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 just finished converting a built-in box or cove that held a big old TV.  It put an open box in the room and is a nightmare for audio perfection.  After lining the sides and top with carpeting I have add 12' x 12" accoustic tiles to back and corners.  The base is a 3/4" plywood sheet that sits on braces on each side.  I built a laminate of my own.  First layer is 1/4" cork, then a layer of rubbery shelf sheeting, then carpet, then a 3/4" finished poplar board (well varnished), then the 2' x 1' ceramic tile that I glued a layer of felt to the back so it would not scrape the wood.
My TD-160 now sits on Vibrapod risers that sit on this sandwich that has NO significant vibrations at all.  If you don't have a slab of marble the 2' x 1' pieces are about $3.00 each and easy to stack a few up if you want the real heavy weight.  A slab of marble would not be any better performer than a well thought out layering and lamintion.
Add on:  instead of spikes on my 4 foot homemade towers I have baking pans that fit the 12" x 18" footprint of the 100+pound speakers and filled them with sand.  On a carpeted, poured concrete basement floor the vibration issue is 'dead' in the sand.  
"@n80 perhaps you might have an answer?"

No. I have a basic understanding about different types of wood but no real knowledge about which characteristics are best for audio. The total of my experience consists of sorbothane, walnut and MDF.

In fact, it seems that the waters are very muddy in regard to anchoring vs isolation of various components.

I’m surprised no one has mentioned it (or maybe I missed it) but there are viscous fluid dampers for various types of machinery and sensitive equipment. I’d assume someone makes these for audio equipment. The ones I recall for machinery were terribly expensive.
rcronk, yours is the exact situation I've got here. What I figured on doing is to raise the flat screen TV which covers the existing opening, only high enough to make a space for my VPI turntable to set, and high enough to be able to remove it's dust cover. I was going to leave the remaining unused space behind the flat screen open. I figured that would be a good area for heat from the electronics shelved below to dissipate. I hope that open space doesn't create audio side effects like you've experienced. If so I may have to try some of the treatments you've done. Thanks for the heads up.

The existing box is completely framed in with 2x4's and is made out of 1/2" plywood. So it will probably vibrate like crazy. Hopefully using my leftover marble slab with rubbery shelf sheeting under it will handle this issue adequately for the turntable. The rest of the shelves will be built underneath the current opening and will be of Baltic Birch and constructed as some here suggested and I've outlined above.

Gawdbless ,any idea of what the resonant qualities of bamboo are?

Geoffkitt, one of the  advantages of Baltic Birch plywood, I'm guessing, is the plys' grains are cross matched, each plys' grain going in opposite directions. I would hope this would damp resonant vibration. I'm only venturing an uneducated guess here though. We'll soon see.

The use of beads to isolate the plates was a pretty big gain in reducing internal and external noise transmission.  In my earlier models you can see a simple stack of acrylic on corian with 3 beads separating them.  The TT just sits on top.  It does more than you think.  Way before all that I just sat it on a sheet of 5/8 quality plywood.  My preamp still sits on just that. Plywood.  My DAC and server are on a piece of corian with my isolating bead on a square of corian on a piece of loose felt.  Not the sticky back type.  I got the corian as waste from a second ha d reuse shop.  The acrylic from tap plastic.  A drill press helps to make good holes, but clamp the 2 pieces together and just drill 3 holes strait through.  A small hole.  Them take a larger bit and dimple the hole a little larger to hold the bead.  If you screw up, reclamp it, drill another hole next to it.