I've used Vibrapods both under smaller speakers and under audio components, and I think that they work better under components. I tried using Vibrapods under a pair of Vandersteen 3A Signatures, and it resulted in "blurred" audio quality and loss of bass and dynamics. I returned to using the cones on the bottom of the SoundAnchor stands. Under components, however, the Vibrapods seem to work well.
I just today put vibrapods under my tube amp. There's a noticeable buzzing vibration when you put your hand on the base, from the transformers, I suppose. The pods should isolate that from the rack, and perhaps isolate the amp from any feedback (sympathetic vibration?) effect the vibes have on the rack.
I'm still trying to decide whether what seems to be a little smoother sound is really smearing detail.
For certain, vibrapods under the CDP resulted in greater fine detail.
I've always used cones under speakers and turntables, a no doubt improvement.
Kitch: Before I switched to the Neuance shelf (for the tube amp), I used the Pods under a Maple cutting board with the amp resting on the board on its stock feet. This helped to clear up the sound, maybe because I use a 6922 type input tube and they can be a little touchy. I did not try them directly under the amp due to the heat (hot chassis). I don't have the material, but have wondered what a thin sheet of Sorbothane (with holes for the pins) would sound like between the bottom of the tube base(s) and the tube socket(s). Pods under the Renaud Twins (when they were on light stands) increased the bass, but I have not tried them with the new heavy Target stands (which on their own with tack increased the bass quite a bit more than the previous combo). The Pods under my cheap power conditioners and sometimes under a heavy power cord (to isolate it from the shelf if it happens to rest on it) clears up the sound as well, though it's cheaper to suspend the PC's with cotton ribbon and it sounds just as good to me.
Why not use both? My favorite "sandwich": Component on top, Cones beneath component, Black Diamond (or your preferred shelf) beneath cones, Vibrapods below the shelf (pods are sitting on your rack). Tune by experimenting with various types of cones; also tune by moving the cones around 1" at a time. Farther apart for more detail, closer together for more warmth.
David- you want to talk cheap, I've got all my wires off the floor with bits of cardboard! Not that I hear any difference. But it's de rigeur.
I'm currently building a Foreplay pre-amp from Bottlehead (Electronic Tonalities). One of the big tweaks is to isolate the transformer from the chassis with rubber grommets. That requires a separate grounding scheme, however. Another is to cut a mirror image of the top plate out of keldamp to put underneath. I don't know about damping the tube pins although there must be some vibration inside them. Having installed tube sockets, I would say that there would be a better chance of isolating the sockets themselves as they are grounded in the wiring scheme and not by attachment as are RCA's and such.
I may try some more pods under the newly acquired Monster 2000.
I second Bob's point. For electronics, including cdp's, try cones under the component and isolation under the cones. The cones will "drain" vibration from the transformers or moving parts in the components and the isolation (vibrapods, pneumatic platforms) prevents vibration from the floor/rack from getting into to compoonent and signal path. With speakers, a rigid coupling to the floor is key. Spikes minimize the contact between the enclosure and the floor, reducing floor-borne vibration, and they prevent rocking or wobbling that can cause time smear from speakers sitting in the floor or on a compliant surface like sorbothane.
CJ of CJ's AudioVideo, my source for Vibrapods, has been trying to get me to try the sandwich thing with MDF. I was put off, though, because originally my flexi-rack had MDF and the system was unlistenable. The 1 1/2" thick maple shelves I use now are at least neutral. I suppose I'll have to donate, what, $150 to Caterham's used Lotus fund and get a Neuance shelf. What do you guys like for cones? Pierre Frey tried to sell me $125 set of his Mapleshade cones. As good as the speaker cables are, I don't know.
Kitch: I have the less expensive Mapleshade cones (Surefeet), but prefer the Neuance shelf (supported on upturned spikes) to the Pod/Maple/cone sandwich that I used to use on the CD player. The shelf is the same or less than the cost of a sandwich I could not use the brass cones under the tube amp as they stored too much heat from the chassis and reintroduced it back into the amp. I still use the Pods and cones on other stuff (since I have them and they are effective), but not on the source and amp in the living room setup which is my pride and joy. I was short on funds (even shorter now:-), so only re-shelved the top two shelves of the rack (the bottom two are still the stock MDF and this is where I still use Pods and cones) and would like to install a couple more of the Neuance shelves down the line. I also had better results with Maple platforms with the Pods and such than with MDF. I think that I will try the CDR dirctly on a Maple shelf with Pods under it, since you have had good results with the thick Maple. I just picked up a beauty (1 1/2" thick) at a thrift store for a buck. If not I can always use it in the kitchen. I think that Bob has more patience than I did with the Pods and cones as tuning them (moving them around) under the source drove me batty after a period of time.
Kitch, the Mapleshade Triplefeet definitely work better than their less expensive cones, which I also thought were good. Detail retrieval was improved high to low, and I preferred them to other cones and compliant feet including vpods under CDP and TT. Could be worth a trial. Compared to the Neuance shelf, which like Dekay I've ended up using, though, the cones produced a few "loose hairs" sticking out of the sonic coiffure in the highs. Keep meaning to try the Triplefeet and N shelf together but summer projects beckon.
I use both vibrapods and cones (tiptoes) in my system. Pods appear to work best under non-mechanical components (preamps, DAC's). Cones seem to work best on components with moving parts (speakers, turntables, CD transports). With power amps, I've had mixed results. Most of the time, amps seem to work best with cones in my system.
How about the artificial pumice stones suggested in www.tnt-audio.com?