Isolating a turntable from footfalls, Bluetooth speakers as a stereo pair (Week 26, 2023)

Sound Advice
By Don Lindich

Week 26, 2023

Q. I have a Fluance RT85 turntable and am very happy with the sound, but it is sensitive to footfalls when I walk across the room. What can I do to isolate it better so I do not get feedback from the floor?

-D.K., Kansas City, MO

A. You can make an inexpensive turntable isolation shelf with an APTITLIG Butcher Block Cutting Board and a set of Vibrapod Isolator Isolation Feet. The butcher block is $21.95 at IKEA and a set of four Vibrapods is $24.00 on Amazon. Balance the butcher block on the Vibrapods, check that it is level with a bubble level, place the turntable on top of it and check again to make sure it has stayed level. This cheap tweak can be remarkably effective based on the turntable and the environment in which it is used. The first time I set up one of these improvised isolation stands the sound was clearer, more delicate, and the bass was stronger. It was almost like I had upgraded the stylus.

The ultimate in isolation for footfalls is a wall shelf. The Pangea Audio Turntable Wall Mounted Premier SE Shelf MKII is $199.95 and would be a great match to your turntable. If you have the space on the wall it could free up other space on your shelf as well.

Q. I read your column in the newspaper frequently and note that almost everything is Bluetooth now. In one of your columns years ago you mentioned the Oontz Angle 3 Ultra speakers as a good deal, so I bought a pair.

I recently bought a new computer system with Windows 11. Since the speakers were no longer Bluetooth compatible with it I went to the Oontz website and updated the speakers according to their directions. Unfortunately, the update did not work and now the speakers no longer work with either my computer or my iPhone, nor do they even sync with each other. I went through a number of emails with an Oontz customer service person and performed a number of suggested updates that did not fix the problem. In the end, they said that was all they could do and offered a small discount on a new set of speakers.

Is this what I can expect when buying Bluetooth products? I am very hesitant to buy anything Bluetooth again. Have others had this problem?

-D.W., Robbinsdale, MN

A. Bluetooth tends to be pretty solid across devices, even over time as new products are introduced as both source and playback devices. The most noteworthy and vexing problem I have personally had is when I use my iPhone 11 Pro Max with my 2013 BMW 3-series with navigation and entertainment system. The Bluetooth audio for music playback works flawlessly, but ever since I got the phone it has never worked properly for hands-free calling. The connection drops unpredictably and even when I switch to the phone manually it will sometimes switch back to the car against my will. Many states do not allow use of a handheld phone for any reason (my home state does not yet have these laws) so it could be a real problem for those who need to speak on the phone while driving. I have been testing a few car adapters with my phone and all have worked well, including some that add CarPlay capability to an older car. I will have more information about the adapters in upcoming columns. For new speakers, check out the $42.99 Soundcore Flare Mini, my favorite small speaker. Two of them can also be used as a stereo pair.