I am much in favor of Critical Mass Systems. Bests Black Diamond, Aurios, Silent Running in my system.
To answer your question clearly: yes, an isolation device will make a big difference. Black Diamond Racing Cones give good bang for the buck. Symposium roller ball feet work a bit better, especially when you have the tungsten carbide balls, but they cost a lot more. (You pay the price for hard balls.) I haven't tried most of what the other guys are having.
I use a non-audiophile rack, too. Depending on the configuration of your shelves, Ken Lyon at Greater Ranges can custom build Neuance shelves to fit your rack. I use one for my digital source, and Ken custom made it to fit my Salamander cabinet.
I also use Symposium Rollerblocks and Aurios. Aurios are used in laboratories to isolate sensitive measuring/testing equipment. So, as far as passing the real world test, Aurios have the pedigree.
Frankly, I don't know that I can hear a difference using this stuff, but I figure they can't hurt.
For me, the choice wasn't even close. I opted for Silent Running Audio's Craz rack and Ohio Class XL+ isolation platforms, and haven't looked back. IMHO, there's nothing better on the market, and that includes Grand Prix Audio. The secret is that each platform, and each shelf on the rack, is designed specifically for the component it supports. Now that SRA is accepting trade-ins for old platforms, and offer new support pads for the rack shelves FREE OF CHARGE, it's no longer a monetary hassle when you change components. I could've bought any rack out there, and I chose SRA. It's a no-compromise solution--the best of the best, IMO.
I have three Critical Mass bases. Two, which I have owned for about 5 months, sit under Joule Rite Of Passage amps. The third is nearly 2 months old, used to isolate my preamp. I have seen no change in level. The product is aesthetically top-grade, and so far, the construction has proven to be as well.
Most of the isolations devices that are being discussed here have some positive merits, still, they all pale when compared to the offerings from Silent Running Audio. Now, SRA has widened the gap even more for me with their new Squared series. Most people's bitch with SRA was it's inability to use the same base with different gear. These new SRA units will now be future proof! Should you decide to change out equipment, you don't have to worry about losing the advantages that only a Component Specific Design can bring. Details, from what I've been told, will be spelled out in an upcoming review on SoundStage. This is truly exciting news! I have owned and or compared most of the products listed thus far in this thread plus quite a few more not listed. IMHO, nothing comes close to any of the Ohio-Class units. Now with the Ohio-Class XL+² coming to a system near you, the bar has been raised way high. I find this so, very very exciting, I ordered a double XL+2 Craz!
Adog: "They all pale in comparison when compared to" Have you had them "all" in your system to compare? I find it hard to believe as I am sure others will as well. Most people decide on an isolation system and stick with it for a long time for a number of reasons:
1. It really is a pain to disassemble, pack, and ship.
2. It is a pain to unpack and assemble new isoltion gear.
2. Most people do not see the value of good isolation.
Believe me, I am a fan of both Kevin Tellekamp as well as his products. I also know that others will completely differ with your opinion and have tried SRA as well as some of the competition.
BTW, Welcome to the forums. I see this is your fist time posting here and I look forward to reading more from you.
I am not "hear" to diminish the merits of any of these products. My intentions are purely based on my own, as well as, my "family" of friend's trials and tribulations. Yes, to your question, I have had direct experience with everyone of the products discussed here, as well as, many more.
I never said I had a "shoot out" comparing them all directly. My observations are purely born from listening in either familiar situations and or with gear I am a custom to. As far as set up and the like, it is only a pain when you are not committed and or you don't care.
Life is mundane enough so, when an opportunity to try/hear GPA or any of these products in a number of different systems, I find it instructive if not fun. As you state, "others" may have differing opinions (which is of course, great), but for myself and my extended family, SRA just digs a little deeper, seems more serious and for good or bad depending on your living situation, aesthetically more décor friendly (re: décor friendly: I believe I read in an AG thread you making the same comment when it comes to looks). While we are new to posting, as you were so kind to point out via your welcome, we have been reading AG threads for years. A friend pointed out this thread as he WAS on the fence with an equipment rack purchase. I thought I would join the fun in 2006 (a little early yes) & post once, maybe twice per thread if I thought it was interesting. Once again, I think one's decisions need be there own. These are all wonderful products but, back to the original question of best, for me as well as, many friends, SRA seems to do the job of isolation better with less negatives and just looks totally cool in the process.
Jtinn: Good question. At the time I was making my isolation decisions you handled both GPA & SRA (you already had the GPA line). Any way, you were the one that so strongly suggested I get the SRA products, and told me they were better! As you already handled the GPA line, and have always steered me in the right direction, why would I waste the time going out and trying to compare things that you clearly have pointed out in some of your above threads as being such a pain to bring in, try, ship back & so on.
Further, over recent years you have shown almost mirror systems at some of the major trade shows, providing me the opportunity to A/B GPA & SRA (not the perfect A/B of course, but good enough for me to confirm my purchase decision). To my ears and eyes, I simply prefer SRA products.
FWIW, I recently heard the GPA Monaco stand at a person's house out here by me. I'm trying to negotiate an A-B comparison with the SRA, but it's going to be difficult because of logistical issues.
I have found there is no other way to approach mechanical isolation other than to try different products. It is not simply a matter of finding something that gives you the MOST isolation or dampening. Sometimes less is more desirable. I've heard systems sound worse when a particular component is dampened. It is a matter of voicing, and that can only be done by trial and error. In particular, CD players can become too dry and analytical sounding -- I suspect that good designers actually voice their products and dampening can alter the voicing for the worse.
I have found only one isolation product far superior to others I have tried (unlike adog I've not or will not say I've tried everything) (also 1st time posting but have been a member for 2 years just lurking around AA) but have tried many and heard most at friends. It's the Vibraplane isolation platform that actually comes from the medical industry, that has proven unbeatable, EVERYTIME. Yes, even the SRA's are very good but not in the same league IMHO, yours may differ and if you are a store I'm sure your response will be biased. Expensive, yes, but once you "hear" the improvement there will be no going back.
Hello all. Having horsed around with our hobby for 25+ years now, I have a little bit of experience. I have first hand experience with a few of the products mentioned here. It comes down to individual taste, budget, specific components....... The usual. Most products do a good job. Most have their positives & negatives (cost or weight..). The absolute best overall--in about 6 systems--that I have seen is the Vibraplane. Including CDPs and 100+ turntables. Does not make sense, but... Does that mean it is the best? Also to claim that I have tried them all as mentioned by one of the others above and pretend to be impartial...
By the way, is Adog not Mr. Highwater Sound? A dealer for Silent Running Audio?
Sorry, I was distracted & hit the submit button. Insurance guys cannot do more than one thing at a time. The best as always is to see & try if possible. It is unfortunate that
some play games & discourage others. I have seen it many times over the years. This is a hobby & we should try to help each other & offer our personal experiences....... Yet over a couple of potential sales & a few dollars we have people playing games. Looking back, I am sorry that I have only ever posted on two topics, but I am glad I stumbled upon this one. I will make an effort to find the time to participate more often. Most audiophiles are great folks. We can all learn from one another. We should not let a few "bad apples" discourage us. Especially those just coming into the hobby who should get good advice & honest answers. It is common courtesy & FUN!!
All the best to all for the Holidays.
Best Regards, Nick.
No doubt here that the Vibraplane is the best isolation device on the market. That being said there are a couple of reasons for this. In order to isolate properly you must have a combination of mass and isolation. You must decouple from the surface that is vibrating in both the Horizontal and vertical planes. The Vibraplane addresses both issues. It weighs in at 150 lbs. Things at rest tend to stay at rest, ask Newton. It has a highly damped air suspension system. This isolates down to an astonishing 2.5 hz. The footers used on the Vibraplane use an ingenious slip plate technology isolating in the Horizontal Plane!!!!
There is a reason that the worlds scientific community uses Vibraplanes and a handful of other manufactures for the test equipment. IT WORKS!!! They are not direct coupled plates. Their R&D DEPENDS on results!! I've yet to hear about an electron microscope being used on a Silent Running Platform.
I've used both and while the Silent Running is very good and works well it fails in comparison to the Vibraplane. It is an audiophile tweak, where the Vibraplane is a real world industry performer.
I am a dealer for the product because it is the best and there is nothing else out there like it. We know that ADOG is a dealer for the Silent Running. Jeff, we would all benefit with a little more transparancy from your posts. We know you have an axe to grind.
J- Badov - If what you said were actually true, the mass of the entite house (much more than 150 lb) would provide sufficient isolation. Furthermore, "electron microscopes," as a class, are not the end all do-all devices you suggest; in the overall scheme of things their performance is good but not great.
First let me thank the over 5000 customers now using the Vibraplane for their isolation needs. It has been a real pleasure to make so many customers enjoy their systems more than ever.
For those that are not clear on how the Vibraplane works, compared to "standard" isolation products, let me see if this might help:
Conventional isolators are constructed using metal springs or rubber blocks. They have low internal damping, and tend to be effective only at frequencies near 10 Hz. Also, they provide almost no isolation at frequencies above 30 Hz because of harmonic standing waves occurring at sonic velocities in the metal or rubber.
The VIBRAPLANE design concept eliminates the metal springs and or rubber blocks used in conventional isolator designs. The VIBRAPLANE utilizes a frictionless rolling diaphragm air seal to support a load carrying piston in conjunction with dual air chambers as the spring and damping medium. The air spring stiffness is a function of the combined air volume of the dual chambers. This conveniently provides the required very low stiffness to obtain the desired very low natural frequency necessary for high efficiency isolation. Harmonic standing waves cannot occur in the VIBRAPLANE System due to its dual air chamber internal damping design.
The VIBRAPLANE utilizes a unique proprietary VARIFLO orifice design for flow control between air chambers, and therefore, better damping control is realized both high and low amplitudes and frequencies. This design ensures an even air flow at all amplitudes without choking, thereby maintaining the effectiveness of both (airspring) chamber volumes.
It can easily be shown that VARIFLO damping incorporates a filtering spring. This contrasts with vibrations in a conventional isolator model where the damper is direct coupled to the mass and causes a loss of isolation at high frequencies. The VARIFLO damping (air) spring effectively decouples the damper at high frequencies and therefore no isolation is lost where high damping forces would tend to reduce efficiency in a conventional isolator.
The VIBRAPLANE design uses a thin wall frictionless rolling diaphragm to support the (airspring) piston. This unique design prevents friction locking, which is a principle cause of loss of isolation for low frequency, micro-inch disturbances in conventional Isolators.
The dual chamber design of the VIBRAPLANE produces a unique optimization of its vibration Transmissibility performance. At low frequencies the air volume in both air chambers is effective, resulting in large air volume and a soft low natural frequency system. This is represented by the left branch of the Transmissibility curve. At high frequencies, the orifice gradually restricts the air flow and eventually only the small chamber is effective with a resulting stiffening of the system. This action is represented by the right branch of the Transmissibility curve. Our proprietary orifice design is amplitude sensitive and configured to produce the optimum transmissibility bounded by the left and right branches. The VIBRAPLANE thus affords the ideal conditions of maximum damping at resonance and minimum damping at high frequencies for better isolation than possible, using conventional isolation systems.
Horizontal vibrations (in buildings) average 25% to 30% of the vertical and are usually less critical. Nevertheless, the VIBRAPLANE System includes a Horizontal Isolation Piston to provide isolation for any vibration environment regardless of direction.
The piston is internally constructed with rubber-in-shear elements that simultaneously translate and rock in a low frequency coupled response action to horizontal inputs. The Vibraplane Platforms use an onmi-directional low frequency pendulum system to eliminate horizontal vibrations.
Finanlly, structural damping is used throughout which eliminates the ringing caused by resonances in the frame, table, and platform structures external to the VIBRAPLANE airspring suspension system. All structures experience resonance no matter how stiff or massive. Damping augmentation is the most efficient means to dissipate vibration energy,
Hope this has been helpful. There are many products now on the market, all help and can be "heard". Please feel free to e-mail us off-line for further information.
A very Happy and SOUND Holiday season to all........
Geoffkait - I can see where you are a little confused and having difficulty understanding seismic isolation.
"If what you said were actually true, the mass of the entite house (much more than 150 lb) would provide sufficient isolation."
We are talking about isolated mass here Geoff. The house like the Silent running is directly coupled to the earth, the source of the vibration. When you isolate and decouple an object properly it must have mass in order to stay put. So the earth vibrates away while the platform stays in place, partly because of the mass of the platform and partly due to the isolation. This is why they operate so well.
"Furthermore, "electron microscopes," as a class, are not the end all do-all devices you suggest; in the overall scheme of things their performance is good but not great. "
Alright, but if they are not isolated proper the performance is greatly diminished. It's not the resolution of the device I am talking about here it is increase in performance to enhance usability. Obviously the move sensitive the device the more important the isolation to obtain results. A great deal of the Vibraplanes are used in clinical, industrial and research applications where under normal consditions you will not yeild results.
Take a look at SOS's follow up response. It has a very clear indication of how the unit is designed.
j-badov - The heavy mass used in Vibraplane is employed to lower the resonant freq. of the "mass on spring" system and has nothing whatsoever to do with inertia, as you suggested. System resonant frequency is a (strict) function of the Sq. Root of spring rate over the mass.
Thus, if vibraplane employed an even heavier mass, all things being equal, it would be an even better isolator. But not because of the reason you gave.
Years ago I tried many shelves and stands. The Manas proved superior to all others. I did later find the Neuance shelves on the Mana stands were superior to the glass top shelf provided. Later I found the Acapella shelves to be better yet. Then came the Halcyonic active isolators. Under the universal player and my turntable, there is nothing even close. They are too expensive for me to use elsewhere, however. I will not even try them under my amp as I am afraid I would go broke.
theaudiotweak: in the case of our Promethean & Nimbus, we use selective frequency damping of the top plate to remove residual vibration due to seismic type, component-induced or airborne type. We also prefer the extremely hard dh (diamond hardness) cones for lightning-fast energy transfer between component & plate/damper.
Geoff Kait, Machina Dynamica
Nice to know that four course on vibration I took in university can be boiled down to one easy sentence Geoff. It is far more complex in study than what you have stated. It has everything to do with inertia.
"The heavy mass used in Vibraplane is employed to lower the resonant freq. of the "mass on spring" system and has nothing whatsoever to do with inertia, as you suggested. System resonant frequency is a (strict) function of the Sq. Root of spring rate over the mass."
What you talk of is a simple machine, a text book example not a real world application. What you talk of is a single degree of freedom spring and mass system. It does not particularly apply. Yes, additonal mass will lower the resonant frequency of the platform but is not the sole or most important reason for the mass. You could simply damp, clamp and change the resonant frequency with out the mass. You have completely ignored Newton and Kinetics all in one foul swoop. How about your transmission ratios, harmonic ground motion, forced periodic motion etc.?
"Thus, if vibraplane employed an even heavier mass, all things being equal, it would be an even better isolator. But not because of the reason you gave."
Beg to differ here sir. A larger mass requires larger surface areas and will not necessarily translate to better isolation. It introduces another set of issues. It is a large reason as to why it operates the way it does. Mass limits movement the isolators decouple from the source of the vibration. It is similar in operation to an inertia base under large rotating pieces of equipment, conversly though they are trying to limit the vibration transmitted into a building. Mass is key in keeping things in place and limiting both movement and transmission of vibration.
j-badov, the equivalent performance (resonant frequency) for the VP would be obtained by simultaneously *reducing* the mass and reducing the spring rate of the thin-skin bladders.
Therefore, by inspection, mass cannot be the *key* to the design of the mass-on-spring isolating system you seem to think it is.
Also, a larger mass doesn't necessarily require more surface area as higher density of mass will solve that particular problem.
Maybe dust off the old university textbooks, eh? :-)
Hey Geoff with out getting into a pissing match here. We may be talking about two different things.
I am not discussing the resonant frequency here. I am discussing the use of mass to keep the platform in place. Things at rest tend to stay at rest. The higher the mass the more extenal force it takes to move the object.
If the platform were directly coupled to a stand via cones etc. the seismic churning of the earth will disturb the platform. The better the isolation the less the transmitted force. The larger mass simply keeps in place. With out the mass the transmitted forces will allow the platform to move sympathetically with the seismic vibrations.
As for the density of the materials used, VP utilizes a large billet of steel underneath to make up the 150 lbs this thing weighs. A denser material would be much more expensive and in many case more difficult to work with.
Design of industrial and institutional vibration platforms is not the simple mass-on-spring you seem to think it is. They employ over 15 PE's on staff. Check out many of the vibration and acoustic control companies around and you will find that most of these companies are made up of PHD's. Not because they want to look important but because it is a very difficult field to understand.
If it were as easy as you seem to think it is they would just employ a couple simple dense slabs of Corian separted by a couple of springs. Or every one would just use two pieces of MDF with a Thermarest mat in between.
Rest assured my textbooks are well dusted. I am PE Mechanical Engineer and work with a number of Vibration consultants on my projects on a daily basis.
J-badov - It appears you have your concepts of isolation and I have mine. Nothing wrong with that and I agree, no need for pissing contest. There are many ways to skin a cat.
I designed Nimbus platform, a 6 DOF sub 1.0 Hz device about 8 years ago. Nimbus is the world's only single air spring iso stand. For ballast for the Nimbus I use steel - as you say: inexpensive and well-suited to the task. Depleted uranium would be my next choice :-)
Depleted Uranium is nothing but regular Uranium with a slightly higher U238 to U235 ratio, and is a healthy source of ionizing radiation. Your gonads will love you for the extra attention to their well being!
Depleted Uranium is used in weaponry not necessarily because of its density, but because it enjoys a combination of 'desirable' properties: density of 19.50, extreme hardness, high flamability, and high toxicity. Are you sure you want some of it in your living room?
Lots cheaper, safer, and for our purpose just as hard and heavy is good old Tungsten (W), with a density of 19.25, or if you want to be exotic, try Iridium (Ir) with a wapping density of 22.6. Please let me know if any company introduces an isolation platform ballasted with depleted Uranium. I'll make it a point to shop where that brand is not carried.
Hello all. I am taking precious time away from my wife's WONDERFUL relatives to read the posts. I love Guidocoronas.
Chuckled is an understatement. Love the Kuzma Reference TT/ Airline Arm & also the Vibraplane, but I will only spend the huge dollars required on Uranium tweaks if we can ship directly to the OUTlaws to try before I buy. Let me know.
Best Regards, Nick.
By the way, what ever happened to Adog??
Thank you J_Badov, and a very Merry Christmas to you too! Seriously, if you want to experiment with high density ballasts in isolation platforms, Tungsten may be a good way to explore. The Tungsten Company suggests Tungsten is being already applied to isolation devices of sorts. See:
I have a question to ppl wiser than me on this subject.
What is the prime function of equipment supports ?
Should they isolate the equipment from seismic vibrations ? Or maybe on the contrary - they should couple the equipment to the floor, like some of the manufacturers seems to suggest, to create a "drain path" for airborne and electronicborn vibrations.
Elberoth2, yours is the question that divides different solutions. Goldmund strongly advocates grounding to the earth. Soft mounts, such as magnetic, spring, rubber, and bladder isolations, however, seek to isolate the components from vibrations through the shelves and floors. Vibrations can come from the sound through the floor or though the air, from the component it self moving with the music reaching it or from ac or motor vibrations within it, or from vibrations reaching the equipment from outside.
I think the only real answer to your question is: both. I know of few real solutions to both.
What's wrong with you people? This forum has turned into a character bashing contest. If any of you would go back and read Adog's posts, it's impossible to conclude that he's the monster you've made him out to be. Clearly, he is NOT the one with the "axe to grind," as one of you accused. This forum has turned into a high school clique of little girls - mean-spirited and unhelpful. In the spirit of total disclosure, I'm not a dealer. I am a customer of High Water Sound, but I'm also a past customer of Sounds of Silence, of Audio Advancements, of Music Direct, and so on. Steve Klein sold me Kondo interconnects. Thank you, Steve. He also told me about the virtues of the Vibraplane. High Water Sound also tried to sell me the Vibraplane when he had three of them in his system. In my world, however, $5000 for a single isolation device is ridiculously stupid, no matter how good it is. I bought an eight shelf finite-element master reference rack instead for roughly the same amount. In my experience, I've never heard any of these reputable "dealers" trash other dealers, at least not to me. So, stick to the subject and stop acting like you're in junior high school. Or shut up!
Mrdavid, I think the thread is long past what you are concerned about. Perhaps, Avphile reintroduced it.
Elberoth2, I hesitate to suggest various active isolators because of their cost, but they are the only solutions I know of. I have also found the Acapella base to be capable of isolating the component as well as absorbing the component originating noise. It pales in comparison to the active units. Yes, I use the expensive Halcyonic Micro 40 under my turntable.
Tbg - I think that absorption is not exactly the same as coupling to the ground. What we would need here, is not absorption, but some kind of mechanical diode (if such a thing exists) which would only let the vigrations travel in one way (from equipment to ground).
BTW - did you have a chance to compare Halycronics to Minus K platforms ? Is Halycronics weight specific (like Minus K) ?
Elberoth2, I am suggesting here that grounding of the noise of the device through rigid supports can be achieved by an active device which also provides isolation through the structure of the shelves and room. I know that spring devices can also absorb noises from components, which causes them to vibrate somewhat or to turn the vibration into heat. I don't think this meets the intent of grounding to the earth's mass or even flooring.
I am aware of the Minus K devices but have not tried them. At their root they are spring isolators, as I read the technology. The Halcyonic device is active, and the Macro 40 can take up to 300 pounds with self leveling.
I must say that I was so blown away by the Halcyonic, which I was allowed to try, that I explored no other professional devices.