THE PROVING GROUNDS

Analysis of Isolation, Absorption & Resonance Transfer:

 Within the Specialty Audio/Video Industry, some of the most commonly used terminology and dialogue referring to resonance, and vibration control has very little to do with the true actual functions that lead to the outcome of the applied physics. In our opinion, the Audio Industry needs to address its overall understanding of this energy termed “detrimental resonance” or “vibration”.

This Proving Grounds segment is designed to focus on current audiophile definitions and phraseology used to describe and define resonance function as viewed by the Industry. In addition, we offer our insight and understanding as well. The results are interesting and will hopefully add to your knowledge so that you may make a better-informed decision as to which process you wish to include in your music and/or video system.

Listed below we will present our analogy as to function and merit, based on the top three approaches (Isolation, Absorption & Transfer) to controlling the harsh effects caused by “all” types of vibration.

Education provided by leading Industry journalists and audio/video-manufacturing companies states that resonance is undesirable energy and should be dissipated in order to improve the sound quality of your electronic components and loudspeakers. With this understanding, we do agree.

ISOLATION:

We completely disagree.

When addressing this term and procedure, the audiophile and Industry usually focuses on isolating components from a vibrating shelf, equipment stand, and/or flooring. This de-coupling process is generally defined and accepted as a methodology based on theorem only to achieve a “floating in air concept”, thus limiting vibration within and on the surface of a component or loudspeaker.

Isolate what and what from? (Sounds like a Yogi Berra cliché)

As defined by Webster, to isolate is to place or keep by itself; separate from others.

Fact: You cannot successfully isolate any component and/or loudspeaker from AIR-BORNE RESONANCE.

When the loudspeaker begins sound reproduction, there is a tremendous amount of resonance that accumulates on and within the speaker enclosure. The loudspeaker also produces a wide range of frequencies, creating tremendous amplitudes of resonance that travels through the airspace.

All energy seeks the earth’s ground via the path of least resistance.

This is a basic rule of physics.

Air-borne resonance too reacts and travels to conductive materials which may act as a ground. This energy is actually misdirected into what we describe as a false or secondary grounding plane. These secondary planes often consist of equipment racking and shelving, electronic component chassis, and/or loudspeakers steel speaker framework and their respective enclosures.

Resonance Conductive Metals such as steel, aluminum, brass, silver, and copper provide both active and passive conduits for which this air-borne resonance along with mechanical and electrical resonance constantly pursues. These conduits attract all resonance like a magnet. The result is additional vibrations are inherited into the system which creates additional inefficiencies throughout all signal pathways.

Electronic components and loudspeakers are largely made up of these conductive materials; thus, air-borne resonance consistently bombards your equipment’s chassis, not just the support platforms.

If you move the electronic components into another room and onto a separate grounding plane, you may think you have isolated them, however, loudspeakers cannot isolate from themselves as well as the ‘wire conduits’ connecting them to your components. Air-borne resonance will always be a part of the performance of your equipment.

We state: When analyzing resonance (mechanical, electrical, and air-borne), the Air-Borne Resonance is the greatest detriment during sound, music, and video reproduction. Air-borne resonance appears to be the least understood or researched aspect with regard to vibration. Minimal documented research exists concerning this topic.

For this reason alone, we at Soundstage Audio do not recognize the term “isolation” as a defining factor or valid functional solution to related electronic and/or acoustical problems caused by all types of vibrations.

We have always realized that whoever achieves the greater understanding, handling, and management of this air-borne factor will have a tremendous advantage to design and would construct a host of musical and visual products that stood out among the rest.

ABSORPTION:

We agree that the absorption method is and always has been a treatment for resonance – yet we disagree with the positive listening values related to the musical performance that one would experience when applying this methodology to loudspeakers, equipment racks, and/or electronic components.

For years we were educated by Industry’s finest that another and possibly a more dominant way to completely control vibration was to absorb the vibrations, damping them, thus destroying the ill effects and inefficiencies caused by resonance.

Our initial conversations with audiophiles usually lead to one of our first questions asked, which is “what are you searching for with your system design?”

The replies always point towards “creating the dynamic musical reproduction and soundstage associated with the live performance” while positioned in one’s listening room and/or home theater.

Absorptive materials such as sand, lead, rubber, and certain stones will kill vibration.

Absorptive materials also kill or absorb the live dynamics and harmonic structures as well.

Maybe you have experienced the terms make the shelf dead or a loudspeaker should have the density of concrete. One undeniable truth about physics is that if you kill or completely dissipate energy, once dead you can never bring it back into existence.

In music reproduction, when the fragile live dynamic is lost, within any portion of your system’s performance, you may never realize the potential of attaining a greater sound quality.

One step further, you can research the complete history of musical instruments. These inventions are vital to the creation of music and live performances. We ask are there any made of lead, sand, rubber, or stone? Makes one wonder how absorption was ever included in the use and study of electronic musical reproduction.

Absorption will change the sound and musical character of your system. Most listeners immediately assume this is good for your listening experience. However, we ask when you first apply absorptive materials to your system, did you have to go to the volume control and turn up the volume attempting to climb back to the previous level of excitement?

Listen again carefully to the high frequencies and ask yourself are they still present and as brilliant and textured in sound quality? The human ear in the 10kHz to 16 kHz ranges will immediately notice when live dynamics are lost. 

For many, absorption has always been the answer and the only way to handle detrimental resonance. For us at Soundstage Audio, there had to be a more precise method to managing the resonance yet maintaining and/or increasing the levels of the live dynamics.

RESONANCE TRANSFER:

Live-Vibe Technology™ by Soundstage Audio, LLC is a technical approach to vibration management that neither isolate nor primarily absorbs resonance.

The technology is based on the conclusion that unwanted vibration itself, as related to the effects of Coulomb Friction, yields severe product operational inefficiencies on a mechanical and electrical level.

The primary reason for dynamic response reduction and inaccuracy is found in Coulomb’s law. This problem manifests itself in almost all industry-related applications and causes measurable components or machines inefficiencies.

“Our research on the effects of Coulomb Friction, with regards to the mechanical and electrical aspects of numerous audio-related components, has also been focused on increasing system performance and reduction of dynamic loss without the unnecessary side effects of isolation and absorption techniques.” Todd Zimmer, Soundstage Audio Mechanical Engineer.

Historically, this industry has always tried to stop or eliminate unwanted vibration.

“Attempting to stop or eliminate a naturally occurring physical effect most definitely will compromise the desired result and prevent the said state from being attained. In other words, you will always create inefficiencies.” Attorney David Roberts, Soundstage Audio Materials Science Engineer

In acoustics and sound reproduction, the trade-off from employing isolation or absorption is an extreme loss of dynamics. In commercial applications, when one tries to reduce vibration or the noise associated with operating machinery on large motors and transformers through isolation and/or absorption techniques, the trade-off is the equipment becomes inefficient. The fuel load increases as the device is now working harder to achieve the results based on paper. 

Our application of physics is to let the vibrations take place. The electronic component will vibrate as the loudspeaker too so why not let the resonance form up, then transfer it out and away from the system?

By placing a vibrating conductor made from brass, copper, steel, aluminum under the vibrating instrument, component, or loudspeaker then applying geometrical designs that direct the resonance through the conductive materials to the earth’s ground with extremely limited back-feeding effects you create greater operational efficiencies in a vibrating product functioning in a vibrating environment.

The Audio Points, Soundstage Audio Platforms, and the Energy Rooms do just that. They literally are vibrating thousands of times faster than that of the component and/or loudspeaker. The amplitudes of detrimental resonance formed are rapidly transferred to the ground or the greater mass hence the live dynamic remains within the instrument as the detrimental effects based on Coulomb Friction are removed and the musical performance flourishes.

Test Resonance Transfer in your system and achieve your own proof of function. 

If it vibrates – let it!

Feel free to telephone us and we will be happy to answer All of your questions.

The Proving Grounds ©2013 Soundstage Audio, LLC

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