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Vibration Isolation + Dissipation

Vibrations induced from loudspeakers can excite the surfaces of a room making them unwanted sound radiating sources. Vibrations can also induce noise in the output of sensitive electronics due to the phenomenon of microphony. The patent pending design of Carbide Base isolates these vibrations in all 6 degrees of freedom across an exceptionally wide bandwidth when placed under your audio electronics and loudspeakers.

 

In addition to isolation, it is also important to reduce the magnitude of stray vibratory motions and slow them down over time. Carbide Base leverages both high mass and viscoelastic materials with high loss factors to dissipate over 65% of incoming vibration energy through a conversion to heat. Undesired resonances are subdued.

Suppress Noise

Multi-Axis

Carbide Base comprises separate upper and lower portions designed to enhance vibration isolation by facilitating simultaneous movement in vertical and horizontal directions.

 

The upper portion is machined out of aluminum billet to accept a specially formulated viscoelastic member called ViscoRing™. The ViscoRing™ provides vertical vibration isolation and is replaceable depending on the intended supporting weight range. A standard 1/4″-20 top threaded hole can accept either the tip of a floor spike or threaded adapters for optionally mounting to your equipment or loudspeakers.

 

The lower portion comprises separate machined stainless steel sections. Exceptionally tough zirconia ball bearings and viscoelastic elements are incorporated to enhance horizontal isolation and damping. A bottom section is threaded to facilitate height adjustment and can optionally accept 1/4″-20 threaded spikes to pierce through carpet.

Enhance Clarity

Low Shape Factor

When it comes to viscoelastic materials providing isolation, more is not necessarily better. It is the low ratio of weight bearing surface area to unloaded surface area which allows for a low resonance frequency and therefore a wide bandwidth isolation of vibrations. The term of art for this ratio is Shape Factor. The lower the Shape Factor, the greater the potential degree of isolation.

 

Carbide Base is the culmination of 2 years of research and development to successfully utilize viscoelastic materials with shape factors far lower than previous designs. The novel tubular shape shape of the ViscoRing™ maximizes the unloaded surface area relative to the loaded surface area. This allows for a Shape Factor around half of the lower limit traditionally used for elastomer isolators. Carbide Base makes use of such a low shape factor possible in two ways: First, by selectively bracing the unloaded surfaces of the ViscoRing™ to enhance stability under compression. Second, by utilizing viscoelastic buffers to restrict relative movement between the upper and lower sections of Carbide Base to enhance stability under lateral shear forces.

Replaceable ViscoRings™

Carbide Base can be optimized by choosing among the 3 available ViscoRings™ according to the weight of your equipment or loudspeaker. The recommended supporting weight range for a set of 4 Carbide Bases with each ViscoRing™ installed is shown below.

 

While some isolation devices require different versions for different weights, Carbide Base can support a wide range of equipment weights by simply replacing the installed ViscoRing™.

Transmissibility

Transmissibility is the ratio of vibration energy transmitted into one side of Carbide Base (such as from a loudspeaker) to what is being applied to the other side (such as the floor). A transmissibility less than 1 is represents vibration isolation which is desired. Anything greater than 1 is an amplification of vibrations.

 

All passive vibration isolators exhibit an amplification of vibrations at frequencies near the resonance frequency of the device. The unique design of Carbide Base minimizes the amplitude of this amplification and confines it to frequencies around or below the threshold of human hearing. Low frequencies are important to isolate as they travel with little impedance throughout the room and equipment as structure-borne vibrations.

Loss Factor

Loss factor, or tangent delta, is a measure how much vibration energy is dissipated through a conversion to heat due to the phenomenon of hysteresis. A loss factor of 0 indicates a perfectly elastic material where the oscillating force of a vibration occurs in-phase (at the same time) with the accompanying deformation of the material. A loss factor of 1 indicates a perfectly viscous material where the force and deformation are exactly 90 degrees out of phase resulting in total dissipation of vibration energy to heat.

 

The viscoelastic materials utilized in Carbide Base are engineered to have an exceptionally high loss factor over a wide frequency range. The gray ViscoRing™ has the highest loss factor, followed closely by the blue and black ViscoRings™ which can support higher weights. For reference, natural rubber has a loss factor of about 0.05.

The vibration dissipation ability of Carbide Base is significant enough to measurably subdue resonances in equipment being supported. The graphs below show low frequency vibrations in the bottom and side panel of a test loudspeaker enclosure as measured using a calibrated accelerometer. Dips and spikes in panel acceleration indicating resonant modes are effectively damped when the same measurement is taken with Carbide Bases placed under the loudspeaker.

Loudspeaker Bottom Panel
Loudspeaker Upper Side Panel

Loudspeaker panel acceleration measured with a ACH-01 sensor, 10 dB gain, using 35 to 150 Hz log swept sine excitation. Measurements on Carbide Bases shown in blue and measurements directly coupled to the concrete floor shown in red. See measurements section below for details.

Media

Dimensions

Measurements

Vibration Dissipation

To quantify the vibration dissipation ability of Carbide Base footers we planned an experiment. The goal of this experiment was to determine if simply placing Carbide Bases under a loudspeaker could measurably damp low frequency resonances within panels of the loudspeaker enclosure. It is known that noise from loudspeaker enclosure resonances can induce audible distortion. We sought to determine if Carbide Base could measurably subdue this noise.

 

Vibration dissipation is different than vibration isolation. To measure vibration isolation, the vibration source and the location where the measurements are taken are typically on opposing sides of the isolation device under test. The lower the transmission of vibration energy through the device to the other side, the greater the isolation. It is possible for a device to achieve a high level of vibration isolation yet have a low level of vibration dissipation. Such an underdamped isolator will do little to remove vibration energy from the system, allowing oscillations to persist long after the excitation force. This experiment was limited to measuring vibration dissipation.

 

In our vibration dissipation experiment the vibration source and the the location of measurements were both located on the same side of the isolation device. The measurements were taken on two exterior panels of the loudspeaker enclosure, and the vibration source was a pair of woofers mounted in the same enclosure. Measurements were first taken with the enclosure directly coupled to a concrete floor. This was to replicate a typical listening condition with the loudspeaker sitting on floor spikes without any isolation or damping beyond the benefit of anchoring to a high mass. The same measurement was then taken again with the enclosure sitting on Carbide Bases.

The Test Loudspeaker

We started the experiment by constructing a test loudspeaker enclosure. We created our own enclosure to minimize the unknown variables which could influence the measurements. The enclosure was machined out of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) sheets with 25 mm (1 in) thick panels used on the exterior and 50 mm (2 in) thick panels utilized for the internal bracing. Two Accuton AS250-6-552 250 mm (10 in) woofers were mounted on opposing sides of the enclosure. The woofers were wired in parallel to a Class AB amplifier. The enclosure was sealed with an internal volume of 129 liters yielding a Qtc of approximately 0.64. No stuffing was present inside the enclosure. The total mass of the enclosure with the woofers mounted was 83 kg (183 lbs.).

The Measurements

To obtain vibration measurements we utilized a Measurement Specialties ACH-01 piezoelectric accelerometer sensor. An amplifier with an integrated analog signal processor was used to amplify the analog output of the ACH-01 sensor. The amplifier was calibrated for this particular ACH-01 sensor allowing for absolute acceleration measurements. The sensor amplifier in turn fed its analog output into a Tascam US-366 USB interface which was used to record the signal digitally on a PC. A log swept sine signal from 35 Hz to 200 Hz was fed to the Class AB amplifier which powers the woofers.

 

The vibration measurements were taken with the ACH-01 sensor attached with double sided tape to two separate locations on the outside of the enclosure. The first set of measurements were taken on the bottom center of the enclosure. The second set of measurements were taken on upper portion of the left side panel at a height 76 cm (30 in) above the bottom of the enclosure.  Waterfall graphs of the acceleration measurements were generated with a 500 ms window and a 100 ms rise time over a 400 ms duration at a 4.72 ms slice interval resolution. A waterfall graph was used to show the decay of the vibration amplitude over time. The blue waterfalls represent measurements with the enclosure on Carbide Bases and the red waterfalls represent with the enclosure directly coupled to the concrete floor.

Bottom Panel

Directly Coupled to Floor
On Carbide Bases

Upper Side Panel

Directly coupled to Floor
On Carbide Bases

Conclusion

Measurements confirmed that low frequency resonances within the panels of our test loudspeaker enclosure were subdued when the loudspeaker was placed on Carbide Bases. This damping effect occurred not just locally near contact with the Carbide Bases but also at a location near the opposite end of the enclosure. Carbide Base effectively reduces loudspeaker enclosure noise when placed under the loudspeaker.

Instructions

Installing ViscoRings

1 Insert supplied 2.5mm Allen wrench down into each of the 3 holes on the top pad and unscrew the bolts housed within. Note: Once fully unscrewed the bolts will remain retained under the pad.

2 Pry apart the upper and lower portions to access the installed ViscoRing. Be patient prying apart as the ViscoRing can become tacky and slow to separate. The bottom portion can be partially unthreaded to increase prying leverage.

 

3 Replace the ViscoRing. Ensure that the new ViscoRing is fully seated into the underside of the upper portion. Store the unused ViscoRings in the supplied hard case for protection. It is normal for newly installed ViscoRings to settle and compress slightly after an initial period of use.

4 Align the top holes on the upper portion with the thread holes on top of the lower portion. Press the upper portion down over the top of the lower portion.

 

5 Insert the Allen wrench into the top holes and tighten the bolts housed within. The bolt will stop turning when fully secured. Do not overtighten.

6 (Optional) Unthread the bottom section as needed to increase the height of the Carbide Base to level uneven loads.

FAQ

– What separates Carbide Base from the competition?

We believe there are 3 primary advantages of Carbide Base over the competition:

  1. Low resonance frequency in all directions – An exceptionally wide bandwidth of vibration isolation means all audible frequencies are isolated, including the lowest frequencies most likely to excite room surfaces. Other devices provide limited isolation bandwidth or are effective only in certain directions.
  2. High loss factor – Specially formulated viscoelastic materials convert over 65% of vibration energy into heat to effectively damp resonances. Others employ less effective dampers such as vibration transmission-path evasion methods or inferior elastomers. Resonances from vibration sources such as loudspeaker cabinets can be more pronounced as a result.
  3. Wide supporting weight range – Interchangeable ViscoRings™ allow a single device to effectively isolate a wide range of equipment weights. Others require purchasing different versions of their devices to support different equipment ranges.
– Carbide Bases didn’t work out for me. Can I return them?

Absolutely. We encourage new owners to give plenty of time to adjust to the differences introduced by Carbide Base, but if you are still not happy with the results simply return your item within 60 days to receive a refund. US Domestic orders include a pre-paid return shipment label to simplify this for you. See our Return Policy

– Will Carbide Bases raise my speakers?

Carbide Bases may raise the total height of your loudspeakers. This will usually be less than a 1 degree vertical angle difference over typical floor spikes for most listening positions so should not measurably or perceptively adversely affect the sound, especially compared to the benefit they bring in terms of clarity.

– Should I use fewer Carbide Bases with heavier ViscoRings™, or more with lighter ViscoRings?

More Carbide Bases with lighter ViscoRings™ will outperform fewer with heavier due to increased damping. However, low frequency isolation will be best when ViscoRings™ are used on the high end of their recommended weights. This might require using just 3 Carbide Bases for lighter equipment.

– Do you ship internationally?

Yes. Click Add to Cart and specify your shipping address to get a real time shipping quote. International buyers are responsible for any import duties or fees applicable in their country based on the total value of the purchase.

– Can I use my own threaded adapters and floor spikes on Carbide Base?

Yes. Both the top hole and the bottom spike holes are the common 1/4″-20 threaded size. Any of the many commercially available threaded adapters and floor spikes in this size should work.

– I heard anchoring is important in audio. Why do you claim allowing movement is good for isolation?

To provide isolation, out-of-phase movement must be allowed. If a manufacturer claims that their product “anchors” below a certain frequency or in certain directions it means that isolation is compromised in these situations. One manufacturer claims loudspeaker cabinet movement can be shown in the absence of anchoring by using laser vibrometry but this is deceptive. What is actually being shown is an isolation device with an increased peak vibration magnitude at resonance (higher Q) due to lower damping, not physical “rocking”. While Carbide Base allows movement to achieve isolation, the high level of damping works to significantly subdue the magnitude and duration of these movements. Carbide Base settles quickly following the impulse of vibration.

 

The argument about anchoring misses a critical element – the room itself. Below the transition frequency (typically around 200 Hz) the room becomes the dominant contributor to the listening experience in this region. Isolation of low frequencies is therefore critical. This is to minimize the storage into and subsequent delayed release of audible vibration energy from the surfaces of the room which can smear the bass and color the sound.

Individual

Includes 1 Carbide Base installed with the specified ViscoRing™.

Loudspeaker Kit

Includes 8 Carbide Bases installed with specified ViscoRings™, 24 floor spikes, and 8 sets of 4 threaded studs for mounting to your loudspeakers.

$330/each

Carbide Base vibration isolators are designed and manufactured in-house in our CNC machining facility outside of Austin, Texas and come with a 60-day satisfaction guarantee. If for any reason you are not satisfied with how Carbide Bases sounds in your system, simply return them within 60 days for a refund. See our Return Policy for details.

 

Free shipping and free return shipping for US Domestic orders. For an international shipping quote using our negotiated rates, click Add to Cart and provide an address on the checkout page.

 

Carbide Bases are sold individually or as a loudspeaker kit including 8 Carbide Bases. They are available in black or silver finish with either a light, medium, or heavy ViscoRing™ installed depending on your intended supporting weight range.

 

Individual Carbide Bases are pre-order, shipping Nov. 22nd

$270$1990

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ViscoRing™ viscoelastic isolators for use in Carbide Base audio footers. Sold individually.

 

Free shipping on US Domestic orders. For an international shipping quote using our negotiated rates, click Add to Cart and provide an address on the checkout page.

 

ViscoRings™ are pre-order, shipping Nov. 22nd

$29

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