How do vibrations affect the equipment?

I understand that vibrations could affect the performance of a CD player, but how do vibrations affect the amps, pres, dacs, cables??
The vibrations are reproduced by the speakers and then make you vibrate. :)

Actually, I think it introduces electronic jitter into the circuit, which degrades the signal as it works its way through the rig. In the case of tube gear, there's an additional problem related to microphonics, which as the word implies, is mechanical vibrations affecting the operation of the tubes and their output.

The point is that many audiophiles try to dampen mechanical vibrations reaching the gear as much as possible. I'll leave to our tech members to wrap what I just explained with techno-speak. Hopefully, none of our wise guy members will talk about "quality electrons" again.


In the same way. Simple as that.
Vibration control is a dark art. I've always used what I thought were decent Target equipment stands, solid brass cones and various vibration control devices placed under equipment. We all know them.

Then I started using a Sunoko Vent stand and really was astounded by the improvement. Shared the experience with a shop I occassionally do business with and he laughed. He said they had taken in a used equipment stand and pleyed around with it, he stated "you could have set a polished turd on it and it would have sounded better".

It is a strange thing.
Vibration control is a science very similar to room acoustics relative to the use of absorption/diffusing materials. The cheapest best tweak I ever used are the Vibrapods isolation cones. They are relatively inexpensive and will improve significantly the stability of soundstage/imaging and bass dynamics. I started using them first below my CD player and put them basically under every piece of audio gear in my system.

Without these, music is like an unfocused camera lens, put some vibration control devices and music comes back focused and articulated! It is really a no brainer to me and as important as room acoustic treatment.
It takes 3 elements for vibrations to invade, effect and degrade all our equipment ... none are exempt

First you need a “SOURCE” creating the vibration .. Second you need a “CONDUIT” to transmit the vibration to a DESTINATION TARGET and Third you need a “TARGET” to receive and be effected by the vibrations

Vibrations can attack all your equipment from three different sources and each attacker must be treated completely differently from each other

The three sources of attacks are ..

#1 .. EQUIPMENT GENERATED vibrations that occur from the normal operation of our equipment .. spinning motors in our CD players and Turn Tables .. Transformers and any and all circuits or chips that turn on and off can inject vibrations into our equipment by their normal mode of operation ... to reduce the degrading effects they can have ... you must directly couple the component to higher mass such as a rack or heavy platform ... here the vibrations will migrate from the lighter (less mass component) to the heaver (more massive) rack or platform

#2 .. AIR BORN vibes caused by your speaker’s and Sub’s pressurizing the room ... here the pressure from the speakers can actually push your equipment around causing the vibrations to be generated inside your components ... to defend against this perpetrator you must “MASS LOAD” your component by adding extra weight to them to make the component appear much heavier than it is to the pressurizing waves being generated by your speakers

The pressures generated by the speakers will have a harder time pushing around a 15 pound CD player or Dac with 20 to 40 pounds resting on top of it ... instead of trying to push the 15 pound component ... the pressure wave sees a 55 pound component instead of a 15 pound component and has a much harder time pushing it around creating less vibrations

Have you ever sat in someone's HT and had your pant’s leg wave when the Sub went off ... AIR BORN PRESSURIZATION cause this

#3 FLOOR and RACK born vibrations ... anything that shakes you house’s structure will create vibrations in the structure that will be transmitted from the floor to your rack and from your rack to your component ... Cars and trucks that pass by your house ... the Earth’s low frequency Geo Seismic shudder which is low in frequency but high in amplitude ... HVCA and washing machines that are running and even foot steps on a unsuspended floor can create vibration in the house’s structure which eventually end up in our components

To defeat this attacker you must DECOUPLE the component or rack from the floor ... this isn’t a easy task and has been the topic of much discussion Pro and Con on which is better COUPLING or DECOUPLING

The answer is you need both to work correctly ... the trick is you must directly couple your component to a higher mass platform or rack to drain the vibrations generated by the component’s normal mode of operation .. (lower mass component drains to higher mass platform or rack) .. and now you must DECOUPLE that platform the component is draining into from the rack it is sitting on or if your components sit directly on your rack ... you must decouple the rack and components sitting on it from the floor

The action here is to eliminate the CONDUIT (the RACK and or PLATFORM) through DECOUPLING it and not allowing the floor born vibrations to migrate up it .. because you’ve DECOUPLING the Rack or Platform from the floor ... you’ve broken the pathway ( or CONDUIT) the floor born vibrations travel along greatly reducing or eliminating them

To do the job correctly and completely you must employ both COUPLING and DECOUPLING and then MASS load the components

Now you should understand how and where Vibrations occur .. AIR BORN ... EQUIPMENT GENERATED and FLOOR BORN ... and how they are transmitted from SOURCE through a CONDUIT to a DESTINATION TARGET (your component)

You should also see that you must use a variety of technics (MASS LOADING .. COUPLING and DECOUPLING) to effectively reduce all forms of vibrations

But that doesn’t quite solve the mystery of how a Mechanical/Physical vibration can degrade all of our components ...

I’m sure we can all visualize how vibrations generated by our environment can effect a Laser or Stylus by shaking them ... but what effects can physical vibrations have on a Pre Amp .. Amp .. Dac or even a Power Conditioner that does not have a moving assemble like a CD player/Transport or Turn Table

Here’s how the interference gets in these components and is converted from from a Physical Vibration to Electrical interference ...

All our components have circuits that have conductors to connect and transmit signals along ... these conductors are surrounded by magnetic fields that carry the signal from point A to point B ... as long as no new or extra voltage is added to the original signal ... everything is fine

But when a circuit or conductor is shaken or vibrated it is physically moved through the magnetic field that surrounds the conductor that transmits the signal to the next stage

Anytime you pass a conductor through a magnetic field you create voltage ... it’s called a Generator and we all have them in our cars

Think about it ... you spin a armature in a magnetic field and you create voltage for your car to run on ... it’s the same thing when you shake a conductor in it’s magnetic field .. as it moves back and forth through the magnetic field it creates extra voltage that couples to the original signal

This extra voltage that is created by the conductor being waved through its magnetic field is then added to the original signal and presented a noise riding on the line and that is how a physical vibration gets converted to electrical noise that invades our equipment .. HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Hopefully this will clear up some questions and dispel some myths ... vibration control is not complicated ... it’s basic math and physics but the topic can be a complex one with many different facets to be addressed in a variety of ways
The best way to find out is to put a component source in another room. I know,I know, not in most cases possible. Remember when your speakers are playing, they produce acoustic energy that flies around the room, including directly striking the component, especially turntables and their cartridges. Stands no matter how designed, cannot prevent this direct strike. Best way to see what is going on is to use an acoustic screen directly around all sides of your TT. I think you will hear a difference.
Try Symposium Roller Block Jr HDSE big sound upgrade,better bass,stage,imaging.
Vibrations can affect the signal. 'microphonic tubes' are a classic example.
Other parts can also be affected by vibrations and affect the sound.
Lots of hearsay about dampening the component chassis affecting the sound.
Thank you all for your responses! I still do not grasp how vibrations can affect a SS amplifier (no problema with a tube amp)or rca cables or spk cables or a dac, etc. Can someone explain the physics of this phenomenum?
12-07-13: Tiofelon
Thank you all for your responses! I still do not grasp how vibrations can affect a SS amplifier (no problema with a tube amp)or rca cables or spk cables or a dac, etc. Can someone explain the physics of this phenomenum?
I doubt it. And I suspect that any explanations that may be offered would involve effects that cannot be proven to be great enough to be audibly significant, and therefore would be speculative at best.

-- Al
I suspect vibrations affect all the wiring in any amplifier, even SS amps. It is relatively easy to test this theory since all you need to do is isolate the amp. Then listen. Been there done that many times.

How does one go about properly isolating an amplifier?
Thank you Davehrab!! That was a very good and detailed explanation about vibrations. I am sure that others will benefit too from your insight regarding this "dark" topic. Cheers!
Send the amp to its' room.
No phone, no computer, no visitors, no dinner.
Irish65, there are any number of competent isolation devices on the market, including a bunch of DIY type things, almost all of which operate on ye olde mass-on-spring principle.
I just ordered some Stillpoints Ultra SS to go under my speakers. I'll report back as to how that comes out.