The Symposium Ultra Platform evolved from our first product, the Super Platform, and was created in an attempt to push the performance limits for a solid equipment platform further than had previously been possible. Experiments and listening tests in many different types of systems indicated that those aspects of the Super which could directly benefit lay in the thickness of the foam center section (which serves as a "heat sink" that converts mechanical energy to heat) and in additional constrain layering of the critical top layer. Also, a new, larger coupler was made which would provide more surface area contact between the Ultra's top and the equipment chassis.
The Ultra retains the following features of Symposium energy absorption construction:
Ordered constrained-layer construction
Superior energy dissipation with low reflection back to the component
Solid platform with no "bounce"
No leveling problems
No leakage problems
Virtually no weight limit
Performance independent of its support structure
Ideal interface for Rollerblocks, cones, and hard "footer devices."
Resonance-free isolation of upper 9 octaves of the audible range
Zero interaction problems with tuned suspensions of turntables
NOT designed or intended for isolation of extremely low frequency footfall problems - see "Ultra Analog" page
Will further improve analog turntable sound quality when used with or without additional low frequency isolation devices
Compared to the Super Plus Platform, the standard Ultra Platform has 2 major distinctions:
Double thickness center "heatsink"
Banded center foam section
The Ultra consists of a multi-layered design (right) of varying density materials. But what's different about Symposium constrained-layer construction is that we have arranged the density of these layers in a specific order, from dense (metal top) to less dense, and then back again. The idea here is to gradually change density in steps, in the same direction, so that energy may penetrate more easily through adjacent layers. This unique but essentially simple design achieves optimal energy drainage from both the component side AND the support (bottom) side at the same time. This "dual direction" absorption provides effective isolation without eliminating the advantages of good energy drainage, and does it without introducing any mechanical "reactances" which are caused by materials which store and release energy, such as sorbothane and other rubber products. Instead of behaving like a reactive load, the design is more resistive, which means it is resonance-free, adding no colorations to the component's sonic "character" in attaining its goal of reducing noise and distortions in the components it treats.
Click to enlarge
|"WOW! I still cannot believe the improvements the Ultra Platform has brought to my system. I am just writing to say that the two Ultra Platform shelves you have so graciously let me try shall permanently reside under my CDs. I can now relax after a long and hard search for the right equipment support. Most other supports have been of mixed results while improving on certain aspects like bandwidth and detail they have on the most part had a negative affect on PRAT [Pace, Rhythm And Timing]. The Ultra is the only support that has enhanced all aspects with no downfalls. While improving PRAT (more communicative musical flow), bandwidth (better extension on both ends, deep accurate bass and sweet unshelved and non grainy highs), better balance and separation, inner detail that before needed strenuous listening to discover can now be heard unfolding without any need for second thought. The biggest improvement was without the Ultra in place, certain tracks more apparently than others had a small audible fake air/tape hiss lingering while tracks were played, with the Ultra in place this anomaly disappeared and resulted in a sense of reality. I have tried the Ultra under my Turntable and integrated and am so happy with the results that in the near future I shall require two more. It is nice to see a company that takes so much pride in their product to let the consumer try it and make their own conclusions."
Linking Your Component to the Ultra with Precision Couplers
The Ultra's design is not just for isolating, but for also simultaneously draining vibratory energy from the component. In order to do this efficiently, a good mechanical connection must be made between your component's (usually metal) chassis and the top layer of the Ultra which can act as a conduit between them. To this end, you can use any material which has a high transmission efficiency - such as metal cones, Rollerblock® systems, or other equipment "feet," as long as they are hard and afford good mechanical conductivity. Rubber feet and squishy devices are NOT suitable and will actually trap internal mechanical energy inside the component, increasing inherent resonances and the distortions (whether euphonic or unpleasant) they cause. While a number of established footer devices can be used, mechanical coupling is an essential part of the Ultra's function, and so we supply a simple device which we have found to be quite effective with all Symposium platforms: the Coupler.
Every Ultra Platform is now supplied with the result of 12 years of technical evolution of the original coupler: the Precision Coupler. These bring performance up a notch beyond what was possible with the original Large Couplers due to extremely high precision machining of their top and bottom surfaces, which are almost perfectly flat and parallel, so much so that when a Precision Coupler is lifted directly off an Ultra's surface, air suction can be felt! By placing the Precision Couplers between your component's chassis and the top of the Ultra Platform, they facilitate superior mechanical linkage to the chassis of your component, improve the interface between both and achieves the design goal of making the Ultra Platform a functional "extension" of the component's chassis for optimal energy drainage and damping of unwanted mechanical energy. While it isn't necessary to use the Couplers in all cases (such as when your component already has built-in hard feet, or a flat, unventilated bottom), we encourage their use if you don't have an alternate "footer" device, such as Symposium Rollerblocks, a set of cones, etc. For more information on setup with Precision Couplers, click here.
An Ideal Ground for Analog Energy
The Ultra is an excellent support for analog turntables, because it provides a nearly ideal mechanical ground without introducing any spurious reflections or resonances. If you have serious low frequency "footfall" problems, however, you must combine the Ultra with a low frequency isolation system to eliminate low frequency footfall interaction, since the Ultra is designed to conduct energy at lower and lower frequencies. However, if you're serious about getting the best sound possible from your analog system, consider an Ultra directly under your turntable - which will "clean" up haze, improve bass, and provide added authority to your playback. Even if you already have a low frequency "decoupling" device (that is, an extremely low frequency isolation device), the addition of an Ultra between it and your turntable will make significant additional improvements. For a more in depth discussion of the technical aspects of using Ultras with turntables, please click here.
|"Thanks again for everything. The shelf [Ultra Platform with VPI] is outstanding... There is so much more clarity in the bass, and a lot more detail all around. My UK copy of London Calling by The Clash is a great example - I can visualize the drum kit, each drum, each cymbal. And I've never really appreciated Nick Lowe's basslines on John Hiatt's Bring The Family until now. Interestingly, I noticed a lot more dynamic range: recordings that used to sound compressed are now coming alive. Tom Petty's Wildflowers, for example with the acoustic and electric instruments. Nat King Cole sounds like he is in the room on the DCC releases."
-T.C., New Jersey
Our Pride, Your Joy
At the moment you are reading this, there are thousands of Ultra Platforms in service around the world, making audio and video systems better. Ultras are used beneath CD players, Transports, DACs, Turntables, Preamps, Amps, Power conditioners, video scalers and tuners, and even with electronic crossovers and loudspeakers. An Ultra Platform is indispensable, attractive, and will work as well with the next component you own as it will with the one you have right now. We are proud of the great care that goes into the manufacture of each and every Ultra that leaves our doors, because we know that each Ultra carton that goes out will provide years of enjoyment and pride of ownership. If you're interested in finding out how an Ultra may benefit your system, please call Symposium direct, or your nearest dealer.