ISOSLICE DECOUPLING PLATFORM
2nd January 2024
Described as a decoupling platform for turntables, Paul Rigby tackles 10 layers of isolation
And yes, that’s what this platform on legs provides, 10 layers of isolation with the aim of, states the company, improving definition, opening up the mids, improving the soundstage and more. Well, we’ll see about that!
Isoslice is a small company based in High Wycombe, England and run by Paul Mallyon. It’s also a new company, as it was founded in 2022. The Isoslice is his/its first product. Mallyon a professional musician and composer, also works on the other side of the fence as a recording engineer and music producer. That’s where his experience lies, 25 years of it, in fact.
From there he began to build and tweak turntables and then he moved into isolation of the same.
LAYERS & LAYERS
This design features a host of layers. Principally MDF and acoustic foam but also a multi-ply Poplar wood section in the centre. I actually counted nine layers but maybe the company include adjustable steel feet as another layer. After all, they do feature neoprene foam. The feet only hit the base layer the screw thread doesn’t enter the other layers. They are also adjustable for height and include a locking nut on each, once adjustments have been finalised.
To make sure the platform is level, there’s a built-in bubble level inserted onto the top section along with an engraved company logo.
In use, you place this platform on your shelving unit, you adjust for height and levelling, then you place your turntable on top and away you go.
IN GENERAL TERMS
I looked at a general model which fits your basic Regas, Linns and the like. The one I had weighed 6kg and spanned 450 x 360mm with a 70mm height, 100mm with the feet added and 125mm with the feet extended. There are different sized models aimed at owners of Garrads and Michelle.
But the company will make a size for your turntable if required, although be prepared to pay more for a larger platform and possibly different paint finish. Maybe up to £350, give or take. It depends on your requirements. I’d advise talking to the company about what you need.
For this review, I placed my test turntables upon a high-end Blue Horizon shelving system. I then brought in a competing Blue Horizon Sanctum platform and, later on, a more expensive Isoacoustics Delos platform to compare and contrast with the IsoSlice.
I began with jazz vocal and the new album from Ian Shaw called Greek Street Friday. An album I recently featured on my Music Alerts! new-releases video. Here, the vocal is dominant but there’s a backing of percussion, electric guitar, organ, bass and piano.
To begin, I compared the IsoSlice with the turntable placed directly on the Blue Horizon which, on its own, offered good anti-vibration performance. Hence, the IsoSlice needed to offer over and above performance enhancements to make an impact here.
I began with a Rega Planar RP3 with its default Elys 2 cartridge. Without the IsoSlice. That is, with the RP3 sitting directly on the shelving unit, the music sounded great. There were no obvious issues. It sounded lovely. Thing is, though, with the IsoSlice under the RP3, the music now sounded like it had woken up. As if the earlier rendition, by comparison, was a little…snoozy. A little lax, maybe? Slightly, loose, slovenly even. Not really with it. Not paying attention. With the IsoSlice in place, music tightened itself up, it was alert and on point.
The lead vocal provided a greater degree of clarity but also the diction seemed sharper now. The vocal was also better integrated into the mix. Shaw sounded like he was part of the band. Earlier, he seemed disconnected, standing in front of a sleepy backing band with a gap between the two.
Bass was larger now, grounded for the first time, occupying more of the lower areas of the soundstage. The noise floor was lower adding reverb to treble and upper mids while the overall effect added transparency. That is, you could hear layers in the music, instrument and backing vocals could be heard positioned behind one another.
VS BLUE HORIZON PLATFORM
I compared the IsoSlice to the Blue Horizon Sanctum which is for sale at basically the same price as the IsoSlice platform. I do like the Sanctum and gave it a positive review. The Sanctum does a good job of adding focus to the upper mids, positioning the stereo image firmly in the centre of the speakers but there is slightly less control of the midrange as a whole, when compared to the IsoSlice. The latter provides superior tonal balance.
The Sanctum can sound a little one-dimensional by comparison. The IsoSlice has a richer, more three-dimensional response.
VS ISOACOUSTICS PLATFORM
I then roped in a much more expensive and robust IsoAcoustics Delos platform rated at £399 and placed my more expensive Funk Firm LSD turntable on top, sporting a Goldring 1042 cartridge and played music from ELO’s A New World Record.
So how does the IsoSlice compare? Is the more expensive Delos a better performer. Does it warrant the extra £150? For the price? That’s your call but yes, the Iso does sound better. But by degrees. The improvement is not startling. It isn’t a chasm.
The Delos lowers the noise floor still further. Vocals sit in a larger space, cymbal taps offer extra reverb but the amount of that improvement is not massive. It’s definitely there and audiophile who wants every ounce of improvement will certainly opt for the Delos as a preferred platform. Everyone else who wants a blend of performance and value for money might be better sticking with the IsoSlice, though.
The IsoSlice is a solid design that does the job and does it well. Lowering the overall noise floor, tackling vibration and removing high-frequency noise, it shows – well to me at any rate – that it can even add a performance hike to even high-end HiFi shelving units.
As a platform, the IsoSlice does a great job, providing a level of sound quality that belies its price point, at least when compared to the well-regarded Blue Horizon Sanctum.
The IsoSlice also shows that it competes well with more expensive designs. Giving you a good balance in terms of cost and performance. As such, it offers great value for money.
ISOSLICE DECOUPLING PLATFORM
Price: £350 (for standard model)
GOOD: compact design, adjustable feet, overall sound quality, value for money, built-in bubble level
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