Vibration Control for the Audiophile: Gingko, Synergistic Research PS Audio or Symposium Acoustics
Vibration control is a good area for a tweak because not all components absorb vibration efficiently. Rather than add to the cost of the component, manufactures often ether ignore vibration or deal with it as cost effectively as they can to keep the component in budget.
There is no shortage of third party vibration control products. They range from inexpensive Vibrapods at about $8 for a cone with a conductive tip and $6 for a round vinyl base to place under the cone to an entire component platform like the ones manufactured by Synergistic Research called the Tranquility base with a starting price of about $1250.
Full platforms like the Tranquility Base are the most effective method for controlling vibration because they are placed on top of the component shelf thereby completely separating it from the component. These are most suited for use on bookshelves or store bought home entertainment units.
Among the most effective options for full platform units, four products stand out. In order of their price from highest to lowest, they are: the Synergistic Research Tranquility Base; The PS Audio PowerBase; the Symposium Acoustics Svelte shelves, and the Gingko Cloud platform.
The Gingko Audio Cloud series of products has been around since 2004. It consists of an acrylic base with nine holes for rubber balls. Another acrylic surface is placed on top of the balls. Any component up to 100 pounds can be placed on the acrylic surface.
The balls act as a kind of shock absorber that can move the platform in every direction to siphon the vibration from the component to the base. The acrylic dissipates the vibrating energy. The Gingko cloud addresses the sonic vibration caused by the music or motion in the room as well as the vibration that emanates from the component itself.
An 18 X 16 cloud retails for about $480. This vibration control devise is perfect for turntables or DVD/CD players where the internal motion of an object needs to be absorbed or dissipated. These platforms are excellent for turntables. Gingko even makes their platforms with acrylic dust covers for placing over some turntables.
Since the 1990’s, Symposium Acoustics has been making a platform that can either be placed directly on top of a shelf or used as a shelf itself. They come in different thicknesses, but all are made as a sandwich of stainless steel with closed-cell foam in between.
On one side the platform absorbs the vibration from the shelf’s surface so it does not enter the component. On the side that touches the chassis of the component, the stainless steel drains the mechanical energy that emanates from it. The sandwich shelf converts the vibration into heat as vibration energy is dispersed.
The Symposium Acoustic shelves range in price from about $375 to $800. They come in varying thicknesses depending on need. They are especially perfect under amplifiers, speakers or power conditioners. Symposium Acoustics uses the same technology for their smaller Point Pods and Fat Padz which are a good option when space is a consideration.
The PS Audio PowerBase, priced at about $1,000 combines vibration control with power conditioning. The PowerBase is the size of PS Audio’s power conditioners, transports and DAC’s. So stacking one of these components on top of the PowerBase makes this the most attractive option.
The PowerBase uses sorbothane feet to separate any shelf vibration from the component. The platform is a 20 pound slab of stainless steel that absorbs the vibration energy from the component and dissipates the sonic vibration emanating from the loudspeakers.
The PowerBase is the only product that combines power line conditioning with vibration control. It uses a one way gate to block noise from contaminating the power supply. There are two plugs which allows one of them to be used for another component if you choose to do so. All in all, the PS Audio Powerbase is one of the best values in high end audio. From time to time these units can be purchased from PS Audio at a discount.
One of the most expensive vibration control platforms is the Tranquility base from Synergistic Research. This is a platform that needs to be plugged in to an electrical outlet. Three MIG footers supplied by Symposium Acoustics touch the base of the platform to the component and three MIG footers are used under the Tranquility Base. The base itself absorbs the vibration transmitted from the component on top and from the shelf surface below. Like the other devises, it absorbs the vibration from the component and it absorbs the sonic vibration emanating from the speakers.
The Tranquility Base is the most expensive of the three vibration control devises discussed here. How it works might be a bit of a mystery, but the price is not. Synergistic Research includes the MIG footers and offers three options ranging from $1,250 to 3,250.