Same with me. I put the GAIA II under my GE Triton Refs and the sound just got better all the way around. The PRAT is now off the charts. I was very skeptical, but I was wrong. Best $600.00 tweak that really does as advertised.
For those who balk at the price of the Townshend Platforms: imo the individual Seismic Pods can work just as well, and are considerably lower in price. If your loudspeakers have outrigger bases, the Pods (or the IsoAcoustics GAIA) can be installed in place of the stock spikes.
No outriggers, and you want a larger footprint base for your speakers? Get a 3/4"/19mm piece of Baltic Birch ply, cut two identical pieces, put a piece of ASC Wall Damp between them, screw together, paint, attach the feet of your choice, and install. Best upgrade for the money!
Following your plan would definitely save a bunch of money and I have the shop to build what I would need. I have another week on the Gaia’s, so I could go that route. @$560, that would definitely be a large savings.
Thanks for the tip.
I don't usually go for these kinds of things, but after hearing an improvement on a Youtube video, I'm a believer. Now if I could just get the longer studs I need to fit my GoldenEar Triton 2+, I can actually use them. It's literally been more than a year and Isoacoustics tells me they should ship sometime this month, but I'm not holding my breath.
@havocman: How much do your speakers weigh?! The individual Pods are the same as the Pods that come on the Podium and Platform, available in six weight capacities, the "F" model Pod capable of supporting up to 50 kilograms. Four of the Pods can therefore support 200 kilograms (440 lbs.). If your loudspeakers weight more than that, I hope you have a concrete floor!
By the way, I bought a bunch of sets of Pods from John (for my loudspeakers, turntables, CD player, phono and line stages, and power amps), and came up with the idea of using different capacity models on my loudspeakers’ Sound Anchors outrigger-style tripod base (the single rear Pod twice that of the two front Pods). Works great!
Are you sure it isn't the block of wood that is making the difference (at least as much as the expensive "isolation")? You're raising your speakers by what, 2-4"? That alone is bound to change the sound. A slight change in the speaker tilt might help too. If so, this admittedly might be easier to achieve with something like the Gaia pucks. Or, you might be able to do it better and cheaper with a set of outriggers (and make your speakers more physically stable at the same time, if that is an issue).
If you like your Gaia footers, and plan to keep them, you might try them directly on the carpet and get the same level of performance, without the granite slab.
I can’t tell from the pictures how integrated the spikes are to the outriggers of your speakers. Assuming they are threaded, I can understand how you might feel most comfortable with footers that can be screwed into the outriggers, such as the Gaia footers. If I were using the Townshend Seismic Isolation Podiums, I would probably consider bolting them directly to the bottom of my speakers (or in my case the stands).
IME, you can get the same level of performance for less money by using individual springs, if you size them properly and damp them. The individual springs work well when your speakers already have a solid base such as the outriggers on your Reference 5s or the Sound Anchor stands that I have under my speakers and subs. This place has a nice assortment of springs and a filter that can be used to identify an appropriate sized spring based on the weight of your speakers, but keep in mind the weight may not be distributed evenly (mine were heavier in front, since that is where the drivers are attached to the faceplate). A loosely applied layer of thin heat shrink (with a couple of holes poked in it) can be used to damp the springs and improve the appearance (you can see the look on my system page).
I recently spoke with an equipment designer (not speakers) that I occasionally communicate with and he told me that some of his customers and industry folks whose ears he trusts have switched from spikes to spring type solutions with good sonic results so I am not surprised you are hearing good results with the Gaias.
I also have Kef Reference 5, and adding the Gaia made every better. No brainer. I have wood floors in an ok, not great room, for acoustics. I then started adding Orea pods under each my components, with positive impact every time but nothing like the Gaia on the Kef. The only other "tweak' that made such an improvement were bass traps behind the speakers in the corners, making everything clearer.
Yes, speaker isolation is definitely real. The puzzle in my mind is why manufacturers of good speakers don’t pay more attention to the speaker-floor interface, given the substantial sums of money that go into their products.
I’ve tried the Gaia pucks, and Nobsound springs, but I’ve found that disks of sorbothane work just as well, don’t raise the speaker as much (which, as someone noted above, is very important), don’t cause as much disconcerting wobble, look better (they're less conspicuous), and are FAR cheaper. The trick is to find the right density of sorbothane for the weight you need to support, but if you guess wrong, you can usually repurpose the disks you bought for another component until you get it right.
There are several reliable sellers of sorbothane in various sizes, shapes and densities on eBay.
This is my experience too. I picked up some used B&W’s and sat them directly on the wood floor because the seller didn’t has the stock spikes. I went with Herbie’s Stud Gliders because $150 was more my speed and because these won’t be my forever speakers. The subwoofer saw a similar, dramatic improvement. This tweak is more than just a tweak.
In my limited experience, the only other tweaks that made this big of a difference were a reclocker between the streamer and DAC and a fiber optic run to isolate the HiFi from the dirty side of the network.
While the kit comes with three different size studs and nuts, they did not fit my KEF speakers for two different reasons. I called Isoacoustics and told them what I had and they told me I needed( 8m 1.0 long studs) and UPS dropped them on my doorstep five days later.
I need the 1/4-20, long studs and my local dealer didn't have them, I contacted the company who didn't have any and had no time frame for when they would. Over the course of the year, I've kept in contact with them so as to not fall through the cracks and until my last email, was told the same. Late in March they told me they should be available in April but with no specific date.
I've even contacted several retailers in larger cities and offered to pay for shipping but no one has any. I'm thinking at this point, the parent company could have used just about any machine shop and had them made since their primary supplier doesn't seem to be able to provide them.
Not trying to start a war and being that as much as I love music and my equipment, I wish there were ways to improve the sound without replacing or upgrading.
It’s just MO that certain ideas or tweaks that people buy into may or may not be an improvement unless you believe they do.
As far as manufacturers are concerned, just like in the auto industry, profits are what counts.
They saw after people bought their new vehicles they would replace the ugly steel wheels with after market alloys so they thought why don’t we put them on as stock then WE collect the profit, same with sliding rear glass windows etc.
I guess the speaker builders are thinking the same thing. It’s all about the money.
I mostly agree with norton: audiophiles are sitting ducks when it comes to taking advantage of the placebo effect. Furthermore, science can explain a lot about acoustics, and even psychoacoustics; if a given tweak has no plausible scientific explanation for its effectiveness, I approach it with skepticism. BUT...it is also the case that not everything experienceable is measurable. People were enjoying savory flavors for centuries before neuroanatomists found the receptors for what is now called umami. The phenomenon existed, and was experienced, before it was scientifically understood.
That said, I remain skeptical about most claims for power cords and cables (especially "break-in" and directionality), and I don’t hear a difference either. And the Schumann resonance generator is not even a do-nothing box.
But sorbothane under the feet of my Scientific Fidelity Teslas did improve the clarity of the bass and the general cohesion of the soundstage. Not dramatically, but noticably.
By the way, I also own a pair of PSB Synchrony Ones. Because I like the sound of the Teslas better, I canibalized the feet for the PSBs, screwed them into the Tesla’s base, and THEN set the speakers on sorbothane disks. I won’t go back.
For what it’s worth, though, room acoustics—as pretty much everyone knowledgable here will agree—have a far greater effect on SQ than probably any tweak. But it’s a moot point. We have the rooms we have; few of us are in a position to build a room specifically with our music, and our music system’s requirements, in mind. Hence, the passion for squeezing just that little bit more out of what we’ve got.
The bottom of the stud is a standard 12 mm with a notch on either side to tighten it into the foot. Do you know anyone who knows how to weld? You can get a foot of the 12m and 1/4 20 all thread from Granger or Fastenal and for just a few bucks you can make your own.
All the best.
I completely agree with you. I moved into a new to me home and started building a new system. When I bought my KEF Reference 5 speakers they were to heavy to move around on the fully carpeted room with the spikes on, so I left them off. After I got them close to where I wanted them, I put on the spikes and didn’t hear much of a change. I had some sample blocks of hardwood flooring and I put them under the spikes and I heard a difference, things opened up and the bass was a little clearer. I then got some pieces of granite countertop and put the spiked speakers on the granite without the wood samples and again I heard a difference. So with a money back if I didn’t like sale I tried the Gaia 1’s on the granite countertop pieces and and I am really impressed! The speakers are the same and so is the amp. Neither were updated in any way.
All the best
I had the Gaia 1’s under my Sopra 2 speakers and was quite impressed with them. Then one of threads talked about the Townshend podiums. I contacted them via email (in England) and they responded the next day.
I ordered them and once installed I couldn’t believe the improvement in sound staging, frequency response, etc. And, I thought the Gaia’s were good! I was sold on them.
BTW, when I removed the Sopra’s spikes they sat perfectly on the podiums and in my opinion didn’t raise them anymore than they were with the spikes installed. For sure they were shorter than with the Gaia’ 1’s. And you can adjust the height, rake etc.
I ended up installing the Gaia’s under my JL F-113 subs.
havocman may well be correct. The Townshend platforms seem quite credible, as pointed out they are three times the price of Gaia footers but may well outperform them. The point here is simply that the Gaia footers are credible and worth the price of admission.
I've run them on two pairs of floor standers with great affect. BTW, the carpet spikes used in conjunction with the footers provides even more improvement. Nice discussion.
I guess I’ll say it again, though perhaps again to no avail ;-) . The Townshend Podium cost multiples the price of the IsoAcoustics GAIA II and III (though not the GAIA I), but a set of Townshend Seismic Pods doesn’t. In fact, a set of 4 Pods costs less than a set of GAIA II, and far less than a set of GAIA I.
@bdp24 Thanks for the Pods recommendation. I’ll probably look there first once I have endgame speakers to keep costs down. It would be nice if this forum had more features like emojis and threads. It would go a long way to help the conversation.
@jafant: I actually don't have any IsoAcoustics GAIA's. I learned of them from VPI's Harry Weisfeld, who raved about the improvement they wrought when installed under his KEF Blades. So I investigated them, as well as the Townshend Seismic Pod. I have for years owned and used a number of Townshend's earlier Seismic Sinks, and decided to go with the Pods rather than the IsoAcoustic products.
If you look into the design of the GAIA (and the other IA models), you will see that the isolation they provide is that afforded mostly by the rubber material inside the GAIA housing, the housing itself serving only a structural/supportive role (as well as cosmetic). That rubber material may be proprietary, or just Sorbothane or Navcom (or similar). Those rubber products provide isolation down to at best 10Hz, then drop of rapidly. 10Hz is, imo, not good enough. Vibration isolation: the final frontier ;-) .
I installed a set of Pods under the CD/DVD player, which sat on the top shelf of one of my Solid Steel racks. When I added another turntable to my system---which required that top space---I moved the player to the second shelf. The height of that shelf isn't sufficient for the height added by the Pods, so I use instead a set of Geoff Kait's (missed by many here ;-) small springs, which themselves are imo superior to rubber isolation products. By the way, after getting the Pods I sold all but one set of my Sims Navcom Isolation Pucks, which I preferred to Sorbothane.
There IS that consideration, @ozzy. The Sound Anchor speaker stands I bolted the Townshend Pods onto are even more stiff and rigid (and filled with sand) than is the thin sheet of steel used in the Podium and Platform. For lighter components (phono and line stages) I don't think the lack of a platform is consequential, but that is just a hunch.
With my Townshend Rock turntable, I set the table on a Torlyte shelf (who's old enough to remember Torlyte? ;-), the shelf on a set of four Pods. The final incarnation of the Rock (the Mk.7) incorporated a set of Pods into its' structure, using the Pods as the tables' suspension.
For those with enough $, sure, spring (ha ;-) for the Podium/Platform. Me, I gotta do it on the cheap. For the price of a single set of Podiums, one can get three sets of Pods.
The Reference 5’s have a heavy steel plate bolted to the bottom with small bumps where the spikes screw in. If I got the Townsend Platforms, would I remove my steel plate and sit it on their steel plate? Does the Townsend platform screw into the holes formerly used by the spikes?