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

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  1. richard51
    i definitively  give my favor and recommend  the method of complete covering with sorb.  (70 duro)of the headband of the stax lambda, 6 pieces on a side, six other pieces on the other side... All is better [​IMG]...
  2. edstrelow Contributor
    A la richard51,  I tried  a simple trick on my Stax SRXIII pro to compress the pieces of 70 duro 1/4 inch sorbothane which I previously applied to these phones.   I have been applying different damping materials to  my extra covers for these phones, which I then can easily switch around for comparison.
    I was in the process of comparing the effectiveness of the self-stick adhesive, which comes with some sorbothane,  versus superglue. As I was holding the superglued pieces in place with an elastic band, I thought I should  use elastic  bands on the  set-up using 70 duro 1/4 inch sel-stick sorbothane.  So I did and quite liked the sound, it came across as  more refined, with possibly a cleaner bass line. 
    It seems to me that there are 2 factors here, 1)compression of the sorbothane and 2)forcing the sorb to make a tighter contact with the surface it is on. The latter I would think might make the sorb damping more effective.  But both are probably happening when you compress the sorb this way. Anyway, I may be able to test the contact hypothesis separately from compression tomorrow after the superglue sorb sets. 
    richard51 likes this.
  3. richard51
    It seems that sorbothane mod. ask for experimentations....My last try was i  think so, the very last, but no, it was'nt... With the remnant of sorb. i have (30 duro, 40 duro 70 duro pieces But i plan to try only 70 duro when i have it) i decided to put the last  pieces glued under my amplifier Sansui , already sitting with his 4 feet on 4 pieces of sorb. and with granite plate with sorb between them ....It seems that the amplifier was asking to be mod.[​IMG]
    With these pieces ,about 12 pieces of varied duro, the result was in the same direction than before: better imaging, better tonality, better timbre, audible in the Monsoon  speakers, and in my Stax.... I know for sure now that all pieces , like amp and dac, must be directly sorb, non only under their feet, but directly with more   amp-surface/sob.surface ratio... I will experiment in the week to come with a method to compress the sorb under the amp for probably better results to come...[​IMG] 
  4. edstrelow Contributor
    You probably don't want to use superglue to fasten sorbothane.  I have just finished 3 days of listening to the Stax SRXIII pro damped with pieces of 70 duro sorbothane on the covers, fastened by superglue.  On the other set of covers the sorb is fastened using the self-stick provided by Sorbothane.  I fastened  the sorb by applying superglue to the the side of the sorb that did not have the self-stick.
     I first listened with the superglued covers  about an hour after the gluing and immediately felt the sound was harsh and tinny  in the midrange.  After several days, the overall sound improved but the tinniness remained and the soundstage seemed narrower. On the plus side, the bass seemed more impactfull and possibly deeper. It should be noted that the SRX has a somewhat limited deep bass.
    On balance I am not planning on using superglue as a fastening agent. However it may be worth someone's while to experiment further, possibly if you need better bass.  
    I had expected better results from superglue, thinking that it would create a better fastening of the sorb to the metal covers and that this would translate to more effective damping.   However as with many things in the real world, intuitions can be wrong.   Does this mean that better grip of sorb to its underlying substance  is unimportant?  Not necessarily, since superglue forms a sort of crust and possibly this is acting as a barrier, preventing some energy getting to the sorb.   
    So for the moment at least I have no evidence that a strong glue like superglue is better than the self-stick often supplied by Sorbothane.  (Actually the self-stick turns out to be very thin double sided tape. )
    As regards the issue which has come up recently regarding the effect of compressing sorb, this evidence at least suggests that the reason compression may help is because of the compression itself, not because it pushes the sorb into better contact with the surface it is glued to.   However, I don't think this is a strong conclusion, given the "crust" issue.  In other words there may bet a better glue than the sorb self-stick and superglue which doesn't form a crust.  And this might still sound better.
    richard51 likes this.
  5. Hutnicks

    Shoo Goo http://eclecticproducts.com/products/shoe-goo.html
  6. edstrelow Contributor
  7. Hutnicks

    Yup. On a pair of earbuds. I have used it for years in other applications as well.
  8. richard51
     Compression of the sorbothane ,if possible was for me the golden key that open the sorb. mod potential ... Sometimes the evidence is slowly assimilated in our spirit... this morning i put on top of my Sansui amplifier 2 bricks of 5 pound with 12 little pieces of sorb. under them , and on top of my dac,and stax amp, battery station and charger, that were all  on top of one another already with granite plate in between, and sorbothane in between also,  2 other bricks , and guest what? the sound impove a notch with this supplementary compression, the timbre and tonality more naturally so, the sound of  a string orchestra does not  lie, neither the round voice of a sax  ! And the astonishment , when you hear subtle sound that where unknown on an old cd of yours  ....And  all that was immediately audible in my speakers and now in my headphone also ... The conclusion was clear for me for sometime already, but now it is an evidence, sorbothane must be compressed if possible....[​IMG] Not enough  compression on the sorb. or too much compression , had the same destructive effect on the natural timbre of instrument and voice particularly in the mids frequencies ...
    By the way it is difficult to convince someone who have a many thousand dollars  amplifier, for him the better in the world, or dac  with tube or not, to put 10 dollars sorb and 2 bricks on the top , and promise him that  this will be the upgrade of his life , better than a thousand dollars cable probably...Hence , experimenting with sorbothane is a promising exploration  if you have  begin to realize the plague that limit all audio gear :vibrations and destructive resonance...[​IMG] 
    I wait now to replace all my sorb or a great ratio of them by 70 duro  pieces only or  with a mixing of different duro to experiment , that will probably be a little better...I already have on my satellite speakers and headphone, 70 duro, with great satisfaction and improvement...thanks to Edstrelow  first experiment...
    UPDATE: The 13 elements in my chain gear are sorbothanized, the cumulative effect is so great, that i can hear a modification like applying different sorb. duro or thickness on the  half  part of my amplifier and pre. Sansui very clearly...the effect is like changing a tube on my past amp. it is possible with the sorbothane to tweak the sound to your liking, but you must put sorb. on all your gear....
    SECOND UPDATE : this cumulative effect, i experience it first hand this evening : i replace the sorb 70 duro 1/10 inches under the feet of my Sansui amp by 70 duro sorb. but 1/4 inches and in the same time put two paper clip to compress the  2 pieces  of sorb. 70 duro, on each side of the stax headband that, unlike the others pieces, were remaining only glued to this day...Guess what: i dont know what is the most important change between these two modifications but the 3-d effect and the better imaging comes surprizingly to my astonished ears... Why so little change were so astounding is clear: CUMULATIVE effect of sorbothane all along my chain gear, any change now is more precise and easy to judge.... My lambda and speakers are endgame now practically for me....what a journey! thanks to ed and all of you...[​IMG] 
  9. edstrelow Contributor

    I must try this. The 3M 80 which was recommended for use with the non-self stick sorbothane is not holding well on some surfaces, notably my speakers. And of course I want to test its sound on the SRXIII.
  10. Hutnicks

    Just make sure the sorbo is clean. This stuff will glue water together if you try it[​IMG]  A little goes a long way.
    nick n likes this.
  11. edstrelow Contributor
    I have been enjoying the heck out of my newly modded Stax LNS. The experiments I did recently comparing different damping materials have paid off in spades. All I have done is replace 1/4 inch 30 duro sorbothane on the baffle plates and headband with 1/4 inch 70 duro and the improvement is amazing. The LNS have gone from being my fourth or fifth best phone to being number one.

    Probably the most striking improvement was the sheer amount of musical detail these phones give. I am hearing instruments I never knew were there and interperative inflections in performances that I had never heard. I am getting a wide spatial field with instruments precisely located in space. Just listening to.multiple simulattaneous passages is a trendous kick. Everything is detailed and dynamic across the frequency spectrum with no harshness in the treble, loss of bass or bass boominess. It is very hard to put them down and get onto working with my other phones.

    Years ago I had noted that these phones, while very nice, had a somewhat nasal sound and a definite tizziness in the treble. That is no longer a problem. However it is still my impression that sorbing does not change the frequency response of a phone, but maybe that is not correct.

    Again damping the headband is having a big impact, not as much as damping the baffles but if you don't do it you will definitely miss a significant amount of performance. Again I thank richard51 for pointing out the importance of this aspect of damping. If anyone out there wants to try sorbing a Lambda and doesn't want to open them up to put sorb on the baffle, that may be a good place to start, but you are only going to get about 20% of the benefit of full damping including the baffles.



    One caution I will mention is that it seemed that when I put the sorb right up against the edge of the drivers I was getting a short circuit. I ended up reinstalling the sorb keeping a mm or 2 of space and that stopped. My guess is that I was getting a leakage of the bias. While putting damping right next to the driver would seem like a good way to stop vibrations at the source, this is not such a good idea if it leads to a short.
  12. bnsb
    Truly baffling, to say the least [​IMG]
    edstrelow likes this.
  13. richard51

    Thanks Ed .... very interesting like always....i think that  damping the headband is more effective if you compress the sorb....Perhaps for those like me that dont want to mess with the interior baffles my method is not so less effective than sorbing the interior  near the drivers... I had put 8 paper clips that press on 32 pieces of sorbothane duro 70 , 16 pieces 1/10 inches on top of the headband, 16  pieces1/4 inches under the headband, the result is astonishing, my stax are natural timbre sounding, so astonishing in fact that i dont want to open it, and perhaps i am wrong for that,[​IMG].... 
    by the way i had bought a new power conditioner : panamax 4300 ex, and sorbothane rightly compressed  with load on top of the panamax, deliver astounding  results, (with each pieces of sorb securely stable under the feet ,and remember that  duro 70 is always better with compression than duro 50 even under the feet of the gear, less bassy and more crystal clarity even in the bass ), and like i already said, sorbothane in all pieces of gear is for me very impressive in the end, i feel that each link in the chain + sorb add something more, and if i suppress the sorb. on one link the repercussion in my ears are immediately sensible, hence sorb.clean all negative resonance, i dont understand why this is so effective, but it is... ....Thanks for your thread edstrelow....[​IMG] 
    My lambda nova basic :
    NOTE :
    i wait for my Mission speakers Volare v 60, and i will sorbothanize them with 70 duro pieces around the 2 membranes and wish for great results... i have bought also a new Stax SR-5, the gold model this time with thin black cable, and will put 70 duro pieces on it... i will report here... thanks to all
  14. richard51
    The Mission volare v 60 speakers are here with me for the last 3 days.... in the beginning i was not very pleased by the sound even with sorbothane in comparison with my Monsoon ... But i have put too much sorbothane in the end that is the reason why...
    Putting the sorb. is a delicate operation, in general ,thanks to edstrelow, duro 70 is better for audio, but where should  i put it on a speakers and what  about the number of pieces?
    For the Mission speakers the solution is 2 pieces between the bass membrane and the tweeter membrane, the sorbothane intercept and absorb  the negative resonance and the sound is suddenly gorgeous with an imaging clarity on par with my Monsoon planars but with more body to the sound and more natural timbre and mids so musical they remember me of my Stax sr-5........ I am in love with them now...In the beginning i have put too much sorbothane (6 pieces near the 2 membranes)... Lesson are learn with experiment... The mission are now as good as my Stax headphone, with an equilibrium between bass,mids, and highs, the bass are not too much  less  in comparison with the sub  of the Monsoon and these Mission are only 2 way speakers... ...Now i prefer them to my beloved  Monsoon, but the sound of these 2 is so different, i will keep the 2 systems...[​IMG] incredible power of sorb. mod to optimize the sound of every piece of my gear...
    UPDATE i have put a heavy load on top of the speakers (30 pounds on top of many pieces of sorb. and that make a great deal with the soundstage, compression of the sorbothane  where it is possible always made a huge difference ) and with 5 pieces of sorb duro 70 directly under the speakers...A great improvement is the 2 little pieces on this photo...i add another one 70 duro but only 1/10 inches thick  on the top of the bass membrane not visible on the photo, with great success...
  15. edstrelow Contributor
    I have been sorbing my two main speaker set-ups for some time now and this gives a big boost in clarity even though the big Polks are spiked and the smaller Spicas are fastened directly to the wall. The ideal would be to sorb the insides of the speakers, but I have no intention of opening them up. I have had good luck with sorb on the speaker front but yours look too fancy to want to glue sorb to the woof veneer. Mine do not have that type of veneer and are then covered by grills so you would not know what I have done by looking. The main problem I have had sorbing speakers is finding the right glue. The 3M 80 does not always set properly and I have had some pieces come off. I must see how shoe-goo works. Are you using self-stick?

    I went to the San Francisco area for the college graduation of my youngest daughter, which was quit nice but I had just modded my Stax Lambda 404 with 1/4 inch 70 duro sorb and was going through withdrawal symptoms. On coming back, the 404's are glorious. You really have to try sorbing the inside baffle of your lambdas.
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