I have tried numerous setups over the last 20 years and the Walker Valid Points/Discs are the best I have ever heard.
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Put cones under everything. Your ears will be very happy. If you don't have them, already, on the bottom of your rack legs: PUT THEM THERE too. I have not compared them, but I use Audiopoints cones and am very happy with the sound. You can really go nuts with these cones and suffer the law of diminishing returns. Call Robert over at Audiopoints. He's really into resonance transference and will give you the scoop. His cones are very reasonable. You should get another 10 posts, at least, about this topic. The same people, including myself, will talk about this adnauseam...I love it, though. It's what I love about the Hi-End audio game.
I use Aurios 1.2 with their upgrade tungsten carbide balls under my CD player, and there are large gains in clarity and bass, at the possible expense of some upper-midrange forwardness and slight "steeliness." The trade-off's worth it to me (I suspect I'm actually simply hearing my preamp for what it is). Worth trying, and I'm told if you position the Aurios under a platform with the CD player on top of that, the problem diminishes or goes away. The 1.2s are noticeably better sounding than the 1.1s, by the way, and not hard to place (unlike the 1.0s).
Most experts regard cones, pucks and the like, as relatively minor players, compared to shelves and platforms. I looked for many years, for improved vibration isolation, and tried many products, and I've stopped now, completely happy with Neuance Shelves. At $150-$175, I regard them as one of the great bargains in audio today. The only caveat: they need proper support from below, spikes being best. Ken Lyon will advise on this crucial aspect of performance.
Same as Tom (I am happy with Neuance shelving under the source gear).
I have used Neaunce for a year and half and other footers make my setup sound funky in comparison. Guess I am used to its sound, as well.
I have never tried roller bearings though. The closest thing to these (that I have tried) are little donuts, made of E.A.R. material, that have a ball bearing squeezed into the center (they don't R&R and are not the same as roller bearings).
Other footers/shelves have been: Maplshade cones (the cheap ones), DH cones, E.A.R. based footers (with/without the ball bearing), Vibrapods, hockey pucks, nail buffers (for light weight gear, under 5 lbs), suspension (hanging), MDF, Maple, Ikea Lack and Persimmon platforms.
I have also experiemented with top weighting, but did not care for the sound of this on any of my gear (with the exception of a few fly weight Bel Canto DAC's).
The Maplshade cone makes a nice record weight for my Thorens when inverted and blue tacked to a 45 rpm adapter.
Here are some things that have given me the best performance:
Symposium shelves (particularly the Ultra shelf - wow!)
Silent Running Audio platforms
Newport Research Lab Tables
Aurios Pro MIBs
Black Diamond Racing Cones
Here's what I've compared head to head, in a somewhat systematic fashion:
Aurios MIB 1.2s v. Rollerblocks v. BDR cones v. Valid Points v. MGD points under digital front end; Rollerblocks v. Polycrystal cones under turntable; Townsend Seismic Sink v. Newport Lab Table v. Symposium shelves under various equipment.
Most disappointing footers I've tried:
MGD points, Vibrapods, and MIB 1.0s (more for the hassle as compared to the 1.2s, Pros, and Rollerblocks)
There are about a million different approaches - the "right" one is the one that works best in your own rig.
My present "digital stack":
one-box CDP on top - (no mass loading atop of it)
Orchard Bay titanium cones
Orchard Bay brass pucks
Black Diamond shelf (or Zoethecus Z-Slab shelf, both work pretty well, Z-Slab is less expensive)
rack shelf (itself an MDF composition)
Have also used Black Diamond #3 &/or #4 cones, and Audio Point brass cones in this sandwich. O.B. titanium's are amazingly better, but are not longer available. I'm gettting some titanium Nordost Pulsar Points & DH Labs ceramic cones to try next, but so far the above sandwich has worked best for me. YMMV
The interesting thing I found out about Vibrapods is to not necessarily use their recommended weight ranges for each model pod. There are so many other factors in the mix.
My transport is on the light end of the range recommended for using #2 Vibrapods. In other words I could almost use #1 pods based on their information. All I had were #3 pods, so I used them temporarily. I notice a bid improvement. I later picked up some #2. Expecting even more improvement, I was shocked that using the #2 pods sounded worse; actually no better then not using Vibrapods at all. So the #3s are still there.
So I can see why some would not think Vibrapods work well. Following the directions may prove fatal.
Sugarbrie what you said...
I've been aware of this too, & found that the Vibrapods need to be loaded basically at the midpoint of their weight range. Just requires some simple math to calculate where you're at. It's like the springs on a vehicle; too little weight-loading & you're bumping all over the place, too much loading & you're always bottoming out. At midpoint, you have some "spring" in both directions.
I have gone for isolation, not coupling, and have been most pleased with Audioprism's Iso-Bearing polymer ball in delrin cup footers. Stable, effective, and fairly reasonably priced. Symposium shelf is under the TT, but MDF or wood shelves otherwise, neither of which seem as though they would be optimal when you knock on them. In general, I have found the differences to be marginal at best. I readily admit to not having much interest or patience (or faith) for this kind of thing, though...
When and if you use a loading device it should be a solid metal. Not sand or lead. The idea is not to absorb vibrations, but transfer them to the ground. There are many vibrations that are good and you don't want to lose them. Robert over at Star Sound Technologies is doing some amazing things with this concept. His precision made brass cones are doing the job, and his speaker stands and component stands are drop dead amazing. Both, utilizing the resonance transference concept. I truly believe that his stands are the cutting edge, and it's just a matter of time before they become a ubiquitous HI END name. All your components sit on a stand. You want the bad resonances to move away from your equipment and go to the floor. .
Last night I put the Mapleshade Heavy footers under my transport that is sitting on a seismic sink, my 16 yo audiophile dughter and I couldn't believe the difference this made. The bass was much tighter and everything was more in focus, the pace of the music even sounded better.
For the price I think they do a great job.
Jadem6 did a very nice review for this Forum on Neuance Alpha and Beta Shelves. If this isn't easy to find, email me and I'll try to find it and let you know. He knew more than I ever did about materials and mode of construction.
The website at least used to be www.greaterranges.com, but now I'd also try www.neuance.com. Mark the funny spelling of "neuance"--it isn't the English word "nuance".
in a system under THE WADIA D/A PROCESSOR. i thought it was foolish to start there but thats what craig goff did at an acquaintances house in a rather aggressive system (buxwise i mean). i was skeptical to say the least but without knowing what to expect, the bass went down another 1/2 octave. this was on dunlavy speakers bigger and heavier than me (i weigh 275#).
to say that i was flabbergasted is an understatement. i would have thought that under the transport would have been the right place for them. we never got around to putting them elsewhere as dinner and conversation took precedence.
im not as flush as i might be, and i will buy a vpi rcm way before aurios but they are under consideration. one day when dsd d/a convertors are available, i may have to grab some.
Abruce, I really like the huge Mapleshade heavyfoots also and the price is very reasonable ($60 set of 3) for all that brass. I like them so much I am about to order some triple point heavyfoots to see if fully tweaked out version is even better.
I have not tried the Walker or Orchard Bay cone systems, but these Mapleshade heavyfoots were easily better than any previous cone I have tried.
No problem. Is brass the best cone material? The "theory" is that brass is used in a bell because it rings and allows vibrations to flow through.
Not sure about the titanium. I heard the Russians made an entire submarine out of titanium because it was quiter than steel. Can't wait for the Russians to get into UHE audio ;-)
"The best cone material" is the material that works best for you in your own setup. Too numerous variables determine the optimum approach; the only way to find out is via experimentation. Even the specific placement of the cones certainly has a very noticable effect. I haven't played around with the DH placement tricks yet, but I suspect that even if some improvement is realized, I'll not be keeping them. They sound so slow & sluggish; dynamics & PRaT have all but vanished.
Gold plated brass was once recommended to me by a knowlegable dealer (who didn't even sell the cones which he suggested would be the best) & sure enough when I installed them under my speakers, the results were certainly amazing. This is not to say that some other material or product might not work even better; I am pleased with my results so far, so I haven't tried anything else (yet) although I probably will experiment further.
Going back to the CD player, brass has done well for me in my digital stack (see the above post) but titanium works even better. Black Diamond, a carbon fiber composition, falls somewhere in between brass & ceramic, which is to say that they were better than nothing but still not very impressive, in THIS system. Your mileage WILL vary.
Mr. Chichiuno has just sent me the Nordost titanium Pulsar Points to audition; I'll be trying them out next. Pulsar's are also available in aluminum at far less cost, so that might be interesting too. My VPI MK4 turntable has stock aluminum cones & they seem to work well enough, but again I haven't experimented in that regard. I've also seen wooden cones, & stainless steel is also available. It all depends upon the specific application & setup. Just as in cabling, there is no single "right answer". Sure do wish it was that easy... but half the fun is getting there.
I just read about a tweak using Styrofoam instead of platforms or cones, so I tried a solid block of 3" thick Styrofoam the exact size of my CDP and DAC (preamp and amp also).
I placed each component on it's block and the clarity increased dramatically. Passages that were entirely unintelligible, I can now understand every word clearly. The difference was hard to believe.
Try it, its cheap. If it doesn't work for you try something else. But don't be surprised if the results are as good as the most expensive options.
Fiddler, if I go to local Home Depot I can buy various sheets of foam insulation that have different densities and thermal properties. Do you have a more detailed description of type of foam you used....color, density etc. Some are quite dense/stiff and some are much softer.
What were you previously using under gear? Are component feet resting on foam, or just underside of case?
I can add this to JD's bubble pack tweak and get it all with one trip to Home Depot, heh heh.
Trip to home depot at lunch shows that 4x8 sheets of polystyrene foam (for insullation) are two basic types:
-white foam, less dense softer foam
-pink foam, rigid dense foam
Got a sheet of the 1.5" pink foam @$13, thickness available are 1/2, 1, 1.5 inch (no 3" foam) The pink foam is preferred I believe, if you check the foam inside Nueance or
Symposium platforms it is closer to pink foam density. Cut some bricks 8 inch x 4 inch with razor knife to position under gear and avoid feet or any vents which must remain clear. The 1.5 thickness is good because it easliy clears existing feet without raising too much (I could double up bricks for 3" height)
I am happy with existing brass cones and bearings, but this is a cheap, easy thing to try for reference, although will not win any interior design awards.
CDC, the Russians built the ALFA subs out of titanium because its strength allowed them to dive to greater depths. FWIW, the Alfa subs were notoriously noisy, hence the need to operate at greater depths. My point is that I have not seen any scientific evidence that indicates that titanium controls resonances r vibrations better than other metals.
Having tried sorbothan (spelling?): warm, soft highs, loose bass. "Black Diamond" cones: hard, quick. Concrete block: dead, dull, turbid. Large hunk of steel: solid image, stable pitch."Audio-Resolution" platforms: open mids, dynamic, quiet backgrounds. These mostly seemed evident under the CD player.
This was just regular old white Styrofoam. The hard stuff. Well, it's not really hard, you can dent it with your finger, but I had several blocks that were used as packing material in a box that was just shipped to me.
My suspicions as to why it works so well is that it is mostly air with thousands of cells joined randomly.
I placed the components on the Styrofoam bases without the component feet attached to the component. Just the bottom of the component sitting on top of the block.
Sorry I can't be more descriptive of the Styrofoam, but I thought there was only one basic kind.
I was recently challenged by a friend who is a Sistrum Platform non believer to measure in room response of a system consisting of Thiel CS6's Krell amp and pre and Krell cd. All of this sat on a Stand Design audio rack. I used Audiocontrol RTA and calibrated mic as my tools. Using pink noise and taking spl measurement set at 80db. Variation in actual spl measured between 79 and 81.5 db. I did not at first realize this variation was caused by the compression and expansion of the room itself. WE then took frequency response measurements at the same level and recorded these and stored them to the rta. Step two was to add the Sistrum Platform under the Krell CD player and to repeat the same test in the same identical manner as the first. The SPL measurement shocked me! The variation in SPL was less and also flucuated at a slower rate. I really thought the spl would increase with the addition of the platform because I could always hear much improved dynamics with the use of Sistrum products. Next we took frequency response measurements and stored these as well. Upon comparison of the 2 curves my friend and I both could see marked improvement in the lower mid bass to mid range shape as well as the range from about 3k on up. This improved curve was now more of a flat line with the use of the Sistrum Platform. This was the first time I had ever measured a system with and without the platforms. I really did not think that all the improvements I knew I have been hearing with the platforms could actually be measured so easily. My friend stated he thought the reduction in spl related to less distortion when using the Sistrum platform. This was my perception when listening with these devices in place. More detail and separation, much lower noise floor and much greater contrast. Let me state I do not make it a habit to walk around with an RTA taking measurements of my system or anyone else's. The texture of the music is the turn on for me. I did however thank my friend for the Sistrum challenge.
First - the cause of the vibration needs to be understood.
Second - the means at which to dissipate the vibration also needs to be understood.
"A specified geometry has to work with a specified material."
If you are missing either side of this equation the cause and effect is essentially void.
Geometry works - all cones or materials are not created equal.
Brass alone has different types of metallurgy. Each variation will yield a different sonic result. At the very least brass used in the development of musical instruments provides us musical history.
Performed my initial Nordost titanium Pulsar Points testing last night & these things do show some promise.
I installed 3 of the Pulsar's with their tops directly contacting the EAD Ultradisc 2000 CD player chassis - I figure that's a more valid comparison since the Orchard Bay's were also done that way.
Bear in mind however that for my last change recently I had gone to the ceramic DH Labs cones & did not like them at all, so at this point *anything* was a significant improvement.
I think that those ceramics were probably worse than nothing at all.
The rig was powered down Thursday due to thunderstorms in the area so unfortunately it was a cold startup, but nevertheless so far I like what I've heard.
Many of the same characteristics as the Orchard Bay titaniums, although with not quite as aggressive / articulated HF extension (pretty much a good thing) but also the LF's do not seem to be quite as deeply extended (not such a good thing).
Also the dynamics are not quite as lively; wife was listening too, & she basically decided right away that she favors the O.B's dynamics over the Pulsar's & she asked me right away to put them back in.
I held off however, reminding her that this solid state Accuphase equipment takes about a day or so to warm up & sound its best.
So this was just an initial assessment with cold equipment; take that for what it's worth.
The sound last night very much reminded me of the characteristics of the brass Audio Points & pucks, good, but not quite up to the level of the Orchard Bay.
Now I want to reinstall the brass cones & pucks just to make a close comparison, then I'll restore the OB's & then go back to the Pulsar's so I can make some very close comparisons & report back.
I also would like to repeat the whole comparison process after changing out the Black Diamond shelf for a Zoethecus Z-Slab; the Z-Slab being different in some ways just as the two sets of titaniums differ, & not sure which I actually prefer.
Since it was advised that 3 Pulsar's seem to be preferred over the 4 placed under factory footers, I probably won't bother to test with 4 but again there's another set of variables that could be played around with. Nordost's instructions actually recommend placing them 1ea. under the 4 factory feet.
Bob, I have found in using the Sistrum products they work even more effectively when I remove all factory feet, rubber or any other material. I think the rubber slows down the extraction of resonance that Sistrum drains away so well. I wonder how the Nordost product could be effective when placed under a hunk of rubber. Seems there would be very unstable contact of dissimilar materials to provide any physical value at all. Please let us know more about your findings. Tom
Hi Tom I agree with you completely about placement under the footers, in theory I don't see how that could work very well at all.
Are you saying that although you bypassed the rubber factory footers (by placing cones directly in contact with the chassis) that the effect was still enhanced when the rubber footers were completely removed from the equipment? That is my perception of your explanation, & while it doesn't seem to me that would be of any significant consequence, if that is in fact your experience then I thank you for the worthwhile tip & I will try it out myself.
Bob bundus. What are the design differences between Nordost and Orchard Bay titanium? Just wondering what could cause the differences in sound. I found Titanium grade 5 is a harder version than grade 2 and may transmit vibration better.
Just a raw 1" dia x 12" long bar is $110 for grade 2 and $140 for grade 5. Guess I'll stick to brass for my experiment - 1" dia. will remove plastic/rubber feet and attach brass cones with screws directly to case where original feet were.
Also making a set for my speakers - 2" dia.
I would like to see a picture of these Orchard Bay cones to see if they have any unusual features, search of the internet turns up nothing. Anyone have a web address to see these.
I just tried a pair of the Mapleshade triplepoint heavyfoot brass cones which are indeed slightly better in all respects vs standard heavyfoot. The standard Mapleshade heavyfoot was my previous cone of choice being better than any of the 3-4 other brands I have tried. The triplepoints are a little harder to correctly set-up initially, I used the two down, one up pattern to simplify installing under CDP. These are massive brass cones, Mapleshade contends the height and mass are necessary to acheive optimum sound vs other designs.
Have not tried Walker or Orchard Bay cones.
Bob, Two competing theories- dampening vs resonance transfer.Besides believing in one and not the other, a person should not mix the two. If you do mix the two you have no reference point for either one. Yes when I removed all rubber from the bottoms of my equipment and used only the Audio Points or Sistrum Platforms it all got much better again. Quicker, quieter, lower noise, improved dynamics and focus. Less dampening brings you closer to the real thing. Let us all know...Tom
Like I said (thanks audiotweak) 30 posts ago. Cones under everything. You want to transfer resonance, not absorb. Your ears will love it. You don't mixed the two, like the tweakman said. Make a comittment to do one, listen, then do the other. Your ears will know the deal. It's a wild out there. Some transfer, some absorb. I'm a tansferer, and very happy for it..
On Nordost Pulsars. I have obtained the best results with components using these under the shelf on which the component sits. Also, prefer them for heavier rather than lighter components, sets of 4 rather than 3. On my cdp, the best sound was with the machine directly on a Neuance, the Neuance itself on 4 ceramic cones -- not Pulsars. On the other hand, Pulsars did a good job screwed directly onto the factory support of a pair of Avanti IIIs... It's a strange world!
Hello,Its hard to get your hands around a soup sandwich. Mixing shelves of different thickness and different woods with rubber pucks and points of steel with those of carbon fiber or titanium, brass or lead, sitting on grandmoms girdle between two layers of bubble wrap is not the scientific approach. How can you possibly know which one of these materials is the right one when they are so thrown together? How can you know which of these shapes is the right one when they are so thrown together. There are products out there with a single approach that work for me. However this one single means, has me using all the same theories based on actual physics with the same materials and same ratio's thruout. This single focused approach has made it all so apparent that the science of resonance transfer truly works. Once you hear these devices and how they perform so well and understand how they really work, a light bulb will turn on in your head and you will suddenly say that makes so much sense! Once you start down this one lane road you will be able to predict the nature of improvement for each new point, platform or rack that you add to your system. This approach becomes cumlative in nature and the sonic improvement continues resulting with the same, consistently huge, dynamically focused soundstage. There is no turning back!
The original concept of Neuance shelves was to stop all the tinkering. Ken wanted to produce a product that would work well alone with simple rubber footers. If you simply upgrade all your MDF to Neuance, or at least the front end equipment, the result is something that you could rest assured your 90% there. For those of use with serious tweaking disease only 100% will do. Neuance is a first and often last step.
I now have a review to write on these Nordost titanium Pulsar Points; they better even the Orchard Bay titanium's. With my equipment warmed up I am now amazed; I will of course follow up with that info. here.
The quality of this product is subtle indeed; they don't come right out & hit you over the head --- you have to listen for awhile before you realize just how good they really are.
Will post my next report when I've converted my notes into an actual writeup; I have some more experimenting to do as well, but I've already decided to buy the review sample.
Just so as to not keep you waiting here's my unedited scribble-notes on Pulsar's:
3 Pulsar's mounted directly contacting the CDP chassis
Black Diamond shelf below Pulsar's + Vibrapods under Black Diamond shelf.
MDF composition rack shelf base
seriously good - very good
overall more polite natural & musically refined than Orchard Bay's -
(Orchard Bay is Nordost on steroids - similar sound but more hyperextension of bass & treble & also more punchy + dynamic)
stages speakers back a few feet - deeper stage with nice center image floating above & in front of speakers
longer & deeper decay - you hear deeper into the music & micro detail
less bass depth but still nicely controlled well defined bass (but wish they had better extension of bass like the OB's have)
midrange liquidity - smoother vocals esp. female
smoother highs - more scintillating & reduced digital glare while revealing subtle sonic detail
maintains good sense of timing - good PRaT toe-tapping rhythm
you don't notice at first just how good the Pulsar's really are - it's a subtlety thing
only after listening for awhile & hearing all of the things that the Pulsar's do so well do you begin to really understand the quality of what you are hearing
Please contact member Chichiuno for details on a great deal for these Pulsar's, but be very careful, Anthony makes it so easy - could become a costly habit.