Ceramic insulator cone under phono stage shocker!

I have used small ceramic insulator cones underneath my phono stage for quite some time.
Previous phono was a Gold note ph10 and it did not make ANY audible difference I could detect which way up the cones were so I had left them cone upwards.

When I changed my phono to a Manley Chinook I just left the cones same way.
This afternoon I decided to flip them over so cone down just to see.

I honestly could not and cannot believe the difference!
I may have lost a smidge of low bass but everywhere else is improved in spades.
Much more detail, resolution, air, imaging, dynamics.
Just completely shocking how much better a small change has made.

But I am perplexed why such a huge change on the Chinook where I noted nothing on the ph10?

Any theories here?
6db47fb2 f8db 415d a4f7 49a7b6ed12b0Ag insider logo xs@2xuberwaltz
I suspect it's more than coincidental that the PH-10 is solid state while the Chinook uses tubes. Probably having the cones in the new orientation lessens vibrations that previously were affecting some or all of the tubes.

It might be a good idea to try to determine if any of the tubes are excessively microphonic, in which case they should be replaced. You can do that by removing the cover of the Chinook, and while it and the rest of the system are operating **very gently** tapping each tube with the eraser at the end of a pencil. If you do that with the volume control set at or a bit below a setting you would normally use, and the tapping results in a particularly loud noise, it would signify a problem in the particular tube.

-- Al
You could have something there.
I know one pair of Amperex tubes in it are well used to be polite......

Sounds like a project for tomorrow morning.
No microphonics from either of the 4 tubes inside the Chinook that I could hear at all by performing Almargs suggested test, not even the slightest pop.

It just has to be the difference in the way the vibrations are borne away being much more noticeable through the tube phono.

Whatever it is a great cheap tweak! Lol.
Maybe an additional benefit or way to explain what @almarg was pointing out is the latest orientation is a superior way to funnel vibrations out of the Manley.

Ever tried Herbies tube dampers?
Cones act like mechanical diodes, so you always want the points down so the excess energy will exit the system. Points up actually allows more seismic energy to be transmitted to the component 🔝 and less excess energy in the component to escape.
@slaw and @geoffkait , agree with the concept of draining vibration from the component to a neutral platform. I must thank @geoffkait for turning me on to DH ceramic cones. I'm using them underneath SS and tube components. The points are sitting on a maple plinth with Herbies underneath. 
The result is focus, dynamics, transparency. Cones pointed up do not provide these benefits.


I was getting ready to post the same/similar words. 

Now, I just can't wait until I get my phono pre decoupled from the room....I expect greater things!
I discovered the positive effects of ceramic under tubed equipment a couple of months ago.It seems to work better than anything else I've experimented with.
I cannot disagree with the logic of cones down, HOWEVER as I stated in the OP, under my SS PH10 phono I could hear no difference.

So I am more intrigued by that as much as to why they work so well in present orientation on the tube phono.

Tubes put out more tenny vibrations than SS in general. They are also more succeptable to taking on vibration from outside sources. A tube is a circuit encased in a glass enclosure. On (top) of that it's just out there, swaying in the wind...... think of a skyscraper and how much they move just because of their height, dealing with, as GK puts it, "Seismic vibrations" & wind etc...This all needs to either be tamed/drained/or both.
@uberwaltz, the reason could be as simple as the tubes in a component pick up any mechanical or acoustical sound/noise and introduce it into the circuit. Relating to Almarg's comments, all tubes are inherently microphonic to some degree however small. I don't mean in the sense a tube has become "microphonic" due to damage, poor design, etc. But the fact that if you touch a tube, you will still hear the sound thru the system.

This type of noise/vibration would not be present in a SS component.

OMG @slaw ,  We're posting the same thoughts again.

Yes sir...I love it!
Thx guys.

Making sense to my poor head now.

My theory is... it’s a shadow.. from a limb,  to a other limb . 
See below:

One other thing..... when I was dealing with tinnitus years ago....luckily, mine was more due to impacted wax, I was so distraught because of how much very low bass frequencies hurt me. I was ready to give up listening to music. Just driving in my vehicle on the highway, hurt my ears....driving with the window down, etc.... It was from low frequency noise that humans really don't notice in their daily lives. If we had the hearing that dogs have, most of us would go crazy. All of the seismic vibrations from the earth's crust constantly moving would be....well, I hate to think about it. This is on a different scale but needs to be thought about when trying to isolate or decouple out components.
Except cones are not really inherently diode-like.  We only wish they were.  They can approximate the action of a diode, if very carefully placed on a resonant shelf, on areas that act like vibratory nodes.  Otherwise, energy can go both ways through a tiptoe cone. To maximize any diode-like function, you have to listen to confined areas on a shelf, best done using a stethoscope while tapping on the shelf; look for small areas that do not transmit the tapping noise as efficiently as do other areas.  There you can place a cone and hope for a diode-like effect.
What most of you are saying about orienting the cone tips so they point away from the source makes logical sense to drain the energy...but for whatever reason in my setup they sound better pointing up.  However my arrangement is a little different.  My turntable sits on a BDR The Source platform with BDR cones (pointing up) between my rack and The Source platform.  I have flipped them numerous times and it isn't even close - I lose much dynamic range with tips down on the rack under The Source platform - in fact it sounds downright "thin" as if all the musical goodness got drained away along with the "energy".  

To me your situation suggests that your (rack, I assume) isn’t effectively decoupled from the floor or surroundings.

I’ve actually considered the exact same thing and I suspect you’re right. My rack sits quite close to one of the speakers and the cones are probably dissipating some energy transferred from the floor or even sound reflections from a nearby corner. I have a Symposium rack with spikes that sit on four Precision couplers (maybe I should be using dampening pads and not couplers?) and I use Gaia III feet under my speakers but together they may not be enough to keep the seismic out of the rack. Cones pointing up may be the perfect workaround for me as it would be very difficult moving the rack considerably farther from the speaker. I have a couple of GIK tri-traps on order, one of which will go in the corner 4-5 feet behind the rack - this may helps as well. I have a 24x48 absorber wall panel behind the rack but the corner is untreated.

Thanks for weighing in.
The precision couples are doing just as they are suppose to....coupling your rack to the floor...not decoupling thereby exacerbating the issue, IMO.
@slaw Agreed. I’m going to look into something that acts as a decoupler that the rack feet can sit on. I'm open to any suggestions from folks.  I'm using the foot configuration at the bottom of this link page.


If you don’t mind my asking, how tall is the Symposium rack and what tt are you using?

Remember that acoustic "feedback" for lack of a better term, accentuates the vibrations components see. Is your floor a slab? If not, it should be braced underneath.
@slaw I fear I've hijacked this thread so hopefully no one is offended! The rack is 4 shelves, 36 inches tall.  I'm using a Kuzma Stabi S table.  The floor where the rack is located is not on a slab but is situated on a block connected to footer that is separating the basement from the adjacent crawl space and is remarkably stable.
@three_ easy_ payment,

Look at my virtual system page at my amp/rack support for an inexpensive/DIY solution. With the Stabi tt, it shouldn’t be an issue. Otherwise the Townshend products are great (based on what I read) and then there’s the Stillpoints stuff....................

Thanks...I'm checking out your set up and consider the options.  I see you're fan of Symposium and BDR as well.  Appreciate your time weighing in.
@three_easy_payments, look into the Townshend Audio Seismic Corners, which are designed to be used under the four legs of a stand, to decouple it from the floor.
@bdp24  Those Townshend Seismic Corners look great but wow they are expensive!
tep, shoot an email to John at selecthi-fi on ebay. He'll give you "best price" on all things Townshend.
uber, I may have missed this but I’ll ask.

When you conducted Al’s test and didn’t hear noise while tapping on the tubes, were your cones still in the downward position? If so and the cones are more effective that way, possibly that masked a bad tube? I’d reverse the cones and try the tapping test again. If any one tube is noisier than the others then replace it. If the difference in one or more tubes is marginal that may be obscured by vibrations.

Then with the replaced tube(s) if you turn the cones downward again you may have even less background interference and increased detail, resolution, etc.

I’m not certain of this but should be worth a try.
I did indeed perform the test with cones down.
However I also knew there were a couple of well used Amperex tubes in it as well.
So I then decided to replace all 4 tubes with brand new Electro Harmonic tubes and test again but still with cones down.
Since discovering the better SQ I have not inverted the cones again.
At this time I am very happy with the SQ, I was more curious as to why not much effect with the ss phono and I think that has been answered.
Looking around on the BDR webpage (bdrsound.com) I saw their following recommendation when using cones - which I found interesting:

*If you are using BDR Pyramid Cones with a BDR Shelf, invert the cones, so that the flat face is on the Shelf and the component is resting on the rounded tip.

Fortunately, in the case of the BDR cones, it doesn’t matter which way the tips point. 😬
Although BDR goes on to say:

The proper placement will significantly affect the performance of the cones so the rule of thumb is the tip of the cone towards the resonant surface.  For example, under a CD transport sitting on an MDF shelf, the tips of the cones should be pointing down.

So apparently the orientation depends on whether you are using a BDR shelf or not.
For what it’s worth, which ain’t much, the best cones I ever used were and still are the Goldmund cones that are stuffed with a damping putty.
If you compared the Goldmans to the Super DH Cones you would list the Goldmunds on eBay in a heartbeat. Everything is relative. - A. Einstein
Although BDR goes on to say:

The proper placement will significantly affect the performance of the cones so the rule of thumb is the tip of the cone towards the resonant surface. For example, under a CD transport sitting on an MDF shelf, the tips of the cones should be pointing down.

So apparently the orientation depends on whether you are using a BDR shelf or not.

>>>>Depends on how you define “resonant surface” since the BRD shelf is still subject to seismic (low frequency) vibration. The whole idea behind vibration isolation and resonance control is to (1) isolate the component from seismic type (very low frequency) vibration while - at the same time - (2) provide a path for rapid evacuation of vibration of the component from motors, transformers, or caused by acoustic waves. So it’s simultaneous equations, not just one equation.

Yes, that makes sense.  In terms of cone tip direction it seems it's really the relative resonant difference between two shelves or a component and a shelf.  In my case the BDR "The Source" shelf is the most resonant so the cone tips point towards The Source shelf and away from my rack shelf.  I realize there are competing forces here to resolve - the seismic energy from the floor propagating through the rack and the TT above The Source being absorbing by the underlying "The Source" shelf and into the cones.  In the end I know which direction sounds better so that makes it easy.  Now if I start decoupling my rack feet more effectively from the floor I may decide flipping the cones may sound better.
I have mucho experience with all manner of cones, ever since I started developing my Sub 1.0 Hertz Nimbus platform which has been a while. What I found out was that the two critical characteristics of cones are hardness and shape. The very best cones, like ceramic Super DH (Diamond Hardness) Cones from Golden Sound, are both very hard have a very ballistic shape. They are more open, more natural and more dynamic. By contrast, BDR cones (carbon fiber) are relatively soft (on the Mohs scale of Hardness, I.e., strong but not hard, AND they have a shallow, much less ballistic shape.

Everything is relative. A. Einstein
Perhaps I will give the Super DH cones a try too. I hear there's nothing quite like ballistic audio.
With all due respect, if @three_easy_payments is still think of decoupling from the floor, I don’t know if the DH Cones are the best solution. I saw, for sale, here, Stillpoints 5...4 for 1500.00. As far as Stillpoints go, that’s a great deal. I pondered buying them myself.

Remember when you decouple your rack, all the other components will benefit as well.

I wouldn't use the DH Cones under the rack, I'd only try them under individual components if I were to give them a try.  I agree on going with a better decoupling/isolation solution under the rack feet - like the Townshend products for example or even the Stillpoints (which I saw but are pricey - I guess it's all relative).
I’ve used Herbies audio slider discs under my Maple shades rack’s brass pointed feet - they isolate the rack and also allow me to slide the rack out if needed -  I would check out their web site - you can also ask them for suggestions - as they are very knowledgeable 

Decoupling the rack feet might prove uh, challenging. But it could be done. And I know how to do it! 🤗 

Pop Quiz - first person to answer get a free tweak, How can the rack feet be decoupled from the floor?
Why Geoffy, with rack feet decouplers of course! 
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I'm waiting eagerly for your answer GK.  I have no ideas beyond extra rigid marshmallows or something involving anti-matter.
Whoa! What?! Hey, you were the one who mentioned it. Cut me some slack, Jack!
Why, with a set of Machina Dynamica Super Stiff Springs, of course. Which I myself have just received .
Machina Dinosaura toilet plunger feet Geoffy?