Amazed at Herbies Iso Cups

Category: Accessories

I don't have doubts that isolation anti-vibration devices can improve a components performance, but I've been stuck in the mindset that you have to use mass loading or full sized platforms to achieve those results. At the strong recommendation of a friend, I ordered a set of Herbies Iso Cups and the Mini Iso Cups (the minis are for the small sized preamp I use--a Mapletree Audio Ultra 4A). Herbies provided amazingly fast shipment; arrived two days after I ordered it and I wonder if he has connections at the post office. I put a set of the cups using the gadon ebony balls under the Musical Fidelity A5 CD player. The sonic changes were most likely subtle to non-audiophile ears and I spared my wife the agony of asking her the ever dreaded "don't you hear the difference" question. Yet, to me the change was dramatic. Still caught up in this drama, I am having a difficult time putting into words exactly what improvements I heard. I can unequivocally say that everything just sounds more "right". Yes, there are the usual changes that are experienced with isolation devices, such as a deeper soundstage, better defined images, clearer and cleaner highs and mids, deeper bass. But, there is also a greater sense of drive, rythm and musicality that I did not expect. The iso cups have really revealed the better side of my CD player. The improvements were not so noticeable with the mini cups, though there are improvements. My guess, and its only a guess, is that the Herbies don't don't do anything, but keep other things like vibrations and shelf resonances from doing their thing. By keeping out the nasty colorations of those unwanted nasties, your components can perform the way they were designed--to transform the electrical signal into music. When I try out cables, power cords, AC filters, and other tweaks, I don't often use the word "improvement" to describe what they do. All of these items do change the sound, but to say that those changes are an "improvement" is a matter of personal taste. With the iso cups, however, the word "improvement" seems appropriate since it allows the components to perform as pure and unadulterated as possible. In fact, I don't usually write posts for tweaks like these, but I thought it was important to share since when I searched the archives for Herbies products myself, I found some favorable comments, but not much in terms of specifics. Maybe I'm just amazed because I'm a skeptic at heart when it comes to some of these devices. Ok, I'm rambling here. Time to stop. Just wanted to share my amazement.
Herbie is certainly onto something, thats for sure. I cannot commnet on the Iso Cups but I use his Bigfeet, Tenderfeet and another one for my speakers. All of the claims and benefits for spikes and cones I get using his products, at a fraction of the price. Instead of draining vibrations in one plane, onto the floor or some kind of support, his devices drain microphonics in all planes, resulting in a lower noise floor with a tightening of images and lets your hear deeper into the music. PRAT is more apparent as the music is more focused. Haze and smear just dissappear. Detail is improved along with the attendant articulation allowing more of a listening gestalt.
On another note, I thought I had my system correctly set up using the Tenderfeet under my CDP. Stupid me, I had them under the players feet instead of under the CDP itself. I had this set up this way for over a year and thought it was right until I placed them correctly and all I can say is WOW. What were sounds that were only hinted at, and incorrectly imagined, came into a sharp and clear focus with detail applently.
Using his products on a mid priced unit (its all I can afford) can elevate it to another level without spending a fortune.
Now I'm rambling.
I agree with your comments regarding the Tenderfeet. In my review (which was not intended to be a review in the formal sense by the moderators apparently felt it was more appropriate in that category than in the general discussion), I mention the mini iso cups for my preamp but never really commented much about it. Although the mini iso cups did improve sound over not using anything at all, it was recommended that I try the Tenderfeet to see if they may more appropriate. Indeed they were. The improvements with the Tenderfeet under my preamp was a big a Wow as I got from the Cd player. A focused, firm musical sound and soundstage. Everything mentioned from Nonoise above is confirmed with my experience. Apparently, the Iso Cups work better with some applications and the Tenderfeet better with others. Much is system dependent and directed by personal tastes.

I not only give a thumbs up for the cups and the feet, but for all the Herbies products I have tried. I usually do not get this excited about audio products to post comments like these, but I have to say I've been so impressed by Steve (Herbie himself) tireless assistance, great price and great product that I cannot help myself but share the excitment. You also get a 90 day trial period so you can't go wrong with just giving Herbie products a try.

And, although I'm still in the audition with Hal-O tube dampers on the my amp, I am even more blown away by the improvements with the dampers than the cups and feet. After placing the dampers on the phase splitter and driver tubes of the amp, it wasn't just the clarity and cleaness of the sound that improved, but the overall tonality and musicality. With my amp, I had been noticing a small amount of coloration overriding the music on everything I played. With the dampers on, the coloration vanished. To be honest, I still need to do some more critical listening to verify my subjective conclusions, and the results with the dampers were not so dramatic when used on my preamp, but so far I was stunned by the improvements induced by the Hal-Os tube dampers. Highly recommended.
I'm a big fan of Herbies products as well. I use their interconnect dampers, tube dampers, and Iso Cups with the gabon balls, and all work very well (the IC dampers to a lesser extent than the other two). And the prices are very reasonable, considering the exorbitant prices of a lot of high-end accessories.
Yet another winner from Herbies Audio Lab. I used the Baby Booties (which are very small tenderfeet) under the Bam that is used with Merlin speakers and the improvement in clarity and resolution was almost as dramatic as the upgrade of the stock Bam to SuperBam. The Booties just seemed to make the tonality and sound just more "right".

I also switched out the Mini Iso Cups under my preamp and put in the standard Tenderfeet in their place. I found the standard Tenderfeet work much better in this application. Firmer bass and more natural tone. The Minis added a touch of lightness and air that I do not think was best suited for my system. The tenderfeet just seem to make the sound, again, just more "right".

So far, every product I've tried from Herbies has out performed my expectations (some more suited to my tastes than others) and still amazes me. Reasonable prices and great service. Hihly recommended and with the trial period on their products, you owe it to yourself just to give them a try.
Another vote For Herbie. I have put the Iso cups under my VERY heavy tube integrated, I almost feel sorry for them. I noticed a big improvement in base definition and imaging which suprised me a little. Knowone has mentioned the big fat dots. My room has a suspended wooden floor, not good. After experimentaion, I have a sandstone slab resting on pulsar points, with the fat dots under the speaker. They gave an even bigger lift to performance.
Steve is very helpful, when I queried the difference between Gabon ebony and Acrylic balls in the Iso cups, he gave me a set of each at no extra cost.