I purchased the 21" x 19" 4" thick finished platform. I actually bought it because I needed a platform for my new Pass Labs amp as the top shelf dimensions on the rack I have was a little too small. I bought it because I had read maple was good for sound, but honestly I bought it because it fit, and it looked really nice. I also purchased the Isoblock to go under the shelf. So I set it up yesterday afternoon, and then listened last night. I am absolutely astounded and what a difference this made. Not only was the soundstage bigger, but the tone, timbre, and richness of the sound is incredible. This to me this was equivalent to a component upgrade. Honestly, I don't get it. I have tried other shelves, like BDR carbon fiber and Symposium, but they made my system sound thin. I bought the shelf because I needed a shelf and it looked really nice. If it made no difference in my sound, I didn't care as it looks nice. If it affected the sound negatively, I would send it back. I didn't actually expect it to do what it did for the sound. I've been going back and listening to some of my old music to hear it again. Great product! - Ken
The two inch maple platform greatly improved the sound of my Rega P5 turntable. It was a great turntable to start with and made vinyl sound better than CDs. This upgrade went further damping whatever vibrations were created from my Target shelf. Now it sounds neutral. I only hear the music. - Mark M.
Astounding! I purchased this isolation kit for my Rega Planar 3 turntable, I am literally STUPEFIED by the increase in information, focus, richness, bass extension and more. Listening to records I know well some that I use regularly to evaluate changes Ive made to my system has amounted to an experience much like hearing these records newly remixed. This kit somehow presents the music as more energetic alive yet also more relaxed natural. Im a believer! - Dave, NY
I set this kit up under my Rega Planar 3 last night. First of all, the components of the kit are visually stunning. In particular, the maple platform is a work of art and also suits the vibe of my music room: lava lamps and candles! The benefits of this kit were immediately apparent to me. I could just cut to the chase and say that EVERYTHING got better, but Ill elaborate anyway: tighter, more controlled bottom end; more detail in the music in an overall sense; acoustic instruments in particular sounded more like how theyre supposed to sound; greater front-to-back depth; a presentation that was both more relaxed & more lively. I was not prepared for that last item, but it struck me right away. The end result being, I did not get much sleep last night. But it was worth it. I always say to myself and to anyone else who will listen: this is a great time to be music lover. we have these brilliant minds that create these great designs & tweaks and were the beneficiaries. Thank you, Pierre & Mapleshade! - David Reichley, NY
Outstanding build quality and performance. I purchased the four inch VCS platform for my McIntosh MC275 in order to assess Mapleshade products. After unpacking and installation I am very impressed with the exceptional build quality, packaging and performance that truly reflect extensive research and development and outstanding execution in the production of the product. There is no doubt that Mapleshade is committed to producing and delivering the highest quality and excellent performance. Using two bridged MC-275 LE Editions side by side I observed more gain on the VCS side, slightly increased bass, clean mid range and clearer highs. Although the non-VCS side sounded great, the VCS made noticeable improvements. I am absolutely convinced by hearing the differences Mapleshade products make that they are an outstanding addition to any system and deliver what they promise. I liked the VCS so much that I ordered another and it is on the way. Their products have my strongest recommendation. - Donald E.
Yesterday arrived my new 4" maple block and brass footers with the Isoblock 2s. I immediately took the stock feet off of my Clearaudio Ovation $6750 and place the TT on the maple block, with your brass footers holding up the TT. Then the magic happened. Immediately I noticed a quieter, smoother sound with no harsh crescendos. In addition, the wood platform is so dense it actually absorbs floor vibration and the needle does not skip when someone walks by my turn table. I was auditioning $2000 magnetic floating platforms and hi end audio racks, in which none of them could do what this $285 solution could do. The piece is beautifully made and represents an era gone by in American Heritage. Bravo to you and your team for putting out such as quality product. I am moving into a new house soon and when I do I will have you make an entire audio rack out of the 4 maple. Even my wife loves it. Thanks again. - Mike P
As soon as I put the Mapleshade Platform (2 inch model) under my turntable (Linn LP 12), I knew I had a winner. I don t know how it works and why all what I hear is more music, more tune, less harshness in the sound. In my system, in my room, the maple platforms did wonders! - Samir
I recently used two custom-made brackets to mount my VPI TNT turntable on a Maple Platform on the wall of my listening room. Not only does the turntable sound much better mounted on the wall (records with good pressings now sound incredibly quiet), but the platform with beveled edges looks great. - Randy F.
Just a note to thank you regarding the Isoblocks, Static Draining Brush and Mapleshade Platforms!! After a lot of conversations with my Iowa bro-in-law and his reportin' all conversations to me, you got my (re-newed) more focused attention. With that, I looked anew at your products with your philosophy now in mind.??Turned my head around and made me a convert. Initially we discussed it on only an intellectual level, then...for real needle-in-groove, especially after my bro-in-law got one of your Platforms with Isoblocks for his Pro-Ject table. I auditioned his system and shortly thereafter snagged one of the Mapleshade Platforms with Isoblocks for my Music Hall 2.2 . Immediately improved focus & definition. Quieted background, too. Then... Next day got my Phonophile Brush and my High Desert problem with static 'electricity simply disappeared after 10 years of compromised dust chasin'. Zerostat and assorted brushes now relegated to 'The Shelf of Abandoned Accessories'. Too bad, so sad! Know you get a lot of these accolades but just wanted to let you know...and say,..Thanks! - Mark S.
For the last few years I have been using the Bright Star rack of Gilbraltar for my components. Recently I ordered the ready to finish platform in a size that would allow me to replace the plinth on the Bright Star shelf. I chose the shelf that holds my Cary 303/300 tube cd player. The improvement in sound is shocking. Deeper,tighter bass,more detail,warmer and smoother on the top end. I just ordered two more today! - Walt
As soon as I put the maple platforms (2 inch model) under my turntable (Linn LP 12), I knew I had a winner. I don t know how it works and why all what I hear is more music, more tune, less harshness in the sound. In my system, in my room, the maple platforms did wonders! - Samir
I have been into this hobby/disease seriously for about fifteen years and it still shocks me how something you think as irrelevant as a stand can make a HUGE difference. My search for holy sound nirvana has lead me to a very expensive but incredible system. My system consists of Magnepan 20.1's, Audio Aero Capitale Mark II, and Tube Research Labs 300 Mono blocks with all the necessary high end cabling and power products. This is an amazing system by any standards but it went through quite a change when I bought one of the MapleShade 4in maple blocks for the Audio Aero Capital. I had been using several other types of stands/racks including SRA(Silent Running Audio), Salamander, Adona, Billy Bags, etc. The Mapleshade platform under the Audio Aero improved the sound by about ten percent which in my system is like the second coming. The best improvement came in depth and warmth of the system. The reduction in background noise was also very noticeable. I now waiting for a set of the oversized blocks for the amps which were just released. Expect even better improvement there. - Matthew
This platform is a must for all hi-end CD or DVD players. I use it with Triplepoint Heavyfeet underneath my Sony SCD777ES with great improvements thru out the audio bandwidth. Two thumbs up! - Tom Pho
The Mapleshade platform + Isoblocks sounds better than anything I've tried so far under my Edison 60 integrated tube amp and Rega turntable. It seams to isolate and drain (through the Ultimate Triplepoints Cones) all bad vibes from the components with unparalleled neutrality. The midrange and highs are clear without a hint of grain and the bass is much more controlled and defined. Imaging is very accurate. Highly recommended. - Julien M.
I started tweaking my Sennheiser HD-600 system several years ago.I started with the Wheatfield HA-1 tube amp. with upgraded tubes.Since I started,I added an EVS Millennium 1B Dac,a GW Labs Dsp upsampler,Z digital cables,Stefan AudioArt HD-600 cable, BPT Power conditoner and Homegrown Silver Lace interconnects. I was very happy with my system. The last thing I would consider was Vibration Control. BIG MISTAKE!!!! I placed the Millenium DAC on top of a set of Triplepoint Heavyfeet and a Finished 18 x 15 x 2 Mapleshade platform and a set of Heavyfeet. My system transformed into a pathway to hear a clear image of music I did not think possible. Crystal clear images, tightly focused, dynamic and real. Thank you Pierre Sprey for yor time and expert advice. - Mark R.
I've been using the Mapleshade Vibration Control System (4" inch maple, Triplepoint Heavyfeet and Isoblocks) under two components: my Accuphase DP 90 transport, and my Berning Siegfried 300B amp. Let me be very clear. In 12 years of audiophilia, I have never heard a more impressive upgrade. We are out of the land of tweaks and well into the realm of alchemy here. Pierre has artfully tuned brass, wood, rubber and cork and breathed real life into the silicon, glass, metal and ABS of my system.
The Mapleshade system retired the Vibraplane that had graced my system for 5 years—easily. It took just 10 minutes of listening--the easiest A/B comparison I've ever done. It outclassed a new cone product that uses ceramic balls much like the Aurios.
What's special about it? Everything. The first time I listened, it was visceral. The muscles in my temples just relaxed and went "AHHHHH." Hey, I didn't think they were tight before, but you always realize these things retroactively. Color, dynamics, bass, articulation, treble extension—pick any audiophile goody you choose. It digs into the message of the music deeply. It didn't matter what disk I spun, I was riveted. I'll close by stealing a line from Frank Doris a few years ago: "It blew me away to a point I thought I was too jaded to reach anymore." - David Z.
I must admit, I was a little skeptical about the maple platforms, but over the course of several days (listening sessions) and some experimenting, I have to admit, Pierre is right, the maple does offer the best of all sound worlds. It clearly made my Pioneer Stable Platter, Model PD-65 sing!!
The best way I can describe the sound of the brass footers/maple platform/isoblocks is that I can hear much deeper into the sound stage. Everything is much clearer now with the brass footers. I can hear triangles and other bells that I never heard before, and it makes a singer's voice sound much smoother and actually does kind of clean up some of the harshness that is inherent in most CD's nowadays. The bass is much more defined now (more solid sounding). A more fuller sounding bass. When I order my next platform for my tube amp, I think I'll order an unfinished one and (finish) it myself. Not that the finished maple platform isn't nicely done, it's just that I've decided I can put a hand rubbed finish on just about as well myself and save the extra cash for more CD's.
Bottomline: I don't think you can go wrong buying the 2" maple platform with the isoblocks, and small brass cones. It's probably the best thing that I have done to my system in quite a while. It has restored the excitement back into my system. I had gotten away from listening to music for a while there, but now have gotten back into listening to my system more, because the sound is that much more alive sounding than before. And, isn't that what all of us audiophiles want out of our systems to get that "you are there" live sound? I think I may eventually try your power strip out also and see how much better it makes my system sound than my old Chang Lite speed power line filter... Again, I want to thank you for all your help and explanations you gave me in earlier emails. - Bob Matthews
The custom Rosewood stained platforms you made for my amps are awesome. It's the perfect match of ying and yang in my system. AN ABSOLUTELY PROFOUND IMPROVEMENT IN MY SYSTEM. Been doing this for 30 years now as a hobbyist, wholesaler and retailer and life long friend of one of the best designers in the business (Bob Hovland) and I still was not prepared for what the platforms didfor the clarity, musicality and bass and treble extension - Ken Beckman
Two years ago, if someone had told me that in the near future I would be investing nearly $400 in a 50+ pound piece of maple to put under my turntable I would have said "only if yo' mama carries up the stairs to my apartment." Life plays funny tricks on us sometimes, though, doesn't it?
A number of months ago, shortly before I received my VPI Scout package, the esteemed HW of VPI posted that the use of a wooden isolation platform would greatly enhance the sound of the Scout. He suggested a cheap, DIY version that involved two Crate & Barrel cutting boards and some Vibrapods. I dutifully strolled over to the new Crate & Barrel that had just opened on the corner of Broadway and Houston and picked up two cutting boards for a total of $65, as I remember. I think there was a holiday sale on. Another Asylum Inmate had posted that several layers of bubble wrap would work well under the platform instead of Vibrapods. Not being entirely sold on the merits of isolation at this stage in the game, I decided to save a few bucks and went for the bubble wrap. I took these pieces home, used some wood glue to join the two cutting boards, cut the bubble wrap to size and, voila!, my isolation platform was up and running.
The results were noticeable if not jaw dropping. The turntable I was using at that time was of less than audiophile quality. Considerably less. So that was that, for the time being.
Mapleshade & Me
Some months later I became acquainted with Mapleshade Records. Of particular interest to me were their "tweaks and wires." In the months since I'd whipped up the isolation platform I had become something of a tweaking fanatic, given to assiduous experimentation and daily consultations with the fine folks of the various Asylums in search of avuncular advice. Mapleshade came up repeatedly and seemed always to get the thumbs up. I reviewed their marketing materials and found that I share a certain mindset with whoever it is that writes their material. Having been a musician for 25+ years and spent many hours in recording studios, I concur with them that wood and brass offer unique sound enhancements when used with instruments and recording equipment. It follows logically that they would enhance playback equipment as well.
I began by ordering some cones, then some isolation blocks, then graduated to a set of their eight foot Double Helix speaker cables. All were reasonably priced and added palpably to the quality of sound produced by my system. I was hooked to the point of becoming a Mapleshade myrmidon.
As the taxman's generosity earlier this year had aided considerably in relieving me of my usual parsimony, I decided to retire my DIY isolation platform and invest in a real one. Mapleshade seemed the logical choice for me, though I had read many good things about Ken Lyon's Nuance shelf and various other isolation shelves. I have not, though, actually heard any of these shelves, only my own DIY creation.
I placed my order for a fifty pound, finished, custom maple platform, 24" x 21" x 4" for use under my Scout. According to Mapleshade "Two inch maple makes a satisfying improvement under every stereo component I've tried. Turntables improved astonishingly! (Incidentally, the platform should be slightly larger than the component it supports.) Stepping up to a four inch thickness is a serious sonic upgrade. Solid maple this thick is nearly impossible to find at lumberyards, so I've hooked up with a nearby country sawmill that cuts maple logs to our spec. We air dry our maple, because kiln-dried wood—the only kind you can buy commercially—sounds deader. (The great violin makers only use air dried wood.) Local Amish cabinetmakers plane, sand, bevel and then finish our platforms with four coats of clear, hand-rubbed lacquer. This handsomely shows off the dramatic grain and nut-colored streaks of our maple." ?Needless to say, I found all this most compelling.
The Beast Arrives
Some ten weeks after ordering, my platform finally arrived via UPS. Apparently the long winter lengthened the wood's drying time. Initial impressions: It is heavy. And huge. But let me not dwell on the obvious. After a few hours with it I thought it smelled funny, noticed it had been slightly damaged in transit (plastic peanuts crushed into the wood) and came with its own bugs. As a specialist in "dealing with it", I'm hoping that the smell will go away, that I can live with the peanut residue and that the insects were killed before they had a chance to nest inside my pre amp. The things we audiophiles will endure!
In terms of the way it improved the sound of my system, let me pick one of my favorite adjectives from Stereophile's lexicon and one the highest compliments possible—it made it sound positively stentorian. But before I crown Mapleshade king of kings and say goodnight, let me address exactly why I think this hunk of maple is so good.
After adding Mapleshade's Double Helix speaker wires I found that my system became, overall, more transparent, though still a bit wild with some recordings. But along with this transparency there was an almost shrill brightness in the upper midrange. Some female vocals were positively painful to hear at normal listening volume. This struck me as odd because my Grado Sonata is hailed as one of the best cartridges for reproducing female vocals. I remembered a review I'd read where an Inmate criticized the Mapleshade wires for being too bright. I wondered if it might be in my best interests to exercise my option on Mapleshade's 30-day money back offer. Could this be one of those issues of missing system synergy so often written about?
Over the next few weeks the wires calmed down and, though my system was still sounding a tad on the bright side, became a joy to listen to. Then I added VPI's Stainless Steel & Delrin record clamp (read my review.) This took most of the wildness out of the system without making it sound dull, lifeless, rolled off at the top or analytical.
The last step up the ladder came with the addition of the Mapleshade isolation platform. It further enhanced all the positives that the speaker wires and record clamp brought. The system sounds authoritative to a degree I did not think possible given the dubious pedigree of my Epos M12 speakers and oddly shaped listening room. Bass is full without being boomy, more fully realized and just plain deeper. Upper mids are fully revealed, though in proper proportion, and the fabled Grado lushness is displayed in all its glory. My system seems to grab a piece of vinyl, spread it out over the room and parade around every last bit of information available like a trophy wife at a high school reunion. Pardon my grandiloquence but I get pretty juiced up about this stuff.
Recently, in a discussion of Mapleshade, an Inmate said that a friend tried a Mapleshade platform and it sucked all the life out of his system. I can see how in some systems this might be the case. Synergy, again. But in my system the platform was just the right thing to quell any last bit of contumacy and has made it sound like I added more than $400 to my system overall.
I've been running through a number of my favorite records and had nothing but fun basking in their sound. Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 Equinox sounds glorious for a disposable piece of 60's pop ephemera. Cowbells have actual pitches and are no longer just percussive clangs, I can actually hear the distance between the mic and the piano and the soundstage is broad and deep. And Lani Hall's voice is gorgeous. That Herb Alpert knew how to set up a mic! The acoustic guitars on side one of Guns 'N' Roses Lies are shimmering and fill the room. Listening with eyes closed, the soundstage is so wide it seems to extend beyond the size of the room. The horns on my original Living Stereo pressing of Cootie Williams In Stereo are so buoyant and layered it's easy to see what all the fuss over these old RCA LPs is about.
In the case of Mapleshade I have to say that you can believe the hype. I did and I don't regret it. I have come to trust what they say and respect the fact that they stand so firmly behind their spiel and their R&D that everything, including their CDs, comes with a money back guarantee. Someday, I may upgrade to a more expensive turntable. Hell, hopefully I'll be upgrading to a more expensive everything! But I think the Mapleshade platform will be around no matter what evolution takes place in my system. And, by the way, it was not "yo' mama" that carried it up the steps to my apartment. It was the UPS guy. - Greg B.
Stereo Times: Mapleshade's Vibration Control System reviewed by Marshall Nack
Where will it end? In the beginning, I stacked my gear on a pecan wood étagère because it happened to be in my living room. Then I graduated to real audiophile shelving with the purchase of Sound Organization racks from England with metal frames with MDF shelves. The Sound Organization philosophy is that lightweight racks sound better than heavy, massive units. Next came Solid Steel. These are made in Italy and also feature metal frames with MDF shelving, but have enhanced cone points under each shelf to better isolate each component.
Along with the new racks I started to acquire various specialized isolation products that sit on the rack and do things to make the sound better. I sampled Black Diamond Racing products, Dark Matter platforms, sandboxes, air bladders; you name it - I've probably tried it. Then came a huge leap up to the made-in-the-good-old-USA PolyCrystal brand. These have solid wood frames and composite resin shelving. PolyCrystal is heavy and dense and structurally more stable. What a difference they made! The PolyCrystal sounded so good on its own that I no longer needed the supplementary Dark Matter or other platforms.
For the last month and a half I've been auditioning the Mapleshade Component Support System (MCSS). This was at the time I was comparing my Linn LP12 with that manufacturer's current top-of-the-line model. The Mapleshade support I put under my table did things I had never heard before which were immediately recognizable as highly desirable. I had the uncomfortable impression that the "wonderful sound" I had been enjoying before was laden with artifacts and aberrations of a euphonic kind.
The Mapleshade Vibration Control System
The Mapleshade solution consists of four parts. The first is a slab of solid maple wood. Mapleshade sells solid wood blocks either in raw form or finished with chamfered edges and four coats of handrubbed lacquer, which about doubles the price. Standard length and width dimensions are 12" by 15" or 15" by 18", in either 2" or 4" thicknesses. Custom sizes can be ordered. Don't make the mistake of going to your lumberyard to procure the wood yourself. There are many varieties of maple trees; the wood used here is the same used in the manufacture of violins, violas, cellos, basses and guitars. Four IsoBlocks come next, which are placed in the four corners under the wooden platform. Each IsoBlock is made of six layers of rubber and natural cork layered sandwich-like and laminated together. The overall dimensions are about 2" wide, 1 1/2" deep and 1 3/4" high. IsoBlocks are designed to suspend the maple slab and have "correctly tuned infra-bass resonant frequenciesS and clean, non-distorting attenuation of the midrange frequencies." In other words, the IsoBlocks are tuned to offset the resonant frequencies of the maple.
A set of three Triplepoint Conepoints, which go between the wood and the component, are the next piece of the puzzle. The Triplepoints are very heavy, solid brass cones. The manufacturer claims that, as far as cones are concerned, brass sounds better than other materials, heavier is better than lighter and taller is better than shorter. A couple of sizes of these brass cones are available. The model I tried is the Ultimate Triplepoint design, which is heaviest and tallest, and has three mini brass points on the flat top of the cone, the part that comes in contact with the component. So you have points on both the top and bottom of the cone.
Finally, Heavy Hat weights are to be placed on top of the component. These are also machined of solid brass and come in two sizes. Also available are Heavy Hat Triplepoint weights which have the added three mini points on the flat side.
Count 'em. Four individual items just to support one component!
The excellently recorded LP Live at Bernie's with the Bill Cunliffe trio [Groove Note GRV1009 - 1 DD] is a collection of standards done straight up, for the most part. Cunliffe may not be shockingly original, but his dexterity and tasteful interpretations make for pleasurable listening. The sound of this 45 rpm Direct-To-Disc LP is fabulous. The A - B comparison revealed that post MCSS treatment, everything was a little different. The sound was full of desirable contradictions: soft, warm and full-bodied like the old-fashioned tubey sound, yet with noticeably more clarity, detail and dynamics. You know how you have to continually fight to maintain treble extension, yet avoid any kind of glare or shrillness up there? These platforms take care of that for you. The tonal balance had shifted slightly downward commensurate with the gains in weight and removal of glare. With the MCSS under the LP12, cymbals were altogether more present, defined and clear. But the real surprise was how complex and full of nuance and musical color the unamplified cymbals in their studio setting had become. The double bass tightened up and became easier to follow without any loss of body or weight. The piano began to sound more like a huge, nine-foot Steinway concert grand. Alas, it will never sound completely convincing. It is a common, and unfortunate, recording studio practice to cover, nay, to mummify the piano and shove a microphone under the lid. This is supposed to enhance realism?
What Happened To The Noise Floor?
As claimed, resonance control was excellent. Especially in the bass register, the halo that surrounds each instrument was reduced. The removal of this persistent lower register resonance was what really turned me on. This opens up and clarifies the entire presentation. Soundstage attributes were all enhanced, including localization, dimensionality, and recreation of the recording venue. Depending on the CD, the soundstage could seem less focussed. Then you put on the next CD and it's razor sharp. There is no excess sound, no smearing or resonance. The image of those cymbals ended, and beyond there was just STILLNESS. No etched outlines, no unfocussed borders, no unnatural blackness, just a realistic fading into space. Based on the highly desirable benefits the first MCSS under the Linn LP12 delivered, I decided to take the plunge. I installed maple platforms and IsoBlocks under the amps. (My amps have built in PolyCrystal cones that prevented use of the Ultimate Triplepoints.) I found the platform's effects additive. You'll hear positive results with the first one and then a compounding as you install more. When I put the last platform in place, so that the entire digital chain was sitting on brass and maple, the sound really locked. Clarity, power, realism and happy listeners sum it up. I noticed the same thing with the cymbals on Big Sweet N' Blue with the Norris Turney quartet [Mapleshade MS02632 gold CD]. Track 3, "Blues in B," has the piano, bass and drums doing an extended intro before Turney enters with a riff reminiscent of the Duke. Turney was Ellington's last alto sax soloist. The drum kit is featured in that intro and the cymbals are prominent. There's a whole lotta treble shakin' here that can sound pretty gray and undifferentiated. The MCSS brought out the different sounds of each cymbal, and the many colors possible from one cymbal, depending on where it was struck and what was used to strike it. Jimmy Cobb was doing a lot more with those cymbals than I had known about prior to treatment.On the Decca 180 gram LP re-issue of Leonard Bernstein Mozart [Decca SET 332], orchestral strings had more shimmer and, at the same time, more authority and power. The piano sounded more acoustic and more powerful also.
I find that practically any object placed on top of a component will change its sound. I prefer to have nothing sitting on the component. I did try the Heavyhat brass weights, and found them as good as any other weights I had on hand. Some weights, like the VPI Bricks, dampen the sound and make it darker. The brass weights tended to give a little extra energy to the mid-range, without damping. Then there's the Heavyhat Triplepoint, which gave a little sparkle to the treble. It's rather like preparing a fine meal and then seasoning to taste. Use the Heavyhat to coarsely tune your system and then fine tune with the Triplepoint. One combination that worked well with my AC conditioner was a VPI Brick in the center with a Heavyhat Triplepoint on either side of the Brick. This energized the bass along with good treble extension. So, depending on your taste, the Heavyhats might fit the bill.
Amazingly, there were no trade-offs or compromises in the musical areas I pay most attention to. However, there are some practical concerns. The fully implemented MCSS, without the Heavyhat brass weights on top, elevates the component an additional 6 inches. Finding that much extra height on one shelf, let alone all the component shelves, can be a problem. To save space, I broke the IsoBlocks in half, and then used each three-layered sandwich under the maple. This saves about 1" in height. Pierre Sprey of Mapleshade says you lose a small percent of the effect this way. I used the IsoBlocks both ways and found you do lose a little bit of the effect, but also the overall balance had moved towards the treble with the shorter sandwich. Then I had to resort to the HeavyHats to add body.
Though the IsoBlocks are laminated together, they were easy to separate and sometimes came apart on their own. Also, their dimensions were variable, with some being much larger than others. The raw wood is very porous and tends to warp over time. And even though the finished ones warp a little over time, I strongly advise that you go for the finished product. And while speaking of the finish, it is obviously hand-worked, and there are imperfections. It looks OK, but there is no mistaking it for furniture grade.
Turntables present a problem. Putting three cones under the plinth does not exactly make for a stable support. It's only feasible if you get Triplepoints with threaded inserts and screw them into the plinth. For my LP12, the table's Trampolinn base sits on the maple plank, and then come the IsoBlocks.
Best results are achieved when the MCSS is used without other specialized isolation products. Initially, I put an MCSS over a Dark Matter platform. I didn't like it, and concluded that the particular component wasn't synergistic with the maple. Later, I removed the Dark Matter and tried it again, with very positive results.
Make sure the IsoBlocks are securely contacting the maple. If any one of them moves freely shim it up with some stiff cardboard or pieces of wood veneer. Don't use corrugated cardboard for this - it's too compliant. You want something stiff.
The cardboard shims actually affected the sound slightly. After I put a few more of them in and liked it, I decided to try some Golden Sound DH Squares instead. The DH Squares under all four IsoBlocks worked nice magic on the CD transport, LP12, the phono pre-amp and the power supply to the line pre-amp. However, it didn't work with the other components, so experimentation is recommended. The maple only sounds good with the IsoBlocks under it. The wood on its own is too warm and dulls the sound.
Order of application: the first component to address is anything that has moving parts, like an LP turntable or CD drive. Next would be tube gear. I also used it under my Accuphase AC conditioner to good effect.
The Mapleshade Component Support System is aimed at the tweakers among us. If it seems like the whole thing is just too much bother, let me reiterate the MCSS achievements. The treatment removes a pervasive low frequency resonance surrounding each instrument and treble glare and haze. It offers a heightened sense of power and forcefulness, even on treble instruments. The resulting sound is clear and loaded with detail and yet decidedly "non-hi-fi." It is slightly darker, but based on how good the added weight sounds; I must conclude that my system was in need of it. Yours might need it too.