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This Simple Component Takes Your Hi-Fi Setup to a New Level

You probably don't have to spend more than a $100 to improve the sound of your speakers.

a speaker sitting on pucks
Cam Oden

Vibrations are one of your hi-fi system's biggest enemies. They add noise to the signal path, which degrades it and ultimately leads to a less detailed final sound. Basically, if the surface that your turntable, speakers or other audio components are placed on is vibrating, your system isn't going to sound as good as it could.

Ironically, vibrations are also integral to hi-fi. A loudspeaker must vibrate its drivers to produce sound waves, for example. And a turntable’s stylus needs vibrations from the record grooves to create a signal. You want the component, be it the speakers or turntable, to be as still as possible so that it has complete control of the vibrations it creates.

It's a constant battle between good vibrations and bad vibrations.

The best hi-fi systems are the ones that can preserve the audio signal without letting unwanted vibrations interfere. Each component is integrated with various bracing and absorption technologies to do this — one of the most common features you'll see every hi-fi component have is rubberized feet.

"A side-by-side speaker test with and without isolation pucks is a revelation."

These rubberized feet act as a barrier between the audio component and the surface it's resting on. It absorbs the vibrations created by the speaker, turntable or other component; if a speaker is playing loud music, for example, it will naturally shake the table or shelf it's resting on. That vibrating surface could then cause unwanted vibrations for the rest of the hi-fi system (and even for the speaker itself).

Of course, these rubberized feet are often limited by their size and can only do so much. The good news is that there are fairly inexpensive accessories that you can buy called isolation pucks or isolation pads that do essentially do a better job than those rubberized feet.

tech roundup
Tucker Bowe

Isolation pucks are pretty much exactly what they sound like. Little "pucks" sit underneath your speakers and other audio components (such as a subwoofer or amp) and dampen vibrations. If it's under a speaker, they'll dampen the vibrations created by the speaker and the outside vibrations from affecting the speaker. In other words, they’re a safety net to ensure a system sounds its best.

When I interviewed Peter Hahn, co-owner of Turntable Lab, a New York-based hi-fi shop, he spoke glowingly about the effects that these little pucks can have.

"Recently, vinyl listeners have been adding [isolation pucks] to their setups — under turntables, speakers, and amps — for cleaner sound environments. A side-by-side speaker test with and without [isolation pucks] is a revelation. These pucks are a relatively inexpensive and versatile way to add the technology to your setup."

IsoAcoustics is arguably the biggest name in isolation pucks. The Canadian audio company specializes in isolation products for home audio gear and its Iso-Puck series are some of the best isolation pucks. They're also pretty affordable. The series is made of several different models that go up in size.

IsoAcoustics Iso-Puck Mini (8-pack)


IsoAcoustics Iso-Puck Mini (8-Pack)


The Iso-Puck Minis are the smallest and most affordable isolation pucks that IsoAcoustics makes. Each can support up to 6 pounds, making them a great size for most bookshelf speakers.

IsoAcoustics Iso-Puck (2-pack)


IsoAcoustics Iso-Puck (2-Pack)


The Iso-Puck are the company's mid-sized isolation pucks. Each can support up to 20 pounds. They're better suited for active speakers and higher-end receivers and amplifiers.

IsoAcoustics Iso-Puck 76 (2-pack)


IsoAcoustics Iso-Puck 76 (2-Pack)


The Iso-Puck 76 are the company's heavy-duty isolation pucks. Each can support up to 40 pounds. They're better suited for larger speakers, studio monitors and guitar amps.

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