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.


Bdp24, appreciate you getting back to me. I’ll give the 3/4" Baltic birch a try. I’ll track down some ASC Wall Damp too.

What I think I am going to try are shelves constructed as bdp24 recommends. They will be edged with a strip of sorbothane to butt against the vertical side walls as Steve suggests. I’ll make the shelves adjustable in height, sitting them on clips on vertical tracks with sorbothane between the shelves and the clips, as George suggests. Lastly I’ll set my slab of marble on the top shelf for the turntable, over a piece of padded shelf liner as Steve suggests. I’ll edge the slab with sorbothane too.

I’ll set the components on footers, likely the economical $6 virapods schubert recommended.

If anyone see any flaws with this plan or ways to improve it, please let me know. Thanks you all.


I'm quite keen on Panzerholz, a German plywood-like product. But it's damn pricey, so most people won't bother.
Made my own footers from a 1.5 square piece of corian 1/2" thick.  I put a dimple in the top and set a Druzy stone in the dimple.  Thw stone is kind of like lava.  When you flick it with your finger its a dull click.  You can put a piece of tooth pick in the bead and set it in a small hole in the dimple to keep it more stable.  You can also put a tiny spot of blue tape on top for more friction and avoid any scratching.  $1.50 footers each. 
Terry, I'll look Panzerholz up. Where do you access it?

Kingrex, I'll have to look up what a Druzy stone is. Thanks for the economical idea. There's few corners to be cut in the high end audio market.

lowrdier57 said:

" It's great that you're pleased with the sound of your system. i remember when you came to the forum asking for advise."

I'm very new to all this...which might be why I don't hear any differences in the various low buck tweaks I've made. However, I do hear differences in other things like speaker placement, listening position, differences between DACs, possibly some room changes.

And this brings up another subject that puzzles me somewhat and is relevant to this discussion: Component placement. We hear that your pre-amp/amp should not be between the speakers because of sonic vibration from them. Fine. I get the point. But I have some problems with this. First, for many of us, there just isn't any other option. Second, why is it better to have the components somewhere in front of the speakers than between and behind them? Some say you can find a sonic dead spot in the room and put them there....but that sounds impractical in the reality of most rooms. One audio-critic said the components should be in another room altogether! 

Anyway, when I build my shelves the components will be between and slightly behind the speakers. No other option. This also brings up a couple of issues. First, vibration transmitted through whatever the components are sitting on....which is the focus of this discussion...but what about sound vibrations that strike the unit? You can buy room baffles and reflectors....does anyone make some type of sound absorbing or reflecting material that can go in front of a pre-amp that will fit on a shelf or a stand?