (feet, platforms and stands). They use springs to isolate the equipment and the speaker isolators seem to have the biggest effect (in my experience).

I agree about Townsend Audio !!

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For turntable I’m getting excellent results using a PS Audio PowerBase as an isolation stand and replacing the Rega plunger tip feet with VooDoo Cable IsoPods.

Thanks for all of your thoughtful replies. I am hesitant to spend more on isolation than I have on the rest of my gear, but will keep your suggestions in mind in the event of a future windfall (civil servant) and upgrade. As stated, everything except the speakers and soon-to-be installed P5 are on the second floor of chimney brick, isolated from the floor. I think I’ll start with some more affordable sorbothane type isolators under the turntable, speakers, and P5 and see if I can hear an improvement.

Do you think that strips of sorbothane sheet on the aluminum chassis of my turntable might help with airborne vibration. The turntable is within a couple feet of one speaker. It’s our living room, so I really can’t move anything.

Thanks again

The sorbothane sheet should definitely help, mainly by reducing groundborne vibration and maybe damping down some of the airborne ones. I don’t think you can reduce airborne vibrations to the same degree though (unless you could soundproof your system from your speakers).

If you want to try sorbothane, Herbies Tenderfeet are inexpensive and might do the job.

And they’re not sorbothane.

Correct. In my opinion, sorbothane has kind of smeared the sound. But that’s just my old ears.

Well. . . it’s all in the implementation I believe. But the Tenderfeet I agree are a good way to start with isolating components. . . effective, not terribly expensive.

Thanks for all of the input. I’ve decided to put Bright Star isonodes under all components to start and see if I hear any difference. I probably don’t have the most revealing system. I won’t be out much.

My speakers, Ohm Walsh 4s, are on casters. The floor is cork. I’m thinking of trying tennis balls or something similar under the bottom corners of them before spending tons.

Thanks again