You must try Pandafeet -Sorbothane footers

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audiojerry

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You must try Pandafeet -Sorbothane footers
« on: 16 Oct 2003, 07:45 pm »
This is not so much a review as it is an endorsement for a really inexpensive product that has produced wonderful results for me.
It is Pandafeet Sorbothane Footers. I got interested in them recently when I was prowling around the Circle looking in on various topics. Byteme started a thread called
Vibration elimination vs. Coupling / Tuning, http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=5098&start=10&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=sorbothane,

 which turned out to be pretty entertaining. Unfortunately some heated arguments ensued, and some uncalled for name calling and accusations followed. I was impressed by the way Gary, who is the designer of Pandafeet, handled the situation with class and a sincere attempt to present his view without trying to impose them as God's will.

Because of this, it gave me impetus to look at Gary's website and contact him about giving them a try. He was perfectly willing to send me a set to try out after discussing my system and how I planned on using them. We decided that the best place to start would be with my P-1A/P-3A dac. I figured I've got nothing to lose and it should be fairly easy to sit down and compare the Pandafeet to my current method of resting my dac on a pad of Coustasheet damping material made of .083" loaded vinyl, which has a dense rubbery feel to it. I also place Coustasheet(s) on top of various pieces of my equipment for damping. Gary sent me four of the Gray Pandafeet designed for use with the lightest pieces of equipment, and four little 3/8" squares of Sorbothane to place between the P1 and P3.

Gary has had his Pandafeet molded to his specifications, so the density and shape of his Sorbothane is unique to his brand.      

Again, I figured I have nothing to lose, and it was easy to compare since I didn't have to disconnect any wires or turn off equipment. It made a/b comparisons fast and simple.

The results were remarkable. I'm not sure of the biggest reason why Pandafeet improved the sound so much, but I think it must be reduced distortion. Specifically, I heard better focus, tighter bass, less smearing of musical notes, and less harshness. The overall result was a significantly more musical experience. This was a shock to me because I felt I already had a great sounding system. It takes me about 20 seconds to switch over from my current damping method to the Pandafeet, and it is ridiculously easy to hear the difference.

I can only tell you how they worked with my P1A/P3A, but after seeing how effective they are, I'm eager to find out how they work elsewhere.

Some folks reading this might be thinking "yah, right", or this guy must be friends with Gary, or that I'm writing this just get some free samples. Not for 20 bucks!, and I don't even know Gary, except from his AC posts. That's all these things cost - 20 BUCKS, and I believe Gary will even let you try them out before buying. (I will disclose however, that Gary offered to let me keep these if I donated the $20 to Bill Baker's fund raiser for Anthony, a sick child with Leukemia, which I most certainly will do. http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=4899)

The only reason I'm doing this is because I believe in sharing a great discovery with fellow AudioCircle members.
C'mon, how hard would it be to try them yourself.  But get them from Gary because I'm not giving mine up!  :nono:

gary

You must try Pandafeet -Sorbothane footers
« Reply #1 on: 16 Oct 2003, 08:12 pm »
audiojerry-

Sincere thanks for reviewing my product. My main concern sending these out to people was that i'd get honest feedback, good or bad. Obviously I'm glad to hear that the former is the case, and not the latter, but just to emphasize to everyone else I sent these out with no promises about what they would do to the sound, only asking that people would try them and let me know what they think.

Kevin from Solar Hifi, Bill from Response Audio, and Sean from av123.com have all been demoing them as well. Any chance you guys might be able to chime in with any thoughts?

Thanks again for taking the time to evaluate the Pandafeet
-Gary

P.S. I'm currently awaiting a batch of second-iteration footers that are being molded by Sorbothane. When they're ready the site will be completely overhauled and the audiogon/ebay ads will be relisted.
 
(mods... might want to move this to the critics circle?)

jqp

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You must try Pandafeet -Sorbothane footers
« Reply #2 on: 16 Oct 2003, 08:13 pm »
Interesting ...It might be good to say what kind of rack you have (material, etc.) and what kind of floor structure you have, to give a real context. And are you coupling or decoupling (the Sorbothane decouples, right?)

Also what would you do if you took the Chuck approach (structure is for function, looks (almost) don't matter at all) ?

I am searching for a rack solution. Glass shelves and the floor have become my intermediate solution since I have a 300lb TV now in the middle of everything. I do have a slab floor with carpeting, which seems to be ideal to me.

KevinW

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« Reply #3 on: 16 Oct 2003, 09:05 pm »
Yes, I whole heartedly second Jerry's endorsement of the Panda Feet.  I'll write a more detailed review sometime in the near future, but the improvement with PF is dramatic.  Highs became less shrill, bass was tighter, imaging was more focused, and soundstage was deepened.  This was compared to a set of Stillpoints which I am considering using as an add-on for my amps.  I would much rather figure out a way to use PF instead, for both cost and performance.

One important point is to make sure that the firmness of each footer is properly gauged for its application.  On my amp, I used one firm footer directly under the transformer in one corner, and then medium footers under the rest of the corners.  This ensured that the footers had the proper amount of strain to produce the greatest amount of vibration dampening.  It was obvious to my ears that if the footers are under/over strained, there is a distinct loss of performance.  So you have to use your brain a little to use the proper feet, but the benefits are worth it, especially for the price.

byteme

You must try Pandafeet -Sorbothane footers
« Reply #4 on: 16 Oct 2003, 09:32 pm »
Jerry, thanks for the input!  Now I've got to find some time this weekend to get the panda thumbs that Gary sent me for trial under my preamp or transport.

Based on the thread Jerry referred to I'm also trying Black Diamond Racing Cones and making a bunch of Myrtle wood blocks to the Cardas dimensions.  I bought a block of Myrtle wood and figured I could make them myself rather than pay > $5 a block.  I've also got vibrapods in the house which is what I have been using.

One last thing, if Jerry's system is sounding BETTER because of these all I have to say is HOLY CRAP!  :o  - I seriously didn't think it could get much better than what it was.

Jerry, if you're interested in tryiing some Myrtle wood blocks let me know and I'll make you up some as soon as I get around to doing it for me!!

audiojerry

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You must try Pandafeet -Sorbothane footers
« Reply #5 on: 17 Oct 2003, 03:11 pm »
Quote from: jqp
Interesting ...It might be good to say what kind of rack you have (material, etc.) and what kind of floor structure you have, to give a real context. And are you coupling or decoupling (the Sorbothane decouples, right?)

I have the components on a homemade rack made of 3/4" birch plywood sides and  3/4" mdf shelves. The shelves are damped at the 4 corners where the rest on metal 1"  'L' braces by small square pads of Coustasheet. Each shelf is covered by a layer of the same Coustasheet material, which is what both the P1a and P3a rest on. Gary asked me to use the Pandafeet without the Coustasheet beneath. The rack is on wheels on a carpeted and padded concrete floor.

audiojerry

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You must try Pandafeet -Sorbothane footers
« Reply #6 on: 17 Oct 2003, 03:20 pm »
byteme wrote:
Quote
One last thing, if Jerry's system is sounding BETTER because of these all I have to say is HOLY CRAP!  - I seriously didn't think it could get much better than what it was.

Jerry, if you're interested in tryiing some Myrtle wood blocks let me know and I'll make you up some as soon as I get around to doing it for me!!


Thanks for the compliment, Brian. It's nice when someone other than yourself recognizes that your efforts had good results. Yes, the Pandafeet made things even better. I'm really enjoying my music these days.  

It will be interesting to find out if you have similar results with the Pandthumbs.

Keep me informed on what you think of myrtle blocks.

Bill Baker

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« Reply #7 on: 23 Oct 2003, 11:40 pm »
Greetings All,
    Sorry for the delay in posting my finding on Gary's footers but thing shave been a bit crazy around here lately.

  Anyway, I am running a pair of the medium footers under my RAM Signature CD player. The RAM is a modified Music Hall/Usher unit that incorperates the ModWright Truth tube stage using the 5687 tube running in Class A. The reason for mentioning this is because I feel a tube product will benefit more from these products than solid state. Or at least it is more noticable. (Also, I don't own any solid state gear).

  I spent some time doing with and without comparisons. During all the switching around, I developed a small hum in the transformer for the tube stage power supply or at least what I thought was a hum. I then installed the footers under the player and the hum was less apparent but still there. Hmmm... take the footers out, yep it came back louder again. The footers actually damped the transformer vibration to the point where there was an audibly difference. (the hum was actually being transmitted  through the speakers but could be felt by placing your hand on the chassis of the player).

  Okay, now to see what is going on with the transformer. Upon opening the player up, I found that I had somehow knocked the damping material from between the transformer and the chassis. It was not a hum but rather a mechanical vibration. By the way, for all you owners of the RAM player, my unit is the first prototype that used a different transformer and I have moved things around internally. You have nothing to worry about.

  I was impressed. I am actually glad this happened as it allowed me to truly experience what Gary's footers are capable of. If they can help damp a mechanical vibration, imagine what they could do for tube microphonics or that humming transformer.

  Now that I wasn't listening to my player's chassis, I could listen to music. There was an audible different with and without the footers. I think what I noticed the most was the fact that the presentation was a bit smoother with them in place. With the stock feet that comes with most gear these days, I feel the sound is a bit "harder".

  All-in-all, for 20 something bucks, they have made more of a difference than other "tweaks" costing much more. It was like I ws installing a different player in my system.

  For the record, the system used was as follows:

  Amp - Modified Special Edition Jolida SE502 with Svet KT88 tubes, preamp stage removed and direct wired with Cryo treated copper wiring.
  Preamp - Didn't use one for this as my RAM player has the Variable output option now using a TKD volume pot.
  DAC - towards the end, I had installed the Birdland Odeon-AG being driven by the transport in the RAM player (bypassing tube stage)
 Speakers - Highly modified Usher X-718 (our own Ultimate Ushers) stand mount speakers sitting on 50 lb. sand filled metal stands.
 Cables - Soundstring interconnect and speaker cable.
 All components were housed in the Usher 6 shelf solid Maple rack.

  Conclusion?  Highly recommended.

  By the way Gary, you are not getting these back!!

audiojerry

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« Reply #8 on: 24 Oct 2003, 02:06 am »
Quote
Conclusion? Highly recommended.


join the growing legion of believers  :notworthy:

Psychicanimal

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« Reply #9 on: 24 Oct 2003, 02:17 am »
Quote from: audiojerry
Quote
Conclusion? Highly recommended.


join the growing legion of believers  :notworthy:


Careful, my friend!

Sorbothane is not for every application... :nono:


Just came back two days ago from New Jersey and had Kevin Barrett (KAB Electroacoustics) install the outboard power supply in my Technics 1200.  He gave me two sets of the Sorbothane hemispheres he sells to try out.  I replaced the stock feet in the 1200 as Kevin does and the results have been very positive.  However, I would be very careful when and where to use that stuff.

gary

You must try Pandafeet -Sorbothane footers
« Reply #10 on: 24 Oct 2003, 03:16 am »
Bill-

Thanks for taking the time to evaluate and review my products. I sincerely appreciate it, and not because of the favorable opinion you arrived at.

-Gary

Bill Baker

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« Reply #11 on: 24 Oct 2003, 12:58 pm »
Quote
However, I would be very careful when and where to use that stuff.


  I do agree 100%. This is why I mentioned the application in which I used them and found them to benefit. I have not tried them under much digital SS gear at this time as I did not feel a product such as my DAC needed anything of this nature.

  I am a firm believer that [some] tweaks are justified in [some] applications. But as you mentioned Phycsi, "when & where" is critical. There is not a product out there that will fit the bill in all applications.

Psychicanimal

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« Reply #12 on: 24 Oct 2003, 03:13 pm »
Quote from: Response Audio
 I have not tried them under much digital SS gear at this time as I did not feel a product such as my DAC needed anything of this nature.
 


Try draining vibrations into a sump.  I use non resonant, Caribbean Moca wood.  You can try Maple and/or Birch w/ cones or cork rubber footers.

Tonto Yoder

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« Reply #13 on: 26 Oct 2003, 11:04 pm »
OK. sorbothane may have its sonic benefits,  but I'm goin' with these accessories from the realdoll.com site (a $5K silicone sex doll):



Of course, you need at least three to hold up your gear--you generally have to go to the carnival to see that in reality.

JohnR

You must try Pandafeet -Sorbothane footers
« Reply #14 on: 26 Oct 2003, 11:12 pm »
And if they don't drain your vibrations good, you could always use 'em as hand exercisers ...

byteme

You must try Pandafeet -Sorbothane footers
« Reply #15 on: 27 Oct 2003, 05:47 pm »
I'll add my $.02 to this as well.  Gary sent me 4  black thumbs which are able to support 20-30lb components.  My preamp is nearly 20 with a majority of the weight on the left side where the power transformers are and as such those two Thumbs appear appropriately stressed (squished) with the other two on the right side not squished enough.  Prior to this I've used Vibrapods, BDR #4 cones, Myrtle wood blocks and brass Mapleshade cones.  One last thing to mention - my preamp uses 396a tubes (I've got both WE and Tung Sol NOS tubes) which are supposedly some of the most microphonic tubes out there.  I don't have enough experience with tubes to validate this, however, both sets were checked for low microphony and remain, very microphonic.

Anyway, to this point the mix I've liked best has been BDR Cones #3 under the transport directly to the MDF shelf and #4 cones under the preamp.  Sound was good this way, but tapping the preamp shelf yeilded a thump (slight thump) coming through the speakers.  In go the panda thumbs.  No more noise when tapping the shelf, or the rack!  No sound of my fingers when I would tap on the volume knob either!  I've got Herbie's Halo's as well on the tubes and the combo is just fantastic!  Much better than the halo's with anything else.  As for the sound, well, suffice to say my new favorite setup is #3's under the transport and Thumbs under the preamp.  I'm sure it would be even better if I were using lighter grade thumbs on the right side of the preamp which happens to be under the tubes.  With them, things sound more natural and musical.

I will definately be in touch with Gary once I get done dinking around with all the combinations of equipment isloation I'm trying.  I'm going to need some more of these babies!

Bill Baker

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« Reply #16 on: 27 Oct 2003, 11:46 pm »
Quote
My preamp is nearly 20 with a majority of the weight on the left side where the power transformers are and as such those two Thumbs appear appropriately stressed (squished) with the other two on the right side not squished enough.


  I came across the same thing with one of my smaller tube amps where the rear of the amp was "squishing" the feet a bit more than the front due to the transformers. What I ended up doing was using 3 pieces across the back and only one centered in the front. The amp now sit level and all is good.
  I ended up doing this on my RAM tube CD player also due to the transformer being based on the left side of the player. You can reposition the feet so that the component sits level. Usually without the nedd for additional feet. In my case it was easy as I had various levels of the feet and could use the firmer ones in the heavier areas.

gary

You must try Pandafeet -Sorbothane footers
« Reply #17 on: 28 Oct 2003, 01:08 am »
Byteme: glad to hear your happy with the way they're performing

one thing that i've learned so far is that it takes a little effort & thought to get it right with the pandafeet. it's kind of a minor annoyance, but one that's worth the effort i think.

the new batch is in, and believe it or not Hantra is the first person to have gotten a set (hell may be freezing over as i type...). they're even color coded: blue for firm, gray for medium and black for soft. hopefully the website will be updated within the next couple of days to reflect the changes.

-Gary

Hantra

You must try Pandafeet -Sorbothane footers
« Reply #18 on: 28 Oct 2003, 01:57 am »
Quote
the new batch is in, and believe it or not Hantra is the first person to have gotten a set (hell may be freezing over as i type...).  


Hahahaha!!!!  It's cold as hell over here!

I can't wait to check 'em out though. .

B

Hantra

You must try Pandafeet -Sorbothane footers
« Reply #19 on: 3 Nov 2003, 01:34 am »
Well, I finally got a chance to sit down and do a comparison with the Panda feet.  

I placed them at each corner under my transport as soon as I got them, about a week ago.  I liked them much better than the previous sorbathane product, which was those horrid AQ Big Feet.  

Tonight I sat down to listen and compare them with my current devices, the Ayre myrtle blocks.  

I thought that the Panda feet were good, and could be at home in a system in need of some high frequency taming, but in a system that is already fairly smooth, they are too much IMO.  It was easy to hear the differences between these and the Ayre blocks.  

On track 3 of the Two High String Band's latest disc, there is quite a bit going on.  Between Grisman's mandolin, Bright's mandolin, and some very fine fiddling by Vassar Clements, there are tons of harmonic textures all across the soundstage.  I thought the Pandas somehow smoothes these out to the point where they were largely inaudible.  The sound was clean, and much quieter than with the Ayre blocks, but at the same time, there was too much of the fundamental tone, and not enough harmonics for me.  

With vintage instruments like these guys play, one can hear harmonics for days while they are playing.  I have seen these guys live, and I can say that the most live sounding of these two products in my system was the Ayre block.  

This is not to say that Pandas don't have a place.  They did much better under my Plinius.  They didn't take as much away, but the Ayre still edged them out as more real to me.  

Perhaps my DAC would benefit more from Panda feet, but I got the medium version, and they wouldn't hardly work under my puny DAC.  

I appreciate Gary sending them to me, and I thought they were the best "squishy" things I have tried under my gear.  I guess my preferences lean more toward harmonics, and live sounding music.  The Pandas seem more geared toward accurate reproduction of fundamentals.  I think the only place I would use Panda feet is probably under a turntable shelf.  I would bet they are awesome there, but I got rid of my table, so I can't try it.  I'd be interested to hear if anyone has tried them there. .

L8r,

B