I've found that isolation bases or shelves can make a big difference in the sound. However, whether more isolation is an improvement or a detriment, is impossible to predict. This is more of a trial and error process.
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I have the same rack (partner rack)and i have wondered same thing.I thought of adding either maple cutting boards or as someone at music dir suggested a thick peice of acrylic.I ended up buying some of the new bdr thin disks...i talked to this high end speaker designer about vibration and he thinks all the isolation in the world wont stop vibration...(my crossovers are vibrating)as he said i think its bs.I think larry is right try what works for you.I do think it can be detriment to a point.
The 'process' part is right on.
True enough. Things which vibrate can really be improved using isolation gizmos.... but everthing has a resonance and could benefit from likewise dedicated applications.
The thing which amazes me is not only does the type of aftermarket footer alter things, but so does their placement. True too, the platform matters as well.
BUT here's the thing.... IMO you can get very good to great results here, and you can go nuts too. here's where inovation and trial and error work out well vs. $$$$.
Skim thru the archives for 'footers' & or 'isolation'.... you'lll get tons of info and tons of reasons pro & con for this or that approach.
how well damped your rack is will determine to some degree how much need there is for isolation devices... or so I've found using skinny racks and fat ones. Glass & metal, vs, filled heavy steel. Wooden shelves vs. MDF VS. PLAIN OLD PARTICLE BOARD.
RW DEFINITELY V
Worry less about the isolation in the rack and more about the acoustic energy that reaches the unit from the front and sides. Screen off the player from the room acoustic energy and you will see a great improvement. to prove this, just lightly place your finder on the front of the unit while playing music from your speakers. The energy felt will produce tons of jitter.
Trial and error is correct. Put some weight or absorbing material on top of the player, unless it is a top loader. I am a dealer for several lines of products and have found the are all effective to a degree but not to sound alike. Cones like the Star Sound do a good job of transferring vibrations out of the unit, others try to prevent vibration being transferred from the unit to the shelf. Roller bering platforms work also but a little disconcerting at times. I have some discs made by a German company , M something, which are made of ground up and cryoed metal. Very effective, may even over-damp some things but fairly expensive by my standards. They make complete racks of the same exotic material but I haven't seen one, several times the cost of the Star Sound one I use. In general about anything is better than nothing.
I'm currently doing some experimenting with my CDP & although I've been using isolation devices for years, just last week I used dynamat & covered the entire top & sides. This is on an older Rotel RCD-855, so I'm not worried about how it looks. I've done other mods but won't go into that aspect now.
At first I was going to just use the dynamat from the inside but there wasn't enough room. I did cover a few exposed areas on the chassis then decided to completely cover the top, which includes the sides. The piece measured something like 23" x 10.5".
The results from this were a little more detail came through, like extended decay, i.e. the reverb & delay on both instruments & vocals and a bit more separation in some background details. On one song for example, I could make out that "something" in the background was a shaker, which wasn't that close to a mic. Background vocals had a little more separation too, which made them less muffled sounding. The overall clarity improved as a result of this.
The CDP is in a wooden rack w/wooden shelves (intensely reinforced) sitting on a Bright Star Audio sandbox with Herbie's grunge buster 1" balls sitting in FIM polished cups with 3 approx. 1 lb. ea. lead filled ankle weights on top.
My next experiment is using an old Rega plinth I've cut down to fit on top of the unit & will put the weights on top of that. I've almost finished filling in the holes, so will be trying that out tomorrow some time.
You also mentioned speaker isolation and there's been a lot written about that too. Rather than type more here, I did a review of VR4GenIII's you can read.
I found that my Forsell transport was extraordinarily affected by isolation devices, which I never could understand but I actually could hear clearly. In my experience, the best isolation I gave it involved using an air and silicone-filled bicycle inner tube in a base that was damped with sand and lead shot, and putting that on either a Seismic Sink or a Gingko Cloud 10 platform. This combination did a good job damping the vibrations of the unit as well as isolating it from vibrations transmitted from the rack (since my entire front end is in a different room from the speakers, I had less of a problem with airborne vibrations than others might have). Unfortunately every inner tube I used eventually would leak (fortunately the base with the sand did a good job containing the mess), so I ultimately wouldn't recommend doing this anymore. I can't say that isolating the other transports I have owned has made nearly as big a difference as isolation did with the Forsell (that was one tweaky unit).
FWIW, after trying countless variations over the years, including some mentioned above, I have finally found extreme satisfaction with the following combo under my digital sources, (configured as the text is viewed)
-Front End Device
-Boston Audio tune Blocks (w/tungsten carbide beaings)
-SAP Relaxa magnetic levitation platform
These are mounted on a multiply decoupled very low mass lossy rack, the result of which has been a very apparent increase in soundstage size, dynamics and resolution, without any tonal shift.... and all up for very minimal financial outlay.
The most effective device I have come with for my digital system is a DIY platform using concave door knobs with ball bearings in between. More clarity, defined bass and more details. Easy to construct, (6) door knobs (Amerock brand)(3) 5/8" ball bearings amd (2) wood shelves cut to size resmbling your transport footing. Try it!
My dvd 50 sits on three Mapleshade Mega Mounts that's sitting On a thier 24"x18"x4" platform and thier Samson II isolation rack which has 4" inch shelves. Of the different racks I've used this one is the only one that actually made a difference in the sound of the system. The brass footers and maple platform makes a very substantual difference.
My transport sits on isopods, which are sitting on a piece of scrap granite (from a scrap heap at a local kitchen remodeller's workshop for a few dollars), which is itself sitting on 2x2 rubber/cork/rubber squares, which Mapleshade sells as 'Vibrablocks' for $25 per set. I got mine online for $1.25 a pop. I also have a 2 gallon ziplock bag filled with a 50/50 mix of copper BB's & sand (they are triple bagged to prevent leaks). The bag weighs about 10 pounds altogether and spreads out perfectly over the surface of my transport. I have no jitter issues at all and I'm getting truly outstanding sound that's natural, uncoloured and dynamic from this setup. And I'm using an Oppo DV-980h as a transport and an 18 year old CAL Sigma Tube DAC no less. The sound from this modest $$ setup rivals the sound from my $1700 Doge 6 CDP.
You seem to be suggesting that the mass loading combined with the footers on your transport is reducing vibration, which is probably true. However, the term jitter as it's used in audio to describe a phenomenon in digital playback, has nothing to do with mechanical vibration. Jitter is a term for electronic sampling errors. More information is available here
I have mounted my Levinson 390S on four threaded and radiused Heavyfeet. It is as solid as a rock, and my days of bumping into the platform and causing skips, etc. are gone.
I also use the radiused Heavyhat set on top. Improving the performance of a Levinson 390S is not easy - it is a fantastic piece of gear, but the Heavyfeet and the and the Heavyhats truly make a difference