On the face of it a pretty prosaic topic. Why does it matter what the components sit on?
Most audiophiles know something about “microphony”, that equipment can be affected by vibration from the floor. But don’t the manufacturers’ rubber feet provide isolation?Well, actually they don’t at all frequencies and anyway isolation is only part of the story for equipment to work well and deliver its potential.
If you then experiment with cones of different materials under the equipment – steel, brass, wood, ceramic – they all sound different. Are any right?! And, of course, glass shelves in a rack sound … glassy, adding a hard edge to the sound.
It’s a recipe for deep uncertainty and long-term misery if you experiment mixing and matching the sounds of components unless you first lay a neutral foundation that doesn’t impose its character. Imagine trying to choose a room colour scheme when you’re wearing tinted glasses.
Vibration and microphony
The big problem is that equipment generates its own vibration – internally. Villains are power transformers and loudspeakers that distribute vibration effectively throughout the system via the metal connecting cables. So, isolating components the traditional way, just from floor vibration, actually traps system-generated vibration inside the components where it does a lot of damage because it can’t escape.
What we really need is the right combination of draining energy from the components and also isolating them from external sources of vibration.
The Zenith supports from Quiescent are amazingly effective at both isolating and also draining energy from component casework into their own internal labyrinths where the energy is dissipated. We strongly advise their use under any source components – turntables, CD players, streamers – and especially the preamp, at the heart of the system. After that look at any power supplies and microphonic valve equipment.
We think of standard feet as suitable for nothing more than protecting the furniture.