Reviewing audio gear usually necessitates moving your own gear around to accommodate review samples. I recently found myself with an empty turntable shelf on my rack (something of a rarity) and decided to bring one of my rebuilt TD-150s into the system to accompany the Technics. In doing so, I encountered the inevitable frustration that comes with ownership of a suspended deck, namely the suspension itself which so often goes ‘out of tune’ as it were, especially if the deck is moved. I decided then and there that never again would a metal spring be permitted in a turntable of mine, and set out to seek a better solution.
That solution came in the form of an isolation grommet from Analogue Innovation. Three grommets in fact, designed as a direct substitute for the springs of an LP12. Though designed to work with the company’s ‘Sole’ sub chassis, the ‘In Sole Elastomer Suspension Kit‘ work effectively in any LP12, or indeed the many Thorens, Ariston and other turntables with conical springs in common.
I approached designer John Ruggles to review the kit here. A few pounds later (beer money in hi-fi terms) and the kits soon arrived. I ordered two sets with the intension of trying them in both of our TD-150 rebuild projects. John did, however, stress that these kits are primarily designed with the LP12 in mind, though at least one is In Use on a modified TD-150 with an early Sole sub chassis. In John’s own words: “This isolation kit was not developed for the Thorens TD150, but was so for the LP12, specifically fitted with Analogue innovations Sole Sub-chassis.” John was happy for the review to be “warts & all” and was happy to give me total freedom of script even if I personally felt they did not offer any improvement on the TD150. Now that is a company who are confident in their product, and rightly so.
Disclaimers out of the way and we proceed to installation. Installation couldn’t be easier. I’ve been trying a few sub chassis prototypes in the AAP12. The one seen here is a composite construction but multi-layer acrylic has been tried too.
The isolators ship with knurled nylon nuts with a machined flange designed to centralise the rubber isolator on the bolt. The top of the isolator slots into the sub chassis as would the original grommet. Washers and locknuts aren’t necessary at all, though I did install locknuts beneath once I’d levelled everything up in the hope that I can avoid the need for future adjustment. Indeed this review has been a long time in draft and the decks with these in place have been moved a time or two with no further setup needed. The setup itself is hassle free and takes five minutes or less. Simply install the isolators, adjust for height with the platter and arm installed and then level it up. No more perfecting the bounce, no more trying to centralise the sub chassis, and no more minimising unwanted lateral movement.
Our Thorens TD-150 remains as stock as ever besides the addition of a thrust bearing and damper to the motor which is now virtually silent.
The isolators offer a few notable advantages over the conical springs. Firstly, the ‘bounce’ that suspended decks are known for is gone and the whole platform becomes far more stable as a result. Movement in the sub chassis is significantly restricted which all but eradicates unwanted lateral motion caused by the sub chassis rotating on its axis.
The isolation properties are better too. Certainly better than a standard conical spring which imparts some horrible resonance peaks. Better even than the Vinyl Passion Blue springs which have an anti-vibration coating. Any disturbance in the mounting surface will usually cause the suspension of a sprung deck to go haywire. Here any such disturbance is dissipated without drama and with no ill effect on playback. I wrapped my knuckles on the table on which the decks were situated without causing so much as a thud from the speakers and certainly no skipping or wobbling from the turntable.
Sonics are vastly improved with more detail across the board, most notably in the bass which is better defined and less bloated than before. Speed stability also saw a welcome improvement owing to the increased sub chassis stability. Elastomer isolators are better at resisting the pull of the belt than a compression spring, so the relation of the motor and sub platter and thus the belt tension remain true. Rumble is reduced as are the sonic effects of any resonance in the top plate which can sometimes be heard as a kind of ‘steering’ of detail in the upper mids and highs.
All in all a terrific upgrade and tremendous value at several times the price. They are available for £25.00 currently, and will be increasing minimally to £27.50 per set on June 30th though this is inclusive of UK first class P&P. I applaud Analogue Innovation for continuing to offer reasonably priced audiophile upgrades especially for the LP12. The Analogue Innovation elastomer isolators bring considerable sonic advantages while removing most of the frustration inherent with the ownership of a suspended turntable. Highly recommended.
I was fortunate enough to be one of 3, I think, “test pilots” for this product before it hit the market. I loved it straight away, and I’ve been living with it ever since. I agree with another that coping with Linn’s original spring set up isn’t the dark art some would have you believe, but it is time consuming. And a bit annoying. This new replacement takes about 5 minutes to install and level, once the springs are out. Very easy. The improvement in sound was immediately apparent and not subtle from the first song. Not being a master of audiophile-ese, it’s hard to characterize the change, but it summarizes it well to say this: I’d previously installed Analog Innovations’ Sole sub chassis (actually, I’m on my second from them). These new rubber bushings give you more of the same sounding improvements that the Sole sub chassis brought to the table. Great product, seriously under priced for this amount of improvement.
This is very interesting. Trying to find someone local to setup my ariston rd80 proves difficult and a lot of the times, it wasn’t done properly, because they’re not experienced enough and probably because most turntables do not require this kind of setup and so the skill in suspension setup is lost. So after me rambling on, would this work on my Ariston Rd80?
Suspension setup is not as difficult as Linn and their dealers want you to believe. It just requires time, patience and an understanding of the engineering behind the deck, which is where many fail. That said, I do believe these will fit the RD80. I believe the Ariston springs taper to a smaller diameter but that shouldn’t be an issue. I think the Ariston platter is also lighter – but so is the Thorens, so that shouldn’t be an issue either. I’d imagine they’d work quite nicely. The only part I’m unsure on is the Ariston bolt diameter but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they are the same (M5).
Yes the springs are conical and like you say I think the threaded studs are M5, though I’m not 100% certain. Also, you need some kind of jig for setting and keeping the turntable level when adjusting the springs. When I got my suspension and turntable setup. I knew it didn’t have the same bounce as to when I used to get it setup back in the 80s and 90s. It use to bounce lovely and would ride out and vibrations, which is what it’s supposed to do. Anyway, I’m a little uncertain as to how you can adjust the isolators so the platter isn’t too high. Do you know of a video that shows fitting on a turntable?
Let’s see if YouTube has something. Lol
I made a rectangular frame out of old timber to set up suspended decks, kind of like a table without the top and 4 bolts underneath acting as feet to level it up. Or balance it across a couple of chairs or tables using cardboard or paper to get it level. As for setting the platter height. get the plinth perfectly level. Then adjust the isolators so the platter ‘looks’ about the right height and so that it spins without hitting the motor pulley or rubbing on any of the bolt heads. You also want to get the arm board to look visually ‘right’ with the plinth, you’ll know it when you see it. Then level the platter from there, you should only need small adjustments at that point. It’s a balancing act, but as long as the platter is level when the plinth is level, it looks good visually and the platter doesn’t hit anything beneath when it spins then you’re good to go. It sounds harder than it is.
Given the the first LP12 was almost the same as if not identical to Ariston’s RD11, I would assume the RD80’s spring grommets to be the same size as the LP12 and RD11. As such I would conclude our In Sole isolators would work equally as well as they do in the LP12 and Thorens TD150. I’m sure your will be vey pleased with the result of removing the bounciness of your RD80.
Hi…I have Thorens 160b – could this Sole Elastomer Isolators be installed on that one? My problem is also when deck is moved (and i have to do that for specific reasons two times at year -which i will not elaborate here) so i was wonder if this could be a right solution on that turntable too?
I do believe the TD-160 springs can be replaced with Linn springs, and therefore the In Sole kit should fit. I cannot give you a 100% guarantee as I don’t have a TD-160 to check, but I am more sure than not.
I can confirm our elastomers will fit and work well on your TD160.. They will certainly allow you to move/reposition your TD160 without upsetting anything.
he-hey…Thank you a lot for this information which i will share with some of my friends that use Thorens too…(small group of brave even some of us sold their souls to another swiss – Lenco)
Hope you are well, I would like to try your elastomers on my TD150 but cannot get to your website to order some.
I’m fine thanks, hope you are too? Please contact my via the following email. email@example.com