Make sure you have a nice slab of hard Maple for a stand. I use a welded wood i.e. flat grain butcherblock but I understand that a well cured thick piece of solid wood is better. There is some debate over edge grain Vs flat grain but to my knowledge end grain is not the best. It is the easiest to find in thick pieces. My amps are on 3 " thick stands which themselves are footed with small comparitively speaking brass cones/spikes into discs.
Check out Mapleshade for ideas. The Edensound person here on the gon has some of the best prices for massive brass feet.
Personally I have used very a un-WAf like home brew memory foam pillow under my preamp with astonishingly good results. I was hoping to get a wood "sand box"and use dense closed cell memory foam layers alternating with layers of tungsten or steel coated lead shot with maybe some big heavy feet. Brass looks like gold because some places actually do electroplat the brass with gold quite the show.
The sound may get overdamped though which would not be so great. If that happens you know it everything becomes a dull thud.
Speedy metals on line says that small orders can be accomodated and I guess you can buy shaped rods of various alloys and have them fabricate what you want.
Having listened to many...I like Dead Ball isolators. The dealer I bought them from offers a money back guarantee.
I'm not sure about the audiophile stuff, but isolation in physics is a kind of decoupling, and the purpose is to absorb or cancel out vibrations. The ideal model for this is the spring and dashpot, the next best thing is a visco-elastic material. You need to have deflection in order to decouple; imagine a spring that "bounces" at the frequency of the vibration you want to isolate. On the other hand, if you apply pressure against a relatively hard/inert object, it absorbs none of the pressure, and actually transmits that to the other side. As an experiment, hold a brick and have someone push you, versus a pillow, and see which absorbs and deflects more pressure.
The same principle applies in audio. Rubbery visco-elastic materials, springs, dashpots, shock absorbers, hydraulics, tuned mass dampers, etc. are decoupling devices. Wood, brass, silver, metalic, and any hard surfaces, like compressed sand or shot, are coupling devices. Coupling devices will transmit vibrations from your equipment to the ground, and from the ground to your equipment. There's no such thing as having only one-way (Newton's law: for every action there's an equal reaction in the opposite direction).
I'll treat lightly, since I don't want to offend anyone, but there are a lot of ideas here that flies right in the face of science. For some no-nonsense literature, for one, go to sorbothane . com and read what they have to say, and they even have a nifty program where you plug in a couple parameters according to a formula, and figure out the ideal size isolation feet you need for the project (hint: depends largely on the weight, aim for the lowest frequency). Sorbothane manufactures a proprietary visco-elastic material that many of these other audiophile products source from.
Note: I have no affiliation with Sorbothane, but the program on its website really is just the easiest way to figure out the idea feet for your equipment
Funny how many approaches there are to coupling/decoupling/damping/etc. I personally hate sorbothane and firmly believe in Mapleshade's brass cone/maple platform (not butcher block)/Isoblock approach, but then I watched Pierre Sprey demonstrated the whole process before my very eyes (and ears) in my own system, so I know how well it works. Along the way I've also tried sand boxes, inflatable innertubes, bubble wrap (!), and dead balls (not bad at all), not to mention sorbothane (ugh). So, in all particulars, YMMV. Dave
Herbie's is a place to contact. Steve is very helpful. I use various isolation devices of his under different components including speakers and turntable.
When I had an Aesthetix Calipso Audioquest Sorbogel "Big Feet" worked the best in combination with the rack system (bad) I was using. I tried Mapleshade Heavyfeet(to bright), BDR #3 & #4 cones good but there were still vibrations (hash). A Calypso owner with a Salamander Synergy rack used AQ Big Feet in front and maple blocks in back until he tried a SRA platform that he felt outperformed all prior tweeks. Grand Prix Audio uses Sorbothane pads between the rack and shelf, Project TT's have sorbothane pads in the feet! I only use sorbothane under my EP15A's and Direct TV DVR presently.
There have been many reports of great success with maple, but it seems I may be the lone dissenter. I tried 2 1/2" cutting boards under my components and they were terrible. Depending on the component, they either sucked the life out of the music or everything became fat and bloated. If it works in your system, that's great - but in my system maple was an abysmal failure.
Marigo Mystery Feet.
It's a mystery!
Over the years I have used "seismic sinks", "brass points", "Aurios bearings", "stillpoints", and the latest Marigo "mystery feet". The "mystery feet" enhance the musical presentation better than all others. They are a must audition if looking for the ultimate in footers.
Sorry I was not clear. Whether a device subjectively improves upon your sound is up to experimentation. While maple blocks and such might physically "isolate" a component from ground, it does nothing to isolate vibrations (spikes are most efficient in -transmitting- vibrational frequencies by focusing all mass into 1 point... mass = weight / volume).
There are many devices that incorporate these principles, including Sorbothane, Sorbogel, Mapleshade's Isoblocks, and (my guess) maybe even the Marigo Mystery Feet. The point is to deflect vibrations as it is customizable to the weight of your components. Every isolation feet (size, material, etc.) has a different ideal load where it works to maximum efficiency.
I did not recommend Sorbothane for the Sorbothane material, but rather the science in plain English on their website, and most importantly (!), they have a program where you can plug in various numbers and it will show you the ideal shape and size if your goal was to isolate vibrational frequencies!
My hunch is that people who are dissatisfied with any of the decoupling technologies are using the wrong shape or size (once again, that depends on the load/weight of your components), as in theory, Isoblocks and Sorbothane should do exactly the same thing. And so using the program on Sorbothane's website, in theory, takes out the guesswork in figuring out which audiophile component best suits your equipment, since very rarely do any of them publish specifications.
I would encourage experimentation, since what subjectively sounds good to you is all that matters in the end, but it helps to get a working knowledge of how these things work.
I would add that the theoretical ideal is to lower the resonant frequency below 5Hz, so that it becomes inaudible, but some devices, for example, may purposefully tune the resonant frequency between 20-40Hz, which will produce an audible bass hump (improve bass, increase dynamics).
Rakuennow: Marigo provides a money-back home audition period. Perhaps you have the engineering talent to take one apart and let us know how they work!
Honestly it really depends on your rack and the floor of your listening room (shaking wood flood or cement slab) and how your electronics were tuned.
In my system in my room (cement floor) coupling equipment to the shelves (maple)with spikes and the ayre myrtle cubes works best.
My recommendation is to play with home brew things and narrow down what improves the sound to you and then go from there.
Bubble wrap or a memory foam pillow will test isolation and wood cubes or large metal nuts directly under the chassis will test coupling. I second Herbie's as a source for cheap things to try. A big ziplock with sand under a component is also a quick and easy tester for whether your rack it self is the problem.
Take your time as I have found that different footers more often produces a difference rather than an 'improvement'.
Rakuennow, can you give an example of how you use that Sorbothane program? Looks like you have to input the footer size and that is what I thought the output would be.
I have had great success with EdenSound Bearpaw brass cones and 2" Maple shelf .Also use a EAR Damping Pad between Bearpaw footers and equipment base...( Thor T1000 linestage ) ...
I've had excellent sucess with EquaRack products.
After having used Rollerblocks, Aurios (standard and Pro), Boston TuneBlocs, Sistrum platforms and Neuance shelves (one of which I still use), the product that produced clear results by reducing noise and clearing the background of grunge was Grand Prix Audio Apex footers. I now use these under my preamp and digital source with excellent results.
They were demonstrated to me by Steve McCormack when I was auditioning his VRE-1 preamp. Honestly, I didn't want to hear a benefit with the Apex footers due to their cost, but I did hear a significant difference (with the caveat that "significant" is impossible to quantify, and varies from listener to listener). The Apex footers made the music come alive in the room, and separate from the speakers, in a way other footers had not done.
I am using Herbies Iso-cups with lampblack balls under my Calypso and would highly recomend them.
Hi and thanks for all the replies. I will now persue some of the ideas and look forward to the journey of choices.
Jimjoyce25, would Marigo do money-back even if the footer has been taken apart? That would be funny.
Nikturner920, you input the expected weight, as well as the shape and size, and viscocity of the Sorbothane footer, and it outputs the resonant frequency, and the deflection ratio, and some other stuff. The idea is to calculate the lowest resonant frequency for the weight of your components. The footer should deflect between 50-80% of its height.
Then, for a professional result, put the Sorbothane in a small maple box (like this one: http://www.giftsbyginny.com/boxeswoodkeepsake.htm) and call it Nikturner's Magical Box and sell it for $900 per set of 4. :)
Another vote for Herbies products, the isocups are excellent and economical compared with stillpoints etc. Having said that, I have a number of products from Symposium, stillpoints, Herbies, the expensive ones bought 2nd hand on the Gon. With a new bit of kit, I just try them out and see which is best
Money back or not $800 for footers that look like a composite of sprockets and a rubber ?neoprene? decoupling washer is something only an audiophile would not take as a hysterically humorous joke.
You can get foams/ acousi type stuff batting, Felts etc of all types at a furniture restoration shop. Memory foam if dense if they will cut you a small piece cost me $5 a sqare foot by 2 inches thick. It is far and away much more costly than open cell ecccrate foams they also had, but would make those needed room treatments at 50cents a square foot are quite inexpensive.
My preamp is small. A sqaure foot x2 is adequate it is in my secret critical listening dungeon which is also a desgnated unused equipmentRoom. It is a controlled cool dry climate storage facitlity.
It also has anything that any one thinks can no longer be left out in the living quarters of my house. Childrens toys VHS esp. Barney tapes and every piece of hidioues Objet de Arte we have every had.I think I am being punished by the landlady for loving this hobby.
There is no WAF question it is absoluely object denied 404- unacceptable. I bought a chrome and champagne gold motif Jadis DA-60 after waiting for years to get one at the right price. I proudly thought the women who lives with me would be delighted. Right in the center stage of the living room . Her pleasure was unmitigated and demonstrated by her first question. The response " are you sure this is not on fire" it's very hot. I said the best way to know is just stick your fingers into the tube socket areas all the way look for any exposed metal wires thats the really only way to know. She walked away with her math and physics background un harmed don't worry.
Well I like it anyway. It sits on a danish solid maple floor compatment shelf box system, Other than stock feet it is devoid of any decoupling or resonance manipulation. I sneek two boards under my WAF TT. It is an MMF-5. I keep the VPI for myself. The TT cutting boards from the master sound smiths at Ikea are separated by Isolblocks and another set under the feet themselves. It accoplished nothing. My darling beloved son is nontheless shal I say not aware of his 14 y.o. body size at 5'10" and 210 lbs still going. He can lift any amp I own thank goodness but never remembers to play balletrina around the TT
Timbernation owes me a floating top tiger maple box in solid 2 inch stock. As I wrote before he has been very very slow. The update is his helper called me with reassurances but still no box hat come. Anyone want to do a group buy of alloys containg one or several metals brass broze copper tin lead steel antinony tungsten Einsteinuium or other truly special heavy metals. The effect on tubes is phenominal with the electron blue glow being channeled around but seems to cause metal fatiguw .
But I digress the special "heavy metal elements" are very very expensive and with a permit and surcurity clearance I imagine. Yes that was another feeble attempt at causing eyestrain humor.
In truth the limitations are existing pieces of stock alloy bar in the diameter and shape. For instance you can get hexagonal, square, half round, etc. you aren't required to buy it in one tone units just a bar on hand of variable length. Also can be bought as hollow bar or pipe to stuff yourself. The alloy you pick must come as fishished Smoothed, cut to length, and polished with or without platings and with or without standard screw size tops. Only If you want something more attractive than raw "pig" or ingot right from the smelting pot look.
Even though a fraction of the price of the usual brands it is by no means cheap. e-mail after you look up Speedy Metals, Which caters to small buyers. I would like to get some oversize monsters exaggerated for show.
Bright Star Audio Isonodes are very good for the money. However, one word of caution with the Isonodes - and many other "soft" footers, such as vibrapods - is that they may damage furniture finishes in some cases. I have also had good luck with the Herbies products and have found them safe with furniture finishes, but buyer beware on all such products.
Rakuennow: If you're a good enough engineer to figure out how they work, I would hope you'd also be good enough to be able to put them back together.
Though if you actually try them in your system, you may not want to send them back!
Cruz128, good advice. And not just wood furniture. I used some Vibrapods on top of an amp once and they etched permanent circles into the metal surface. Never again.
I like the Grand Prix Auadio Apex and they don't have to be used only in a GPA rack.
I'm using the Herbie's products also with excellent results. Using the iso cups under every component. Using Brass gyro's at the CD player and preamp. Lampblack balls under the amps and voltage conditioner. Have also tried the ruby gyro's. Using tender feet in my HT system.
As I understand isolation, one is dealing with resonance frequencies. Above that frequency vibrations are turned into heat, but below that they amplify the vibration. Solid isolators typically rely on psi by having a narrow point to the earth ultimately which make the weight above it have greater pressure and thus resistance to motion.
I have tried perhaps 12 different soft or rubbery feet and rejected them all for stealing the dynamic or pace of the music. I have used many spring systems whether they be actual springs, like pole magnets, some combination of springs, or bladders inflated with air or air and oil and with or without heavy mass above the spring. Some of these have satisfied me for some time, but ultimately they too rob the music of dynamics. There are non-resonance systems that are very expensive. One of these, the Halcyonic active isolation base has motion sensors and voice coils which reverse the phase of the vibrations and cancel it. These are outstanding.
Finally there are efforts to tie the component to the earth. Goldman long ago use two soft feet and one solid under the transformer. Tip-toes made of aluminum were the first of these. There have since been countless versions made of most metals, plastics, and hard rubbers. I like brass best but everyone has their own preferences. Their placement under the component is a crucial experiment.
Recently, there are the Syn. Research MIGs. These are solid and made of iron. They are cup shape and can be used with the round side up or down. Two configurations are recommended by SR-two round sides up and one down or the reverse. These must be experimented with extensively to optimize, but I very much like them. I certainly do not understand how these feet work as they ring if standing alone but not under components.
Finally, there are StillPoints. These are solid devices with multiple balls within that are configured to make vertical motions into horizontal motions. They are very effective and lend a vibrancy to the music that I only got with the Halcyonics before and then only for the three components I could afford to so isolate. Now with everything on StillPoints Racks or Component Stands, I get a complete system benefit.
Much to my surprise, the SR MIGs on the StillPoint Racks still add greatly to the realism of the music.
I am elaborating on my personal experiences here and fully expect that others' tastes and systems may not respond identically.
I'm in agreement with Tbg on all counts. Stillpoints under my VAC Renaissance preamp are a very positive upgrade. Conversly they don't work as well under the VAC dac which sounds best coupled with brass spikes.
Rhljazz, there are soon to be new Stillpoints that are now available as OEM feet. They are much better. The Component Stands are also far superior to the original StillPoint feet.