Feedback… no, not the act of offering constructive advice — the other one that sees a low hum turn into an absolute howl from turntables when the volume is turned up. I’m certain you’ve heard it, and probably made it happen yourself. And while turntable manufacturers do their best to eliminate it, they can’t cater for every environment.
Let’s try to explain how this happens — it’s all about vibration in the cartridge. If you can imagine that the cantilever inside the cartridge is moving with the groove. Now in an ideal environment, everything is just fine. But if external vibration is introduced i.e. from speakers sat too close or just too loud, then that will feed back through the turntable feet to the chassis, right into the tonearm and thus the cantilever, and that will turn into a big annoying feedback loop.
And that loop can appear out of nowhere too. One minute, everything is peachy, but then a different track or even part of the playing track suddenly reacts badly to the environment and creates some wayward resonance that turns your set into a deafening drone.
So all manner of user hacks have been devised, including sitting turntables on tennis and squash balls, inflatable cushions, and concrete slabs. Obviously, some are easier to transport than others, and some methods are more effective too. But along comes MK Stands with a simple solution that completely isolates your turntables from the outside world. And by turntables I mean Technics at this time. Their feet are smaller than other decks, and these rubber feet are a snug fit.
Heavy, squidgy, and a little sticky. These feet are individually moulded from something called MK Ultra Rubber (hence heavy and squidgy), and appear to have some sort of semi-sticky coating that when fitted to the feet stops the turntable from moving on just about any flat surface. The stickiness isn’t like glue, just more like enough to stop your Technics from moving if pushed, and doesn’t leave a residue on your hands either.
Spec wise, they’re 40mm deep with an 18mm deep recess, and are 100mm diameter. This gives them an effective height of 22mm, so it’s worth taking that into account if you’re particularly picky about ergonomics.
As mentioned previously, these are designed specifically for Technics feet. It makes sense as the 1200 is ubiquitous. It’s a little annoying for everyone else though because Technics have small feet, thus no other turntable will fit. And sitting them on top of them isn’t the best plan at all.
So that’s what they are — big rubber feet designed to stop feedback. But can they do that? There’s only one way to find out.
Given that we need to induce feedback, setting up a nightclub that’s properly treated so that feedback doesn’t happen isn’t a good idea. So we set about making sure that feedback absolutely would happen. And the best way that we could think of was to sit a Technics right on top of a sub.
In this extreme environment, it really didn’t take that much to make feedback fill The Worxlab. It was all heavy hum without the music very quickly. So having established that we had the ideal environment for testing isolator feet, we duly fitted them.
We turned the master… and turned… and turned… and while everything not nailed down shook across the The Worxlab building, and the elderly tourists visiting Haworth were subjected to the classy boom bap beats of Mr Brown, it took some unrealistic volume levels to induce feedback. And importantly, the 1200 didn’t move either.
So there will still be feedback if you’re working in the most extreme of circumstances (e.g. turntables on a sub turned up ear bleedingly loud). But it’s my belief that for the vast majority of DJs and audiophiles alike, the MK Stands isolator feet will reduce and most probably eliminate feedback.
There’s not much more to say about these isolator feet. The first port of call should be to fix the environment where feedback is occurring. But if that’s not possible, it’s a great idea to have a couple of sets of these at hand to help you deal with unfavourable circumstances.
As ever to price, Normally £99, a set of four MK feet is being launched at £8o. That’s not an inconsiderable amount, but you’re paying for peace of mind.
Bottom line — if I played out anymore, I’d definitely have some MK feet in my setup.
The MK Stands feet have a simple but important task, one which they do very well indeed. If you suffer from feedback, and own Technics, these are for you.