BDR Cones for SS Amp


Thanks to Millercarbon, from whom I’ve learned a lot by paying attention to his content, I decided to try BDR Mk3 cones on my SS amp. I have a modest system that I thoroughly enjoy, and I like trying different tweaks to experience what might sound “better” to me. I have a Rega Elex-R amp, Tavish Vintage phono preamp, Rega RP8 TT, Hana SL cartridge, ML Motion 40i speakers, mid grade AudioQuest interconnects, and Blue Jeans Belden gray cables. I built a very solid hardwood table for all that stuff, and it sits on some vibration control pads. I also have a dedicated 20 amp circuit and some power conditioning.

I removed the four rubber feet from the Rega amp and replaced them with three BDR cones, two in the back and one I. The middle front. The difference in sound really surprised me - it’s a huge positive difference and not subtle. The wife cliche is real - she has two left ears and told me she could hear instruments she couldn’t hear before, and the system sounded “much clearer.” We listened to Dire Straits Love Over Gold, First Aid Kit Stay Gold, and Mahler 5, all on vinyl. 

All instruments and voices became clearer and more precise, but somehow softer and less hard edged. There was distinctly more separation and positioning in space, and the background was noticeably quieter. Vocals became more prominent and bass was bigger and deeper but still tight and clear.
Honestly, I’m very surprised there was so much difference. I didn’t expect it and assumed these things wouldn’t do much. 
My system was pretty clear and had a fair soundstage but was kind of harsh before; now it’s beautifully musical, no harshness at all, and has a greater sense of separation and spatial depth. The only change I made was adding the BDR cones as described.

Thanks to MC and others who recommended BDR cones, my modest system sounds better than ever and I love listening to music!
phasemonger
Good to hear. Especially since I get flack for recommending stuff like this for people with "modest" systems. But when I discovered BDR back around 1992 one of the first things I did was carry a set around trying them under all kinds of things.

As a result it has been clear to me for a very long time now that there really is no bottom line lower level for good tweaks like this. They work quite well even under really cheap gear, by which I mean the improvement is greater than you can get by spending the same money on a component upgrade. (To be clear yours is by no means cheap- or even modest- it is actually quite good!)

One of the really neat things about BDR is they are modular. That is you can start with Cones, then upgrade by adding Round Things that screw together with the Cones. Then add a Shelf.

Then something really interesting. Look at my current setup. https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8367 Look close and you will see my Moab speakers are on Townshend Podiums, but with BDR Cones going into BDR Round Things on top, and with BDR Round Things under the Podium feet! You might think that since the Podiums are such great isolation that the BDR would make no difference. But it does! Same under my Melody tube amp. Real world experience uber alles! Vibration control is a complex and fascinating subject.

Also my turntable is made out of BDR Source Shelf. The Teres Audio motor pod is modified with a Source Shelf, Cones, and Mini-Pucks. The whole thing sits on a large Source Shelf. This is all on a massive 700 lb rack of solid concrete, sand, and granite. And yet for all that, when I put Townshend Pods between the Source Shelf and the granite they made a huge improvement!

Vibration control is mega! Which I guess I don’t need to tell you. Not now that you know from actual experience. Well done!


MC, thank you for your generous reply and ideas for more experimenting.

I’m excited about how good my affordable system is beginning to sound as the little things start adding up. 
“Everything matters.” 
They totally add up.  I started with really cheap stuff, most of which I thought was probably BS but figured why not try and see? One thing led to another. Even now I still try all kinds of stuff that seems unlikely.  

Then when something does work, well then I wonder why? And where else might that work? Still doing it. If vibration control works under one thing why not another? Maybe that is why cable elevators work? If that is the case, how would I find out? How could it be tested for cheap? One night the idea comes: rubber bands!  

That one actually worked. They don't always. Some people think this is all nuts, like everything I tried worked. Right. As if. They forget all the times I say no don't do that. Guess how I know not to do that? Because I did it and it didn't work! They ignore that, see only that I do all these crazy things, pretend I think everything works. So you got to be careful, people have some awfully skewed views of the world. Not everything works. 

Vibration control really is a complicated subject. Max Townshend is some genius level engineer who knows enough math and physics and engineering to find solutions that way. The rest of us like me fly by the seat of our pants. Either way, long as we keep flying, we will get there. More of a journey than a destination anyway, right?
phasemonger, you were hearing things you did not hear before because you were listening carefully. Remove the cones and listen again. Chances are you will hear the same things. You have to listen back and forth to get the right idea. Listening just once is a trap that most of us have fallen into somewhere in our audio careers. 
Hello mijostyn, I can tell you that as a lifelong classical musician, I both know how to listen critically, and know when I’m listening critically (or not). Most of the time I listen critically with my system because I enjoy that. For me it’s interesting and relaxing to dive deep into the sounds and instruments and really hear things. What I’m hearing with the BDR cones is definitely not a result of me listening differently or more critically than usual. 
But - if what you really mean is that there is no objective change with the BDR cones and what I’m hearing is confirmation bias - well, you may be right. I’d have to do all sorts of elaborate and expensive tests to try to prove to you it’s not confirmation bias, and unlike listening critically, that’s not interesting to me. 
Is there an objective difference with BDR cones? I don’t know, I’m not going to pretend I know, and I easily concede to you the whole thing may be confirmation bias. If so, I’m happy with this confirmation bias because from my couch in my house, my music sounds better and I’m enjoying my system more! Music is good!


Post removed 
And in the end that is all that matters. Happy Listening 🎶