How do you deal with vibration?

Greetings all,

Many of us work very hard to keep vibration out of our equipment. I was hoping we could share our experiences with each other. I was wondering what other DIY methods people are using?

I personally have had good luck with shipping open cell foam under plywood. I find that about 60-70 percent compression works best. I place the foam underneath some plywood (Using spruce 3/4 inch). Then I place the component on the plywood. However, I think this more isolates the component from outside vibration. I don't think it does much to drain internal vibrations, especially in a CD transport.

Also I can not find open cell foam in town any more. I am ashamed to say that I actually went to Wal-mart to buy some. Now they don't carry it any more. So I was wondering where else I can get some?

I am currently thinking about building a Sandbox for my CD player and amp. Then putting the sand box on top of some sort of isolation material (open cell foam or cork rubber etc.) My thoughts are the foam or cork or etc should help keep the vibrations from getting into the equipment and the box should drain the internal vibrations.

Also, what are peoples experience with different woods. I live in BC so I can get most wood fairly cheap. I imagine every wood has it's own sonic signature due to it's resonant frequency. What works best? Solid maple, birch ply, MDF, walnut, mahogany etc...?\

Anyways, feel free to through ideas and experience (both good and bad) out there. It would be good to know what works and what doesn't.

Happy tweaking,
Aside from tts or microphonic tubes, what is the fuss about vibration control? Can you explain to me how vibrations are supposed to affect transistor equipment and how audible any such phenomenon might be?

It is still a wonder to me how grown-ups can spend any time worrying about this instead of listening to music.
check this link

if you want some real indepth stuff please look under my "threads" by simply hitting thr threads button next to my name. you'll find a large number of threads and posts that date back to the earliest years here at Audiogon. Alot of thoughts are expressed from peaople no longer here.
Pbb, Why do you care about what others worry about. Seems like it would be more fun for you just to listen to more music? :-)

About two years ago I built a sandbox. The result was not encouraging. The sound got dry and constricted. The material underneath the box did not seem to affect this behaviour.

Of course the result is system dependent, but, in my case, I gave up the sandbox and returned to the ceraballs which produced a far more effective result.

Also tried Granite slabs (with or without cork sheets), bubble-wrap and did not liked the result also.

The CDP then was a Meridan 508.24

Pbb, do you know what happens if you move a wire in a magnetic field? You get current flow. Your components are full of wires with magnetic fields around them caused by their having current flows. If you vibrate them with sound waves, you generate non-music current flows. Also ac transformers with varying demands for current sing themselves and vibrate the unit. Your sound would be much better were you able to remove all vibration.
I was dubious about vibration, but saw a set of Aurios Classic 1.2 isolation devices and thought I'd give them a try. I'm not sceptical now, they seemed to help dramatically and my Shanling CDT 100 was already on an acrylic stand on vibrapods and that on a Hutter rack. It seems isolation does matter. It' is not because the Shanling is a valve player, it works on the SS output also. The Aurios really did dramatically tighten up the detail, imaging etc and I'm no golden eared Audiophile. Changes have to be quite dramatic for me to notice. If you can borrow a set, or buy one cheap, try them out.
Newbee, your point is beside the point. What you are in fact saying is that only believers need apply. Nice mentality!

Have someone thump your transistor power amp unbeknownst to you while you are listening to music and tell me if you actually hear anything different from the speakers.

Insofar as the moving a wire in a magnetic field is concerned, TBG, at what level does one start to worry that it has any audible effect, assuming that the model of the wire in the magnetic field is valid?
>>I was dubious about vibration<<

>>my Shanling CDT 100 was already on an acrylic stand on vibrapods and that on a Hutter rack.<<

You couldn't have been that dubious, you were already a consumer of vibration control products and were out purchasing more.

In any case, former skeptics with conversion stories are not uncommon in religion, paranormal phenomenon -- and audio.
Basically what I am wondering is:
What DIY platforms work best for each component?

Does a sandbox or a DIY symposium (or other) work better for CD players?
What works best for amps?

Pbb, What I'm actually saying is that I feel that there is no need to debase someone else's beliefs. Other than some ego satisfaction you might gain, it serves no purpose.

Personally, I would feel just as comfortible saying "based on my experience I could hear no differences when solid state devises were isolated from or coupled to other surfaces" and then go on to speak to how I would treat vibrations as they relate to tube products and turntables.

The poster wanted to talk about DIY vibration control techniques and materiels. I didn't note that he asked for any opinions about the efficacy of such controls.

There are a lot of things out there that a lot of folks feel good about believing that can't be explained or even proven to exist. Start with God. With your mentality I could visualize you going to church to proclaim to the folks in prayer that they were wasting their time, that no one was listening.

Now since Nickway has reposted, and your post implied that vibration controls can be effective for TT & tubes why not sieze the opportunity and share your experiences on how to deal with these components. That would be a nice positive thing to do.

I don't mind other poeple posting their comments. By all means feel free.
I just did not want my question to get lost.

Nickway, FWIW, I have achieved the best results in DIY isolation products for components and turntables, much the same way as you have, by using a sandwich of materiels, usually a soft wood and a medium density foam product. What I use depends on the sensitivity and the weight of the component, but my purpose with all components is to prevent incoming vibrations and to allow the vibrations from components (either airborne or self generating (as in CD players) to flow to a substance that is absorbent such as soft wood. Unlike others I don't subscribe to hardwoods or stone products, and I usually want the mass of the vibrating component to exceed the mass of the substrate. IMHO sandboxes can work just fine with the sand taking the place of the foam product. FWIW, except with ultra sensitive equipment, I don't believe in fussing too much about this process. Much of the damaging vibrations your system will experience are airborne and most the damage is done before the vibrations reach the control devise. The cost of materiels is relatively cheap and its a fun Saturday project in the workshop. :-)
Tbg is correct that a wire moved in a magnetic field generates a voltage. But there is no reason to believe that the stray magnetic field is large enough or the vibration-induced movement great enough to have any measurable or audible effect.

The purpose of comments discounting the effect of vibration (except for TT and tubes) is not to debase anyone's belief. We don't care what Tbg believes...whatever makes him happy. The purpose is to forewarn newcomers who might think his opinion is accepted truth.
Actually, some of you just might be amazed at what proper vibration control can do to the sonics.

But of course I use the word proper implying that, as with most things, there must an improper way as well.

There are two basic camps of vibration control, the isolation and dampening aka decoupling camp and the mechanical transfer aka coupling camp. And there is actually another camp which is a hybrid of the first two camps.

And there are 3 main types of vibration/resonance that will reek havoc on the sonics. 1. air-borne, 2. electrical / mechanical (internally generated), and 3. floor-borne.

Nickway made the statement, "many of us work very hard to keep vibration out of our system."

The important question to ask of course is which of the 3 main types of vibration reeks far more havoc than the other two?

Because 'working very hard' really should mean nothing compared to 'working very efficiently.'

I agree with your methodology...

I too think that the battle is fought on two fronts:
1. Keeping external vibration out.
2. Dealing with internal and airborne vibrations on the component itself.

My idea was a sandbox for internal vibrations. Then have it sitting on foam (or cork or bike tire) for external vibrations.

I also think it helps to add mass on top of CD players when possible. I think it helps transfer the vibration into the absorption device (in this case a sandbox). I think it as helps dampen vibration in the transport through the chassis. Something like a sandbox sitting on or a slab of granite would work.

So within that do you find foam, cork, bike tires (or other) to allow for better isolation from external vibrations?

Nickway, If you've done the sandbox thing well the sand should be absorbing, and not passing, any vibrations in any direction. But, if I were to do something like that, I would probably use some medium soft rubber product and spread it over a broad enuf area that it doesn't compress much with the weight of the box and component. Adding mass is advocated by Bright Star who, I'm sure you are aware makes sandboxes. I sort of agree - as I indicated I think the mass of the component should exceed the mass/density of the materiel it sits on in order for the vibrations to be absorbed - I'm not on overload on the subject. What I do believe in though regarding mass loading, is putting non resonant weights on things that do resonate easily and can as easy be heard, that is transformer covers, metal cases etc (however, that is not a universal indorsement of putting "magic bricks" on every thing in sight). Again, experiment and do what you think sounds best to you. BTY I do not use metal, glass or stone of any type for two reasons, they all ring (hit one with a hammer and you hear it) and because of their density they are not capable of absorbing vibrations in any meaningful way.
Stehno, Just for fun, my answer to your penultimate sentence is floor borne and airborne. Vibrations produced within a component have always done their damage, and except for allowing vibrations at their resonsonce frequencies to pass out to an absobing substrate, there's not much you can do - I guess some mass loading might change the resonance frequencies but that could concievably make it worse or better. IMHO YMMV Etc Etc.
Pbb and Eldarford, both of you are dismissing the effect of vibration induced non-music. Eldarford goes further to suggest that it is inaudible. I have no concern whether you think it is inaudible. Nevertheless, at some level it is real and an explanation for why vibration control can influence what we hear.
Pbb, what was your reason for your commenting on this thread? You show me no knowledge and/or first hand experience on this topic, yet your more than willing to ridicule those who are trying to constructively answer the question at hand. Because of your “need” to irritate and ridicule the original poster needed to ask the question again to get the thread on track. If you have no experiences to share, please move on.

As I recommended in my original post I have given you access to years of experiences and experiments. The biggest problem I have found is DIY projects fall short on a grand scale to some of the products I have found actually work.

I will explain a couple avenues that will work with great success, and try to outline how you might be able to apply that knowledge in a DIY project. First you will need to determine which direction you believe you want to go, the weight and mass approach or the light and ridged approach. I have tried both, again look over the threads I have started.

Light and rigid is far and away the most natural and musical in my system. If however you are weak in the bass area, weight and mass will originally sound like it is providing the most impact, but at a cost to tempo, pace and ultimately musicality.

Light and rigid: this is the theory that vibration should be drained as quickly away from the component being isolated and not stored within the shelf or rack but rather drained through the light ridged rake to earth. Any mass, sandbox, wood, stone, lead will store vibration and counteract the process you’re trying to achieve by releasing this stored energy back to the point of contact with the component.

So, what should you do? The first issue to address is the frame/ rack. A thin steel frame is best for light and rigid. Mana racks (extremely expensive) could be a model to follow. (Check them both online) Apollo is a second rack system that uses this philosophy Light weight steel angles welded to create a rigid lightweight frame. (If you can weld, or have a friend who can, this should be your first project) Many racks use sand or lead shot to mass load them, again I believe this is the wrong direction to pursue.

Once the rack is addressed you need to look at shelves. Mana and Apollo racks support the shelf with upturned spikes that are in effect a sharpened to a point threaded bolt without the bolt head. Tempered glass makes a decent rigid lightweight shelf but is limited to lighter components. MDF is still a very reliable product and has less storage potential than solid wood. The best shelf product is Neuance shelves. Again this is a name brand, and would be difficult to reproduce, but if you’re into manufacturing or attempting to manufacture I’ll outline what the Neuance is made of, and maybe you know how to duplicate it yourself. The shelf is made from an insulation board, I’m not sure if it’s open cell or extruded, but my guess is open cell. Assuming your going to make a shelf capable of supporting 50 lbs, the thickness of the end product is maybe 1½ “ thick. You would need to start with a 3” thick foam board. The foam needs to be squashed down to 1¼” thickness. Neuance uses a thin ceramic laminate product as the shell. They glue a number of plies together on all six sides to create a strong rigid lightweight shell around the foam core. I guess some other product could be the shell. Plastic laminate, wood veneers, ceramic veneers, glass or who knows, you could experiment until the cows come home. The result of this product is a super thin lightweight skin to allow vibration to quickly be either drained or absorbed in a multi-frequency core. Multi-frequency because the outside of the insulation would be denser than the center, due to the compression process.

The next product I have found to be very useful are metal cones. Different metals have different sonic characteristics. Titanium is my favorite but extremely expensive, brass is also very good and quite affordable. The reason cones are so successful is that they receive vibration on the wide side (component) and drain the vibration to the shelf. Vibration that may want to travel from the shelf to the component is restricted in its effects because the point is the only contact. I have found some success with steel balls. These tend to be like a two sided cone. Both the shelf contact and component contact is limited to the single contact point. This is more of an isolation product than a draining product, but assuming the majority of vibration is from the floor and airborne, then absorbed by the rack then this can be a very useful cheap isolation product. Different materials produce different sonic characteristics. I bought a number of balls made of a vast amount of materials. (Easy to find manufacturers on line) I liked ceramic, high carbon steel, titanium and brass the best. Rubber, steel, aluminum and glass were less successful. The problem with balls as you might have guessed is rolling, and potentially off the shelf. It then requires a way to keep it in place. Glue or some rubber product could be used, but of course this alters the entire concept. If you had a Dremel or a drill and shaped a metal plate into a dish that the ball could loosely sit in, that could be the bottom “tray” for the ball. This would prevent the majority of component movement. It would still be possible for the component to move over time due to the ball vibrating (rolling) in place. Another thought would be to have a washer on the component side if the dish was to hard to build. This would react more like a cone in that the washer would be the contact point on the component and the ball bottom on the shelf.

This brings us to the biggest improvement product in my entire system. Bearings. The Aurios products are amazing, but could be duplicated if you have access to a metal shop. These products effect components as listed in a sequential order of effectiveness; first speakers, rack, source (CD), pre-amp, amp, power conditioner. If you want to make a marked improvement to your system, try these under your speakers. WOW.

Two additional issues you should work on if you want the most from each dollar you invest into your system, are room acoustics and power. These issues are beyond the scope of this thread, but must be considered.

To those who doubt the above rambling, fine, simply move on. Your comments are not necessary here, we know you exist and respect your opinion. If you have experiences that are not matching mine, great, post away. This is a DIY thread, but I assure you from my DIY projects, the products referred to above are the leaders in each area, and can take your system to a new level. Do you need to do these things? Of course not, but in my system they have added percentage wise far more than their cost. If I take three thousand dollars and buy tweaks, or buy more expensive equipment, the tweaks will out perform the components ten fold. Now my system is relatively expensive and it would be crazy to buy a $200 set of bearings for a $500 pair of speakers, but if you are looking at a $1500 pair of speakers and they seem almost as good as the $2500 speakers you heard, see if they will audition them with Aurios. I’ll bet you’ll walk out with eight hundred extra dollars in your pocket.

Hi J.D.,

Please allow me to make a distinction in reference to one of your comments.

J.D. said:

Any mass, sandbox, wood, stone, lead will store vibration and counteract the process you’re trying to achieve by releasing this stored energy back to the point of contact with the component.

Because of the ability of the bed of sand within the "sandbox" platform to change the destructive mechanical energy (vibration) into benign thermal energy (heat) it does not store and then release the mechanical energy back into the component as the other materials you mentioned will do. The friction at the contact points of the individual sand grains to one another is where the energy changes form (energy is never destroyed - it can only change form). My comment does presume that the "sandbox" is designed correctly, especially paying close attention to the interface between the component and the sand and the material from which the interface is made.

I would also like to note that all the "sandboxes" discussed on internet forums are copes of my original design, the Bright Star Big Rock, which I designed in 1985.

Best Regards,

Barry Kohan
The finest vibration control device I have found so far is the Vibraplane. The effects were immediate and obvious whereas most other products I have tried offer some to no effect. I also like Sistrum racks.
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I am afraid that am not so sure on the light and rigid philosophy.
I agree that having something that is light a rigid is a very good way to provide a path for vibration, but I think there is a big problem included in that. Once the vibration travels down the stand where is it going to go? It will try and go into the floor. But the floor is not going to be able to drain the vibration as the floor itself is full of vibration from the loudspeakers. In fact would this not also also a clear path from the vibrations in the floor to the component itself?

I think there needs to be some sort of buffer between the stand and the component (As the stand is already spiked on the floor to decouple it as much as possible). Then on top of that buffer there must be a way to absorb/disperse the vibration as efficiently as possible as not to put it back into the component. Thus the idea of the rollerblock on top of a sandbox?

Sorry, I am not trying to sound like a know-it all-here (after-all I did post looking for help). I am just not sure I understand your logic. I am not quite sure where the vibration is going to be absorbed or dispersed with the light and rigid philosophy.

"To those who doubt the above rambling, fine, simply move on. Your comments are not necessary here, we know you exist and respect your opinion."

I spotted an incorrect item in your post, but okay. This is audiogon, not a place for disagreement.
He said..He said. How do we know the truth?. Well, why not make some measurements.

I put my PS Audio PS II outboard phono preamp (a high gain circuit that would most likely be affected by vibration) into a plastic hamper with a small speaker system and my calibrated SPL mic. I powered the speaker with a spare preamp and amp. For a signal (vibration creator)I fed in a 125 Hz warble tone. The two Behringer DEQ2496 (of my regular system) allow me to measure SPL (inside the box) and, simultaneously, the line out signal derived from the phono input coming from the outboard PS Audio preamp. Ideally this signal would be zero with no LP playing. The idea is to see how much signal can be generated by shaking the hell out of the phono preamp circuit.

Using the auxillary preamp, I cranked up the volume to 110 dB inside the box. Then I turned the warble tone OFF and ON, and observed the line out signal to be -77 dB rms in either case. In other words, the 110 dB SPL from a loudspeaker 3 inches from the circuit had absolutely no effect.

Then, to be sure that I was not making observations at too low a main system volume setting, I turned off the warble tone, relocated the mic to the listening room, and played a LP with the same volume setting (maximum)on my main preamp. The LP SPL for a moderately loud passage was 90 to 100 dB rms.

From this test I think I know the effect of vibration on an electronic circuit. What do you think? And why.
Interesting Thread. I will share what I have found over the years and use presently. I will start this with stating that I have owned all kinds of vibration treatment devices. (Bright Start, AudioQuest, German Cones, Audio Points, Dh Cones, You name it)

What brought the best results (In my system) using trial and error as my guide are made of wood. There is a small company called Monument Reference which manufactures Brazilian Rosewood Devices which are treated with a Varnish much like that used on Violins. I have them under my CD Player and my Cary SLI-80.

The results are fantastic. They really added a whole new state of musicality and realism to my system. I highly suggest you give them a try. A/B your system with and without and you will be hooked. I think the website is

Tvad; the results were simple to describe and quite stunning, clarity in the imaging within the soundstage. Better pace and tempo. The bass had better definition, was punchier and had better focus and location. Trebles were highly defined; and maybe a bit more air and very clean Midrange was three dimensional and again more focused.
Physically was the greatest surprise. My speakers are six feet tall and tend to vibrate quite a bit. Meaning if I put my hand on the side, I can feel the speaker move. Once on the Aurios the speaker vibration went away, not 100% but 95% at least, the speaker is virtually still. Now think about what I just said, if the speaker went from noticeable movement to virtually still. How do you expect that to affect the music? The vibration within the speaker without the Aurios would be greater than the movement of the tweeter when producing a note. If the vibration of the box holding the tweeter is greater than the tweeters movement, it makes sense that the note would be smeared or blurred. At any rate deformed in some way. So not only do my ears hear the difference, it even makes sense.

Nickway, excellent question! I struggled with this very issue for years while trying different DIY and manufactured products. If you are lucky enough to be in a basement, the issue is solved, I am not. For years I set my equipment spiked to the hearth of our fireplace. In my house the hearth is part of the masonry mass, not placed on top of the floor system. This worked well until I changed systems and moved my system from the short wall to the long wall. I set the racks on the floor, and was very unhappy to find the sound was less defined and the tempo/ pace had slowed a great deal. My audio friend (bass freak) was unhappy because the definition and dynamics were gone. We began trying all kinds of things, eventually I discovered Aurios. They were a breakthrough, but my concern, just like yours remained. What about the floor vibration? Before I answer that, let me quickly point out how the mass loading camp is amplified by the floor issue in that the floor vibration ends up being stored in the rack and shelves. Anyway, I ended up creating “earth” by putting my racks on a 4” sandstone base. I tried other stones, but liked the sandstone best. The stone was free in that they were scrap at a local stone yard. The sandstone slabs, (I have two, one under the cd player’s rack and one under the amps, pre-amp and power conditioner racks) about 120 and 240 pounds respectively. The sandstone slabs rest on high carbon steel balls and then on Aurios Pros. This isolates the floor from my “man made earth.” Now I hear you all. BUT THAT IS MASS! Right, my experiences have proven that both camps have there places, I’ll elaborate in a bit. The point now is this large mass is significant enough that the airborne and rack borne vibration is not enough to maximize the stones capacity. I kind of skipped the detail in that I hoped to keep my first post as short as possible. At the end of this post I’ll summarize in detail my system; I just didn’t want to be so wordy. If I put it at the end, people can skip it if they wish. Again, great question Nick, and I should have addressed it earlier.

Barry, I feel I tread on thin ice here, but my experiences have not been as good with “sandbox” type products as with other products. To be completely fair however, I should say my time with your Bright Star Audio product was limited to two nights. Generally I test my tweaks for months, not days, and generally I only change one thing at a time. In the case where I tried a friends Bright Star, we were messing around with a number of things. In my experience even messing around with interconnects will require time to settle back in. I imagine your product does too. In effect, I guess my sandstone base theory is in fact a giant size sandbox, so maybe it’s best if I do not specifically discuss your type product without more knowledge. In a way I’m doing to Bright star what I preach people do not do on this and other threads. Do not talk about what you do not know. Sorry Barry, my bad! I’m sorry.

My System in detail (taken from my review of the Aesthetix Calypso line stage)
. My system starts with a Sony SCD-1 (heavily modified by Richard Kern and Audiocom-UK) fed through a Great Northern Sound “Passive Audio Signal Isolator” into a Aesthetix Calypso line stage using Mullard 10M gold pin 12AX7 gain stage tubes. I then have two Plinius SA-102 amplifiers bi-amped vertically. Meaning one amp drives the bass and the second amp the mid-range and tweeters. Both amps are played in true class A. The speakers remain Dunlavy IV-A. (No longer manufactured) All interconnects and speaker wires are Nordost Valhalla. Power cables include Nordost Valhalla (SCD-1), David Elrod ESP-2 Signature (Pre-amp) and NBS Statement (amplifiers). I use two dedicated circuits with 8 ga. wires, one for the amps and one to a Shunyata Research Hydra power conditioner fed by an Anaconda power cord. Both Circuits use Wattgate 381 outlets.
My racks sit on 4” sandstone slabs that rest on Aurios Pro isolators. Both my Mana (SCD-1) and Apollo racks are spiked to the slabs. Each component sits on a shelf “sandwich” comprised of 3/8” Aluminum shelves resting on upturned spikes from the rack. I then use a sheet of anti-static “Bubble Wrap” with a Neuance shelf sitting on the “Bubble Wrap.” The Hydra uses EAR feet between it and the Neuance shelf. The SCD-1 and both amps are supported by three Orchard Bay titanium cones (no longer available) and Aurios Pro isolators. The Placette sat on its factory footers, the Aesthetix sits on a “Tightrope” isolation system that in turn sits on a Neuance shelf “sandwich” The Dunlavy IV-A speakers sit on #3 Black Diamond Racing pucks and #4 BDR cones that then sit on Aurios Pros. Both the base and midrange/tweeter binding posts use Walker Audio High Definition Links II. All cables are raised off the floor using Cable Elevators
I use AudioPrism Quite-line system on the refrigerator, computer and T.V. outlets to cancel line noise at the source. I have home made acoustic panels in the vertical corners with triangle panels at the ceiling corners. I have one round home made acoustic column between me and an untreated window. Other windows are treated with Marigo window dots and wool curtains. The wood floors have thick wool rugs. I use an assortment of Walker Audio brass and lead pucks on much of the equipment and on two wood furniture pieces in the room. My SCD-1 has a ten pound ½” steel plate treated with s anti-vibration coating on its top and sides and a rubber sheet glued to the bottom. It then sits on four round rubber disks. (feet) The 14’-6” x 20’-0” room is used only for the stereo and is isolated from the house with French doors. The doors are covers by acoustic panels on the room side to reduce the glass surface. The house side of the glass appears as natural glass in that there is a dark surface behind the glass. The speakers are placed on the long wall approx. nine feet apart and 1/5 into the room. The listening chair is 1/3 into the room. Behind the listening chair is a teddy bear collection (acoustic bears) with book shelves on each side. There are a number of other “acoustic bears” that have been positioned in very specific locations to help focus the system. (REALLY!) Now you all have the evidence needed, I am certifiably nuts.
As you may have guest, I’m a bit anal when it comes to my stereo, but I must defend myself by saying this system is that sensitive. The tiniest change in footers or isolation can make a major difference in some tonal aspect of the presentation. A two pound weight on the top of a component might create focus that was not present before, or it might create a smear or pace change that is unacceptable. I tell you this not to show “how great my system is, or how crazy I am,” but rather to help demonstrate that when I’m talking about improving the existing qualities, I’m not discussing whole sale alterations. I’m only looking for the final couple percent. The minutiae of system synergy, the stuff I’d be willing to say most of the people even here at Audiogon would find overboard, not to mention the masses. My friends think I’m nuts to try to get more from my system, but they continue to drop their jaw when a new power cord is introduced, or when I went from MDF shelves to aluminum shelves as the bottom layer of my shelf “sandwich.”
So as you might have guessed, changing a major component is big doings, and the changes can be difficult to resolve without the proper audition method and enough time to understand what we are hearing.

Eldartford, is the calibrated SPL mic the same one you refered to in your review of a $300 romm equalization system that is clean as clean can be?
I ask only to understand the author.
Sharing a experience
A friend (non audiophile) bought a Denon 2900 and put it on the top of his no-name rack where his Denon receiver was.
He had an "av joe room", i.e. just set the speakers more or less in a triangular way ref to his seating position and that was it, no accoustic treatment, no power treatment etc.
I helped setting the HT stuff in the menus etc.

We were listening to music (redbook) and then I paused the player and placed it on brass cones (seating position was lower than rack so he couldn't see under the player and I blocked his view). Sat down and pushed "play". He immediately was puzzled and asked me :WHAT DID YOU DO? THE SOUND IS RADICALLY IMPROVED!!!

FWIW Even in this "worst case scenario" his "untrained ears" noticed the improvement.

Happy listening
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JD, I have not ridiculed anyone. For the record, once more: I think people are free to believe anything they want when it comes to how they wish to isolate any part of their system. I draw the line at wasting money and wasting time (which, as Americans have often told us is the same thing). Am I my brother's keeper? To some extent, I guess, and is that not the whole point of exchanging ideas on sites such as these? I have tried the bicycle inner tube under the CD player trick and can, without hesitation, tell you that it had no effect whatsoever. I have old Audio Technika feet under my CD player now, but am sure that I could dispense with them without missing anything. I have soft hockey pucks under most of my components but honestly, aside from the fact I like the looks, the only reason is that it allows for better air circulation and, I hope, better longevity. I bought soft door bumpers in white vinyl that I have under my ARC pre. Again, I could remove them and not miss anything. So as long as the darn things are cheap I play along some, based on the universal chicken soup can't hoyt law. Good evening.
Pbb, don't assume that others have your ears or the resolution of your system or your biases.

Eldartford, my conclusion, as always were instruments are involved, is that they don't have the resolution of human ears. I do admire, however, your efforts to instrument tests.
Tbg...I just reported some facts, and everyone can draw their own conclusions. But I must point out that in dealing with 110 dB sound/vibration input, subtle resolution is a bit of a joke.
I have some experience supporting jadem6. I have two sets of aurios, and liked them under my cd player. At the suggestion of the Audionut folks I found a nice low profile 10 lb barbell weight stuck on some rubber feet and set that on top of my cd player with the aurios underneath. I perceived a little more 'air' in the sound.

Then I tried the aurios between my Silverline SR17s and my Osiris stands. The soundstage widened, and the players seemed more clearly to occupy specific locations. Roger Waters dog on "Amused to Death" started barking behind my right ear. The cd player will have to be happy with the DH ceramic cones for now.
>>there is no need to debase someone else's beliefs.<<

>>There are a lot of things out there that a lot of folks feel good about
believing that can't be explained or even proven to exist. Start with God. With
your mentality I could visualize you going to church<<

This is not a church dedicated to one set of beliefs where good manners
means non-believers must sit reverently for fear of insulting someone's

This is a site where audiophiles of every stripe are free to join in, offer
opinions, reservations, beliefs, skeptcism, and recomendations based on
many different approaches.

This way, the people who come here get to listen to many different
approaches and everyone gets to make up their own mind.
>>I paused the player and placed it on brass cones (seating position was
lower than rack so he couldn't see under the player and I blocked his view).
Sat down and pushed "play". He immediately was puzzled and

There are several problems with this "conversion experience."

First, by pausing the music and doing something, then starting the music
again, you raised the expectation that you did something to improve the

Second, if you are the audio expert here and your buddy is the "
untrained" listener, your buddy faced peer group pressure to hear an
improvement in order to measure up.

Third, your experiment was not done double-blind. In other words, YOU
knew you had made a change and whether you know it or not, your body
language may have been giving your buddy the tip that you wanted him to
notice, were testing him, had some expectation, or that YOU thought the
sonics had improved, which would make your buddy want to please you by
complimenting the change you -- the expert -- had made by pausing the
music, getting up to make a change -- you needed to place the cones -- and
then resuming the music.

This is WHY listening tests must be done double-blind to carry any weight.

If you did this test double-blind and your buddy with his untrained ears was
eable to reliably tell when the cones were in place and when they weren't --
that would be convincing.

Now, since you claimed the chage was so dramatic that your buddy had to
exclaim that the sound was RADICALLY IMPROVED, we should expect that it
would be easy for him to tell the difference in a double-blind test.

Thank your for taking the time for your in depth message. Much appreciated.

Upon reading your post, I think we are both on the same page, and you have reinforced my initial thought.

I agree that the stand should be isolated from the floor and be very rigid. I like how you are using the sandstone slabs to do this.

I also agree that keeping a stand isolation from the floor is only half the battle. The other part is individually dealing with each component as to meet each items isolation needs. I do like the Nuance platforms that you have.

I am hoping to make some DIY platforms this weekend for myself. I am currently thinking about a Sandbox to drain internal vibrations from the component, and then the sandbox will sit upon another isolation device to keep any vibration that I have in my stand out of the isolation device for the component. For this I am thinking about some more open cell foam or maybe a bike tube? What do you think would work better here? Foam, Bike tube, cork, bubble-wrap, other??

So to summarize I will have my component sitting on a sandbox which then sits on a softer isolation device (TBD per above) which will then sit on a shelf of my rack, Then my rack is spiked to my floor. I will probably look at getting some Sandstone or another rock to put between it and my floor as you have.

For my CD player I am also planing on using some DIY rollerbock in conjunction with a sandbox, etc...

Thanks again for you help,
>>Nevertheless, at some level it is real and an explanation for why vibration
control can influence what we hear.<<

We have no *proof* that it is real.

Whether this sounds insulting or not. there are always at least two
explanations for "hearing" anything.

1) There is something "real" to hear.

2) It is caused by the imagination.

John Dunlavy used to do an experiment where he would invite audiophiles
and audio critics to his lab and position technicians behind a set of speakers.
The technicians would employ Zip Cord and the audience would be
unimpressed. Then the technicians would swap out the Zip Cord for exotic
looking speaker cables and the audience would exclaim enthusiastically
about the radical improvements they heard.

Only problem:

The cables were never really changed -- it was still Zip Cord.

Why did the audience "hear" large improvements when there was
absolutely no difference?

The mind is powerful and can supply us with sensory experiences that have
nothing to do with "reality."

So, it is always necessary -- for some of us -- to question whether any
testimonial is based on something real or something imagined.
Is it real or is it imagination? This is a reoccurring concern throughout Audiogon and Audio Asylum. Two additional factors seem always to also weigh into this dispute, namely is there a theory and can it be measured. Above and beyond this are two additional considerations-is there a cheap alternative to more expensive technologies and products and must benefits be proven to others to use them yourself.

The two paths of logic are as follows. First, without a theory to account for an observation, especially if the product is expensive, and if there are no measurable differences, it is imagination. Second, if there is an observed benefit, if you can afford it, buy it as it is real. The words, "scientific" and "sham" are words introduced into the first logic. The proponents of the second logic, if pushed, suggest that often science advances based on observations that defy old science theory, such as the impact of the X-ray discovery, etc. Man's scientific theories have often proven incorrect and often capture only a portion of what happens around us. They also suggest that they do not need protection by others from scams.

It is quite clear that neither of these logics can prove the other wrong. Much space has already been devoted to this useless enterprise, but I guess since we continue to participate, we must enjoy these crusades.

The original post here concerned how do people deal with vibration, not whether it is meaningful to do so. Perhaps we should answer that question.

For the last 20 years, I have devoted much time and money to controlling vibration. I started with marble shelves suspended on innertubes and racket or tennis balls with slits. Later I bought the first TipToes and ultimately got Valid Points, which in my experience are the best of this idea, although the Goldmund points are also quite good. I tried many stands and shelves and still have many Mana stands, which are basically spikes pointed up and down. Until the Acapella shelves, I consistently found the Neuance shelves the best, at least in my system.

About five or six years ago I got the first Aurios. I found them a real pain as the shelf had to be quite level to get the real benefit. Also heavy powercords and interconnects made their use a nightmare. I also tried the RollerBlocks and their Grade 3 balls. These and later Aurios, I always found, could not perform at the level of the original 1.0 Aurios, especially when used with tungsten carbide balls on top. On the Neuance stands, I never found feet to add anything to the quality of the sound.

Then I discovered Shun Mook pucks on top. These give a very subtle benefits in realism that cannot be otherwise achieved. I have tried ebony pucks as well as other pieces of wood.

I should also say that all along Goldmund has been advocating two soft feet and one grounding hard foot. Under their cd transport this clearly worked, especially with their quite heavy stand. Even with my Acapella shelves on Mana stands and using the Acapella feet, I do not get the purity of sound that I once got with the Goldmund transport.

I suspect that ultimately everyone will agree with me that this is a quest that is never achieved. I have been up many deadends but generally have advanced, often at substantial expense. All I can suggest is to try new devices but be prepared to conclude now or later that they are no benefit.
Very interesting post... I'm not quite at the point to begin tweaking my system with stands, virbrapods, aurios, wood blocks, etc. as I am still in search of the right component synergy...

Though one question does remain on my mind:

I thought that I would ask what the effect of a slab of granite would have? What type of vibration does it remedy (ie. assuming there is vibration and it can be remedied, of course)?

Tbg...I completely agree that turntables and tube amplifiers need all the vibration control they can get. I was very skeptical about SS circuitry, and the simple test I performed showed that, at least for my phono preamp, vibration has no effect.

CD players are still an open issue in my mind. However, I have figured out a way to test mine. I have a CD test disc which includes two tracks, digital zero (which should be zero signal) and one LSB (which is electrically measurable but inaudible). I can put the player in the test box, play these tracks, and see if the player output is affected.
Mdp0430, in my string of stuff I have tried, I neglected to include granite. Yes, I have tried it under amps as well as under the Mana stands. Its greatest strength is its mass, which is hard to vibrate at low frequencies, but it does ring. Ultimately I had a Sound Anchor stand with a steel bottom sand box on top and then the 2 inch thick granite tomestone under the amp. This all preceeded my getting Mana stands and these proved not only easier to live with and more effective.

I did get bass with great punch and quieter overall sound with the granite on sand combo, but the Manas yielded almost as good bass but much better dynamics in the music. I should say that at about the same time I switched from solid state amps to single ended triode tube amps used with efficient horns.

I did try to get the best of both worlds by putting the granite under the Mana stands. This did liittle but going to multiple Mana stands in a pile, what they call levels two, three, etc., gave clearly better results.

I think the thickness of the granite is very important. Mine was only 2 inches thick. I once tried one on top the other and that was better. I was tempted to try it but never went to three layers. As you can see, I am inclined to excess.

All that I can really say is that mass is one important element in vibration control. I doubt if anything would be better than 8 inch granite under all your equipment, assuming that your floor would support it.
rsbeck, There is a difference between sharing experiences when the shared experiences are differing, and saying (or implying) that folks who don't agree with your position are deaf, dumb or blind. The implication of Pbb's last sentence was that anyone who worried about SS devices and vibrations were, in my words, a bit anal about something that didn't exist. I gave an prototypical sentence in my post to Pbb illustrating how he could have conveyed his experience with out the judgmental factor. He does not know, in fact, what other folks can hear, only what he can hear, or not hear.

Lest you think I'm picking on the naysayers, I find the insistence of the believers that just because they heard something it must exist and if you can't hear it, or imagine that it can be heard, then your mind, ears, or system must be faulty. That tactic is one of the mainstays of marketers of useless gimmicks based on the latest technologies in other endeavors which has no logical and or scientifically proven extension to something audible in a sound system. I call it sale by intimidation. Its not unknown in these forums.

A little civility can go a long way. And, in case you think I'm riding the fence on the issue of isolation, I'm not. In my home I have found little sonic benefit from isolating or coupling SS devices - it may exist, and I have thrown salt over my shoulder by employing some - but I can't say I have really heard the differences that others describe. On the other hand I'm a DIY type of audiophile and I'm just using my limited knowledge of physics to create my own devises - probably if I experimented with some of the professionally designed and promoted systems I would hear the difference, but with limited resources I'd rather spend my money on music. :-)
Regarding civility, I thought Ohlala brought up a very valid and very basic point.

The high mass approach will only get you so far, since the high mass will move right along with the building structure under influence of sesimic type vibration. A much more effective approach is the mass-on-spring concept - i.e., decoupling the component from the environment. (Manufacturer of Nimbus Sub-Hertz Platform and Promethean Base - pneumatic and mechanical spring designs, respectively).
Tvad, another great question and one I would only be speculating to answer. There are three vibration issues (at least) regarding the speaker. First is that produced by the speaker and is retained within the speaker itself. For example within the MDF enclosure and absorbed by insulation products within the speaker casing. Second, the vibration created by the driver that has an ability to move the entire speaker cabinet in the room. If this was exaggerated we would physically see this movement. Third is the impact of the room and floor vibration, or call it the environmental elements. The bearing type products are designed to isolate or decouple the component from the environment. In the case of a speaker the floor and room vibration is isolated from the speaker. This is the area you said you understood. The second is the speaker physically moving from the vibration created by the driver itself. I’ll assume you can see how this happens, so the question is why does a bearing product stop this vibration? My speakers weigh 200 pounds each. They are being supported by a bearing. For the sake of discussion let’s simplify the bearing to a ball resting in a cupped base and a cupped top. In order for the speaker to move, it requires a sideways force large enough to move the ball “uphill” within the cup itself. If I walk up to the speaker and push it, I can easily move the speaker, and it will rock a couple times before it settles back into the cup. The question is, can the drives create enough sideways force to in effect push the speaker uphill. In my case, the drives appear to not have the force to move 200 pounds uphill. I assume if I had my first speakers from high school, (Jensen with 15” woofers, yet they weighed maybe 40 pounds) they would move “uphill” and thus I would feel the vibration. So my assumption is the movement associated with the drivers sideways forces are being dealt with within the ball in the cup. The only way I can see that happening is to assume the ball must move (vibrate) in place and release the energy as heat. I actually have no idea if this is true, just my speculation. At any rate, the cabinet movement created by the sideways force of the driver is no longer present. That leaves us with the internal vibrations created by all five speaker cones in my cabinets. I assume the bearing product has little effect on this vibration, and that this is being absorbed and or stored within the cabinets materials. I suppose some of the vibration could be transferred/ drained to the bearing, but I can not imagine it’s too much. My guess is the cabinet is significant enough in its storage capacity that when I put my hand on the cabinet side I feel very little vibration. That’s my best guess; I’m more than happy to hear other theories.

Nickway, you asked what I thought would work better; foam, bike tube, cork, bubble-wrap, other?? My personal observations and theories are derived from years of threads like this one. I believe the inner tube isolation is fundamentally flawed for two reasons. The platform that is being supported is allowed to “roll” or move sideways. This movement we have theorized smears the leading edge of the note and thus creates a tempo change and lack of clarity. The second issue is the inner tube material itself. It is a relatively thick rubber, used twice once under a shelf and once on the supporting surface. My personal experience is rubber has a negative effect in a number of areas, air, clarity, tempo, bass resolution and so on. (This is not scientific or provable. I understand that point, and I appreciate that there will always be those who will demand proof. I am not a scientist and am in no position to prove any of my finding. I’m simply sharing my personal experiences and those theories arrived at over many, many years here at A’gon.) Cork I have no real experience with, foam might have a positive effect, I never played with foam because of looks. Bubble Wrap as far as I know is my personal crusade. I ran across its effects and theorized it’s benefits on my own and reported the results over about a year and a half ago here at A’gon. I love Bubble Wrap and so any comment I make is highly slanted. First I love it because it’s cheap. Second it improved my system, when place as the center of a shelf sandwich. I recommend looking under my threads to research the actual effects if you’re interested. For now I’ll simply claim it improved my system My theory is that when Bubble Wrap is compressed and weighted between two flat surfaces each bubble (I use aprox. 5/8” bubbles) is in compression and the surfaces not in contact with the flat surfaces are in tension. When a horizontal force is applied to the top surface a single bubble would try to roll, much like a bike inner tube. In the case of Bubble Wrap, the bubble’s movement is oppose by the bubble next to it, in that it is under compression and is in effect pushing out in 360 degrees. My theory is each bubble is reacting with the neighboring bubble, this cancels the original horizontal force. The top layer is not allowed to move sideways. The second benefit of Bubble Wrap is the extremely thin wall material, thus having little ability to absorb or have a sonic signature. I think Bubble Wrap is one of the best DIY, super cheep isolation products. So my answer to your question, start with Bubble Wrap at the massive sum of maybe $1.00 and work from there.
Please keep us informed as your experiments move forward, I have found if a number of us work on a similar projects together and report in to a certain thread (this one) we all learn and grow. Thus my endless comments about trying to only have real shared experiences, not simple opinions without any experience. What your doing right now Nickway is in my opinion the best benefit of this site. Learning and sharing together, its fun and challenges our thinking plus we can enjoy our hobby with friends. Thanks for creating this post.

Mdp0430 I have tried marble and granite. With granite I tried two thicknesses, one was “tombstone” thickness, the other was ¾” countertop thickness. The marble was a bit thinner, just over ½’ bathroom vanity top thickness. I was not pleased with granite; it creates a bright, sharp, electronic, overly clear sound. For my system at the time that was the wrong direction. I might try it under a BAT product for example, because they tend to be a bit slow and dark compared to other products. That might be a perfect match. All of this “stuff” is so subjective in that I just gave a description to a very popular product that people might take offence to. Much like I might say Krell is bright and steely and would benefit from a maple shelf and soft rubber footers. These comments are where I get in trouble; I cast not judgment on these or any product, but opinion relative to my taste. That’s tough to justify. Anyway, I found sandstone to be a nice middle of the road, between the slower, darker wood shelf, verse the bright sharp granite. Reading the above paragraph I know why people feel the need to jump in and say…. I sound like a nut case.

I choose to write a separate post for this comment. I was thinking last night about how to equate this thread to some other topic. I came up with fruit. Let’s say three of us are discussing the sonic qualities of our systems. Now let’s equate the sonic qualities to the physical properties of the inside of fruit. In both cases none of us ever explain what our system is (or in this case explain what fruit we are holding.) In my case I have an apple, Nickway has an orange and Eldartford has a banana. I explain that when I cut my fruit it’s crisp and juice. After tasting, it was sweet with a tinge of sour. Nickway doubts my findings and posts a nasty comment stating that I had no idea what I was talking about because the inside was juice like mine but clearly not crispy. He did however agree with my findings of taste. Now Eldartford writes in and slams both us because his is not crispy or juice, his was mushy and soft and very flavorful but neither sweet or sour.
You see the point; we all have completely different fruit. We all are right; but we discount the others comments because they do not have the same characteristics. Well, if we try to explain the effects of vibration control on our stereos, and not discuss the components, we will be arguing over nothing rational, and advising when it’s possible my findings will not match someone else’s. In the case of this thread, Eldartford has a nice entry level system. (Please do not take offence) and Nickway has a very strong middle level system. I have a low/middle high level system. I’m trying to share my many years of experiments in this area of vibration control, yet my system is extremely sensitive and thus my findings may not translate to Eldartford. Again no one is wrong, we all have had these experiences as we describe. It simply can not be assumed that each of us will have the same result. On top of this, each of us has strengths and weaknesses in our systems. What I consider a strength may not be what Nickway sees as a strength. This is why I feel strongly that we share real live experiences and trials of our tweaks, and not discount the findings. If we share experiences, and put it into context by looking into each others system as listed on the Audiogon system section, then we are able to draw our own conclusions. The only thing I know for sure is my apple is not mushy and soft.