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Thread: Vibrations, audio components, and sound

  1. #1
    Addicted to Best! PeterA's Avatar
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    Vibrations, audio components, and sound

    I would like to learn more about the different types of vibrations and the deleterious effects they have on our audio components. I have observed the effectiveness of my attempts to address certain vibrations in my own system, but I am sure I have only just begun to scratch the surface of this topic. Here are six questions that can get the discussion started and perhaps begin to clarify the issues involved:

    1. What are the different types of vibrations?
    2. What causes these vibrations?
    3. What components are most susceptible to these vibrations?
    4. What is the best way to manage these vibrations?
    5. Can we measure the distortions caused by these vibrations?
    6. Can we determine through science how effective our solutions to these vibrations really are?
    My system link on WBF: http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showth...-Sublime-Sound
    Analog: SME 30/12, SME V-12, My Sonic Labs Signature Gold, AirTight Supreme, VDH Colibri Platinum, MINT LP protractor
    Electronics: Pass Labs XA160.5 amp, XP-22 preamp, XP-25 phono, Cables: Transparent REF XL MM2,
    Speakers: Magico Q3, Magico Mini II, Essentials: Jim Smith RoomPlay, 3 Vibraplanes, Dedicated circuits

  2. #2
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! BlueFox's Avatar
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    This is a good topic and question. My experience appears to support the idea that vibration control results in better audio, and between the 500 pound solid maple rack, along with brass footers, I have spent a few dollars trying to eliminate vibration distortion. So it would be interesting to see data supporting that experience.

    I would guess everything is susceptible to vibrations to some degree or another, but I would guess a turntable would be the most susceptible, with tubes coming in second.
    Bud

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    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on source, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
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    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.

  3. #3
    Member Sponsor [VIP/Donor] GaryProtein's Avatar
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    Someone could place a solid state component on top of a subwoofer and you would never know it unless you looked.

    Turntables are another story.
    Listening Room: McIntosh C46, MCD500, MR78, MPI4, MC602 (2), Accuphase DG58, Pass Labs XVR1 (three-way), tri-amplified Infinity IRS Series V, TailTwister T2X rotator, AtlasSound FMA Rack, dedicated electrical sub-panel, boarded up fireplace, NO TV!

    Living Room: McIntosh C28, MC2300, MEN220, Revox B226, Tascam CD355, Thorens TD125 MKII w/vacuum platter, Rabco SL-8E, Grace F9-Ruby, McIntosh ML-2C (2) & ML-1C (4) stacked, MQ-107, SAE 2800, Nakamichi Dragon, Tandberg 64X, JL Audio f113 (2)

  4. #4
    Active studio monitors, even some very expensive ones, are built with amps, and sometimes even preamps and DACs, inside the speaker cabinets, with no obvious problems resulting. So I too, would like to see data supporting this common audiophile belief.

    Tim
    In high-end audio, you can't even fight an opinion with the facts.

  5. #5
    Addicted to Best! PeterA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phelonious Ponk View Post
    Active studio monitors, even some very expensive ones, are built with amps, and sometimes even preamps and DACs, inside the speaker cabinets, with no obvious problems resulting. So I too, would like to see data supporting this common audiophile belief.

    Tim
    Yes, that's a good example, Tim, and makes one wonder just how important the vibration issues are. Crossovers, with sensitive connections and electronics are also inside most speakers. Some manufacturers make the effort to try to isolate these electronic components from the air borne and structural vibrations that surely occur inside these speaker cabinets. Some of the pressures must be enormous, especially with sealed cabinets. I think that often the amps, crossovers, etc. are separated in their own enclosures and/or mounted on shock absorbers.
    My system link on WBF: http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showth...-Sublime-Sound
    Analog: SME 30/12, SME V-12, My Sonic Labs Signature Gold, AirTight Supreme, VDH Colibri Platinum, MINT LP protractor
    Electronics: Pass Labs XA160.5 amp, XP-22 preamp, XP-25 phono, Cables: Transparent REF XL MM2,
    Speakers: Magico Q3, Magico Mini II, Essentials: Jim Smith RoomPlay, 3 Vibraplanes, Dedicated circuits

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    Yes, that's a good example, Tim, and makes one wonder just how important the vibration issues are. Crossovers, with sensitive connections and electronics are also inside most speakers. Some manufacturers make the effort to try to isolate these electronic components from the air borne and structural vibrations that surely occur inside these speaker cabinets. Some of the pressures must be enormous, especially with sealed cabinets. I think that often the amps, crossovers, etc. are separated in their own enclosures and/or mounted on shock absorbers.
    I'm sure the manufacturers of actives take steps to isolate anything that...well, no, I'm not really sure of that at all. Most of the manufacturers of active speakers are in the pro audio world and don't share many common audiophile beliefs. But most actives are built with amps on a steel backplate, screwed to the cabinets that are designed to be inert, so I can't imagine there's much to worry about.

    Tim
    In high-end audio, you can't even fight an opinion with the facts.

  7. #7
    [Industry Expert] Addicted to Best! DaveC's Avatar
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    I incorporate mechanical damping in the components I build. Silicon, felt and viscoelastic damping material are used to control vibration in PCBs and the parts mounted to them, transformers are placed on a thick pad of felt, and capacitors that are secured with cap clamps have felt or cotton cloth between the cap and the clamp. A combination of hardwood and metal is used for both aesthetics and resonance control.

    Even large manufacturers like Sony have put a lot of thought into their chassis and footer designs. From Steven Stone's TAS Article:

    "Unlike many digital products, where the chassis is merely a big metal box, the HPS-Z1Es uses “Frame Beam Chassis” construction, which Sony has used on all its ES-level products in the past. The HP-Z1ES’s base is composed of two metal plates of different thicknesses that support the main chassis. There are two additional base plates under each power transformer. Along with these metal plates, Sony employs structural beams than run crosswise to reinforce the overall rigidity and improve resonance control."

    http://www.theabsolutesound.com/arti...-audio-player/

    While it's true many good sounding systems and components don't pay much attention to this issue that doesn't mean there are no improvements to be had if they did. And for many that's part of the hobby, improving everything possible.
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  8. #8
    Addicted to Best! PeterA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post

    1. What are the different types of vibrations?
    2. What causes these vibrations?
    3. What components are most susceptible to these vibrations?
    4. What is the best way to manage these vibrations?
    5. Can we measure the distortions caused by these vibrations?
    6. Can we determine through science how effective our solutions to these vibrations really are?
    I don't have much of a technical background, but I will try to answer some of these questions. Please correct any mistaken or incorrect information.

    1. Types of Vibrations:
    A. Air borne vibrations.
    B. Floor borne vibrations.
    C. Internal mechanical vibrations.

    2. Causes of Vibrations:
    A. Air borne vibrations - primarily speaker output, sound wave pressure
    B. Floor borne vibrations - earth/ground structural movement, foot falls, movement over springy floors.
    C. Internal mechanical vibrations - speaker drivers, current running through wires, transformer hum, tube filament movement

    3. Components, in order, most susceptible to vibrations:
    Turntables, speakers, tube electronics, SS electronics, cables

    4. Vibrations management solutions:
    A. Air borne - isolation in a different room, lower profile/surface area, mass loading
    B. Floor borne - isolation from source: rubber, air bladder, active servo, different room location
    C. Internal mechanical - damping, isolation, mass loading, mechanical energy drainage path

    5. Can we measure the distortions? Probably, though I have no idea how.

    6. Can science help us? Certainly, but I don't see much discussion about specific solutions.

    One solution that I use is a multi-tiered approach. My turntable has a thin profile to address airborne vibrations. It has a mechanical separation between the motor and platter/armboard. It has a soft, scrolled platter surface for better contact and vibration dissipation with the vinyl. It has a mass loaded and energy drainage path for mechanical vibrations to exit the armboard and the entire system via steel ball bearing footers. These rest on a floating 280 lbs steel mass above isolation air bladder footers. So, energy entering the system is addressed, and energy created within the system is routed out through mechanical means.

    The rest of my electronics are isolated on air bladder supports and I am considering ways to drain internal mechanical vibrations from these components. My speakers are highly engineered to address vibrations and I have added supports to my wooden suspended floor to reduce its movement.
    My system link on WBF: http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showth...-Sublime-Sound
    Analog: SME 30/12, SME V-12, My Sonic Labs Signature Gold, AirTight Supreme, VDH Colibri Platinum, MINT LP protractor
    Electronics: Pass Labs XA160.5 amp, XP-22 preamp, XP-25 phono, Cables: Transparent REF XL MM2,
    Speakers: Magico Q3, Magico Mini II, Essentials: Jim Smith RoomPlay, 3 Vibraplanes, Dedicated circuits

  9. #9
    Addicted to Best! rbbert's Avatar
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    Wood, regardless of type and weight, is inherently resonant, never dead, so in most (or all) cases wood alone will not isolate or damp vibrations. Many speakers designers use this to "voiice" their products; others, notably Rockport and Magico, either avoid wood or supplement it with a variety of materials in an attempt to avoid resonance totally.

  10. #10
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    I have it on my TODO list to measure the effect of vibrations on equipment. Haven't finished feasibility of it yet.

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