Author: Karsten Hein
Category: Gear & Review
I came across the Aucharm Audio Absorbers offered by a Chinese vendor on eBay when seeking to upgrade my current acoustic spike solution that was mounted underneath our TD320 turntable. The Thorens had originally been placed on felt cushions that had become worn out, badly compressed, and hardened in their considerable years of use since the late 1980s.
My first impulse had been to replace the worn out felt cushions with new felt; however, I was not at all satisfied with the result. While quieting the turntable musically, the felt also introduced more than a little instability that would make the record skip whenever someone touched the rack too abruptly. The sound signature itself also felt a little recessed and muddy, with the resulting impression being far removed from modern audiophile expectations.
In my effort to select a worthwhile turntable support, I came across images of the TD3020 perched on spikes. This made it look quite elegant, actually, and I decided to give this a try. I still had a set of height-adjustable copper spikes lying around the house and fixed these to our Thorens by means of double-sided adhesive tape. However, when we sat down to listen, our legendary turntable sounded more feeble and clinical than we were used to. I could not immediately decide whether I enjoyed the new sound, but I did notice that, over the next few days, we started to listen to records less. This is usually an indication that something is wrong.
I conducted another web search and came across the affordable Aucharm Audio Absorbers shown here. They were made up of four components: an outer aluminium ring with an inner thread, a foot plate that is screwed into the thread from the bottom up, three ceramic balls for acoustic decoupling, and a further metal plate that acted as device support. I was attracted by the fact that the absorbers were height-adjustable, as black as the Thorens, and not so overly large that they would throw the turntable’s design off balance.
To be honest, I did not expect a major affect on sound when changing from the spikes to the absorbers, but I asked Sabina to join me in a quick listening comparison. We put on Stacey Kent’s song “Bullet Train” which provides lots of insightful nuance. Listening with the spikes, we set the volume and locked in our expectations. I then took off the spikes and positioned the absorbers. The resulting difference was quite baffling, especially when considering that these absorbers were sold as amplifier feet.
Perhaps something had been wrong with my spike and adhesive tape solution to begin with, but the Aucharm absorbers brought more attack and greater tonal accuracy to the table, important factors to audiophile listening that I had been sorely missing. Channel separation was also improved. It is well possible that motor resonances had somehow managed to stay active when listening with the spikes and were now removed with the absorbers. Whatever it was that did the trick, I will henceforth not want to miss them on our Thorens.