Component Mass Loading and Dampening

Testy Troll

Well-Known Member
Dec 29, 2015
51
20
88
The concepts of mass loading and internal damping of stereo gear are often overlooked and underappreciated.
First, massive shelving units should be utilized.
I use the Mapleshade Samson Racks. They are TANKS!
These racks are spiked through a thick carpet into the cement floor

FTR, I use 100% ModWright products.
All my components and speakers have heavy weights placed on top of them (usually Lead and Brass).
The total weight ranges from 25-50 lbs.
I use brass cones underneath to prevent lateral shifting.
These cones interface with 2-4” Maple Plinths which are further isolated from the actual Maple Shelves by using dampening devices. Also utilize some Sorbothane footers to further dampen self generated component vibrations.
In addition, my CD Player and Pre Amp have inverted cones on the top of the chassis. I tighten my adjustable shelving which sandwich and squeeze the components between shelves.
The component does not move in any direction. Period!
My Amp uses a floor plinth arrangement with heavy weights on top.

The next step is to deaden the chassis and internal components to the maximum extent possible. I use Noico 80 mil Car Sound Deadening Material on the unit’s internal sides, bottom and top, in multiple sheets where it is feasible. I also dampened any component or part which would accept a treatment. Transformers and CD Drives for instance.
Added silicon rings and brass hexnut “crowns” to my small signal tubes.
So far I’ve treated my Amp and CD player.
Will do the Pre Amp in the near future.

Finally, I placed a dab of RTV on the top of every capacitor I could reach. Caps are probably the most sensitive component to vibration.

A lot of people seem to think mass loading and component damping can take the life out of the music.
My experience has shown that this is not the case.
The above tweaks have GREATLY elevated the sound quality, imaging and soundstage in my system.
The bass is super tight, articulated and thunderous.
I actually had to reduce the volume of my subwoofers.
All this was especially evident after I treated the CD Player.
This is the logical place to start such treatments.

Admittedly, quite a bit of manhours are required to undertake this project. But the rewards are WELL worth it!
 

thedudeabides

Well-Known Member
Jan 16, 2011
1,456
157
485
Alto, NM
In addition, my CD Player and Pre Amp have inverted cones on the top of the chassis. I tighten my adjustable shelving which sandwich and squeeze the components between shelves.
The component does not move in any direction. Period!

Glad to see someone else is using the "clamp rack" concept. I've been a fan of this vibration control method for many years. My pre and CDP utilize this practice. Rack is a Michael Green product.
 

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Last edited:

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
7,328
2,538
710
North Shore of Boston
Testy Troll, this is a fascinating topic. Do you have any photos to share? Could you also explain how the sorbothane is compatible with the clamping approach? Are you trying to mass load components to dampen them but also to drain vibrational energy? Would not the sorbothane footers prevent the drainage and provide some compliance for movement? Are you trying to isolate or to provide paths for energy to drain, or some combination of the two?
 
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Testy Troll

Well-Known Member
Dec 29, 2015
51
20
88
Testy Troll, this is a fascinating topic. Do you have any photos to share? Could you also explain how the sorbothane is compatible with the clamping approach? Are you trying to mass load components to dampen them but also to drain vibrational energy? Would not the sorbothane footers prevent the drainage and provide some compliance for movement? Are you trying to isolate or to provide paths for energy to drain, or some combination of the two?

I'll see if I can get some pics to better explain the setup. (Although post #3 shows this)
I mass load the units to provide additional weight which I believe assists in vibration amelioration. (especially airborn soundwaves).
The unit needs to be coupled as solidly as possible to the plinth.
The cones may assist in draining a small amount of vibrational energy, but primarily they keep the unit rigid to the plinth.
I place Sorbothane underneath near the cones to help absorb chassis vibration.
Another key is to use the dampening sheets internal (and external) to all walls, the floor and the top.
CD Players are, by far, the most susceptible to external and self generated vibration.
The CD drive and any transformers are the chief culprits, so I attach extensive dampening materials to them.
If I can limit the internal vibrations, the external tweaks become more effective.
The changes brought about by these simple tweaks are remarkable!

BTW, I got the clamping idea from Michael Green. I once used one of his clamping setups. Except I take it to another level by using plinths top and bottom before interfacing with the shelves.
 
Last edited:

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
12,114
2,807
653
E. England
Any thoughts on HRS Damping Plates?
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
12,114
2,807
653
E. England
I've never heard those plates described as inexpensive Lol.
I'm thinking about a DIY version comprised of quarter inch thick IsoDamp mass loaded with steel bench blocks on top.
 
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Testy Troll

Well-Known Member
Dec 29, 2015
51
20
88
Here's some pics of the components.
 

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  • CD Player.JPG
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  • Amp.JPG
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    1.4 MB · Views: 35

stehno

Well-Known Member
Jul 5, 2014
907
98
240
Salem, OR
The concepts of mass loading and internal damping of stereo gear are often overlooked and underappreciated.
First, massive shelving units should be utilized.
I use the Mapleshade Samson Racks. They are TANKS!
These racks are spiked through a thick carpet into the cement floor

FTR, I use 100% ModWright products.
All my components and speakers have heavy weights placed on top of them (usually Lead and Brass).
The total weight ranges from 25-50 lbs.
I use brass cones underneath to prevent lateral shifting.
These cones interface with 2-4” Maple Plinths which are further isolated from the actual Maple Shelves by using dampening devices. Also utilize some Sorbothane footers to further dampen self generated component vibrations.
In addition, my CD Player and Pre Amp have inverted cones on the top of the chassis. I tighten my adjustable shelving which sandwich and squeeze the components between shelves.
The component does not move in any direction. Period!
My Amp uses a floor plinth arrangement with heavy weights on top.

The next step is to deaden the chassis and internal components to the maximum extent possible. I use Noico 80 mil Car Sound Deadening Material on the unit’s internal sides, bottom and top, in multiple sheets where it is feasible. I also dampened any component or part which would accept a treatment. Transformers and CD Drives for instance.
Added silicon rings and brass hexnut “crowns” to my small signal tubes.
So far I’ve treated my Amp and CD player.
Will do the Pre Amp in the near future.

Finally, I placed a dab of RTV on the top of every capacitor I could reach. Caps are probably the most sensitive component to vibration.

A lot of people seem to think mass loading and component damping can take the life out of the music.
My experience has shown that this is not the case.
The above tweaks have GREATLY elevated the sound quality, imaging and soundstage in my system.
The bass is super tight, articulated and thunderous.
I actually had to reduce the volume of my subwoofers.
All this was especially evident after I treated the CD Player.
This is the logical place to start such treatments.

Admittedly, quite a bit of manhours are required to undertake this project. But the rewards are WELL worth it!

Nice. Nothing quite like performing a little due diligence, is there?
 
  • Like
Reactions: PeterA

Testy Troll

Well-Known Member
Dec 29, 2015
51
20
88
Finally completed my dampening project by applying the Noico to my Pre Amp's floor, sides and top. Also added some to the transformers.

What has all this accomplished?
1) MUCH tighter Bass, with NO Mid-Bass bloom.
2) Highly detailed without the etch. Great transients!
3) Helps ameliorate CD glare in the High Mid/Lower Treble range.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
11,778
633
658
Never heard of them. Looked them up to educate myself.
I really like how my system sounds with this current set up, but the HRS products are so inexpensive they might be worth a try!
I use HRS damping plates to good effect, as well as Artesania damping plates...but as [i think] you are suggesting...MASS damping still improves even further.

Specifically, in our case, we put the plates on the component and then put solid brass weights on top of the damping plates. We must have over 120kg of brass weights (mainly on the subwoofer) but also elsewhere and it really has done as you suggest in your post #10 above.
 

stehno

Well-Known Member
Jul 5, 2014
907
98
240
Salem, OR
I use HRS damping plates to good effect, as well as Artesania damping plates...but as [i think] you are suggesting...MASS damping still improves even further.

Specifically, in our case, we put the plates on the component and then put solid brass weights on top of the damping plates. We must have over 120kg of brass weights (mainly on the subwoofer) but also elsewhere and it really has done as you suggest in your post #10 above.

You guys are certainly on the right track. I'm not using HRS products but I've got 1000 lbs of mass loading on my amps and another 1700+ lbs. divied up between the source, 3 line conditioners, and my sub for a combined total of 2700+ lbs of mass loading.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
11,778
633
658
Yeesh! That is a ton...literally! We have probably 225-250 pounds, more than 75% on the sub, and the rest spread across the equipment. I am surprised the equipment chassis' can take that kind of weight.
 

stehno

Well-Known Member
Jul 5, 2014
907
98
240
Salem, OR
Yeesh! That is a ton...literally! We have probably 225-250 pounds, more than 75% on the sub, and the rest spread across the equipment. I am surprised the equipment chassis' can take that kind of weight.

More like 1 and 1/3rd tons. I don't actually use free weights but rather a controlled compressive force via a small almost nondescript custom clamping mechanism much like putting the component and shelf into a vice with a tightness that results in perhaps just shy of collapsing the component chassis'. But I've never damaged a single component, not even a scratch. Extremely safe.

I'm curious.

When you guys install your mass loading plates, do you notice instantaneous improvements or do these improvements occur over a settling in period of time?

What racking systems do you guys use?

Also, what are you using underneath your mass-loaded components sandwiched between the component chassis and shelf? Are you using the stock component footers or aftermarket points or cones or some type of hockey puck shaped objects to defeat the purpose of the stock footers?
 

Testy Troll

Well-Known Member
Dec 29, 2015
51
20
88
More like 1 and 1/3rd tons. I don't actually use free weights but rather a controlled compressive force via a small almost nondescript custom clamping mechanism much like putting the component and shelf into a vice with a tightness that results in perhaps just shy of collapsing the component chassis'. But I've never damaged a single component, not even a scratch. Extremely safe.

I'm curious.

When you guys install your mass loading plates, do you notice instantaneous improvements or do these improvements occur over a settling in period of time?

What racking systems do you guys use?

Also, what are you using underneath your mass-loaded components sandwiched between the component chassis and shelf? Are you using the stock component footers or aftermarket points or cones or some type of hockey puck shaped objects to defeat the purpose of the stock footers?

I notice instantaneous improvements. No settling in required.

I use Mapleshade Samson Racks with a clamping arrangement.
 

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LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
11,778
633
658
More like 1 and 1/3rd tons. I don't actually use free weights but rather a controlled compressive force via a small almost nondescript custom clamping mechanism much like putting the component and shelf into a vice with a tightness that results in perhaps just shy of collapsing the component chassis'. But I've never damaged a single component, not even a scratch. Extremely safe.

I'm curious.

When you guys install your mass loading plates, do you notice instantaneous improvements or do these improvements occur over a settling in period of time?

What racking systems do you guys use?

Also, what are you using underneath your mass-loaded components sandwiched between the component chassis and shelf? Are you using the stock component footers or aftermarket points or cones or some type of hockey puck shaped objects to defeat the purpose of the stock footers?

We have a rack which is designed to look like proper furniture...matched piano gloss sapele finishes, smoked glass doors, where the construction is 3" thick birch ply shelves sitting on top of 1.5" slab of slat on felt onto the floor.

Then each component on the rack has a slightly different combination of various elements which form what i call an 'isolation sandwich' with support underneath and mass damping on top. All footers go under the feet or chassis directly. Here are some of the products, and each piece has a slightly different combination:

- SRA Isolation calibrated for it (Zanden digital)
- HRS M3X shelves & Nimbus Couplers, Damping plates
- Stillpoints Ultra 6s with HRS Nimbus Couplers
- Artesania damping plates
- well over 90kgs of solid brass weights sitting on top of certain damping plates

I happened to have a few extra damping plates after moving to a new preamp...really great plates. I decided to try them on the Zanden PSU where I had been using an odd mix on top of 3 brands: HRS, Artesania and Stillpoints...something I concocted after hours, days of comparisons to tonal qualities in strings, piano, etc. But when I removed this original odd mix and put on the 2 new damping plates, I found the OLD original combination worked better. So I put them all back and have since left it. it all matters.
 

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