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In Reply to: RE: Tube Preamp Vibration Control Suggestions? posted by JoshT on June 09, 2017 at 12:20:08
You ask "why bother?", and I can only say to find out if I can hear a difference in the sound or not, and, if so, whether the difference is an improvement in the sound or not.
Whether or not microphonics are what contributes to what makes tubes sound "good", I'd like to explore which, if any, anti-vibration devices improve the sound of my preamp and which don't and am asking those who've experimented with such devices (including footers, platforms and tube dampers) for their experiences because it's fun to discuss such things with fellow hobbyists and can be instructive.
It would seem possible to me that even if the slight microphonics that are inherent to any filament in a well made vacuum tube are euphonic, at some point microphonics become unpleasant and distracting, and that those might be caused by external airborne or mechanical feedback that might be minimized by a tube damper.
But that gets me to pigctureguy's response below, which has me questioning how tube dampers work in the first place (if, indeed, they do).
"If you are the owner of a new stereophonic system, this record will play with even more brilliant true-to-life fidelity. In short, you can purchase this record with no fear of its becoming obsolete in the future."
From a physics point of view, wouldn't straight up electromagnetic electrostriction/forces change the relative mechanical alignments and hence voltages and gains in a vacuum tube on its own?
And add to that acoustic feedback?
If a little reverb is euphonic (and it sure seems like it can be from a little experimentation with foobar 2000 dsp), then I would hardly discount the importance of vibration control.
But it also may not be that the maximum anti-vibration is optimal, it might be better to have proper frequency control and resonance.
BTW, this is why I think tube 'rolling' might make a significant difference, two tubes with similar (low amplitude) electrical responses could have distinct electromechanical behaviors.
The tube holder and pins make a difference.
Of course it is a matter of taste whether a particular tweek is, or is not, an improvement. But, his point should not be quickly dismissed. I sat in on a session where a designer/builder was going through the process of voicing a new linestage. He was trying various old 310 tubes. What all agreed on which particular tubes sounded the best, and as it turned out, these were the most microphonic of the lot.
I know that logically speaking, it makes sense to damp vibrations in a system and I put a number of items, such as Symposium Ultra shelves in my system. But, I have also heard trials where "more" turned out to be "less" in terms of musical quality. In a demonstration conducted by a representative from Symposium, I heard the sound deteriorate (become dry and unpleasant) when their top of the line shelf was substituted for a lower-priced model in their lineup under a CD player. Everyone, including the company representative agreed that, in this case, it was too much damping of vibration.
I agree with you that it is worthwhile experimenting with shelves, footers and tube rings, etc. It just isn't much help following anyone's particular advice on specific products because, as with any tuning device, the results are very specific to each system, circumstance and particular taste.
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