PS AUDIO: Most of us are familiar with the concept of mechanically isolating our equipment from vibrations; but do you know why it’s important?

Paul McGowan writes: Microphonics.  Certainly not the only reason, but clearly the most important.  Microphonics is the tendency of something to act like a microphone; picking up and reproducing sounds it “hears”.

The sound producer is, of course, our loudspeakers – which is why headphones and their associated equipment are far less sensitive and needful of vibration dampers.

On the receiving end, turntables are the biggest offenders, followed by tubes, capacitors, circuit boards, semiconductors, chips and magnetics.  These components pickup the delayed audio from your loudspeakers and put small, out of time images back into the system.  These images are like ghosts that ride on the music itself and confuse the presentation you hear.

Placing your equipment on spikes (including the speakers) helps to decouple the sound producer from the sound receiver and you get a clearer audio presentation that is quite apparent to most listeners.

The coolest thing you could do is have a network audio system in one room with the listening environment in another and only the loudspeaker cables common to both.  In this setup you can use a WIFI connected controller to select and play your music without much worry about microphonics.  Not many of us are going this route.  🙂

The next best thing is to do what you can with either homemade solutions like a simple sand filled box with a piece of wood floating in the sand to set your equipment on, to many exotic and expensive solutions available on the market.

Keep it isolated as best you can and leave the microphones to the recording side of things.