Mapleshade Isolation: Does Nothing?

Okay guys. I built a Mapleshade-style isolation platform out of a 3” thick maple butcher block and Mapleshade footers (also Isoblocks). This was originally to isolate a SET amp, but after moving to solid state amps and trying to get into vinyl, I used it to try mounting a MoFi StudioDeck, figuring this would benefit the most from the Mapleshade-style isolation system.

Turntable -> Mapleshade Heavyfooters (3, not threaded) -> Butcher Block -> Mapleshade Iso Blocks -> Pangea audio rack (spiked through carpet).

When using headphones and turning up the gain on my preamp, I can clearly hear the sound of lightly dragging a fingernail across the butcher block. I can also clearly hear it when going across the rack shelf the butcher block in sitting on. So, the vibration is being transmitted up through the Iso blocks, through the butcher block, up through the Heavyfooters, up through Derlin platter, and into the needle.

Placing the turntable directly on the butcher block using its built-in spring loaded feet, vibrations are still transmitted but are much attenuated. So, this experiment leads me to believe that the Mapleshade system does JACK ALL. Am I doing something wrong that could lead to this result? Am I misunderstanding something basic about how this system is supposed to work?
You mean you've discovered a high end audio tweak actually does nothing audible?

I'm astonished ;-)
Just swap out the Isoblocks for something else. Thick maple shelving is great for isolation but it's only a starting point. Try some Les Davis 3D-2 CLD discs instead and go from there. You can get a 16 disc pack from Amazon for $99 plus shipping. They made a difference for me. Better than Tenderfeet from Herbies (which I used to use).

All the best,
Coupling or isolation? You decide. 🙄 I grant you one thing Isolation-wise that thick maple boards do - that is resist bending forces, I.e. rotational forces. So, yes, there is some isolation. Holiday tip: don’t scratch the maple board with your fingernail whilst music is playing and you’re be alright.
Oh no madivid0!

1. Was the fingernail sound louder, less loud, or the same in the rack versus the block?  IE, was the block doing anything as far as you can tell to reduce vibration from getting to your pick up?

2. More importantly, can you tell any difference between the sound of your turntable and your system with the Mapleshade gear in place versus placing your tt directly on the rack?  If not, stop, you’re done.

Now discussion.  My experience with large wood blocks is: SS amp, no/little difference; CDP, noticeable but small improvement in focus and clarity; turntable, big improvements across the board.  YMMV.

Theory.  You are not looking at the right thing in your test.  The main point of the wood block and brass footers is to drain vibration away from your tt chassis and dissipate it as heat in the fibers of the wood.  So the fact that scratching the surface of the wood transfers to the needle is actually ok and even expected indicating a tight mechanical coupling between the tt and the block surface.  The transfer of scrathing from the rack to the needle is less good because the iso blocks are supposed to isolate.  But this may not be fatal either, if no one is scratching your rack while you are listening, and room vibration from music, passing trucks etc. are actually getting isolated to some degree from your cartridge.

A better test might be to tap your turntable very lightly while it is playing a record (maybe an old one) with and without the “isolation” system in place and see how quickly any resonance gets damped out.  The system sound should recover faster with the wood and footers in place.

Again, how does it sound to you in general?  If not better with your specific tt, then skip it.  My experience is that you shouldn’t have to come on here and ask - it is quite obviously better.  Maybe if you are only using headphones, the improvement is much less than with room speakers?

Happy Holidays and a scam free New Year.

IMO: the only way to learn many times is to ask questions...
Nothing wrong with someone asking others that might be more knowledgeable for verification or asking questions as to how and why. 
Mapleshade platforms, footers and gizmos: whatever your impression of their offerings, check out their CDs. SQ is so good that it makes you think twice before trashing their ears! My Sondek was floating on Mapleshade platform for years, I Loved it!
I just built a new rack using 24x18x2 maple blocks and allthread for the columns. Absolutely nothing special for sure but my music has never sounded so good.
Have I tried running a fingernail across the block the tt sits on while listening?
No, but I know what I hear from my seat.
Better focus, tight basslines, vocals and strings more defined.
I know I need to work on the isolation part at the base of the columns at the floor as they are sitting on industrial 1"thick rubber blocks for now but I am still very happy with my homebuilt rack for the dollars and time invested.
Merry Christmas to all and enjoy the 🎶

Some years ago I talked to the owner of Mapleshade. I believe his name is Pierre Spraig, (not sure of spelling his name correctly). I talked about the maple blocks he used as support for his systems. I mentioned about butcher block maple and he said to stay away from it as it sounded horrible under components. The reason why, he said, was butcher block maple is kiln dryed which is by a large oven the wood is put in to dry out and cure the wood. He said the maple he uses is air dried and cured which can take years in my estimation.  He claims the sonic improvement  is quite large. Not sure of this as YMMV. Take it for what it's worth.
Good point @mr_m. Also madavid0, is your butcher block made from smaller laminated pieces or a single block of wood. I have found that a single chunk of wood is more effective at improving sound than laminated butcher blocks which are more commonly available. I would assume because a single piece of wood more effectively dissipates vibration than smaller pieces glued together.
Anybody know whether the maple or bamboo boards sound better with the grain vertical or horizontal? Also, anyone ever cryo his maple or bamboo board? Just curious.
It's made from several long pieces (not the many blocks you often see). I think I'll just contact mapleshade and ask them for a recommendation for my specific setup.
Recently installed Mapleshade Bedrock speaker stands under a pair of Totem monitors in the 'man cave'.  FWIW, this 'system' is not for music, but for TV only, using the TV as the audio source run through an NAD 3020 digital integrated amplifier.  While watching movies there's been an immediate improvement in the bass response - deeper, tighter, more impactful.  The soundstage, if you want to call it that, is lifelike and bigger than before.  I like monitors, and have owned several nice pair, I am just not a big fan of speaker stands.  Once you put monitors on stands the footprint is every bit as big as modest sized floorstanders.  Why not have the bass response too and just buy the floorstander?  OK, they are more expensive, I get that, but monitors on stands are at extreme risk  environments that include kids, grandkids, drunken buddies, dancers, and animals.  I've heard the argument that monitors image better than floorstanders, which may be true.  That said, good floorstanders also image well. The Mapleshade Bedrocks sit just inches above the floor which makes the room look 'cleaner', less crowded, and they sound every bit as good or better than expensive stands which stand 25" up the wall.  I'm buying a second set of Bedrock speaker stands for the community 'TV room':  no compromise  in sound quality (I'd argue a sonic improvement), and a much nicer look in the rooms' interiors.  Both TV's are set up using two channel configuration only, the NAD integrated in room 1 and Parasound separates in room 2.  
I had the MAPLESHADE SAMSON audio rack, with their HEAVYFOOT brass footers , along with their FINISHED air-dried MAPLE BLOCK 4" ISOLATION PLATFORM WITH ISOBLOCK SUSPENSION accessories.

In brief:

Butt ugly set-up so WAF was never blessed ... Putting that aside for the moment....

The Mapleshade system was a replacement upgrade to a prior DIY cheap maple butcher block rack / platform.

The Butcher block DIY rig was an abject failure ...a complete placebo and useless step and a total waste of time and money in my experiences. It was mercifully junked because the it was no better than any simple basic cheap audio rack.

The MAPLESHADE arrangement above was isolating the components and especially the source (hi-end $14,000 CDP/DAC ); and a matched $14,000 integrated ss amp.

-- the 4" thick maple block was its own thick isolation platform sitting first on Isoblocks coupled first to the top shelf of the SAMSON rack.
-- Then the brass Heavywight footers were placed between the 4" maple block platform and the CDP/DAC.
-- Now the source was further isolated by sitting first on the Heavyfeet brass footers coupled first to the Platform block, and the latter sitting further on Isoblocks coupled to the top shelf of the SAMSON rack.

This was a plesant audio performance improvement immediately (and curiously) over the prior DIY kiln-dried butcher-block rig. No doubt out it, but I can’t explain it , but it was still expensive and still a butt ugly tweak/upgrade.


I was introduced by my dealer to chuck the entire MAPLESHADE rig above in favour of his NAIM FRAME bespoke custom clone audio rack system: his professionally made bespoke custom-made clone of the NAIM cup-and-cone conduit rack system including bespoke glass shelves a la NAIM FRAIM.....the latter website:

I had just moved up to a brand new audio $40K system costing 5 X what my prior one did. So he offered up a challenge ....that we do an actual A-B shoot-out: a in-house actual demo bake-off: my Existing MAPLESHADE first and then his BESPOKE CUSTOM CLONE .

The BESPOKE CUSTOM CLONE was a very large audio performance immediate step up in everything: including inter alia: overall clarity (like a thin veil was suddenly lifted): an expanded wider and deeper soundstage, distinct deeper bass response and impressive bass slam ... go figger.

In short, it simply smoked the MAPLESHADE rack and all its accessories with isolation approach by MY new vibration conduit system....full stop.

YOUR TAKEAWAY: Any audio rack choice and resulting synergy (or lack thereof) is system dependent

(1) My noble first attempt with a DIY Butcher block cheap short-cut to a cheap DIY isolation rack swap-in was a waste of time and money on an illusory tweak that offered nothing but an expensive drain on my wallet.

(2) The MAPLESHADE custom isolation approach above was an improvement over (1); but it still MAY NOT be the cat’s ass in all circumstances = system dependent ....full stop.

(3) The BESPOKE CUSTOM CLONE cup and cone conduit system was a very large audio improvement over (2) in my new system by a large measure ...full stop.


(a) The comparatively light weight BESPOKE CUSTOM CLONE system (Euro approach) that conduits vibration away instead of a bulky and heavy US model isolation approach reigns supreme in my "A" system.

(b) I sold the bulky MAPLESHADE SAMSON audio rack with my wife’s sigh of relief. It was an improvement over my DIY butcher block cheap knock-off approach for sure,,,,but ... was still a distant pretender to the BESPOKE CUSTOM CLONE contender/winner.

(c) I still use the Mapleshade 4" maple block platform, and their Heavyfeet brass footers and also their isoblocks for my ’B" system. Its an audio improvement over sitting on a bare shelf, but .......

FWIW ....

A single piece of wood is not as stable as several pieces glued together, assuming they are cut and dried and assembled properly.

a 'single piece of wood' is really hard to come by; most planks, posts, platforms are laminated in nature

laminated wood is more stable, less susceptible to warping and splitting

I just installed a pair of Mapleshade 2" platforms under my B system speakers, Legacy Signature IIIs.  The difference from no platform is immense.  The bass tightened slightly but the mids and highs opened up tremendously with increased resolution and even better tonal quality .  I finally have depth whereas the soundstage width shrunk (it probably was wider due to being blurry).  I have no other room treatments in this second system as I don't use it much; however, the room is an excellent shoebox dimension  It similar excellent acoustic properties except for behind the speakers where there is an open brick fireplace (a big hole).  So, the Mapleshades were a fantastic addition and a bargain.  

Could you please expand on your room dimensions/if/or not you had or now have any sort of speaker cones/spikes that are current or new?


I'm curious and have a few questions:
1) What type of floor is in that room?
2) What covering is on the floor?
3) Are the Mapleshade 2" platforms directly on the floor laying flat or are they elevated on some type of device?
4) Are you Signature III's (nice speakers by the way) on spikes on top of the platforms?

Thanks for the clarifications!
Hi lak-here are my answers.
1. & 2. My floor is concrete with plush carpeting. 
3. The Mapleshade platforms are laying flat on the carpet (I previously had 1" thick granite tiles-worse than directly on carpeting). 
4. The Signature IIIs are spikes on top of the platforms.

Hi slaw - My room is 13' wide and 30' deep to an open foyer which measures 8' X 55'.  There is antique wood and glass furniture in the foyer and adjacent dining room, mostly stuffed wood chairs and plush couches in the listening room.  The speakers are 6' from the front wall and 3' from the full right wall and half height left wall which is open to the dining room.  The ceiling is sloped from 8' at the front wall (speaker side) to 10' in the foyer.  This room has excellent acoustics. 

My main audio room is 25' X 23' X 10-12'6" cathedral with a rear 6' X 8' audio equipment closet area.  Unfortunately, when I built the room, which has a 6" thick 3/4" rebar reinforced concrete floor,  plush carpeting, 10" and 12" exterior walls with staggered 2X6 studs, dual 5/8" X drywall panelling,  LPs & 78s line most of the four walls and there are three sets of dual glazed, wood casement windows. 

I forgot to build the ceiling correctly.  I have a terrible slap echo from the single 5/8" X drywall ceiling with open 6' attic.  So, I recently purchase Synergistic Research HFT room treatment Level 1 and 2 and dual speaker kit treatment on a friend's recommendation (oregonpapa on Audiogon forums).  The result is that the slap echo is virtually eliminated when music is playing (no bright or hard upper mid frequencies).  Hand claps are nonreverberant when music is playing.   In the past, I tried all sorts of acoustic treatment but the absorbers tended to dull the dynamics and collapse the soundstage while diffusers only made the sound harder and brighter.  The single SR HFT on the ceiling is a wonder.  It really makes a huge difference and I removed all acoustic wall treatments after installing the SR system.  It was also less expensive than the panelling I had installed.  
Glass is the worst for sound thin and bright wood is colored and has no great definition or detail. Good luck!!
Maple shade did nothing for my system.  On top of that, it scratches very easy, and the varnish has worn off in spots.  The finishing is amateur! Don't waste your money.

While, for me, it is hard to quite figure out if @geoffkait is "funnin'" us or not, there may be something to this "transparent".

If one defines transparent in terms of being more open....I think he may be correct.
Very interesting thread...

I was introduced by my dealer to chuck the entire MAPLESHADE rig above in favour of his NAIM FRAME bespoke custom clone audio rack system: his professionally made bespoke custom-made clone of the NAIM cup-and-cone conduit rack system including bespoke glass shelves a la NAIM FRAIM.....the latter website:

AKG_CA, who is the dealer that sells the Naim clone?  Do you know whether or not he'll ship me one?

I used a butcher block of maple under my turntable for a few days. Sounded awful. Now I follow Barry Diament’s advice and have 3 metal half spherical cups with a ball bearing in each in an equilateral triangle under a board the turntable rests on. This provides real isolation and decoupling. Materials were around $10. Results are very good. Google his name to find out more information. It’s not a product being sold. Something you can easily put together from your local hardware store. I’ve never tried any maple shades products.
@matteos, another convert to roller bearings! Ingress Engineering in Canada is making some really fine ones, cheaper and better than the Symposium Acoustics Rollerblocks.
@bdp24  +1!

I use Ingress' roller bearings under my Omega monitors. They are the real deal, and Ingress is great to work with as well. Highly recommended!
Excellent 1markr! The original Ingress roller bearing (Level 1, I believe) equals the twice-as-expensive Symposium Rollerblock Jr., for less than a hundred bucks for a set of three. His only-slightly-more-expensive models are superior to the highest-priced Symposium's, and are machined to Barry Diament's specs.
After providing input on this thread and elsewhere based on experience with non Mapleshade solutions and “theory”, I just set up a full Mapleshade vibration control system ( brass footer, wood block, isoblocks) under my turntable replacing a DIY set up. It sounds way, way better. See more here:

I have not found isolation/vibration control to be particularly helpful for solid state electronics, with the exception of a slight improvement for CDPs. I have had success with speakers, especially on wooden floors, and turntables are another story entirely, where getting vibration drained away from the tonearm and chassis quickly and efficiently seems to be particularly helpful.

The result of applying Mapleshade vibration control systems for my turntable  was exactly as advertised and better than I anticipated, especially their Triplepoint footers. YMMV.


Here’s my $0.02 from my use experience: Other than those ridiculous big and heavy brass footers, virtually all Mapleshade product I tried did nothing, as if my ears are soaked in snake oil for too long.

The brass footers did many things in my room. Left bad scratch marks on my equipment, scratched my racks, damaged my carpet, one of them landed on my foot (stitches @ ER, thank you for asking)

The saving grace was when I was using the impossibly heavy and stiff NBS cables. The brass footers helped to keep the equipment stationary.

If you ask about sound ... those heavy footers improved the imaging/focus of the speakers when they were put on top (not as footers) ... but that’s a real hazard. (see foot above)

The footers made some preamps sound much worst when they are put on top of the cover (see "keep the equipment stationary" comment above). I cannot explain it and didn’t remember which one (likely the BAT vk3i, the tube one? and VAC Standard SE I think). They made the sound dull. I cannot explain it nor care to find out.

I like roller balls way better. The improvement is considerable (then again, the hassle and high cost may not justify such). Nowadays I am using all Herbie.

Almost universally, my audiophile friends love their tables on the Mapleshade (platform, footers etc). So that’s that.

One of my family members had his dealer in his home to set up his new VPI turntable.First it was placed on a custom 3" thick maple board crafted by a local cabinet maker. Even with brass feet under both the board and table, vibration was evident and measurable.The dealer swapped in sorbathane feet and the vibration was almost completely eliminated.He's happy and not interested in further tweaking.That's what worked for him anyway:)
Ha bsimpson, funny story (except for the damage and ER).  I think the results of vibration control tweaks are highly gear dependent both within a catagory (e.g. between preamps) and across categories.  Undoubtedly, some gear has better designed and executed internal vibration control measures, and for them, big chunks of wood and brass footers are redundant or worse.  

For my turntable with internal suspension, the added value of the full Mapleshade set up is undeniable.  This might seem surprising since the footers and wood block are essentially draining vibration from the outer chassis while most of the business end is separated by internal springs.  But all the spike/wood solutions I have tried to date have had some effect on the sound of this table.  Perhaps the spring suspension has some resonace that is reduced or eliminated.  

In anycase, the benefits of the Mapleshade system are realized at all volume levels, indicating successful internal vibration control, and there is a big improvement in presence and clarity at high volumes, indicating some success at isolation.  For this old Thorens turntable and AT cartridge combination, on this shelf, in this listening room, I am totally sold.  Dramatic, dramatic improvement.
Like most tweaks,footers and platforms seem to be system dependent as knownothing says.The only butcher block I have tried was an antique that I discovered tucked away in a cabinet in our house.It's 12x12 made of 2 1/2" thick boards laid out horizontally .After it was cleaned and oiled it went under my tubed preamp.To my dismay it sounded horrible:( I like sand platforms myself.I do really like a spruce board under my speakers on top of the stands.I discovered that by accident when fiddling around with positioning,height,and various footers.Whatever resonance it's adding/subtracting sounds organic and pleasing to me.