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

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  1. richard51

    yes Ed my sorb duro 70 are self stick....i dont give a damn for the veneer, i put sorb on it under some load of bricks [​IMG]
    I trust you completely for your advise to sorb  the inside baffle of my lambda....BUT now with my headband completely sorb with 8 paper clips for compression and 32 pieces of sorb duro 70 half 1/10 inches, the other half, 1/4 inches, the sound and imaging, and soundstage are so good that.... i cannot imagine that this would be better...  I will  try  it after the sorbing of my new SR-5 gold coming in the next few days...congratulations for your daughter  graduation...thanks for all ...[​IMG]
  2. edstrelow Contributor

    Thanks, you would probably appreciate the fact that she did a double major in philosophy and religious studies at Berkeley which most people don't realize is named after the philosopher and theologian, George Berkeley.

    Getting back to Lambdas, the newly remodded 404 sounds very much like the remodded LNS. Tonally though the 404 is warmer with more upper midrange. Curiously while I preferred the 404 to the LNS, even with its previous mods, I have a slight prerence now for the LNS
    richard51 likes this.
  3. richard51
    I must say that this evening after 4 days of experimentation...The Mission volare v 60 reveal himself to me their essence... what a great deal ! BUT without sorbothane they are not equal to my Monsoon and they  lack clarity.... With 30 pounds of load on top of  each speakers with the sorbothane then compressed  they are world class speakers and crush my Monsoon...Imaging, clarity with body sound...They are on par with  my  Stax Lambda....Not bad for a 75 dollars purchase....Sorbothane is real panacea to poor audiophile...Not so poor audiophile hate to spoil a pricier gear with ugly sorbothane...[​IMG] The day i read this thread is great day in my life, it  save me a ton of money and give me audiophile experience and ecstasy....thanks Ed
  4. edstrelow Contributor
    I agree that most speakers will benefit from damping with sorbothane almost as much as headphones. This thread started out rather specifically for Stax headphones, but over time it became clear that the problem of vibrations affecting sound was a more general.one affecting nearly all phones. Essentially the energy fed back into the phones or speakers has to go somewhere or be damped. I think we got moved here from the high end thread because we wandered off the topic of Stax phones. As well some Staxers didn't like being told that their expensive toys had a major flaw.

    A second issue which has come up here is damping microphonics. These are the much smaller amplitude vibrations found in amplifiers and the like which degrade sound. Years ago this problem was well enough understood that tube systems used dampers. Sorbothane footers have been around for years to minimize these. What I have found is that small patches of sorbothane preferably 70 duro are generally more effective than footers. Richard51 contends that various techiques of compression also help..
    richard51 likes this.
  5. richard51
    The last  evening i was enjoying my new speakers less than normally, suddenly i verify the 32 foots of all my sorbothanize  8 pieces of gear , i discover that one piece of sorb. was no more in place under the dac, and another was no more in place under the battery charger, enough to made the sound more thin and  less appealing... This is a live experience of this cumulative effect of the sorbothane across all the chain, each effect refine the sound and you were accustomed with, hence without only one sorb. piece or two the ill resonance effect is manifest...By the way 70 duro is better not only  on the headphone for me, but anywhere if compressed a little...If not possible 50 duro is great also for exemple under my power conditioner the round patches of 50 duro are more stable and the sound results seems very good (UPDATE : the 70 duro pieces are better under my power conditioner than the 50 duro pieces by a great margin but must be compressed by a load )...... i think that applying sorb. is not like plug and play, we must learn and experiment, but the final results is higher than expectation, my mission speakers with or without sorb are not the same speakers...[​IMG]
    i think i need some glue that is compatible with the sorb. chemical composition...[​IMG] 
  6. edstrelow Contributor
    I also noticed that if the sorb is not properly glued it doesn't work well and may even impair sound. So far my impression is that the self-stick sorb is pretty good at staying in place. On the other hand 3M80 which had been recommended by a seller of sorb, sometimes comes unglued. I experimented with superglue in an earlier post but felt that sonically it was not as good as self-stick. I must try the Shoe Goo on my SRXIII test rig. This does mean using up $5-6.00 of sorb for each test but needs to be done.
    richard51 likes this.
  7. richard51
    I have just sorbothanize my new Stax SR-5 gold, 7 pieces inside each cup 1/4 inches duro 70 self adhesive sorb, and 8 pieces on the headband on each side with 2 paper clip for compression, the result are astoundingly good and this gold model is better than the old sr-5 by a good margin, more nuance and clarity, probably because of the thin plastic  stax cable replacing the old textile rigid cable of the old SR-5 and the duro 70 is also better choice ... i am absolutely thrill by the Stax SR-5 gold, i drive them with the srd6 self bias with the Sansui AU 7700...The sound is perfect, bass is detailed and better than in the stax lambda and speakers, all the spectrum are more neutral  than anything i have ever heard, all is better  in truth... God bless sorbothane and Edstrelow [​IMG]   
  8. Quixote79
    got some clueless sorb the other day unfortunately. dont understand the use for clueless.
    Do you guys do big globs when doing your thing? any advice highly appreciated. thanks
  9. edstrelow Contributor

    I assume you are talking about sorbothane that does not have glue. You can try to glue it with whatever glue you can find. One of the sorb dealers recommended 3M80 which I have used. You need to follow the instruction about coating both surfaces and letting it partly dry before attaching it. I have still had the occasional problem with the sorb coming off.

    I did some comparisons of the effect of different glues on sound earlier in this thread. Superglue holds 100_01842.jpg
    well but it seemed to degrade the sound somewhat compared to the self-stick sorb. BTW self-stick is actually a very thin double-sided tape. I really need to compare 3M80 and another glue, Shoegoo, with the self-stick.

    You can also try to hold sorb in place with a clamp, as I have done, or paper clips as richard51 has done.

    At the moment I am only using 1/4 inch 70 duro self-stick sorb. You can get a 3 inch square sheet for about $6.00 on ebay. That is probably enough for most headphones although now that I am applying it to the headbands of my Stax Sigmas and Lambdas, I need about 1 1/2 of these sheets on each phone.

    The picture shows the clamp I made for the SR007.
  10. richard51
    Amazingly, because i want to enhance the highs of my newly bought  Sr-5 gold, and with my last experimentation i was no more completely satisfied, i decided to add 4 pieces 1/10 inches duro 70 and 3 pieces 1/4 inches duro 70 around the exterior of each cup... After that no more harshness in the highs, better bass, and  mostly organic mids, i think that the mixing of 2 thickness of 70 duro sorbothane (1/4 inches and 1/10 inches) act like a better filter of the resonance of the cups, now my SR-5 crush really my lambda for their clarity and dynamic, for sure they are also driven not by the srm 252s but via the srd6 by the Sansui, perhaps it is part of the equation with the sorb. of this final crushing result...But mixing the different thickness is better  for sure...the difference between before and after speaks for that...
    I listen now to the amazing rendering of the art of the fugue by Delmé quartet,  made possible by the amazing transcription of Robert Simpson, and the tonality and  timbre of each string instrument is evidently more easily perceived immediately by the ears now... By the way this interpretation  and transcription of the art of the fugue is the most transcendental one for me and sound like a contemporary opus more than a baroque piece, really incarnated intemporality !...
    When we play with sorbothane, we can tweak the sound, like playing with a set of filters, but rightly put at the end, without threading  any gain and loss here or there, we have only  a better clarity and dynamic all across the board, and this is the sign that you have correctly put the right amount of sorb. with the right duro,and thickness...
    In a final note i cannot recommand enough to people who want a TOTL headphone this SR-5 gold, really the sheer musicality of this Stax magnum opus is an upgraditis kills... for a relatively small price...
  11. richard51
    I was not completely satisfied with my first  sorb. application under the speakers... That was 70 duro but only 1/8 inches thick... I remove them and replace it with 1/4 thick 70 duro, and for compression  what i put on top of it is now more than 10 pounds more than before, around  40 pounds in all.... The result was way better, no more dissatisfaction now.... Lesson learned, compression and the right duro, and right thickness....[​IMG] I remind all here that all the piece of gear gain musicality if sorbothanized, even the power conditioner... Nobody here  know exactly why this is so, but reality dont wait for science or reason, experimenting is believing, science will meet us someday...
    When i listen now to my speakers i dont feel the urge to go on with my Stax SR-5, or when i listen to my Stax SR-5 i dont feel the same urge to reverse to the speakers... I guess that this means the two are different but interesting listening experience on their owns... Viva Sorbothane!
    Remember that like Ed has discovered 70 duro is better for audio damping, and my experience confirm the same ...
  12. edstrelow Contributor
    I am glad you got such good results.  The SR-5 is a fine phone when sorbed up.  Good to hear that the SR5 Gold is even better. 
    There's a lot we don't know about how to most effectively damp vibrations in headphones, speakers and other gear.  Using my Stax SRXIII phones with interchangeable covers, i\I am able to make some comparisons but  we have only scratched the surface of the appropriate use of these types of material.  And I say "types," because we know that Sennheiser and Grado are working on similar lines with other materials.  You mentioned using different thicknesses of 70 duro. These may very well have different absorption characteristics. Similarly with different sizes.  I compared two sizes of sorb pieces and liked the smaller ones better. But would even smaller ones be better?   Would it pay to mix sizes?
    What is the effect of different types of glue and how about various clamping techniques instead of glue or self-stick?
    I am currently going from 30 to 70 duro in my main phones and improvements in sound are quite striking.  So far I have done my Stax Lambda 404 and LNS and Sigma/404 and Sigma pro and its like going back to the difference between sorbed and unsorbed phones.  You get big jumps in clarity, separation of instruments, reduction in harshness and better dynamics. When I did the Lambda LNS, 
    I put on an old analogue recording of Delius' Appalachia. At first I didn't recognize it, because whereas normally the recording is mediocre, now it sounded really good and I had to check the disc label to see what I was listening to.
    I tend to do the modifications fairly slowly.  Thus I have been starting out  first changing the sorb on the headbands ( the Sigma and Lambda have very similar bands) and then spending a couple of days to get familiar with the sonic changes before opening up the phones to change the sorb on the baffle plate. 
    One thing I notice is that the sound often changes over several days, probably due to the glue setting more firmly.  Previously when I sorbed the Sigmas, I  found that the bass started to sound boomy after a few days and I removed some of the 30 duro sorb.    However the 70 duro mods are not giving rise to bass boominess, quite the opposite they are taming the basic boominess of this phone.   Over the last few days, the Sigmas just seem to get better and better.  I would like to compare them with the new Sennheiser $50K super stat phone.   I am pretty sure the Senn is damped so the Sigma/404 may not have any advantage here.  However, The Senn cannot create the out-of-head experience of the Sigma,  because the Senn is still a conventional superaural phone whereas the Sigma drivers are ahead of the ears and flood the ear with sound in a totally different manner. 
    The pictures show the most recent mods:
    richard51 likes this.
  13. richard51
    For sure Ed  i cannot say in the absolute that the SR-5  versus the gold version is bad, because i cannot made a comparison now with the same sorb. duro etc, but the gold is more refine, the old version has beautiful mid, perhaps better natural sound, but the gold have a bit more details and bass ... Frankly i love the 2 and if i have money i will grab another SR-5 with the thick cable for comparison...The only one thing that is bad with the old version is the cable, but it is certainly one of the reason to his particular sound...All in All the gold version is the better one i think but i cannot be sure without the comparison...[​IMG]
  14. DangerClose
    Does the gain in clarity lose the "musical resonance?"  When I'm damping headphones, it's easy to go too far because the clarity and separation are so good, but it can sound more like an analytical tool than a musical headphone.  Basically fast decay vs. slow decay.  Though it's also easy to go even further than that and kill the dynamics with too much damping.
  15. edstrelow Contributor

    When damping is done right you should just be getting what is in the musical signal without the faux resonance provided by the headphone structure. If there has been any big discovery here, it is that vibrations in the headphone structures, whether you call them resonance, tuning or whatever, are not good and just distortion.

    However, getting it right can be tricky with some phones although I have never had the problem you describe which if I understand it is a dryness of sound. What I am able to get is more of the original resonance in the recording which is often quite different than what some phones and speakers give.

    The main problem I have encountered in sorbing a few phones is bass boominess. The worst was a Stax SR003, but it was cured by using smaller sizes of sorbothane.

    Working with sorb is quite easy since you can add and subtract this material as you wish until you get the sound right. The mods are totally reversible and the sorb is inexpensive.

    I don't post a mod for any particular phone until I am quite happy with it and I think others would agree. If i find a better mod, such as using the higher duro 70 sorb I am currently doing, I will post that as a suggested upgrade.

    There is a lot we don't know about this problem and I hope as more manufacturers get into it that it will be better discussed and understood. So far Sennheiser and Grado are doing no.more than briefly mentioning that they are working along these lines. Of course there are proprietary issues at play and money to be made from better designs, so I would not expect full disclosure.
    richard51 likes this.
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