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Herbie's Audio Lab products discussion (Read 18372 times)
Lon
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Herbie's Audio Lab products discussion
10/29/12 at 18:40:50
 
I know more than several of us are acquainted here with the products from Herbie's Audio Lab, and I thought maybe a thread discussing them might be in order.

I started using the "Halo" tube dampers way back when, and after that started buying the Tenderfoot and Iso-Cup products, as well as Grungebuster dots.

For amps I find the Iso-Cup to be the best isolation feet to use. I have both the frosted clear and the earlier bases (which have "Db Neutralzer" on the bottom). I've not yet needed to buy any of the new version (black). I've found that with these older bases the "frosted acrylic" balls are very neutral, and I have experimented with and shifted to the Deep Moss gemstone balls as a nice tune for my system.  I use the "High End Base" under each Iso-Cup.

I have "Halos" of various sorts on all tubes except lately I've removed them from power tubes and prefer to have those free of dampening things. I used Isocups under my PS Audio Duo (each on four Iso-Cups) and my SACD player and DVR. I use Tenderfeet under my turntable, CSP2+ and phono preamp and my Power Plant Premier (the ones for heavier components).

I used to use Little Fat Gliders under my speakers, but after reading a lot about "decoupling" speakers written by recording engineer Barry Diament, I decided to experiment along the lines of his preferences and now use Frosted Acrylic balls sitting inside a 2" automotive freeze plug between the carpet and the speaker bottom. I never have liked spikes under speakers and though the Little Fat Gliders have worked well, this set up, which allows the balls to move a bit, is both very tedious to set up properly (mostly because my speaker wires are not running along the carpet) and also give a very focused, nuanced and tonally appealing sound which really works for me. I have thinnish carpet, and a hardwood floor on a pier and beam house built in '32, not the most solid place on the planet! This has been a great discovery for me, the ball and freeze plug. Not at all expensive to try.

I confess I really don't know why all of these work, but I find they do for me in my system, and whenever I've taken them out I find myself missing what they "do" and putting them back in. Steve Herbelin is a wonderful person to deal with, and you can always return these if they don't satisfy. I've never returned any.

Anyone else want to talk about Steve Herbelin's products?

http://herbiesaudiolab.net

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« Last Edit: 10/29/12 at 19:10:04 by Lon »  

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Donnie
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Re: Herbie's Audio Lab products discussion
Reply #1 - 10/29/12 at 23:20:36
 
I've always wondered how or why vibration control works.
As there are 2 camps on this discussion, isolate and couple, who is right, both, neither, or some combination thereof?
As I am always skeptical could someone please explain why I should isolate or couple my equipment.
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Lon
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Re: Herbie's Audio Lab products discussion
Reply #2 - 10/30/12 at 00:08:11
 
Why?

Because, Donnie! BECAUSE! Cheesy

In some circumstances decoupling is best, others isolation.

There's a lot of literature out there. I just tried it out, liked it, and as usual with me, went whole hog. My system is better for it. Your mileage may vary if you test drive that beast.
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HPDJ
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Re: Herbie's Audio Lab products discussion
Reply #3 - 10/30/12 at 00:14:53
 
I must say that vibration control is something I need to keep exploring...I have a few products from Herbie's and I've communicated with him through email a few times before my eventual purchase and he is excellent with communication and getting right back to you with your questions.

But, I haven't noticed an appreciable difference in MY rig with his products. And he has a really great return policy that I could have used anytime during the period it was still in effect after my purchase...so no real complaints from me...I tend to try and make sure that it's not MY fault when not getting the results I want from some product or some kind of tweak before I decide that I've done everything I could (not that I've tried a wide variety of either up to this point)...

Anyway, I have his tenderfeet (8 of them) I used those under my CD player which comes in two separate chassis (transport and DAC). I have his isocups (4 of them) that I was using under my MT for some time...and finally I have some of his super sonic stabilizer's (2)...

I've tried them all in a multitude of ways...moving them around etc. I really didn't have much time to play with them when I got them all because I got busy with work, but I've had them all for a while now and I can't say that I ever noticed any changes. I mean, maybe if I strained I would have noticed something, but I was looking for something more easily noticeable...maybe I just don't need the stuff at all...of maybe my system isn't revealing enough. But my system is like, 75% Decware so that shouldn't be the issue...maybe I need to be using a power conditioner of some sort so that I'm getting better power to my components and thus will make them more revealing to any changes upstream........maybe this all makes no sense and I'm just making excuses haha!

I realized, while using the isocups, why using 3 of them is your best option sometimes because of the uneven nature of a lot of the bottom's of some components. This was true for my MT. Otherwise, one of them is not getting much weight at all. And just because I didn't notice any changes (YET quite possibly) doesn't mean I don't think these sorts of things work. I'm still working on my system as a whole and issues with some of the components themselves have hampered my ability to really zoom in on what the Herbies stuff was truly doing I feel...or maybe I'm just WAY to optimistic :/

But I will hold on to the Herbies items and continue to experiment with them once I get some of my main components back from repair/"inspection". Again, he's a real nice dude and I dig his website and all the info he has for folks to digest. Vibration control makes sense to me in theory, and I hope that I will notice it's effects on my system at some point. His products are prices great in comparison to some of his competitors, so even if it never does anything for MY system, I won't feel jipped. I could always sell some of it at some point I guess...I do remain curious about his tube dampers, but until I've settles down on some tube configurations that work best for me, I don't wanna take it there yet because they are to be used with specific sized tubes...of which he has MANY sizes to suit practically any tube you have.  

Oh, I should mention (before someone asks maybe) that I was looking for a blacker background, some improvement in the details of the music and maybe some more solidity and firmness in the bass...the stabilizers haven't gotten much play at all after I moved recently, and I didn't pull them back out the box to try them again. And the isocups are taking a break from their duties under the MT......my desktop is a particularly vibration prone environment mostly due to the Trapeziums and their down firing bass port. So there is some trade of when using these speakers on a desktop I guess (for ones concerned with vibration control) because you get GREAT bass and great low end punch from the little speakers and no worries about having them close to a wall behind them...but the whole desk does tend to vibrate with the bass (probably an issue with most desktop speakers). This might even add to the bass "feel" in a way which is great...but  the other components are susceptible to the effects of those vibrations if one subscribes to certain vibration control theories. My exploration with the Herbies gear was to try and circumvent the issues of vibration that I'd read about and to hear what I had gained in applying some preventative/more controled measures.....my final assessment is pending I suppose Smiley
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Lon
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Re: Herbie's Audio Lab products discussion
Reply #4 - 10/30/12 at 03:46:09
 
Interesting. The blacker background I got from power treatment. The biggest differences I get with the Herbie products I'd say are dynamic contrasts and level of detail (mostly instrumental separation) and a refinement of tonal qualities. Soundstage depth to seems to be a bit improved. My components are on racks that do some isolating and I also use maple platforms under components, and put grungebuster dots under these and I feel that makes a difference. The Sonic Stabilizers I'm not sure make much of a difference to be honest.

I'd recommend putting some small grungebuster dots under the corners of the Trapeziums, that may help eliminate the vibrational transfer to the desktop and help the Iso-Cups' effects be clearer?

I might be imagining all the differences I hear, but I enjoy the fruits of my imagination if I do.

Anyway, thanks for your input!
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« Last Edit: 10/30/12 at 03:54:15 by Lon »  

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HPDJ
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Re: Herbie's Audio Lab products discussion
Reply #5 - 10/30/12 at 04:12:25
 
Hey Lon,

Thanks for the suggestion about the Trap's but it's a no go with this particular unique speaker. It relies on being on a completely flat surface to create it's port for the bass...there is a little space on either side of them at the bottom that you can feel air from the bass pushing through. Once you lift the speaker you loose that effect....the gift and the curse??? haha!

I may get the Decware rack at some point, but I feel silly doing that right now because the desk I purchased for my system has two levels and I bought it so I could have everything within arms reach and also have my speakers at ear level....maybe I'll get a rack when I get a bigger room and some bigger speakers Smiley

And maybe I'll find some purpose for those stabilizers....I even tried them on top of the MT's transformers just as Herbies site suggests.....but I heard no difference :/

I've been really looking into PI Audio's conditioners for a while and there is a company in NY that will give a FREE demo of their stuff in my home! so I'm gonna take them up on that offer once I get some of my equipment back Smiley
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Lon
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Re: Herbie's Audio Lab products discussion
Reply #6 - 10/30/12 at 11:17:08
 
Well, Grungebuster dots would just lift the Traps a fraction of an inch off the tabletop, and couple it to the top, I really doubt if that would influence the bass output significantly, audibly. I could be wrong, but I've used them with tabletop speakers when I was in Houston for months for my late wife's cancer treatment and didn't notice any diminution of bass output.

I've never done any serious listening with a desktop system so can't really offer any further suggestions. I'm surprised, from my experience elsewhere, that there's little or no effect from Herbie's products on your system, but there you go. I am fairly certain I get a lot of result due to my very house itself, it's old and creaky and resonant, perched on "pier and beam" and not solidly rooted on the ground. One day I'll probably have the system in another home and will be able to compare.

Good deal on the free in home demo!
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« Last Edit: 10/30/12 at 13:58:18 by Lon »  

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marky
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Re: Herbie's Audio Lab products discussion
Reply #7 - 10/30/12 at 12:15:48
 
I think you may have answered your own question HPDJ..
Decent power conditioner.
The cleanness they give you is real.
You`ll find you have to turn the volume up a notch or two to
compensate the drop in the noise you didn`t know you had.
Then you should notice the benefits of the vibration products.
Syd.
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ZYGI
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Re: Herbie's Audio Lab products discussion
Reply #8 - 10/30/12 at 14:03:45
 
Here is an interesting article about what we are talking about. Maybe a different way of doing so than using  Herbie's  Audio Lab products.

Diffused vibrations
We’re in the middle of our mini series on power and vibration control for our hi fi systems.  Yesterday I explained that vibrations, caused by the loudspeakers in our listening rooms, were inevitable and instead of focusing on minimizing or eliminating them we would be better served to treat them like we would room reflections.
When you play speakers in the room you get reflections off the room walls.  You can try and absorb and minimize those reflections or you can scatter and diffuse them instead.  Over the years we’ve learned that diffusing them is a much more effective tack than absorbing and this is because when the reflections are diffused, our ear/brain mechanism will interpret them as random unrelated noise and easily ignore their contributions.
If we use the same technique on vibration and microphonic control we get the same results – that of the ear/brain ignoring their contributions.  Diffusing is far better than reducing and here’s why.
If you try and damp out the vibrations occurring in your room you will be only partially successful – because you simply cannot eliminate them all.  Whatever is left is still a focused and related ghost image riding on your music and, although reduced, it will still be perceived as distortion and smearing in your listening environment.
Cones and spikes under equipment, for example, reduce microphonic effects but don’t diffuse it – in fact they probably make it worse and here’s why.  Cones and spikes work by reducing the contact area between the equipment and the vibrating surfaces.  They are, by their very nature, extremely rigid and transmit specific frequencies to the equipment – thus further focusing the unwanted energy.  Several manufacturers have used varying hardness materials within a cone to help this issue, but in the end their purpose is to reduce contact area and thus reduce surface-borne vibrations.  The second problem they have is that they do not address airborne vibrations.
In fact, at least half of the microphonics issue comes from the airborne vibrations and, unless your equipment is in an acoustically shielded environment, there’s little any of these isolation bases and cones and feet can do to help.  They are valuable under the speakers but I would recommend not using them under the electronics.
So the best answer is, again, diffusion and masking rather than absorption, isolation and futile attempts at vibration reduction.
Tomorrow I’ll show you how this works.

Please help me spread these ideas by clicking here to post a comment.
You can also help me engage more readers by clicking here to share.  I would appreciate the support.

   

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End of part 1

In my room in AZ, I set up my Torii in the office that was separated from the listening room by two closets back to back. It was hooked up to the speaker in the listening room. With my office system  playing the music, and the speakers pointed at the Torii as if it was in the listening position one meter away, I was able to hear what the air born vibrations from a set of speakers can impale on the amp and tubes. An eye opener for sure!!!  So much so, that while not perfect, I placed the amp/system  in the closet. In my room here in NC, I have used more diffusion than I had in AZ, I've just never found a way to see if it is better with the added diffusion, or if the system would be better out of room.

Besides, who doesn't like see the tubes glowing while listening to music.

Zygi
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Lon
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Re: Herbie's Audio Lab products discussion
Reply #9 - 10/30/12 at 14:21:44
 
Interesting Bob, thanks for sharing.

Steve Herbelin has really researched vibration control and his products are more sophisticated than just cones and I think he's addressed some of the issues that the authors of this piece have encountered, and his products can accomplish both isolation and decoupling and I too have compared untreated and treated amps with loud speaker airborne sound and the contrast is large enough that I pursue the Herbie's Audio Lab pathway, along with the isolation that my audio racks bring.

I imagine that putting the equipment into a closet or another room would be one way to go and should yield big benefits. Won't work logistically for my listening world without insanely long cabling, which has its own issues and with the type of cabling I favor a big expense!

There's always more than one way to skin a cat supposedly, I'm committed monetarily and systematically to this direction of vibration control and enjoying the results.
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« Last Edit: 10/30/12 at 14:22:32 by Lon »  

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ZYGI
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Re: Herbie's Audio Lab products discussion
Reply #10 - 10/30/12 at 14:54:31
 
Lon,

I couldn't agree more......

BUT!!! If you also add diffusion to the room, not only do you have the benefit that Paul speaks of, you are also gaining room treatment which stop early reflection that your ears hear as well as what the tubes are getting.

In the end, doing both (Herbie's and diffusion) would double the benefit.

Here is a link to the rest of Paul's morning blog.

http://www.pstracks.com/pauls-posts/counterintuitive/8695/

Zygi
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Lon
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Re: Herbie's Audio Lab products discussion
Reply #11 - 10/30/12 at 15:06:52
 
Thanks.

Yeah, just not able to do diffusion panels in my room. Wish I could but. . . just can't squeeze it in.
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Mark
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Re: Herbie's Audio Lab products discussion
Reply #12 - 10/30/12 at 16:26:11
 
With all the talk about mechanical vibration coming through base units and such, I'm left wondering if anyone has given much thought to airborne acoustical energy getting into components... Sympathetic vibrations, resonance inducing acoutical energy, whatever... ???...  

Sidebar: Also, it was well known when I was selling audio, that if you placed various speakers close together, the dead speakers, esp. the cones of woofers, would operate 180 degrees out of phase with the speakers that were on-line... This would color the sound of the speakers you were demo-ing... ???...  (m.)
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Lon
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Re: Herbie's Audio Lab products discussion
Reply #13 - 10/30/12 at 16:35:32
 
Isn't that what Bob was addressing with the article he posted, and its theme of "diffusion" of vibrations?

I believe that Herbie's Audio Lab "Sonic Stabilizers" are designed to play a hand in coping with some vibrations of component top and chassis. Other companies have similar "bricks," "stones," etc. I'm not convinced these are really effective, but I have some in use (Herbie's) and believe they may contribute subtly.
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Mark
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Re: Herbie's Audio Lab products discussion
Reply #14 - 10/30/12 at 17:02:13
 
I'll have to read that, Lon... (m.)
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