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Damping Mechanical Energy Distortion of STAX and other phones with SORBOTHANE and other materials.

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  1. aroldan
    I applied some pieces (8 per cup) of sorb on my HE500 and the improvement is subtle but noticeable. But the most impacting change was on my ATH-ES700. I put 4 little squares per cup and also changed the inner fiber glass pad with melamine foam. They are in another league now. Will try the sorb in my Bose QC20 and will report the result.
    Thank you for pointing this out.
  2. edstrelow Contributor
    Apply it to the underside of the plastic portion of the headband (not the cloth portion) and you should notice some improvement. Use as much as you can on the headband.   The problem with the Lambdas is that there is virtually no place to put damping material without opening the earcups.  I would still say that the best result requires the placing of sorbthane inside the earcup on the baffle.  30 D should work although recently I am finding 70 D is better. Still it will get you started and if you like what you hear you can decide how much more you want to do.  These are some pics of one of taking apart my Lambdas
    . 102_3314.jpg
    I use shorter pieces of sorb these days. 
  3. richard51
     the battery charger is under the first granite plate with sorb under his feet and sorb under the top  plate.
    The last thing i sorbothanize, ( the result was incredibly surprizing for me), is the battery charger for my dac bushmaster with pressure apply under a granite plate, my 12th use of sorbothane in my system and the last....I know that seems too much incredible, impossible, and without proper scientific explanation....But the sound improve much for another time in my speakers and not less spectacularly into  my Stax lambda that i listen to exactly now  , (after 48 hours ago the sorbothanization of the hifimediy optical  convertor and isolator from my computer, and after the little Stax power supply),and the effect was immediately audible....Clarity upgrade+ incredible 3-d presence  ! And i dont know why the effect on imaging was so spectacular, perhaps because it was the last source of noise vibration...If someone have said that to me i would not have take that seriously, what in the hell make noise and vibration from a battery charger ? But It is the first time that i hear the ethereal imaging of my Monsoon planars speakers at last... For sure imaging is a subtle phenomenon, constructed by  adding  and collecting little bit of acoustic informations from the speakers by the ears in the virtual  sound space of the brain,  only a little fog of noise destruct the pinpoint accuracy of the position and destruct the additive  and positive resonance that construct the natural and  musical timbre of instrument ...
    Conclusion : ALL and EACH ONE piece of gear +sorbothane counts in the end result...
    Compression of the sorb., if possible, give the best results...
    Now i have nothing, absolutely nothing left to sorbothanize...
    Thanks god! and some others  here... [​IMG] 
    UPDATE : After 7 hours of listening straight with the  Monsoon speakers and Stax lambda, i am totally perplexed and amazed...what is the rational scientific reason for this ? Is it the sorbothanization with 2 little pieces press on  the isolator with metal paper clip? or with 2 others little pieces of Sorb. press on  the optical convertor yesterday? it seems impossible to have a so huge improvement with only that...Is it the last application of sorbothane on the battery charger today? it seems more implausible to me ... BUT the fact is :there is  3-d sound this time truly there more than ever, with perfect imaging....more natural instrumental timbre and voice like real voice ...I am so happy...BUT if someone had  an explanation i will wait for it....[​IMG] 
  4. edstrelow Contributor
     This doesn't surprise me at all. Transformers tend to generate audible hum. I once had a fairly expensive power amp that was so noisy I put it in a closet. Such hum has the potential to create microphonics.  
       "Microphonics or microphony describes the phenomenon wherein certain components in electronic devices transform mechanical vibrations into an undesired electrical signal (noise). The term     comes from analogy with a microphone, which is intentionally designed to convert vibrations to electrical signals."       See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microphonics .
    Reducing  microphonics would be one of the main benefits of putting the widely available sorbothane footers under equipment such as amplifiers. Years ago I read that Naim used pieces of sorb on their circuit boards and I was told by one of the  Schitt engineers that they do the same.  You may recall that  found that my Stax SRD6, which is mains operated,  needed a lot of sorb damping to sound good.
  5. edstrelow Contributor
    Continuing comparisons of different damping materials, this time I compared .25 inch thick sorbothane with .10 thick sorbothane. Both were self-stick and 70 duro density.  Again I simply applied the different materials  to the two sets of  metal covers I have for my Stax SRXIII pro's and swapped these around.   I applied 2 3- inch strips of each material cut into a total of 8  pieces  on each earcup.
     After listening to the two  over a period of 6 days,  I definitely prefer the sound of the .25 inch sorb. It does more of the good things that sorb tends to do, improves dynamics, instrument separation and reduces harshness more so than the .10 inch sorb.
    Note that while the .25 covers have 2.5 times as much sorbothane on them the footprint of the sorb on the covers is the same.
    So in this instance it looks like the more sorb, the merrier the sound. However I have not always found that to be true. For example,  I reduced the number pieces of sorb in the earcups of the Stax Sigmas because the bass was getting boomy.  However, here was no sign of boominess with the thicker sorb on the SRXIII.  If anything the bass was tighter and better controlled whereas the bass with the thinner sorb seemed a bit flabby/imprecise. 
     The Sigmas do have midbass boom. However adding sorb to the Sigma  headband seems to have reduced that problem. 
    I just got some bluetack in the mail. Time to make a comparison of sorb with a different material.
    DangerClose and richard51 like this.
  6. richard51

    Yes i remember when you suggest that... It made no surprize for me after i put sorb on my energizer, and after that on my Little Stax psu following your footsteps ... But today i put sorb. on a battery charger and the upgrade in sound was huge....  After these many change and this last in the  last 24 hours, come what i was missing not knowing it, because i ever never  hear that before: the aura of the sound that make the sound a natural 3 d object with realistic timbre, especially in my speakers but in the headphone  also...
    Is a battery charger also inducing microphonics like a transformer? it seems that it is the case for my ears...[​IMG]
    One thing is evident for me, all 12 sorbothane applications give something more and the last transform my system in real marvel for me.... I am glad that the sadness of loosing my SR-5 , move me to try some new sob. application to give me solace, beginning with the sorbothanization of the headband of the Lambda....[​IMG] 
  7. edstrelow Contributor
    I don't understand how your system is linked together.  Is the battery charger not actually running anything in the system like an amp or a DAC?  If so you would seem to be saying that the battery charges better if the power supply is damped.  This could mean that the battery is charging to a higher voltage, 
  8. richard51

    My battery power bank and  charger is linked to my dac and drive it instead of a noisy power supply and my surprize is that even the battery is noisy, less than a power supply for sure but noisy also in the end....i only say that after all my application of sorb. : on the psu of the srm 252s stax amp, on the dac, on the amp, on the isolator, on the optical convertor, , on the stax headphones, on the energizer stax, on the speakers,on the subwoofer, on the computer, the last application was on the battery of the dac and ,last but not least, make a great contribution to the quality of sound in my headphone and in my speakers...
    I talk about that not to suggest to anyone to begin the  first application of sorbothane with the battery charger and power bank for a dac, probably if i have applied sorbothane to the battery of my dac in the first place, in the ocean of noise vibration in all the other pieces of gear without sorb. probably only this sorb. mod would not has been very audible in the first place ....  BUt This last application is very  evidently audible when you have sorbothanize all the rest before that....this is my point.... we must apply sorb on all the gear  for a cumulative improvement and a noise destruction effect .... Headphone is the most spectacular improvement for sure, after that speakers, amp, etc but at the end any pieces of gear count in the final result [​IMG]  My system now is so good that this would not have been possible without sorb. and not possible to have  it with only a  new better amp, at any price...Noisy resonance and vibrations is the worst enemy of audio ....If i remember i read this point in your mouth here in the beginning and you have been so damn right ! thanks [​IMG] 
    p.s. by the way i apologize to you and  to all for my convoluted and bad english style...
  9. soren_brix
    Why not use a vice or some clamps for easy adjustable pressure?
  10. richard51

    i have use what i have and paper metal clip do the job for me.... you can use whatever will do the job.... the point is for me a little pressure is better than just gluing it if possible, for example on the headband...[​IMG] 
    If you discover something better, give me the adress to order please ....thanks 
  11. soren_brix
    was actually referring to your many use of granit ... if clamping the amp you can control the pressure and maybe squeeze more sound improvement from  the amp - not sure a paper clip will do equally well though
  12. richard51

    i use the plate of granite ( a little more than 4 pound) for stability and the result for my ear was better than the instable method of  putting  the sorb under the feet of the heavy sub and under the heavy amp.... For my dac , very light weigh , and stax amp, the battery of my dac also , they weigh nothing and it is better to compress a little the sorb with this granite plate....[​IMG] the paper clip is not ideal, it is a way to tight it in place, and this is better than the glue alone...I will gladly put other means with adjustable pressurization clamp if i had one...For the moment the paper clip are very good to my ears on the headband, and on my little isolator and on my little optical convertor.......
    For the last 48 hours i had a realistic musical experience with all that for the first time  in my speakers and headphone, without any negative effect, and a total 3 d effect in the speakers and headphone with natural timbre for voice and instrument...It is no more about high frequencies, bass frequencies or mids separetely perceived and analyzed , it is only pure musical integrated bliss  for my ears  and for a ridiculous cost... The global and final effect is more than anything i have experience....[​IMG] 
    Before that i had only one thought  : to scrap my not so good system for an upgrade one (in the 5 or 6 thousand dollars figure) Now i dont say that this new system i dream of would not be better than my actual one but i dont have the desire to upgrade... The one i have +sorb. was so good that i can wait years to spend more.... When i will buy something new i will apply sorbothane  for sure on it....For example i will not use a tube amp without sorbothane now...[​IMG]
  13. wink
    Has anyone tried a Faraday cage...?
  14. edstrelow Contributor
    Is this better than a tinfoil hat?
  15. edstrelow Contributor
    I have spent a few days with blutack and can say that it definitely provides some damping of my Stax SRXIII pro.  However it is not as effective as the 1/4 inch 70 duro sorbothane. 
    As before, I took two 3-inch strips of bluetack, cut these into 8 sections/earcup  and trimmed these  to fit on the exposed metal portion of the cover of the SRXIII. I had to squeeze the bluetack a bit so that it did not end up on the plastic portion ( simply because I was not applying damping material to the plastic portion in the other comparisons.)  I would say I was using a greater volume of bluetack than the previous 1/0 inch sorbothane, but slightly less than the 1/4 inch sorb. 
    I was having some trouble deciding what it sounded like so I took the covers from my third SRXIII low bias for an additional comparison condition, of no damping material.
    The SRXIII pro sounded pretty good even with no damping, although possibly because they are very old, they seem to take a long time to properly warm up. . Probably the most striking effect of eliminating the sorb is that the soundfield collapses to the center, i.e. it does not seem to occupy as wide a region as when damped.  The bluetack did  improve the soundstage.  It also gave some of the increased dynamics and separation of instruments that you get with sorb although it was to a lesser degree than with the 1/4 inch 70 duro sorb. Nor did it give the same sparkle to the highs that sorbothane gives.  The SRXIII is a somewhat harsh sounding phone, but with the 1/4 inch 70 duro, I could virtually forget this.  For example triangles have  a beautiful ring to them.  The bluetack made the tenor and baritone duet from Verdi's Don Carlos sound harsh on the high notes whereas the sound was cleaner with the sorb. 
    Overall, I would say, if all you have is bluetack, then use it but you can do better. Of course bluetack is not designed as a damping material, rather it is an adhesive. It is also somewhat sticky and you would probably only apply it inside the earcups whereas sorbothane can be applied anywhere  without sticking to your fingers.  However I could imagine some special applications where sorb would not work, for example if you had a loose cable in the earcup,  you could use bluetack to hold it in place and get some damping at the same time.  Some years back Spritzer recommended bluetack to plug the vent in the SR007 to get better bass. If you used enough bluetack you would get some damping too. (BTW I did not find that plugging the port was good mod because the bass became unbearably boomy.)
    The phones and the extra covers are shown in the picture which I will post when the site is working properly.
    richard51 likes this.
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