Isolation Cones vs Cheap Cables


I'm posting this here for I didn't want to hijack a recent thread on cables and the title is a little misleading.

It was suggested to a member that BDR cones offer a lot of bang for the buck compared to cheap power cords when it comes to "making an impact on sound".

I'll buy into that concept!

I was looking reading about BDR cones and it seems like a lot of folks place three of them under a speaker instead of four.  I'm going to purchase some and have to ask the question:  Why three cones and not four?  My floor standing speakers are about 48" tall and the base is only about 10" wide.  I gotta think that using three cones with my speakers would make them top heavy.  Yes?
malatu
These are certainly not meant for speakers.3 cones are self leveling not 4.
Just spoke to rep at Music Direct.  He pointed me toward the ISOACOUSTICS Gaia https://isoacoustics.com/products/gaia-series/$200 - $600 per speaker.  Imagine that!   I'd might consider those for speakers but for the other components the BDR cones seem to be cost effective assuming they have a positive impact.

Anyway, can anyone offer some real world experiences of the two versions, the MK3 versus MK4 under different components?  I have a tube integrated amp and phono stage ad VPI Classic Signature turntable.   I'm not really worried about my DAC or CD player.  I use them for convenience.    My real listening sessions are on vinyl. 
I have "Sound Anchors" speaker stands under my Thiel CS3.6 speakers. These come pre-drilled on the underside for either 3 spikes or 4 spikes. I use 3 spikes.
malatu- I was looking reading about BDR cones and it seems like a lot of folks place three of them under a speaker instead of four. I’m going to purchase some and have to ask the question: Why three cones and not four? My floor standing speakers are about 48" tall and the base is only about 10" wide.


People use three for two reasons: three is cheaper than four, and three points define a plane. Cheaper needs no explanation. The plane part, depending on the floor or shelf with four your speaker might rock and need to be shimmed up but with three it never will.

I can tell you however for a fact that four is better. Check it out: https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8367 There’s four under each Talon Khorus speaker. That speaker comes with some pretty beefy impressive looking spikes. They are on BDR Cones because BDR Cones are light years better than anything else- and I would like to say period but let’s be cautious and just say for the money. In order to get better than anything else period you do like I did and put BDR Round Things under the Cones.

I would use 4 Cones under each speaker.

Thanks for the pics! Actually, I looked at your speakers via another post about cones and before I created the thread... I make an attempt to do my due diligence, .... I just couldn’t make out whether you used 3 or 4. My common sense (which at times, doesn’t work) told me that speakers gotta use four, I just needed some confirmation!
Yea, and they are on sale at Music Direct for $16 per cone.
Very sweet setup, by the way!
@malatu - I agree with others- about using 4 cones, but as stated you may need to "shim" one of them

However, should you want to try 3 cones there are a couple of approaches you can use but it depends on the weight distribution of your speakers.

"Generally" if the majority of the weight is at the front of the enclosure
- the single cone would be at the rear of the enclosure
- the two cones would be at the front, spaced as wide as you can get them

However, placing the two cones along one side of the speaker and the third cone in the center on the opposite side may provide sufficient stability.

If oyu would like to try the 3 cone method above I would recommend low profile cones and the surface on which the speaker stands should be hard.

I have three cones on my components and their position is very much dependent on where the bulk of the weight lies. Each component sits on a granite plinth

Something to try perhaps? :-)

Regards - Steve

Too bad but even with four cones many speakers are just too tall and top-heavy to be safe. A Maple board with dimensions around 2x2 feet under the speaker, then the cones under the board, should be more stable. Nevertheless......
Anyway, can anyone offer some real world experiences of the two versions, the MK3 versus MK4 under different components? I have a tube integrated amp and phono stage ad VPI Classic Signature turntable. I’m not really worried about my DAC or CD player. I use them for convenience. My real listening sessions are on vinyl.

Good man. Vinyl rules!

The difference between Mk3 and 4 is small enough either one is better than anything else, but big enough to notice and prefer one over the other, if that makes any sense. Mine are almost entirely Mk4 which makes sense given its a tube amp and turntable system. Mk3 is a bit warmer which since you like tubes and vinyl you might think that is the way to go. But what I found, having compared them both, the sound is more open and extended top to bottom with the fours. I even prefer Mk4 under my CD player and SS sub amps.

There’s BDR Cones under every single thing in my system, including the crossovers and step-down transformer, as you can see in my system pics. Nothing else in my vibration control experience can match BDR in the ability to lower the noise floor and allow you to hear deep into the recording with incredible smooth yet detailed macro and micro-dynamics. Because they are so well balanced you can use more and more like I do and never wind up going too far any one direction.

Look at my system, you will see the progression. 1) start with Cones under everything (this would be my sub amps, crossovers, etc), 2) Add Round Things either under or on top of the Cones (this would be my speakers), 3) add Round Things so its RT, Cone, RT (Verus motor controller), 4) Shelf.

There are exceptions always but its generally better to put Cones under everything before moving on to adding Round Things, and its better to do all with Cones and Round Things rather than decking one thing out with Shelf, Cones, etc. The Miller Carbon turntable is so freaking awesome because .... well just look at it! One Source Shelf has 8X the damping of 8" of granite, and there’s three Source Shelfs worth in the Miller Carbon! The detail I get is insane- because its genuine, natural detail not the hyped up fine grain etch that so often substitutes for detail.




Hegel electronics come with 3 feet
millercarbon would throw all his BDR cones in the trash if he ever heard DH Cones which are about ten times harder than carbon fiber and five times better. Millercarbon is an excellent example of what happens when you get carried away with something. Before you know it you’ve got them under everything. I implore you, gentle readers, wouldn’t it be a lot more logical to explore all available cones before committing to one brand or type? 😬 I won’t even mention isolation. 😀
With speakers of those dimensions, look first to these, rather than either cones or PCs.  https://soundocity.com/
millercarbon would throw all his BDR cones in the trash if he ever heard DH Cones which are about ten times harder than carbon fiber and five times better. Millercarbon is an excellent example of what happens when you get carried away with something. Before you know it you’ve got them under everything. I implore you, gentle readers, wouldn’t it be a lot more logical to explore all available cones before committing to one brand or type? 😬 I won’t even mention isolation. 😀

I don’t often respond to Captain Irrelevant because its such a waste of time. But every once in a while its nice to point out just why he earns the name Captain Irrelevant.

1) There’s no carbon fiber in BDR cones. Irrelevant.
2) Hardness. Irrelevant.
3) Explore "all"? Impossible.
4) Isolation. No such thing.  

Still no system pics I see. If you would be kind enough geoffkait to hold your phone up to a mirror and take a pic to show everyone your system, then we can all decide for ourselves just who should be throwing what in the trash.

Research the mechanics of "camera tripod" and then apply that info/logic to your application.

Three (proper for the application) spikes/cones beats Four unless you have you have the OCD capability to adjust Four for days/months/years in order to equal the result of Three.

Having tried both, numerous, times it's a no brainer for me.

In fact I use one of my "Fourth" brass cones as a DIY turntable/record weight.

DeKay
You've tried both, numerous times? Both BDR Mk3 and Mk4?
Or neither? I think what you mean to say is you've tried lots of OTHER cones and fewer was better. Right? You just forgot to mention you were talking about something different, right? Just want to be clear. Because we aren't talking about other inferior round pointy things called sones or spikes. We're talking about BDR Cones. Which you've tried... how many?
Post removed 
I hate to judge too quickly but it appears I hit a nerve. I implore you, gentle readers, how could anyone know more than millercarbon? 
Cones, footers, platforms--they are all tuning devices.  As such, none are universally beneficial.  For example, if a cone does its job of transferring vibrational energy from the speaker/stand to the floor, that may or may not be helpful--if the floor is a suspended wood floor, and the system is suffering from booming bass, coupling the  speaker to the floor might turn the floor into a sounding board that makes matters worse. 

 In my own system, I use a Symposium shelf that sits against the entire bottom of the speaker.  The shelf itself has a compliant core (like rubber) that turns vibration into heat which damps the vibration.  This is the opposite of devices intended to couple the speaker to the floor.  This works for me, but, I've heard systems where such damping is the opposite of what is really helpful.  

I have no issue with people trying all sorts of accessories and tuning devices.  I am, however, a bit skeptical of those who report that ALL such devices improve the sound.

larryi
Cones, footers, platforms--they are all tuning devices. As such, none are universally beneficial. For example, if a cone does its job of transferring vibrational energy from the speaker/stand to the floor, that may or may not be helpful--if the floor is a suspended wood floor, and the system is suffering from booming bass, coupling the speaker to the floor might turn the floor into a sounding board that makes matters worse.

>>>>Actually vibration isolation, real isolation I.e., mass-on-spring isolation, is probably the most reliable of all the various methods for vibration isolation and control. That’s why the professionals employ good solid old fashioned mass on spring isolation. You know, professionals like the isolation engineer dudes at LIGO, the project to detect gravity waves, the amplitude of which is only the diameter of a proton. When only the very best will do. Cones, footers, Herbie, Racks, Symposium, etc. just won’t cut it. And the best thing about mass on spring isolation is works both ways - it dampens self inflicted and acoustic vibration AND attenuates seismic type vibration. It’s TWO, TWO mints in one! 🤗 the degree to which mass on spring is system dependent but not whether is works or not. 

DH Cones are also very reliable due to their extreme hardness. That’s why they’re called DH Cones. Of course some people will screw up anything.

The only good vibration is a dead vibration.
Most often it is the case that more damping and killing of vibration is a good thing, but, it is not always the case.  I heard a demonstration using progressively more extensive (and expensive) damping of vibration for a CD player.  This involved various Symposium platforms and couplers.  At the highest level of damping/'isolation, the sound became too dry and analytical.  This was the opinion of everyone listening to the changes, including the Symposium representative with an obvious financial interest in selling their top of the line product.


Millercarbon:

I tried two types of "Racing Cones" maybe 25 years ago and did not care for either.

Same as with all the other cones I've tried using Three (instead of Four) offered increased stability.  

I ended up using Greater Ranges/Neuance shelves with the stock feet on my CD deck and with NOS replacement feet on my Thorens deck.

The Neaunce shelves (early versions) are supported by Four upturned adjustable brass spikes (each) which were supplied with my audio rack.

The spikes required constant adjustment until I ended mig welding the rack into a solid structure, but the Four spikes the rack rides on still require adjustment occasionally, probably due our building settling (I live in the Los Angeles area).

The only footers I've used/liked were rectangular nail buffing sponges (via my wife) for a light weight Bel Canto DAC 1, little EAR rings that held a small metal ball bearing (gifted to me by member Brûlée) and in a pinch cold water faucet washers on my Thorens prior to obtaining NOS replacement feet. 

DeKay


I appreciate all the responses and options.  As usual, lot's of ways to skin a cat! 

Millercarbon, what are you using as Round Things?  I notice you have the the words capitalized.  Is "Round Thing" a brand?  My google of the term couldn't find anything specific to a brand.  What are they and what additional purpose do they serve, isolation redundancy and additional stabilization and balancing of the component? 

I am certainly a neophyte in this arena but am enjoying the journey and absorbing as much info as I can!  I think I'm making up for lost time.  I was a self proclaimed audiophile in my teens, as much as one could be who didn't own a sound system but had a subscription to Stereo Review!  Ha!   I listened to my older brother's system.  Eventually, when in college, I used my tuition money to buy a Realistic STA 95, Realistic monitors, Realistic cassette deck and a Kenwood DD turntable.  I was in heaven but needless to say, my parents weren't very happy with me!  I still own the turntable!  I wish I still owned the Receiver, for I'd display it as a piece of mid century industrial design art!   I got into home theater sound-surround in 1995 and as far as listening to music, it was nothing but background distraction when I was working or in a car! 

This past March I got the hankering to hook up my turntable.  I quickly went down the rabbit hole and here I am.  Aside from a new system I converted our sun room into a listening room and yea, I even bought a couple of White Hot Stampers!  Next are power cords and room treatments.  Does it ever end? 

I think I just hijack my own thread?  Sorry.
Optimizing your 2 channel home audio is a worthy and necessary thing to do. It takes some inspiration to set out to improve your sonic performance for the better. The audio hobby rarely offers instantaneous fantastic clarity/power/detail/authority/quietness even with higher priced components. Expensive gear can have lots of odd, off-putting sonic characteristics when done wrong.

Could I ask a follow up question about the 3 versus 4 speaker footers discussed in your first post? Since my tall Thiel speakers are sitting on Sound Anchors low stands, I have one spike out the front onto a round stainless cup about 2” in diameter on the carpet. The other 2 spikes of the triangle are at the rear. I have no small kids or pets running through the living room. The Thiel speakers are sitting directly on the low Sound Anchors metal bar with no rubber cone or metal spike transitioning the bottom of the speaker to the low stand (these stands only raise the Thiele like 1” off the carpet). Could I improve the clarity of my vocals, +/or tighten the sound up a bit by isolating this critical area better? 

This is where the audiophile hobby involves actively listening and auditioning. For the time being I was going to slide 4 rubber discs, one under each corner then listen again to some of my more disappointing CD’s with veiled vocals or compressed sonics to trust if I can detect any change in the sound quality. 

The people who who responded so far seem to favor having 4 footers for speakers as preferable sonically and structurally for our heavy speakers. My Thiel CS3.6’s weigh #108 each. I would be bummed if one of them got knocked down somehow.
+2 for DH Cones. Have purchased every size and put them up against BDR Cones. Always returned the BDR's. 
I use 3 cones under components with a maple platform isolated on my shelves. Good advice from 
@geoffkait .



For the time being I was going to slide 4 rubber discs, one under each corner then listen again to some of my more disappointing CD’s with veiled vocals or compressed sonics to trust if I can detect any change in the sound quality.

I"m not sure why you would use an inferior recording when determining the value or impact a "tweek" might have on sonic quality of that recording.  In my case, I use an outstanding pressing of a piece of music I know very well.  I wouldn't think any tweek will make a poor recording's sound better!  As the saying goes, crap in, crap out.  Tweeks just might accentuate the crap in those disappointing CD's!

Millercarbon, what are you using as Round Things? I notice you have the the words capitalized. Is "Round Thing" a brand? My google of the term couldn't find anything specific to a brand. What are they and what additional purpose do they serve, isolation redundancy and additional stabilization and balancing of the component?  


Yes Round Thing is a brand. BDR began with DJ Casser as Black Diamond Racing making carbon fiber parts for America's Cup racing boats. Being a perfectionist audiophile he took aim at vibration control and developed everything you see in my system today.

But then he went and got cancer and died fairly young which just about killed the company. Apparently the family or someone is still making a few things today, but it seems only the easiest to make which is Cones. All the other stuff was extreme precision and absolutely gorgeous. After building my turntable and seeing how good it sounds there was a time when I thought about trying to manufacture turntables. So I went around showing a Racing Shelf (what he called them back then) to several fabricators and composites professionals in the Seattle area. Every single one of them was in awe. Well that was 30 years ago. Today Porsche has almost that level quality in the engine compartment of their Carrera GT. Imagine what DJ could have done if he had lived.

He started with Cones and the Shelf and then developed a whole series of Things, first square then Round as he learned that not only the material but its shape and dimensions determine its response to and control of vibration. Some are threaded to attach a Cone or attach to a component, some are dimpled to keep a Cone centered, some are threaded on one side dimpled on the other. Round Things are big, about 3.5" dia, Pits are smaller, all the same idea just one is better for bigger gear.

My Talon Khorus have 4 Cones screwed on pointing down and sit on 4 Round Things. Round Things completely eliminate the hassle everyone struggles with and spends a small fortune on trying to move big heavy speakers around on carpet. What a joke. Look at my system pics. My speakers are precision to zero of an inch. One nudge they move what you want and stay put.

Four is totally better than 3 and you will hear it. Its funny to think back 25 years, there was nothing, absolutely nothing, anywhere close to BDR.

Use 3 under components because as I said 3 points define a plane and therefore will be stable and not rock. Four however and no matter what anyone says is more stable. They have confused stability with the need to shim if a hard surface isn't absolutely flat. 

You will want to experiment with placement both because they work even better in certain locations but also because many things mass isn't evenly distributed. Transformers are heavy and so one end or corner is a lot heavier than another. 

Placement technique, for this or anything like it, slide one under the heaviest corner or side first. Lifting this way is stable as the lighter side is supported at two corners. Then lift one of those corners and slide a Cone under. Then do the last corner. Slide them around to where it seems most stable. Listen. Then if you're really ambitious try another configuration. But transformers vibrate, its inherent in their design, and they are massive, therefore the greatest benefit is to have a Cone close by to control that. You will see. 

How these things work, the biggest obstacle to understanding is clearing your mind of all the misunderstood gobbledygook everyone is peddling about isolation. So let me start with that.

Forget about speakers and turntables for a moment and even CD players and think only about amps and power conditioners and things like that with no moving parts. These things all sound better on a good cone or rack, but why? It can't be environmental vibrations. I proved this myself quite by accident. Was doing a demo for a friend and kept the music playing the whole time. Yeah I do a lot of things different than your average audiophool, like none of the repetitive OCD playing the same thing over and over again. So anyway I lift it to remove the Cones and my friend says the instant I raised it in my hands he heard the sound collapse.

So think about that for a second. Because its awfully hard to find better isolation than holding in your hands. Your skin and tissue is soft as sorbothane, softer even. Your muscles cannot move faster than a few Hz, which is exactly what we struggle to design vibration isolation parts to achieve. So its isolated in your hands about as good as its ever gonna be. And it sounds bad. So its not isolation.

Its vibration control. Controlling or tuning vibration inherent in the component itself. Being isolated in and of itself accomplishes nothing. The component still generates vibration internally, and the whole thing becomes this vibrating mess. Which is a mess, because almost no one outside of turntables and speakers pays much attention to vibration control. Well I notice Raven uses solid billet aluminum and brass and stainless steel screws, Herron uses thicker circuit boards and casing, its not like nobody knows anything. But by and large its a low priority, if its a priority at all. 

Now let's look at speakers, where this is even more true and obvious. Imagine a speaker somehow absolutely isolated, floating in air. You've got this Star Trek anti-gravity thing or whatever. Its exactly where you want it to be, only its floating free of every physical influence in the environment. Got it? Okay.

So now you play some music. The speaker drivers start moving back and forth. Remember your physics? Newton? Not theoretical make-believe word salad physics, actual action reaction physics. The physical reality where when you push against something, something has to push back, or you go nowhere. Those drivers are pushing against their mass, and also the resistance of the air. 

It should be pretty obvious this isn't gonna work very well. The more massive the speaker the less this is a problem, which is one reason all the really good speakers are massive. (With the exception of ESLs, which some guys like, but we're too long already to be going into that now.) Making the speaker massive however is only mitigation and moving the problem one step down. Ultimately regardless of mass vibrations are being produced and need to be controlled. Its vibration control, not isolation.

All these different BDR products do this really well because they are very stiff, relatively massive (dense), and have inherently high damping factors. Its the mix of these 3 properties that makes them so excellent. Too much of one, not enough of the other, and you have something else. If you have something else then sure enough you can't use a lot of it like I do without screwing things up. Come hear my system, I can guarantee you will not be saying I screwed it up.


This past March I got the hankering to hook up my turntable. I quickly went down the rabbit hole and here I am. Aside from a new system I converted our sun room into a listening room and yea, I even bought a couple of White Hot Stampers! Next are power cords and room treatments. Does it ever end?

Probably what a lot are thinking by now: Does it ever end? Yes. But the quest for better sound? Never.
I just check some of my old CD’s from artists that I really like that didn’t quite hit a home run sonically but where the songs themselves have great merit. I’m a huge Cure fan and a more recent album of their’s - “4:13 Dream” is fatiguing to me due to too much compression. The songs are good, it’s just that the compressed production spits out the layers of the song all congealed, not open. I was really pulling for this album to be great but haven’t gotten there yet. Sometimes re-listening to crap recordings, I’m able to still gain some insight into my system. When I went from my NAD 2200 power amplifier to my Bryston 4Bsst2 amp, a lot of too bright, fatiguing CD’s of mine became listenable.
The reason BDR cones are such poor performers is because they are so SOFT. Carbon fiber is a very soft material, and it’s actually not very stiff either. You can hear the effects on the sound, the carbon fiber making it sound relatively compressed and unnatural and closed in. In fact, it’s difficult to find cones that sound worse. 

One will have much better results with hardened steel or NASA grade ceramics which are way up on the Mohs scale of hardness near diamond. The speed with which unwanted energy can be evacuated out of the system is the criterion by which all cones are measured. Having said that, vibration isolation done correctly trumps all cones alone, but hard cones are important for doing isolation correctly. are As the little mice said in the movie Babe, “that’s the way things are.”
I'm a huge proponent of CF in audio resonance control. Regarding the cones: I haven't yet been able to compare the two, but Geoff's explanation is correct IMO.
Of course carbon fiber is soft- it is in fact a fabric. (Here's a clue: carbon FIBER.) CF is used in composites, a class of materials that when combined and bonded together have unique properties. Carbon fiber composites can be exceptionally light, or stiff, or strong, or flexible. Its all in the composition and construction, which is why they're called composites. The properties of "carbon fiber" have little to do with carbon fiber itself. Its all down to the way its used.

There is no carbon fiber in BDR Cones. They are exceptionally stiff, strong, and highly damped. They improve dynamics, both macro and micro, lower the noise floor opening up a wider deeper stage, and create a very natural open sound.

So in other words, every single detail wrong, and that's just the ones I'll bother to mention. Thank you, Captain Irrelevant.
If you’re pretending to be dense you’re doing an excellent job. Soft materials cannot isolate against bending forces nor can they transfer energy rapidly. It’s not rocket science, 🚀 Mr. Smarty Pants. 👖