Isolation Devices Under Electronics

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by avanti1960, Oct 14, 2021 at 8:27 AM.

  1. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Chicago metro, USA
    One example, Sorbothane bumpers to mount an amplifier. Other devices, other products.
    1. What problem are they attempting to fix?
    2. How do they fix the issue?
    3. How do you test if they are working?
  2. Alright4now

    Alright4now Forum Resident

    New Orleans, LA
    I've often wondered what isolation devices do when they're supporting an amp. Seems unnecessary if you have a SS amp. I don't know nothing about tubes. Turntables make sense. CD players maybe?
    Tim Irvine likes this.
  3. Tim Irvine

    Tim Irvine Forum Resident

    Austin, Texas
    I have often wondered the same. The best answer I can think of is they help address the need to sell more of that product because these days the market for people who buy large electronics and think of after market enhancements must be fairly small and have very few repeat buyers. How do you wear them out? Now for turntables they make sense. As to putting them under speakers I can never figure out if better contact with the floor (spikes) or isolation (stands and/or isolation pods, pucks, etc.) so my fairly heavy speakers just stand on their bottoms on the floor. As to testing, I read of people singing the praises of such things, proclaiming their transformative properties. It does not make me relent and buy them. It reinforces my belief in their gullibility to buy them and self delusion as to what they are hearing. Of course given my aged ears, it may just be that my hearing is not up to the task of appreciating such things.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021 at 8:44 AM
    keiron99, timind, Shawn and 1 other person like this.
  4. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident

    I am about to buy some Vibrapods to put under my CD players, turntable platform, and possibly my phono stage as well. $20 for a set, so pretty cheap and I figure worth trying out.

  5. Gyrouser

    Gyrouser Forum Resident

    I wonder the same, especially I would like to know if they are benefiting under the tube amplifiers.
  6. tIANcI

    tIANcI Wondering when the hifi madness will end

    I’ve used some under tube amps, preamps, DACs and streamers. Did not hear anything to be honest. BUT once for fun we placed a heavy streamer on top of another whilst we were doing an AB comparison. There was a difference. Not big but noticeable, even when we recorded it. Sent the 2 recordings to friends and they heard a mild difference. Why? I got no idea.
  7. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Washington, D.C.
    I've heard various demonstrations of vibration damping shelves, footers, etc. under electronics and they do make a difference--typically the sound is "tighter" (less booming bass) and clearer. But, there can be overdoing to the point where the sound becomes lean and lacking in life. It is impossible to state any useful generalities about such matters; it becomes a matter of trial and error to find the right form and amount of damping to optimize the sound. It is sort of like doing room treatments, you have to do things slowly, with an awareness that it is easy to overdo things. I know of a number of instances where someone took out all of the special footers and shelves he installed over the years to find that the sound improved dramatically; I've seen the same thing happen with room treatments.
    jfeldt and jonwoody like this.
  8. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    hi_watt likes this.
  9. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Allegedly, Yamaha claims their circlotron circuits are particularly sensitive to vibrations.
  10. Harris11235

    Harris11235 Forum Resident

    Minneapolis, MN
    Your comment reminds me of a Navy Seal I knew some years ago. I was lucky enough to do some civilian training with him for a couple of years. I bought a compensator for the end of a rifle, which claimed to reduce felt recoil.

    He looked at it and said, “You know that that is? It’s a transfer device.”

    I asked, “What’s a transfer device?”

    He responded, “It’s a means of transferring money from you to them.”

    I responded with all sorts of manufacturer claims about the product. His solution was to test it. So, we went to the range, tied a string to the trigger of the rifle, and test fired 10 rounds through the same gun swapping out the comps as we went. We marked how far the rifle slid back on a table each time. I walked away from that experience feeling satisfied with my purchase, and happy I didn’t embarrass myself in front of someone I respect.

    Point being, I think there is absolutely some snake oil in this (any) industry. There are also products like isolation devices that I absolutely believe work as advertised. IsoAcoustics platforms and feet, for instance. But, the level of effect depends on the severity of the original problem and the equipment they’re associated with. Turntables and tubes are good examples of vibration-sensitive equipment. Also, sensitive electronics that are on the same shelf as a “noisier” product could qualify.
  11. Ingenieur

    Ingenieur Going with the flow...

    imo first determine if there is an issue (obvious if you hear something caused by walking, bass feedback, etc.)

    There are some decent cheap apps,
    Use it with and without music to get a baseline.
    There are 2 components: magnitude & frequency
    Mag is usually in g's
    My TT is on a butcher block with iso pods
    x/y/z are all 0.0005 g RMS range
    The frequency nodes are below 40 Hz and evenly distributed.

    It is ~the same with or without music

    As was pointed out this needs to be studied BEFORE a solution is selected.
  12. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Chicago metro, USA
    what problem are you trying to fix?
    how will you know if they work?
    Ingenieur likes this.
  13. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    It's a solution looking for a problem.
    timind, Alright4now and Ingenieur like this.
  14. C10

    C10 eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die

    SOCO, CA
  15. Erocka2000

    Erocka2000 Forum Resident

    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    I feel like anything without moving parts, doesn't quite need isolation. One exception is if you have a tube amp with microphonic tubes, where vibrations may affect the tubes, and thus the sound. But other than that, unless it's a turntable or possibly a cd player, I don't really see the need for isolation.
    Ingenieur likes this.
  16. Roland Stone

    Roland Stone Offending Member

    I can never remember which components are supposed to be isolated and which are supposed to be coupled . . .
    timind and Alright4now like this.
  17. Pushpaw

    Pushpaw Forum Resident

    If you have a decent audio system with speakers that do their job and you turn it up adequately loud, the speakers will create constant vibrations that travel through surrounding surfaces and objects. Even my bookshelf speakers create quite a lot of vibration up close. My understanding is isolation devices are primarily of use and effective in speaker listening setups where they can reduce the vibration transferred to electronic circuits and also turntables of course. Would your expensive amp work better being shaken back and forth constantly or being perfectly still? I guess the latter.

    if your listening is primarily headphone based perhaps isolation products are not as necessary , though some people have issues with vibrations from other sources, like walking nearby or that kind of thing.

    my take on the issue
    Shawn likes this.
  18. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Chicago metro, USA
    basically decware says that tube amp vibration is caused by the transformers and is 10 to 100x that of air borne vibration.
    that as amplifier manufacturers they know exactly where to place the accessory coupling platform so that transformer vibration is drained away from the chassis to minimize the effect on the tubes.

    how about as an amplifier manufacturer you know exactly how to mount the transformers so their vibration is isolated from the chassis in the first place? so that i dont have to buy this expensive cutting board clap trap that still does not isolate transformer from chassis?
    kannibal, C10 and Ingenieur like this.
  19. Ontheone

    Ontheone Poorly Understood Member

    After experimenting with several different types of footers I have found the best results with Symposium Roller Blocks Series 2+ under tubed gear. I can't hear any difference under solid state.
    Gi54 likes this.
  20. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Forum Resident

    Iowa, USA
    I usually place some elastomer product under about everything within the audio chain, but only spend real money on things associated with the TT or the speakers. The rest I simply do because I can, and I don't spend very much on it. Am guessing if I removed it all I couldn't detect the difference.
    timind and patient_ot like this.
  21. Ingenieur

    Ingenieur Going with the flow...

    there is a whole area of study on making xfmrs quiet, codes, standards and all

    and they know the excitation frequency is 60 Hz, should be easy to isolate, likely rubber bushings

    if it's the output xfmr they have bigger issues
    guestuser and avanti1960 like this.
  22. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Chicago metro, USA
    if tubes are audibly affected by transformer vibration this makes another case for two chassis solutions. power supply in one box tubes in the other.
    Ingenieur likes this.
  23. Absolutely made a night and day difference for absorbing walking disturbances to my TT.
    aunitedlemon and Dream On like this.
  24. murphythecat


    I use hemisphere sorbothane in 3 key place on my setup...

    isolation platform will make objective and subjective measurable differences for :
    decoupling speakers
    decoupling electronics from speaker if the electronics are placed directly on speakers or if a amp is placed to close from the speakers.
    decoupling Turntables

    sorbothane hemisphere under my tube ampe are great for me since I had to put my tube amp directly on my speakers. completely stopped all vibrations on the amp itself.

    I also use sorbothane hemisphere under my speakers and that really makes a obvious difference

    sorbothane well loaded for isolating my TT . that will make a measurable difference.

    tbh, the trick is just to try the sorbothane hemisphere oneself. sorbothane must be well weighted. sufficient pressure on each hemisphere must applied in order for sorbothane to works. so @avanti1960 make sure you understand sorbothane loading
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021 at 12:22 PM
  25. murphythecat


    sorbothane is a 21st century material. Can we get away from cheap rubbers and Blue tack please?

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