Couldn't get an answer for this over at Two-Channel Audio...

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Jim W.

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After all the expensive gizmos I've read about, I went and did something on the cheap - maybe a stupid thing but at least I didn't spend more than $57. I bought a 14" wide x 42" long x 2" thick piece of flat slate to put my equipment on. This thing weighs well over 100 lbs  :o . I have it sitting on top of raquet balls, which sit on the floor  :oops: . I started out with eight and then started to insert extras to support heavier equipment and level the slab. I put a glass of water on the floor and pounded my fist next to the glass - of course the water rippled. I then put the glass of water on the slab balanced by raquet balls and again pounded my fist on the floor. Nothing - the water stayed dead calm. I actually had to pound my foot hard to get the water to just ripple a little bit. It's amazing, the slab actually floats on the raquet balls - they're not even glued to the slab. I can push the slab horizontally and it just gently glides back and forth and then damps itself to a stop quickly. No movement vertically. Do I need to control the horizontal movement? How would speaker vibration or anything else generate horizontal movement in the floor?

So, is this what I'm looking for and the whole idea behind "isolating" the equipment?




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Couldn't get an answer for this over at Two-Channel Audio...
« Reply #1 on: 24 Feb 2004, 12:54 pm »
Hi Jim:

The short answer is that there is not much horizontal motion in floors. Footfalls create vertical motion. Walls, of course, have motion on the horizontal axis, so here, you would want a damping action to work in that plane.

The racquet balls are working as a vertical damper. The stretching compliance of the balls works as the damper.  Additionally, your slab is actually damped in horizontal action.  The fact that if you push on the slab and it comes to rest quickly indicates you have dampened horizontal motion.  

How this translates into improved sound is a different story.  I've been tweaking for years and this is what I've experienced.

Disclaimer: There are some newer devices I haven't tried. With the exception of the CD player/transport tweak I recommend, there's also a lot of variation in results between different products even when using the same tweak, so experimentation is recommended.

Under CD players/transports:  
Best results in order of effectiveness
1. Symposium Rollerblocks  ($395) What I use. Don't ask me why it works since it only works in the horizontal plane.
2. Daruma III Isolation Devices ($99)  What I recommend. 90% as effective as Symposium for 1/4 the cost.
3. A bicycle tire tube lightly inflated and placed under the platyer/transport. Schwinn tubes are readily avaialble and have very complaint rubber. ($5.00)
Both 1 and 2 have offered improvement no matter what player/t-port I used.  Highly recommended.

Under DACs:  Can't answer this one. I've experienced different results with different tweaks/DACs. My only answer is to experiment.

Under tube pre-amps: Lots of different results.  Big time YMMV here.
1. Vibrapods, Isobearings.
2. DH cones. (better focus, but may tip the treble up a bit)

Under tube amps:  Different results again.  YMMV
1. DH Cones under the amp which is on top of a platform on top of a slightly inflated bike tire tube. My hypothesis here is that sub-sonic vibration (1-15 Hz), while not directly entering your system, may be causing some mechanical alteration to the operation of the tube.

Under solid state amps.
1. Cones usualy inmprove the focus, but depending on the material you are using, the treble may be tipped up or down. Ceramic cones tip up, composite cones may be a bit more neutral. YMMV

Under solid-state pre-amps-  Never owned one, so I can't comment

Hope this helps.

Jim W.

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 38
« Reply #2 on: 24 Feb 2004, 03:39 pm »
Thank you Mike.  I'll listen to what I have and tweak some more later on, if necessary.  Keep me posted on the Super 3Rs with Alnicos.  I'll do the same.