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Iso Acoustic Gaia Series Isolation Footers


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There has been a fair amount of good press regarding the improvements Iso Acoustics products make.   Whether under a turntable, cd player, amplifier or speakers, Robert Deutsch, Art Dudley, Jim Austin, and most recently, Michael Fremer have all published positive reviews.  The most recent, Fremer's, states "the improvement in low-level detail, resolution, image focus, clarity, bass attack and decay, and transparency were not at all subtle.  They were huge!  I swear that's not hyperbole." 

Has anybody tried them under your Quatros, or any other Vandy model?  Please share your experience .......... big improvement?

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Well, no wonder Sam is staying away.  Who wants to move 60 pound pieces of granite into place and then try to gently hoist 110 pound loudspeakers on top of that granite?  Then, to make it more challen

John, I can't speak to the footers you've been using, but I replaced Herbie's Audio Cone / Spike Gliders with Vandersteen footers and the improvement in overall resolution was not subtle.   For u

Nope.  Those are Herbie's Cone/Spike Puckies, in Titanium flavor.  Why?  Because I had them!  Instant delivery.  Better than Amazon Prime. I'll be trying the official Vandersteen version soon eno

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WARNING:  My experience with these products were NOT under Vandersteen loudspeakers.  So, take it for what it's worth.  Which you should do anyway.

The small powered loudspeakers attached to this computer were sitting atop some Iso Acoustic stands.  They raised the drivers to the proper level and came highly recommended.  But, the loudspeakers never, ever sounded right.  At least to either my wife or me.  For lack of a better descriptive term, there was a selective vagueness about the sound.  I thought that was the best I could do with these speakers and lived with it.  They let us play sounds from the computer and they sounded better than the built-in iMac speaker system, such as it is.

Then, I watched a YouTube video featuring Richard Vandersteen - the fellow whose name is at the top of this page.  He made the point during his discussion that a very important system consideration was making certain that your loudspeakers remain fixed in their positioning relative to the room and to your ears while playing.  I interpreted this to mean no squishy isolation devices.  I'm sure you can find this video, which explains this and much, much more.

So, I headed on over to the Amazon store and found some bamboo yoga blocks.  Used in a pair, these were the right size to support the desktop monitors on the computer table.  A couple clicks and a couple days later, they showed up at our doorstep and were placed under the loudspeakers.

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What a difference!

Now, everything sounded much clearer, with none of that selective vagueness.  These powered speakers will never be confused with Vandersteen CLR CT's, but now they sounded pretty acceptable.  (Side note: Inspired by this better performance, I soon after upgraded the DAC hanging off the back of the iMac to an Audioquest Cobalt Dragonfly, and upgraded the power cords and interconnect wiring to the loudspeakers.  Now, they really sound amazingly good for what they are.  Very clear, with an actual soundstage.  It's now really fun to listen to them.  Still not CLR CT's, though...)

Fast forward some.  Using the same logic, I recently was able to have some granite support platforms fabricated for our Quatro CTs in the living room.  The same sort of changes took place.  It was actually kind of eerie.  Of course, the Quatro's started from a vastly superior sound quality to begin with.  But, the improvement was of the same qualitative nature.  I'm sure our CTs are not the equivalent of Seven Mk II's atop System Nine Bedrocks, but both my wife and I are very happy not only with the improvement but with the overall results.  New loudspeakers are not in my top 100 want-to-buy (or even consider) list.

Yeah - lots of people seem to like the Iso Acoustic products.  I won't discount or dismiss their observations.  I just found that RV's suggestions worked for us here.

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BK, thank you for the comprehensive response.  It's easy to get caught up in glaring reviews, but there are usually so many variables.  

Is your living room floor bare wood, concrete, or carpet on top of what?  My sound room (affectionately referred to as Studio V) is ground floor concrete covered with laminate wood-look-alike planks.  I asked Richard about any advantage to adding granite platforms under my Quatros.  His reply was that with the concrete, they would not provide any improvement.  

I've looked into the Iso Acoustic products a little deeper.  First disadvantage is it appears they are only sold in sets of four.  To accommodate the Quatros weight, I would have to go with three Gaia i's .......... $599 per set.  I think for the time being, I'll just order a set of Vandersteen footers from John Rutan to replace the Herbie's Audio Lab's I'm using right now. 

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Guys, BK's post is just so spot on.  The whole idea of granite is to keep the speaker from moving.  I wouldn't use anything under a Vandersteen than what Richard talks about.  We all know how important rake is too.  Richards little footers have a special felt on the bottom that also helps.  

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Like most houses in the Northeast, our floors are all suspended.  That means a bunch of 2x8's (maybe it's 2x10's) in a framework with a couple layers of plywood on top.  In our case, there's no hardwood under the carpeting.  That's one way that builders save money.  Our floor also happens to have a steel beam running the width of the building approximately, or perhaps exactly, in the center.  The ends are recessed into the basement foundation.  Yes, we have a basement.

So, our floors are not as rigid as yours are.  The granite platforms probably make up for that to some degree.  I'm sure our floor flexed a tiny bit when playing sound through the speakers.  How much, I can't really guess.  But, apparently it was enough to affect the sound.  Now the spikes "push" on a roughly 60 pound rock that has its mass distributed across the area beneath the loudspeakers.

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Note:  The whitish look on the front of the platforms is actually the reflection of the carpet.  That's how shiny this granite is.

But!  There's good news!  I see that you're using glider footers under your speaker's spikes.  I've found those to be kind of squishy and may not be what you want for under your speakers.  The Vandersteen Spike Shoes or Herbie's Cone/Spike Puckies (they're similar in construction) probably will offer a noticeable improvement for you.  At least, they'll be different.  Probably.  Maybe?

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BK, you are right again.  I spoke wiht Richard about this specific situation last week.  He said the the spike shoes are what you want as the 'felt' he uses will keep the speakers in place and won't be squishy.  As we all know, the speaker will move even more doing that.  

We too have the same type of flooring that BK is talking about.  I wish I could do the granite etc by myself, but that's not happening wiht the MS, lol.  Hopefully my buddy Sam will be over the house in the next week, lol.  

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Well, no wonder Sam is staying away.  Who wants to move 60 pound pieces of granite into place and then try to gently hoist 110 pound loudspeakers on top of that granite?  Then, to make it more challenging, install really pointy spikes underneath the speakers and then set the spikes into little cups?  And *then*, move them all around until they are in the magic spot??

Some friggin' hobby.  More like being a member of the longshoreman's union or a piano mover.

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5 hours ago, BKDad said:

Pizza would entirely change my assessment.

There you go, lol.  See I'm not a bad guy, lol...: :)  I even supply good drinks too (with or without alcohol/Beer). Ha...  I am blessed to have some good friends in life in all areas.  I've never taken my friendships for granted.  I do love sharing my audio passion with my sports friends when they come to watch games etc... I've actually gotten quite a few over the years to get a nice small set up for themselves.  Most folks do love music and or watch movies and want to enjoy more than just a sound bar.  

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"Some friggin' hobby"  ......... that's classic BK!  In my youth, I delivered office furniture and supplies for a local chain.  Once in a while, we would have to deliver a four drawer, fire proof filing cabinet; about 800 lbs.  Those were a bunch of fun  🙂

Are those Richard's spike footers under your Quatros?

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Nope.  Those are Herbie's Cone/Spike Puckies, in Titanium flavor.  Why?  Because I had them!  Instant delivery.  Better than Amazon Prime.

I'll be trying the official Vandersteen version soon enough.

The people who deliver heavy anythings deserve a lot of respect for what they do.  (Actually, people deserve respect, period.  Until proven otherwise.)

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Welp, it appears I'm wrong.

I just read an online review in a well known publication by a well known reviewer.  He says that these Iso-Acoustic products change everything for the better.

Exactly as Steve Edwards quoted in his original post.  Exactly.

So, don't take my observations above as being worth any more than you paid for them.

Full disclosure: I'm biased.  I've never heard any Wilson loudspeakers sound "right".  That's what the Iso-Acoustic products were placed under in the cited review.   But, I know a bunch of people who are thrilled with their Wilson Audio loudspeakers.  I guess they'd be thrilleder with these isolation products. 

 

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My buddy did a shootout with these devices.  He used Stillpoints, HRS, Iso and even Mook.  Under speakers, you should never use a device that moves. You want your speaker to stay in place and have zero movement.  As Richard does, just put a slab of granite underneath and use his 'shoes' and the speaker won't move and you get better sound.  

I agree on Wilson speakers.  Just my ears as they lack the micro adn macro detail where the emotion is.  

My buddy now writes for TAS (Dr Matt Clott in NJ.  He's a very good plastics guy, lol) and voted for iso acoustics being a great value in audio (whatever they call that column when their reviewers chose their favorite products or something like that).  If used under a component, they drain the energy and help the component sound the way it was intended (good or bad, lol).  When using a solid billet cabinet (not folded metal), he felt the HRS footers worked best.  He loved the least expensive HRS footers also, but they were more money than ISO's.

Try all at your own peril, lol.  I have been using the Ayre blocks under my gear and like them a lot. 

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I asked Richard awhile back about the spikes/Footers for the Model 3A Signatures and he advised me that what he supplied with the speakers was the best option. I asked after reading about the Pitch Perfect Speaker feet that just came out which are way more expensive than these isoacoustics which aren’t cheap either, my speakers sit on a carpeted floor on the fourth floor of the house .  If they had a 30 day return policy maybe, will have to check. As for MF, I have heard Wilson’s set up properly in homes. No thank you. Inverted polarity in the midrange. Not for me.

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Whoever would've guessed that you could spend so much money on feet?

As for Wilson Audio products, I figure that since this is a hobby for almost all of us, people should be able to spend however much they want on whatever they want.  If a product ends up doing what they want, good for them!  Everybody has different desires and perceptions.

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Welcome Joe.  Many of us feel that way about Wilson's.  They are nice speakers if you want to play loudly and don't care about details.  That's all many care about.  Some don't even know the difference as they are sold by dealers who ride the gain in auditions etc...  I take the remote away from the dealer when auditioning and I listen to my own music that I know well.  

You could still put a granite slab under any Vandersteen speaker and it will sound better (you still need the grippy footer cups for the cones that come with the speakers.  Otherwise, put your money into music or an accessory that you may want to try.

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Everybody has different tastes and priorities.  It's been scientifically shown that individuals perceive sound differently - too much for a discussion here.  (And a reason why all this DBT stuff in groups is kind of foolish - also too much for a discussion here.)

I have friends who love their Wilson Audio loudspeakers.  Believe me, for what they spent on them, they had a very wide selection of alternatives.  But, they went with Wilson.  They're happy, which works for me.

I just know what I have found to work for me.  So far, most of it has worked for my wife as well.  All good.

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6 minutes ago, Joe Whip said:

How thick should the granite be? 

Joe - I don't have a firm answer for that.

We chose to use two pieces of granite glued together.  The standard thickness of granite countertop material available around here is 3 cm, so double thickness is 6 cm, which is a little under 2.5 inches when all is done.  That seemed thick enough to get the job done, with easily available granite pieces.  Not very scientific, eh?

The System Nine Bedrock looks to be thicker, but it's a much more sophisticated  product than just two pieces of countertop glued together.  

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I want to expand a bit on the comment I made with regard to perception.

My wife went to a famous music school.  (She, however, is NOT famous.)  She pointed out to me that most musicians she has known don't care much about home audio.  Why?  Most can friggin just read the sheet music and the sound appears in their head.  Not much need for granite speaker platforms for them.  The exceptions are when they are trying to analyze their own playing and when they are trying to gauge how a recording sounds prior to letting other people listen to it in some way.  My point is, they listen in a different way than most of us do.

There are people who really only care about the beat.  That's another perception priority.

There's a really good argument that can be made that music becomes popular when you can sing it or sing along with it.  The past century has demonstrated that, based on what music sells in whatever form.

People all work differently in the way their brains and auditory systems work.  It's just the way it is.  Much like taste in food, sexual desires, and the rest.  Different strokes for different folks.  And so on and so on.

That's a long explanation of why I personally won't come down on Wilson Audio loudspeaker lovers.  Or, any other sonic preference.

For some good reading, I will recommend this book:  http://gregoryberns.com/iconoclast.html 

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As for thickness, it really won't matter too much. Rake is more important after you install them. You can use a single piece as it's all about spreading out the vibrations over a larger area and then have it dissipate into the carpet (if I recall correctly).  I'm going to keep my mono blocks on the 3" granite pieces and then have a larger footprint base made of two pieces.  

That's just me.

I agree IRT musicians.  A friend of mine teaches percussion at Juilliard.  He's fairly well known in jazz I believe (Billy Drummond).  Billy loves his audio systems. He own's a small pair of Maggie's (are any small? lol) and a pair of Vandy's (2 or 3, I forget).  He hears the differences, but doesn't need more than what he has.  He just wants the most realistic sound in his price range and he feels he has that in his two systems.  It's all good.

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