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That extra 3mm counts! Sound Damped Steel Review

An extra 3mm anyone? Surprising that such a small addition can make a huge difference in the right location.
The items in question are approx 3” square and 3mm thick. The black ones are aluminium and the stainless steel are self coloured. Les calls them Isofeet and that is also their function. Looking like coasters for your coffee mug you may wonder why not just use a coaster? Herein lies the ingenious lateral thinking behind most simple but astonishing ideas. Les, whose business is in resonance damping for industrial equipment, applied the same accepted technological principles to his hi-fi.

Most of us already have racks to put kit on. Most of us have room issues. A solution to such common problems was devised by Les to apply in whatever method you find most beneficial or practical and very cost effectively. You can add more pieces to your kit as funds permit for the price of a couple of albums but for the better enjoyment of all the music that you listen too.
The name SoundDampedSteel tells you all that is required about the function. Constrained layer damping with a polymer damping layer in a sandwich arrangement has a useful property that helps prevent vibrations in one layer passing unhindered to the next. Les gives the technical reasons why on his website. www.sounddampedsteel.com

I have large heavy speakers on a wooden suspended floor. Always seeking to stop bass vibrations leaking into the floor smearing bass response I placed one of the SS mats under each foot of the speakers. They function exactly as described. In fact they work so well that they are staying in the system permanently.

The same principles apply to placing them under the feet of your existing rack on a wooden floor to the benefit of all the kit on that rack or just isolating individual items from the rack itself.
They are not suitable for all racks as when tried in two different systems with the original Townshend air tables they clearly make an audible difference but not for the better when placed on top of the medite shelves under valve gear or a Devialet.
However when placed under the feet of a solid rack itself they work in the same manner as under the speakers. I now have my original version Soundstyle metal and glass racks sat on them. On glass/metal or glass/wood stands they are also effective when placed under the individual pieces of kit on the shelves of the rack.

In the majority of systems their effects are likely to be beneficial and they appear to extend the frequency range marginally, add ease and clarity to the sound from the system making it feel more integrated and allowing separate threads in the piece to be followed more easily. The lack of resonance and feedback vibration in the rack would be the logical explanation. This seems to be most noticeable under valve gear or those items with moving parts especially such as TT’s. The black feet under the TT’s feet and motor pod work to isolate the parts of the TT from each other and the shelf they sit on. I suspect even more could be gained under decks without suspension such as re-plinthed Garrards,Technics and the like but did not have the opportunity to test that out.
Being so thin they are unlikely to make the kit too tall for your existing rack which is a huge bonus The best bit is you can add more and keep them when you change kit or indeed racks, being neat and having a high WAF too. She may not even see them so a good result all round I feel.

I have been unable to test the platter mats, named Isoplatmat, thoroughly enough as the Avid has a screw down clamp that will not work with a mat on the platter. Two types of mat are available, a black aluminium platter to replace the standard felt mat or for DD or heavier platters a SS one. When both were tried on a Sony DD the benefit was immediately noticeable and added ooomph to the music as though it was coming from a much more expensive TT (that is according to SWMBO who does not comprehend technical matters but her hi-fi hearing is infallible.)

A full review of the Isoplatmat will follow.
In summary these inexpensive isolation devices will work in most situations and for the price have clear cost effective benefits based on sound (geddit) scientific principles not foo.
Highly recommended.

Isofeet £36 +P&P
Isoplatmat from £89 +P&P

 

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