Why are vibration isolation products still considered accessories?

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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#81
Hi, david.
I have shared an implementation or two in time past. But seriously, it really has more to do with the concept than anything. Once you understand the concept, there's usually multiple ways to implement - so long as one stays within the basic principles.... Like I said, sometimes we have to read between the lines a bit.
Hi stehno,

Hope you had a nice holiday!

I'm not opposed to your concepts I agree with them and I've been very vocal against many popular & exotic isolation devices and their absurdity. Where I disagree with you is that floor born vibrations are never a consideration and I don't mean the extreme type from trampoline floors. I've had to deal with source components and even speakers in the past where you can hear floor born vibrations going up the rack and picked up by the tonearm and cartridge. Depending on the frequency, displacement velocity and acceleration of the vibration I've heard it muddy up speakers too. Floor reflections are also affected by vibration.

I'm not here to argue with you and wouldn't bother writing if I only had a passing interest in the subject, there's nothing to read in between your lines. Drainage, absorption, tuning, dampening of energy aren't new concepts they've been around forever and used in a lot of audio equipment with various degrees of proficiency and if I'm not mistaken you're claiming a new and more efficient method, I'm asking how is yours different from others and not getting any answers and you end up talking about other parts of your system and over the top solutions from others but not what you've done.

To be clear I come across many systems and installed quite a few 100db in room reproduction isn't that unusual and generally it's the room that's room and not the system. I used to do clubs systems that were clean, clear and distortion free at ear bleed levels with bass loud and powerful enough to make people nauseas if desired. So this isn't new or special. I love the early CDs too, those early transfers without all the multibit remastering sound more natural and bigger sounding than what followed. Some of those cheap old CDs are actually superior source material. After Lamm my 2nd favorite electronic is an all in one Denon music system that you can pick up for $100 on ebay all day long and matched with a good pair of inexpensive vintage speakers the sound quality will put many mega dollar systems to shame, a number of people I worked with replaced their high end system with this setup. Modest systems when selected and setup properly can sound excellent, you're not the only one you've discovered this and without any complex installation. This is why your videos don't mean much, there are even IMO better sounding ones on Youtube of very modest equipment. Your iPhone and mic aren't shit, people use them for commercial projects all the time.

This brings us back to the main point that you haven't ever discussed your methodology, and aren't saying anything of real consequence. Telling us to read between the lines and be impressed with the sound of some video because the system is relatively modest doesn't mean anything, what does it show about your special invention to anyone who hasn't seen it?

david
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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#82
I feel like expanding on what I wrote above stehno, first regarding floor born vibrations,

1- They're highly noticeable and audible when they reach a tonearm or cartridge, if you don't deal with them earlier there's no way to drain and that energy once it hits them.

2- It's not always easy to see the effect of floor born vibrations on all speakers but it's there, electrostats and ribbon speakers are susceptible to floor born vibrations than others, you can easily hear it by lowering or eliminating those vibrations.

3- I've been hearing about electro mechanical energy generated by electronics for decades and how we should eliminate it but never why. Typically you hear couple/decouple and/or dampen, then there's redirection, drainage and all that. 20 years ago magazines in their pseudo scientific manner started pushing all these concepts as if they're the gospel. What I was hoping to hear from you at least conceptually why we need to do anything with this electromechanical energy inside electronics. Why is it even bad? I remember about 30 years ago when Michael Green was talking about these concepts, dampening by clamping or mass and draining with cones and spikes as a general idea but never mentioning what frequency he was targeting or why. Yes the sound changes but it's the same exact effect using any metal footer with electronics and applying pressure with with mass or other means ends up with the same results. Big deal, you can make every amp, preamp, dac, etc. sound a certain way by throwing out the baby with bath water. What I haven't heard from you either is why we need to change the sound of equipment in this what is the ultimate goal and how you identify a disturbing frequency then target and drain it without having an global effect on the sound. Can we at least get on the same page with this?

David
 

stehno

Well-Known Member
Jul 5, 2014
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#83
Hi Stehno -- do I understand correctly: the idea is to clamp the components on a rigid structure, itself coupled to the floor -- thereby syncing & giving the total structure additional mass?
As opposed to liberating components from (extraneous), floor borne vibrations
Hey, Gregm. The idea is to exert an extreme and controlled compressive force (and by-passing the stock footers) far greater than any free weight mass loading could ever safely accomplish. But also tightly coupled to an extremely rigid racking system tightly coupled to the flooring system. Of course materials matter too.

BTW, to the best of my knowledge there never existed any liberating of components from floor-borne vibrations. So that's a big no. Any liberation is initiated from within the component.
 

Blackmorec

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2019
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#84

Here are 2 files to compare......The in-room recording vs a generic YouTube download. What differences do you hear, particularly in the PRaT area? Just listen to the first 20 seconds to voice, drums and wooden block. Which has the most ambience, rhythm, and ’rhythmic snap’
to the sound?
Be sure to click the title line at the top otherwise you get unwanted videos;)

I’ll let you listen first, then I’ll let you know what I hear.
 

213Cobra

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Aug 27, 2018
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#85
I've done many years of experimenting with vibration and resonance control, early in old wood-frame houses on the US east coast, with suspended floors, and for the past 30 years in southern California single-story wood frame houses built on concrete slab foundations. The structural environment changes methodology and priorities. Also, my suspended floors experiences 30-50 years ago were during a time when there were far fewer specialized, audio-specific accessory options and the vinyl-first era tended to emphasize isolation. There was also then a multifaceted battle among turntable makers alone, involving competing claims about isolation and how much v. coupling, mass-loaded plinths vs. light-stiff, platter materials, mat materials, heavy platters vs. lightweight platters, etc., etc. Between, for example, Rega, Linn and Micro-Seiki, who was right? That battle started in the 1970s and still hasn't been settled. That's just warring over how to deal with resonance and vibration in one component, let alone a system. And of course, like a cancer, those corners of conviction spread to shelving, racks, platforms, etc. How do you reconcile the camp that advocates the cheap and nasty Ikea Lack table and shelving for hifi equipment support, with Mapleshade, for example? How do you reconcile Kronos with the 47 Labs Koma/Tsrube? For even just one singular project, how do you reconcile slate, granite, Loricraft-style, Shindo-style, birch-ply and MDF approaches to plinths for the Garrard 301, where the entire challenge is energy/vibration management?

You can't, really. Well, they all can work; they all sound different; the structural context in which they are applied can make any of them seem more ideal than the other, though getting any two people to agree on that might be elusive. Outside of the need to float (isolate) turntables in trampoline-like suspended wood floor structures, I've found a straightforward methodology: focus on draining vibration / energy through mechanical grounding with very selective isolation techniques as a secondary consideration to mitigate reflected energy.

You have to try cones pointed up and down relative to the supported equipment to find the right orientation. Generally lighter weight gear supported by cones sounds better with the cone point up, interfacing with the chassis of the gear in question. This is often true of DACs. DACs, turntables and CDs more often than not benefit from bearings of various types. You retain vertical mechanical ground but lateral disturbances are shunted away as heat or dissipated motion. In a non-trampoline floors house, I stack light-to heavy and use laminations, even same-materials laminations. My 70 lbs. turntables (and all the associated lighter gear) rest on 225 lbs. laminated rock maple tables, each leg interfacing to the floor via 1 lb. brass cones into HAL stainless steel/proprietary compound/teflon receptors. The weight of the house slab foundation (18" x 27' x 70' steel reinforced concrete slab on ballast on planet earth) is massively heavier than the gear and tables layers above it. Floor is engineered wood over underlayment on said concrete. I have no appreciable floor-borne resonance problems.

The one flaw in this stack is that I live in Los Angeles. We have scores, sometimes hundreds, of 1.x - 2.x Richter scale shaking events every week. Every day. Every evening. We are listening to the planet, whether we like it or not. I know a gentleman here who made $100mm in the optical networks bust 20 years ago, who built a very robust coastal mansion. For his turntable mount, he bored 90 feet into the planet to bedrock, and poured a steel-reinforced concrete pillar with platform all the way up to his listening room to support his turntable. I pointed out to him that he had simply made his turntable-tonearm-cartridge a listening device for the planet's (local) seismic activity. All he had to do was watch his MC stylus assembly while playing LPs to see what I meant. After awhile living here, in the quiet of the night you feel these tiny tremors real time.

Bearings tend to mitigate the seismic connection because most of the tiny tremors are lateral. When the earth starts bucking, different story.

Addressing these problems doesn't have to be expensive. Herbies Audio Labs sells a proprietary polymer in various forms he calls "Grungebuster." I find the thin forms of this helps to interrupt reflected energy from making its way back into the originating source, while maintaining a low impedance path to mechanical ground. It mitigates rather than eliminates. So, for instance, I use it between the underside of my turntable chassis and the big brass cones the TT rests on, in turn resting in bearings. I'm not a fan of massive metal support structures. Carbon fiber should in theory be effective but in practice it's hit or miss. Like Mapleshade, I've found very few circumstances where quality maple, laminated particularly, is a misstep.

For loudspeakers, spikes are highly variable in their effectiveness alone. But that unpredictability can be largely removed by careful choice of the receptor for the spike or cone point. Put a spike directly on concrete, and it will generally sound awful. Put a spike on a spongy surface that allows the speaker to rock will introduce other regrettable anomalies. Herbie's Audio Labs' various spike receptor gliders make virtually every speaker/rack spike or cone sound better. Yeah, you might have a $1000 silly spike, but put it in a Herbie's $20 glider and it will almost certainly perform better.

DACs are particularly sensitive to undrained vibrational energy. The effects of mechanically grounding them for proper drainage of resonance can be profound, even on modest cost DACs. Even DACs fed by a prosaic AppleTV Roon endpoint. Ancient accessories like VPI Magic Bricks still can work wonders (less for the xformer magnetic absorption than for the chassis damping qualities).

Massive turntables built on towering mass-loaded standing-height structures are a mixed bag. You become burdened with an explosion of mechanical interface points that have to be policed for consistency. I'm not suggesting that a Rega RP8 or Linn on a Lack table is better than what you have, but there's a price to complexity. In general, simplify and pay attention to draining resonance rather than trapping it. We could do a whole thread on phono cartridge/headshell resonance control exceeding everything contributed here. This topic is never done if you are an audio nervosa audiophile. If you are just a music lover using hifi for an end goal, then you might say enough is enough, or I'll get to it when I have the time and energy to care.

Phil
 
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stehno

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Jul 5, 2014
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#86
.....

The structural environment changes methodology and priorities.

...
Interesting. I suspect most of what you described substantiates another poster's claims of the isolation methodology being all over the map.

More importantly, since energy's behaviors never change regardless of surrounding dwelling, structure, and/or geographic location, isn't your strategy more along the lines of the tail wagging the dog?
 

213Cobra

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
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Los Angeles, CA
#87
Interesting. I suspect most of what you described substantiates another poster's claims of the isolation methodology being all over the map.

More importantly, since energy's behaviors never change regardless of surrounding dwelling, structure, and/or geographic location, isn't your strategy more along the lines of the tail wagging the dog?
I don't understand what you mean by the latter. In the former, with vinyl in the mix as the or a primary source, isolation becomes the technique of first resort in any structure type requiring a system owner to cope with footfalls and other disturbances. Since isolation negates mechanical grounding for draining energy, its use tends to disproportionately influence energy management. You don't see isolation as the main energy management technique so often in digital-only systems.

I think isolation methods are disparate or "all over the map" because all of them are intrinsically and fatally flawed compared to the higher and more consistent efficacy of coupling methods. Put another way, there is generally more lingering coupling in isolation than there is lingering isolation in coupling techniques. Getting around that spawns numerous ideas from air bladders to magnetic repulsion to isolating polymers, solids, compounds and foams that cannot completely avoid connection to the material world. Get yourself into a structural context where vinyl does not have to be isolated from footfalls, and it becomes very likely that loudspeaker vibration creeping into system components, for example, is also a much less intrusive factor. For instance, with concrete-on-earth, underlayment and engineered wood under my systems, I have mass, stiffness and self-damping as a foundation. This is a better starting point than concrete floors in steel-frame and some wood frame buildings where certain springiness can be felt just walking hallways in certain structures. But that's a better starting point than an older suspended wood floors structure. In the latter case, without vinyl in the equation, you still likely have to isolate speaker energy from structural transmission to the rest of the system, but the remedies are less elaborate than what you have to do to keep a groove-tracing mechanical system stable.

I think overall, successful isolation is considerably more difficult than coupling, though the compound coupling and isolation benefits of bearings tends to be a good place to start. What else you put between your gear and the floor is of course influential (even instrumental in both meanings) and there are nearly as many ideas as there are audiophiles.

Phil
 

stehno

Well-Known Member
Jul 5, 2014
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Salem, OR
#88
I don't understand what you mean by the latter.

...

Phil
Hi, Phil. You said some good things but earlier you said, "The structural environment changes methodology and priorities."

I just don't see how structures, climates, and/or geographic locations can possibly change anything about how vibrations are captured at the component / speaker nor how these variables change energy's behaviors once captured as they are unchanging. To strategize otherwise is essentially attempting to rewrite laws of nature and if that's the intent, failure is guaranteed.

Hence, if a superior vibration mgmt method works for one, it should work for all. One size truly fits all. Yes, that includes TT's, but many TT's are already so oversaturated with layer upon layer of isolation in various internals, I just don't bother with them. Improvements can be had with TT's but it's a bit too much like pushing a car uphill and because of the 1 or more layers of isolation built into them, their potential for performance improvements are definitely limited.
 

213Cobra

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Aug 27, 2018
251
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Los Angeles, CA
#89
Hi, Phil. You said some good things but earlier you said, "The structural environment changes methodology and priorities."

I just don't see how structures, climates, and/or geographic locations can possibly change anything about how vibrations are captured at the component / speaker nor how these variables change energy's behaviors once captured as they are unchanging. To strategize otherwise is essentially attempting to rewrite laws of nature and if that's the intent, failure is guaranteed.

Hence, if a superior vibration mgmt method works for one, it should work for all. One size truly fits all. Yes, that includes TT's, but many TT's are already so oversaturated with layer upon layer of isolation in various internals, I just don't bother with them. Improvements can be had with TT's but it's a bit too much like pushing a car uphill and because of the 1 or more layers of isolation built into them, their potential for performance improvements are definitely limited.
I am not claiming that energy behaviors change. Just that the structure a system is in, and the system components affect priorities. The most obvious example is what I already cited in other words: If I use a turntable as a source in a system which is located in a house with an expansive, springy, suspended wood floor, my first priority probably becomes isolation at least for the TT, which is not really where I'd like to start. It means I also probably have to look at isolation for speakers if the gear is placed nearby, rather than coupling. Take vinyl out, and even in that structural context, planning mechanical grounds reasserts priority.

Seismic concerns are much lower some places than others. It's not the rare disruptive event like a New Madrid break or the San Andreas heaving. It's when you live with a high frequency of routine low grade tremors that tight coupling of turntables to the planet might be rethought. Turntables might be include multi-layered isolation, but still at the end of the day the whole game is to not have the stylus assembly affected by any motion not related to tracing the undulations in the groove.

My overall point is that it's usually a contextual matter that drives attempts at isolation, otherwise most of these problems are better solved through well-thought-out-paths to mechanical ground.

Phil
 

Blackmorec

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Feb 1, 2019
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#90
I think the first problem is with the word ‘ground’. Ground for me means Planet Earth and Planet Earth shakes and vibrates, so too the structures built upon it. So ’grounding’ per-se is not a solution. Energy needs to be ‘drained’ from a component then converted to something less detremental to SQ, such as heat or work or both. In order to do this properly there needs to be an effective low impedance interface between the component and whatever is doing the energy conversion. But there’s no point in draining and converting internal vibration is all you do is swap it for external vibration, so at the same time as draining the internal vibration, your strategy needs to isolate the component from external vibration. While these 2 strategies may seem to conflict, they only do so if done in parallel (internal vibes out, external vibes in). If done in series, there’s no problem (internal vibes drained and converted, followed by isolation).

You may notice that pretty much any vibration control strategy affects the sound. If you want to know the effects of chaining a system firmly to the ground (Earth) just listen to the 2 clips I posted above. The effect is fairly easy to hear, even after video cameras, YouTube and whatever laptop or iPad you use to listen.

A good vibration control strategy is one that produces music that is both enhanced and without loss (added colouration, frequency emphasis, loss of PRaT, loss of clarity, loss of spacial resolution, loss of detail)
 

213Cobra

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
251
193
48
66
Los Angeles, CA
#91
I think the first problem is with the word ‘ground’. Ground for me means Planet Earth and Planet Earth shakes and vibrates, so too the structures built upon it. So ’grounding’ per-se is not a solution. Energy needs to be ‘drained’ from a component then converted to something less detremental to SQ, such as heat or work or both. In order to do this properly there needs to be an effective low impedance interface between the component and whatever is doing the energy conversion. But there’s no point in draining and converting internal vibration is all you do is swap it for external vibration, so at the same time as draining the internal vibration, your strategy needs to isolate the component from external vibration. While these 2 strategies may seem to conflict, they only do so if done in parallel (internal vibes out, external vibes in). If done in series, there’s no problem (internal vibes drained and converted, followed by isolation).

You may notice that pretty much any vibration control strategy affects the sound. If you want to know the effects of chaining a system firmly to the ground (Earth) just listen to the 2 clips I posted above. The effect is fairly easy to hear, even after video cameras, YouTube and whatever laptop or iPad you use to listen.

A good vibration control strategy is one that produces music that is both enhanced and without loss (added colouration, frequency emphasis, loss of PRaT, loss of clarity, loss of spacial resolution, loss of detail)
We agree any energy management strategy has sonic consequences. As I wrote previously I mitigate pure paths to mechanical ground with selective applications of isolation. Bearings are one. synthetic materials applied sparingly to the ground path are another. But generally my experience is it's better to leaven grounding with selective isolation than to leaven isolation with selective mechanical grounding. I'll add that relying exclusively on converting unwanted energy to heat is insufficient, IME.

Phil
 

stehno

Well-Known Member
Jul 5, 2014
768
54
240
Salem, OR
#92
I think the first problem is with the word ‘ground’. Ground for me means Planet Earth and Planet Earth shakes and vibrates, so too the structures built upon it. So ’grounding’ per-se is not a solution. Energy needs to be ‘drained’ from a component then converted to something less detremental to SQ, such as heat or work or both. In order to do this properly there needs to be an effective low impedance interface between the component and whatever is doing the energy conversion. But there’s no point in draining and converting internal vibration is all you do is swap it for external vibration, so at the same time as draining the internal vibration, your strategy needs to isolate the component from external vibration. While these 2 strategies may seem to conflict, they only do so if done in parallel (internal vibes out, external vibes in). If done in series, there’s no problem (internal vibes drained and converted, followed by isolation).

You may notice that pretty much any vibration control strategy affects the sound. If you want to know the effects of chaining a system firmly to the ground (Earth) just listen to the 2 clips I posted above. The effect is fairly easy to hear, even after video cameras, YouTube and whatever laptop or iPad you use to listen.

A good vibration control strategy is one that produces music that is both enhanced and without loss (added colouration, frequency emphasis, loss of PRaT, loss of clarity, loss of spacial resolution, loss of detail)
From my perspective, anything below the rack or speakers may be considered ground. What about from your perspective? You wanna' take sub-flooring to floor joists to support beams to concrete foundation to dirt, that's fine. I only care about draining to the sub-flooring system and where it goes from there I care not as it's outside my scope and no longer impacting the components / speakers.

Who says "energy needs to be converted"? Did you read that somewhere? Please explain which is easier, conversion or redirect. Regardless, once the unwanted energy enters the sub-flooring who cares where it goes or what it does so long as it is no longer trapped at the components / speakers?

Regarding the two clips. It seems to me one is remastered or they are two separate recordings. In either case you are potentially comparing apples to oranges and asking others to do likewise.

Tell me, what in your opinion is a "good vibration control strategy"? Not textbook theoretical but actual. You talk much about vibrations as if you have some kind of insight. Why not share specifically what you do for superior means of vibration mgmt? Also, just so we can get a perspective where you're coming from it should take nothing for you to pony up a video recording to demonstrate the sonics you're thinking.


I put this video up the other day in another thread because somebody there mentioned they were bored with hearing Vivaldi's Four Seasons. I'd love to hear what you're capable of accomplishing with your vibration mgmt strategy.

BTW, based on what I do, I claim that my little passive, dedicated, and bi-directional filtering Jena Labs line conditioners perform perhaps 3 - 4 times their already excellent out-of-the-box performance levels. Same with my amps. What do you claim?
 
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Blackmorec

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Feb 1, 2019
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#93
From my perspective, anything below the rack or speakers may be considered ground. What about from your perspective? You wanna' take sub-flooring to floor joists to support beams to concrete foundation to dirt, that's fine. I only care about draining to the sub-flooring system and where it goes from there I care not as it's outside my scope and no longer impacting the components / speakers.

Who says "energy needs to be converted"? Did you read that somewhere? Please explain which is easier, conversion or redirect. Regardless, once the unwanted energy enters the sub-flooring who cares where it goes or what it does so long as it is no longer trapped at the components / speakers?

Regarding the two clips. It seems to me one is remastered or they are two separate recordings. In either case you are potentially comparing apples to oranges and asking others to do likewise.

Tell me, what in your opinion is a "good vibration control strategy"? Not textbook theoretical but actual. You talk much about vibrations as if you have some kind of insight. Why not share specifically what you do for superior means of vibration mgmt? Also, just so we can get a perspective where you're coming from it should take nothing for you to pony up a video recording to demonstrate the sonics you're thinking.


I put this video up the other day in another thread because somebody there mentioned they were bored with hearing Vivaldi's Four Seasons. I'd love to hear what you're capable of accomplishing with your vibration mgmt strategy.

BTW, based on what I do, I claim that my little passive, dedicated, and bi-directional filtering Jena Labs line conditioners perform perhaps 3 - 4 times their already excellent out-of-the-box performance levels. Same with my amps. What do you claim?
Hi Stehno,
Vibration is detrimental to sound quality. Vibrating things like semiconductors, logic circuitry, cables and connectors, oscillators, capacitors etc. adds noise, jitter and other distortions to the sound.
There are typically 3 sources of vibration, the component itself, through AC rectification and transformation, motors etc., ground borne vibration and airborne pressure waves from the music. Ground borne vibration includes seismic vibration, human activity and of course, energy from the speakers. Air born vibration comes from the speaker drivers, acts mainly on suspended floors and can be treated as floor born vibration

It is highly undesirable for ANY of these vibrational energies to act on certain sensitive components in the audio chain, so all need to be dealt with in order to minimise their negative impact on sound reproduction. The problem is that single measures that solve one problem, may often exacerbate another. Another problem is that many measures used to control vibration come with their own unique sonic ‘signature’ , so the problem isn’t just avoiding vibration but avoiding it in such a way that enhances rather than degrades the sound. The problem is that devices have their own resonance frequencIes which can significantly colour the sound or negatively impact its presentation.
Let’s take a DAC or server as an example. Either unit will generally have its own power supply, taking in AC mains which it rectifies and smooths to provide the DC needed to drive the various processes and in a modulated form provide the device’s output. The whole power supply process is vibrationally very noisy. Primary frequencies as well as a host of harmonics act to excite various resonances within the component, so that energy needs to be drained away, otherwise it continues to bounce around within the unit, causing sensitive components to vibrate. But it doesn’t help to lead it away, if at the same time you connect it directly to another vibration source, which does similar damage, just at different frequencies. Let’s look at your strategy of clamping the unit to the floor. Firstly the floor is vibrating through seismic activity, human activity, speaker mechanical vibration and speaker generated sound pressure waves. All that vibration is conducted straight into the component in EXACTLY the same way and along the same route as component energy is drained to ground, so essentially you are swapping one kind of vibrational energy spectrum for another, the degree based on the type of floor, it‘s location within the building, the building’s location etc.
So we agree that we need to remove component generated vibration. Where we disagree is when the concept simply means swapping one vibrational energy for another.
In order to properly treat a component‘s vibration, you need a combination of conductance, conversion and isolation. Starting at the component, there needs to be a really well optimised interface that allows its vibration, at all frequencies to pass easily to the unit’s support structure. From there, the vibration should be converted to a less harmful form, for example work and heat. In this way, we avoid connecting the unit to the harmful ground-born vibration, while still removing vibration. From that point, we need to think about isolating the support structure from ground-borne vibration. Typically this is done by providing a series of high impedance interfaces that the ground-born vibration has difficulty in bridging, and ensuring that the support structure’s own resonance frequencies are adequately dealt with. This may include providing low contact area interfaces like spikes, bearings that convert the vibration to work, or high compliance interfaces that resist the ingress of vibration and convert what does transfer into heat.
All the time we’re doing this, we need to ensure that the materials we are using are adding positive qualities to the sound. Some materials have very definite resonance frequencies, defined by a sharp peak in their amplitude vs frequency plot. Glass for example. What we actually need are either materials that have a very diffuse vibrational spectrum.....bamboo or maple come to mind, or we need to treat the material to diffuse or remove its resonances. Ideally we do both if we want the very best results.
So, what do I use to treat vibration?
My components are mounted on a Finite Elemente Pagoda Master Reference stand. Built from maple and aluminium, the components are connected to the Maple shelves via hard wood blocks, thereby creating a low impedance interface between component case and shelf. The shelf itself is controlled by a number of oscillators, tuned to the shelves’ resonant frequencies. The oscillators convert the resonant frequencies to work and some heat, and are about 90% effective in calming the shelf and removing component generated vibration. The shelf itself is mounted on 2 sets of spikes, both downward and sideways facing. The main structure of the rack is placed on bearings which provide both isolation by virtue of their small contact area and conversion to work....the real life equivalent of such an interface would be trying to push a car while standing on wet sheet ice.
I’m curious what your opinion was on listening to the 2 clips I posted, your in-room recording vs a generic YouTube download. You obviously heard a difference given your conclusion that one was remastered. Usually its pointless trying to evaluate anything from YouTube videos, given the camera and all the file handling and music processing algorithms involved, but in this case, the differences are well preserved, relating mainly to Pace, Rhythm and Timing. The differences are so clear that remastering does come to mind, but that’s not what’s going on (at least IMO). I noticed as soon as I heard the clip that it sounded far slower than I was used to and lacked the propulsive slow rhythmic snap that makes it so entertaining. I was curious if that was an effect of YouTube or system related. Given that in terms of PRaT, a YouTube equivalent sounds more like what I’m used to, my conclusion is that its system related. I would therefore conclude that tying down the components and hard linking them to ground borne vibration has the effect of removing some of the music‘s ‘vitality’. This is of course just my opinion and if you find the result entirely to your liking you are the only one you need to please. I obviously have no idea how your system sounded before you implemented these measures. However you are promoting the effect as beneficial on any system, and there we disagree.
 
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stehno

Well-Known Member
Jul 5, 2014
768
54
240
Salem, OR
#94
Hi Stehno,
Vibration is detrimental to sound quality. Vibrating things like semiconductors, logic circuitry, cables and connectors, oscillators, capacitors etc. adds noise, jitter and other distortions to the sound.
There are typically 3 sources of vibration, the component itself, through AC rectification and transformation, motors etc., ground borne vibration and airborne pressure waves from the music. Ground borne vibration includes seismic vibration, human activity and of course, energy from the speakers. Air born vibration comes from the speaker drivers, acts mainly on suspended floors and can be treated as floor born vibration

It is highly undesirable for ANY of these vibrational energies to act on certain sensitive components in the audio chain, so all need to be dealt with in order to minimise their negative impact on sound reproduction. The problem is that single measures that solve one problem, may often exacerbate another. Another problem is that many measures used to control vibration come with their own unique sonic ‘signature’ , so the problem isn’t just avoiding vibration but avoiding it in such a way that enhances rather than degrades the sound. The problem is that devices have their own resonance frequencIes which can significantly colour the sound or negatively impact its presentation.
Let’s take a DAC or server as an example. Either unit will generally have its own power supply, taking in AC mains which it rectifies and smooths to provide the DC needed to drive the various processes and in a modulated form provide the device’s output. The whole power supply process is vibrationally very noisy. Primary frequencies as well as a host of harmonics act to excite various resonances within the component, so that energy needs to be drained away, otherwise it continues to bounce around within the unit, causing sensitive components to vibrate. But it doesn’t help to lead it away, if at the same time you connect it directly to another vibration source, which does similar damage, just at different frequencies. Let’s look at your strategy of clamping the unit to the floor. Firstly the floor is vibrating through seismic activity, human activity, speaker mechanical vibration and speaker generated sound pressure waves. All that vibration is conducted straight into the component in EXACTLY the same way and along the same route as component energy is drained to ground, so essentially you are swapping one kind of vibrational energy spectrum for another, the degree based on the type of floor, it‘s location within the building, the building’s location etc.
So we agree that we need to remove component generated vibration. Where we disagree is when the concept simply means swapping one vibrational energy for another.
In order to properly treat a component‘s vibration, you need a combination of conductance, conversion and isolation. Starting at the component, there needs to be a really well optimised interface that allows its vibration, at all frequencies to pass easily to the unit’s support structure. From there, the vibration should be converted to a less harmful form, for example work and heat. In this way, we avoid connecting the unit to the harmful ground-born vibration, while still removing vibration. From that point, we need to think about isolating the support structure from ground-borne vibration. Typically this is done by providing a series of high impedance interfaces that the ground-born vibration has difficulty in bridging, and ensuring that the support structure’s own resonance frequencies are adequately dealt with. This may include providing low contact area interfaces like spikes, bearings that convert the vibration to work, or high compliance interfaces that resist the ingress of vibration and convert what does transfer into heat.
All the time we’re doing this, we need to ensure that the materials we are using are adding positive qualities to the sound. Some materials have very definite resonance frequencies, defined by a sharp peak in their amplitude vs frequency plot. Glass for example. What we actually need are either materials that have a very diffuse vibrational spectrum.....bamboo or maple come to mind, or we need to treat the material to diffuse or remove its resonances. Ideally we do both if we want the very best results.
So, what do I use to treat vibration?
My components are mounted on a Finite Elemente Pagoda Master Reference stand. Built from maple and aluminium, the components are connected to the Maple shelves via hard wood blocks, thereby creating a low impedance interface between component case and shelf. The shelf itself is controlled by a number of oscillators, tuned to the shelves’ resonant frequencies. The oscillators convert the resonant frequencies to work and some heat, and are about 90% effective in calming the shelf and removing component generated vibration. The shelf itself is mounted on 2 sets of spikes, both downward and sideways facing. The main structure of the rack is placed on bearings which provide both isolation by virtue of their small contact area and conversion to work....the real life equivalent of such an interface would be trying to push a car while standing on wet sheet ice.
I’m curious what your opinion was on listening to the 2 clips I posted, your in-room recording vs a generic YouTube download. You obviously heard a difference given your conclusion that one was remastered. Usually its pointless trying to evaluate anything from YouTube videos, given the camera and all the file handling and music processing algorithms involved, but in this case, the differences are well preserved, relating mainly to Pace, Rhythm and Timing. The differences are so clear that remastering does come to mind, but that’s not what’s going on (at least IMO). I noticed as soon as I heard the clip that it sounded far slower than I was used to and lacked the propulsive slow rhythmic snap that makes it so entertaining. I was curious if that was an effect of YouTube or system related. Given that in terms of PRaT, a YouTube equivalent sounds more like what I’m used to, my conclusion is that its system related. I would therefore conclude that tying down the components and hard linking them to ground borne vibration has the effect of removing some of the music‘s ‘vitality’. This is of course just my opinion and if you find the result entirely to your liking you are the only one you need to please. I obviously have no idea how your system sounded before you implemented these measures. However you are promoting the effect as beneficial on any system, and there we disagree.
Sorry, but I can't fathom much of anything you say here or elsewhere.

You seem intent to come across at least to me as some type of theoretical and ecumenic witch doctor creating a witch's brew where you're throwing into the pot most/all variations of vibration mgmt, stirring it up and whoola you've got the best of all worlds.

To the best of my knowledge, very few things in life, if any, benefit from such an ecumenic strategy. Especially when at least some methods must be thoroughly complete to perform at their optimal or it falls on its face (i.e. resonant energy transfer) and when some of the methods, principles, and materials mentioned are diametrically opposed to one another. Life just doesn't work that way unless perhaps one has special metaphysical powers. Funny how when it comes to the topic of vibration mgmt, it seems anything goes - unchecked.

Moreover, when you detail flavors of resonant energy transfer, you mention the use of inferior materials (as though they are superior) that IME greatly hamstring sonic benefits. IOW, at least from my perspective it's impossible for you to possess even an inkling that, "Vibration is detrimental to sound quality." Or even make such a claim with a straight face.

But you could really hammer your points home by providing a single in-room video. You have a smart phone, right? You don't even need an aftermarket microphone as often times the tiny built-in mic is sufficient enough that with a bit of imagination will provide a good idea where you're coming from.

Even a few still pictures of what you're doing would really benefit. Surely you can produce a few pictures. Without either a video / audio or at least pictures, something / anything to substantiate your supposed configuration and unusual statements, I'm left to believe you're just blowin' smoke. Sorry.
 
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wil

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2015
308
128
128
#95
I do think it would be really interesting to hear a video comparison:

same recording, same exact source streamed from Qobuz or Tidal, smart phone mic, same SPL level
 

Blackmorec

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2019
312
400
68
67
#96
Sorry, but I can't fathom much of anything you say here or elsewhere.

You seem intent to come across at least to me as some type of theoretical and ecumenic witch doctor creating a witch's brew where you're throwing into the pot most/all variations of vibration mgmt, stirring it up and whoola you've got the best of all worlds.

To the best of my knowledge, very few things in life, if any, benefit from such an ecumenic strategy. Especially when at least some methods must be thoroughly complete to perform at their optimal or it falls on its face (i.e. resonant energy transfer) and when some of the methods, principles, and materials mentioned are diametrically opposed to one another. Life just doesn't work that way unless perhaps one has special metaphysical powers. Funny how when it comes to the topic of vibration mgmt, it seems anything goes - unchecked.

Moreover, when you detail flavors of resonant energy transfer, you mention the use of inferior materials (as though they are superior) that IME greatly hamstring sonic benefits. IOW, at least from my perspective it's impossible for you to possess even an inkling that, "Vibration is detrimental to sound quality." Or even make such a claim with a straight face.

But you could really hammer your points home by providing a single in-room video. You have a smart phone, right? You don't even need an aftermarket microphone as often times the tiny built-in mic is sufficient enough that with a bit of imagination will provide a good idea where you're coming from.

Even a few still pictures of what you're doing would really benefit. Surely you can produce a few pictures. Without either a video / audio or at least pictures, something / anything to substantiate your supposed configuration and unusual statements, I'm left to believe you're just blowin' smoke. Sorry.
Hey Stehno,
here you go! Most of the research, measurement work and prototyping was done by University of Applied Sciences, Laboratory for Vibration Technology and Acoustics in Dortmund Germany, together with Finite Elemente
https://www.finite-elemente.eu/dm-wp-content/uploads/resonator_EN_high_final.pdf

the only thing I’ve added are wooden blocks between the components and the rack’s shelves in order to bypass the components’ rubber feet and enhance energy transfer. On reflection I realise that my car/ice metaphor probably wasn’t the best, or most accurate. For the rest I guess we comprehensively disagree. The problem with handling vibration is that the component generated vibration needs to be drained, but at the same time if you drain it into the planet or structures built on the planet you then have to prevent the Planet’s vibrations from entering the component. While these 2 approaches may seem to conflict, there are plenty of good engineering solutions that’s combine both drain in one direction and isolation in the other. The trick is in using energy conversion rather than grounding to handle the component‘s vibration, then its simply a matter of drain-convert-isolate, performed in series. Not very complicated at all. One thing for me is utterly clear, a single strategy of either isolation or grounding only solves half the problem and when taken to extremes can cause other sound quality related issues. .
 
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