VIBRATION CONTROL SYSTEMS
We have two Mapleshade Vibration Control Systems, one for speakers and one for components. The speaker system has three elements: brass footers under the speaker to drain vibration out of the speaker cabinet and down into its platform; an air-dried maple platform to receive and dissipate that vibration; and another set of brass footers under the platform for rigidly supporting everything above so that the speaker cant rock, even microscopically. Our component system differs in only one important respect: because components are not affected by slight rocking, we use Isoblocks as the compliant suspension under the platform to isolate the platform from the shelf below. Each of the three elements used alone will upgrade your sound. Used together, they yield startling improvements.
Here are the fundamentals:Electrical signal currents create unwanted vibrations (through both magnetic and/or piezo-electric forces) inside every electronic component. In speakers, the mechanical movement of the cone or diaphragm transfers vibration into the speaker cabinet or frame. Careful, easily duplicated listening tests prove that these internal vibrations muddy the music signal far more significantly than external airborne or floor-borne vibrations, quite contrary to the common wisdom.
Mounting components or speakers on standard isolating and damping devices (like springs, rubber feet, sand boxes, magnetic suspensions, or air cylinders/bladders) traps the sound-degrading vibrations inside the component or speaker, exacerbating muddying of the music signals, especially in the bass frequencies.
Hybrid isolation/coupling devices like Roller Blocks, IsoBearings, magnetic couplers, etc. purport to serve three essential functionsvibration transfer, vibration dissipation and external isolationall in one convenient footer. Unfortunately, these all-in-one devices serve none of the three functions well. They change, perhaps even improve, sound a bit in one area, but with penalties in other areas, e.g better midrange detail but soggier bass, less edgy treble but slower, duller transients, etc.
Our Vibration Control Systems serve three functions using three different elements, each optimized for only one function.
First, our brass footers are designed only to cleanly drain out as much internal vibrational energy as possible from both electronics and speakers. We specifically optimized our footers shape, contact points, material, alloy, and mass to maximize the vibrational energy transferred out of the gear and minimize the energy reflected back. They do so more effectively and sound better than any competing footer or hybrid at any price.
Second, maple platforms (or SAMSON shelves) serve as the optimal sink for receiving and dissipating the vibrational energy transferred out of the electronics or speaker by the footers. Our exhaustive tests of every space age damping material and composite used in high-end platforms today prove solid wood (not plywood or MDF) always sounds better. But each wood species sounds somewhat different and most sound somewhat colored. The same test series showed maple to always have, by a sizable margin, the most detailed and uncolored sound. Clicker here for more details on this and on significant superiority of air dried maple over standard kiln-dried lumberyard maple.
Third, for our component vibration control system (but not our speaker system) the specific size and laminate composition of Isoblocks was designed by ear to best isolate the maple platform from resonances or vibrations in the supporting shelf or floor below. The final six-laminate design proved to sound better than any of the myriad suspension systems we've tested, even exotic magnetic or air suspensions.