What do you use for vibration isolation?

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,770
920
113
#21
Hi MikeL,

Nice...quick question for you, did you find that linen or silk, tight weave or loose, absorbtive or relective, high or low count fabrics worked better for your acoustical wall coverings?

In the past I used randomly arranged kitty toys, cotten mice and feathers worked the best. However, the results were not repeatable...every listening session, they would always be rearranged.

Cheers!
Alan
in the spirit of your question, my answer would be to only use pure Egyptian Cotton with 1080 thread count with 24 carat gold thread interwoven. anything less would be just not worthy.

enjoy.....and I hope that helps.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,770
920
113
#23
Alan,

actually; the fabric type seems not to matter very much. I've tried 4 different fabrics at various stages of my process so far and they all seem to work just fine. all you are doing with the fabric is to knock down the high frequency reflections (without changing tonality). any fabric with a bit of texture is fine. the bigger issue with fabric is how easy it might be to cut straight, and without a bunch of unraveling frayed ends making a mess. and some fabric seems to lay flat and other fabric always looks wrinkled. so some is easier to work with but for my purposes they are all similar in performance for the job.

now that I know where I want the fabric i'll get someone professional to install the proper product so it looks right for the long term. right now all the fabric is just tacked onto the walls and ceiling.

the key advantage to fabric as opposed to other wall treatments is that it will not absorb too much energy and deaden the sound like some diffusion products or fabric covered fiberglass. fabric seems not to have a downside.
 
Last edited:

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,963
498
83
Utah
#24
I wonder if there is a consensus on this topic. Do audiophiles and others in the industry agree that the vast majority of distortions plaguing components are induced by mechanical energy?

The statement seems to imply that there is a consensus.

I think that there is a view that distortions are the primary reason that audio systems do not sound more like live music. If that is indeed the case, then in the current thread about system priorities, vibration control or now distortion control, should rank as number one on the list, if these mechanical vibrations are the leading cause of distortions. I placed it near the middle of my priority list, and the subject seems to be completely missing on other posters lists of priorities in that thread, unless they are including it in "tweaks" and rank it at the bottom of their list.

So I am curious about just how important the subject of this particular thread is to people and their ideas about system performance.

I don't know about consensus Peter but Stehno is right, there's mechanical vibration and resonance generated by electronics and dealing with them will improve the sound and there are shelves/racks/footers etc. that don't dissipate this mechanical energy properly and some even reflect it back as Stehno suggests. This is a different thing from the air and floor born vibrations you're thinking of.

david
 

ALF

Active Member
Mar 15, 2012
316
31
28
Southwest
#25
Mike,

Thanks for the additional information; I appreciate the detail and your balanced sense of humor...best of luck with the installation!

I hope life is treating both yourself and your lovely bride well!

Cheers!
Alan
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,963
498
83
Utah
#27
Hi Sean,

The active isolation is achieved using piezoelectric sensors that read the vibration characteristics of a surface and provides an inverse force to the top plate of the TS Series, providing a neutral/stable platform. They sense incoming vibrations and dynamically react to them.

There are a few primary differences between the active isolation tables and the air-isolation tables. The most important being the varying degrees of vibration each system will compensate. In total, there are six types of vibrations that can effect an instrument, microscope or high-end audio device. The TS/AVI Series are able to properly compensate for all six types of vibrations. Air-Isolation systems are not capable of isolating all six and primarily focus on the verticle motion of movement.

The second most important difference is the frequency range each technology is capable of compensating. Whether this point is relevant to high-end audio equipment, I am not sure, but with regards to nanotechnology applications and high-resolution microscopes, the lower frequencies are better compensated in an active isolation system than in an air-isolation system. For your reference, The TS Series is able to begin isolating at 0.7 Hz up to 1000 and beyond. The Onyx Series (our air-isolation system), is capable of isolating from 4 hz - 1000 Hz and beyond. Depending on the application and product being supported by the vibration isolation system, the sensitivities to lower frequency vibrations can effect the quality of research data. If you are interested in a direct comparison of active v. passive vibration isolation, please visit: http://www.herzan.com/resources/tutorials/active-vs-passive.html.

I have provided an image below that helps demonstrate what active isolation works to achieve.

View attachment 4063


For all price and product information related questions, please send me an email via reid@herzan.com. I don't want this thread to be considered a solicitation, moreover, an understanding of what is used and peoples approaches/ideas to combatting vibrations. If there is room for me to help, I will gladly do so.

Best,

Reid Whitney
Hi Reid,

There are many types of audiophile racks and some are a lot more sophisticated than the sorbothane/rubber band ones you mentioned. I know nothing about electron microscopes but I assume the key goals for vision are isolation & stabilization, its different from audio where sound is the target and affected by other things beyond isolation. Sound quality to a great extent is still subjective and there are variables involved with audio electronics and source components affecting the sound that need to be dealt with and you don't have when stabilizing a scientific instrument. You can isolate all you want, certainly floor born vibrations (I haven't found airborne ones sonically an issue in domestic environments) affect the sound but I can't tell you at which frequencies it becomes important. 0.7 hz might not be a problem while higher frequencies above 1000 hz can be very important, you need to do your research. Electronics generate vibration, heat energy and you also have to deal with chassis resonance that needs to be dissipated and/or tuned out beyond the audible range, the platform and the type of material underneath the equipment has a direct effect on the sound. Have you studied this? How do Herzan active platforms deal with electronic born vibrations and resonance and how it affects the sound? In case of turntables and some CD players you're also dealing with rotational energy, a stable and solid foundation is needed. By definition an active base isn't a solid foundation and I'm not saying that its always bad, I simply don't know how your platforms work. This rotational energy along with the motor will create constant vibrations and resonance that is top down, how will your platform deal with this simultaneously with floor and air born vibrations that it will detect and react? Will the active stabilization counteract the rotational inertia of platter which will directly impact the sound? Your application and probably research isn't audio specific Reid but can you answer any of my questions? IME the best sonic results come from solid, high mass foundations utilizing some kind of passive isolation in combination with properly engineered platform. I have found active isolation lacking for audio applications.

david
 

Johnny Vinyl

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 16, 2010
8,571
9
38
Calgary, AB
#28
I can't afford the Herzan's or even Stillpoints, so I've had to improvise. I've been using butcher block with hockey pucks/felt pad coverings for years. Recently I changed to a butcher block that has feet and added the bottom portion of some Vibrapods (inverted) with very pleasant results. So if you're like me and my situation I would definitely recommend you give this a try.

View attachment 21835
I guess it's too much to ask for some opinion on what I posted. Unless, of course, this issue only pertains to those who....ah, never mind. Getting really tired of the exclusionary attitude here.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
143
63
#29
Hey Johnny,

I am intrigued! A few questions about your isolation design there...

1. What did the beige block do when you inserted it? (as compared to straight on top of the black Sonoma)?

2. How 'inert', 'heavy' is the black Sonora platform underneath? Since you've got a TT on top, i am guessing that your upper isolation platform relies on what is happening with the Sonora.

3. If super-heavy, inert, then presumably you are placing the TT on top of the isolation platform to give yourself that extra bit of isolation from what is going with the Sonoma (or from any vibrations that might be carrying up thru the Sonoma)?

If NOT super-heavy, inert...have you you played around with mass damping the Sonoma? Just curious.

Thanks for taking the time...always nice to see how other people do it.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
143
63
#30
Hi Reid,

There are many types of audiophile racks and some are a lot more sophisticated than the sorbothane/rubber band ones you mentioned. I know nothing about electron microscopes but I assume the key goals for vision are isolation & stabilization, its different from audio where sound is the target and affected by other things beyond isolation. Sound quality to a great extent is still subjective and there are variables involved with audio electronics and source components affecting the sound that need to be dealt with and you don't have when stabilizing a scientific instrument. You can isolate all you want, certainly floor born vibrations (I haven't found airborne ones sonically an issue in domestic environments) affect the sound but I can't tell you at which frequencies it becomes important. 0.7 hz might not be a problem while higher frequencies above 1000 hz can be very important, you need to do your research. Electronics generate vibration, heat energy and you also have to deal with chassis resonance that needs to be dissipated and/or tuned out beyond the audible range, the platform and the type of material underneath the equipment has a direct effect on the sound. Have you studied this? How do Herzan active platforms deal with electronic born vibrations and resonance and how it affects the sound? In case of turntables and some CD players you're also dealing with rotational energy, a stable and solid foundation is needed. By definition an active base isn't a solid foundation and I'm not saying that its always bad, I simply don't know how your platforms work. This rotational energy along with the motor will create constant vibrations and resonance that is top down, how will your platform deal with this simultaneously with floor and air born vibrations that it will detect and react? Will the active stabilization counteract the rotational inertia of platter which will directly impact the sound? Your application and probably research isn't audio specific Reid but can you answer any of my questions? IME the best sonic results come from solid, high mass foundations utilizing some kind of passive isolation in combination with properly engineered platform. I have found active isolation lacking for audio applications.

david
Looking forward to the answer. I have not tried these Herzan/actives myself.

In my own system, i have found 'success' starting with a 3-4" thick birch ply rack + 1" thick slab of slate on floor that weighs several hundred pounds...and then each component sits on top of either its own set of Stillpoints or HRS M3 platform...and then each component is then further mass damped on top (in some cases with 7kg...to upwards of 20kg of brass weight...but always with the brass weight on top of some kind of HRS or Artesania damping plate on top of the component (metal weight is never directly on top of the component).

i call them isolation sandwiches...so 7 isolation 'sandwiches' for all 7 components...plus bigger sandwiches for sub, speakers and speaker cable network boxes.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,629
495
83
North Shore of Boston
#31
I don't know about consensus Peter but Stehno is right, there's mechanical vibration and resonance generated by electronics and dealing with them will improve the sound and there are shelves/racks/footers etc. that don't dissipate this mechanical energy properly and some even reflect it back as Stehno suggests. This is a different thing from the air and floor born vibrations you're thinking of.

david
David, I'm sure this is the case and I don't dispute it. I was only questioning the assertion that mechanical vibrations are the cause for the vast amounts of distortions in our components. Surely there are other causes for distortions besides these originating internally through mechanical means.

You make a good point about vibrations caused by a turntable platter's rotation. Bearing technology, grounding paths, mass loading, damping are some of the ways that designers attempt to deal with these vibrations. My turntable sits on four steel ball footers in an attempt to drain some of this energy down and away from the platter/cartridge. Those footers are most effective if situated firmly on a massive platform. That is one reason I placed my turntable on a 136 lb steel ballast plate sitting above my Vibraplane. I figure that the Vibraplane addresses some of the floor born vibrations and the steel ball footers resting on 300 lbs of steel (ballast plate plus 150 lb Vibraplane) help. My turntable system, far from a large mass loaded system like the American Sound, does still weigh 450 lbs total and it also has isolation from external sources of vibration.

I am also looking into different footers for my amps that also sit on ballasted Vibraplanes in an effort to better drain these vibrations out of the amps themselves. I have noticed though, that simply isolating them from floor born vibrations made a significantly audible improvement, and they are solid state. I was quite surprised.

Your questions about active isolation being appropriate for audio equipment are interesting. I think I read that one turntable was recently developed with a company like Herzan to incorporate an active platform. This question about non moving microscopes being different from moving audio equipment on active platforms has been brought up before. Some have even speculated that a mid level turntable placed on a $12K Herzan may outperform a turntable costing many times more.

Perhaps some other ultra expensive turntables are experimenting with active isolation, but there may be a reason that we have not seen any.
 
Jul 5, 2014
670
19
18
Salem, OR
#32
I've done as much as anyone related to mechanical isolation......
Mike, so long as you qualify your efforts with the term “isolation” you’ll get no argument from me. Even so, since isolation is the attempt to instantaneously break or severe an energy’s ability to travel between normally disparate objects, wouldn’t any old box of sand or kitty litter suffice?

as much as I respect what my isolation solutions do (2 Herzan's, dozens of A10-U8 footers, 16 2NS speaker footers, and a mag lev shelf); the effects of those things pale in comparison to what I've done acoustically. orders of magnitude difference. acoustical distortions are what is in the way of musical truth to our ears. period. the gear is fully capable.
With regard to isolation, I’ve little doubt such efforts might pale in comparison. But then again, I never use the word “isolation” in a positive sense.

I will fully admit to being under the spell of the results of my recent work, so maybe I'm a bit too close to my apparent changes for proper perspective. YMMV.
So you’re smitten by your recent changes, eh? It’s always exciting to achieve such an accomplishment and then sit back and enjoy the improvements.

You might imagine how smitten I was last fall after creating a makeshift mini-rack out of spare parts (using a compromised version of my same methodology) to sustain my small passive line conditioners (about the size of Jena Labs’ The One LC’s) and over the ensuing months I experienced no less than 45 distinct audible improvements. Shoot, there are probably some audiophiles that won’t experience 45 audible improvements over an entire lifetime, much less in a single system. And to think I only did that little experiment to see how responsive my LC’s (sitting on the carpet) might be to extreme forms of vibration mgmt.

Frankly, I’m still at a loss for words when last year I mounted my amps using a far more extreme method than previously and over the next 5 months I experienced no less than 120 distinct audible improvements. But I digress.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,770
920
113
#33
Mike, so long as you qualify your efforts with the term “isolation” you’ll get no argument from me. Even so, since isolation is the attempt to instantaneously break or severe an energy’s ability to travel between normally disparate objects, wouldn’t any old box of sand or kitty litter suffice?
maybe 'decoupling' is a better term than isolation.

an old box of sand or kitty litter are capable of changing the resonant frequency between objects, they can also mass load the floor below, but might also deaden whatever is on top. so they are a bit unpredictable and could be an answer or not. so they do decouple, but likely would ideally be combined with other impedance changes in a 'system' which would need to be voiced and tuned for the desired result.

active isolation tables, properly installed on an appropriate grounded rack and solid concrete floor, can predictably be counted on to truly isolate the target on top from structure based resonance to a specific spec. since they are stiff.....they can start and stop......they better passive devices such as the box of sand that can only 'settle'. the best passive devices 'settle' the least and the most predictably. in the case of a flexing suspended wooden floor, the heavy box of sand may out-perform the active device by reducing the resonate frequency of the floor. the active device might never get the chance to perform optimally with the flexible floor. so while the active device has the more likely positive result, there are many variables that might change that.

here is a tutorial which might be helpful;

http://www.herzan.com/resources/tutorials.html

I think that any active decoupling or isolation approach is very context related as to the result. some gear likes them and some gear does not. it is not a perfect solution. and not every system might realize the same degree of benefit. in my system I have 7+ foot tall 750 pound bass towers 7 feet from my tt. they project lots of bass energy and so my tt needs optimal decoupling to avoid feedback. the active approach is very beneficial. would every system receive the same degree of cost/benefit? maybe not. but it works for me.

With regard to isolation, I’ve little doubt such efforts might pale in comparison. But then again, I never use the word “isolation” in a positive sense.
maybe we are dealing with semantics here? industry has placed that label on those devices.

So you’re smitten by your recent changes, eh? It’s always exciting to achieve such an accomplishment and then sit back and enjoy the improvements.

You might imagine how smitten I was last fall after creating a makeshift mini-rack out of spare parts (using a compromised version of my same methodology) to sustain my small passive line conditioners (about the size of Jena Labs’ The One LC’s) and over the ensuing months I experienced no less than 45 distinct audible improvements. Shoot, there are probably some audiophiles that won’t experience 45 audible improvements over an entire lifetime, much less in a single system. And to think I only did that little experiment to see how responsive my LC’s (sitting on the carpet) might be to extreme forms of vibration mgmt.

Frankly, I’m still at a loss for words when last year I mounted my amps using a far more extreme method than previously and over the next 5 months I experienced no less than 120 distinct audible improvements. But I digress.
congrats on your successful efforts. I can relate.

btw; at one point I was using 10 of the Jena Labs 'the One' LC's in my system prior to my Equi=tech 10WQ isolation transformer panel. they did not synergize well with the Equi=tech and so I moved on to simple power cords. I do recall 'mass loading' those Jena Labs cases with lead filled Walker pucks (tiptoes below through the carpet) which tamed them effectively. in some cases grounding is more effective and practical than decoupling. both approaches can be effective. that was 5-6 years ago.

for me; what is fun is that my recent efforts were attained at almost zero investment; simply following thru on some hunches with various bits and pieces and elbow grease. a very humbling experience to learn how wrong I had been about any number of things but thankful to finally understand a little better how things work. and bracing for my next humbling experience. and enjoying the music like i never before have.
 
Last edited:
Jul 5, 2014
670
19
18
Salem, OR
#34
maybe 'decoupling' is a better term than isolation.

an old box of sand or kitty litter are capable of changing the resonant frequency between objects, they can also mass load the floor below, but might also deaden whatever is on top. so they are a bit unpredictable and could be an answer or not. so they do decouple, but likely would ideally be combined with other impedance changes in a 'system' which would need to be voiced and tuned for the desired result.
Actually, Mike, decoupling is the same as isolation. Both refer to the act of severing a mechanical conduit so that unwanted energy cannot enter (or exit). The only problem with isolation attempts is that the mfg’er (and end-user) both are convinced floor-borne vibrations are the only significant source of vibrations that affect our sensitive instruments. Whereas I care nothing about floor-borne vibrations, since their natural behavior is to head in that direction anyway. High-end audio is not alone in these “isolation” beliefs as perhaps every other industry also follows suit.

But the real problem is not floor-borne vibrations, it’s the same air-borne vibrations you hear and feel sitting in your listening chair. Your sensitive instruments are also hearing and feeling much the same. Plus there are the constant internally-generated vibrations induced by internal power supplies, motors, etc. Like lightning rods your sensitive components are attracting this unwanted energy big time and I would attest these sources of vibrations are far more harmful than floor-borne vibrations. In which case any attempt to isolate simply traps these other sources of vibrations within the component with no hope for escape.

active isolation tables, properly installed on an appropriate grounded rack and solid concrete floor, can predictably be counted on to truly isolate the target on top from structure based resonance to a specific spec. since they are stiff.....they can start and stop......they better passive devices such as the box of sand that can only 'settle'. the best passive devices 'settle' the least and the most predictably. in the case of a flexing suspended wooden floor, the heavy box of sand may out-perform the active device by reducing the resonate frequency of the floor. the active device might never get the chance to perform optimally with the flexible floor. so while the active device has the more likely positive result, there are many variables that might change that.

here is a tutorial which might be helpful;

http://www.herzan.com/resources/tutorials.html
We’re essentially talking apples and oranges. Just like the lightning rod example. There's nothing in the world that allows me to isolate that bolt of lightning and if I did try, catastrophic harm is sure to follow. But with a lightning rod and superior grounding wire and grounding spike, that lightning bolt can be redirected before inducing its catastrophic harm. The same applies with mechanical energy, especially since electricity is simply a variation of vibration (as is all energy and all matter). You could possess the best performing lightning rod in the world, but without a superior grounding wire, that lightning rod simply cannot perform as intended. I attest that is exactly why every last playback systems performs as though it has a severe performance-limiting governor attached. Yes, that includes even the industries very best SOTA-level PB systems because energy and distortions do not discriminate.

I’ve never experimented with an active device but I’ve looked at their website a few weeks ago when somebody mentioned their product and was less than impressed. Though I suspect it may provide a bit more benefit than the more traditional isolation methods, sandbox, Sorbathane, etc. But I don’t think that’s really saying much.

I think that any active decoupling or isolation approach is very context related as to the result. some gear likes them and some gear does not. it is not a perfect solution. and not every system might realize the same degree of benefit.
Since we’re dealing with basic universal laws of nature (the natural behaviors of resonant energy), and provided one stays within the confines of those basics (not try to outsmart it) there should never be a situation where a method or execution is better in some cases but not other cases. For example, I’ve said on my website and elsewhere, “the results are massive, they are many, they are across the spectrum, and there are no negatives whatsoever. As should be the case when dealing with basic laws of nature.”

in my system I have 7+ foot tall 750 pound bass towers 7 feet from my tt. they project lots of bass energy and so my tt needs optimal decoupling to avoid feedback. the active approach is very beneficial. would every system receive the same degree of cost/benefit? maybe not. but it works for me.
The joys of analog. ;) TT's often times employ layer upon layer upon layer of isolation techniques and executions. Often times, a TT's baseplate is free floating on springs or air bladders within the chassis or structure to some extent. Thus making the baseplate extremely sensitive or easily excitable (like a feather) by air-borne (not floor-borne) vibrations and thus inducing the feedback you mention. A few years ago I visited a friend with a custom rebuilt older TT (like an older Thorens) who was experiencing a perhaps not-too-dissimilar issue. His woofers were experiencing a fairly severe warble with his TT but not with his CDP. Upon evaluating his TT design, I gently placed a few pieces of material between the free-floating baseplate and the outer chassis just to firm up the baseplate making it less susceptible to air-borne vibrations. That cut the driver warble in half. Firming it up even more eliminated the warble entirely and his analog sounded significantly more musical than before. Since I don't play with TT's, that was just a shot in the dark.

In my friend's case he had some small tower single-driver units that some rate quite highly. That driver was I think 8-inches max, plus he plays music in the say 75 - 85 db range. With your bass towers I can only imagine what your TT must be experiencing.

maybe we are dealing with semantics here? industry has placed that label on those devices.
Actually, we’re dealing with diametrically opposed methodologies and understandings. (not saying you personally but me against the entire industry and other industries.)

congrats on your successful efforts. I can relate.

btw; at one point I was using 10 of the Jena Labs 'the One' LC's in my system prior to my Equi=tech 10WQ isolation transformer panel. they did not synergize well with the Equi=tech and so I moved on to simple power cords. I do recall 'mass loading' those Jena Labs cases with lead filled Walker pucks (tiptoes below through the carpet) which tamed them effectively. in some cases grounding is more effective and practical than decoupling. both approaches can be effective. that was 5-6 years ago.
Thanks. Your "not synergizing" comment confirm my and others experiences as whenever one doubles up on different AC filtering / line conditioning methodologies it most always translates to a degradation in performance. Almost like 1+1=-1. Even a mfg'er installing a cheap $5 AC filter inside a component soldered to the back of an AC inlet can make a superior $5k line conditioner sound like crap. So I take it the Equi-Tech provides greater levels of musicality over The Ones? If so, that's good to hear because The One's are no slouch when compared to some other line conditioners out there. But your comment about not synergizing would seem to confirm that the Equi-Tech is employing some type of AC filtering / line conditioning. If the Equi-Tech was straight unfiltered AC, then The One's should have provided benefit just like they did before.

I’ve had Mike and Jennifer down a few times and they once gave a lecture on cryogenics to a dozen or so audiophiles during an event I hosted. (I was not aware steel levitates when exposed to liquid helium) I’ve used various versions of Foundation Research line conditioners for the past 15 years, but if I ever needed a replacement, The Ones would be among my first choice. I’ve got roughly 600 lbs. of controlled compressive force directly on my LC’s, but there’s far more to it than just mass loading.

for me; what is fun is that my recent efforts were attained at almost zero investment; simply following thru on some hunches with various bits and pieces and elbow grease. a very humbling experience to learn how wrong I had been about any number of things but thankful to finally understand a little better how things work. and bracing for my next humbling experience. and enjoying the music like i never before have.
In the end, that’s what it’s all about. Congrats!!!
 
Jul 5, 2014
670
19
18
Salem, OR
#35
I don't know about consensus Peter but Stehno is right, there's mechanical vibration and resonance generated by electronics and dealing with them will improve the sound and there are shelves/racks/footers etc. that don't dissipate this mechanical energy properly and some even reflect it back as Stehno suggests. This is a different thing from the air and floor born vibrations you're thinking of.

david
I perceive tho art highly intelligent. ;)

BTW, that also includes air-borne vibrations. But once resonant energy enters the chassis and it will, its source no longer matters. Only providing an expedited exit path does.
 
Last edited:

Johnny Vinyl

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 16, 2010
8,571
9
38
Calgary, AB
#36
Hey Johnny,

I am intrigued! A few questions about your isolation design there...

1. What did the beige block do when you inserted it? (as compared to straight on top of the black Sonoma)?

2. How 'inert', 'heavy' is the black Sonora platform underneath? Since you've got a TT on top, i am guessing that your upper isolation platform relies on what is happening with the Sonora.

3. If super-heavy, inert, then presumably you are placing the TT on top of the isolation platform to give yourself that extra bit of isolation from what is going with the Sonoma (or from any vibrations that might be carrying up thru the Sonoma)?

If NOT super-heavy, inert...have you you played around with mass damping the Sonoma? Just curious.

Thanks for taking the time...always nice to see how other people do it.
Hello Lloyd!

Let me try and answer as best as I can.

1. When I added the butcher block I noticed an immediate tightening and fullness of low frequency. This was probably the single biggest benefit of it. It just sounded cleaner and I suspect allowed the mid and higher frequencies to come through without being masked any longer,

2. It is quite heavy as the stand is solid steel with MDF shelving. I suspect it's about 100lbs.

3. Not super-heavy, but yes....adding the butcher block did give me that extra isolation. I can tap the plinth of my TT quite strongly with my finger and there is no reaction at all from the cartridge travelling the groove of an LP.

4. I have not looked into mass-damping, but it's been in the back of my mind. I'd have to remove the top shelf and see if it's even possible though.

For audiophiles on a budget this is a simple and inexpensive way to obtain better sound and it works. The butcher block I use is Rubberwood, but I've heard that Bamboo might be even better.

JV
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,770
920
113
#37
Actually, Mike, decoupling is the same as isolation. Both refer to the act of severing a mechanical conduit so that unwanted energy cannot enter (or exit). The only problem with isolation attempts is that the mfg’er (and end-user) both are convinced floor-borne vibrations are the only significant source of vibrations that affect our sensitive instruments. Whereas I care nothing about floor-borne vibrations, since their natural behavior is to head in that direction anyway. High-end audio is not alone in these “isolation” beliefs as perhaps every other industry also follows suit.

But the real problem is not floor-borne vibrations, it’s the same air-borne vibrations you hear and feel sitting in your listening chair. Your sensitive instruments are also hearing and feeling much the same. Plus there are the constant internally-generated vibrations induced by internal power supplies, motors, etc. Like lightning rods your sensitive components are attracting this unwanted energy big time and I would attest these sources of vibrations are far more harmful than floor-borne vibrations. In which case any attempt to isolate simply traps these other sources of vibrations within the component with no hope for escape.



We’re essentially talking apples and oranges. Just like the lightning rod example. There's nothing in the world that allows me to isolate that bolt of lightning and if I did try, catastrophic harm is sure to follow. But with a lightning rod and superior grounding wire and grounding spike, that lightning bolt can be redirected before inducing its catastrophic harm. The same applies with mechanical energy, especially since electricity is simply a variation of vibration (as is all energy and all matter). You could possess the best performing lightning rod in the world, but without a superior grounding wire, that lightning rod simply cannot perform as intended. I attest that is exactly why every last playback systems performs as though it has a severe performance-limiting governor attached. Yes, that includes even the industries very best SOTA-level PB systems because energy and distortions do not discriminate.

I’ve never experimented with an active device but I’ve looked at their website a few weeks ago when somebody mentioned their product and was less than impressed. Though I suspect it may provide a bit more benefit than the more traditional isolation methods, sandbox, Sorbathane, etc. But I don’t think that’s really saying much.



Since we’re dealing with basic universal laws of nature (the natural behaviors of resonant energy), and provided one stays within the confines of those basics (not try to outsmart it) there should never be a situation where a method or execution is better in some cases but not other cases. For example, I’ve said on my website and elsewhere, “the results are massive, they are many, they are across the spectrum, and there are no negatives whatsoever. As should be the case when dealing with basic laws of nature.”



The joys of analog. ;) TT's often times employ layer upon layer upon layer of isolation techniques and executions. Often times, a TT's baseplate is free floating on springs or air bladders within the chassis or structure to some extent. Thus making the baseplate extremely sensitive or easily excitable (like a feather) by air-borne (not floor-borne) vibrations and thus inducing the feedback you mention. A few years ago I visited a friend with a custom rebuilt older TT (like an older Thorens) who was experiencing a perhaps not-too-dissimilar issue. His woofers were experiencing a fairly severe warble with his TT but not with his CDP. Upon evaluating his TT design, I gently placed a few pieces of material between the free-floating baseplate and the outer chassis just to firm up the baseplate making it less susceptible to air-borne vibrations. That cut the driver warble in half. Firming it up even more eliminated the warble entirely and his analog sounded significantly more musical than before. Since I don't play with TT's, that was just a shot in the dark.

In my friend's case he had some small tower single-driver units that some rate quite highly. That driver was I think 8-inches max, plus he plays music in the say 75 - 85 db range. With your bass towers I can only imagine what your TT must be experiencing.



Actually, we’re dealing with diametrically opposed methodologies and understandings. (not saying you personally but me against the entire industry and other industries.)
well......I'd say that when we speak about what active isolation does for an electronic microscope used in research and the medical field I think it's hard to question that result of what the ultimate decoupling product accomplishes. and eliminating that resonance to allow that instrument to function better relates to what happens inside audio gear.

Thanks. Your "not synergizing" comment confirm my and others experiences as whenever one doubles up on different AC filtering / line conditioning methodologies it most always translates to a degradation in performance. Almost like 1+1=-1. Even a mfg'er installing a cheap $5 AC filter inside a component soldered to the back of an AC inlet can make a superior $5k line conditioner sound like crap. So I take it the Equi-Tech provides greater levels of musicality over The Ones? If so, that's good to hear because The One's are no slouch when compared to some other line conditioners out there. But your comment about not synergizing would seem to confirm that the Equi-Tech is employing some type of AC filtering / line conditioning. If the Equi-Tech was straight unfiltered AC, then The One's should have provided benefit just like they did before.

I’ve had Mike and Jennifer down a few times and they once gave a lecture on cryogenics to a dozen or so audiophiles during an event I hosted. (I was not aware steel levitates when exposed to liquid helium) I’ve used various versions of Foundation Research line conditioners for the past 15 years, but if I ever needed a replacement, The Ones would be among my first choice. I’ve got roughly 600 lbs. of controlled compressive force directly on my LC’s, but there’s far more to it than just mass loading.



In the end, that’s what it’s all about. Congrats!!!
my only comment would be that not all gear/electronics is created equal......or reacts equally to air borne or even internal resonance. there are a few pieces in my system where I do make considerable efforts to improve their ability to reduce resonance with mass loading. mostly where the casework is relatively flimsy and where I have found sonic improvement. my darTZeel gear seems impervious to any sort of outside (mass loading) improvement as it's casework is way over the top. my amps even have all the internal circuits hanging on a suspension system which requires shipping screws to stabilize when they are moved.

sometimes you combine approaches; I have the casework of the power supply of my King Cello tape repro mass loaded with 4 Walker lead filled pucks, sitting on a mag lev decoupling shelf. it was what ended up sounding best.

I will admit that I do draw the line at considering opening a case and messing around. I stay out of that area.

I've also checked my work by using headphones and trying to hear differences between when the speakers are playing, and when they are not. and my room is very very quiet as it's a room inside a room in a building separate from my home, in the middle of 5 acres in the mountains......where I get zero urban noise.

so ground borne resonance and feedback are my primary issues to be dealt with and therefore in my particular system it's a main focus.

I don't think one can make sweeping statements as to what works in every case. there is only investigation with an open mind as to what works best.

regarding what you seem to be inferring about internal gear modifications; I don't go there. I've seen and heard modified 'high end' gear, and almost 100% of the time it at best changes the sound, never really makes it clearly better, and mostly worse. and you end up with a mess, voiding warranties as the least bad part of it and alos making future repair unlikely. if I don't really like what gear does stock, it does not get to be in my system. if you like to go down that road, then knock yourself out with it. it's not for me.

as far as the Equi=tech and the Jena Labs LC's; the Equi=tech + simple power cords was quite a bit better in every way. I had used those Jena Labs LC's for about 5 years. they were very very good with my standard wall panel power grid and were fine products. Jennifer was at my previous home once, and per my request designed and built a one-off custom switchbox I used for a number of years with a passive volume control.
 
Last edited:

Brucemck2

Member Sponsor
May 10, 2010
258
4
18
Houston area
#38

DaveC

Industry Expert
Nov 16, 2014
2,586
477
83
#39
I've tried different approaches to vibration control.... and I think "grounding" vibration is a load of BS after the experiments I have done and I've only seen this solution encouraged by folks who are seriously misguided. That's not to say you can't get results you may enjoy from all sorts of different methods but if you want to actually reduce microvibration then you need an isolation/decoupling system. Many people agree that it is possible to overdamp audio components and make them sound dull and lifeless, and I agree with this as I have done it myself, and it's the result of too much and too low a durometer of viscoelastic material providing the decoupling. So I think the case is we want some vibration control but only what a fairly hard durometer viscoelestic material will provide, possibly in a CLD platform. Like our rooms, we don't want them to be too damp or too live for the speakers we have chosen.

IME vibration in the floor and structures sitting on the floor (including your house) is the biggest problem, and suspended wood floors vs concrete pads both have their issues. Devices that decouple your audio gear from the floor generally result in the biggest improvements, followed by individual component isolation. Spiking anything to the floor results in an excellent coupling mechanism for vibration to make it from your speakers into whatever is spiked, including the speakers themselves. IMO, this is the worst way to deal with vibration and the results sound horrible. Further, the energy from the speakers/subs tends to vibrate your entire house when playing music at higher volume, making different things in your house rattle and vibrate.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,629
495
83
North Shore of Boston
#40
I've tried different approaches to vibration control.... and I think "grounding" vibration is a load of BS after the experiments I have done and I've only seen this solution encouraged by folks who are seriously misguided. That's not to say you can't get results you may enjoy from all sorts of different methods but if you want to actually reduce microvibration then you need an isolation/decoupling system. Many people agree that it is possible to overdamp audio components and make them sound dull and lifeless, and I agree with this as I have done it myself, and it's the result of too much and too low a durometer of viscoelastic material providing the decoupling. So I think the case is we want some vibration control but only what a fairly hard durometer viscoelestic material will provide, possibly in a CLD platform. Like our rooms, we don't want them to be too damp or too live for the speakers we have chosen.

IME vibration in the floor and structures sitting on the floor (including your house) is the biggest problem, and suspended wood floors vs concrete pads both have their issues. Devices that decouple your audio gear from the floor generally result in the biggest improvements, followed by individual component isolation. Spiking anything to the floor results in an excellent coupling mechanism for vibration to make it from your speakers into whatever is spiked, including the speakers themselves. IMO, this is the worst way to deal with vibration and the results sound horrible. Further, the energy from the speakers/subs tends to vibrate your entire house when playing music at higher volume, making different things in your house rattle and vibrate.
Thanks for this post, DaveC. My experience is similar to yours. I have chosen to isolate my amps and turntable with Vibraplane air isolation platforms and my other electronics on Townshend Seismic Sink air bladder platforms. I understand the argument about wanting to drain internal vibrations out of the equipment, but I have had better audible results with air isolation. I have tried spikes from Mapleshade and others, and I have tried Stillpoints. The technology I use is many years old, and perhaps long outdated, so I am open to what active isolation like that offered by Herzan can also do, though I have not tried this in my system.

This post illustrates to me that there are different approaches, isolation vs. draining, to address different forms of vibration, both external and internally generated. That is why I questioned stehno's rather definitive statement that the vast distortions in audio equipment are from mechanical vibrations, which I now understand to be those generated internally by the equipment components themselves. So I have three questions:

1. Assuming we all agree that there are both internal and external sources of vibrations, do we know that one type causes vastly more distortions that the other?

2. For those who are more audio science oriented rather than subjective listeners, are there measured results showing decreases in distortion through the use of some of these isolation or drainage vibration control devices? We have all heard the results, some good, some less so, but I want to know if it can be shown through measurements that distortions are actually lowered when one of these devices is in the system.

3. If vibrations cause the distortions, and distortions are the main culprit to poor sound, as was suggested in another thread, then why is vibration control not the most important, or one of the top, issues that is being addressed by audiophiles and audio science to achieve better sound?

I have seen videos of wine glasses shaking and microscopic images becoming more in focus. I have also seen measurement data of frequencies being effected by both passive and active isolation devices. I have not seen distortion measurements of electronics, speakers, or source components with and without either isolation or drainage vibration control devices to clearly demonstrate that distortion is being lowered.

I know my air isolation solution works because I hear the improvement in the sound of my system. At least, hearing it is good enough for me with my resources. I have every confidence that MikeL and DaveC, and stehno have experimented and chosen their solutions because they have heard improvements. Are we at a point where we can also demonstrate through measurements, exactly how much these distortions are being lowered with these devices?
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. A place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss existing and new audio products, music servers, music streamers and computer audio, digital to audio convertors (DACS), turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel to reel, speakers, headphones, tube amplifiers and solid state amplification. Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing