As An Experiment I Stuck A Few Things Under My Pre-Amp And Am Now On A Quest

My system is built out, got the pieces I want in place, and struggled a bit with how it sounds. With certain recordings it was sublime and with others it could be a bit sterile or mechanical sounding. These are all solid state components in a Salamander cabinet, and up to this point I have never been a fan of isolation devices with SS gear. Now with tube components I did use spike type devices under amps and preamps, so I have had a bit of experience.

Last night I rounded up a few wayward isolation devices I had from previous systems and thought I would experiment a bit. The pre-amp contains the DAC also, so I thought I would start here. Put in some Wagner type pads, and got a different sound with some improved focus but the bass was lean and a bit odd. But things changed. I tried some magnetic pods I had, no change with them.

Then as a whim I cut two sections of foam pool noodle I had laying around and put it under the front and back of the preamp. I oriented them lengthwise. Something fantastic happened here! I got spooky precise focus to instruments, the bass response became impactful, the sound is more relaxed...perhaps a bit too smooth but I will take this over that mechanical presentation any day. This is sounding very nice.

So, after dinner I decide to cut a third one and perhaps the bass gets better. I put it in and all the gains are gone, it sounds worse than the first set of Wagner pads I put in. The bass literally vanishes and the soundstage collapses. Pull it out and things are good again. I listen to disc after disc last night and am pleased with the sound. I am spinning vinyl this morning and still feel the same way.

So now I have a plan of action. On one hand I am content to leave the noodles in place and roll with that for awhile. It would be nice to have a permanent solution though. It seems like I am looking for a compliant solution. I remember Brightstar used to build a little shelf that housed a bike inner tube in it, and I think Townshend Audio also had a bladder type platform.

It would be interesting to know what products folks have used that functioned in a similar manner.

Thanks for sharing any thoughts or experiences.


I use granite 17x13x1.25 and 17x17x1.25 under every component. I also have a 2 piece under TT and 1 for the motor and 1 for the plinth then spiked them to the rack shelves. I also use spray glue and aluminum foil on the bottom of each component that totally eliminates any RF between components. Wish I had done that to the shelves when I put it together. That really tightened things up and got rid of some background noise. Then I use foam pipe insulation for the speaker wires, you can either cut into small sections or cover completely.

Here’s another very low cost option. Go to your local HVAC supply house and pick up some vibration pads that are used for furnaces, air conditioners etc. they are corrugated rubber on each side with cork in the middle. I use them on all of my components and you won’t believe how inexpensive they are. To hide the cork I bought a small bottle of flat black hobby paint and coated the edges.


I mentioned that I used some Wagner pads in the opening post. That is what they are. Not compliant enough and does not isolate.

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@neonknight - if you have additional questions about RoomSevice’s EVPs, reach out to Norm. He’s a very nice guy and will take the time to answer them. Reading your first post, it sounds like you put the right amount of isolation (foam pool noodle), under your preamp and when you added more the ratio of isolation to weight of the amp was off and that’s why the soundstage collapsed. Getting the biggest benefit from an isolator is perfecting the weight of the component/speaker to the isolator’s ability to withstand the weight without being too rigid or soft (and of course the materials that make up the isolation pad). 

Give Norm a call. I’m sure he’ll be able to answer your questions. Also, I have no affiliation with RS. I just think they make great EVPs for a reasonable price.