Thoughts on vibration elimination...

A couple of months back I was experienceing a rather nasty vibration situation in my room which involved my turntable, a wall mount stand, and, I think, my subwoofer system. The problem was reasonably effectively addressed by constructing a floor mounted stand from MDF, PVC plumbing fittings, and tennis balls.

I'm wondering if it wouldn't be a half bad idea to try and isolate my power amps as well, since they are presently sitting on the floor and they have tubes in them. My question is: Do vibration dampening materials tend to be component specific, or environment specific? In other words, because of the size of the room (15' x 14'), and the nature of the construction (basement, concrete floor with, studs and drywall on the walls), will the MDF/PVC/tennis ball contraption work yet again, or do power amps require a different solution based on the nature of their construction/operation.

Any help or opinions greatly appreciated!
Isolating your amps would be a good idea. Tubes amps in particular are susceptible to microphony which can have a rather negative affect on the sound quality. There are different schools of thought regarding the best solution, but your homemeade contraption will most likely be adequate. Nice system BTW.
There really is no such thing as "vibration elimination" in an audio system.

There are various methods of trying to control the unwanted vibrations, or reduce the audibly harmful effects of the vibrations.

Nearly every little part in an audio system vibrates in some way or other, as part of its normal operation, even if the vibrations are very very small. These are things that comprise the equipment itself, and then we have the other vibrations that are a result of playing the equipment in the room.

Obviously, we don't want to eliminate all vibrations, or the system would not operate. Just imagine if all vibrations were "eliminated" from your speaker radiators. There would be no sound. So, what we are trying to do is remove the negative sounding effects of unwanted vibrations affecting our playback system.

There are various methods used by audiophiles to do this job, and they have various levels of effectiveness.

Both typically accepted methods - damping is one, and transfer is the other, have certain results of achieving the desired goal. Neither is perfect.

If you decide to use damping, then the method of damping and the amount of damping material used must be capable of performing the task at hand. The material must be able to absorb and internally damp the vibrational energy without reflecting it back into the component, and it must be placed in areas of best effect.

If you decide to use energy transfer(which provides a path for vibrational energy to exit the components, to be damped at another location, like the ground) then the items used to create this exit path must be capable of properly coupling to the components and able to provide a rapid enough route for them to follow to the destination, without causing the vibrations to be reflected back into the components.

Both of these methods require that a well-engineered and executed application be used for best results. While any method(such as tennis balls or rubber feet) may/will have some effect, it is totally unpredictable how they will actually perform in any given application.

If you use an engineered product which is known to work from historical and scientific background, and has models which can be shown to work in a similar application to the one you want, then you have the best chance of success. If you DIY from ad-hoc materials at hand, then you'll need to do some study to find out how much these things can handle, and what their expected results should be. Or you can just "play around" with stuff to see what you like.

In many cases, it actually winds up being cheaper and better to use something that a company has spent the time, research, testing, and consumer acceptance, in the first place to find out it works, than it might be to buy tons of stuff experimenting with it. But some find it to be a fun pastime to experiment with things.

Whichever method you choose, try to be careful to employ the items in a well-thought out manner, so that the technology that you use at least have a chance to give you good results. For example, putting an Audiopoint on top of a rubber block is not a good idea, if you want the Audiopoint to do what it is designed to do.

Whether you prefer the sound of one method or other, depends alot on your listening tastes, and the sounds of the things in your system. Not all things that can be used for either of these methods are created equal, either.

In point of fact, both the "damping" and "transfer" methods actually employ both technologies in one form or other, to work as intended. In any "damping" system, there is by necessity, some transfer of the vibrations to the areas which have the damping materials. This may be a short section of the component chassis, or whatever. So, there actually is some "transfer" in all damping systems. In "transfer" systems, the energy is transferred rapidly to another location, where it is naturally "damped" by the large masses of the house/building/ground. So, there is "damping" occurring in all "transfer" systems too. The main factors here, are where the damping is occurring, how much damping occurs locally or elsewhere, whether overload is occurring (because of too-slow of a tranfer ability in the case of transfer systems, or not enough damping ability in the case of damping systems) and how these results affect the purity of the musical presentation. Since local damping can affect the listening vibrations that we want to hear, we must also be careful to not "over-damp", and thus affect the musical presentation.

Disclaimer: I work for Starsound Technologies, maker of Audiopoints and Sistrum Platforms, and our company stands firmly in the Resonance Energy Transfer camp of ideologies regarding vibrational control in audio/video systems.

Okay, so effective vibration dissipation is what we're after here. See, I'm learning already!

Actually, I am aware of your affiliation with Starsound and was hoping that you would jump in here. Another question if I may - do the sistrum platforms take into account the type of component to be placed on it? In other words, is the design/construction of an amplifier stand appreciably different than that of a stand that you would place a turntable on?
Esoxhntr, the differences in the Sistrum platforms is related to the size of the component(or speaker) and the expected weight of the component(or speaker) and the expected vibrational energy present in the component(or speaker).

In reality, the Sistrum platforms will do their job to the maximum capability present in the design, no matter what is placed upon them. They will work well under source components(such as a CD player or turntable), or preamps, or amps, or speakers, interchangeably. This is because they are engineered to effectively transfer vibrational energies from whatever sits on them, to the floor below. They will do this job, whatever sits on them. The different sizes of Sistrum platforms, and different sizes of Audiopoints, relates to the maximum level of transfer that they can achieve before overload. The Audiopoints are the "entry level" product, doing extremely well at the price range. However, the Sistrum Platforms are designed to be the "next step up" in performance, and any Sistrum Platform will exceed any application of just Audiopoints alone. You'll notice that Audiopoints are used with the Sistrum Platforms to achieve the contact points on top and bottom. This is because the Sistrum Platform was an evolutionary design that started off of the desire to improve the basic technology of the Audiopoint to a level beyond what the basic Audiopoints were capable of. And there are 4 types of Sistrum platform which comprise levels of quality of performance in the range.

The larger Sistrum Platforms can transfer more vibrational energy without overload, but in some cases it is not needed to go to the largest platform to achieve the needed result. If you are not overloading the smaller platform, there is no need to use a bigger one. Also, the bigger ones place the component(or speaker) higher off the ground, which may or may not be desireable.

In all our systems, it is necessary to have no intervening items between the component, our points or platforms, and the floor. Any dampening layers or other kinds of shelves, etc, will have some negating effects on the performance of our engineered designs. In some cases the effects are minimal, and don't cause much difference, but in some cases the performance of our products is defeated entirely, depending on what is being used as an intervening layer. Our products are designed to work as an engineered system, and if things are introduced into the system which we had no control over, we cannot guarantee the correct results.

So yes, you can try a platform under various components in your system, to see which place makes the best impact on your sound quality. Obviously, we recommend their use under all the components for best results, but often we find users try one at a time, and then add some more as they find out how well they work.
Hi Twl,

I'm enjoying your articulate responses, and learning quite a bit. Question: what about the isolation devises like aurios and other roller bearing designs?

Two other options to consider: Neuance platform from Greater Ranges, and Symposium Rollerblocks. Both are available with money back return policies. In my experience, the Symposium Rollerblocks are easier to use than the Aurios 1.2, but I don't have experience with Aurios Pro. In my particular application, the Neuance shelf works better than Audiopoints or a Sistrum platform.

As always your experience may be different.

Rlxl, all the forms of feet and vibration control devices have their own levels of efficiency and sonic effects. Roller blocks typically are items which perform as a transfer device in the vertical plane, and a dissipator in the horizontal plane.

As Tvad mentions above, each person's preference and the makeup of their system can influence what they like best.

As a manufacturer's representative for Starsound, it would probably be in bad taste for me to make any comments about other manufacturer's products except to say that those ones you mentioned seem to be fairly popular on the market.
Buy "Vibrapods"...agreeing with the weight of your equipment!

Superb sound with my vintage Technics DD SL-120 table!

Good Luck!