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Note: The board shown in the image is the 22" version of the 12" x 7.25" x 3/4" Walnut board implemented for this project.
While watching the step-by-step online delivery progress of a DHL Express shipment out of Singapore for another Gustard DAC-X12 DAC, I thought once again about a vibration control platform I wanted to build for it. I've tried a number of tonewood boards for use under various components, but Walnut has not been among them, as of yet. Walnut has been a favorite wood of mine since I was a child, and the tonewood characteristics as conveyed by luthiers (guitar makers) seem very promising for what I seek as a resonant sonic signature. This is to say, resonance is a natural aspect of real acoustics from a musical perspective, and audio components can benefit from shifting subtly harsh resonant characteristics in a way that transmutes unpleasant vibrations into a more euphonic if not musical gestalt without coloring the presentation in an artificial manner. Think of the tonal and timbrel affect that a soundboard of a piano can do for the sound of metal strings held at high-tension, and the notion of tonewoods along with the use of resonance dissipators and vibration wave blockers for the control but not elimination or supposedly true isolation of vibration for audiophile purposes.
The term "control" should be the foremost notion within the equation, since shaping the sound is the key to the goal, not vibration isolation, which is is a lofty goal without sonic merit in the real world, at least in audiophile terms, IME. An overdamped or acoustically dead sonic object tends to be non-musical or to not complement the energy of natural acoustics. The notion of resonance tuning rather than vibration deadening is the key to what I seek when considering vibration control devices. That said, resonance dissipation and vibration wave blocking are still useful tools towards vibration control for audiophile purposes, just don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
My first Gustard DAC-X12 DAC is placed on a narrow profile Acacia Wood board, supported by a set of four 40mm X 10mm Carbon Fiber Discs affixed with Liquid Nails silicone adhesive, with a Herbie's Audio Lab Thin grungebuster Dot with adhesive-backing affixed under each Carbon Fiber Disc. The Thin grungebuster Dots provide a moderately-controlled vibration damping effect while providing an anti-skid grip on the rack shelf surface. The rather large-size Carbon Fiber Discs provide effective resonance dissipation and vibration wave blocking density while allowing the resonant tonewood board to impart a sound quality that better approximates the natural acoustics of what the mind and body tends to prefer vs. a less than musical presentation. This is the nature of custom system tuning efforts. Making an "electronic sounding" presentation sound better in any way tends to push the sonic signature of an audio system in the right direction, at least from a subjective POV.
The next step in the vibration control configuration is adhering another set of four 40mm X 10mm Carbon Fiber Discs, this time under the Gustard DAC-X12 DAC (with the stock plastic feet removed) along with Herbie's Audio Lab Thin grungebuster Dots affixed under each disc to provide a well-controlled vibration dampening effect while providing an anti-skid grip on the platform surface. What this configuration provides is a resonant board acting as a platform, with effective resonance dissipation and vibration wave blocking supports that allow the resonant platform to "sing freely" while being supported by effective vibration control layers. With no desire to deaden the natural resonant nature of the tonewood board, only to dissipate harsh resonance and block detrimental vibration waves should be the goal when building a tonewood vibration control platform, in my book.
At $19.95 with free shipping, the 12" x 7.25" x 3/4" Walnut board is a bargain. I'll post an AA report sometime down the road.
At one point Herbie's recommended RTV silicone as a adhesive, since apparently it works better sonically than other adhesives. I'm sure in this case it would be difficult or impossible to hear a difference, just wanted to add that word of advise. Good luck!
I used to use the RTV silicone recommended by Steve Herbelin, but found that particular type of silicone adhesive to be very aggressive, and made it difficult to remove compliant footers and pads without sometimes ripping the material when removed from a surface. The Liquid Nails silicone adhesive is very similar to RTV silicone, but Liquid Nails allows footers and pads to be more easily removed, in that it sticks to the surface with a more gentle but still very firm adhering power. Since the Liquid Nails silicone adhesive is applied so thinly, I would be surprised if RTV silicone adhesive actually sounds substantially better. In my case, I want the ability to swap-out footers and pads without damaging them in the process.
That makes sense. I've been using the RTV on my guitar as I have used 1"squares of Herbie's damping sheets sandwiched together to stop my body from dampening the sound of the guitar. Besides it working great, the RTV has occasionally unstuck from the guitar body and has not caused any damage to the wood, much to my great relief. So I do have to re-glue on occasion.
@Duster...hello. Exactly the materials that I intend to use in my next platform project. I see that walnut is your choice of tone wood. Would that be black walnut? What do you think of teak? I am able to get a few pieces of teak. Depending of what kind of teak...it's about the same hardness as black walnut...ie...approx l000 lbf. What do you think? My goal...still...would be warmer and more organic SQ. Presently using IKEA bamboo which I have found to be dryer and more detailed than MDF. Not in the right direction for me. Thanks again.
I find bamboo to indeed impart a leaner and "dryer" sonic signature than the warmer sounding tonewoods, so it's not a one size fits all material. However, the choice of vibration control footers can make a big difference when used with a bamboo platform. My choice of walnut is a new one for me, so I can't comment on it yet, but from what I gather it will be a warmer sounding option for use under a DAC, and hopefully less restrained sounding in terms of dynamics than maple, with perhaps a firmer tonality, with more body than acacia wood which may have a lighter touch than walnut. I'll ask the seller what type of walnut is involved, since that factor does matter.
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