Support Shelf for NDX

I am getting thoughts together for adding a support shelf for my NDX.      It will go where my trusty ol' Rega Planar-3 is located (yes its sell the vinyl time)  & is the top of a very heavy purpose built audio cabinet.   The cabinet top is recessed 18mm & that will be the total depth of the new support shelf,  maybe <18mm but not >18mm.

NDX also means ND anything or any streamer type unit,  its going to happen anyway (sometime) so I would like to make it to a design that works & avoid stuff that does/might degrade SQ.   My questions to the forum are for those that have experience of adding a support shelf (bought or DIY)   (a) Does a support under a streamer actually make a sonic difference (honesty please)  (b) whats the best shelf material;  glass, slate, plastic, wood  (c) ditto support types, spikes, inverted dome nuts, washer/balls, sorbothane, hard rubber,  fixed firmly to the shelf or not.  

............  

Original Post
Mike-B posted:

 

NDX also means ND anything or any streamer type unit,  its going to happen anyway (sometime) so I would like to make it to a design that works & avoid stuff that does/might degrade SQ.   My questions to the forum are for those that have experience of adding a support shelf (bought or DIY)   (a) Does a support under a streamer actually make a sonic difference (honesty please)  (b) whats the best shelf material;  glass, slate, plastic, wood  (c) ditto support types, spikes, inverted dome nuts, washer/balls, sorbothane, hard rubber,  fixed firmly to the shelf or not.  

............  

Yes - it does. I've asked my local supplier to make some glass shelves, in toughened black glass - size matches the Fraim glass shelves.
Each shelf sits on 3 VibraPods, providing the necessary isolation. Note: a VibraPod under the front-right corner is firmer (transformer sits here). VibraPods are relatively inexpensive (around EUR 45 for a pack of 4).

The differences are not subtle at all - it is probably the best and the most obvious upgrade I have ever heard.

I will add a photo in a second (if I can find it).

Adam

Hi Mike,

I've tried:

Sorbathane feet
8.8mm laminated glass (450mm x 350mm x 8.8mm)
8mm toughened glass (450mm x 350mm x 8mm)
Glass resting on the wood
Glass + dome nuts
Glass + Sorbathane
Glass with 3 points of contact, glass with 4 points of contact

The best was 8mm toughened glass resting on 3 dome nuts.

It's night and day - literally: The ND5 sits on the glass 24x7, so literally night and day .

There was also significant gain in SQ over the bare Alphason rack, not an enormous gain, but quite significant and it is consistent.
There was a similar gain placing the Nait XS on an identical glass arrangement.

The gain in SQ wasn't as much as replacing the 'Lavender' with W2549, but it was more than replacing the "other interconnect".

Top marks John,  nice looking shelf.   I do not have the space or the audio cabinet design that lends itself to a design with the upright columns,  but wood is one of the shelf materials I am considering.  Now your chunky 3 incher's have got me thinking along a slight deviation to a basic 1/2 or 3/4 inch support platform.  Is the wood a solid chunk of real wood or a veneered composite?  Are the uprights hard screwed or glued to attached to the shelves??. 

Mike:

Thanks for the comments (and you PCD).  It's all solid wood .. the uprights are screwed into the shelves creating a discrete 3 legged "table".  I removed one of the screw hole caps to show the screw seating.  

John

The following picture shows the shelf from the underside.

Thanks Adam,  don't worry I'm soaking up & cogitating all the possibilities - plus other people have ideas about nice looking & that will need to get approval first.  This one is a slow burner & with being a bit busy taking over domestic duties for a while my best estimate on completion will be ..............   hmm I'll have to think about that one.

Hi Mike

I use the Vibrapod supports like Adam, however I also have the vibrapod cones, these have a ball bearing at the top which the shelf rests on,which sit on top of the Vibrapod, I have 4 supports under a 6mm glass shelf and I found it did make a big difference at a cheap cost, I use these on my NDX and 252 pre.

Haven't tried using 3 supports or not using the added cone supports but all in all, well worth trying

 

 

Thanks Duncanm,  I'm now pretty certain to be going the glass route, I tried with some mockups yesterday but can't get John's chunky wood idea to blend into the cabinet design (blend = think WAF).  

I'm sorely tempted to use domed nuts & probably will try them anyway once I get fixed on glass.  The problem I have is leveling (which dome nuts don't have) but I am troubled by how much the Vibrapods Isolators compress under weight,  they are 9/16 inch which in real numbers is 14.3mm,  but how much do they squish down & what weight grade to use.   In use the Vibrapods will not be seen so I can move them around the glass to get an even squish compression (I hope) & I will be trying to use 3 rather than 4 under the shelf.     The NDX is 10kg so it looks like the model-3 is the one to go for with a range of 3.62 to 5.44kg each.  So a question to you & Adam,  what Vibrapod Isolator model have you used & how much do they squish down.

Mike-B posted:

  The NDX is 10kg so it looks like the model-3 is the one to go for with a range of 3.62 to 5.44kg each.  So a question to you & Adam,  what Vibrapod Isolator model have you used & how much do they squish down.

They compress down to approximately 10 mm. With NDX I use the following:

  • 2 x number 3 (on the left and at the back)
  • 1 x number 4 (this one under the front-right corner, where the trafo is)

 

I could get away with mixing and matching because of the number of VibraPods I needed for all components.
Also I found one needs to go up in a VibraPod number to get the best of it - hence using no 3 and no 4.

Mike, I have the model 2 vibrapods which squish down to 15mm height and 38mm when used with the cones. The model 2 will support 4 to 8 pounds each so using 4 supports is 16 to 32 pounds total and NDX as you say is 10kg or 22 pounds. I do wonder if I should have gone for the Model 3 as they do seem to compress quite a bit.

OK thanks to both,  it confirms my original selection of model-3 to be good for 10kg,  I'm tempted to try 4x model-3 & use 2 close(r) together in the traffo area.  (remember they will not be seen)   10mm squish will work perfectly for me with 8mm glass,  it will be OK to be a few mm more but needs to be perfectly level  (my eye line vision is a bit OCD) 

Sounds good Mike.

Make sure the glass is toughened / tempered. Somehow works better with NAIM.
I chose a 10 mm thicknes to replicate the Fraim glass.
Also glass shelves have sides to them - one always resonates more. If you tap it with your knuckles you will hear a small difference. The more resonant side goes up.

Update:   The rack top glass support shelf for the NDX - bottom line first - it hasn't worked too well.    I've tried dome nuts in various positions, vibrapods & soft sorbothane.  The SQ changes between them all were subtle at best, vibrapods the winner by a nose.   I used Model 2 vibrapods & found even spacing on the 4 corners of the glass was not ideal, the NDX slowly tilted towards the heavy traffo end, only by about 1mm,  but it was visible.  The same when aligned with the NDX feet.  I worked out the NDX C/G point & set the vibrapods equidistant out towards the NDX corners (16cm),  although this was nothing like an even spacing on the glass, that was not visible,  but the NDX now sat level & its vibrapod wobble seemed better.  But was the SQ better than the mastic bonded fixed shelf in the previous location,  not really.

Next was domestic goddess approval, she didn't like the cables sticking out the back, DIN (blue), Burndy (black) , Optical (grey), RC5 (black) & Ethernet (blue) - TBH, neither do I.   

So its still W.I.P.

I don't think so,  I designed the rack shelving to be correct visually for the "Classic" case size & adding even a thin glass will spoil that & I don't expect it will do anything for a positive SQ change,  Plus I think I've now proven to myself the design I put into the rack with the mastic bonded shelves to be dead/inert has been difficult to improve on.   With the top (old TT position) that I was hoping to use, its not working out,  but I'm still working at it.  The big problem,  given that up to now there is no real SQ improvement so nothing positive to bring to the project,  the cables sticking out the back is not so nice even for me & as it is it will not been signed off by the Director of Domestic Engineering. 

Maybe,  I designed (& tested) the rack with CDP's.  I have in the past experienced & fixed CDP sound issues caused by vibration from external & internal (traffo) vibration,  I went about the rack design with some understanding of potential CD laser accuracy effects & that gave me the ideas to test with my prototype shelving.   This exercise in the last week clearly shows that streamer isolation is not the same,  not even close. 

Finkfan, if you have a CDX2, I have found it really comes into its own with a high quality stand. I use a full Fraim now with mine, and put on a non top shelf.. it makes a massive difference. Way back I used a wooden shelf with sorbothane pads for the CDX2, that was quite good but ultimately seemed to smother some of the detail and resolution , however I would recommend that until you go for Fraim. Also the CDX2 appears to really like Hiline, especially with higher specification Naim amplification.

Hi Simon. Thanks for that. Once my system has moved to my "office" I'll have to consider a decent rack. Until then my system is sat on mdf shelves on a Tv unit. A seperate rack in the lounge will not go down well with the domestic goddess. I do like the look of Adam Zs glass on vibrapods solution! 

Finkfan,  I don't want to go into detail on the rack, its my own design & has stuff that is very non-standard.  I have removed the top mounted TT & was hoping to install a glass shelf in its place for the NDX using either vibrapods (similar to Adams) or nuts/balls,; but per my post, its not really made much (if any) difference.  I'm now beginning to think that with a reasonably good rack to start with that solid state items like NDX are not so responsive to different supports as I've found with CDP's.

Re CDP vibration,  my old CDX2 was extremely good compared to my other CDP experiences,  I did improve it by fitting sorbothane 19mm half balls inside the hollow metal feet,  these fitted perfectly & gave the CDX2 about 0.5mm pad of soft feet & resulted in a small SQ gain,   & a CDX2 that did not slide around every time I touched it.  However,  I don't expect the SQ gain will be the same with different rack/shelf materials & designs, it might actually be an SQ loss,   but for the sake of a few £/$/€ its worth trying IMO.

I first found vibration with CDP's in a DJ set up,  horrible noises where fixed by putting a heavy weight on the player.  I suspected the laser was being affected by something resonating/vibrating & found the poor mounting of the traffo vibrated the whole player at 50/100Hz & re-engineering the traffo mount solved that,   plus bitumen panel damping solved the acoustic volume induced resonance.  I then found my home Marantz had similar problems & got a real SQ gain out of that & I've done the same for a few others since.

Huge posted:

Hi Mike,

I've tried:

Sorbathane feet
8.8mm laminated glass (450mm x 350mm x 8.8mm)
8mm toughened glass (450mm x 350mm x 8mm)
Glass resting on the wood
Glass + dome nuts
Glass + Sorbathane
Glass with 3 points of contact, glass with 4 points of contact

The best was 8mm toughened glass resting on 3 dome nuts.

It's night and day - literally: The ND5 sits on the glass 24x7, so literally night and day .

There was also significant gain in SQ over the bare Alphason rack, not an enormous gain, but quite significant and it is consistent.
There was a similar gain placing the Nait XS on an identical glass arrangement.

The gain in SQ wasn't as much as replacing the 'Lavender' with W2549, but it was more than replacing the "other interconnect".

Are the dome nuts filled with jam or custard?

 

Mike-B posted:

Finkfan,  I don't want to go into detail on the rack, its my own design & has stuff that is very non-standard.  I have removed the top mounted TT & was hoping to install a glass shelf in its place for the NDX using either vibrapods (similar to Adams) or nuts/balls,; but per my post, its not really made much (if any) difference.  I'm now beginning to think that with a reasonably good rack to start with that solid state items like NDX are not so responsive to different supports as I've found with CDP's.

Re CDP vibration,  my old CDX2 was extremely good compared to my other CDP experiences,  I did improve it by fitting sorbothane 19mm half balls inside the hollow metal feet,  these fitted perfectly & gave the CDX2 about 0.5mm pad of soft feet & resulted in a small SQ gain,   & a CDX2 that did not slide around every time I touched it.  However,  I don't expect the SQ gain will be the same with different rack/shelf materials & designs, it might actually be an SQ loss,   but for the sake of a few £/$/€ its worth trying IMO.

I first found vibration with CDP's in a DJ set up,  horrible noises where fixed by putting a heavy weight on the player.  I suspected the laser was being affected by something resonating/vibrating & found the poor mounting of the traffo vibrated the whole player at 50/100Hz & re-engineering the traffo mount solved that,   plus bitumen panel damping solved the acoustic volume induced resonance.  I then found my home Marantz had similar problems & got a real SQ gain out of that & I've done the same for a few others since.

Interesting. I wonder why then the CDX2 is fitted with the hard rubber feet and not the softer ones on the other boxes? 

Huge posted:

Hi Stuart, they're filled with air.  You don't want then getting all heavy and stodgy do you.  Yuk, that wouldn't be nice!  

I find the air filled dome nuts impart a bland and sterile character. I much prefer mine filled with custard! �� 

 

Finkfan posted:

Interesting. I wonder why then the CDX2 is fitted with the hard rubber feet and not the softer ones on the other boxes? 

Almost 100% sure Naim designed it that way for the best SQ on the Fraim glass shelf.    Like I said in my post I don't expect the SQ gain will be the same with different rack/shelf materials & designs, it might actually be an SQ loss,  

@John W: off thread topic but I see an Yggdrassil DAC - presumably connected to your NDX used as transport. I did a test a few months ago with a friend's Yggi at my place (using the NDX as transport) and found it very similar to my NDX+XPS5 (as transport+DAC),  only with some aggressive vocals I thought the Yggdrasill had the upper hand vs the NDX but nothing close to the revelatory experiences quoted in the forum with other DACs like Hugo...what is your experience on this matter?

Mike-B posted:

................. I'm now beginning to think that with a reasonably good rack to start with that solid state items like NDX are not so responsive to different supports as I've found with CDP's.   This exercise in the last week clearly shows that streamer isolation is not the same (as it is with CDP's),  not even close. 

 I'm now satisfied the glass shelf does not do anything for NDX SQ,,  the experiments with various wood/MDF, glass, dome nuts & vibrapods don't change much so I'm reverting back to something like the old set-up,  minus the Rega TT.   The director of domestic affairs is happier that way as it looses the visible cables,  oh well such is life.

On the positive side, the system has had a complete strip out & deep clean, plus a cable tidy-up & routing change.  "We" now have a very pleasing (I'm told) smoked glass topped rack,    & I do believe it sounds even better than before  ........   

Mike-B posted:
Finkfan posted:

Interesting. I wonder why then the CDX2 is fitted with the hard rubber feet and not the softer ones on the other boxes? 

Almost 100% sure Naim designed it that way for the best SQ on the Fraim glass shelf.    Like I said in my post I don't expect the SQ gain will be the same with different rack/shelf materials & designs, it might actually be an SQ loss,  

Agree, albeit, not sure what came first Fraim or CDX2, however having used Sorbothane with my CDX2, which improved things and tamed a sharpness in the sound that came with lesser supports, the CDX2 is IME completely transformed on Fraim into a warm, bubbbly and infectiously rhythmic player...

DrPo posted:

@John W: off thread topic but I see an Yggdrassil DAC - presumably connected to your NDX used as transport. I did a test a few months ago with a friend's Yggi at my place (using the NDX as transport) and found it very similar to my NDX+XPS5 (as transport+DAC),  only with some aggressive vocals I thought the Yggdrasill had the upper hand vs the NDX but nothing close to the revelatory experiences quoted in the forum with other DACs like Hugo...what is your experience on this matter?

Dr.Po:  I spent a great deal of time auditioning DAC's before settling on the Yggy .. revelatory it isn't, but it is so right.

 Classical music sounds very natural, strings are wonderful .. the DAC portrays so much texture to the music regardless of its genre.  I hadn't experienced the aggressive vocals you note but having said that there was quite an extensive (4-6 weeks) run in period during which time the presentation altered quite considerably. I'd say it was a month before it settled down and really came on song.  I found the Hugo quite sterile in comparison.

Like NAIM, Schiit recommend leaving the Yggy turned on 24X7 .. 

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