An Isolating Table – A Review
How much would you pay? What is the spend required to gain 20-30% improvement in sound from your Hi Fi. As a percentage, is 20% of your total cost of all your gear, too much? How about 30%? What tricks, what new Xovers, new cables, what about power supplies, what works what is the alchemy, the magic that gets the sound up? Well, in my case a product not many will unfortunately have the opportunity to buy for any money.
Let me attempt a review, and put down some ink for my thoughts. A review of a product I was lucky enough to have auditioned some four months ago or more. I mean you listen to vinyl you get a bit of pop, click and a little crackle. Right. But attend to detail, the setup, and nirvana flows.
Almost as an afterthought the creator Kwan, produced the Table. We were at the time listening to his Ribbon Speakers at my place. He thought, the isolating table, may improve the sound from my Linn Sondek. A chance encounter of the equipment kind, serendipitous, oh yeah. He was correct, it did, considerably.
Audio Unique is the hot new company conceived by Mark and Kwan to manufacture a range of products. This is one of them. An Isolating Table. The Audio Unique – Magnetic Levitation Isolation Platform 1, to give it the correct title.
The problem, I have a wooden floor. Could there be dancing? No, there is no chance of dancing within co-ee of the turntable. So live is the floor. Look there is quite a lot going on here. The wooden floor is receiving signal through the air and the bottom of the speakers deep down bass notes, some most probably beyond human hearing. All this is picked up through my equipment stand and transmitted up to the pick up arm. Where it eventually is converted to music. Or should I say the diamond and cartridge is trying to interpret the signals picked up in this corrupted state. The turntable plinth likewise is receiving rumble through the air, this further muddies the signal. The consequence of this is not quite the sound that it could be from my Tannoys. It would be a miracle if the pre-amp and power amp could deal with the riddle, the quest for a signal in any intelligible way on a path to your ears. This then is the problem confronting me at my place and maybe yours.
“Just bolt it to the wall”, my turntable guru Craig, spruiked. Yes well, I see construction, plaster dust, mess and are we up for altering the building. Not what I have in mind for a solution. If I was a Greek and in the Audio Club of Athens, I probably would have attempted this by now. You know their flare and style. Rip open the floor and rebuild it with under floor horns rising up Phoenix like in to the listening room. They have style those guys, they own the genre.
Let’s be honest until Kwan and Mark came along for an audition session with their very fine ribbon speakers, on this June day, I was not in any way focussed on turntable rumble. I simply didn’t know any better. Having stated this before, I should repeat the bleeding obvious. Everything you do down to nano level changes the sound, you hope, but not always, for the better.
They arrived with said speakers. And surprise, tucked under Kwan’s arm is a package foam wrapped, containing the table. “Oh”. he exclaims, “These are just back from the spray painters. Would you like to try one?” Would I?
Some fiddle is required to place the turntable level and consequently the Isolating Table in correct balance. There is a float built in, but obscured by my Linn Plinth. This is levitation by opposing magnets, it’s floating, like magic the turntable floats on air. Neodymium magnets or neo magnets perform this sleight of hand.
A little later from somewhere deep in the groove, deep down the sounds lurked in the groove hidden, just waiting to be called forth. And what about this sound I hear you shouting. The sound is more musical, it is faster, the midrange sharper and clearer with a touch more treble on top. The bass is clean, not that there was much boom before. But wait are we up to 20% yet? Separation of voices and musical instruments is more apparent.
Linda Ronstadt on Prisoner in disguise has more texture and depth. Bass from Ross Kunkel’s drums quicker and sharper. The chorus clean and once hidden is now free. On Roll um easy the bass guitar is more prominent and is that a feint chorus I hear, once only in the background. There is a lushness to the sound, with more layers of texture revealed. Dave Shaw commented at the first audition that he thought the resulting tight bass was possibly the best he had heard from a Linn Turntable anywhere. Very kind, I put great value on his opinions. He may well be right, every recording is now more revealed in many ways. Turntables and associated equipment just keep getting better.
Mark and Kwan are clearing all the remaining stock of Isolating Tables to focus on other products for the time being. This is a product that may improve your stereo out of sight. Get one if you still can. For small cost. Thanks guys.