Each VCS Bundle For Electronics consists of the three elements of our pioneering system for vibration control:
1) three brass footers to efficiently and cleanly drain internally generated, distortion-creating vibration out of your component
2) an air-dried maple platform to act as a "sink" for receiving and dissipating that vibration without reflecting it back
3) on hard surfaces, four Isoblocks for mounting the platform and isolating it from the resonances of the shelf or floor below. On carpeted floors four carpet-piercing footers must be substituted for the Isoblocks in order to lock to the solid floor—simply because nothing mounted directly on a soft, overdamped material like carpet can sound good.
The sound (and/or picture quality) of any component mounted on our three element vibration control system will improve dramatically. This includes audio or video disc players, streamers, servers, routers, digital memories, cable boxes, turntables, tape machines, tuners, DACs, receivers, amps, preamps, power supplies or power conditioners—particularly dramatic will be the improvement in any digital components as well as all turntables. (This VCS Bundle For Electronics should not be used with speakers. See our speaker stand section for Vibration Control Systems optimized for small and large speakers.)
Footers as Transmission Links
Our massive and resonance-free footers lock the component or speaker into place using point contact, an essential for draining vibration cleanly without adding resonances or reflected energy. The footer's mass, body shape, point shape and, most importantly, material all make a big difference and we have optimized all four based on exhaustive listening tests. In particular, we've tested every promising high-tech material: ceramics were too bright; titanium, carbon fiber, stainless steel, myrtle, aluminum and ebony were dull and smeared compared to brass. Our proprietary alloy brass was by far the best-sounding, least colored footer material. It proved to be much more dynamic, detailed and vibrantly warm than any competing material.
As might be expected, once the optimum footer material and shape has been selected, increasing the footer mass is highly beneficial. Thus, the 2" high Heavyfoot has almost 80% more mass than the 1.5" Low Heavyfoot, resulting in a an audibly worthwhile upgrade. A far larger sonic improvement results when replacing the Heavyfoot with the almost 3 1/2 times more massive Megafoot, yielding noticeably deeper, cleaner bass and smoother, more extended treble.
Platforms as Sinks for Vibration
Platforms have a surprisingly powerful effect on sound quality. Nothing is more crucial than finding the right platform material. Good platform materials need to accept and dissipate nearly 100% of the vibrational energy transferred by the footers while minimizing reflections back into the footer and component, particularly not the phase-shifted, distorted reflections that most degrade component sound quality. Our painstaking listening panel R&D tests proved that maple platforms sound warmer, clearer, punchier and more detailed than granite, slate or glass (which yield harsh edginess and muddy, weak bass), hi-tech damped or constrained layer composites (very dead sounding), and myrtle or exotic hardwoods (more colored and less detailed).
Maple's sonic superiority over all other woods as the best support for vibrating soundboards is old news to every violin and piano maker since Antonio Stradivari and Heinrich Steinway. Instrument makers taught us to never use commercial, kiln-dried maple. The kiln's high heat weakens the wood's fibers, thereby deadening sound. Air-dried maple is less colored and closer to the sound of our master tapes than any other wood species--audibly better than harder or softer or denser woods, and notably better than kiln-dried maple or, worse yet, maple plywood or maple butcher blocks (excessively damped by their multitude of glue joints and their kiln-drying).
Because finding air-dried 2" to 4" thick, old-growth maple at ordinary lumber yards is impossible, we use a local Amish sawmill that finds us logs of very special maple indeed: 75 to 100 year old Ambrosia maple slow-grown on local farms that sounds distinctly warmer and clearer than commercial Canadian rock maple. These old trees yield wood of gorgeous character: much tighter and more variegated grain, lovely nut-colored contrasts, subtly shimmering curl, birdseye and tiger stripes—and, strikingly, our tests show that variegated maple platforms of varying density sound better than featureless, straight-grained clear maple.
As in the case of footers, once the all-important optimum platform material has been selected, more mass is always audibly better. This is why we recommend platforms at least two inches wider and deeper than the component. For a 16" x 13" component, the extra two inches provide 30% extra mass while four inches provides 65% more mass—plus extra benefits from the wider, stabler stance of the larger platform. Even better is doubling the maple's thickness from 2" to 4", always a worthwhile and satisfying upgrade.
The substantial beveling of all edges is the final audible improvement in our platform design: this beveling eliminates the sizable internal vibrational energy buildup within every right angle corner and edge of a platform.
To sound good, a platform cannot simply be placed directly on a shelf, floor or other hard surface. The resulting large area, flat-to-flat interface has inherently low contact pressure and is never perfectly flat, thus leading to micro-rattles and excessive reflection of vibrations. To best isolate the platform from resonances in the supporting shelf or floor, we conducted several years of listening experiments using springs, air bladders, magnetic suspensions and interface pads of sorbothane, foam, neoprene, leather, cork, etc. By far the best suspension we found was a specialized industrial ribbed-rubber-and-cork laminate. By ear we optimized the height, footprint area and number of laminations to arrive at our present, superb-sounding Isoblock configuration.
For the special case of carpeted floors, Isoblocks cannot be used because carpets are inherently an unstable, overdamped base that degrades the sound of anything resting directly on them. For carpets, the only good sounding solution is to use our Carpet Piercing Footers to create a rigid support and a resonance-free vibration path through the carpet directly to the floor.