5 Tips to Improve Your Vinyl System from Acoustic Expert Dave Morrison

Markham, Ontario – June 18, 2020 – Dave Morrison, founder of IsoAcoustics, the Canadian manufacturer of superior acoustic isolation products for home and professional speakers, has spent years developing technology that enhances high-end speakers, turntables, and electronics. IsoAcoustics’ award-winning products (pucks, stands, and platforms) target acoustic problems by decoupling speakers and equipment from their supporting surface, which eliminates internal reflections and results in improved sound.  

There are many reasons that HiFi audio enthusiasts still prefer the sound of their vinyl records. Vinyl is more faithful to the original source material. Vinyl masters offer more dynamics than their digital counterparts. Then, of course, there is the hardware: turntables, floor speakers, bespoke amplifiers. Ask any record collector or vinyl aficionado – there’s just something magical about the sound of analog audio. 

Improving the acoustics of your listening room will enhance your listening experience. Dave Morrison offers his tips for creating a great-sounding room for playing records. 

1.) Speaker Placement and Focus: Even small adjustments to the speakers’ position can make a noticeable difference. Positioning the speakers too close to the walls and corners of the room can boost lower frequencies to levels that are not balanced. High frequencies have a much smaller dispersion angle than lower frequencies, so they are much more directional. Adjusting the height and tilt to focus the tweeters to ear level within the high-frequency dispersion angle is a must. The IsoAcoustics Aperta Series isolation stands, for example, allow up to 6.5 degrees of tilt in addition to featuring our patented isolation.

2.) Speaker Isolation: Speakers generate a lot of vibrations that excite the supporting surface, creating anomalies in the listening area can affect sensitive equipment like turntables. Vibrations also reflect off the supporting surface and are mechanically conducted back into the speaker, which we call internal reflections. These reflections result in smear, and any artifacts that are common to both channels are perceived in the middle, which collapses the sound stage. Proper speaker isolation that manages the speaker’s energy and its interaction with the supporting surface makes a profound difference.

3) First Reflections: We recommend starting at the source to address acoustical issues and then examine the path the sound waves take to reach the listener. First reflections are the locations on the walls, floor, or ceiling where the soundwaves reflect and create the shortest indirect path to your ears. If you positioned a mirror on your sidewall, the first reflection would be the wall’s location where you see the reflection of the speakers’ drivers while seated in the listening position. First reflections are the next sound you hear after the direct sound from the monitors or the loudspeakers. They will significantly affect the timing and negatively impact the stereo imaging and soundstage if not appropriately treated with absorption or diffusion. 

4) Room Treatment: Often, the speakers and equipment get all the attention when it is actually the listening environment that can be the problem. Treating the room using a combination of absorption and diffusion to make necessary adjustments in the room will make a huge difference to provide a neutral and balanced sound. Pay special attention to the corners of the room and “first reflection” points. Acoustic treatment can be an expensive and rather daunting proposition compared to IsoAcoustics products, but it is worth the research if you want a truly neutral sound. 

5) Turntable Isolation: Navigating the tiny variations in the vinyl’s grooves, the turntable stylus, is a delicate instrument that is very sensitive to vibrations. Unwanted structural vibrations from the air and floor can disrupt your vinyl’s sound when playing music on a turntable. Sometimes this problem is obvious, like when you hear distortion when playing at higher volumes. You may have experienced feedback when energy from the speakers is conducted into the stylus and re-amplified again. But even at softer volumes, you likely don’t realize the finer details you are missing as a result of these vibrations. IsoAcoustics’ OREA series is a great solution, providing a high degree of isolation. The DELOS butcher blocks combine the mass of the butcher block with integrated IsoAcoustics isolators. They effectively decouple the turntable from the supporting surface and provide additional stability to the turntable. The DELOS isolation platform dramatically diminishes structural vibrations and resonances, resulting in greater quality and detail.

Whether your budget allows you to upgrade your system with IsoAcoustics isolation products or make small adjustments in speaker placement, you can improve the sound of your room. Taking good care of your vinyl and your equipment will extend the lifetime of both, and give you more hours to listen to your favorite music. Help keep the vinyl momentum going by supporting your local record shops this Saturday, June 20th, in celebration of Love Record Stores Day. Furthermore, Record Store Day, which normally happens in April, has been rescheduled to August 29th, September 26th, and October 24th.

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