WHAT HAS WORKED FOR YOU? ISOLATION PLATFORMS, FOOTERS, ETC. for a DAC?


What is reasonable to expect in SQ gain with respect to a DAC, since there are no actively moving parts?

Footers only? Platforms only? Or is a combination of both best?

Keeping this open ended (as well as budget wise) to see what Audiogon Members recommend and advise.

However, thoughts on Gains v.s. Spend with the specific products you are recommending are welcome and will be very helpful.

The only footers I have used in the past are those from Herbie's Audio Lab.  I have used two different 'audio' racks (which have been dismantled) and I am using their shelves as isolation platforms for my speakers and other components (but not the DACs).

The DACs in use are a Schiit Yggdrasil and an Exogal Comet Plus. The stock rubber footers with the Yggdrasil are as basic as they come; The Comet has an acrylic plate with rounded metal screws.

THANK YOU!
david_ten
Room acoustics matter a lot more.

Decent AC conditioner from Furman with LiFT and SMP or PS Audio.  Keep wall warts / lights out of your AC environment.

If USB/PC based, consider USB isolator.
Cables and power cords have no moving parts, either. Nevertheless....
Erik, Thank you.

I'm working on the room.

I do have a power supply.

Have remaining few wall warts off a Shunyata PS8, and am using a LPS where possible.

USB 'Isolation, regeneration, etc' is via a Sonore microRendu w/ Ultracap LPS. 

Geoff, Thank you. I have moved forward with upgraded cabling with very good results.

It appears that both of you are saying that 'isolation solutions' with regards to a DAC isn't that important. Is that correct?









I'm not saying that at all. Everything should be isolated, power supplies, line conditioners, DACs, etc.
Personally, I think that too many audiophiles knee jerk into believing they must put something under their components to isolate them from whatever,  In the case of my Ear Acute, I preferred the sound of it sitting on it's own feet to any isolation device(s) I tried, including the Reimyo wooden gizmos, which were quite expensive.  I think, in general, footers can "clean up" the sound, which is great if you are experiencing a tubby bottom end to where baritone voices are too chesty or whatever.  But from everything I read around here, far more people believe their systems are too lean and harsh, rather than too full and warm.  So all I'm saying is, try it on it's own feet  and  don't be afraid to say you prefer the sound to that of it sitting on cones or pillows or whatever.  Only your ears can judge this.  Trust them, at least a little bit.  
My answer would be in five parts -- based on extensive experience with two DCS stacks (Paganini, and Vivaldi)

Step one get that DAC on a stand pronto, has to be off the floor -- and never never stack the DAC on top of any other component (even another part of the manufacturer's own kit such as the DCS components)

Secondly improve the power cord to the DAC

Thirdly explore footers, I use Marigo Extreme F8 (expensive) -- the location of the footers on the DAC will have a large impact. In comparison with the stock footers (which are multipart squishy stuff and metal) the constrained multi-layer Marigo's sound much more relaxed, open and less congested -- not at all "lean". I also have had good results from bearing based isolating footers so you could experiment with these -- unfortunately as all will sound different the best thing to do is to get someone (like Ron at Marigo) who will loan you a selection and let you try them out

Fourthly consider placing a Shakti stone on top of the DAC over the transformer area

And finally look into the shelf itself -- I  still have the stock perspex GPA shelves under my digital components however they have been treated with Marigo damping discs
do you have a linear power supply, or switching?

Eric is steering you in the right direction - electrical isolation, ground loops and room acoustics will be far more important than acoustic effects on an electronic component

it is unlikely that a DAV would be affected by acoustic effects - easy to test by putting it in an isolation chamber or on a suspension
occasional substance abuse works very good for me.
In my opinion, everything should be able to function at its best. Which to me means that every component should operate as free as possible from vibration. Otherwise, you're listening to a component, plus the vibrations.

I try to address vibration with every component I have.
I put a bamboo cutting board between the carpet and my dac, and it did make a noticeable difference to the sound.
Definitely footers under the DAC. The cheap stock footers used by Schiit offer no isolation. Herbie's Tenderfeet will absorb and neutralize vibration. As stated above, placement of footers makes a difference.
Also, a damping weight on top helps when the unit utilizes a toroidal transformer, (I think the Yggy uses R-core transformers).
http://edensoundaudio.com/shop/category/damping-weights/

And totally agree to use an aftermarket power cord. And replace SMPS wall-warts. I've heard good things about IFI...
https://www.musicdirect.com/equipment/ifi-ipower-outboard-supply
@geoffkait : thanks for the clarification.

@chayro : Sage advice. And I do trust my ears. And more than a little bit. Your words put a smile on face...thanks.

@folkfreak : 1. all of my components are housed in an all wood Standout Designs cabinet. 2. I'm using Triode Wire Labs power cords. 3, 4, 5: Thanks for your thoughts. I will look into Marigo.

@randy-11: I'm using a HD Plex 100 Linear Power Supply and an Uptone Audio UltraCap LPS-1.  The Comet DAC, my Preamp, and my HeadAmp all have dedicated power supplies.

@czarivey : let's make that substance assistance...I don't want to get in trouble. :)  

@lordcloud : how do you address vibration with your components?

@respected_ent : Might also help with the cheese and crackers and charcuterie to go with @czarivey 's suggestive direction.

@lowrider57 : Thanks and agreed.  Also, I'm almost finished replacing the wall warts...router and ethernet port switch still need to be connected to something like the HD Plex. I'm beyond the iFi unit at this point.

digital components such as dacs will ’sing’ along with the music, which is heard as noise and distortion. you can mass load your gear and change the frequency of the feedback noise, or you can decouple your gear and eliminate some or almost all of that noise/distortion. so much of what we hear as a digital signature is related to all the devices being affected by resonance. so this issue is a big deal.

stock footers are notorious for enabling feedback as they are an afterthought to the design.

the ultimate resonance control is ’active’ isolation; such as the Herzan TS-150.

http//www.herzan.com/products/active-vibration-control/ts-series.html

active isolation is 500x stiffer than any passive device such as a footer or shelf.....since it can stop and start. passive devices settle and float and overshoot. active devices do need a solid rack to be optimized, and soft floor or rack will compromise an ’active’ device. you have not heard what your gear can do until you’ve heard it on a properly installed active device.

I use 2 active shelves in my system.

but; active is expensive and more costly than your dac, so the next step is passive de-coupling footers. my favorite is the Wave Kinetics A10 U8’s which i use throughout my system.

http//wavekinetics.com/products/a10-u8/

a great thing about the A10 U8’s is that they do not change tonality, and don’t have that ’metallic/hard’ type sound that some footers impose on your tonal balance.

good luck with your dac.

ok, looking at your components, you may want to try Uptone’s ISO REGEN (sold out until July). Call them for advice on acoustic isolation (tho I think you’ll find them tell you to do other things).

A Comet Plus might help if the power supply is not already at that level.

If you do buy any acoustic things for the DAC or other items (not containing tubes) then only buy with a return privilege and do blind testing to be sure they are really helping.

Your best bet (assuming high end speakers) would be to search out the very best source material re mastering & recording. If you have already spend $35,000 or more on speakers, have done all room treatments, then you are running out of things to do.
@mikelavigne : Fascinating. I had no idea there were products available like the Herzan TS-150. It's a very interesting site. Thanks for bring this up and I'm really looking forward to reading about their technology and applications. I also took a quick look at the Wave Kinetics site and will revisit it as well. Thank you!
Following up on Mike's suggestion I can also strongly recommend  the Herzan products. Probably the best place to start with them is under turntables or Transports. I have my Turntable on a TS-150. They are very expensive however so I think you can experiment with other solutions first. 
Heavy brass footers into heavy wood platforms under my amps.  This is too much for a small piece and you can overdamp, as some have pointed out. It smothers the sound. If you use tubes, like I do, damping is important and more of a necessity.
@randy-11: I've been on the Uptone bandwagon for some time now and was in the first wave for the Iso-Regen. I haven't brought it in-system yet...too many changes going on at present...I want the system to be fully stable before I test the Iso-Regen in the chain and where in the chain it might be useful.

If you re-read my original post, I do have the Comet Plus. Thanks.

Get some Herbies isolation feet and try it they are inexpencive and worth the money.

http://herbiesaudiolab.net/index.htm

i mean $14 each get three and try it not alot of money waisted if you don’t like them and that will eliminat a majority of this type of isolation systems out there regardless of how other companies dress them up and charge more.

thier record mat is fantastic by the way

One of my fav DIY isolation projects is bungee cords suspended from an aluminum frame (it could be a wood frame, too). By angling the bungee cords - one to each corner of a maple plate - you can effectively isolate in almost all 6 directions of interest. I built one of these babies for a DVD player but it could be for just about anything. Select the stiffness of the bungee cords based on the load. I got my aluminum frame at a junk metal place. Easy as pie.

Hey Geoff, as a ceiling is no more free from seismic vibration than is a wooden floor, what about this?: Build a structure that sits on the floor (like the frame of a children's swing set, except with two parallel top rods or beams), from which a shelf is suspended on bungee cords, the turntable sitting on the shelf. I realize the cords should be as "soft" as possible, for the lowest resonant frequency and therefore greatest isolation. I don't think I want to drill holes in my ceiling for eyebolts, hoping to hit a 2 X 6 behind the sheetrock!
Bdp24, that’s an outstanding idea! It’s also what I just described. 😬 The aluminum or wood frame is a 3’ X 3’ open cube. Place the frame on Super DH Cones of course.

I have a relatively heavy DAC that is very sensitive to treatment (Ayazi) and after extensive testing with cones, stillpoints, etc, I finally ended up with 2 magnetic levitation (maglev) & one alu cone. The one maglev is under the transformer, the other more or less balances the chassis & the cone keeps it from tipping. Results: clarity and dynamics, especially clarity.

Please note that my rack has suspended shelves as detailed above and the shelves are Neuance.
Good luck!


@bdp24 an elegant implementation of the type of idea you are describing is the range of shelves and stands from Pro Audio Bono in Poland which use a patented string suspension. I like how they use guitar tuners to adjust the tension
http://proaudiobono.pl/?page_id=1204&lang=en

The top of line GPA Silverstone also suspends each shelf on a 10Hz resonant frequency mechanism
https://www.grandprixaudio.com/products/silverstone-series
https://www.anvilturntables.com/turntable
My footers are very effective isolators, fully adjustable and unique. They never promote a lean hard sound, and tend to add fullness weight and clarity. 
Thanks to everyone for your thoughts on the subject and your recommendations.

I’m still looking at options. Some that I believe have not been mentioned in this thread are:

- DH Cones/Golden Sound
- Daedalus
- IsoAcoustics
- Synergistic Research MiGs
- EdenSound (thanks, @lowrider57)
- Symposium
- Gregitek
- Alto-Extremo

Any experience with the above products, and if so, your impressions / recommendations?



@13blm: Thank you. I did come across the Anvil footers and they are on the list!

I had Great results with these...

 

http://www.starsoundtechnologies.com/liveVibe.php

@firedrums   I have recommended Star Sound Technologies for speaker isolation...and had forgotten about their platforms for components. Thanks for the reminder!
Read about these on Computeraudiophile.com and bought a bunch. A black Sharpie will color in the blue.
https://www.amazon.com/DiversiTech-MP2-E-E-V-Anti-Vibration-Pack/dp/B01KAFG9OK/ref=sr_1_9?s=industri...;

I have good success with Symposium svelte shelf plus under almost anything. 

I can also vouch for Eden Sound.  Those are the heavy brass footers I use.  He is a pleasure to work with and accommodated my wants etc. in effect they were  custom made.

@john_g Thanks! Can you give me some details on how the pads you linked to have performed in your system?

@btw22 That's good to hear about the Symposium shelves. They are offering a discount on their roller-bearing products with their shelf units...do you have any experience with those?

@mechans  Great to hear that regarding the customer service and customization by Eden Sound. I recently considered a Backert Labs Preamp and Backert uses Eden Sound in their higher end configurations.
Hi again David. PM me if you get a chance. Thanks!
Bruce
When considering any footer or point of any material in the vibrational signal path ask yourself..

Self...Does the shape geometry I am looking at provide a path for the intended dissipated energy to escape and not return or reflect back into the footer or tip? 

Tom ....Star Sound Technologies


@david_ten
Yes, with the upgraded tungsten balls. Great under pre, CD players and transports. I'd actually forgotten about them. Used them many years ago, then sold my transport and preamp so I sold them also. 
I have had good results with the Symposium roller block jr's HDSE under my Modwright Marantz CD player.  Better soundstage and a general focus on the instruments.
I have found that every part of a system should be isolated from the floor, including transformers, speakers---everything--moving parts or not.  Maybe not the heaviest of speakers, but Maggies for sure--too delicate to not be affected by vibrations feeding back from the floor.  
The Vibraplane, although expensive, does an amazing job. It's been around for some 25 years now and if I'm not mistaken was what got this whole audio isolation thing started. The Vibraplane from what I've been told is used to isolate electron microscopes and I've heard they have been used in navy sub to isolate sensitive eauipment.
Another vibration isolation tweak for the financially strapped audiophile - a set of three or four Super Ball and Snaple bottle cap assemblies. The Super Balls are the 1" high bouncing colored balls found in bubble gum machines. But not the larger balls.


theaudiotweak
When considering any footer or point of any material in the vibrational signal path ask yourself..

Self...Does the shape geometry I am looking at provide a path for the intended dissipated energy to escape and not return or reflect back into the footer or tip?

Tom ....Star Sound Technologies

uh, Tom, are there ANY audio cones that AREN’T shaped like a cone with a tip pointed toward the bottom? The sky is blue. OH, wait! A spring is symmetrical. OMG! A Herbies footer is not pointed! Oh, no! Super Balls are not pointed! What?!
For a little better version of a roller bearing design than the Symposium (fine as it is), check out those of Ingress Engineering in Canada. Machined to Barry Diament’s specs. Cheaper too.
 I use the Alto Extremo"s, Lyd 1,s , Extremos, extensively thru out my system,

Dac
Pre amp
Amp
Speakers
Speakers stands 

 with great results in soundstage, imaging, space and air. Honestly I haven't tried the StillPoints" a little too pricey for me .
Herbie's Audio Lab products are quite reasonably priced, and a great value for the money. They have substantially improved the sound of my system.

I have 4 Tenderfeet each under my CD Transport, DAC, Pre and Amp. I have Little Fat Gliders under the spikes on my Pangea Vulcan rack (great rack, great price). I replaced the spikes on my speaker stands with Threaded Stud Gliders. Finally, I isolate my speakers from the stands with Square Fat Dots.

If you have tubes in your system, I also use, and highly recommend, their Tube Dampers.
@btw22  and @goose Thanks for the additional info on Symposium's tungsten balls/bearings and their roller blocks. 

@bdp24  Thank you for bringing Ingress Engineering to my attention. And yes, less expensive! Always a good thing. 

@tecknic Great to hear that you have had very positive results with the Alto Extremo line of products. 

@tommylion I'm using Herbie's Tenderfeet under some of my secondary components. Have been a fan of Herbie's products for quite some time and have used his tube dampers as well. Currently, I have his Giant Threaded Stud Gliders for my primary speakers and the Giant Gliders under the platforms supporting the speakers (a doubled up solution) to very good effect.
A general shout out of Thanks and Appreciation to all of you that have posted information in this thread. It has been very helpful and of great educational value to me. 

But I believe I've cracked open the proverbial box on this. : )

It's a good problem since it appears that there are a number of very good choices. But a difficult one in terms of trying to figure out which one or ones to go forward with.
Anticipate the long haul. Over the years, I’ve accumulated many of the above recommendations. They all work - differently. Vibrations are insidious - both macro & micro. Every once in a while, I will swap isolation devices under various components to see if my ’sonic tastes’ have changed. Especially, if a tube or cable was replaced. I can easily detect any change - for the better or worse. Probably, the constant has been Symposium shelves or Fat Padz or Point Pods. Above & below them, I’ll experiment with rollerblocks, tuneblocks, aurios, audio points, stillpoints, rubber mats, etc. Have fun!
@steakster  Sage advice. Thanks. 
In addition to clean electricity (think dedicated lines, good receptacles and power cords), room acoustics (think ASC Tube Traps and quadratic diffusors), footers are indispensable for addressing microphonics. I've tried Herbie's footers and they are okay. Better yet are those made by Bruce McDougall of anvilturntables.com. They look like hockey pucks and have a number of magnetic balls underneath. I use them under all of my components. I hear better bass, cleaner highs, and improved pace (I'm a drummer). Music sounds sluggish now without these footers.
Bruce McDougall of Anvil Turntables reached out a couple of days ago and I should have a set of his Anvil Footers early next week.

@tweaknkeep Thanks for sharing what’s worked for you. Now I’ll get to try the same. :)

As @steakster and others have pointed out, the journey begins!

I will update the thread as the Anvil Footers, and other products I’ll likely go forward with, come in system.


Another update, and a shout out to @bdp24  for bringing these to my attention.

I connected with Mike of Ingress Audio Engineering and will be getting a set of Level 2 and a set of Level 3 Rollerblocks in a few weeks.