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Structural rather than airborne vibration assaults are well addressed with a wall-mounted shelf. That usually affords excellent decoupling from ‘talkative’ flooring. True, the pressure potential of room modes tends to be high at wall proximity. But because most furniture tends to be positioned against the same walls, that compensates. It’s of course a special challenge if you live in an old brownstone whose gorgeous vintage parquet flooring sings along with the tunes whilst the ancient walls are in such bad shape that even a towel hook gets loose within three days to nix any notion of mounting a proper wall shelf. Entrusting your treasured analogue spinner to such dubious safety would never do. So the deck ends up atop the hifi rack. Regardless of ultimately why, that’s how it indeed goes for many.

bFly Audio offer a broad assortment of resonance-suppressing accessories, from footers for all weight and component classes to special platforms for Thorens and Linn tables to more general versions for turntables of more conventional sizes. There are currently five of the latter. To suit my VPI Scout II, I requested the largest of those, the Base Two Pro XL. I found this base most sympathetic even before I ever unwrapped it. That’s because at €448, it’s Schäffer’s costliest product. Elsewhere that nets you a fistful of primitive spikes.

The Base Two Pro XL consists of a 3mm aluminium surface which is bonded with a spiraling application of soft polymer glue to a Plywood base of 10 times its thickness. Wherever resonance suppression is pursued, one often finds a mix of dissimilar materials. That’s also the chosen path of bFly. The underlying rationale is that different materials exhibit different resonance behaviour, hence a clever combination can achieve the desired effect. Schäffer calls its multi-layer adjustment. Elsewhere it goes by constrained-layer damping. The four corners of the Base Two sport height-adjustable footers. With a fifth threading in the back, one can even pursue an unconditionally stable three-point setup. Obviously these aren’t just any footers but Schäffer’s own. They too exploit a particular mix of materials. Here that is aluminium, cork, natural rubber and Sorbothane to combine into optimal effectiveness. The XL version of the base supports up to 70kg, the standard one up to 55kg.

For a performance baseline, I spun up the first side of Soap & Skin’s debut album Lovetune for Vacuum with my VPI atop the highest shelf of my Creaktiv rack. Its usual perch is elsewhere, i.e. on a Phio Audio base which itself sits on a DIY platform of wood, rubber and slate. I simply didn’t want to involve crude home-brew items but test the bFly base against realistic conditions directly on a rack; and then with the bFly Base Two beneath the table atop the same shelf. The sonic gains of this A/B were so obvious that I’ll simply say it was the difference between listening to vinyl just because it’s a physical ritual with lovely album covers involved versus actual sonic pleasures. This might just be my opinion but I’m seriously befuddled by why anyone would sink the long green into a record player and then default on proper setup to throw away performance by the bucket load.

Be that as it may, the lower registers clarified notably with the bFly platform. This benefited not only the intelligibility of the deep piano chords by Austrian Anja Plaschg aka Soap & Skin but the entire midband which suffered less counterproductive overlay because of it. Most of all the Base improved rhythm and timing. Impulses stopped lagging and dragging. This released more musical momentum to the fore which for me was perhaps the most vital aspect. But soundstaging too improved in transparency and clarity particularly on depth of field. In short, this wasn’t merely a partial or sectional improvement. It was a wholesale win.