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

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  1. edstrelow Contributor
    I have been experimenting with  sorbothane and clamps on the Stax SR003 headband,  and as with the other Stax phones I am quite impressed with the results.  You get a  wider sound field,  cleaner overal sound and especially cleaner bass.  I applied two thin strips of 1/4 in 70 duro sorb on the metal bands.  This alone helps  Adding the clamps helps even more. 
    At the same time you can see where sorb is added to the earcups.  You just pop the earcups out of their plastic holder and stick on some sorb and then pop them back.  I am using either 1 or 2 mm thick 70 duro sorb.  The 2 mm seems to give better sound but it makes the earcups stick out a wee bit from the holder. However they still seem to be quite solidly in place.
  2. richard51
    The damping-isolation-absorption potential of  compressed sorbothane is there and very affordable at low cost.... i have experiment these possibilities a bit, after edstrelow guidance...
    My next question is : is there other extraordinary method to obtain the same results or better one without the cumbersome mandatory  compressing concrete  load on all my chain gear system? My sound is so good i cannot listen to my system without that cumbersome load now... 
    It seems yes, for example :
    This company from japan, Acoustic Revive, propose some device, the least costly one  is  slightly under 500 dollars (way too much for me but...)...But the many  critical appraisal reviews  are  very interesting.... Is the sandwich sorbothane, under or on top of my gear, better at a lowest price? i dont know the answer now but i am intererested to try some experiment  of my own with quartz crystals pieces, sand or peebles....
    I have already bought a Bybee highly controversial signal enhancer(not too costly) and to my astonishment this crystal plastic sheet works wonderfully, with an improving holographic sound, on top of the Sansui transformer... The fact is Crystals embedded in plastic or in a box absorb vibrations and dissipate them into heat  without inducing some negative resonance perturbing the natural timbre,hence acting  like sorb., because crystals vibrate over the hearing possibilities of human, these so-call effects without negative feed-back resonance  are promising ....Then i am very curious of this because i know now that all audio apparatus is plagued by vibrations and produce  negative perturbative resonance that destruct the natural timbre and imaging  of the sound, the cost of the apparatus is no factor, all audio gear are at risk here, their cost does not matter, they all vibrate... 
    I have order some piece of crystals already for some experiments and  next to come,crystals quartz sand in a wooden box is not too costly to experiment with, if i make it myself, i dont think that costly birchwood of the wooden box of the Revive product is the main damping factor, hence any hard  wood will be ok and quartz peebles or sand is low cost products ( no way i will pay for that this amount of money for cheap quartz and some wood) ....   If someone know something i will listen to ....[​IMG] 
  3. richard51
    Update  : Sorbothanizing the forgotten external drive, source of all my musical file...
     I thought I was done with the sorbothanization of all my gear... But i was wrong, the sorbothanization of the external hard drive is surprizingly  efficient, essentially clearing a veil in the highs frequencies, amazingly clear top highs opening the soundstage..... Perhaps if it was the first place i had put the sorb. the effect would not have been so immediately audible, but after all the damping i have put in all links, the effect  was  very clear...
    I will repeat myself :  ALL  audio links benefit from sorbothane.... The proof is in the experiment, and it is fun really to upgrade each time without throwing much money, though with great effects, so rewarding, it was my day of luck when i stumble  on this thread really ...[​IMG] 
  4. richard51
    sorry doublepost !
  5. edstrelow Contributor
    The issue of mechanical damping has only come about because of the emergence of new materials with better energy dissipation characteristics  than the metals and plastics used in headphones to date.  Sorbothane itself was only patented in 1982 which was after Stax released its first Lambda phone, so of course it was not damped. (Unfortuantely it is still not.) I am sure there are and/or will be other materials which will dampen vibrations as well or better than sorbothane. That just happens to be what i have readily available at low cost.  There is so much that is not understood about this topic that I am sure we will eventually find other ways of doing this. 
    richard51 likes this.
  6. richard51
    For the immediate future, i think sorb. is without  competition.... i doubt that the crystal would do all the job that the sorb. do, but if it does the same job without the necessary  load to compress it , i will be more than pleased...
    My last sorb. experiment with the external hard drive where  there is all my music files. is by far one of the most extraordinary upgrade , essentially a clearing of the high frequencies, and the revelation of a ton of new details....without sorb. my system would be so bad, that i will  divorce  my wife (  [​IMG] )to buy another one with several thousands dollars at the key  for a real  upgrade.... Now this is too good to upgrade it, because the price to upgrade really  would cost way too much, and now i can live with what l listen to ...[​IMG] Thanks to the sorb. you send to me in the first place and thanks to you...
  7. edstrelow Contributor

    The divorce laws must be different where you live. Here when you divorce you end up being too poor to upgrade your system
  8. richard51
    i bet it is to be an advantage to be canuck  here ....But the only one ,I am already ruined by the obligation  sometimes to import from the States my audio products ...[​IMG] 
  9. edstrelow Contributor
    One of the most interesting things about applying pressure to sorbothane is that this alone changes the sound quality, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.  I am spending a lot of time now with the Stax SR007A and simply adjusting the bolt on the side (see picture) has a notable effect, pretty much as follows.  If the bolt is only slightly tightened you get more deep bass.  As you tighten the bolt, the deep bass declines and eventually so does the treble.  Last night I loosened the bolt and got just the right balance between cutting the bass boom that these phones tend to have and yet not restricting the treble. 
    What is going on here, I don't understand.  I keep saying, one day I hope that some real science gets done to give us a better means of predicting outcomes.
    In the meantime,  having some kind of adjustable compression on the sorb which is applied to headphones is good if you can figure out a way of doing this. Most phones do not lend themselves to this and with some it is quite a chore to even figure out where to apply it in the first place.   The alternative to compression  is applying sorb until you stop getting additional benefits.
  10. richard51
    Ed it is the same phenomenon with the speakers, too much concrete load  and the imaging decline, the bass too, it takes the optimal pressure ....[​IMG]
  11. edstrelow Contributor
    I have found that I seem to get as good results compressing sorbothane on headbands with electrical tape as with metal clips. I am currently spending Christmas with my wife's family in Vegas and brought along my old Stax portable set-up. It has pieces of 2mm 70 duro sorbothane behind the earcups, as shown earlier, and two pieces of 1/4 inch 70 duro on the headband. But not wanting to use the adjustable metal clip to compress the sorb on the headband, I simply wrapped them with electrical tape. The sound seemed as good as with the clamps. Also as with the clamps, you do not want to wrap the sorb too tightly. After my initial listening, it seemed as if the sound was somewhat compressed in the extreme bass and treble. So I unwrapped the sorb and rewrapped it very loosely and the sound improved a lot.

    Now, I am waiting to get back home to try this wrapping with tape on the Stax Lambdas and the SR007A, where I have employed substantial amounts of sorb on the headbands, but only used a few clamps. It will be interesting to see what the impact will be of compressing all of the sorb.



    richard51 likes this.
  12. richard51
    My own experiment confirm yours....The compression of the sorb. must be optimal, hence not too much, not too light...the mystery for me is that the sorb. duro 70 improve headphone and speakers alike, but the compression  of the sorb. with speakers or audio gear must be, for being more effective, much more pressing  than with the can... But if you compress it too much. it is the  same bad results like the one observed using headphones, with the speakers, the amp. etc... Optimality of compression in headphones and in other audio gear is not the same... Probably the vibration rate frequencies inducing negative resonances between audio gear, speakers and headphone are not in the same range ...
    An aside  with seemingly  no relation with the sorb. thread, but in direct relation for me : I have experiment with FIVE Quartz crystals distributed from the in and out of the power conditioner to the  wall breakers,passing by the wall  outlet also,they clean the line and produce a spectacular imaging-stage, the sorb. clean the resonance inducing a better musical timbre, but the quartz impart the line with less noise, inducing a better imaging... The final impact of the crystals are no less spectacular than the sorbothane effect....By their matching final effects in my system these two  complementary tweaks are now  the greatest discoveries of my audio life... It is no more the same  sound system i purchase since i was using  sorbothane and  crystals, it is a transformed system truly audiophile now.....I apologize for interrupting this sorb. thread with this, but these 2  tweaks are precisely  more than  just tweaks, rightly implemented, they reveal the "problem" of audiophile experience that manifest here and in other forums with the obsessed purchasing of new gear by many people , because  sometimes of the  rampant insatisfaction that is  produce, less by the  bought products in themselves, than by bad implementation and installation of these products... For me sorbothane and crystals solved all that insatisfaction definitively...Buying a new product because of  the desire to experiment and change, is not the same that feeling the urge to buy  a new one because you are very much insatisfied by your audio listenings...Right installation and right implementation of any audio product is the key to heaven, more than the product by himself...[​IMG]
    I wish the best Christmas  for all....Thanks to you all
  13. chrismini
    Hello Richard,
    Could be describe and elaborate on the quartz crystals? I have a PS Audio Duet Power Center which uses balun coils for eliminating RF and EMI and a large ferrite core on the cables coming from the external powers supplies to my amp and DAC. (HeadRoom Micros I've had for years. Long since discontinued.) The Duet also has first class surge and spike protection. I also have 2 PS Audio Noise Harvesters and ferrite on the USB cable from my laptop to my DAC. But these quartz crystals have me intrigued. What exactly are they and where would one obtain them? Your sorb tweak worked out so well which has peaked my interest.
    richard51 likes this.
  14. richard51
    Sorbothane eliminate vibrations by absorbing part of them and dissipating them into heat...The first and foremost impact is finally on the more naturalness of timbre, for sure sorb. also give me more imaging and 3-D separation, but less than the quartz....With sorb. on all part of the gear chain i was then ready for the second mod. : the crystals ( for the moment i speak about quartz but they are other crystals varieties valuable to try and experiment with, and i will).
    The impact of crystal quartz (6  short sticks less then 2 inches) complement the sorb. mod and act less on the timbre( they dont give me the naturalness of the timbre at the same level than the sorb.) rather they act more on the  detailed imaging, and it was in my sorbothanized system another spectacular improvement...
    <One  crystal stick put directly  in a plastic bag which is taped on the  main breaker in the room next to my desk and audio place, one on the wall outlet use by my audio system , one were on the  main "in" line  and  another under the main "out" line of the Panamax power conditioner, the other 2 are, one  on the "out" of the dac, and the last one ,but not the least, topping at the same time  the headphone "out" of the Sansui and the on-off switch of the amp. that is near, see my photo in the bottom of the post>.
    I know for a fact after my  first experiments that crystals and sorb. complement totally one another... I read  today on another forum of the audio web, some post, that indirectly confirm what i already thought about the 2 mods, it was a guy who have try crystals without taking,first and foremost,  the necessary means of  controlling the vibrations in his system with the sorbothane, and he said that crystals primarily expand soundstage and imaging but at some point were not so better for the naturalness of timbre, and he decide after sometime to remove crystals to keep a more natural timbre and prefer then loosing some soundstage... It is a very interesting observation partially confirmed by my initial experiments.But for me, the sorb. mods is  now completely properly  installed, the use of crystals rightly placed does not degrade the timbre really (except for bad placement or not the right choice of crystals, remember that the  sheer mass, the form  also play a great role in the  final results ). Because in my system  the sorb. act  since the beginning  on that natural aspect of the musical timbre and  even with crystals he goes on to sustain it in eliminating the negative resonance that degrade it. Hence for me there is NOT this DOWNSIDE to the use of crystals, only their advantage, removing some EMI, without downside, modulo for sure some experiments looking for the right choice of crystals and placement ... The necessary  experimentation by trials and errors with these 2 mods. results in a complementarity of action in my systems; these 2 mods conspire together at the end  to maintain the 2 audio factors  optimally right at the same time: naturalness of  musical timbre and soundstage and imaging. 
    Now i know that with these 2 mods. you truly hear and listen the truest potential of your gear system. For me there is clearly a"before" and an "after" the implementation of these 2 mods. Without these 2 mods. i know for sure that you dont know the true sounding possibilities of your system, it does not matter the price, because on the one hand vibrations and negative resonance, or on the other hand EMI, does not segregate  different gear, function of their price, they PLAGUE everything,whatever the price paid... Hence  perhaps  some of you may be like i was one year ago,  dreaming and thinking to buy some more costly gear to compensate some  dissatisfaction and to cope with the perceived deficiencies of the actual  gear in your posession, in my case already some good products were bought but not delivering at their true potential level,and  some of you  perhaps has been  desesperately hoping for a better satisfaction, if like me you are a newby in audio world...On all forums the principal subject are  the urge of new products, the so-call necessary  upgrading process to obtain  audio heaven nirvana is'n it?...
    The important point is to take the road of the sorbothane mods. in the first place, because for hearing the real impact of crystals quartz, i think  it is more easy and more evident after that... I am pretty sure that without sorb. installed all along the line of my system, i would have not been so "flabbergasted" by the installation of quartz,like  the guy  whose post i speak of above, but after the sorb. the effect of these 6 quartz pieces(probably erasing some EMI i dont know how) were more impactful than anything i have try in the past and on par with sorb. mod., however acting  very differently indeed !...[​IMG] 
     My Sansui Au-7700 and my he 400 can, and Mission V60 speakers, nudes, without mods. does not sound satisfyingly good to me and remember that, however, they are good products on their owns to begins with in the first place ... It takes the sorb. mod to put them on par with my Stax system...With the Crystals they go  way better on another level ( mainly imaging). I dont have experience  with 10,000 dollars system, but i dont feel frustrated because i dont have that now...For sure i dont say that my actual system with these 2 mods. sound like a 10,000 system, no way!, but music is music, and when there is no more on your face so much  ugly deficiencies, a modest system+sorb.+ crystals is more than  you think near a  costlier better one  which is nude and without  any of these 2 mods.... When piano sound like piano and orchestra are 3-d and the note are there in a  very lifelike manner, the end is near (alleluiah!) and the audio paradise also is  near the corner...And this is my point for you or for some newby guy in Audio like i am, buy some used good products in the first place, not too costly but with a good pedigree, after that dont take too much time, read this forum here, install sorb. mods if possible at all level of your system, beginning with headphones and after that speakers, amp etc... After that only  think about crystals...In the end you will be happy ... like i am...[​IMG] 
    This is sorb. thread. i will not give  too much details about crystals,  firstly i am only a beginner with that mod. and secondly there is other forum  on the net about that and  thirdly i dont want to argue with  people who will not try these experiments before speaking...I apologize for this rant about crystals but this is a complementary adventure with the sorb. Thanks for your interest or your patience...[​IMG]
  15. chrismini
    Hello Richard and everyone. Actually I've been an audiophile for about 40 years. I used to own a 2 channel stereo system that was worth $38,500. B&W Nautilus loudspeakers, All Nelson Pass Aleph amps.(2 power, 1 pre., and a phono stage) I was big into analog as my VPI turntable(HW19, Graham 2.2 tonearm, Benz Micro Ruby cartridge, custom Graham cables, heavily modified stand) cost almost $15,000 and my digital front end cost $3500. And I had a record collection worth $30,000.
    However I lost my job and fell on hard times. I ended up selling everything to keep food and a roof over my head. It was then I realized that a high end headphone system was my only option. I'm not going to go into my gear, but the whole deal cost about $3000.
    As far as pollution in the form of RF and EMI I have a PS Audio Duet Power Station much like your Panamax. I also have 3 PS Audio Noise Harvesters. They are about the size of a pack of cigarettes and you plug the into AC outlets that your system is plugged into. They remove noise fro your AC and convert it into light. They change noise energy into light. They have big blue LED's that flash when they are doing their job. And I have ferrite cores and clamps on all my cables. Ferrite absorbs RF. 
    People don't realize how much garbage is flowing all around us and how much is absorbed by the very AC power they use to run their systems. Cell phones, routers, digital clocks, light dimmers, etc. I believe this is why the quartz you use works. Quartz oscillates. Just look at any watch. I believe the crystals absorb and eliminate the enemy. Radio Frequency Interference and Electromagnetic Induction. All my music is AIFF files on my computer. And computers cause a ton of RF. I'm not going to go into the science of it all. I've already typed too much. 
    But the bottom line is even thought I've been around the audio block a few times doesn't mean I can't continue to learn.
    "I am still learning" -Albert Einstein 
    richard51 likes this.
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