Best building material for vibration free shelving

I am building some built into the wall shelves for my VPI Classic 2 SE turntable, amp, preamp, CD player, and old Burwen TNE 7000A transient noise eliminator (that’s one for you old-timers to remember), as well as my DISH Network receiver box. The shelves must match in appearance the typical looking built-in wood bookshelves already in the room. The shelves will be located directly under my 45" wide flat screen television. They will be wide enough to hold two components side by side, other than the VPI turntable which will have the top shelve to itself due to its extra width. I will be building the shelves high and deep to allow for plenty of air circulation around the components. They will be painted.

My question is, what materials might you suggest building the shelves with to minimize vibration? If they were for books I’d normally build the sides, and top out of 3/4" birch sided plywood, the back out of 1/4 inch luan plywood, and the shelves out of oak to deal with the weight of the books without bending. I will be adding vibration damping feet under each component and am not looking for suggestions along those lines, only material and perhaps design recommendations to reduce vibration.

I was researching this last night online and on site, and saw recommendations to use four thicknesses of 3/4 inch High Density (HD) MDF, also to use granite or marble under the turntable, among other recommendations. I was wondering how birch veneered plywood would work too, as it’s ply’s, I believe, have their grains running in opposite directions. Maybe there’s some way to isolate the uprights from the horizontal shelves to reduce vibration transmission.

What would you think would work best for these built-ins. I’d appreciate any recommendations you have or your experience on this subject. Thank you for any ideas.


I can’t help you much but I have essentially the same project coming up.

I will also use a high quality 3/4 plywood with hardwood veneer exterior.

The recommendations you got on the internet are probably sound. But who has the time, skill, resources and money to build with marble or granite? You could certainly get a counter top installer to do it but that is hardly going to fit the decor of the existing shelves you mentioned.

Like wise, 2.5 inches of MDF is simply going to be ugly if that thickness is visible anywhere.

To be honest, I’d just focus on making them sturdy and let your basic vibration reduction techniques handle the isolation tasks. Thats what I’m going to do.

I think the primary area you would want to focus on in terms of isolation is how your shelves will be suspended. My middle shelf, which the pre-amp will sit on, will be adjustable. If you will have adjustable shelves you could always add strips of sorbothane to the underside of the shelf that contacts the support pegs or brackets.

I’m not into vinyl to any serious extent so isolating a TT is not one of my issues. My amp weighs 100 pounds so that will be an issue for me. You could easily get a piece of granite from a counter top maker and have it sitting on the top shelf with sorbothane feet under it and then whatever else you use to isolate the TT under the TT resting on the granite.

George, appreciate you replying. I actually do have one 3/4" thick piece of marble the exact 40" length I’d need. I had it made up years ago to fit on top of an old antique cabinet housing my stereo equipment. My Bang and Olufsen turntable sat on it. The cabinet's long gone, but I couldn’t bear to throw out the marble. I just wasn’t sure if reusing that would be helpful of not. Somewhere I came across someone saying that granite can vibrate in and of itself in response to sound waves. Who knows? Lots of contradictory advice on the internet.

I usually make shelving by dadoing slots into the uprights for the shelves to fit into. You might have a good idea there about using adjustable shelf brackets, and sitting the shelves on them with sorbothane in between the shelf, clips, and maybe the uprights too. I’ve lots of leftover metal brackets and clips out in the garage for adjustable shelving. Where do you get sorbothane?

I just read the instructions for my new VPI Classic 2 turntable. They said the turntable is heavy, like your amp, and has its own isolation feet, so it should not vibrate. So that simplifies that part of the equation.



Anybody else out there with ideas? I’d love to hear them.

As far as reducing micro vibration is concerned, I've had good results with corian on my steel sand filled rack, using the half dome soft iso (I believe) disks between them. It looks very nice as well, but doesn't look like wood. The shelves themselves are only 13 X 16. Not sure how well it would work at 45 inches.  
I have 2 maple platforms that need refinishing, I used one for my Scout and the other for my Prime.  The larger is 22 by 18 by 3 inches thick of air dried maple.  The smaller one is 18 by 15 by 2 inches thick of air dried maple.  I painted them black but they look crummy.  Need to be sanded and repainted.   If someone wants to drive up to me, they can have them. I will NOT ship them. Send me a PM