Carbide Base Isolation Devices from Carbide Audio | REVIEW
When I agreed to evaluate the Carbide Base isolation gadgets, Jeffrey Jenkins requested me what number of units I wanted for my system–a typical query relating to reviewing these kind of merchandise. I stated sure to a few units of 4 Carbide Bases (or 4 units of three footers), for a complete of twelve gadgets. When I headed to the native ironmongery store to select up the field from Carbide Audio–I dwell in the course of nowhere now, in order that’s the brand new drill for FedEx and UPS–I used to be stunned that I may barely carry the field and drag it to my automobile. These issues are large and heavy, a lot in order that I knew I wanted to make use of them in a unique method than most isolation gadgets.
If you haven’t seen, I’ve opened up the flood gates to isolation gadgets during the last yr–principally as a result of I feel they’re so essential. I’ve examined merchandise from Les Davis Audio (mild), Fern & Roby (mild) and Ansuz Darkz (extra substantial and heavy however nonetheless sufficiently small to carry in an enclosed fist). I may also point out the roller-ball bases from the Nola Champ S3 and Baby Reference Grand 3s, that are a part of the speaker design. Plus, you solely want one for every speaker, not three or 4.
In reality, I’d must go all the way in which again to the $4,000 Harmonic Resolution Systems isolation shelf I used with the Brinkmann Taurus turntable earlier than we’d be discussing one thing greater and heavier than the Carbide Base merchandise. All of those isolation merchandise supplied a transparent and constant enchancment to the general sound of my system. But right here’s essentially the most stunning half about Carbide Base isolation gadgets–they’re fairly reasonably priced regardless of their formidable look–simply $299 every.
I ought to have identified that these isolation bases have been going to be large and big when Jeffrey Jenkins instructed me to make use of them beneath my audio system. I often strive to not use any such gadgets below audio system and stands, apart from just a few wads of Blu-Tac, as a result of in my expertise they do two dangerous issues–they elevate the extent of the tweeter which may compromise the supposed design parameters, they usually could make the entire loudspeaker/stand/flooring interface only a bit extra wobbly. But taking a look at these Carbide Base isolation gadgets, I merely thought, “Sure, these’ll work below any speaker or stand I can consider. They ain’t going anyplace.”
Inside the Carbide Base
The Carbide Base has a reasonably complicated strategy to isolating elements from noise and vibration, based mostly on the concept the machine addresses all “six levels of freedom.”
“Separate higher and decrease parts are designed to optimize vibration isolation and dissipation in vertical and horizontal instructions. The higher portion makes use of an aluminum housing machined to simply accept a specifically formulated viscoelastic member known as ViscoRing™. The ViscoRing™ acts as a damped spring supporting the tools whereas isolating it from vertically oriented vibrations. It is replaceable relying on the supposed supporting weight vary.
“The decrease portion incorporates zirconia ball bearings and viscoelastic components to reinforce horizontal isolation and damping. The giant bearings roll on raceways fashioned from polished hardened metal to attenuate rolling resistance. The backside might be unscrewed to facilitate practically 3/4″ (20 mm) of peak adjustment.”
Some extra particulars on the distinctive design, once more cribbed from the web site:
“When it involves viscoelastic supplies offering isolation, extra just isn’t essentially higher. It is the low ratio of floor space supporting weight to the floor space free to bulge outward which is essential for bettering isolation efficiency. The time period for this ratio is Shape Factor. The decrease the Shape Factor, the better the potential diploma of isolation.
“Carbide Base audio isolation toes implement viscoelastic supplies with Shape Factors far decrease than earlier designs. The giant tubular form of the ViscoRing™ maximizes the floor space that’s free to bulge. This yields a Shape Factor round half of the decrease restrict historically used for elastomeric isolators. The low form issue is made doable by the patent pending design of the Carbide Base footer. Ridges inside the higher portion progressively brace the ViscoRing™ because it compresses to stabilize it whereas leaving a considerable floor space free to bulge.”
While the Carbide Base is designed for loudspeakers, particularly these with heavy stands or current footers, they’ll clearly be employed below nearly any part with equal success. As I’ll point out in a bit, you could add a number of further variables to maximise the impact of the bases–principally relating to elevating your speaker. I do know that for a lot of loudspeaker designs, the peak of the drivers in relationship to the listener’s ears is vital. (Many audiophiles, together with me, instinctively elevate their audio system in order that the tweeters are at ear stage, however this isn’t true for each single design.) What I’ve discovered, over time, is that your room and your listening place are additionally very important elements. That’s one of many causes I’ve maintained a “reviewer’s” listening room the place there may be loads of house to work with, and that furnishings might be moved round to accommodate an optimum set-up. So if I’m nervous concerning the stage of a tweeter in relation to my ear, I can often ameliorate the issue by sliding my chair up and again.
That opens up the door to the Carbide Base. Since I’m already pushing sofas and loveseats and chairs round to give you respectable outcomes for a loudspeaker, I had no challenge with doing the identical for isolation gadgets. Not as soon as, whereas utilizing the Carbide Bases, did I really feel the addition peak someway compromised the sound high quality.
When it involves inserting the Carbide Bases below elements, it’s as simple and trouble-free because it will get–with the minor caveat that it may be a bear to carry up a heavy amp and thoroughly place it on the bases with out issues sliding round capriciously. I used to be tempted to make use of just a few balls of Blu-Tac to maintain all of it regular, however I didn’t wish to compromise the design of the Carbide Bases. But if I purchased a set for my very own private use, I’d give it a strive.
This part differs from most evaluations in that I attempted the Carbide Bases in quite a lot of system configurations. Every time a brand new system was constructed when new gear arrived, I instantly considered how the bases might be used.
So I’ve detailed the leads to quite a lot of configurations, described intimately beneath. One factor I wished to debate, nonetheless, was the right way to regulate every Carbide Base to maximise the outcomes. First of all, you possibly can select between 5 completely different ViscoRings to be put in inside the bottom in accordance with the quantity of weight of the part. Each of the 5 ViscoRings come in several colours so that you gained’t get them blended up–the inexperienced ones are designed for as much as 35 kilos, the silver-gray ones deal with as much as 70 kilos, the blue ones deal with from 40 to 140 kilos, the black ones deal with from round 100 to 280 kilos, and the pink ones deal with as much as 800 kilos. (These weights are based mostly on a set of 4, not for every base.) You should buy further ViscoRings to be able to adapt them to something in your system. Since I didn’t have a D’Agostino Relentless monoblock sitting round, ready for use, I used to be completely advantageous with the blue and the grey ones. The heaviest I attempted was the Gershman Studio XdB audio system, which nonetheless weigh an inexpensive 67 kilos per facet, with stands.
Second, you possibly can regulate the peak and the strain of the Carbide Base by merely spinning the highest plate, which strikes as freely and effectively as that VTA wheel on a Technics SL-1200G. A easy device is supplied to assist tighten the highest plate so it gained’t be slowly shifting in a method or one other over an extended time frame. It’s virtually like having an outdated Linn LP-12 turntable–it sounds nice, nevertheless it wants re-adjusting now and again.
Impact on Sound
Notice how I didn’t say, “Carbide Base Sound” on this header? Because a few of you’ll say that isolation bases shouldn’t have a sound. And sure, that’s in all probability true in a hinky, skeptical form of manner. But an isolation machine ought to cut back vibrations and supply appropriate damping for no matter is positioned upon them, and that leads to much less noise, and that enables extra of the music to return via, which is the principle function of utilizing isolation gadgets and correct grounding and chassis supplies that don’t fire up inductance and eddy currents and whatnot. In different phrases, the Carbide Bases might be judged on their capability to impression the sound.
I’ll admit that the outcomes diverse. On a part that’s already constructed like a tank, such because the Antipodes Oladra music server and the Innuos Pulsar community streamer, the Carbide Base made little to no distinction. (In each circumstances, the inventory toes are fairly spectacular already.) But take a part reminiscent of a CD participant or perhaps a DAC, which has plenty of inside elements that make their very own vibrations and noise, the Carbide Bases supplied clear enhancements to the sound.
Yes, the development in sound often adopted the predictable and considerably linear impression that almost all noise suppression merchandise–every part from grounding gadgets to ethernet switches–in that the Carbide Bases helped to decrease the noise flooring of the system. Excess noise in your system can sound like a number of various things–a blurring of the sound, a dulling of transients, and a lack of element. When you put in a tool just like the Carbide Base, the sound comes into focus. You hear it and your mind appears to want much less effort to make sense of the musical presentation, particularly with complicated musical passages. The Carbide Bases positively handed that check.
On loudspeakers, nonetheless, I had completely different outcomes. I did hear all of these issues I heard when the bases have been positioned below elements, an general clearer and extra clear sound, however I began to note an instantaneous enchancment within the deepest bass. Sure, reducing the noise flooring makes it simpler to detect extra particulars and textures within the lowest frequencies, however I think the Carbide Bases are so exceptional on this software as a result of in addition they couple the speaker to the ground in a safer and exact manner.
Carbide Base Listening Sessions #1–Gershman
When I first learn that the Carbide Base isolation gadgets might be used below audio system and stands, I hesitated to strive them out. First of all, I usually use the Acora Acoustics SRS-G granite speaker stands, which weigh about 100 kilos every. Combined with a heavy monitor such because the Piega Coax 411s or the Gershman Acoustics Studio Xdbs, which each weigh greater than 60 kilos every, I nervous that I’d be returning a bag filled with carbide mud as an alternative of the footers, despite the fact that the load scores for every ViscoRing was alleged to guarantee me that it will work. Mostly I didn’t wish to return the Carbide Bases all scratched up and dented.
Turns out, I actually wanted the Carbide Base footers below the Gershmans for the reason that carpet in my new listening room has plenty of padding. The SRS-Gs often circumvent that challenge as a consequence of their mass, however the Studio XdB, with its built-in stand, is already fairly high heavy. With the IsoAcoustics Gaia footers that got here with the Gershmans, your entire speaker was fairly wobbly and vulnerable to fall over like a Jeep Wrangler with a leaf-spring suspension. (Gershman Acoustics does provide spikes for the Studio XdB if wanted.)
I first wound up utilizing a mix of the IsoAcoustics Gaias and the Carbide Base footers for a few causes. First, once I used the Carbide Bases alone, there was nonetheless a difficulty with the top-heavy audio system falling over on the slightest bump. Although the mix regarded a bit extra precarious, it was way more steady. Second, the interface between the 2 footers was flatter and much safer.
Listening periods revealed loads of sonic variations, however I’ve to watch out to contemplate the raised peak of the Gershmans and whether or not or not that was the principle contributing issue. But I additionally discovered that the Carbide Base footers and the Gaia footers raised the tweeter virtually to my ear stage. While this non permanent resolution could draw the ire of Eli and Ofra Gershman for one motive or one other, I felt that the combo tightened the main focus inside the soundstage with out affecting the ample bass output (the Studio XdBs can attain all the way down to 23 Hz!). The wobbling wasn’t utterly addressed–these audio system want spikes or naked flooring in inventory kind–however I felt extra assured that I may go away them below the XdBs.
If you’ve learn my evaluate on the Gershmans you’ll discover that I discovered the Carbide Base footers efficient, however not 100% splendid for the job. Over time, the Carbide Base footers settled into the thick carpet, however because of the top-heavy nature of the Studio XdBs I nonetheless felt that I may knock them over with one good butt-bump. After that evaluate appeared, Carbide Audio seen and stated, “Let me ship you some spikes!” I’d seen the three threaded holes within the Carbide Base and puzzled about them, nevertheless it all made excellent sense. I acquired loads of spikes, put in them, and it was an entire new ball recreation. The Studio XdBs have been tremendously steady on simply the Carbide Bases, they usually proceeded to indicate off much more potential by throwing a extra steady picture and even deeper bass–which the Gershmans already did very, very nicely.
I discovered one other efficient use for the Carbide Bases shortly afterward. There are occasions, after all, when my tools rack will get full of substances and I’ve to put an additional field or two on both an outdated Target amp stand that I usually use for my AudioQuest Niagara 3000 energy conditioner. Since there isn’t any “backside shelf” on my Fern and Roby tools rack, I typically place elements straight on the ground beneath the bottom shelf–there’s loads of room. That didn’t current an enormous drawback in my final couple of properties–hardwood flooring. That’s the place the thick carpeting in my new listening room as soon as once more jogged my memory of its cussed resistance to all issues audiophile.
Most electronics, particularly energy amplifiers, want air flow beneath. Too a lot warmth, after all, can shorten the life expectancy of your part and maybe even begin a fireplace. (I made this error a few years in the past and sure, the carpet was charred and I didn’t get my safety deposit again from the owner.) But the Carbide Base was splendid for conserving the Ayre V-3 energy amplifier and my Pureaudio Control preamplifier off the carpet, they usually regarded damned good doing it.
I used the Carbide Base extensively in my headphone rig, which sits on high of a beefy oak espresso desk in my front room. I consistently use all kinds of isolation gadgets on the espresso desk as a result of it’s not fairly audiophile-approved, and these gadgets at all times yield large enhancements in noise discount. When it got here to bigger, heavier elements–my Unison Research CDE CD participant and the Audion Silver Night 300B headphone amplifier, for instance–the Carbide Base was unusually efficient at lowering every kind of noise from the system. With the Audion, as an example, I heard some tube rush from the 300Bs–not a giant challenge, however having efficient grounding in my essential system highlighted what they might do in my headphone rig.
Once the elements grew to become smaller and lighter, the Carbide Bases grew to become barely much less optimum. For instance, I assumed the Carbide Base could be excellent for elevating the tiny MonAcoustic SuperMon Minis off the espresso desk to emulate a basic desktop system. But the bases aren’t completely flat on high. They’re mild raised within the center to create a really shallow cone, with one level of contact between the bottom and the part. (Refer again to the Shape Factor, mentioned above.) So one Carbide Base, which appeared proper at first, made the Minis wobble consistently. And three Carbide Bases have been merely manner too large to suit beneath the Minis with out taking over an excessive amount of house on the desk.
That’s extra of a difficulty with the dimensions of the Minis, after all, and I feel the Carbide Base could be extra splendid in case you have been utilizing one thing bigger–like an LS3/5a–in your desktop system.
Carbide Base Conclusions
Yes, the Carbide Bases from Carbide Audio are large, which can forestall them from being a panacea to your entire noise suppression wants. Where they match, they labored splendidly. But as their major use as a alternative footer in your loudspeakers, they’re very good. In the previous I’ve had points with loudspeakers, particularly stand-mounted ones, that simply gained’t couple to the ground in an optimum method. In retrospect, the Carbide Base would have been the correct resolution.’
While a few units of Carbide Bases will simply improve your loudspeaker expenditure by a few grand, I feel they’re a discount if you have a look at how they’re constructed, what’s inside, and the way beautiful they’re. You may also spend some further dough to get the Diamond insert model of the Carbide Base, which replaces the chrome steel bearings with ceramic ones, and provides a Diamond PVD coating to the ball bearing raceways.
“Concerning the Diamond model of the footer, it really provides a very separate further isolator into the highest of the footer reasonably than substitute any of the bearings on the usual footer. To improve to the Diamond model, the chrome steel part you see within the high middle is pulled out and the Diamond Insert is dropped as a replacement. This elective improve might be carried out at house.”
As Carbide Audio additionally explains, “the intense hardness of the raceways permit for extra filtering of low-level noise by way of the idea of vibration Transmission Path Evasion.” The Diamond insert knocks the value as much as $599 every. For audiophiles who balked on the $299 determine, this gained’t change their opinion, however I do suspect that folks with very costly loudspeakers would need nothing however the very best.
All that apart, I actually loved taking part in with the Carbide Bases and seeing how they might enhance–with out query–the readability, transparency and general efficiency of my audio system. Highly beneficial.
by way of Confessions of a Part-Time Audiophile https://ift.tt/z7KGtq4
November 19, 2023 at 10:09AM
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