Vibration Isolation

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by djkool, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. I'm curious if anyone does anything in particular to isolate the tubes in their amp heads from the vibration of the speaker cab..or if no one worries about this at all Does everyone stack their amp on their cab? Anyone use any cushioning, etc.? I've had several tube amps that developed distortion from speaker vibration at higher volumes and I expect that tube vibration shortens theirlife and may lead to making them go microphonic.

    Anyone else concerned about this or have a particular solution?
  2. Cirk


    Jan 16, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I've seen folks place towels or foam cushioning between their amp heads and cabs. Ideally, you'd be better off not stacking your amp on top of your cab.
  3. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

  4. Yeah, I've used old egg-crate/mattress pad foam to isolate my amp heads from the cab for years. It makes the tubes last years longer.

  5. I made four, high density foam amp-feet isolators... ;) out of old X-box packing foam... Used self adhesive felt to make them look pretty and they sit under the feet of whatever amp I use, on the top cab... Seems to have reduced the vibration to the amp quite a lot :)

    I too am a little worried about all that transferred vibration and surface mount components, tubes and SMPS/digital amps. Funny thing is I never thought twice about it in 20 years of SS amps like my GK400 RB, but I'm less confident with the class D's... Hope I'm just being paranoid.
  6. foderaman

    foderaman Supporting Member

    Jun 14, 2005
  7. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
  8. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I commonly use an Auralex GRAMMA Pad for this exact purpose. They are well made, and really not very expensive ($40).

  9. Foz


    Jul 26, 2008
    Jax FL USA
    This... the sorbothane and equivalent materials linked above are the pro-grade engineering solution but the cheap floor pads are a material good enough for a problem of this scope and easy to get.

    If you want to get fancy check the deflection - goal should be about 10% reduction in thickness of the pad when loaded with the full weight of your rack + accessories [if anything goes on top of the rack] - cut and/or stack smaller pieces to achieve.
  10. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I'll use a Gramma Pad to get my cab off the floor in certain venues but I don't put anything between my amp and cab.
  11. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Sorbothane feet have been in use in lots of home stereo systems for a long time, quite effectively, too, and they are not very expensive (of course foam padding from Wal-Mart or Jo-Ann Fabric is much cheaper but I am willing to spend a few more $$, perhaps, for my rig (they cost around the same as a good set of bass strings and last far longer - decades).
  12. Gaolee

    Gaolee It's all about the polyester

    The vibration isolation I have needed on occation has been a way to decouple the cabinet from a live and boomy hollow stage floor.
  13. Foz


    Jul 26, 2008
    Jax FL USA
    Sorbothane will do more than that - it is used in vibration damping / isolation applications for building foundations, ship frames, urban railroad lines and the like :hyper: so I agree it would certainly last forever in an audiophile/MI application where a floor mat might need to be replaced every 5-10 years more or less.

    The real trick though is getting the loading correct. If you get that wrong it doesn't matter how long it lasts - it just wrong for a long long time.
  14. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Is that any different than any other vibration dampers? :confused:
  15. Foz


    Jul 26, 2008
    Jax FL USA
    Of course not.

    The point is precisely that - even if you buy an expensive "railroad" grade material you still need to get the loading correct to get good performance.
  16. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I've been concerned about the relationship between my vibrations/mojo going through the cab and the many delicate tubes in my head. My favorite live rig for modern progressive metal is a Mesa PH 410 driven hard... that thing produces some heavy vibrations. I just use a folded up towel and place my amp on it. I keep it in the back of my rack case when I'm transporting which also protects my power tubes from my cables possibly bouncing around in there.
  17. Some great ideas! Thanks for responding. I guess I have quite a few options to explore.

    I'm curious if the person who suggested a target of 10% deflection/compression is baseing this on any testing or development of a damage boundary using instrumentation.
  18. Foz


    Jul 26, 2008
    Jax FL USA

    Neither/both/sorta... its a rule-of-thumb short-cut based on what properly designed systems look like under the static load.

    If you are doing this sort of thing in a serious application you would never look at the problem this way. In that case you would need to get it all right the first time because changing dampening material after construction would be so difficult/expensive = have the spring parameters spec'd by an engineer and then run the design past the part manufacturer if possible [the Sorbothane guys will do this].

    But if you just knocking around with found parts on a small scale project - for a quick and dirty run at the problem - just get deflection to 10% with a reasonably soft spring and you know you have loaded the spring but are still at the soft end of an effective system and thus it'll do you some good over a broad frequency range of excitations. Once you have eyeballed it to 10% deflection its "suck it and see" - unless you want to measure - in which case glue a piezo to the load and measure away.

    From the pdf design guide:
  19. Gaolee

    Gaolee It's all about the polyester

    You can get samples of rubber gym flooring tiles. They are approximately 2'x2'. They are usually fairly dense, soft rubber foam, and once you get over the old tire smell of them, they work well. Since you are getting samples only, the price is right.
  20. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    These guys have quite a few solutions. ;)