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

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  1. richard51
    This morning i have listened to my system , after  removing 20 pounds of load that were on top on the battery charger and the dac, without remembering to put it after my job with the battery charger was completed... After 30 minutes of listening, dissatisfied without being conscious of the absence of the load, i realize suddenly  that the load was not there and that  without the right compression the sorbothane duro 70 is not very effective... Lesson learned when i put back the load the sound was more good than ever...
    This evening i add another load to my speakers with another great result... Now i have an incredible load of 40 pounds minimum perhaps more and the sorb duro 70 is better compressed and the sound imaging , bass all is way  more detailed...Duro 70 is the way to go, but remember to compress it if possible ...[​IMG] 
    There is no doubt in my mind that many people will smile of this means to compress the sorb duro 70, but the result is so good that i smile more than anybody in the end ! [​IMG]
    I dont know of no other modification that give you so much improvement for a little cost! Some people pay thousand for a cable that were not much more good! i can say that the sorbothane give you many times more than any other product proportionaly to his cost...
     My battery charger+sorb compressed and under it a Stax Amp+sorb. and under it Dac bushmaster +sorb. compress duro 70 on top of each piece of gear and under their 4 legs.
     you can see my Stax lambda +sorb
    here my SR-5 gold +sorb. my Sansui+sorb. compressed
    Power condioner Panamax 4300 ex +sorb duro 70 compressed
  2. soren_brix
    What's so amazing about the transcription?  has Robert done anything else than raising the score by a quarter ?
  3. richard51

    My remark was not intended to be a musicological remark, only an appreciative impression of my version of choice... I am no musician but i have ears nonetheless and this version is at least beautiful with this  powerful sobriety of the transcription ... For Simpson i have listen to some of his symphonies , and chamber music and he is an interesting and talented   composer...His book about Bruckner is also profound and i was admirative of his analysis of this great man music... His transcription  of the art of the fugue seems to me effectively in a spirit minimalistic and respectful, (sometimes less is more), hence the incredible modernity of this  bach magnum opus work  shine  way more with this transcription for me ... [​IMG] With or without sorbothane...
    The Scherchen transcription, is not  so minimalistic because of the choice to assign the voices to the wood and string of a small orchestra but this is another matter and my second choice for the art of the fugue....For sure i will listen your own transcription if you made one for the string quartet more sophisticated and better than "Robert" simpler one , waiting for that in the mean time the Simpson is for me the better one, you can thank him for me if he is one of your friend...[​IMG] 
  4. richard51
    Ed i come back with my impression of the SR-5 gold....Now the gluing process  are  better settle in place, like  you know it takes some time, and Wow now i can say with confidence that the SR-5 gold is a marvel...i cannot compare directly with the cloth cable version but my impression is really that the gold are a more refine version, the cable is more pleasurable to use, and the sound are gorgeous...The point important is that the gluing process takes time...
    ed i have discover this interesting thread and post in particular that will interest all here, the mojoguy seems very interesting :
  5. soren_brix
    OK, I was just curious since you noticed the “transcription” as being amazing itself, and as far as I understand from the cover notes it is merely a transposing rather than a transcription.
    I believe you are talking about Bach’s music when you refere to “His transcription seems to me effectively in a spirit minimalistic and respectful, hence the incredible modernity of this works  shine for me” rather than Robert Simpson.

    Scherchen transcription is for orchestra and as such a real transcription.
    I guess Simpson is united with his creator some twenty years ago ...
  6. richard51

    i apologize... You are right, english is not my native language and the Simpson version is a transposition, not a transcription in a litteral sense of the word, and yes i was speaking about Bach music in the quatuor format...the quatuor format does not need the same effort than the orchestral form, it is more easy for sure to adapt to it the fugues and the result  is more "modern" to my ears... I was using in a loose manner the word transcription.... i thank you for your tolerance with my bad english...[​IMG] 
  7. richard51
    People who knows about sorbothane,  often dont know that duro 70 is better, if they know that, they dont know  most of the time that this duro act better if compressed... For example If not compressed even with sorbothane my Mission speakers are not on par with the Monsoon, but if compressed with duro 70 they are better than the Monsoon (Alas! it is not possible to put a load on the Monsoon satellites)...result of my experiment...[​IMG] 
  8. edstrelow Contributor
    I have completed my conversion to 1/4 inch 70 duro sorbothane on my Stax Lambdas (LNS and 404) and Sigmas (Pro and 404) with great results. The liveliness, musicality  and detail of the sound is superb.  Now it is time to go after the big guy, the Stax SR007.  I am starting with the headband damping, after all this is how I got started on this problem  (although it took richard51 to point out that that other phones needed headband damping too.)  
    I have started by removing the leather covers on the 2 metal arcs, thinking that if these are between the sorb and the metal that these will interfere with the damping.  To get them off, i had to disassemble the arc system and pull the leather off. (These are saved in case I want to use them again.) 
    I then replace the 1/8 and 1/4 inch sorb pads with 70 duro  and voila a big improvement already.   It will probably be several days before I open the earcups up to replace the much larger amount of sorb inside each cup.  I want to get thoroughly familiar with the new sound of these phones with the change in headband padding before I go full bore on these phones. 
    It is very enjoyable work to upgrade what are already excellent phones, each new mod, when it works,  gives me a little boost. These phones sound excellent already with this preliminary mod, so why not enjoy them for a while.  The pic shows the newly- naked arcs.
    richard51 likes this.
  9. edstrelow Contributor
    Good news for anyone who wants to try a sorbothane mod without ripping your phone apart.  Damping on the headband may be sufficient for some phones.
    By the time richard51 pointed out that merely applying sorbothane to the headband of the Stax SR5phones could give effective damping, I had already sorbed most of my phones, assuming that it would be most effective if the sorb was applied inside the earcups.   I neverthless went ahead and applied sorb to the bands of these various damped  Stax phones and noted an additional improvement.  But until today I was not able to really determine  how effective damping, applied solely on the headband, could be.  
    I still have one good Stax phone which had not been damped, a low bias Sigma. I had already applied sorb to the bands of my 2 high bias models and was not about to remove this for a test  of the headband, so I used the low bias model,  swapping around the sorbed and unsorbed headbands on this phone.
     The result - damn good!  Rather like the SR5  which is also low bias phone, sorbothane damping pulls the dynamics up to where you are hardly aware that these are older discontinued models. 
    When you go back to an undamped phone you become aware that there is a lot of "ambience" in the sound.  In fact I vaguely remember, years ago when I became a headphone afficionado, that there was so much more ambience in headphones.  I put it down to the fact that headphones must be able to reproduce ambience better than speakers.  Well, now I realize that is incorrect - a lot of that "ambience" is faux ambience, probably just the mechanical vibration of the earcups which without some form of damping does not properly dissipate. When you dampen the phones with something like sorb,  there is more air and space around the instruments and voices. Dynamics and tonality are better and the sound is less harsh.   And lo and behold, you start to hear more of the ambience in the recording which has been covered up by the faux ambience.  All pretty amazing for  a few bucks of sorb. 
    In this comparison, the sorb is 1/4 inch 70 duro self-stick  The picture shows the old Sigma with the two headbands. I have pretty much filled in the underside of the headband, using about half  of a 3x3 inch square sheet.   
    While this shows the old Sigma design, the headband of the Lambdas is very much the same.   There is quite a lot of room on the band to apply sorb, in fact there are not many other places to do this unless you open up the headphone.   So before you drop a few hundred (close to a grand for the current TOL Lambda) or get rid of your low bias Stax phones,  you might want to spend $6.00 on ebay for the aforesaid sheet and try this procedure.  BTW the sound is generally better after a few hours/days, probably because it takes a while for the self-stick to cure.  Whether this will work well with other types of headband, I can not say. 
    Should we really be surprised about this.  Sennheiser has been using damping material in the headband of the HD 800 for a few years and I would imagine in its new $50K super stat too. I am sure this is a big factor in the performance of both phones.          
  10. richard51
    thanks for all you dedication Ed...
    I had a discussion with a great guy and specialist ingeneer in audio, he said to me that at the end of his experiment in comparison,  wooden feet are the best... I trust his ears and method for sure in comparison with sorb. and many type of feet , but how would he know without investigating  only sorbothane seriously that sorbothane DURO 70 is better for audio, and  how would he know it is necessary to obtains optimal results to load heavily the sorb. to compress it ?...Wooden feet isolate but are they better  than sorb to absorb and dissipate vibration and reducing  negative resonance ? without hearing that i am pretty sure that the answer is no... With  money budget  for now i cannot afford to experiment and compare the wooden feet and sorb...For now... [​IMG]
    By the way Ed for the Lambda i am almost certain and it seems to me  that damping  only the headband is near  optimal result...The naturalness of the timbre to my ears is very good...
    For the Sr-5, i think that damping the exterior cup ( i dare not to open it) + the headband is necessary to obtain optimal results...i have put pieces of sorb duro 70  1/4 inches  glued at the exterior of the cup (only 3 pieces duro 70 1/4 inches,+ 3 other pieces of smaller duro and thickness ) and the results are very good on all count or almost, perhaps a bit more sorb. duro 70 instead would have been  be better , i will order some sorb. duro 70  for adding a bit more  and if necessary removing the other duro and thickness of the exterior cups...
    UPDATE: the specialist does not answer to my precise point about  sorbothane... He say that there is no miracle solution for vibration for all gear in any room , and i am certain there is no miracle solution, but he mix the general vibration problem with the specific one i point to... Yes There is a general vibration for all speakers in a particular spot on earth and in a particular room that is the general problem... But the specific vibration problem is the internal vibration resonance of the speakers or other gear, the sorbothane duro 70 compressed is a solution for the internal vibration of a speakers system or for a headphone, or an amplifier, or a dac, etc because he absorb vibation and transform it in heat, and act optimally better if compressed,  wooden feet cannot do that and this is my point...The guy is interesting i dare not interrupt his thread no more with the sorbothane...
  11. edstrelow Contributor

    Did he report his tests anywhere? It's obviously hard to assess claims when you don't know how they were arrived at.
    I would like to think that most of my claims are backed by at least a basic methodology of comparing 2 conditions that the reader can see and replicate if interested in doing so. I still rely on subjective assessments of sound, but let's not get into the blind testing issues. As a one-time experimental.psychologist, I can say that good experimenting in that area is difficult, time-consuming and not generally very sensitive.

    One of the things that I think is needed to address damping issues is a means of measuring vibrations in headphone structures and other eqipment. That way we could tell just how much energy is floating around and what frequencies these might be. Then, presumably when you have found what material damps down as much vibration as possible, you will have the optimal sound from your phones, speakers or electronic equipment.

    Surely there must be some kind if sensor to do this type of thing. I have not heard of one but then this seems more in the realm of mechanical engineering than traditional audio.
  12. richard51

    if you scroll down on one of my last post i had given the adress of the thread... It is very interesting read...
     you can begin to read here this is it :
  13. richard51
    Right now i have replace the load of  7 bricks on my speakers by 3  heaxagonal concrete slabs(31 pounds total) better esthetics and 3 pounds heavier ... i know that compressing the sorbothane is key to his use, but the load on it must be the optimal one, with these 3 slabs the sound is way  more accurate and i think i have now the right load.... My speakers are extraordinary good now...Way better than my beloved Monsoon... [​IMG]
    the first time i read edstrelow here i know that he was onto something... I am not an expert in audio but i have great intuition, I am very glad to have stumble onto him and his thread...
  14. edstrelow Contributor

    Thanks for this.

    He does make some interesting points, and I like his point about different components and possibly even different parts in a component having different problems with vibration.

    He is discussing "microphonics", i.e. the small voltages generated in circuits by mechanical vibrations rather than the related problem I am mostly concerned with, which I just call ,"mechanical vibrations " in headphones. It is a sort of microphonics issue too. I suspect (but do not actually know) that vibrations build up in the headphones when they are being played, because they take some time to.dissipate as heat (since energy is neither created nor destroyed.) These vibrations either feed back to the driver, causing distortion, or may create their own sound in the air spaces of the phones.

    Reading his post it occurs to me that there may even be a third possibility, microphonics in the electrical cabling or other parts, caused by the vibrations.!

    With sorbothane is that it is not appropriate to talk about sorb doing this or that. You have to consider what duro of sorb, what size, how much and where it is placed. These are all factors with which I have done some modest experiments and found to be important. Also, I also use sorbothane footers on various items of equipment and have not found them as effective as small pieces stuck directly to equipment.

    Certainly there may be other materials to consider as well as as yet unknown issues.
  15. richard51

    Ed before i compress the sorb. under my gear it was not so much  effective, and before i use 70 duro it was not also not so much  effective....The  key point is  for absorbing vibration and transforming them into heat and cleaning resonance ,the sorb  70 duro compressed work better than others products , certainly more effectively than metal or wood feet...I have try different duro compressed  and uncompressed...
    and i am in the same opinion regarding microphonics...
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