My contribution may not be what you want to hear.
I've tried Stillpoints, Black Diamond Racing cones, some ceramic cones and various Sorbothane thingumies under my components, and I haven't found that any of them make a lick of difference. I've tried them under my transport, my preamp, my DAC and the amps - nothing, nada, zip. Part of the reason may be that I've got a reasonable rack on a concrete floor, but I have yet to hear any difference that's worth the cost (especially with Stillpoints - they're pricey little buggers!)
The one thing I tried that did make a difference was to put my tube DAC up on Feet of Silence. These gizmos essentially give the component an elastomeric suspension. I did hear a slightly smoother, cleaner sound that was (barely) worth the used price of the feet. I tried them under my tube pre and under the transport, and again heard no effect at all.
So, try them and see, but don't be surprised if you hear little to no difference. A lot of people report results, but I'm not one of them.
I can't answer your question, and I doubt that most others can either, thou many will try. Whether audio points are effective or not, let alone which ones, is very component dependent. What works fron a TT doesn't necessarily work for a pre amp. What works for a tube pre-amp doesn't necessarily work for a ss pre amp, etc. If you haven't already done so you should do some research on vibration/resonance control then investigate the products that might help you solve specific problems created by your components & speakers. Watch out this can be a tar pit of no small dimensions.
Stillpoints are not brass cones. They have some type of bearings inside that work to isolate the piece of gear. I had a set of them for a short time and found them to do absolutely nothing. At the same time I had several sets of Aurious bearings and was very happy with the improvement they offered to the soundstage.
My expereince will only translate to a similar arrangement, I think.
My system is set up in the basement, therefore the floor is quite solid. I still expereinced improvement in the tightness of the bass and soundstage with the Aurious and later with brass cones. I have replaced all of the other bearing type componants with brass cones. The cones have been as effective as anything else, but at a fraction of the cost. I have had my cones made for by machinist acqaintenences. As a matter of fact I just picked up a 3" brass rod about 36" long to have some more cones made.
I don't know if this helped, but... that's all I know.
I have been going back and forth many times on my Cd player (Meridian), placed on a 2" thick piece of Rock Maple,which sits on a short spiked stand. I have gone back and forth with Vibrapods and stillpoints and find that the Brass points tend to give a touch more detail but at the expense of " body "in the middle.For some reason I keep coming back to the Vibrapods under my CD Player and settled on them....I have tried other spikes before and had the same results..For now I like the Vibrapods under my Player the best....
I concur with Thorman. I've used many of the cone and isolation products. Vibrapods work best with my components. The new Vibracones make a good addition to the Vibrapods and are a significant upgrade. For best results make a Vibrapod sandwich. I use 5/8 inch plate glass. This system works the best with my Levinson components.
I have friends that swear by some of the other products out there so I know the results are system dependent.
In my system, under the cd player, Stillpoints made a difference. But, it was hardly spectacular -- no night and day, my jaw dropped, veils disappeared kind of difference. Just a slightly crisper sound -- just enough to make them worthwhile for me (I am using the points and the base units). Sorry, I can't compare to audio points, but I didn't hear much of a difference at all using just brass cones. My cd player sits on a wood shelf in a cabinet, so that could have a bearing on things (no pun intended).
Starsound Technologies's Audiopoints are wonderful. They offer a money back guarentee on all their products. You've got nothing to lose. I use their Audiopoints via their Sistrum System Platforms. Significantly better and more costly, as well. Buy three one inch points for your cdp. If that doesn't tingle your tympanics: return 'em. They are wonderful. I haven't compared them to others, but I certainly know what my system sounds like with them and without them. Get the point? peace, warren
I have not heard anything better than a Sistrum SP-1 under a CD player or DAC.I have try a lot things.Sistrum SP-1 get
I'll answer all of your questions. :)
Q. Has anyone compared Stillpoints to Audio Points?
A. I don't know but perhaps there is one who has.
Q. Are Stillpoints better than Audio Points?
A. I don't know but they could be. When one considers what a set of Stillpoints cost vs. the price of Audio Points, one should expect Stillpoints to be multiple times better. That I doubt.
Q. Are all brass cones the same and do the same things?
A. Not all power cables, ic's, nor sc's are the same, nor are any other components considered the same. For each has it's own unique style of execution, sonic signature, and design. Therefore, it should be very safe to assume that that not all brass cones are the same.
That was easy.
As for a few of the other comments posted in this thread. Some to many are aware that there are 3 camps of vibration control methodologies,
2. coupling/mechanical transfer, and
3. The ecumenicals who like to combine coupling and de-coupling products thinking they are getting the best of both worlds. aka mug-womps, those with their mugs on one side of the fence and their womps on the other side of the fence.
Regardless of which methodology one adhere's to (except for the mug-womps), one simply should not expect to realize either methodology's full sonic potential via some half-assed commitment. Just like any other aspect of audio, vibration control truly requires an all or nothing approach to realize the full benefits.
And for many, vibration control is still a final frontier in need of discovery.
I can't speak for the de-coupling products, but when it comes to the coupling methodology, one should not expect maximum performance gains until a mechanical break-in period has allowed everything to settle. Yes, it's true. In my case it took at least 7 whole days for everything to settle. After that, the results were nothing short of a serious component upgrade.
But that radical change did not occur until the final pieces were in place.
And every time a racking system is moved, break-in can still take several days.
In other words, one should not expect to hear night and day differences during A/B comparisons.
There is no point to use either stillpoint or audio point when you have the opportunity to try pneumatic or air blader product such as Vibraplane (the best) or Brightstar air blader isolation platform or Townshend Seismic sink with pump.
I use both, placing ceramic DH cones in less critical areas. I have found that Audiopoints are globally more satisfying and they form one of the foundations of my setup - they'll never be sold. The Stillpoints are fancy and extremely clean but if I had to choose between the two, I would start with Audiopoints.
I recently purchased Audiopoints (cones & spikes) to try against my current DH Labs ceramic cones which replaced Vibrapods which replaced Herbies tenderfeet.
I heard no difference between the DH Labs ceramic cones and the Audiopoints (cones). The theaded Audiopoints speaker spikes were a major dissapointment. I hope to return the Audiopoints without a hassle.
Since I have a suspended hardwood floor I have had major issues with vibration and have been chasing my tail. After reading several threads here and at AA, I decided to try the Ikea Lack Table idea, as well. ----- They sucked in my room!
Vibrated like crazy. Even the Neuance shelf on the Lack table vibrated like crazy. Bass was bloated, soundstage very diffuse and everything sounded out of phase. Maybe the Lack Tables work on concrete pad floors, but not on my suspended hardwood floor.
For my speakers, I finally tried what some others had reported for success with speakers on a suspended hardwood floor. I purchased pre-mounted Travertine on a non-resonant material and sandwiched the correct weighted Vibrapods between two pieces of the Travertine/material. Viola. What a beautiful solution. Incredible change. Very little to no floor excitement and bass became very articulate and tight.
Next I decided to bag the Neuance shelf/DH cones under my transport and try DH cones, points down, sitting on top of Vibrapods. Since this is not possible without a flat surface on top of the Vibrapod for the point of the cone to rest on, I picked up some Formica sample chips (about 2 inches wide and 3 inches long) to place on top of the Vibrapods. They fit just right on top on the Vibrapods.
Let me digress.
Previously when I had the Neuance shelf on top of the Lack Table with the DH Cones between the shelf and my transport, I could put my hand on top of my transport and it was vibrating like crazy with heavy bass frequencies. That's when everything sounded mucked up and out of phase. As soon as I tried the Vibrapod/Formica sample/DH cones combination (without the Neuance shelf) my jaw dropped. I couldn't feel one bit of vibration from my transport no matter how loudly I played low bass frequencies.
I subsequently put the Vibrapod/Formica/DH cone combo under all of my components and I have never heard this level of clarity and transparency in my system. As bad as the Lack Tables are in my room, they are a non-issue with the Vibrapod/Formica/DH cone solution so I will just keep them until I upgrade everything after the first of the year.
YMMV, but in my system with a suspended hardwood floor, the Vibrapod sandwich idea made an enormous difference with my speaker floor/excitation problem and the Vibrapod/Formica/DH cones combo under my components has completely blown away everything else that I have tried. Even my wife commented she couldn't believe how good everything sounds with my current solution and she usually never says anything.
Having said that, the Audiopoints (spikes) under my speakers were a total disaster and the Audiopoints (cones) under my components were no improvement to the DH cones.
The real shocker was how much better my system became after removing the Neuance shelf/Dh Cones and replacing it with the Vibrapod/Formica/DH Cone combo.
I think the issue here is that everyone's room and situation is different. What might work well on a concrete pad may not work well on a suspended hardwood floor, but I have finally found the solution for my room. The difference is amazing and until I heard the transformaton with my own two ears, I would have never believed that controlling vibration could make such a huge difference. It has been bigger than any component upgrade I have ever made. (But then again, my suspended hardwood floor was incredibly egregious in my room.)
Hello, I have been a user of Audiopoints since the the Earth cooled and a user of Sistrum since the turn of the century, and I am recently a dealer for both. There is a local Goner here in Louisville who asked me over several months ago to compare Audiopoints to his current reference Stillpoints ...I also brought the Sistrum product for comparison..If he is listening then he may want to add his own aural impressions ..or maybe not.. Tom
Fiddler, I must say, this is the first Audiopoints tragedy I've ever seen on the 'gon. What speakers and electronics comprise your system? thanks in advance..
I have been using Audiopoints under all my components, spkrs. ,spkr. stands, rack, and even have the 2.0 audiopoints under my 53" Sony HD rptv for the past year and a half. I have microbearing fill in spkr. stands and audio rack. The improvements that the Starsound products have brought to my audio and video system have been absolutely HUGE! I know one thing, regardless of whatever component changes I may make, the audiopoints are not going anywhere. Also, the service and information provided by Robert are positively first-rate.
I use a heavily modified PD65 as a transport with all BlackGates throughout the power supply, Harris Freds, solid silver wiring, Canare BNC, etc.
Extremely modified Audio DAC 1.2 with all Black Gates, tantalum resistors, solid silver wiring, Audio Note Copper Caps, Audio Note Siver Digital Interface transformer, NOS Amperex Orange Globes, Audio Note silver "Interstage" Transformers which bypass the digital filter, custom HMS internal IC's, Canare BNC,....
Supratek Chardonnay preamp with WE 350B's, 1952 Sylvania 6SN7's, Mullard 5AR4, upgraded pot to a DACT, Auricap upgrade, by-passed selector switch...
PS Audio HCA-2 with Black Gates in the signal path and solid silver output wiring.
Heavily modified Newform Research 645's.
All HMS Gran Finale IC's and DIY solid core silver speaker cables.
Warren, do a search here and at AA. Many have moved on from Audiopoints. That is not to say Audiopoints aren't great. But like so many things they are system dependent.
The Audiopoints (cones) made absolutely no difference to my ear over the DH Labs Ceramic cones and I don't think the Audiopoints threaded speaker spikes scould penetrate my carpet. I have a 13 x 20 ( ? ), very heavy and tightly woven Persian carpet on top of a carpet pad and I don't think the Audiopoints ever got through. I also tried them with the coupling discs that Robert recommended. They were awful with the discs and only marginally better without them.
As I said, I suspect the Sistrum products are very good, but not in my application. The difference between the Vibrapod solution and the Audiopoints was night and day.
Fiddler, you obviously have gone to great lengths regarding the tweaking to your components. However, why not provide here the same level detailed response as to how you applied the Audio Points?
To what components did you install the Audio Points under (ie rack, speakers, and all components at the same time?)?
How long a break-in period did you allow for, and perhaps most important, what racking system you used throughout this time period?
In other words, to realize the full benefits of the Audio Points, the methodology (coupling) has to be applied everywhere.
Assume for the moment that you are using zip cord for all of your cabling needs. You then install Jena Labs top of the line speaker cables, and one pair of their ic's but you leave the other pair of zip cord ic's in place.
You would probably notice a nice little improvement, but most likely not worth the $10k you just paid for these cables, and you'd probably want Jena Labs to refund your monies. But when you install that last pair of Jena Lab ic's and allow for proper burn-in, your system is now singing a whole new song.
Same principle rightfully applies when installing Audio Points (and perhaps other similar products) everywhere. However, if you are using some cheap Ikea-like coffee table, mdf boards, or even a much more expensive and popular isolation-type (de-coupling) rack for a racking system, your performance bottleneck will be the rack. You should still realize small performance gains just by installing the Audio Points, but that's the extent of the benefits.
Again, for real night and day improvements, it truly must be an all or nothing approach.
For the record, I have never seen(execpt in mags), touched, nor smelled a Sistrum rack. Small, yet noticeable, improvements were gained after installing the Audio Points under each component. But the fantastic night and day sonic improvements were only after I installed Audio Points on my own custom rack (which also adheres to the coupling methodology) and speakers and then only after about a one week mechanical break-in time period.
I'm fully aware that Y or O MMV and every system is different, but that's not the point. The point is the commitment to a complete installation to fully realize any serious benefits.
Stehno, what is this "mechanical break-in"?
Stehno, your logic is flawed.
"In other words, to realize the full benefits of the Audio Points, the methodology (coupling) has to be applied everywhere.
Assume for the moment that you are using zip cord for all of your cabling needs. You then install Jena Labs top of the line speaker cables, and one pair of their ic's but you leave the other pair of zip cord ic's in place.
You would probably notice a nice little improvement, but most likely not worth the $10k you just paid for these cables, and you'd probably want Jena Labs to refund your monies. But when you install that last pair of Jena Lab ic's and allow for proper burn-in, your system is now singing a whole new song."
I have heard big differences when changing out one set of IC's or applying vibration control to just one component. Is the improvement cumulative? Certainly, but if you are telling me that Audiopoints can only work in an "all or nothing" approach, then I will tell you they aren't as effective as Vibrapods in MY SYSTEM. The Vibrapods were very audible upon only being installed under my speakers, not my whole system.
The effectiveness of applying the Vibrapod sandwich to my speakers after trying the Sistrum spikes for five days was immediate and dramatic. Helen Keller could have heard the difference.
Once again, if the Sistrum spikes are so much better, why would I have to "Sistrum" my whole system to hear a difference? Robert was confident that I would hear an immediate difference upon installing the spikes on my speakers. Well, I did hear a difference and it wasn't pretty. After five days of trying the spikes, with and without the coupling discs, moving my speakers, etc., I gave up. I finally went out and bought the materials to make the Vibrapod sandwich and the difference was staggering as soon as I hit the play button.
And if the Audiopoints are so effective, then why would I not hear a considerable difference just because I was using the "cheap" Lack Table for my components. If the Vibrapod/Formica solution worked incredibly well on the Lack Table, why not the Audiopoints!
In fairness, I heard no difference between the DH Labs cones and the Audiopoints on the Lack Table without the Vibrapod/Formica combo in place. Not until putting the Vibrapods/Formica solution between the cones and the Lack Table did I get a tremendous improvement.
So what is the common denominator here? Vibrapods. On both my speakers and my components, same result. Without the Vibrapod/Formica setup on my transport, I could feel incredible vibration with my hand; I had horrible soundstaging, bloat and confusion. Immediately upon installing the Vibrapod/Formica idea, not one bit of vibration could be felt on my transport no matter how loudly I played heavy bass material. And my system took a huge leap.
(BTW, I forgot to mention in my first post that I also have dedicated lines and isolation transformers on each line, Acme cryoed silver outlets for each component and Virtual Dynamics power cords.)
Stehno, I am not saying Audiopoints are not great. Maybe they are in your system. Not in mine. No big deal. When we build our new house and I build a dedicated listening room, I will certainly try an entire Sistrum approach at that time. But I will have a concrete pad for my room, as well!
Suspended hardwood floors are just a different animal than concrete pads. So much energy is transferred to the suspended floor and subsequently to the components as compared to a concrete pad poured upon the ground.
I think with a concrete pad, coupling with a Sistrum system makes sense. Get the vibration to ground as quickly as possible. But a suspended hardwood floor is totally different. Since the energy is absorbed by all of the construction materials, everything simply vibrates wildly until the energy is converted to heat or finally finds it way to ground. Enter the Vibrapod solution for the suspended hardwood floor. Immediately convert the resonant energy to heat at the source! Makes perfect sense to me and in my room, there is no argument. One solution works immaculately well and the other is only a marginal improvement over nothing.
In December, I will have my business paid off. At that time, my income will approach seven figures annually after losing the burden of a huge business loan. I am changing my speakers, amp and my transport (possibly Meitner gear - or just a high-end transport for Audio Note DAC which I think is incredible). I will keep my HMS Gran Finale ICs, probably my DAC and my Supratek preamp. One of my first efforts will be to find the right high-end solution for a rack system, along with speakers, transport and amp. Much will change, but I will still have the suspended hardwood floor. Time will tell what the best solution will be.
In the meantime, I am glad the Sistrum products work for you. I have found what works in my room and thats all that matters. Maybe you like horns
.I dont. To each his own. The most important thing is to find solutions that bring us the most musical enjoyment and I am ecstatic with the results I am getting with my current modest setup.
Fiddler your speakers as you described previous were never direct coupled to the floor underneath the carpet and the Persian rug combo. If you had removed the Persian rug and tried the use of Audiopoints under your speakers I feel certain the points would have penetrated the normal pad and carpet thus coupling the speakers to ground. Today I installed Audiopoints under a set of Revel Studios and a pair Sistrum platforms under a pair of the large Revel subs. The room has a supended floor over a crawl space. The floor was laminated of 1/4 cork between two layers of 3/4 inch plywood. A wool felt pad was used under a wool carpet. The Audiopoints and the Sistrum were installed after the same system had been in use for over a year. The Audiopoints made a great improvement not subtle ..much better focus much less blur to the bass. Sistrum platforms were then added under the subs..Much tighter, less cabinet noise finding its way up into the midrange, deeper bass faster and less intrusive into the music. The key I feel is that the points must be direct coupled to the surfaces that they come into contact with. Why succeed in decoupling a device that is a coupling device. Speakers I feel really need to be coupled and for many reasons. One great one is for better phase and time alignment. The self induced cabinet motion of a decoupled speaker playing music on a carpeted floor will be greater than the excursion of that same speakers' tweeter. So much for time alignment. I am a dealer..Tom
Hogwash? Fiddler, you misinterpreted just about every point I made.
You didn't seem to like my hyperbola about zip cord and Jena Lab cables and you tried to make it sound pointless. It was hyperbola to stress a point. But if you think it's hogwash, go get the zip cord and try it.
You also misinterpreted my statement about still receiving small improvements with Audio Points but without a decent racking system and Audio Points under the rack.
I made it very clear that improvements would still occur. But that the vast improvements will most likely only occur when you execute the all-or-nothing approach.
Let's try this analogy. Think of the air-borne vibrations as lightning and the components as lightning rods. And think of the Audio Points, rack, and Audio Points under the rack as the grounding cable connecting the lightning rod to ground.
Assume there is a lightning storm and that all lightning will be strike the rod and then re-directed to ground.
Well, air-borne vibrations work the exact same way. You can have the best lightning rod in the world (audio components), but unless it's connected to ground you've compromised the performance of the lightning rod. The Audio Points act as a conduit to provide an exit path for the lightening to transfer away from the rod. But it's the racking system and Audio Points under the racking system that act as the final conduit to ground.
In this example, the music represents the lightning, the component represents the rod, points/rack/points represent the groudning cable. If you substitute a poor rack for a good rack, you're grounding cable may still work, but will certainly become less effective. That's the point I was trying to make previously.
As for the flooring systems? Some to many and I would venture a guess that up to 80% of all audiophiles have suspended wood flooring systems. In fact, my last room was a suspended hardwood flooring system and my current flooring system is suspended with perhaps plywood as the underlayment.
Please stop using the concrete slab vs. suspended hardwood flooring systems as it doesn't substantiate your perspective no matter how much you think it may.
You said, "So what is the common denominator here? Vibrapods. On both my speakers and my components, same result. Without the Vibrapod/Formica setup on my transport, I could feel incredible vibration with my hand; I had horrible soundstaging, bloat and confusion. Immediately upon installing the Vibrapod/Formica idea, not one bit of vibration could be felt on my transport no matter how loudly I played heavy bass material. And my system took a huge leap."
Are you saying that installing Vibrapods under your transport also eliminated any air-borne vibrations captured by the transport as well?
That's some vibrapod.
I haven't compared the Stillpoints to the Vibrapods, but can tell you that the combination of the Harmonic Resolution Systems Nimbus Discs/Nimbus along with the Stillpoints is amazing. The two systems work well together and seem to cover up the bad points of each system, while allowing the positive to shine through.
Tom, if you read my post I was the first to say I didn't think the Audiopoints had ever penetrated my Persian rug and wool pad beneath it. I realize the Audiopoints are most effective when they are coupled to the floor, but if the points couldn't get through my rug...nothing I can do about that. I certainly am not going to change the rug! Its a multi-thousand dollar rug and we bought it from an interior design standpoint.
But Robert at StarSound was certain the spikes would work on my carpet/pad and suspended floor and was also adamant that the coupling discs would work on top of the carpet, just not quiet as well as without them. Either way he said I would experience a huge improvement.
And I don't doubt that you experienced exactly what you said you experienced today with the Revels. In contrast, I am telling you what didn't work in my room (for whatever reasons) and what made an amazing difference. Nothing more I can add to that.
Stehno, sorry if I misinterpreted your points. Wasn't intentional.
But I still take exception to this statement:
"Please stop using the concrete slab vs. suspended hardwood flooring systems as it doesn't substantiate your perspective no matter how much you think it may."
No, let me tell you what substantiates my perspective and reduces yours to nonsense. I have been in this room everyday for the last year and a half and you have never set foot in it.
Until you come hear my room and my floor your comment simply smacks of arrogance. Do a search here and at AA. Numerous others have experienced the exact same problem with suspended hardwood floors and in virtually every instance coupling excited the floor more and made the problem worse. The only successful solution for several others before me was the Vibrapod sandwich solution.
You keep talking about the energy getting to ground. THAT'S THE PROBLEM! In my room, the suspended hardwood floor resonates like crazy at certain bass frequencies if my speakers are sitting directly on the floor. You can talk till you are blue in the face. I have lived this scenario every day. I know what has exacerbated the problem and what has cured it.
The point you seem to be missing is that the energy can't get to ground. Don't you get that. Sure some of it will eventually get there, but it has to travel across all of the sub-flooring and floor joists before it finally gets to a point of exit which would be pillars beneath the floor which go to the foundation. By that time the damage is done. The floor has already been vibrating like a drum before the vibrations get to the pillars. No way around that. The energy simply can't jump across all of the floor joists to the pillars.
And your analogy of the lightening rod is excellent. You prove my point. The lightening (airborne vibrations) can't immediately get to ground because there is no direct path in my floor for the lightening to go to ground. It has to go in a convoluted way to find the ground. And again, the damage is already done. I don't understand why you can't grasp that.
Since I can't efficiently get the airborne vibrations and/or the vibrations from my coupled speakers to the ground before they have already have caused a lot of damage, I have chosen to convert them to heat with the Vibrapods. End of story. It works. The bass is fast, articulate, great slam, focus, etc. with the Vibrapod solution. Everything else is dramatically improved, as well. And there is virtually no floor excitation/boom to the point that I have to ask myself if I can even hear any at all.
I find it interesting that some of you guys are prone to tell me and others that what we are experiencing is simply wrong when we are the ones with first-hand experience with our particular situations. It is simply laughable that you are wasting any time at all trying to contradict what I am telling you about my "real world" experience in MY room!
I know what I hear and what I have experienced in my room. And my experience is exactly the same as many others here if you will take the time to do a search.
Stehno, sorry if I seem agitated, but it is frustrating when someone tells me that my own personal experience isn't what in fact it is.
I do appreciate your feedback and everyone else's, as well. But it seems that anytime anyone questions Sistrum products and or their claims around here (or in my case, has actual disappointing results) the gang piles on. That's okay, as I am confident in what I know to be true in my personal experience and I have never been one to be intimidated by the crowd.
The simple truth is I wanted the Audiopoints to work. They are cheap enough and I was hoping to find a starting place for vibration control as I head into upgrading my system next year.
I am a firm believer in tweaking and I am always open to things that work in my system. But if something doesn't work in my system, I am not afraid to say so. I simply try to state how a product performs in MY system. And I never go out of my way to slam or bash a product. I simply say my peace about my experience and move on.
As I said before. I am sure Audiopoints is an excellent product given the right set of circumstances. The circumstances simply weren't right in my situation.
Oops, I almost forgot your last question:
"Are you saying that installing Vibrapods under your transport also eliminated any air-borne vibrations captured by the transport as well?"
Where did you get that? No, I simply said I couldn't feel any vibrations with my hand after installing the Vibrapods. I am sure there are micro-vibrations at work that I can't feel, but what does that have to do with anything. If I had Audiopoints under my transport the same airborne vibrations would be working on my transport and hopefully the Audiopoints would transfer them away to the ground.
Well, my DH Labs cones under all of my components do the same thing, with one exception. (And who knows, maybe the DH cones aren't as effective as Audiopoints after all, but I didn't hear any difference).
The only difference between the Audiopoints concept and my current setup with the DH Labs cones/Formica/Vibrapods is that the Audiopoints work by transferring the vibrations to ground in an appropriate rack system and my DH Labs transfer the same vibrations to the Vibrapods to convert them to heat.
You know a thought just entered my mind. I don't know about your floor, but my floor joists span 14 feet across the room (32 feet long) without any pillars at all beneath them. This is one big drum head. The entire width of the room is open beneath the floor with pillars only on each side of the room. Maybe your room spans only eight feet or so without pillars. Another factor is my floor is a minimum of six feet above the ground progressing to seven feet. I suspect floors that are closer to the ground may not be as prone to the drum effect due to a more limited reverberant cavity. I obviously don't know shit about this stuff, but it makes sense to me.
I purchased screw jacks as a last resort to use with timbers to tighten up my floor in lieu of pillars (which would give the vibrations a more direct path to ground). I thought I would try the Audiopoints first, but I ended up with the Vibrapod solution instead. As good as the results are with the Vibrapods, I have absolutely zero interest or need to address the floor.
Since we built this house a year and a half ago and we will only be in it another two years or so before we build a larger custom home with a dedicated listening room, I don't really want to hassle any more than I have to with the floor. Otherwise, if we were staying in this house long-term, I would have a contractor come out and add additional footings and pillars under the floor.
But one thing is for sure. Our next home is going to have a dedicated listening room on a concrete pad!
Fiddler, would you please explain "pre-mounted Travertine on a non-resonant material". What exactly is it you purchased...and where? Later in your posts you mention Formica. This Formica material and the pre-mounted Travertine material are being used separately in your system, correct?
Tvad, the pre-mounted Travertine was purchased at Lowes. It has two, 12 x 12 in. squares of Travertine mounted on some sort of fiberboard. There is a grout line between the two pieces of Travertine. This product is obviously made to make installation of the Travertine quick and easy with perfect grout lines. It comes five pieces to a box with two tiles of Travertine per piece and I think it was about $65 for the box of five.
Unlike the granite, marble, tile, etc. that I have examined, the pre-mounted Travertine doesn't ring at all when you tap it. It simply has a dull thud.
I used two pieces of the pre-mounted Travertine (24 x 12) under each speaker with the appropriate Vibrapods between. I have my speakers sitting directly on top of the upper-most Travertine/board.
Under my components I use DH Labs ceramic cones, points down, sitting on top of Vibrapods that have a Formica sample piece between the cone and the Vibrapod to support the point of the cone on the Vibrapod.
These Formica pieces are the standard 2 x 3 in. sample pieces that home improvement stores have hanging on little pegs on their Formica displays. I asked if I could have a dozen or so and they said, "no problem".
Hope that answers your questions.
And one other thing. I used about 9 furniture sliders attached to the underside of each bottom piece of the Travertine/boards. My speakers and the sandwich beneath them are very stable, but I can now slide my speakers rather easily if I choose to move them into the corners (or if my wife makes me) when we have dinner parties.
Fiddler, thanks for the info. I'm going to take a look at the Travertine
tiles at my local Lowe's, although I'm a little concerned with the ability of
the tiles to carry the weight of the speakers...especially in the grout line
between the tiles. This would appear to be a significant area of
weakness. I suppose placing points underneath the seam would help.
Great idea, by the way, to use furniture sliders. This Dagwood sandwich
must raise your speakers by about 4" or so, yes?
Fiddler I have sold or installed many hundreds of Audiopoints and many Sistrum platforms and racks. It has been my experience to only use the APCD protective coupling discs on hard or decorative surfaces such as hardwood floors, wooden speaker surfaces, glass, marble and plexiglass sufaces. The brass disc serves to increase the surface area of the brass point and continue the transfer of resonant energy unto dissimilar materials. These materials need to be hard surfaces not carpet. So as you stated the points were no good to you. Maybe when you design your next room you can try the Audiopoints and Sistrum ,and choose surfaces and materials that will provide proper coupling and transfer of resonant energy.. These products are very effective and enlightening. These concepts of mechanical coupling are only at the first levels of application...Tom
Fiddler, sorry for my being so smug. The 'ground' in which I speak is whatever lies beneath the rack and speakers. aka the flooring system.
Once the vibrations have expeditiously evacuated the components, racking system, and speakers, they find their way into the flooring system.
Once in the flooring system, they'll find their own way to the foundation and ground. But for all intensive purposed regarding these micro-vibrations and to the best of my knowledge, I simply consider the flooring system as the ground.
But I still think the lightning rod analogy is very applicable to the subject at hand.
Tom, thanks for your info.
I do believe the Audiopoints were ineffective in my system simply because of the particular application. I do fully intend to try the Sistrum products again when my situation changes because so many people swear by them. As I said, based on anecdotal information, I believe Audiopoints work. I believe a lot of isolation products work. Some better than others I am sure. But at the moment I have found a dramatically effective solution for my given situation and I am very happy that I have finally rid my room of any floor boom.
And Stehno, thanks for your reply. I believe we are actually on the same page, but given the particulars of my room, the Audiopoints simply didn't work. (BTW, I forgot to mention; in our previous home before our new house, I had the exact same speakers and virtually the same equipment/setup, all sitting on a concrete pad and I never had the slightest problem with floor boom.)
I'll tell you what I have thought about since the day I received the Audiopoints.
The reason the points never coupled is that they never got through to the floor. The points were plenty sharp, but the bevel on the point prevented the point from getting through my carpet and pad. If the bevel was steeper, I have no doubt that my speakers would have pushed the Audiopoints through my carpet and pad.
A needle with the same degree of bevel would get through to the floor, whereas the same bevel on a one inch rod wouldn't have a chance.
I am disappointed that the spikes were never allowed to work because I truly did want to see what would happen, good or bad, with the "famed" Audiopoints in place and coupled to my suspended floor.
The bad news is that I didn't get results with the Audiopoints. The good news is that I found a solution for my speakers and components in my current situation that has given me clarity, detail, imaging, etc. that I never thought possible with my modest system.
Once again, thanks for the efforts to help. I never object to spirited debate as long as the motive is right.
The lightning rod analogy is very inappropriate. The whole assertion, implied here so often, that the earth beneath our feet serves as a universal "ground" for all mechanical vibration the way it serves as a ground for electrical charge, is seductive but without basis. Common experience tells us it's not so. We've all felt the ground acting as a source of vibration.
A related but separate idea that is very suspect is that we know how to design mechanical systems that transfer vibrational energy in one direction but not the other. Again, analogizing electrical systems with mechanical systems would suggest that this should be true, but the analogies themselves are fallacious.
Another thing: Thinking of isolation (or absorption) and coupling as opposites that can be achieved in any practical application is appealing and makes for great audiophile arguments, but it's really of little use in seeking the right kind of vibration control in your system. I'd suggest that every effective vibration control approach relies on both coupling and isolation/absorption.
The basic idea is to use coupling to make your audio component just a piece of a larger mechanical system that can deal with the vibrations to which your component is subjected. The larger system should have the characteristic of absorbing vibrations that are harmful to the propagation of the audio signal and releasing that energy (it has to go somewhere) in a way that is not harmful to the audio signal. Thus, the system has to have a sink for harmful vibrations, and the parts of the system have to be coupled together in order for that sink to be of any benefit against vibrations generated by or reaching the component.
We might place magazines or a specially designed, heavy block on top of a component, using gravity to do the coupling that effectively changes the component's cabinet so as not to resonate at harmful frequencies. We might put the component on gel footers. Gravity couples the component to the compliant footers, which absorb detrimental vibrations and dissipate the absorbed energy as heat. We might put the component on a Neuance, BDR or some other shelf with appropriate energy dissipation properties. Again, gravity acting on the mass of the component does the coupling. We may seek to use cones or weights to increase the coupling of the component to the shelf, but then we have to be careful about the vibrational qualities of those items that we've introduced into the system. We might couple our components to a heavy, sand-filled rack or rack with suspension system, depending on the rack itself to serve the absorption and isolation functions.
As an extreme, we could mass load and clamp our component to a rack whose legs are sunk into a concrete piling buried deep into the ground, in an attempt to make our vibration control system really huge and use the earth itself as the sink. If we chose our materials right, this should have benefits -- certainly floor-borne vibrations would be eliminated -- but I don't know how much of a problem ground-borne vibrations would be. I would bet that you would experience a net gain, but anyway, that is getting a little impractical.
I really am unconvinced that any commercial equipment rack relies on the principal of coupling the component to the ground for its success. Such a rack would be way too specialized. It might work on a concrete pad, for example, but, as Fiddler has said, how could this rack be effective for audiophiles that had their systems on any floor but the ground floor or basement?
In Audiogon discussions, we've come to associate Sistrum equipment with the claim of "draining vibrations to the ground". But Robert of Starsound has posted that, by design, Sistrum racks vibrate like crazy, and he described the shelves of the racks as "rattle traps". To me, this sounds like a rack that derives it's effectiveness from materials and design that allow the rack to dissipate absorbed energy at frequencies too high to significantly affect the propagation of the audio signal. This is a strategy that is used by makers of rigid, lightweight equipment.
I'm not a person with any special technical expertise, but I do try to understand things in a practical, hype-free way. Please feel free to comment on my analysis.
My real point is that enjoying high fidelity sound really is a more complicated task than can be accomplished by following dogmas like "only use coupling" and "only use isolation". Coupling vs. isolation is a false dichotomy. I've done some but not a huge amount of experimentation with vibration control. I know it makes a significant difference, but I hope anyone just starting out will not be intimidated from experimenting with different approaches, including -- horrors! -- mixing so-called coupling devices with so-called absorption devices. As is the case with many other aspects of hifi discussed on this site, simple, universal formulas about hifi make for good debates and marketing pitches, but relying on them to build your system is a fool's errand.
Tvad, not sure what speakers you have and how much they weigh.
My speakers weigh 110 lbs. apiece with most of the weight concentrated on the front. The drivers and especially the 50 lb. ribbon right on the front make them extremely front loaded. I simply placed the Vibrapods accordingly based on the proportional weight of my speakers.
The grout line in the middle is not a concern of mine since 3/4 of the weight is centered right in the front of my speakers and consequently away from the center of the tiles.
I think you would be in great shape to simply distribute the appropriate rated Vibrapods according to the weight distribution of your speakers. I doubt your speakers will be as heavily weighted toward the front as mine so placing a couple of Vibrapods under the seam would probably work beautifully.
One suggestion. For stability purposes, I would use more Vibrapods than less. For instance: on a one hundred pound speaker you could use four #5 pods distributed accordingly or ten #3 pods. The ten pods would support the equivalent weight of the four pods, but the weight would be distributed more evenly.
BTW, the floor sliders are 3/16 of an inch, the pods are 9/16 of an inch and the Travertine is 1/2 thick. Total for the sandwich, 1 3/4 inches. Not really that much.
Fiddler thanks for the nice try the open mind! There may be again, a second round. In the mean time listen and enjoy..Tom
Jayboard the whole approach is to not impede the flow but to allow the flow to happen more easily. If you add a point or mass to the top of a component you will disrupt the speed and have multiple points of exit..none being more coherent or efficient than the ones down below as when coupling with Audiopoints or Sistrum ..Tom
Jayboard, I don't mean any offense but I disagree with just about everything you've said above. Perhaps you've already indicated this in your post above, but upon a careful read of that post, you seem to indicate that you have experimented with and know perhaps as much about vibration control as some to many of the rest of us in this thread. Maybe less.
Nevertheless, you espouse your position with such eloquence and sense of authority, I wish I had your writing skills.
Stehno, I'm sure I'm in the vast middle ground in terms of experience fooling around with different vibration control techniques. I don't claim special authority on this topic. If my post came off that way, it's only because I want to be specific enough about my point of view so that people who want to argue it can be specific, too. That gets the discussion a little farther along, I think.
I am suspicious of pure doctrines in hifi, especially those that take the form of "this approach is the best for every situation." Things usually are way more complicated than that. That's why I try to critique "isolation v. coupling" as a useful dichotomy. I prefer to take a systems approach in looking at what we're doing when we try to control vibration.
My main beef (at least if you ask me today) is the implied assertion by the Pure Coupling camp that mechanical energy behaves the same way as electrical energy, that earth is always at zero potential with respect to vibration of objects upon the earth, so coupling to it is naturally the best solution for vibration control. This sounds nice, but is there any basis for this assertion? (Whether coupling to earth is practically achievable, given wood floors, etc., is a whole 'nother question.)
This is a little off track, but I somewhat misquoted Starsound's Robert in my post, and I'd like to correct that. He said "The Sistrum Platform...vibrates continuously and simultaneously...The Sistrum Platform is also the noisiest platform in the world...Our noisy 'rattle triangle' vibrates creating a multitude of frequencies...well above as well as well below that of our human hearing." How is this draining vibrations to earth?
Thanks for your comments -- absolutely no offense taken.
In the interest to those who offered me assistance in this thread, I emailed Robert Maicks at Star Sound Technologies and explained my results with Audiopoints.
Robert emailed me back and generously offered to refund my purchase upon return of the product. He said, "I have been following the active thread on Audiogon as I would like to determine as to why our product has produced a minimal effect within your environment."
In my email to Robert I stated that I would take the loss on the Audiopoints coupling discs since the spikes had scarred them during setup. He replied, "We will take back all products, regardless of condition as there is no reason for you to lose any financial investment. We truly do stand behind our satisfaction guarantees."
Furthermore, Robert asked if I would provide additional feedback about my equipment in an effort to better understand what may have caused the performance issues. He also genuinely expressed an interest in trying to help address my problem in the future if he arrives at any solutions.
I must say I have been impressed with Star Sound Technologies committment to customer satisfaction, the manner in which Robert communicated with me and his desire for information to continually improve his product and to possibly help my situation.
Until I do a major upgrade of my system next year, I am extremely satisfied with the results that I have acheived recently with decoupling. However, when I do ultimately upgrade my system, I have committed to myself that I will re-visit Star Sound Technologies products. Robert earned both my respect and my willingness to do business with his company again.
Unfortunately, my results with Audiopoints were not what I had hoped for, but one couldn't ask for a better consumer experience, audio related or not.
Once again thanks to those that offered me feedback and help in addressing my vibration issues.
My experience with the Stillpoints was limited to borrowing 1 set of 3 points and stands. After hearing rave results from a few people I was looking forward to hearing what they did for me. Under my Cd rotiserie they did nothing...... I tried 1 set under one speaker and heard a difference , but without 2 sets it was an invalid test. The CD player had me baffeled as supposedly everyone at the demo heard a big differrence. (One listener bought 4 sets 1 each for his new sound labs and 2 sets for his Wolcotts) Long story short I experimented with pads, marbles, silly putty, cups, and wooden discs. All of these were tried under my player. I was amazed at the different sound I could get from different arrangments. The silly putty won out. For my speakers I needed a littler height so I killed 2 birds by using 90 mm Bocce balls modified with a 9mm Stud. My floor is not level and as such the speakers would rock on there bases. My balls allowed a "coupling" effect with no floor dammage a leveling means an and a height increase I needed. Check my system for pictures. Regaurding the Stillpoints......In my application they obviosly didnt alter the coupling from the stock feet, hence no sound difference. On the websight they offer a good explanation of there design, very nice design theory. The question comes in when reading the description of how they function combined with the weight bearing capabilities.
"The weight of the component expands the second tier of balls, forcing them into the petals. The petals flex and counter the vibration, thereby absorbing it."
"Weight Capacity: 300 lbs per set of 3
(100 lbs per Stillpoint/Riser)"
Seems likely that my light weight player never "expanded" the petals therefore did not realize any benefit of decoupling.
BTW I do not doubt others spectacular results. Your results may vary.
My suggestion is to experiment with low cost solutions. Detimine which results in the best sound then purchase a purpose built device which most closely emulates what your experimentations dictate you need in your system.
I have had both the latest Stillpoints with risers and the Audiopoints Sistrum SP-1 platform in my system recently. It seems more valid to do this comparison as both products sell for about the same price.
I found the Stillpoints to be a nice improvement. They brought more clarity and focus to the music, and I heard individual instruments better. I originally used the Stillpoints with a Berning ZH270 amp and I found them to perform as advertised.
The Sistrum SP-1 platform made a much bigger difference in my system. It gave me more of everything! I heard more detail, space, depth and width, and I had a window in to the music that I hadn't heard before.
The differences between the products were the same for both my Simaudio I3 integrated, and my transport and dac. For whatever reason, I find that my Berning amp sounds best on (dare I say it) an 80 pound lead platform, but the Sistrum bettered both the lead and the Stillpoints on all other components.
I tried both the Stillpoints and Sistrum on several components and, other than on the Berning, my results were the same. The Stillpoints offered some improvement, but the Sistrum took that improvement to another level. YMMV
good to hear someone else has seen the light. Thanks for the followup feeback...
High priest, Jayboard's rap is plain common sense!
Jayboard's analysis is refreshing in it's common sense approach. Fortunately for all of us, the manufacturers of vibration control products almost universally offer money back guarantees. So, the policy of trying the magic in one's own system is, as always, the best. I personally don't care how something works. All I care about is if it makes an improvement in the sound of my system. I'm looking forward to hearing the Sistrum/Audiopoints and Neuance products in my system very soon.
Sistrum has plenty of white paper on their website explaining the how and whys. They are going to be at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, coming up. Plenty of audiophools will get a chance to check them out. Wait 'til their speakers get the press they deserve. I'm itching, cause I know what those audiophools at the show, are going to hear in Starsound's showroom. 'twil be grand...peace, warren
warren, I'm not sure there is one light to see. I'm with Jayboard when he says he is suspicious of pure doctrine in hifi. Every system, and every set of ears are different. I know some people have returned the Audiopoints because they don't work for them. The best thing to do is to try several of these kinds of products with a return option.
Frankly, I was hesitant to try the Sistrums because I'm uncomfortable with the way some of
Lak has both Audiopoints and Stillpoints. We tried the Stillpoints against Goldmund cones and the Goldmund's were better. Audiopoints are cost effective--and I have a couple sets--but they do fall short if top performance is the goal. I would not use them in my most critical applications. The Stillpoints are very expensive when compared to what a simple DIY project can achieve. The Goldmund cones adhere to the principle of using a vibration sink. My experience is in agreement with Jayboard's. The vibration sink is necessary for best results. My system relies heavily on non resonant, Caribbean Moca wood as a vibration sink.
I'm not sure it's fair to compare Stillpoints to Audiopoints because of the cost difference. The Sistrum SP-1, made by Audiopoints, is about the same price as the Stillpoints. The Stillpoints provided some improvement, but the SP-1 was clearly better in my system. I think it's best to experiment with each component and vibration product.
A Sistrum dealer contacted me after my post about still using a lead platform under my Berning amp. He suggested Sistrum discs under the amp, and that I need to give it 4 to 7 days to work. I don't know about that, maybe I'll try that sometime, but right now a lead platform works best under that specific component. I don't need to understand all the science, I try it in the system and if it sounds better it stays, but I'm convinced that no one product works best in every situation.
The Sistrum SP-1 is a remarkable piece of engineering. The six points work with the metal bracketing structure(I don't know what they call it) to work as a total resonance transferrence device. I have 4 SP-1s. Originally I(first experience with Audiopoints) had my electronics on the typical Audiopoint triad. As good as they were, moving up to the SP-1s provided a more profound change.
Tom, theaudiotweak, came over today and brought some discs to use between the Sistrums and my wood shelf. He said it would make a big difference and it did. I have used the discs between the components and the Sistrum so not to scratch the gear, but I didn't think discs under the SP-1s would matter much. Tom said it would make a big difference on a wood shelf for several reasons that went over my head--all I care about is does it sound better.
I must admit the music was mor focused withbetter bass. It's hard to imagine that a few little discs could make the system sound better but it did allow me to hear more in to the music.
Again, one size fits all doesn't work, but I would strongly recommend trying these in your system, and, one of these days I might try the Sistrums and discs under my Berning and see what happens.
84...did Tom give you some Koolaid beforehand...wink...wink...
I'm sure looking forward to hearing what some of the vibration control products will sound like in my system.
Actually Grant it was purple microdot..Tom
Using the discs is not a daylight and dark difference, but there is a difference. If you can squeeze out a little more detail and clarity for less than the cost of going to a good restaurant, it's an upgrade worth doing.
I'm the guy who always makes fun of these kind of tweaks, and in a few days I will take the discs out and see if I hear a difference. Maybe it was the power of suggestion or it was what I wanted to hear and I got caught up in the excitement, or maybe I heard what I heard. I'll repeat the process later in the week and let you know.