Vibration magic: DIY seismic filtering saga

I’ve been experimenting with DIY methods of ‘ungagging‘ my music system equipment by treating micro-vibration.

This all started when I saw this ….”MagicHexa™ improves your audio and visual system’s performance by eliminating vibrations on micro and macro levels. Just place them underneath your hi-fi and home theatre gear. You will experience dramatically increased transparency, dynamic range, imaging and sound stage.”

These Agora Acoustics MagicHexa honeycomb plastic pieces, from South Korea, are offered for AU$14.85 each. I’ve already been experimenting with Barry Diament’s idea of using steel balls to isolate from micro-vibration.

I found 50 x 8 mm vibration isolation pads at RS Components for less than NZ$5 each. These are Nitrile rubber, which is commonly used for such applications. 3M Bumpons – the hemisphere version – also exhibit sound damping, energy absorption, and heat dissipation, due to the composition and small contact area. I’m now looking for Nitrile rubber mouldings that will hold a 1/2″ steel ball – and are not sold for “audiophile” use!Barry suggests Pine castor cups to retain and support the balls.These $1 toilet seat buffers are worth a try. This is no April Fools joke. If the rubber is flexible and strong, they should do a good job of holding the ball in position for a good small area contact support, whilst absorbing vibration.

Watch this space!Update: much research has revealed that the steel balls need to sit on a hard low-friction concave surface, for vibration-absorbing self-centring.Metal door pulls/knobs and hard ear plugs (as used by body piercers) are suitable. Crucial is the concave top surface.I found some 23mm concave plastic buttons (with concealed rear hole) that I’ve mounted on the wood coasters using Blue Tack in a 2-3mm countersink. Fiddly to place under a component, it remains to be heard if this is effective.Barry Diament advises that soft rubbers don’t work in the right vibration frequencies. That rules out small castor cups, unless wooden or metal, and they must be concave. I can’t find such locally.I’m going to investigate drawer pulls next. These would be strong enough for use under loudspeakers.1 3/4″ castor cups also serve well to contain a steel ball or glass marble. This creates a horizontal/rotational siesmic filter. A Slipstick brand CB605 has a concave hard surface capable of bearing 500 lbs. Checking to see if available locally.

Update: I found a local seller – the Slipstick cups are $20 for 4. Fortuitously, I found four unused in an opshop for $4. Now it’s obvious that a larger ball is needed with these.I also found the very expensive Symposium Rollerblocks that Barry Diament’s Hip Joints are modelled on. are Hip Joints …

I’m considering asking a local CNC shop for a quote to fabricate a set for me.In the meantime, Ikonic cabinet knobs @ $3 each are proving very suitable. I’ve mounted each on an Acacia coaster ($1.50 each from K-Mart) with a 1/5″ steel ball ($1 each).

Smaller castor cups would be better for the ‘upper’ inverted holder. Mitre 10 has them for about $3.50 each. These would sit under the component to couple the ball to the underside of the chassis, as per the third photo above. Suitable ball size needs checking. Or I could spend US$1300 on these devices.

Update: I’ve settled on the cabinet pulls on coasters, with steel balls.

I found clear glass (crystal) sphere square dimple blocks for US$1 each from China through eBay.

Also called crystal ball (or egg) stand, in glass, Perspex, or wood – about NZ$3 each:

This one is wood:

Now I realise these are what Barry Diament meant by egg cups.

Hardwood ball stands:

Next, the 28 kg speakers are going to sit on three larger Carbon Chromium Steel balls (28.5mm, $11 each from a local industrial bearings supplier) in the Slipstick castor cups (for pianos), instead of on four spikes. £25 per 3.

This has gone very well. The speakers are stable and can move a little, always returning to the still point. I checked with a digital spirit level and they are within 0.2-0.3 degree level in both horizontal axes. I am sure that the sound has opened up, being livelier and cleaner. And the deep bass is stronger and clearer. I set out on this journey in search of “dramatically increased transparency, dynamic range, imaging and sound stage”. I have now arrived! My music reproduction is ungagged.

Update: Further investigation turned up ‘”ball feet” from Avator Audio, Poland.

From their website:

Ball Feet are one of the most active anti-vibration accessories and, what is more, one of the cheapest. They are incomparably better than hard spikes, spring feet and soft rubber or sorbothane pads, improving the operation of each element of the path: the electronics, speakers and even power distributor.

The Receptor Foot No.2 consists of two equal discs (base and lid) and a ball. The Foot No.1, 3 and 4 hasn’t the second disc (lid). The metal lid weakens anti-vibration performance of the foot, so is best to place the equipment directly on balls.

Discs are made of aluminum (No.3 and 4) or our company’s material (No.1 and 2). Balls are made of ceramic (No.4) or exotic wood.”

Prices €47-92 per set of 3.

I wonder what the unidentified ‘company’s material’ could be.

Here‘s an Aluminium cup and ceramic ball version from the UK (£80) per 3.

There’s a comparison of isolation device products here.

Some more ball feet products:

And more here.

I note there there’s two kinds: those that can roll about a still point in a cup, and static balls. Energy will be dissipated in the moveable balls, whilst immobile balls can only isolate (or do they couple?).

Also found Aurios micro-vibration isolation at US$299 + $50


I’m sticking with DIY/repurposed!


Update 12/05/19: Now I’m tackling vertical axis vibrational movement with Barry Diament’s inner tube method and also with Dux Qwik Cap 50mm and squash ball. Each supports a board on which the rolling ball isolators are placed.

12″ bike tube + cutting board
Qwik Cap + squash ball

The tube cost NZ$6. The Qwik cap and squash ball cost NZ$18. The Rubberwood chopping board cost NZ$19.

I’ve refined my cabinet pull assembly too.

Neater cabinet pull rolling ball supports

I’ve also been auditioning Equipment Vibration Protection pads from RoomService in the USA @ US$39 each. My review will be published at TNT-Audio soon. They’re very effective.

2″ EVPs

Update: 27/01/20

I’ve been trying out some ‘audio grade’ Sorbothane, and looking into damped compression springs as vibration isolators. Also Barry mounts are used in aircraft and ships to isolate instruments, and are very cheap from military equipment surplus dealers.

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