Home Theater Forum and Systems banner

1 - 20 of 48 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
328 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I was at my local "audiophile" HT shop and they had some beautiful looking equipment in there.

But I noticed these wooden blocks underneath amps in the home theater rooms. They looked almost
like butcher blocks. Big slaps of Maple underneath the amps. So you know I had to ask...

"What are those for?"

"Those are amplifier blocks, the improve the sound." The sales said it with a straight face. So of course I asked how. And he told me they block vibrations and isolate the component. And they certainly look like they did. But it kinda felt like Audio Snake Oil like the $100 RCA cables hanging on the wall in the place.

But then I started wondering, do these things actually work? I could see if it was somekind of tube AMP, but these were under some beefy Parasounds.

Has anybody else seen these things, or better yet experienced them? I would love to put the signals from one of these amps through an oscilloscope to be sure.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
An amplifier that is sensitive to microphonic vibration pickup might benefit from SOME kind of isolation, like some tube amps. This is the first I have heard of a slab of wood, although with the markup it makes sense that someone would get around to pushing it. Wish I had, although my conscience would not let me sleep well.

With solid state electronics, I am aware of no benefit from vibration isolation. With tube amps, turntables, and maybe CD changers..... MAYBE.

Then wood seems like a poor performer. You want some combination of:
  1. Mass. Think granite block. Lots of mass to absorb energy.
  2. Springiness. Something soft, fluffy, springy, to allow vibration on one side and not transmit it to the other side.
If you use both, then you have the potential makings of a resonant system, so the combination has to be designed to work together.

There are lots of fun products out there claiming to help. I am not a believer in any of them... except for one maglev thing that just looks cool. Others may claim otherwise.....

This is in reference to electronics. Speaker isolation, while not clearcut, is another discussion altogether.
 

·
Plain ole user
Joined
·
11,121 Posts
Wooden blocks certainly do make a difference and it is measurable. They increase height.

As for sound quality, I would have to agree with AudiocRaver.

But we could do a little speculating... Adding blocks might increase ventilation. For amps running under conditions that are near thermal limits one might actually avoid that very opaque sound that comes with activation of thermal protection. Or for an amp that runs better at a slightly higher temp, such as one using MosFet outputs, you might argue that it would not sound as good with a lower operating temperature because of the ventilation. I am sure Brian could come up with a modification by applying some of his materials used for room treatments to solve that problem.

:D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
876 Posts
The only electrical reason I can see why you might do this is because the AMP is making contact with ground and it's inducing a ground loop in to the system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Wood transmits vibrations. Look at violins and acoustic guitars, The wood determines the musical tone, they are not vibration absorbers.

I use these to put air gaps between my equipment stack. Get them at Lowes.

http://www.benchdog.com/bench-cookie.cfm
Paint those shiny black and you could sell them for $300 each at audiophile events. ;)

I just returned from the NY Audio Show and there were plenty of wood discs and hyper-expensive machined feet, errrr, "isolation products" that looked very dubious.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
I know these discussions about audiophile stuff like cables, feet, and other items that increase sound clarity can devovle into flame wars....

My experience tells me that if a difference can't be shown using a null difference test.

I just use these cookies to put more air above and below my amp for more airflow rather than sonic improvement

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smaart
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
855 Posts
Wow... The sales person is just that.. a sales person with no clue to the fundamental principles of amplification, electronics, or electricity for that matter. Run far away from him as he's only interested in your money. Nothing else. For SS amps, I will categorically say NO SONIC improvement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
876 Posts
Wood transmits vibrations. Look at violins and acoustic guitars, The wood determines the musical tone, they are not vibration absorbers.

I use these to put air gaps between my equipment stack. Get them at Lowes.

http://www.benchdog.com/bench-cookie.cfm


Ever hit a baseball and feel a strong painful vibrational shock from the bat move up your your arms and hands?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,054 Posts
Wooden blocks certainly do make a difference and it is measurable. They increase height.
Thats just so funny, :rofl: my co workers even asked me what was so funny as I laughed out loud reading this.
Wooden blocks under amps, whats next Springs under our seating to prevent transfer of vibration to the floor?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
855 Posts
Ever hit a baseball and feel a strong painful vibrational shock from the bat move up your your arms and hands?
If your AVR is an environment to the analogy you suggest, then component leads will begin to break, PCB tracks begin to tear and solder joints begin to fracture. I would worry far more about that then sonic improvements. Just to be clear, transmission of electrical energy is impervious to physical vibration, especially the low vibration experienced in ones Home Theater environment. Its just snake oil with no documented objective measurements to show other wise. Advertising literature is far from objective truth.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
855 Posts
Ever hit a baseball and feel a strong painful vibrational shock from the bat move up your your arms and hands?
And allow better air flow ..which improves reliabiity but does nothing to promote sonic improvement.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,802 Posts
Years ago when I had my Audible Illusions tube preamp... I experimented with cables, tubes, dampeners, and racks. I found that all of the above made a dif but the biggest was the rack and how each part was suspended ie. sorbothane, spikes etc. When I moved to a Classe DR6 preamp (solid State) I found that none of the above made any dif. IMO it makes no dif if you are using decent cables and have a solid rack to set your equipment on... except if you use a tube preamp or tube power amp. I believe the reason the Classe didn't care about the cables was the low input impedance.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
Being as open minded as possible about it all:

There was a time when transformers - other than power transformers - were found more commonly in audio gear at input stages, and could sometimes have some microphonic sensitivity to vibration. Also, rarely, optical isolators for analog signals could be made from discrete components and be microphonically sensitive. Some vintage gear might benefit from vibration isolation devices, but as has been pointed out, wood wouldn't (hey, a pun!) be the best material.

With the modern components used in 99.9% of the gear we deal with - other than tubes (and a good design minimizes this) - it is not an issue. And wood is the wrong material.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
328 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Wood transmits vibrations. Look at violins and acoustic guitars, The wood determines the musical tone, they are not vibration absorbers.

I use these to put air gaps between my equipment stack. Get them at Lowes.

http://www.benchdog.com/bench-cookie.cfm

Thanks, I'm going to check to see if my Lowes or Home Depot actually has these in stock for my Onkyo. That thing runs hot.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,054 Posts
Just get some old hockey pucks, it will achieve the same thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
328 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Yeah, I thought about it and I have some scrap wood in the garage, I can make some blocks to raise gear.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,539 Posts
Just get some old hockey pucks, it will achieve the same thing.
LOL, talk about regional differences, never in a 100 years would I have thought about using a hockey puck for anything.
Good suggestion though, they are probably tough as nails.
 
1 - 20 of 48 Posts
Top