The Websters provides more information, at least if you place it where you can view it :^)
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The main differences between the book and the VPI are contact area, weight and magnetic effect.
The Dictionary is paper so it is fairly non resonate, contacts a larger area than the VPI and has no effect magnetically.
Inside the VPI brick are stacks of steel plate that appear to be metal shop scrap. These steel plates have mass, but also are magnetic and disrupt electrical field. This is good or bad depending on who you want to believe.
My personal tests find the VPI to be the worst solution for the highest price. Better effect may be had with a plastic box full of lead shot or sand. With the home made version you get mass without magnetic disruption.
Anything as large as a book could block air vents. Probably more an issue for tube amps than your CD player. You should give it a try and report back with results.
I have the VPI bricks and the best part about them is giving them to a friend seeing the system for the first time. Watching them almost drop the small brick because of its weight is worth owning them. Watching the expression when explaining the brick's function is also funny...usually one of "you're kidding me, right?" I've tried it on transformers and not and can't tell the difference. But you be the judge.
Thanks, Sugurbrie. You always seem to have a thoughtful comment! As for now, I'm going w/ Websters. Seems to be the more definitive choice. It dampens all vibrations pretty well for my Cary 308 CDP, and I will aver that the VPI Magic Brick is simply another exemple of audiophile B.S. (Bovine Scatology). If anyone wants to prove me wrong, send me a Magic Brick. If it really, truly works better, I'll pay you the new, retail price; if it doesn't, I'll send it back to you. Any takers?
I owned a preamp for many years that actually recommended the VPI Brick right in the owners manual. It even told where exactly to place it. It did quiet things slightly. This preamp has a built phono stage, so along with the power supply there was a lot going on inside.
I have gone the cheap route with some gear (bag of sand or lead shot).
I have read reviews elsewhere and seen people here claim the Shun Mook Mpingo (wood) discs work.....seems incredible if true since they are not very heavy and apparantly somehow "tune" vibrations. (of course they are not cheap!)
I do use some cheap Mapleshade Heavy Hats which are brass discs in two sizes you place on top of gear to control vibration, the benefits if any seem to be small.
In general I don't see much mass loading of gear used now, since there are many advanced vibration management
systems.......Aurios, Sistrum etc. which seem to be very effective.
To answer your specific question I would use neither of the two objects you are inquiring about.
I bought one VPI brick in 1988. Still have it, used it on everything that I could, and frankly never found a dfference good OR bad in the sound. It is useful for adding mass to the top of a CDP, and looks nicer than some things you could use. My advise would be to make your own box out of your favorite hardwood and fill it with lead shot or a mix of lead and sandbox sand (I say sandbox sand because it is supposed to be "sanitzed"). You'll have the same thing and will have saved yourself about 70.00, save the Websters for reading while you're listening.
I recently had a McCormack DNA-0.5 amp up-graded to Gold Revision by SMc, and during the up-grade process discussed vibration control w/ Steve McCormack. Steve recommended the "Shakti Stone" placed on top of the amp over the transformer-- or better yet placed directly on top of the transformer. I haven't tried this yet-- those things are sort of expensive-- but eventually I will. Anyone tried the Shakti Stones?
Right now I use a pair of 10 lb. lead deep sea fishing weights sitting on boards on top of the amp (to spread the weight more)-- can't actually tell if this helped sonics any but it added 20 lbs. of mass. I have the amp sitting on a 2 1/4" thick Boos Maple cutting board-- a very nice improvement. The maple board sits on cork/rubber footers by A'Gon member Rcreations. This was an excellent combo for this amp. Cheers. Craig
I have two Sunfire subwoofers stacked. They are not magnetically shielded, and I have been concerned about magnetic interaction in stacked configuration. Putting some steel in between the subs would make sense theoretically, to channel the fields and minimize field leakage into adjacent subs. I chose VPI Magic Bricks for this. Of course, there are less expensive alternatives.
Depending upon the desire for mass loading or absorbtion of interfering magnetic fields, either device may have its' place. These are two separate issues. The VPI may combine the effects, but is apparently technically challenged in the EMI absorbtion area.
Although I've not experimented with it very much, my limited experiences with mass loading found it to not be very effective, but that's for ME & will not necessarily reflect upon your own performance if you should decide to try it. You probably should; it's certainly easy enough to do so.
Regarding Craig's question (and thanks Craig for your maple board + IsoBlock report) I do use one Shakti Stone presently. I had it on a CDP & couldn't actually hear that it did anything there. When I moved it to atop of my Synergistic Master Control Center, it expanded the stage significantly. Placed it on the case directly above the transformer, which is centered front to rear & about 3" from the left side of the case. Simply unscrew the top of your MCC & you'll see the transformer so you'll know where to set the Shakti once you put the cover back on. I never thought about putting it inside, but that might be even more beneficial with the appropriate cautionary measures applied of course.