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FAQ - Shelves & Stands
FAQ - Shelves and Stands ...
We continually wrestle with this section. That some listening rooms sit on concrete slabs while others have suspended floors means that there is no universal solution.
We have witnessed stunningly good reproduction from a stand so wobbly as to raise doubts as to its safety. Generalizing is simply not possible.
Our main listening room sits on a concrete slab, but we have had success exhibiting in various hotels with suspended wood-joist floors as well.
Our traveling setup has for the most part consisted of a sandbox sitting on top of a threaded rod type of stand - due its portability.
For a more timely commentary on this subject, visit this thread on our forum (opens in new window)
Bear in mind that bouncy floors with foot fall problems will give the turntable owner fits irrespective of the turntable architecture - suspended or unsuspended.
Our experiences with suspended 'tables on bouncy floors (e.g. Thorens, AR, Merrill, Linn, and Sota ) have been more problematic than those with unsuspended 'tables. As the suspension is set into motion by the rocking, it continues to oscillate long after the floor has stopped moving.
Ultimately, shaky floors involve implementing one or more of the following solutions:
If your shelf is narrower than the recommended 18" x 24" dimension, you can add a larger shelf to the top (e.g. Adona shelf, maple slab, sandbox, etc.), while at the same time adapting it to the footprint of the smaller rack on which it sits.
Note that we machine 1/4" x 20 TPI threads into our turntable bases and motor pods. Aluminum cones are installed into these threaded holes. The cones are used to firmly locate the motor pod for speed stability, and the base sits on matching cones so that the belt tracks at the proper height.
We don't recommend that you use the cones for leveling adjustment. This can be tricky from the perspective of maintaining alignment for proper belt tracking, but you are welcome to try. We'd recommend that you implement a leveling feature on your shelf as described above.
Minimum shelf sizes:
We recommend specifying something on the order of 18" x 24" if this is feasable.
If you're building/commissioning a sandbox, consider providing for a retrofit of an Adona shelf as a top plate for your sandbox. Reference the links below. Adona's standard size is 19" x 24", but they will make one that is 18" x 24".
Also, reference the section above - adding a leveling feature to a top shelf having larger dimensions than your equipment rack.
To date, we have implemented the following:
Bear in mind that if you use wood or granite as a tuning device, a future system change can send you back to the drawing board. It is for this reason that we recommend sandboxes - the most neutral solution.
The following products are worthy of your consideration. As we learn more, we'll update this list.
In reading these comments, please realize that there is likely no universal solution. Your floor, your system, your tastes, and your arm/cartridge match will all factor into your solution.
Please follow the link to the bottom of this page to our comments on Kevin Brooks' rickety stands to regain perspective on this topic.
Do it yourself and commissioned solutions:
Sources for 18" x 24" x 3" granite surface plates:
Note: While the stands offered by Grizzly and Enco will get you running at an attractive price, their fit and finish runs from very poor (Grizzly) to poor (Enco) - even if your taste runs toward the industrial look. You will probably find yourself sanding it and either priming/painting it or paying to have it powder coated. Consider this before ordering.Go to top of page
What about tip toes?
Contrary to popular "wisdom", tip toes are not mechanical diodes. Tip toes couple vibrations traveling in both directions. They can be useful in certain circumstances however, and their positioning does alter the sound.
If you think of a vibrating string, its peak vibrational excursion is at its center, and its minimum excursion is at its ends (the nodes).
A surface like a turntable base or a shelf has complex vibrational behavior - with numerous peaks and valleys (nodes).
The idea behind locating a tip toe is to connect two vibration nodes with each other, avoiding connecting two peaks. This will minimize motion (vibration).Go to top of page
The Strangest Things Can Sound Good ... or ... Everything We Know is Wrong.
Here is the partial text of a post we made on a forum about stand selection. While the main topic was about maple, the topic of Kevin Brooks' rickety stand came up. Even the most extreme members of our tribe needs to call a "time out" occasionally and just enjoy their tunes. Read the following at your own risk.
I have great respect for Pierre Sprey at Mapleshade. I think he puts out some very fine products.
Please note in my comments below, that I have never used the massive (and monolithic) maple slab sold by Mapleshade. I have done quite a bit of experimentation with maple butcher-block, which is a very different animal. I think my comments are still instructive however, or at a minimum, can serve as a data point for further exploration.
In all of our experimentation with platter design, we learned that what you glue a material together with (or what you glue two different materials together with) is just as important as the material(s) itself. So, in the case of the butcher-block, I may be hearing the glue as much as the maple.
Having said that, I've never found maple to contribute to my musical enjoyment. I think that this is not a universal characteristic however, and suspect that there are system contexts in which maple will work wonders.
You can well imagine that I go through this "turntable shelf dialog" with my customers on a regular basis. My #1 piece of advice to them (in the context of a Galibier, of course) is for them to take it very slowly, and to be prepared to start over.
One particular customer of mine has perhaps the best horn systems I've ever heard - with a price to match - Kevin Brook's Ales-based compression drivers.
Upon first delivering and setting up Kevin's turntable, he was shy of a turntable stand - having sold it along with his Platine Verdier.
Your jaw would drop at the temporary stand we pressed into service - fabricated of 2" x 2" oak struts, it was never intended for turntable use, but rather for prototyping horns. I literally feared for the safety of anyone passing within 3 feet of it!
It was all we had available.
I have to tell you that the sound in Kevin's system was nothing short of amazing. Surely, his entire signal chain is world-class, but if there had been a problem with the stand, it would certainly have proven the philosophy that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
Would I recommend a wobbly stand for anyone (or for Kevin for that matter)? Of course not. Like all of us however, Kevin has many priorities to deal with in both his audio business as well as in his own system setup, and the sound he's getting out of his rig on that shaky stand is not to be believed.
We all play triage with our system mods by addressing the highest priority (weakest link) first. The issue of a good stand (whatever that is) continues to sit below other system priorities for him. Were this my system, I suspect it might also be the case for me.
I am at a loss to explain this ...
This commentary isn't about how you can site a Galibier on anything and get world-class sound, but rather to point out that you sometimes make progress in the strangest of ways ... and most certainly not in a linear fashion.
Would I be inclined to try maple again? Likely, although I suspect I'd have the same results in the types of systems I find myself assembling for folks. Is maple necessarily bad? I don't think so. You need to look at turntable shelves in the overall context of what frequency range your turntable and stand are best at filtering out.
In the systems I've tried, I've found maple (butcher-block) to have a mid-bass centered resonance that I find to be annoying. In other systems, this might be exactly what the doctor ordered.
I tried an interesting experiment - fabricating a 3 layer shelf - two layers of 1-3/4" butcher-block sandwiched around a 1/2" thick piece of aluminum ... all held together by 50 wood screws (what a chore!).
I expected the stiffening effect of the aluminum to shift the resonant frequency upward, but the "tap test" was quite surprising, and was and an indicator of what I heard when I put it into service.
The sonic signature of this stiffened shelf was very similar to that of maple alone. I was fairly well shocked at how the maple's effects dominated the stiffening effected by the 1/2" sheet of aluminum.
So, I think we can conclude (at least in the case of butcher-block), that the maple's resonant characteristics tend to dominate everything else.
I don't know how this translates to a monolithic slab, but I suspect that this is what the good folks at Mapleshade are hearing.
I further suspect that they are using it to good advantage in systems that benefit from this type of tuning. Is maple a universal solution? Of course not ... what product is?Go to top of page