Isolation Devices for Digital

I have noticed what looks like superballs or handballs in cutout wooden blocks these isolation devices called Mini Clouds by Gingko Audio. Anyone use them or have any cheaper alternatives? Do they really help?

Another Audiogoner told me about 3/8" ball bearings placed on Sticky Tack at a total cost of $3. Have not tried this yet.
I had the Clouds personally demo'd to me and some friends by the owner of Gingko. They definitely reduce vibration. The demo even included vibration sensors connected to a computer/monitor to show the change.

The system a friend's, and was one unfamiliar to Gingko, so I am sure the demo was for real.

Whether they will make your system sound better, only you will know that.

There are various models at various price points.
If you want vibration isolation, use material that can undergo displacement and absorb vibration or dissipate it. Elastomers, felt, etc. are the usual materials used by engineers. Ball bearings and hard materials do nothing but transmit all of the incoming vibration. Using solid steel blocks instead of springs on your car suspension is something you would dare not do. Air suspensions are great for vibration isolation btw. Precision lab instruments are often mounted on them.
Try some Sanford Artgum erasers. $2 a piece at a crafts store and they work really well - obviously better than Vibrapods in a head-to-head comparison. I have tried several erasers but these are the only ones with the right consistency and density. They also work great as cable lifts. I have them all over the place.

I have to echo Rotarious. As a mechanical engineer, I don't understand this audiophile fascination with metal-point and ball-bearing isolators. Even a single metal contact point will transmit tons of vibration if there is nothing additional to absorb it. This whole "draining vibration" thing is crack pot IMO. I have made careful experiments in my system and unequivocally confirmed it for myself.

i have had good luck with Isoclean Isotips. Those Gingko Mini-clouds look cool though...never seen those before. I like the eraser idea, I am going to try that for cable lifts. My wife will love it.
What about Sound Quest Isol-Pads. They seem to get good reviews also.
That's why they made Hockey Pucks !
Going to try the eraser, trhat to me sounds like a winner.

i use bright star big rock and am very please with the resluts
I wrestle with devices that dampen versus those that drain such as cones. With speakers, I find that tight coupling to the floor does much better than dampers. With equipment such as CD players I've had mixed results. Definitely had more success with products like BDR cones than I have with products like vibrapods.

Drain or dampen? Any insight on this?
Mdconnelly, there is no such thing as drain. Now, having cones might change the sound for you but they do nothing except transmit vibration.
It's easy enough to try some basic things around the house and see how they affect your PC. Put some foam or a pillow or something soft underneath and see if the sound changes. They put a pice of wood underneath and try again. Try stone or marble ... try tennis or squash balls ... try something else.

If you hear a difference then you can explore the material that works best for you. Everyone else's opinion won't mean much unless you try it in your own system and hear how and if it makes a difference and whether you like that difference with your own ears.

Enjoy the hunt,
Rotarius - one man's drain is another man's transmit.

I just meant that some isolation devices are meant to act as dampers between the equipment and whatever it's resting on. Others such as cones are designed to transmit (drain?) vibrations to whatever platform it's sitting on and minimize reverse transmission into the equipment. No?
No Mdconnelly, a cone is not like a one way valve. It will transmit all the floor borne vibration that makes it's way up the rack to your component. There are places that will rent you a vibration tester. You can check for yourself what a cone can and cannot do. You do not have to take my word for it even though I deal with vibration issues on a daily basis as a mech engineer:) If you want to learn something about isolation devices, shoot me an email.
If your budget can accomodate it, try the Nordost Ti Pulsar points. They give the music a very solid foundation and help with detail retrieval.
I think that the cones used on equipment do drain vibrations, but it is not a one way street and can send vibrations back up as others have said. Thus, I find many people that use spikes, do so on top of another indepedent platform that is isolated ny a non-cone device.

The vibrations would drain down into the platform, while out side vibration cannot effect the platform as it stops at the non-cone device. Think of it as a cd player sitting spiked onto a wood platform that is supported by Vibrapods. Therefore both do as they are intended to, opposite functions.
Although I haven't heard one, I like the Vibraplane idea because it was born from tried and true laboratory isolation devices and techniques.
Likecoiledsteel, sorry, you cannot make a general statement like that. I have no doubt sometimes these cones affect the sources in your system, perhaps in a pleasant way but to call it an isolator, drain, whatever is not right. My question to you would be this: Don't you think by precariously balancing a cdp on 3 points, you might decrease it's stability and cause it to move more? I would urge you all to look up some real isolators online and see what they look like and the materials they are made of.
Tvad there is a good reason why air suspensions make good isolators. They can have super low natural frequencies, less than 10 Hz.
I posted recently (2/19/08) over in audioasylum general forum a brief result of my home-made isolator (1-1/2 inch (38 mm) rubber cup with felt pad insert) including picture.

I also came across "the Complete Guide to High-End Audio" by Robert Harley of The Absolute Sound mentioning cones, spikes, isolators. He said turn tables and tube components need isolators in particular.
Rotarius, can you point to some of the "real isolators online" you reference? There are a ton of products with a wide range of effectiveness, but I suspect you're not talking about the products targeted at audiophiles. Just curious...
The stand that stands out as far as bad vibrations are concerned are the Starsound 101 stands that do drain energy one way.These stands rendered a whole new level of sound that has set a benchmark for all of my friends systems as well as mine. Isolating vibes keeps the energy inside the equipmnet and distorts the audio signal vs the draining of energy from the equipment. One of the biggest changes we have heard is to a pair of ML stats after putting 101 underneath them !!Hope this helps Dennis
You asked about hand balls. After trying many different types of isolation and/or vibration damping devices, I have found that three handballs under my front end digital equipment with a bit of weight on top, to be the most effective approach in my system, by far. As is often said, "your mileage may vary" in your specific system. Good luck!!
Hi ... I used a set of Mini-Clouds, but I was much more impressed by a set of Yamamoto isolation bases (ebony, not the maples). An immediate improvement that couldn't be denied ... very high quality craftsmanship

If this is a duplicate, I apologize ... my server disappeared momentarily
I agree with Cenline. The science and technology behind Star Sound's products will be easier to understand if you read their white paper on Coulomb friction (particularly page 6).

The Sistrum products are worth an audition.
I don't know what keeping the energy "inside" a component is all about; is that the magic dust?

You'll find that as far as dirt cheap vibrational treatments go, Cardas Myrtle wood blocks generally won't do harm and will, in most cases, make an improvement well worth the minuscule expenditure and if they don't it's no great loss. As far as more expensive products, there are a myriad that all work for some and not for others. If you're going to throw down a lot of cash, I'd recommend talking to owners of the components you are thinking about treating first.

Here's a nice guide to several devices that is pretty accurate in my experience:
Determine the weight of you CD unit. Install six Vibrapods (the correct model for your weight of course) to the bottom plate of the player(3 in front/3 in back). Find a piece of Dupont Corian 1/2" thick and the same dimensions as your unit(1/4" safety glass will work). Arrange six more Vibrapods with Vibrapod cones atop them(3 in front/3 in back) and place the Corian on top. Set your CD player on that. I'll bet you listen to your entire CD collection again that same day. Inexpensive- BUT very efficacious!
The idea of using ball bearing is to absorb _lateral_ vibrations that soft materials like vibrapod or erasers won't be able to handle well. Idea seems sound, but I'm not sure it's practical for everybody.
Sugarbrie, I think I was at the same demo. I was the guy sitting next to the pizza (and eating most of it). Any how, I was quite intrigued by the Mini Cloud demonstration and since I’ve been wanting to try something new on my CDP I though I’d give Gingko a try. I was thinking about trying the Mini Clouds but then I saw a Cloud 11 advertised at a pretty good price on Audiogon. My CDP is the Audio Aero Capital with black diamond racing cones and it measures 16”X18” exactly the size of a standard Cloud 11. I just received the Cloud 11 and have not had a lot of time to listen, but the listening that I have done has proven very interesting. I was not expecting too much, but the Cloud 11 definitely makes a difference for the better. When listening to vocals I ‘m now hearing the singer’s breathe in greater detail and generally more air to the sound. Detail in general has improved. Decays are longer. I’m also noticing a little larger and more precise soundstage. So far I’m very happy with my purchase and looking forward further listening sessions and experimenting with the Cloud 11 a little more.
Jylee, ball bearings do NOT absorb vibration. I wish they did, it would make my life easier at work! Where did you get that from? What exactly do you mean by lateral vibrations?
Herbies makes some good isolation devices.