Hifi furniture/isolation? School me ...

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by bhazen, May 18, 2015.

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  1. bhazen

    bhazen Abbey Roadhog Thread Starter

    Newport Hills, WA
    Okay, true confession: my amp/CD deck/TV sit on a nasty cheap metal shelving unit on rolling casters that I've had since the '80s. I'm starting to suspect that this thing is the source of some of my audiophilia nervosa ...

    I'm starting to acquire better gear again (have a Naim Nait XS 2 on order, looking for new source too), and am truly ignorant about how much mechanical isolation is really required for CD decks and amps.

    Maybe just some Sorbothane footers or Vibrapods? Or do I need to fork out for an audiophile-grade rack/shelf (a là Fraim, Quadraspire, Box etc.)
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
  2. bhazen

    bhazen Abbey Roadhog Thread Starter

    Newport Hills, WA
  3. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    South Bend, IN
    From a member here:


    I have done this in my own room since I can get away with having stuff on the floor. Even if you're using a rack, just make sure it's non-reflective, level, stable, and you can still implement some of his ideas and see improvements across the board. Best part? It's cheap!!
    bhazen likes this.
  4. BigGame

    BigGame Forum Resident

    I think isolation is very important.
    I use spikes etc.... lots of DIY things with sand box.
    There is one thing which I use and I love it B-Fly audio sub-plate.
    The source is very sensitive on vibrations take care about it.
    bhazen likes this.
  5. bhazen

    bhazen Abbey Roadhog Thread Starter

    Newport Hills, WA
    Are Vibrapods/cones any good?
  6. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    Believe it or not, but I have gotten very good results using hockey pucks under all of my components that have moving parts (ie: turntable, CD player, etc.). The improvement was not subtle, and it surprised the heck out of me.
  7. Hipper

    Hipper Forum Resident

    Herts., England
    Recently I've been investigating this aspect and have been very impressed with what I've achieved.

    The Barry Diament link is excellent and is what got me going on this. I've ended up buying Symposium Acoustic products. They are expensive but they work. I've bought Svelte shelves and have them under my speakers and under my gear which sits on a pretty sophisticated rack. I also use the Rollerblock 2+. If I had my time again I'd probably just buy his rack, or buy a cheap wooden rack and use his platforms and Rollerblocks.

    I found the biggest improvements came from platforms under the speakers, then Rollerblocks and/or platforms under the CD Transport and amp. Under the DAC, equaliser and power conditioner the improvements were less.

    What improvements? At first I listened for particular percussion detail, and there was some. However after a while faffing about with this I got fed up and decided to relax and listen to some of my favorite music. At first the music seemed louder then normal yet I was listening at the normal volume (I can set the volume exactly as I note the volume levels for each CD). Then I realised that all instruments and voices seemed more separate and more defined. In particular things like piano and rhythm guitar which were usually in the background seemed easier to follow and very enjoyable. A violin came in with a sharpness that was unexpected. Kick drums on some tracks could be felt when they weren't before. These are I understand all symptoms of lowering the noise floor, which is exactly what Symposium claim they do. Since then I've been going through my favorite CDs and I hear all this with all of them. Nice!
    I think there are only two other ways to get this sort of improvement - better power supplies, and better extraction of data from the CDs, by cleaning say.



    Barry's explanation of all this seems acceptable to me. Symposium's explanation seems plausible. Whatever the truth, they work.

    John76 and bhazen like this.
  8. captwillard

    captwillard Forum Resident

    I think you don't want your components moving around or your turntable arm skiping but that't all you need to worry about. Having nice looking shelves will probably aid more in a positive listening experience than a lot of the isolation devices out there. I've tried several and came to the conclusion that if my equipment needed them to sound better, I needed better equimpent.
    timind, Rolltide and The Pinhead like this.
  9. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Buffalo, NY
    Yes, they are. Check Herbies as well. Not prestigious or expensive, but they do work.
    Johnny Vinyl likes this.
  10. Yes they are.
    I use them to support an IKEA butcher block onto which I placed my TT, and have been doing so for years. I did however secure self-adhesive 3" furniture felt pads to both top/bottom of each hockey puck.
  11. The Pinhead

    The Pinhead SUDACA ROÑOSO

    Metal or glass shelving are no good; they're too reflective. Seek wooden racks. Isolating your speakers, cd player and TT with spikes/sorbothane feet whatever is a good idea. The amps, equalizers and other assorted stuff are good with their factory feet since they don't need a lot of isolation.
    bhazen likes this.
  12. vinylman

    vinylman Forum Resident

    Leeds, U.K.

    I used to think that. Then several years ago I took the four feet off my Arcam Alpha 9 amp, replacing them with three large oak cone feet (two at the front, one at the back) and was very pleased with what I heard; it seemed to give things a touch more 'air' around instruments. I was so impressed that I placed smaller sorbothane feet (couldn't get oak cone feet small enough) under the four corners of each of the five wooden shelves of my steel 'Target' rack, lifting the shelves off the frame itself. Not much money (probably less than the cost of one CD) for worthwhile improvements.
    The Pinhead and bhazen like this.
  13. Ski Bum

    Ski Bum Happy Audiophile

    Vail, CO
    The Barry Diament article (link contained in post #3 above) is a good starting point.

    Keep in mind that every room and arrangement of equipment is different. Most vibration comes up from the floor, and the more vibration in your floor the more likely you need true isolation (such as Barry's suggestions, Symposium platforms or shelves, or roller or air devices) rather than devices that firmly attach the equipment to the floor (such as spikes). The components that most benefit from isolation are speakers, turntables, disc players and tubed components. Lack of isolation results in strident highs, poorly articulated bass, and some smearing.

    Two inexpensive experiments:

    1. If your speakers came with spikes, listen with the spikes installed and removed. Listen particularly to the highs and bass. If the speakers sound better with the spikes in, leave them in. If the speakers sound better with the spikes removed, they will sound even better with isolating device under them. [Safety first. Isolating devices can make the speakers less stable.] This is also an indicator that your disc player, etc will sound better with isolation.

    2. Put some sorbothane or Vibrapods under your CD player. Does it make a difference? Better or worse? If better, you will get even more benefit from more effective (but admittedly more expensive or labor intensive) isolation.
    bhazen likes this.
  14. BKphoto

    BKphoto JazzAllDay

    i use Vibrapods under everything...
    bhazen likes this.
  15. Cork is an absolutely wonderful material to use for isolation. Cork sanding blocks available from hardware / building supply stores are an excellent alternative to the expensive devices sold specifically for the HiFi market. Cheap too! For the best results experiment with thickness.
    utahusker and bhazen like this.
  16. BigGame

    BigGame Forum Resident

    As I told on system 1 which is complicated I have each shel divide with spikes and sorbothane feet plus plywood.
    On system 2 I have problem with bass vibrations (distance between left loudspeaker and turntable is app 1,2 m) under need turntable and I put B-Fly audio sub plate and I love it . It is not too expensive and work perfectly.
    Cork is very good material specially if you combine with sand box and plywood.
  17. 4xoddic

    4xoddic Forum Resident

    BAMBOO !

    Here's a post I made back in Sept on the current use of bamboo for "audiophile" stands from Quadraspire & Atacama (>= $1K/shelf).

    My own attempt sits leaning against the walls awaiting refinishing: 2' X 2' X 1-1/2 " bamboo shelves cut from Craftsman 8' Bamboo Work Surface $11.50/sq. ft

    I intend to use 80/20 extruded aluminum parts (ebay store) as a framework.

    NOTE: don't rush to Lumber Liquid & score some deal on bamboo flooring. The majority of big box stores have found their Chinese suppliers used toxic formaldehyde glues in bamboo lamination. The bamboo must also be sealed on all 4 sides, to prevent absorption of moisture. Once the plastic wrap is removed from a box of flooring, it will begin to warp. There are sources for bamboo countertop which might come in under $1K/shelf DIY.


    Check out the various visual patterns of multilam core bamboo! My Sears workbench top is much less striking.


    The idea is vibrations -> strand woven bamboo shelf (wave energy dissipates as heat as they pass through dissimilar materials) -> source component. There are a couple of great DIY 8020 rack/stand threads, anecdotal uses of bamboo cutting boards & footers. I also intend to have stands under my floorstanding speakers.

    Sorry for the tangent. Perhaps I'll get motivated & sand/finish soon. I live within vibrations of Ft. Riley's 24/7/365 tank ranges. Possible tweaks include vibration dampening interface where the shelves rest on 8020 4-hole corner brackets.
    bhazen likes this.
  18. BKphoto

    BKphoto JazzAllDay

    $1000 per shelf...

    with all do respect, thats F*&K#$G stupid...
    moops and timind like this.
  19. 4xoddic

    4xoddic Forum Resident

    due to only 2 (European) manufacturers using bamboo, that's the ballpark with bamboo in audio racks

    The Mapleshade 3 Shelf SAMSON v.3 starts @ $1770 + shipping (so, $1K/shelf seems competitive with maple, which lacks some of strand-woven bamboo's vibration-dampening properties = horizontal & vertical elements). Strand bamboo is shredded, crushed, and mixed with a liquid adhesive. Under heat and high pressure, the mixture is cooked and compressed into lumber.

    Raising the bamboo curtain: three affordable support solutions that showcase the latest hot material.

    I've yet to read anything but anecdotal impressions @ an audio show of 2 identical systems on 2 Quadraspire racks, one w/bamboo shelves, one w/wood veneer (MDF?).
  20. bhazen

    bhazen Abbey Roadhog Thread Starter

    Newport Hills, WA
    My local 'flat earth' boutique seems to have Quadraspire and Isoblue ... I will make enquiries. If too $$$$ish, I will try the Vibrapods-under-CD player experiment ...
  21. tim185

    tim185 Forum Resident

    Im missing something. $1000 ???
    I bought a bamboo butchers cutting block from Ikea for about $20 for my TT.

    Is that like, bamboo with drugs hidden inside?
    moops likes this.
  22. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    I've been eyeing those Ikea bamboo boards... Maybe glueing two together would be even better?
  23. tim185

    tim185 Forum Resident

    Maybe I dont know. I think the one I got from Ikea was around 1.5 inch thick.
  24. FLEMKE

    FLEMKE Forum Resident

    You think $1000 a shelf is a lot of money, try over 30 Stillpoint Ultra 5"s.
    I wouldn't have bought them if they didn't make a dramatic difference in the system.

  25. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    4xoddic likes this.
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