Myrtle Wood

Used under high quality gear (especially preamps), what impact does the use of myrtle wood have on the sound?

I suppose it would depend upon the actual preamp being used, and its vibrational characteristics.

Regarding vibrational characteristics of woods in general, as an acoustic guitar maker, I can say that the harder, denser woods will transmit vibration better than the softer, less dense woods. This is why ebony is used as a bridge saddle on an acoustic guitar, and many other stringed instruments. It is very hard and dense, and is used to transmit the string vibration to the instrument top. If you use softer, less dense wood there, it degrades the performance of the instrument.

Myrtle is a fairly hard dense wood, and I'd expect it to conduct vibration fairly well. In a system which is designed to drain vibrations to ground, this would be a pretty good selection, as wood goes. Ebony, snakewood, cocobolo and other rosewoods would be better. For an isolation standpoint, you'd probably be better off with a softer wood that would dissipate vibrations in its soft grain and voids. It depends upon what goals you are trying to achieve with your stand.

Also, there are characteristic resonant frequencies in all woods, and it will also depend upon the thickness used. What may be beneficial for one preamp, may not be for another. It's best to try and see for yourself, in your own system, if you can.
I don't know but access to old growth Myrtle is becoming very scarce and regardless of its perceived qualities, it is one of the most beautiful trees to behold and you should feel shame for thinking about putting it under a component. It is not rare as the Cardas literature states. Rather, it grows from Oregon to California and in parts of the fertile crescent. Come on use ball bearings or springs or something.
Kchahoc, I agree 1000000% !!!!!

I'm VERY surprised Cardas would do this, they seem a company, and George a person, who would normally be very conscious of the environment in general (this is only based on what I've read about him, not first hand knowledge).

That said, there are many other devices to couple/isolate/drain, I'd recommend a search on Audio Asylum.
Do not buy Cardas products if he is using a rare natural resource.

George, have you no social conscience????
So I guess nobody is interested in my amazing new power cables using baby harp seal intestines as conductors??
Good one, Jmslaw.

I was a little surprised by the myrtle wood thing too, but I give Cardas the benefit of the doubt because I assume it is being sourced from "scavenged" trees, i.e, dead or blowdowns or whatever. Don't automatically assume he's out in the woods with a chainsaw late at night; at least ask him before concluding that.
Jmslaw, only if they were inhumanely clubbed to death, and use dried blood as the dielectric.
As I mentioned above, I am a guitar maker, and deal with rare and endangered woods all the time. These woods that are on the CITES list are all regulated. Any of this wood imported must be certified "pre-ban" or certified as harvested from trees that have fallen naturally. There is very tight regulation on this matter, and use of these woods is no longer contributing to the deforestation and extinction process. The regulation is about as tight as elephant ivory, so it is pretty tight. The prices have increased commensurately with the reduced availability. It is not unusual to pay as much as $5000 for enough premium Brazilian Rosewood to make the back and sides of an acoustic guitar. That is just the raw material cost. I also sometimes use elephant ivory for bridges and nuts, and these all come with a sealed certification of its legal pre-ban origin, and the papers must accompany the new guitar when sold, and even during the future owners' possession. No more elephants are being slaughtered for this ivory that is certified. However, there are still poachers and black marketeers that are unscrupulous criminals who engage in this illegal trade. They are strongly punished when caught engaging in this activity, whether it is Brazilian Rosewood or Elephant Ivory. Any manufacturer who is using these products, and is following the regulations, is not contributing to the demise of these species. In fact, they pay high prices to ensure compliance with these regulations, and to ensure that they are not doing harm to the environment.
According to your discussion, it seems that the use of such a hard wood would be transmitting vibrations to the preamp (in my case a Krell KRC-HR), and in most cases that seems foolish.

I haven't yet heard the SONIC result of the use of this wood, as originally asked.

Yes, or it could be helping to transmit vibrations away from it. It all depends upon the integrity and design of the load path for the vibrations to follow. The materials need to be selected properly to work with whatever design you are implementing. Just putting a piece of wood under a product, with no goals in mind, is simply haphazard.

I suggest a total thought process of what type of vibration control system you intend to create, and select materials that would be appropriate for that design.

There are 2 predominant schools of thought on that issue. Coupling or isolation. I use the coupling methods in all parts of my system. When you couple, you provide a load path for the unwanted vibration to drain away toward mechanical ground. When you isolate, you prevent airborne vibration from exiting to mechanical ground, because you interrupt the load path in an attempt to stop vibrations from coming up from the floor. In a well-designed isolation system, all vibrations are damped in the materials. If there is any overload of vibration that cannot be dissipated, or if the design is poor, they are reflected back into the equipment, and reflected, and reflected because they cannot exit. Absorbing all vibration from the floor and the sonic sound waves in a room full of high SPL audio is a tall order for any material.

The usual result of a highly damped isolation system is a dead sound. A well designed coupling system has alot more life in the music. I suppose it depends on individual taste, as to what is desired.

Regarding your question about how Myrtle will sound under your preamp, nobody can tell you that. It is entirely dependent upon the resonant characteristics of your preamp, and anything that is involved in the rack/stand you are using, and how they interact with the chunk of myrtle wood that you put there. It's simply try and see.

Thanks, TWL. Your clarification on obtaining "rare" materials made me feel a lot better. Sorry to jump to conclusions, but the average person wouldn't know better. This is something Cardas might consider clearing up in their marketing material.....
FYI, Myrtle wood is not listed by the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) Treaty as being endangered or restricted in any way.

This is the current CITES list on restricted woods.

Appendix I Listings:
Species in this list face an imminent threat of extinction and are banned from all international commercial trade. Trade is permitted for artificially grown species, products that were created before the species was added to the list, and for scientific purposes. However, permits are required from both the exporting and importing countries to verify that the species was obtained legally.

Alerce (Fitzroya cupressoides) has been listed on CITES Appendix I since 1973, except from 1983 to 1987, when the coastal Chilean population was downlisted to Appendix II. Its range includes Chile and Argentina, with some trees over 3000 years old. Alerce is similar to California redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), which is available FSC certified.

Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra) was listed on Appendix I in 1992. Use of this wood is strongly discouraged because continued demand will increase the likelihood of illegal trade in this genuinely endangered species. If you must use this wood, be sure to see a pre-convention certificate. Certified species that can be used instead of Brazilian rosewood are Granadillo (Platymiscium yucatanum) and Cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa).

Appendix II Listings:
International trade in these species is allowed as long as the country of origin issues documents ensuring that the listed species' harvest was legal and not detrimental to its survival. These species should be used only when accompanied by a valid chain of custody certificate ensuring that they come from an independently certified well-managed forest. The species listed in Appendix II include:

Afromosia (Pericopsis elata), which has a native range of tropical Africa, was listed on Appendix II in 1992. Logs, lumber and veneer imported since June 11, 1992 need an export permit from the country of origin. Finished products are exempted from CITES regulation for this species. Certified species with very similar properties include Favinha (Enterlobium schomburgkii) and Guariuba (Clarisia racemosa).

Lignum vitae (all species of Guaiacum) species were listed in Appendix II joining Guaiacum sanctum and Guaicum officinale, which were listed previously under this Appendix. Most of the Lignum vitae in trade comes out of Mexico, but it is still uncertain if the export volumes of this country are in line with the sustainable production of this slow-growing tree. An excellent certified substitute species is Cumaru (Dipteryx odorata).

Cuban mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni) comes primarily from the Caribbean and Florida, though it is sometimes grown in the South Pacific. It was added to Appendix II in 1992. Finished products are exempt from CITES. S. mahagoni has been commercially extinct for about 100 years, though in recent years, there has been a small amount of trade in salvaged woods. Woodworkers should ask to see export permits or proof of legal domestic salvage. Certified Red lauan (Shorea negrosensis), which is also known as Philippine Mohagany, is a suitable substitute for Cuban Mahogany.

Bigleaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) was placed on Appendix II by Guatemala and Nicaragua in 2002, but this listing does not go into effect until November 2003. This species is found throughout Central and South America. Bigleaf mahagony is one of the highest priced timber species in the world and was placed on the list mitigate the rise in illegal logging of this species. A certified substitute for bigleaf mahogany is Red lauan (Shorea negrosensis).

Appendix III Listings:
A voluntary mechanism that any country may invoke simply by verifying that its exported specimens were legally harvested. Once a species is listed (by any country) on Appendix III, all exporting countries are required to issue a certificate of origin with shipments of that species; export permits are required only if a country has included the species on Appendix III.

Almendro (Dipteryx panamwnsis) was added to Appendix III in 20002 by Costa Rica to manage the growing trade in this species. This species is commonly used for construction purposes. Almendro and other certified hardwood alternatives are available.

Spanish Cedar (Cedrela odorata) was added to Appendix III in 2002 by Colombia and Peru. C. odorata is commonly used for exterior construction owing to its weather resistant properties. Certified timber options are available for this and other hardwood species.

Ramin (Gonystylus spp,) was added to Appendix III in 2002 by Indonesia as a result of its concern over the illegal logging of this species. Ramin is commonly used as dowels, curtain rods, and for panels. Although there are no certified forests that contain ramin, there are competing end use products that use certified timber.

Naturally, common sense should prevail when using any other woods for commercial purposes, so as not to be wasteful of our natural resources.

Unless things have changed drastically in the past 15+ years items made from Myrtle wood are/were a cottage industry in the areas in which the trees grow. In the mid 80's I drove from LA to Salishan Beach, Oregon and recall seeing all sorts of stands/signs selling/advertising such wares.
Myrtle Wood is a very close cousin to the very common California Laurel, otherwise known as a Bay Tree. Just about any decent book on trees will refer all lookers for Myrtle Wood the the chapter on Laurels. Myrtle Wood is, I believe just a gimmick used to sell a bunch of rather flimsy carvings along the Oregon Coast.

It is a nice hardwood, but nothing all that special, except for those living along the Oregon Coast.....

It does burn well, though.