Review: VPI Magic Brick Tweak

Category: Accessories

This is an $80 block of wood with a VPI logo and filled with transformer laminates. Not too impressive, eh? Well, the appearance of it is quite nice, and looks a lot better than my DIY dampeners. Also, it's not easy to enclose laminates in a block of wood without having them rattle. Basically, you pay for looks and quality, not parts. And for many audiophiles, that's enough. How do they sound? compared to nothing extra dampening the chassis, these seem to improve imaging, as well as removing some harshness from the sound. It simply sits on top of your devices and absorbs stray fields, helping the internals operate in a better enviornment. These effects were to various levels with the Amp, DAc, and pre. The amp benefitted the most, with a fair improvement in grain reduction and imaging, though the A100 is no slouch in these areas. I suspect that the mere size of the electrical fields in this device account for the greater effectiveness. The preamp benefitted nearly as much, and in the same way, though again, it was no slouch to begin with. The improvements in imaging were both matched with my own Marble dampeners, though the grain reduction wasn't there. On the DAC, there was a tiny improvement in imaging- the steel chassis, rather than aluminum seems to have prevented any of the absorbtive benefits of the Brick.
For those who can afford it, this is an expesive tweak, but a worthwhile one.

Associated gear
Acurus A100
Acurus RL-11
B&W DM 605 s2

Similar products
Marble DIY dampeners
I have used these for years but in my day they were 50.00.
I use them on top of the outboard dual mono power supplies for both my Modwright Sony 9000es and my Musical Concepts Epoch Signature 7. Yes it's like taking a picture that is out of focus just a bit and focusing it.
I bought a few VPI bricks years ago and also had good results with them on top of the transformers of a variety of amps. I read in one of my father's old MSEE textbooks from the golden age of hifi in the 50's, that a block of iron or other magnetic material in proximity to a transformer will improve coupling action between the primary & secondary windings. So I attribute the improved sweetness and weight added to the sound by the bricks to this scientific explanation, rather than to dampening or RFI absorption effects speculated by various posters.

Has anyone every used the VPI Magic Brick on power conditioners or isolation transformers? I'm thinking about putting 2 Topaz isolation transformers next to each other and was thinking about using the VPI Brick on both noise isolators. Thanks
For a large AC line transformer like the Topaz I would lean toward a heavy bag of microbearing steel available through eBay or a foundry supply company. The magnetic properties of the steel shot will improve coupling of the transformer electrical fields in the manner of a VPI brick. And since microbearing is much more physically reactive than a VPI Brick, it will also do a better job of absorbing vibration. Finally, it's cheap.
I still have one. I sold another to an advanced audiophile and he was surprised at the difference. I have some other dampers but have not made comparisons. My bad!

Interesting. How do you A/B that? Is it an immediate effect? Why wouldn't an old transformer do the same thing?  Maybe you'd have to remove the copper?

dgarretson, all the microbearings I can find are high chrome content. Doesn't that reduce ferromagnetism?  As an old MRI tech we discovered that some steel was safe near the magnet if it had a very high chrome content.
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What you really need to do to reduce magnetic fields is wrap the transformer in mu metal. The low frequency high permeability metal absorbs 85% of the magnetic field with one wrap and 95% wrapping twice.
I knew I should have stole some of that stuff back in 1985 when we were wrapping all our CRTs within the 5 Gauss field!
I haven't used VPI magic bricks in at least twenty years and sold all but one of the many I had. I did hear a difference with them placed carefully on components. But with time I noticed that the leading edge was gone if they were near the signal cables.

With them gone I had better imaging and leading edge.

With my High Fidelity Cables PCs, I have no magnetic fields.