We’ve been focusing on microphonics and how they affect the performance of our AV equipment. Vibrations from the output of the loudspeakers in our room generate airborne as well as floor-borne movement that is coupled into the audio signal we listen to forming a type of insidious loop that smears the music we listen to by injecting a type of “ghost image” onto the pure music.
This ghost image is a distorted and time delayed copy of what’s coming out of our systems. The sharper the focus or imprint of this image the more noticeable it is – so we work hard to decouple our equipment from these vibrations by putting spikes under our loudspeakers, installing heavy shelving to set our equipment on etc.
The problem is that unless you put your kit in one room and the speakers in another you’re going to have to deal with this problem as it will impact your system and its performance.
I like to imagine this problem like I imagine the issue we wrote about earlier, the actual room itself. We know that our listening rooms contribute mightily to the sound we hear and mostly not for the better. The same type of delayed and distorted image of the sound hits our ears after it bounces off the walls of the listening environment. Again, the sharper the “focus” of the reflected sound the greater the problem we hear. This is why diffusing the sound with wall mounted diffuser panels works.
Because we cannot eliminate the walls in our listening room we have to deal with the reflected sound – and the best way to do that is diffusion. Diffusion works because it defocusses the sound into something the brain interprets more as noise to be ignored rather than interfering with the image. If you can’t eliminate something at least make it less noticeable – and that’s what we need to do with our microphonic issue.
Realizing that we cannot eliminate floor-borne and airborne vibrations within the listening room we need to stop trying to eliminate the effects of the vibrations and figure out how, instead, we can diffuse them properly. That’s the key we’ll discuss tomorrow.
Diffuse the vibrations and bust the ghosts.