02 IsoAcoustics Integrated IsolatorThis is a really clever idea.

Isolating speakers from their surroundings, so they are less likely to vibrate, rock or resonate with a floor or shelf, has always been a challenge for audiophiles, and isolating speakers has always been an audiophile thing – we mere mortals often have trouble picking sonic differences between speakers that are isolated and speakers that aren’t. Unless we live in houses with wooden floors.

A Canadian company called IsoAcoustics is a hero of this black art. A few years ago I wrote about isolators they had invented that cradle the speaker on an ingeniously designed, squat stand that keeps it from rocking or tilting minutely as all those forces generated by rapidly moving pistons and cones happen inside them. The company also offers far more compact and traditional isolators that go at each corner of the speaker’s base.

Now it has joined up with PSB Speakers, another Canadian brand, to develop speakers that have isolation actually built into the speaker itself, isolating the internal moving parts so that effective isolation is achieved without having external fittings, such as stands, corner isolators or spikes.

This is bound to prove popular with those less-than-audiophile life partners of audiophiles who have to live with all the audiophile stuff.

The Australian importer of both IsoAcoustics and PSB, Steve Burton, says a number of upcoming PSB Speakers will feature integrated isolation to “deliver greater sound clarity and a more open three-dimensional sound stage.” PSB is kicking the tech off with a subwoofer (not a bad idea) that will be unveiled at a European audio show in Amsterdam next month.

02 Paul Barton & Dave Morrison“In the same way modern tyre technology is part of the advancement of racing cars, isolation technology complements speakers by managing the connection with the supporting surface,” Burton said. “IsoAcoustic connections link the base of the speaker to the supporting surface so that the energy is effectively managed by the internal isolators. This significantly reduces transfer of resonant energy from the speaker to the supporting surface, preventing the speakers from receiving reflected vibration from the floor below that is conducted back up into the speaker. The isolators are directional and are aligned with the speaker’s drivers to provide greater sound clarity and focus.”

David Morrison, who started IsoAcoustics (pictured right), and Paul Barton of PSB (on the left), met in Toronto in the mid-1980s at the national TV and radio broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, where Morrison worked for almost 20 years. Both companies are based near Toronto, Ontario and are just 30 minutes apart by car.

And if you’re wondering about that PSB acronym, it stands for Paul and Sue Barton, who started the company.

Posted January 2020.


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