Martin, HEY! What did you replace your power conditioner with? (Glad to see you round!!!)
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I am also using the Sony 9000, and have had best sonic results with the Townshend Seismic Sink. I know they are an older design...but I have tried many of the other things out there, and just got best results with the Sink.
Three other things that may help things sonically.
1. Try to keep your interconnects from running next to your AC cords.
2. If you have a cable TV feed that is connected to your system in any way....the ground on cable TV feeds can cause real sonic concerns...be it noise or DC voltages that are sometimes on these grounds. A quick way to check is to disconnect the 75 ohm coax from your system...and, if you are in single family home, go to where the cable comes into your home and see if there is a green ground wire going from the cable input to the AC conduit comming into your home. If there is, disconnect the green wire..and see if your system sounds better...if not then there is no cable problem. If your system sound better after this..the the cable does have something on the ground that is getting into your system. Of course, re-connect the ground..after this test. If there is a problem have a qualified electrician help get that noise bleed off the cable feed.
3. Make sure that the Sony 9000 is level. Not the shelf it is on, but the unit itself...an un-level cd drive may not be the concern it is with a turntable..but a level cd transport can sound better.
Hope some ot this helps.
For very little money (probably under $30) you could try out a piece of laminated glass (also known as security glass) on top of the vibrapods with the CD player on top of the glass. You could also try vibrapods between the glass and CD player with this configuration to see how that sounded. The laminated glass is pretty thin (I think about 1/4 inch) and doesn't weigh that much so you probably wouldn't have to buy new pods. It consists of two layers of glass sandwiching another type of material to prevent shattering and is very inert and doesn't ring. If you don't like it you're only out about $30. If you're going to mass load your cd player though, it may not be sufficient to support the weight (your Sony is pretty solid though and you're probably not going to). Another alternative, albeit more expensive is to go with standard 1/2 inch glass. I purchased two shelves of 1/2 inch to use in conjunction with vibrapods and my Target rack and have been very pleased. Cost for a 1/2 inch glass shelf should be in the range of about $50-$60. It is very heavy and you'll have to re-weigh and purchase new vibrapods, but if you liked what you heard with the laminated, I'm sure you'd be happy with the 1/2 inch, and still be below your budget. The 1/2 inch is bevelled on the edges and also has a very nice appearance. Both available from any glass shop.
Mapleshade has Isoblocks. They're made of rubber/cork/rubber laminate "carefully tuned by ear to give just the right vertical, horizontal and torsional resonant frequencies for optimum sonic isolation." A set of four (weight up to 99 lbs.) cost around $25 and for weight up to 199 lbs, a set of four is around $50. They recommend using them with a maple platform. According to Mapleshade, "maple sounds noticeably better than oak, cherry, walnut or mahoganyand far better than MDF, graphite, marble, corian, or glass." I have the Isoblocks and I have had Vibrapods. IMHO the Isoblocks sound better than Vibrapods.
Hi Angela, I am still using my Monster HTS3500 power conditioner, but will eventually switch (or add) a PS Audio power generator. Good to see you around as well! Whatjd, thanks for all of the helpful tips, I'll certainly double check some of the things you mentioned. Thanks to you Hdm also. I may eventually try a Vibrapod sandwich, but would like to check out something like Black Diamond Racing cones first. Hope I'm not headed down the wrong path with metal cone type of isolation. Haven't tried any yet, but they do look cool under the CD player. Ultimately, I don't care what it looks like if it sounds good, but given a choice between similar tweaks, I'll pass on the ugly one. Any other suggestions? Can someone pass along their experience with differences types of "cone" isolation products. What are the characteristics of Brass, Titanium, whatever?
I have been very impressed with the results of putting my SCD777ES on a silicone and air-filled inner tube/sand/lead base made by one of the members of the NJ Audio Society, a similar concept to the Seismic Sink I have used but a little more effective because you don't just use air and don't have the metal plate of the Sink, which compromises it a little. Not as nice-looking as the Sink, although I don't they're bad-looking. Also, another of our members makes a set of three rounded supports called Pon-Tunes, which are not isolation devices but do improve the sound of the CD players I've put on them in that they seem to make things a bit cleaner and livlier, at least in my system. Their chief disadvantage is that, like the rollerblocks and similar devices, the equipment on them can slide around, not the greatest thing when you use audiophile-approved garden hose type cables. I prefer all of these to the Vibrapods, although for their cost the pods are tough to beat. As far as visual appeal goes, the Seismic Sink is the most polished looking product, and it works quite well too. By the way, I live just over the river, if you want to see any of these things or try them out.
Bmpnyc: In response to your last question, I found that the inner tube base appeared to have the effect of making the player seem like it sounded about 2 db louder; essentially, it lowered the noise floor and made the soundstaging much better, as you could hear the small ambient cues better. The Sink had a similar effect, not as pronounced. The pon-tunes (which are small cylinders made of some hard compound) focused the sound and images better than the stock feet, and gave a little more sparkle in the high frequencies than either the inner tube or the Sink, but didn't present the soundstage as well. I'm always vacillating back and forth between isolation (as with the Sink and the inner tube base) and channeling vibrations elsewhere (like cones, or the Combak stuff); I am ultimately coming around to the view, since most of my equipment is tubed, that isolation from underneath, perhaps with mass damping above (if practical, as with a front-loading CD player), is the best road for me. Other supports change the sound, perhaps in a way you like better, but they are still not working as well to isolate the unit from vibrations, and with tubes I think that isolation is most important. Just my view from my experience; others will give you their's, I hope.
Try as bunch tweakings as you know one after another for a certain period of time of experimenting to find out what's the best for the rack/room and platforms. Try to surf over DIY examples first. Different setups/racks/rooms require different experiments and it might take most of your time! The first thing if your component is standing higher from the surface you already win with heat dissipation! Try not to go with tweaks that will affect heat dissipation. It's kind of same thing if you place components one onto another. You could try to construct your own rack rather than using rich-audiofile-oriented ones with even better performance just by going into the home depot!
I have #3 & #4 Black Diamond Racing cones and I don't prefer them on their own. They do some amazing things to the sound as far as soundstage and details go, but I've found that they also have some disadvantages that come with the benefits. Everything seems to be more detailed, but that includes the vocals too. They become too detailed, and they lose their warmth. Sibilance and micing problems really stick out. That's just my opinion. I put some sorbothane underneath the cones (at the tip), and that seems to be a good compromise (for now).
Like I said, they definitely make a difference, but they seem to require a lot of experimentation. Just a warning...they may drive you mad.
Martin, I like Neuance shelf -- it might be barely above your budget in price -- best under my CDP. Definitely worked best in terms of tonal balance and coherence, so might be your cup of tea, and also best preserved timing and pace. Next best was Mapleshade Triplepoint cones -- lots of detail and definition, high and low, but somewhat attention getting. Compliant feet were last. Also, Mapleshade Heavyhat weight sounds good on top -- pleasantly punctuates leading edges and weight of notes; I haven't had much in way of results with flat things that have a lot of surface area. For more detail, visit these threads with many comments on Neuance and other options: Linn CD Player Tweaks, Racks and Shelves, Cones/Bearings for CD Players, Shelf Material - Neuance, and the "mother of all isolation threads", Isolation vs. Absorption. --Jayson
Something that has worked great for me is the Neuance Isolation Platform from Greater Ranges. Agon member Dekay suggested this to me. What it's done is enhance all the positives of my Theta Pearl transport.
Ken Lyon with Greater Ranges can custom make one to fit in your rack. He made one that replaces the top shelf of my Target Beta rack. This is a pretty common application and size. Roughly 14x19". It rests on the up-turned spikes that came with my rack. Leveling is a bit time consuming, but very important. Ken also feels that using cones or other isolation products with his platforms could be redundant. But if you do decide to try them out he suggests waiting until the shelf is well broken in.
The platform took about 2 weeks to fully break in, but once it did it improved the sense of air around instruments and added to the depth and width of the soundstage. No harshness or nasties were introduced.
I like the way it looks too. It comes in a subdued speckled dark gray. A nice touch to an all black audio rack.
I hope that helps.
Hi Bmp; As Phild notes above, not all tweaks are beneficial. I put seismic sinks under my ML transport and DAC and was rewarded with tremendous detail-- but it almost made my ears bleed. PRaT also suffered significantly. At that point I was disappointed, but then put one of the sinks under my tube pre-amp, and Viola', greater detail, improved transparency, smooth, liquid, and excellent PRT. It's all so component, system, and room dependent. Don't get discouraged, and Happy tweaking. Craig.
Wow! I've got a bit of research to do, and a few great suggestions to try out. You have all really helped point me in the right direction, and I can't thank you all enough for taking such care in your descriptions. By the way, I recently bought some sound proofing foam for a different purpose, but had two small pieces left over, so I put them where the first reflection hits my side walls, and "Abracadabra", my speakers dissapeared, voices became twice as intelligable, and the bass snapped into focus. After all that money and time spent who woulda thought that $40 worth of soundproofing would bring such such magic. Can't stop diggin' on those grooves now. Ag member "Yeastguy" Mark Brodsky was kind enough to send me the Keb Mo' DVD from the "Sessions at 54 Street" to check out, and if you ever want for perfect 5.1 channel demo material, this is the right stuff! Definetely the best I have heard yet.
Martin: many good suggestions above! For your budget range probably stick with a piece of 1/2" or 3/4" MDF (medium density fibreboard at your local lumberyard) or maple. Set that shelf on top of the vibrapods (allowing for the additional weight) & then use brass or Black Diamond cones (try both kinds &/or others too) under the player. I have had very bad-sounding experiences with glass & recommend strongly against that route, although your experiences may be different of course. When you come close to the sound that you like, you can further tune it by moving the cones around under the player in 1" increments. Closer together is warmer & rounder, further apart is more detailed but can become edgy.