Yesterday we discussed that cones and spikes under electronics is probably not the best idea if you want to really address the problem of smearing caused by microphonics. Yes they work and yes your equipment will sound much better with them in place, but they do not really solve the issue they were intended to fix – they only reduce it and can cause other problems at the same time. I think this statement got the hair on the backs of some readers necks up so let me be clear. In general, cones and spikes DO help a lot. I just don’t think they are the best way to go. Read on.
Today I am going to propose we actually stop trying to reduce vibrations and increase them instead. Yup, counterintuitive for sure but stay with me and I’ll explain.
Hard coupling your electronics to surfaces has only minimal benefits of vibration reduction when what we really want to do is find a way to diffuse and mask the ghost imaging problems in our electronics instead. If you can diffuse the vibrations and actually allow the diffused energy to couple to the equipment then what you wind up doing is adding a form of dither to the signal.
Dither is a form of noise usually associated with digital electronics. It is added to data streams to randomize fixed inadequacies in the conversion process of analog to digital. But if we take advantage of dither for our vibration reduction techniques we can make serious headway in both surface-borne and airborne vibrations.
It’s important to remember that while we may be able to reduce surface-borne conducted vibration energy from our equipment it’s nearly impossible to reduce or eliminate the airborne vibrations in our listening rooms. With sound pressure levels of 100dB or more at the equipment this is not a small issue and the easiest way to effectively manage these is to hide or mask them since we cannot eliminate them.
So here’s what we do. Instead of minimizing the surface contact area of our equipment we actually increase it so we get effective surface coupling. Next we diffuse the coupled energy with a series of tuned broadband conductors so that the end result is a dithered (randomized) vibration energy we WANT added to our signal. If we add our dithered energy to the signal the ear/brain will ignore both the airborne and surface-borne vibrations because they will be interpreted as random noise.
So the secret to eliminating the smearing problem all our electronics suffer from is not through futile attempts at eliminating the problem – but rather by masking it.
As they say, if you can’t beat them, trick them instead!
Tomorrow I’ll start tying the power and the vibration lessons we’ve been going though into a new product concept that I’ve been promising I’d walk you through.