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

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  1. richard51
    very interesting indeed....[​IMG]
  2. soren_brix
    Improvement? having a lp rattling on top of some pieces of plastic isn't remotely an improvement, but rather a degradation ... go put the sorb on the underside, before talking about over engineering.
  3. edstrelow Contributor
    What? I know you are familiar with sorbothane so you know that it is not plastic.  It is fairly soft and rubbery and it grips the lp so it does not rattle. That was the point of saying it acts rather like a clamp as well as probably damping vibrations. 
    I assume your comment refers to the original configuration of the B&O turntable and platter. While B&O did a nice job with the tangential tracking arm, I agree that the platter is bad. Both it and its predecessor, which I also had,  have stiff plastic ribs which give no damping whatsoever. Rattling is indeed an issue  and that is why I previously used a sorbothane clamp even before I tried adding sorb to the platter.
    I wonder how a sorb mat would work as a replacement on other turntables which may not be as much in need of one as this one was? I know you are familiar with sorbothane..  Sorb is fairly soft and rubbery and grips the lp.  This is why I compared it to  a clamp. It seems more effective than the clamp.
  4. soren_brix
    Yes I am familiar with sorbothane, and appreciate you brought it to my attention. I use it with my headphones, although not to the extent this thread suggest ...
    As you mention yourself, the original Beogram platter like 400x, and 8000 all had ribbons of plastic on top as well as underneath ... a really bad idea. the 600x, 8002 introduced a flat platter with the well recognizable ribbons printed to the platter rather, a better idea.
    Now, I don't have any particular knowledge in regards to the TX you have, but I do have a 8000 and a 8002. The latter, I use from time to time, I have dampned from the underneath rather. Mostly because I didn't wanted to spoil the visual appearance of the TT. Either way you end up changing the VTA, and thus how the pick-up will track higher frequencies.
    I did sort of the same with a Thorens back then. The TT was easily improved as it was not particular dead before hand. 
    I don't believe sorbothane on my Oracle Delphi will improve anything it seems rather well constructed.
  5. edstrelow Contributor
    The photo shows my current B&O which is one of the last tangential trackers they made.  The arm seems very good but the rest of the turntable is several notches down in quality from their first model, which I originally had bought second hand and kept it for many years until the arm mechanism needed repairs. The later model is very light by comparison and suffered from acoustic feedback until I added additional feet, eventually sorbothane.  Additional sorb on the base of the table helped even more. 
    BTW. the change in tracking angle is minimal with the 1 mm sorb I have used on the platter which only stands out about 1/2 mm from the ribs. So it really doesn't change the heiight of the LP much and LP's are of varying thicknesses anyway.
     I first started on the sorbothane topic when I noticed that the sound of my Stax SR007's changed slightly when I touched the headband.  I tried various clamps and finally added sorb between the clamp and the headband and heard a notable improvement in sound.  Initially I had no idea whether I was dealing with a specific problem with the 007 or electrostatics in general or whatever.  Finally it dawned on me that there is a general problem with headphones (speakers too but worse with headphones) of getting rid of the mechanical energy which feeds back into the earcups from the drivers. It seems to build up faster than it can dissipate and messes up the sound, quite a bit.
    People seem to have forgotten Newton's laws about equal and opposite energy and that energy cannot be created or destroyed. Sorb claims to convert mechanical energy to heat so that's what gets it out of the headphone. Now of course we know that Sennheisser was working on this problem for some time and Grado has released a line of headphones made with a polycarbonate which it claims is able to dampen this energy.
    So sorb should be seen as an aftermarket tweak which assists a problem which may very well be resolved over the next several years as manufacturers develop ways of dealing with the problem, or possibly add their own sorb to their phones.  Still there will be a lot of older phones which could be improved with something like sorb.
    I still have a few experiments to do with my Stax SRXIII's comparison set-up. At the moment my results show that the 3M self-stick tape which is sold with some sorb materials gives the best sound compared to superglue and  3M 80 glue.   (It is actually a very thin, double-sided tape.)  I want to listen to  at a few more adhesives if only because the self-stick sorb comes with a premium price.  I finally managed to locate some more 1/4 inch self-stick 70 duro on Amazon.
    Then I may look into the problems of microphonics,  that is low level vibrations that affect the performance of equipment. This has been known for many years. I recall reading about Naim adding damping material to its circuit boards 30 years ago. And one of the engineers from Schitt told me about  a year ago that they have a special  sorb that they use.  The effects of damping for microphonics are not I think as audible as damping of the headphone cases but still significant. 
    richard51 likes this.
  6. DangerClose
    Is there a consensus on whether sorbothane applied on the headphone baffle (whether internally in the cup or externally) should be put closer to the driver, or more at the edge of the baffle? 
  7. soren_brix
    B&O are no different than other companies ... the bean counters do have jobs there as well ... the TT you have is not even close to be as good as 400x to 600x/800x more or less build like tanks.
    in terms of VTA, people are debating much less actually ... and the the angle change will be greater due to the shorter tone arm ...5" ...most radials are 9"-12". Probably the change is down to the stylus design, and if you are using mmc3-5 it probably don't change much anyways.
    Apart from changing the VTA, you also change the interface quite a lot. I assume your platter is flat (mine is anyways) putting sorb on top will minimize the contact surface.
    No doubt you hear some difference ... but I don't expect it to be any better. As far as I remember the PlatterMat was made of something similar to Sorbothane ... but has been rejected by most (from memory, can be wrong)

    Having read this thread from time to time, I get the impression that sorb can be applied to just about anything with great result - more sorb even better. 
    Have you ever applied sorb and found it to be a degradation? or just no change?
  8. richard51
     I dont know for ED , for sure  in my experience that was never catastrophic, but with the wrong duro, with some not so optimal thickness,  the effect on some frequencies resonance can make an illusion  that this was better, and that were not in reality, only a change and attenuation of some frequencies resonance and emphasis on others... But with the right application, in ALL my piece of gear, power conditioner, dac, amplifiers, energizer, headphones, speakers, that  was, with the duro 70 especially, always better...[​IMG]
    For me this thread in nearly 4 years i come here, give me the most useful information for upgrading my gear without expansive costs, thanks to Ed ... My speakers Mission for example, sorbothanized,sound nowhere near like nude... I cannot go back before the sorb....The second most useful information was my own experiment on low costs  room treatment for speakers...The third and last information was buy vintage used if possible... 
  9. edstrelow Contributor
    [quote name="soren_brix" url="/t/744839/damping-mechanical-energy-distortion-of-stax-and-other-phones-with-sorbothane-and-other-materials/630#post_12835951"

    Having read this thread from time to time, I get the impression that sorb can be applied to just about anything with great result - more sorb even better. 

    Have you ever applied sorb and found it to be a degradation? or just no change?

    Yes, I have had some anomalous results, which I have generally mentioned. I initially had problems with the Stax Sigmas which gave somewhat of a bass boom in my initial attempt with these phones as well as in a later effort , when I ended up removing some sorb, which solved the problem. This problem was more pronounced with the little Stax Sr-003. Most of the sound was improved by adding sorb, but the bass became unbearably loud. There the problem was solved, not by removing sorb, but by cutting it into smaller pieces. I had a similar issue with a Sennheiser IEM, which became an unpleasant bass monster. I didn't experiment further because it is really hard working with such small phones.

    With others, like the Stax Lambdas, I got a good result on my first attempt and the only real change over time has been the use of the thicker, denser sorb (1/4 inch 70 duro) versus the thinner, 30-40 duro sorb I started with.

    Howver I have never had neutral result where I couldn't hear any change in the sound by adding sorb whether good or bad. Others may have, and I recall one guy stating that he could not get it to work on some small Koss dynamics.

    Even the bad bass results tell you something about the damping problem in headphones, because if there was nothing going on vibration wise in the ear cups there should be no change of any sort, good or bad.

    As to the occasional bass problems, some may be due to loose sorb, where the glue hasn't curred properly. 3M80 which was recommended by one seller sometimes comes loose. The self-stick sorb seems better and I noted that it sounded better in comparisons.. Holding it in place with clamps can be effective but it is hard to find a,way of doing it on most phones. They would virtually have to be built with clamping systems in place.

    So sorbothane damping is not a magic solution but it improves sound more often than not. But you may need to experiment. The problem it solves is complicated and like anything in engineering ( and I did 5 years as a post-doctoral fellow in an EE department) there will be better and worse ways of handling it.
  10. richard51
    I want to add a remark to Ed interesting and like always very clear statement about sorb..... I have use  sorbothane under or inside, or both ,with every piece of my audio gear, and by accident, i have sometimes experiment something interesting : each time one piece of sorbothane  or 2  under the feet of the gear( one time with the power conditioner, one time with the dac, one time with the battery charger) were  by accident displaced, or misplaced, or  were not the right thickness, or duro, each time i semi-consciously detected a deterioration of the sound, imaging, etc and when i had realized that, i have try to rectify the problem... this subtle and audible effect would have been very more difficult to detect if each and every one of the link in all my audio system has not been   sorbothanized( my gear's feet only amount to 24 pieces of sorb.) ... With speakers it was way more easy to detect than with my headphones...Sorbothane rightly used made a better rendering of the musical timbre of instrument in the first moment, after that  in a second improving  moment, in the course of my experiments and more rightly application, sorbothane greatly enhance  the imaging and this is more easy to detect with speakers....
    The interesting fact i have observed, because each link of my audio chain is now sorbothanized, is that the effects of cleaning of vibrations, and bad  internal  and external resonnance, added themselves  for the final listening  results,  hence sorbothane is the more useful  if used at all level of my system....
    For example recently i try bi-wiring the Mission speakers,because they are engineer to be so in the first place, and the effect was there, an improvement  in cleaning some  residual haze around the music, but  without sorb. at all level, i think that perhaps this very subtle but very real  effect,without the sorb. would have been more , way more difficult to detect.... I read on the net the impressions of people are very polarized around bi-wiring, now i know why...If some system produce in each of his link  too much vibrations and resonances the detection of any improvement is not always easy... I think that the sorb. effect is cumulative in cleaning the negative resonances, and in damping the system, isolating  each one link   from the room and from  the other gear and the final results and improvement are at the end  very easy to spot particularly with speakers ....
    For speakers , like for  headphone, the rendering  and perception  of the imaging cues are very dependent  of all and each link of the system, but  this imaging construction and production  of the sound space was way more perceptible  with speakers than with headphone in general,because the space sound of speakers are  potentially more spacious and  with  a more natural and easy possible translation in 3-d effects for the ears, hence very sensible to negative resonance and vibrations  in all and each one link  ... I can say now that the effect of sorbothane   rightly applied in headphone is very remarkable for me indeed, but for the speakers it is for me  even more  audible, and remarkable, and with speakers, you cannot miss the difference sorb. make in each link of your audio piece[​IMG]...
    For sure  sorbothane is evidently not a miraculous solution after the first try,  especially applied on only one link, (an headphone for example) , but for the cost/ratio/ improvement, sorbothane is great after this first try, if rightly used... Having said that, after this one year of experimentation,following Edstrelow trail, and looking for the better results, yes for me it is near miraculous if i compare the money invest versus the upgrading results and effects... Sorbothane do not transform a bad audio link in a good one, sorbothane  only push  all the audio link  in the direction of their own true potential maximum quality sound ...If someone say the contrary he has not complete the task... The single most important discovery of this thread for me is that all audio products are plague by vibrations and negative resonances....Sorbothane absorb vibration like many other products, but unlike the others sorbothane transform a great part of these vibrations into heat, hence diminishing the negative internal  resonance, sorb. not only isolate a link, but clean it  partly from the effect of these locally interacting in the enclosure internal and external  vibrations and resonances... that is the point; rubber, wood, blutak, stands, spikes,other plastic feet,  etc, does not act like that...
    This a photo of My mission sorbothanized... i add to the mission 2 granite plate with sorb. in between for a second order isolation from the desk at the bottom of the speakers and on  the top  i also   added sorbothane under a  granite plate  with a heavy load on top of it to compress it all ( the amount of compression needed is to be determined by ears and experiment, i assure you that between to much load and not enough, you will hear the difference with all the links sorbothanized)....The sorbothane  pieces around the tweeter and woofer were the greatest and final  improvement... Their finality is to isolate the membrane-cone from the basket and the enclosure, preventing  some bad internal resonances ... This  final sorb. add-ons  are now invisible behind the protective  mesh... By the way, some fine observation made here by edstrelow are very true, the gluing process stabilize after a week, it is the only explanation i have for  this improvement with time of the speakers...The sound is so gorgeous now  from these speakers sorbothanized, that my most listening hours are with the speakers and no more with the lambda, or beloved HE-400 and SR-5...1 hour at night with headphones/versus 5 evenings  hours approx.with speakers .[​IMG]
    In a final note for newcomers i must say that my  low cost homemade room treatment  for speakers was a different  upgrade for the speakers almost on par with the  sorbothane mods.
  11. chrismini
    Where exactly do you obtain this "sorbothane and other materials". I have a pair of HiFiMAN HE-400's and have no clue how to disassemble them short of taking off the ear pads. There's no screws or fasteners and my fear is not being able to put them back together. 
  12. edstrelow Contributor
    No really.  I would think the closer the better but have been wrong on too many issues to so definitely.
    richard51 likes this.
  13. edstrelow Contributor
    Ebay and amazon are the best places for sorbothane.   The audi shops charge too much.  I though someone here had worked on the HiFiMan phones.
  14. richard51
    I was like you some months ago... take it easy, read on the he 400  ( the link is at the end of my post ), somewhere  in the beginning of the thread someone explain the way to open the grill...you must use a little pocket knive and "DELICATELY " use it to displace the ring that hold  the grill... The grill is in place with very little 4  square protuberance at 90 degree angle , that snap the grill  in there... Look  at the adress i give to you at the end of my post ...All explication is there...After that insert the self adhesive sorbothane duro 70 1/4 inches in the grrove that circle  around the driver... and all is done... be delicate when playing with the ring that hold the grill.. when snapping it  back in place , mark slightly the place with ink  where the hole of the insert little protuberance is and align the little square protuberance  with this hole, work with your fingers delicately [​IMG] it is easy if you take your time...
    ok this is the thread i read in the first place :
  15. chrismini
    Has anyone tried the damping sheets like Dynamax you can get from car stereo shops they use to stop the vibrations on quarter panels? They make all kinds with different thickness and materials.
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