Isolating your turntable helps reduce unwanted vibrations, and will improve the overall sound quality of your setup.
Experimenting with those upgrades doesn’t need to be expensive.
Here are some cheap or free ways to isolate your turntable and improve your vinyl experience on a budget!
1. Add Isolation Feet or an Isolation Pad
Place rubber feet or an isolation pad under your turntable. These materials absorb vibrations and prevent them from reaching the turntable.
A cheap option for isolation feet on a budget is to cut two racquet balls in half, and place the hemispheres underneath the four corners of your turntable.
An inexpensive isolation pad can be made by cutting squares from a yoga mat and stacking them between your turntable and the surface on which it sits. Just make sure the squares are as large as the turntable plinth, and that it’s stable so there’s no risk of it tipping or falling over.
2. Add a Cork Mat
Replace the stock mat on your turntable with a cork mat. Cork is known for its vibration-damping properties, and can help isolate the record from vibrations and reduce the static that builds up over time.
3. Incorporate a Record Weight
Adding a heavy record weight on your vinyl can help stabilize the rotation speed and minimize vibrations. These weights, or even a record clamp, can also help flatten a slightly-warped record and reduce the chances of it skipping while playing.
4. Adjust Turntable Placement
Put the turntable on a solid and heavy surface that you already own, such as a large bookshelf or fireplace mantle.
Avoid placing it directly on a speaker or near other sources of vibrations.
Make sure the turntable is level. The stylus and sound quality can be affected by even a slight angle, which can even lead to skipping and scratched records.
5. Build a DIY Sandbox Platform
Find a large shallow container that fits your turntable’s depth and width, and fill it with clean sand. Add a rigid platform (like a piece of MDF) on top of the sand with at least 1/2″ space from each side of the container, so that the platform will never come in contact with the sides.
Consider covering the sand with a top layer of loose fabric to reduce the chances of the sand escaping.
Place your turntable on that platform on the sand and make sure it’s level. The vibrational energy will be reduced going through the sand, and the weight of the sand adds mass to your setup.
Experiment with different combinations of these budget methods to find which ones work best for your turntable setup!
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