Conquering Unwanted Effects Caused from Vibration

Analysis of Isolation – Absorption – Resonance Transfer

 Within the Specialty Audio/Video Industry, some of the most commonly used terminology and dialogue referring to resonance, and the control thereof, has very little to do with the true actual functions that lead to the outcome of the applied physics. In our opinion, the Industry needs to address its overall understanding of this energy termed "detrimental resonance" or "vibration".

This Proving Grounds segment is designed to focus on current audiophile definitions and phraseology used to describe and define resonance function as viewed by the Industry. In addition, we offer our insight and understanding as well. The results are interesting and will hopefully add to your knowledge so that you may make a better-informed decision as to which process you wish to include into your music and/or video system.

Listed below we will present our analogy as to function and merit, based on the top three approaches (Isolation, Absorption & Transfer) to controlling the harsh effects caused from "all" types of vibration.

Education provided by leading Industry journalists and audio/video-manufacturing companies' states that resonance is an undesirable energy and should be dissipated in order to improve the sound quality of your electronic components and loudspeakers. With this understanding, we do agree.


We completely disagree

When addressing this term and procedure, the audiophile and Industry usually focuses on isolating components from a vibrating shelf, equipment stand and/or flooring. This de-coupling process is generally defined and accepted as a method to achieve a "floating in air concept", thus limiting vibration within and on the surface of a component or loudspeaker.

Isolate what and what from? (Sounds like a Yogi Berra cliché)

As defined by Webster, to isolate is to place or keep by itself; separate from others.

Fact: You cannot successfully isolate any component and/or loudspeaker from AIR-BORNE RESONANCE.

When the loudspeaker begins sound reproduction, there is a tremendous amount of resonance that accumulates on and within the speaker enclosure. The loudspeaker also produces a wide range of frequencies, creating huge amounts of resonance that travels through the airspace.

All energy seeks [earth's] ground via the fastest method it derives.

This is a basic rule of physics.

Air-borne resonance too reacts and travels to conductive materials which may act as a ground. This energy is actually misdirected into what we describe as a false or secondary grounding plane. These secondary planes often consist of equipment racking and shelving, electronic component chassis and/or loudspeakers steel speaker framework and their respective enclosures.

Conductive Materials such as steel, aluminum, brass, silver and copper provide both active and passive conduits for which this air-borne resonance along with mechanical and electrical resonance constantly pursues. These conduits attract all resonance like a magnet. The result is additional vibrations are inherited into the system which creates additional inefficiencies throughout all the audio/video signal pathways.

Electronic components and loudspeakers are largely made up of these conductive materials; thus, air-borne resonance consistently bombards your equipment's chassis, not just the support platforms.

If you move the electronic components into another room and onto a separate grounding plane, you may think you have isolated them, however loudspeakers cannot isolate from themselves as well as the 'wire conduits' connecting them to your components. Air-borne resonance will always be a part of the performance of your equipment.

We state that:

When analyzing resonance (mechanical, electrical and air-borne), the Air-Borne Resonance is the greatest detriment during sound, music and video reproduction. Air-borne resonance appears to be the least understood or researched aspect with regard to vibration. Minimal documented research exists concerning this topic.

For this reason alone (Air-Borne Resonance), we at Star Sound Technologies, LLC do not recognize the term "isolation" as a defining factor or valid functional solution to related electronic and/or acoustical problems caused from all types of vibration.

We have always realized that whoever achieves the greater understanding, handling and management of this air-borne factor will have a tremendous advantage to design and would propagate newfound musical and visual qualities through product invention.


We agree that the absorption method is and always has been a treatment for resonance - yet we disagree to the positive listening values related to the musical performance that one would experience when applying this method to loudspeakers, equipment racking and/or electronic components.

For years we were educated by Industry's finest that another and possibly a more dominant way to completely control vibration was to absorb the vibrations, damping them, thus destroying the ill effects caused from resonance.

Our initial conversations with audiophiles usually lead to one of our first questions asked, which is "what are you searching for with your system design?"

The replies always point towards "creating the dynamic musical reproduction and soundstage associated with the live-performance" while positioned in one's listening room and/or home theater.

Absorptive materials such as sand, lead, rubber and certain stones will kill vibration.

Absorptive materials also kill or absorb the live dynamics as well.

Maybe you have experienced the terms make the shelf dead or a loudspeaker should have the density of concrete. One undeniable truth about physics is that if you kill or completely dissipate energy, you can never bring it back to existence.

In music reproduction, once the live dynamic is lost, within any portion of your systems performance, you may never realize the personal listening goal of achieving the live-performance.

One step further, you can research the complete history musical instruments. These inventions are vital to the creation of music and the live performance. We ask are there any made of lead, sand, rubber or stone? Makes one wonder how absorption was ever included into the use and study of electronic musical reproduction.

Absorption will change the sound of your system. Most listeners immediately assume this is good for your listening experience. However, we ask you this. When you first apply absorptive materials to your system, did you not have to go to the volume control and turn up the volume to try climb to the same level of excitement prior to absorption's involvement?

Listen again carefully to the high frequencies and ask yourself are they still present and as brilliant? The human ear in the 10kHz to 16 kHz ranges can immediately notice live dynamics lost although live dynamics are understood to be host to the human ear's complete range of frequency.

For many, absorption has always been the answer and the only way to handle detrimental resonance. For us at Star Sound, there had to be a more precise method to controlling the resonance yet maintaining and/or increasing the levels of the live dynamics.


Live-Vibe Technology™ by Star Sound Technologies, LLC is a technical approach to vibration management that neither isolates nor primarily absorbs resonance.

"The technology is based on the conclusion that unwanted vibration itself, as related to the effects of Coulomb Friction, yields severe inefficiencies on a mechanical and electrical level.

The primary reason for dynamic response reduction and inaccuracy is Coulomb friction. This problem manifests itself in almost all industry related applications and causes measurable inefficiencies.

"Our research on the affects of Coulomb Friction, with regards to the mechanical and electrical aspects of numerous audio related components, has also been focused on increasing system performance and reduction of dynamic loss without the unnecessary side effects of isolation and absorption techniques." Todd Zimmer, Star Sound Technologies Mechanical Engineer

Historically, this Industry has always tried to stop, halt or eliminate unwanted vibration.

"Attempting to stop or eliminate a naturally occurring physical effect most definitely will compromise the desired result and prevent said state from being attained. In other words you will always create inefficiencies." Attorney David Roberts, Star Sound Technologies Materials Science Engineer

In acoustics and sound reproduction the trade off from employing isolation or absorption is an extreme loss of dynamics. In commercial applications, when one tries to reduce vibration or the noise associated with vibration on large motors and transformers  through isolation and/or absorption techniques, the trade off is the equipment becomes inefficient. The fuel load increases plus the device in now working harder to achieve the same result, thus establishing near future problems.

Our application of physics is to let the vibrations take place. The electronic component will vibrate as the loudspeaker systems generate the moving air and resonance associated with the physical reactions. Why not let it?

Now place a vibrating conductor made from brass, copper, steel, aluminum under the vibrating instrument, component or loudspeaker. Add geometrical designs that direct the resonance through the conductive materials to earth's ground with extremely limited back-feeding effects forming high-speed pathways to the earth's ground plane and you create a greater efficiency in a vibrating product in a vibrating environment.

The Audio Points, Sistrum Platforms and STAGE Platforms do just that. They literally are vibrating thousands of times faster than that of the component and/or loudspeaker. The amplitudes of detrimental resonance formed are rapidly transferred to ground or the greater mass– thus the live dynamic remains within the instrument as the critical last movement. The detrimental effects of Coulomb Friction are removed and the musical performance flourishes.

Test Resonance Transfer for Your Own Proof

Just place a mechanical vibrating conductive plane made from any metals mentioned above between the floor and the component. If you physically touch the material you will feel the energy moving; moving away from the component to ground.

If it vibrates – let it!

Feel free to telephone us and we will be happy to answer ALL of your questions.

As always – Good Listening !

The Proving Grounds© 2013 Star Sound Technologies, LLC

No part of this document may be reproduced without the written permission of Star Sound Technologies, LLC

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