Guide to HI-FI isolation: Firstly, what is it?
When you have spent a considerable amount of time and money on setting up your home HI-FI system you want to ensure that it works to its optimum level. To really make your hi-fi perform to its’ optimum you need to take the time to explore and invest in HI-FI isolation.
Why isolate HI-FI components?
To put it simply, do not underestimate the difference that good isolation can make on your sound.
Unwanted vibrations are the enemy of a hi-fi system as they degrade the performance of the kit. Vibrations cause noise to get into the signal path which raises the noise floor, which can result in a less detailed sound performance. Even though vibrations may be small and can go unnoticed to the ear directly, you will immediately hear the difference in sound performance when Hi-Fi isolation products are put into practise.
Different types of isolation
HI-FI isolation ranges from boutique items such as cable lifters to inexpensive solutions. HI-FI isolation does not have to be difficult, it can be effortlessly simple as a dedicated hi-fi rack or shelf, which will make a huge difference to sound clarity. Something as basic as placing a bookshelf speaker on a stand will have a significant effect on your sound.
Now let’s take a look at the range of hi-fi products on offer to help guide your way to a fully isolated, amazing sounding hi-fi system.
Hi-Fi Racks and Stands
Hi-fi racks and stands are the simplest and first way to isolate your HI-FI components while also adding a great look to your set-up and the wider room. Racks and stands essentially isolate each individual product from each other and their surroundings. Considering that the perfect isolation would be achieved by hi-fi products floating in the air, a hi-fi rack is am almost close second.
A fantastic example of a high-calibre HI-FI stand currently available at Audio Affair is to the Atacama Evoque Eco 60-40.
Thanks to its decent size and variable heights, it is able to accommodate various kinds of kit. Like any quality isolation product, it is designed with sound quality at its forefront which is evident through its bamboo construction. Bamboo is a high-density material so offers great vibration control while its pore structure has sound-dampening qualities. It is attention to detail like this that truly enhances sound performance.
This model fuses performance with beauty and is available in a range of sizes and stunning colours. Bronze upgrades are also available for this stand the properties of bronze make it an excellent upgrade of the standard steel and as a result, improves performance across the board – although not recommended with an LP12 on top.
This leads to an important reminder that a rack will make your kit sound different depending on its material, so this is another consideration according to your personal taste.
Turntables are highly sensitive to vibration which raises its noise floor and degrades its sound performance, while footfall can play havoc with your stylus. It is crucial that you invest in decent turntable isolation to ensure that your deck performs at its very best.
For a non-suspended turntable, it is usually acceptable to place the deck on top of a dedicated turntable rack.
For a suspended turntable, however, it usually is not the best option to place it on top of a rack as vibrations in the room will travel up the rack and through the suspension. In that case, we recommend investing in a turntable wall shelf.
Those looking for beauty and performance may want to consider the Quadraspire SVT bamboo wall shelf. It is stunningly engineered and combines a bamboo body with solid aluminium columns which give it high strength and low weight properties. It’s deceptively sturdy frame can hold weights of up to 40kg. A quick note of caution: don’t pair this model with an LP12 turntable (bronze upgrade only) due to their similar resonance frequencies!
As mentioned before, we always recommend that standmount (bookshelf) speakers are placed on dedicated speaker stands. Stands isolate your speakers from reverberation-friendly walls and bookshelves to provide you with a more open and realistic sound.
Not only do speaker stands fulfil an important function, they also enhance the look of your speakers and wider room with their sleek and imposing design.
The Super Dreadnought speaker stands from Partington exemplify the isolation properties of a decent stand. Its striking design will support most normal sized bookshelf speakers. Its laser cut panels feature one inner and four outer tubes which offer fantastic rigidity and vibration control. It is no surprise that this model is award winning, thanks to its high-calibre design and accessible price point.
Its striking design will support most normal sized bookshelf speakers. Its laser cut panels feature one inner and four outer tubes which offer fantastic rigidity and vibration control. It is no surprise that this model is award winning, thanks to its high-calibre design and accessible price point.
Crafted from a combination of bamboo and carbon steel, the bamboo body offers vibration protection while carbon legs bring solidity and stability. All Mosceco stands include adjustable floor spikes for added isolation.
Floor spikes reduce the surface area of the speakers so less vibration travels to the floor. We strongly recommend that floor spikes are added to any speaker stands in your set up.
Further Isolation Products
So you have a turntable rack, wall shelf and speaker stands all in place. What more can you do to improve your system even further?
When it comes to hi-fi isolation, the better a model is isolated, the better it will perform, so there is always more you can do. Engineers and manufacturers are always pushing the envelope when it comes to the design and performance of specific isolation products.
Iso Acoustics Gaia isolation pucks are one such niche isolation product, designed to replace spikes on floor speakers. They are less damaging than spikes and resist lateral movement and oscillation to maintain the alignment of the listening position for sound clarity and openness.
Cutting-Edge Isolation Technology
The Townshend company is renowned for their isolation products and the scientific results of their inventions. The engineering company are at the cutting-edge of isolation technology. Check out their informative video on the topic below:
Product wise, Townshend’s Seismic Isolation Platforms are one such example of their innovative approach to hi-fi isolation. The design absorbs and isolates any unwanted vibrations whether structural or air-borne and is designed to accommodate any size or type of speaker.
For further reading on hi-fi isolation, check out Townshend’s exceptionally interesting study on the effects of earthquakes on your hi-fi system. This eye-opening article really hammers home the importance of hi-fi isolation!
The main point to remember about hi-fi isolation is that the better isolated an item is, the better it will sound.
If you are willing to put the time and money into ensuring that your hi-fi system is fully isolated, you are ensuring that your system sounds as clear and intricately detailed as possible, which is what every audiophile wants. Check out our range of isolation products online, or pop into our store where our expert team are on hand to give advice. Happy isolating!