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Old 11-24-2015, 10:06 PM
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Default Stillpoints Ultra LP Isolator Review




Santa arrived early. I was extremely fortunate a couple days ago to have a wonderful gift arrive. I could have left it wrapped and waited until Christmas morning…..or not. The child in me chose the latter. I know, another black mark on the naughty list but I can live with that. So out came the pocket knife to slice open the tape and what to my wondrous eyes should appear? Wow, the meticulously designed and expertly crafted Stillpoints LP Isolator. I broke into my happy dance. Thankfully there's no video of that to haunt me later.

The Stillpoints LP Isolator is a record weight that sits over the spindle of your turntable on top of the record label. Its purpose is to absorb the micro vibrations that can interfere with a stylus’s ability to accurately contact and track the record groove. To call the Stillpoints LP Isolator a record weight is a bit of a misnomer. It is actually a vibration absorption system that aids the removal of extraneous energy from an LP album and turns this unwanted energy into heat. In other words, the LP Isolator will mechanically lower your noise floor. This is always a good thing in any audio system.

Stillpoints manufactures two versions of their LP Isolator. One is designed to sit over a normal height turntable spindle. The second version is referred to as the Deep LP Isolator and has the spindle hole drilled completely through the stainless steel center. The LP Isolator is heavy in my hand compared to my other two record weights, the Alchemist record weight and the Aluminati Sound record weight. On a suspended turntable you will notice the turntable lower itself on its suspension when you place the Stillpoints LP Isolator on the platter spindle. I think the LP Isolator weighs close to 24 ounces but that’s just a ballpark guess from holding it in my hand.






Getting down to the business of playing vinyl and putting the Stillpoints LP Isolator to work I began with the studio system and my Michell Gyro SE turntable, SME 309 tonearm, and Ortofon Cadenza Black moving coil cartridge. Unfortunately I discovered I cannot use the LP Isolator on the Michell Gyro SE because this turntable has the upgraded threaded spindle that allows the Michell threaded clamp to be used. The parts that accommodate the threaded spindle have a center piece the rises slightly above the platter surface so when the Michell clamp is threaded down and tightened it puts pressure on the outer edge of the LP label area to press the record into full contact with the platter. This raised fitting cannot be removed. Consequently the Stillpoints LP Isolator just sits on the spindle but does not press the LP to the platter’s surface. It is a no-go for the Stillpoints LP Isolator on my Michell Gyro SE turntable. I did notice on the Mitchell Gyro SE, which is a suspended turntable, that the weight of the Stillpoints LP Isolator caused the suspension springs to compress a bit under the additional weight but did not cause the suspension to bottom out.

Next up was my Micro Seiki DD-40 turntable, M505A tonearm, and Ortofon Cadenza Blue moving coil cartridge. Placing a vinyl LP on the turntable platter of the DD-40 allows the record to fully contact the platter mat, thus allowing the Stillpoints LP Isolator to work perfectly with this turntable. I guess one turntable out of two isn’t bad, although I would have preferred to use the LP Isolator with the studio system. The Ortofon Cadenza Blue’s sound is open, dynamic, and involving, with an excellent signal to noise ratio. Even without a record weight the vinyl performance of the Micro Seiki DD-40 with the Cadenza Blue is very good through the moving coil phono stage of the McIntosh C2300 with Gold Lion gold pin tubes, McIntosh MC601 amplifiers and the PMC EB1i speakers.






I decided to compare an album track without the Stillpoints LP Isolator, then the same track again with the Stillpoints LP Isolator to determine if I could actually hear a difference. I began with Rosanne Cash – Rhythm & Romance album, “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me”. Without the Stillpoints LP Isolator I was quite pleased with what I was hearing, but not surprising the performance was improved once the LP Isolator was placed on the spindle. Rosanne’s voice was easier to distinguish from the background vocals. It seemed as though there was additional space between the vocals and the instruments. Guitar, electric piano, bass and drums developed slightly clearer focus and the tumbrel quality of the bass sounded more accurate. I would not call the differences revolutionary, more like evolutionary. Improved air, resolution and space between voices and instruments were easily heard but not necessarily what would be described as a huge difference. The improvements are subtle but clearly discernable.

Listening to the Rolling Stones – Undercover, “Undercover Of The Night” the experience was similar. Without the Stillpoints LP Isolator I was enjoying the LP track, tapping my foot and remembering how the Stones really rocked back in the early 80’s when this LP was recorded. Adding the Stillpoints LP Isolator to the turntable definitely improved the overall focus of each performer. Mick Jagger’s voice was better isolated from Keith Richards voice. It became easier to hear both Keith’s and Ron Wood’s guitars. Charlie Watts drums took on an improved sense of dynamics and I began to hear a faint background drum reverberation I had not been aware of before using the Stillpoints LP Isolator. That was quite a surprise.

I played several other album tracks from LP’s of Shadowfax, Spyra Gyro, Houston Person, and Rickie Lee Jones, all with very similar results. In every case I found a subtle improvement to the sense of space around voices and instruments, plus there was a new tumbrel accuracy to bass. I attribute these differences to a quieter background. The Stillpoints LP Isolator appears to remove the micro vibrations coming from platter rotation and the energy that a stylus itself redirects back into the vinyl as it tracks an LP’s groove walls. Whatever it is doing, there is a positive effect on what I was hearing. It is clear the Stillpoints LP Isolator elevates my vinyl listening experience. Once again, the improvements I heard were subtle but not so subtle as to be difficult to identify and in all cases were positive improvements on the performance. I have to imagine the more sophisticated your vinyl playback system is the greater the results will be afforded. Another plus, no break-in time required. The Stillpoints LP Isolator delivers right out of the box. For serious vinyl aficionados, I think the Stillpoints LP Isolator might just be the best and possibly the very last record weight you will ever need.
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STUDIO - McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Aurender N10, Esoteric K-01X, Shunyata Sigma spdif digital cable, Sonos Connect, PurePower 2000, Stillpoints, Furutech Flux 50, Michell Gyro SE, Michell HR Power Supply, SME 309, Ortofon Cadenza Black, Wireworld, Sonus faber Amati Anniversario
LIVING ROOM - McIntosh C2300, MC452, MR85, Magnum Dynalab 205, Simaudio MOON Neo 260D-T, Schiit Audio Yggdrasil, Aurender N100H, Shunyata Sigma USB cable, Micro Seiki DD40, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, Nakamichi BX-300, Sony 60ES DAT, PS Audio P10, Furutech Flux 50, Sonos Connect, Stillpoints, Wireworld, Kimber, PMC EB1i, JL Audio f113
VINTAGE - McIntosh MA230, Tandberg 3011A tuner, Olive 04HD, Sony DTC-59ES DAT, McIntosh 4300V, JBL 4312A

Last edited by jdandy; 11-25-2015 at 01:09 AM.
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Old 11-24-2015, 10:51 PM
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This the most timely review I've ever read. It's been all of perhaps 3 hours since I asked Ivan about this product and lo and behold, here is your review! I am pleased that you found it beneficial, since I jumped the gun and bought one before the review.

Now I can't wait until Tuesday!
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Supporting System: McIntosh MX122 A/V Center; MC205 Amplifier; Bryston 14bSST2 Amplifier; PS Audio P10 Power Reconditioner; Revel Salon 2 Mains; Revel Voice 2 CC; JL Audio f113v2 (2); JL Audio CR-1 Crossover; Focal IC1002 Surrounds; Paradigm Studio Sub 15.
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Old 11-25-2015, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scirica View Post
This the most timely review I've ever read. It's been all of perhaps 3 hours since I asked Ivan about this product and lo and behold, here is your review! I am pleased that you found it beneficial, since I jumped the gun and bought one before the review.

Now I can't wait until Tuesday!
Steve.......I'm confident you will be impressed with the Stillpoints Ultra LP Isolator. I have owned and used several different record weights. While I felt each had something positive to offer, none provided the improved sense of space and more articulate bass that I am experiencing with the LP Isolator. I don't fully understand the science behind this product but I certainly appreciate the enhanced vinyl playback performance I am hearing.
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STUDIO - McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Aurender N10, Esoteric K-01X, Shunyata Sigma spdif digital cable, Sonos Connect, PurePower 2000, Stillpoints, Furutech Flux 50, Michell Gyro SE, Michell HR Power Supply, SME 309, Ortofon Cadenza Black, Wireworld, Sonus faber Amati Anniversario
LIVING ROOM - McIntosh C2300, MC452, MR85, Magnum Dynalab 205, Simaudio MOON Neo 260D-T, Schiit Audio Yggdrasil, Aurender N100H, Shunyata Sigma USB cable, Micro Seiki DD40, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, Nakamichi BX-300, Sony 60ES DAT, PS Audio P10, Furutech Flux 50, Sonos Connect, Stillpoints, Wireworld, Kimber, PMC EB1i, JL Audio f113
VINTAGE - McIntosh MA230, Tandberg 3011A tuner, Olive 04HD, Sony DTC-59ES DAT, McIntosh 4300V, JBL 4312A
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Old 11-25-2015, 12:31 AM
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Dan... and yet another superbly written, and documented review. I have perhaps a dozen different record weights, the Stillpoints LPI is the only one I now use.

My results mirrored yours Dan, a distinctly lower noise floor that yields an increase in air and separation. More detail, with wonderful decays improves my listening to vinyl.
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Reference System: ACCUPHASE A250 AMPS, C3850 PRE-AMP, DP950 CD/SACD TRANSPORT, DC950 DIGITAL PROCESSOR, DG-58 DIGITAL EQUALIZER, T1200 FM STEREO TUNER, PS1230 POWER SUPPLY, HRS-SXR CUSTOM RACK w/ M3X SHELVES, TAD REFERENCE ONE MK2 LOUDSPEAKERS, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
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MX150, MC501(2) MC1.2KW(10) MC2301(2) MR88, MVP881, MCD1100, MDA1000, C1000C/P/T, MPC1500, ESOTERIC K-01X 30th ANNIVERSARY (BLACK) SACD/CD PLAYER, G02-X CLOCK, HT3F(2) XRT2K, XCS2K, XR27(2) JL GOTHAM SUBS(2) JL FATHOM F113v2 SUBS(4) SOUND ANCHOR STANDS(2) KALEIDESCAPE STRATO & TERRA SERVERS, LUMAGEN RADIANCE SCALER, SONY VPH-G90U PROJECTOR, STEWART 120" SCREEN, SONUS FABER STRADIVARI, SILENZIO, FORTRESS SEATING, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
Analog Rig: CLEARAUDIO INNOVATION WOOD, UNIVERSAL ARM w/ Da VINCI' CART, 2nd UNIVERSAL ARM w/ GOLDFINGER STATEMENT CART, HRS-MXR REFERENCE RACK-GLOSS BLACK w/ M3X SHELVES, AESTHETIX RHEA SIG PHONO-PRE, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
Reference System: BURMESTER 911MK3 AMP(3), 088 PRE-AMP, 089 CD PLAYER, 100 PHONO PRE-AMP, 948 POWER CONDITIONER, AVID ACUTUS REFERENCE SP TT, GRAHAM PHANTOM II SUPREME ARM, BENZ MICRO LP-S CART, GRANDIOSO P1/D1 STACK, G01X RUBIDIUM MASTER CLOCK, N05 NETWORK PLAYER, SILENZIO, HRS-SXR CUSTOM RACK w/ M3X SHELVES, SONUS FABER AIDA SPEAKERS, JL FATHOM F113v2 SUBS(2) SOUND ANCHOR STANDS(2) PS AUDIO P20, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES

Library System: GRANDIOSO M1 MONOBLOCK AMPS, C1 LINESTAGE PRE-AMP, K1 CD/SACD PLAYER, G1 MASTER RUBIDIUM CLOCK, E02 PHONO-PRE, SILENZIO, AERIAL ACOUSTICS 20T V2, AERIAL SW12 SUBS(2), CANTON REF K1’s, VPI HRX TT w/ SDS POWER SUPPLY, ORTOFON CADENZA BLACK CART, KLAUDIO RCM, SHUNYATA DENALI 6000/S v2, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
Bryston/Esoteric System: ESOTERIC C02-X PRE-AMP, P-02X TRANSPORT, D02-X DAC, G02-X CLOCK, BRYSTON 28B3 CUBED MONOBLOCK AMPS, BIT-15(2) AMR-DP777-SE DAC, SILENZIO, TAD REFERENCE ONE MK2 LOUDSPEAKERS, QUADRASPIRE RACK, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
Accuphase/Canton System: ACCUPHASE E650 INTEGRATED, DP560 CD/SACD PLAYER, T1200 FM STEREO TUNER, PS530 POWER SUPPLY, CANTON REF K3’s, CANTON REF K5’s, SILENZIO, HRS MXR REFERENCE MAHOGHANY RACK w/ M3X2 SHELVES, WIREWORLD GOLD CABLES
Bryston Active System: BP26 PRE-AMP, MPS2 POWER SUPPLY, BAX-1 CROSSOVER, BDA-3 DAC, BDP-3 PLAYER, BCD-3 CD PLAYER, BIT15(2), MODEL T ACTIVE SPEAKERS, 21B3 CUBED AMPS, SILENZIO, TARGET RACK, WIREWORLD SILVER CABLES
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Old 11-25-2015, 12:38 AM
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Ivan.......Thank you. What floored me the most while going back and forth, with and without the Stillpoints LP Isolator, was hearing the distant drum reverberations on "Undercover Of The Night" from the Rolling Stones - Undercover LP. I had not noticed those sounds at all until I used the LP Isolator. I was sitting there thinking, "Where did that sound come from." Most impressive.
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STUDIO - McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Aurender N10, Esoteric K-01X, Shunyata Sigma spdif digital cable, Sonos Connect, PurePower 2000, Stillpoints, Furutech Flux 50, Michell Gyro SE, Michell HR Power Supply, SME 309, Ortofon Cadenza Black, Wireworld, Sonus faber Amati Anniversario
LIVING ROOM - McIntosh C2300, MC452, MR85, Magnum Dynalab 205, Simaudio MOON Neo 260D-T, Schiit Audio Yggdrasil, Aurender N100H, Shunyata Sigma USB cable, Micro Seiki DD40, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, Nakamichi BX-300, Sony 60ES DAT, PS Audio P10, Furutech Flux 50, Sonos Connect, Stillpoints, Wireworld, Kimber, PMC EB1i, JL Audio f113
VINTAGE - McIntosh MA230, Tandberg 3011A tuner, Olive 04HD, Sony DTC-59ES DAT, McIntosh 4300V, JBL 4312A
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Old 11-25-2015, 12:43 AM
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Yes, that was another well-written review by the king of reviewers!

My only concern is how much the "24 oz" weight will compress the springs of my Oracle Delphi. I will probably have check the speed of my table as well!
__________________
Analog: VPI Classic Direct (12" Fatboy) with Ortofon A95 cartridge; Ortofon ST-80SE Transformer; McIntosh C2500.
Digital: SilenZio Gen 3 High Performance Media Server; Esoteric K-03X.
Supporting System: McIntosh MX122 A/V Center; MC205 Amplifier; Bryston 14bSST2 Amplifier; PS Audio P10 Power Reconditioner; Revel Salon 2 Mains; Revel Voice 2 CC; JL Audio f113v2 (2); JL Audio CR-1 Crossover; Focal IC1002 Surrounds; Paradigm Studio Sub 15.
Cabling: Wireworld Silver Eclipse XLR; Wireworld Silver Electra Power Cords; Wireworld Silver and Gold Eclipse RCA's, Audioquest Aspen Speaker Cables.
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Old 11-25-2015, 12:44 AM
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I hear a pretty amazing improvement on my two best tables; the ClearAudio Innovation w/ Goldfinger Statement and my Avid Acutus Reference w/ Benz Micro LP/S
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FLORIDA
MX136, MC1.2KW(10) MC2KW(2), MCD1100, MS750(2) MVP881, C1000C/P/T, MPC1500, HT-2 SUBS(2) HT3F(2) WS350(2) XRT2K, XCS2K, XR27(2) XCS350(2) JL GOTHAM v2 SUBS(2) LUMAGEN RADIANCE SCALER, SONY VPH-G90U PROJECTOR, STEWART 120" MOTORIZED SCREEN, CINEMA-TECH SEATING, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
Reference System: ACCUPHASE A250 AMPS, C3850 PRE-AMP, DP950 CD/SACD TRANSPORT, DC950 DIGITAL PROCESSOR, DG-58 DIGITAL EQUALIZER, T1200 FM STEREO TUNER, PS1230 POWER SUPPLY, HRS-SXR CUSTOM RACK w/ M3X SHELVES, TAD REFERENCE ONE MK2 LOUDSPEAKERS, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
CAPE COD

MX150, MC501(2) MC1.2KW(10) MC2301(2) MR88, MVP881, MCD1100, MDA1000, C1000C/P/T, MPC1500, ESOTERIC K-01X 30th ANNIVERSARY (BLACK) SACD/CD PLAYER, G02-X CLOCK, HT3F(2) XRT2K, XCS2K, XR27(2) JL GOTHAM SUBS(2) JL FATHOM F113v2 SUBS(4) SOUND ANCHOR STANDS(2) KALEIDESCAPE STRATO & TERRA SERVERS, LUMAGEN RADIANCE SCALER, SONY VPH-G90U PROJECTOR, STEWART 120" SCREEN, SONUS FABER STRADIVARI, SILENZIO, FORTRESS SEATING, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
Analog Rig: CLEARAUDIO INNOVATION WOOD, UNIVERSAL ARM w/ Da VINCI' CART, 2nd UNIVERSAL ARM w/ GOLDFINGER STATEMENT CART, HRS-MXR REFERENCE RACK-GLOSS BLACK w/ M3X SHELVES, AESTHETIX RHEA SIG PHONO-PRE, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
Reference System: BURMESTER 911MK3 AMP(3), 088 PRE-AMP, 089 CD PLAYER, 100 PHONO PRE-AMP, 948 POWER CONDITIONER, AVID ACUTUS REFERENCE SP TT, GRAHAM PHANTOM II SUPREME ARM, BENZ MICRO LP-S CART, GRANDIOSO P1/D1 STACK, G01X RUBIDIUM MASTER CLOCK, N05 NETWORK PLAYER, SILENZIO, HRS-SXR CUSTOM RACK w/ M3X SHELVES, SONUS FABER AIDA SPEAKERS, JL FATHOM F113v2 SUBS(2) SOUND ANCHOR STANDS(2) PS AUDIO P20, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES

Library System: GRANDIOSO M1 MONOBLOCK AMPS, C1 LINESTAGE PRE-AMP, K1 CD/SACD PLAYER, G1 MASTER RUBIDIUM CLOCK, E02 PHONO-PRE, SILENZIO, AERIAL ACOUSTICS 20T V2, AERIAL SW12 SUBS(2), CANTON REF K1’s, VPI HRX TT w/ SDS POWER SUPPLY, ORTOFON CADENZA BLACK CART, KLAUDIO RCM, SHUNYATA DENALI 6000/S v2, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
Bryston/Esoteric System: ESOTERIC C02-X PRE-AMP, P-02X TRANSPORT, D02-X DAC, G02-X CLOCK, BRYSTON 28B3 CUBED MONOBLOCK AMPS, BIT-15(2) AMR-DP777-SE DAC, SILENZIO, TAD REFERENCE ONE MK2 LOUDSPEAKERS, QUADRASPIRE RACK, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
Accuphase/Canton System: ACCUPHASE E650 INTEGRATED, DP560 CD/SACD PLAYER, T1200 FM STEREO TUNER, PS530 POWER SUPPLY, CANTON REF K3’s, CANTON REF K5’s, SILENZIO, HRS MXR REFERENCE MAHOGHANY RACK w/ M3X2 SHELVES, WIREWORLD GOLD CABLES
Bryston Active System: BP26 PRE-AMP, MPS2 POWER SUPPLY, BAX-1 CROSSOVER, BDA-3 DAC, BDP-3 PLAYER, BCD-3 CD PLAYER, BIT15(2), MODEL T ACTIVE SPEAKERS, 21B3 CUBED AMPS, SILENZIO, TARGET RACK, WIREWORLD SILVER CABLES
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Old 11-25-2015, 12:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scirica View Post
Yes, that was another well-written review by the king of reviewers!

My only concern is how much the "24 oz" weight will compress the springs of my Oracle Delphi. I will probably have check the speed of my table as well!
Steve.......Tomorrow I will carry the Stillpoints LP Isolator with me when I go to the Post Office. I'm friends with the Postmaster. I'll get him to weigh the LP Isolator on a certified scale. Then I will be able to report on the exact weight.

I think you will be fine with the additional weight as it will be spread across all three of the suspension springs on your Oracle Delphi. My Michell Gyro SE has three suspension springs and when I placed the Stillpoints LP Isolator on the spindle the suspension settled a little but it was not dramatic and I still had plenty of suspension remaining.
__________________
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STUDIO - McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Aurender N10, Esoteric K-01X, Shunyata Sigma spdif digital cable, Sonos Connect, PurePower 2000, Stillpoints, Furutech Flux 50, Michell Gyro SE, Michell HR Power Supply, SME 309, Ortofon Cadenza Black, Wireworld, Sonus faber Amati Anniversario
LIVING ROOM - McIntosh C2300, MC452, MR85, Magnum Dynalab 205, Simaudio MOON Neo 260D-T, Schiit Audio Yggdrasil, Aurender N100H, Shunyata Sigma USB cable, Micro Seiki DD40, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, Nakamichi BX-300, Sony 60ES DAT, PS Audio P10, Furutech Flux 50, Sonos Connect, Stillpoints, Wireworld, Kimber, PMC EB1i, JL Audio f113
VINTAGE - McIntosh MA230, Tandberg 3011A tuner, Olive 04HD, Sony DTC-59ES DAT, McIntosh 4300V, JBL 4312A
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Old 11-25-2015, 01:15 AM
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I actually fashioned a 25oz weight that I could safely center on my TT platter. It did settle a bit but I agree that it shouldn't "bottom out" the springs.

The interesting thing though is that the Oracle comes with different sets of springs that are used depending on your tonearm. It seems that this might throw off that dynamic. We'll find out. I will also call Oracle tomorrow and get their take on using a heavy clamp.
__________________
Analog: VPI Classic Direct (12" Fatboy) with Ortofon A95 cartridge; Ortofon ST-80SE Transformer; McIntosh C2500.
Digital: SilenZio Gen 3 High Performance Media Server; Esoteric K-03X.
Supporting System: McIntosh MX122 A/V Center; MC205 Amplifier; Bryston 14bSST2 Amplifier; PS Audio P10 Power Reconditioner; Revel Salon 2 Mains; Revel Voice 2 CC; JL Audio f113v2 (2); JL Audio CR-1 Crossover; Focal IC1002 Surrounds; Paradigm Studio Sub 15.
Cabling: Wireworld Silver Eclipse XLR; Wireworld Silver Electra Power Cords; Wireworld Silver and Gold Eclipse RCA's, Audioquest Aspen Speaker Cables.
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Old 11-25-2015, 02:42 AM
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Great review, Dan, as usual.

@Ivan: how do you use it on the Avid, since it could be the same issue than the Dan's Mitchell Gyro if I understand ?
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