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 have 3" solid maple bought on here from lady in MI underneath both my DD and belt TT on top of a 1" MDF cabinet .I have tried ALL the usual suspects under their feet and found 6$ virapods best .
You can get various forms of sorbothane on Amazon. It can be expensive.

I'm not a fan of MDF for long horizontal load bearing pieces, like a shelf. MDF doesn't compress much and it has a lot of strength when standing vertically, which is good. But in the long axis it breaks fairly easily...think long shelf with something heavy in the middle. 

williewonka, I made some feet for my preamp out of walnut that I had lying around. The rubber feet of the pre-amp sit in the little divots on top, the wood blocks sit on 1/4" sorbothane pads. Does any of this make any difference? I have no idea. Kind of doubt it, but total cost was about $12.
@n80, not a good idea to use the preamp’s rubber feet coupling into a hardwood footer. You can’t rely on the stock rubber feet to provide any isolation; also, rubber will colour the sound and the feet are not secure since they are either glued or screwed into the preamp chassis.
For transparent isolation, footers should sit under the component itself. This way any vibration will travel from the underside of the chassis to the footer. There are two methods of isolating a component, either drain vibration to a platform or plinth, or decouple the component from the shelf.

There are many threads on this subject in the archives. Geoffkait has provided very good advice regarding acoustic isolation.

Your walnut footers look like a good design for draining vibration and also for isolating acoustic/ mechanical vibration from the shelf. What you are missing is a set of cones where the flat end sits under the preamp and the point sits in the dimple of the walnut footer.

@williewonka, have you compared your wood cones with Myrtle wood blocks? I'm using the blocks under my tube amp and find that the image is not well focused perhaps due to vibration.

I like the idea of using wooden cones rather than blocks. I also found these cones...
These are made of oak, the Glasshouse are beech. Any thoughts if using cones would be superior to the Cardas Myrtle wood?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. 3/4"-19mm 13-ply Baltic Birch is really stiff, and fairly non-resonant, much more so than Maple. Two pieces of it with a thin sheet of constrained layer damping between them makes for an excellent shelf. Maple may be liked for it's "pleasing sonority", but who wants that? Apparently a lot of people ;-) .