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Roller-type Vibration Isolation Devices info for audio

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In this BLOG post I'd like to focus on only the roller type Vibration Isolation Devices (VID). I'm not a big fan of springs, cones, or squishy things, as I believe them to only really operate as filters, shifting vibration from frequency to frequency with little real attenuation. I think that the roller type devices are qualitatively different, true isolators rather then just filters. Note that this type of device will only islolate horizontal and radial vibrations.

I wanted to share information I have collected on existing commercial models and DIY designs, and have posted a previous version of this list in an older CA post, but this is upgraded with some new and updated information, through it is certainly not the last word :) The following is some basic information on commercial audio, and DIY roller type VIDs. I have tried to come up with their approximate costs for a set of 3 VIDs for one piece of Audio Equipment, and a full System Set of 10 or 12 equipment sets. So if anyone is interested in upgrading their systems with these VID's they have a better idea of what it takes. Perhaps we can develop comparative sonic performance info for these different devices as time goes on ?

Do It Yourself roller type vibration isolation devices VID's

Barry, et all, DIY Wooden egg cups, and Marbles - $1-2 per set, $15 per sys.
Entry level. Very cheap, does give perceivable benefits, but easily bested, not for heavy equipment.
Vibration control for better performance

DTA DIY Acrylic/SS BallBlocks -
Inexpensive and attractive, flexible configurations, handles weight well.
About $12 a set, $125 per sys.
I have heard similar SQ benefits as Barry D has, through they may not be as pronounced.
I expect some, but don't know the degree of, performance differences between these devices, Hip Joints, Symposium Rollerblocks, and others.

Custom bowl machining ie: Barry D's Hip Joints -
Cost dependent on the vendor one finds - possibly about $50 a set, $150 -$500 per sys (??)
Could use a recommended design and alloy material
It might be nice to establish a relationship with a particular shop to supply a small set of custom bowls, designed by agreement of a group like here at CA, could be a little 'open source' project like the Teres turntable. Or, someone's small business product opportunity ?
Vibration control for better performance

Commercial roller type vibration isolation devices VID's

First Impression Music (FIM) Model 305 (Platimum) -
product of noted recording engineer, Winston Ma
Model 305 /3 (Platimum)

3 part design, w/ top and bottom cap having curvatures ("Double Stack"), large bowl curvature,, 3/8" steel balls. "hardened steel plated copper cups" (?)
"1-5/8” diameter x 7/8” H", "about 1-3/8" in diameter, 5/16" thick, 15/16" x 5/32" bowl", "Both top and bottom are approx 1.125" diameter" - who is right ?
$220 per set, $2200 per sys

Ingress Engineered Products RollerBlocks -
Ingress Engineered Products (made in Canada)

LEVEL 1 - RollerBlocks - Blocks made from 6061 aluminum, height is just over 1", looks to be about 2-3/4" in diameter
The bowl looks to be between 3/4" and 1" in diameter, with a medium to high curvature, but a rather rough surface with visible machining marks.
3/8" dia. stainless steel G25 ball bearings, no TC option.
A single device consists of a bottom block, a bearing ball, and a top block, forming a "Double Stack" (higher damping, higher stability). Supports 20 or 300 pounds
$75 per set (6 blocks, 3 balls), $750 per system

LEVEL 3 - 7075 RollerBlocks - Blocks made from 7075 aluminum, dimension = ??. Three blocks per set.
No rollerballs are included, so one can choose their own size and type (they are easy enough to obtain in both high precision Stainless Steel or Tungsten Carbide).
The bowl is a nice big 2" diameter, with nicely polished surface (both of these features are high on my list for a high performance device).
$90 per set, $900 per sys.

Symposium Acoustics Rollerblocks -
(company principle: Steve Bruzonsky, AZ)

Jr. - round, anodized 6061 Alu. blocks, both top and bottom with what looks like a large curvature (shallow) bowls and a safety ring. (1.875" x 5/8", 4.76 x 1.58cm), 1/2" SS balls (TC optional). "This dual cup or "Double Stack" variation is a Symposium invention" Really ???

HDSE - like the Jr., but with 7075 alloy Alu., hard anodizing, G10 TC ball standard
Series 2 - rectangular anodized alu block, polished bowl surface ***, looks like a moderate curvature, (2" x 1" x .75"), 1/2" G10 TC balls (G3 optional), no top parts

$200, $360, $540 a set, $2K - $5K per sys

*** polished to 6 microns - about .000234", 2.3 ten thousands of an inch. Good, but still pretty far from common ball tolerances.

Note: There are some very high precision Tungsten Carbide balls available, with G3, G10, G25 being accurate to 3, 10, and 25 millions of an inch, respectfully. This is concentricity, the amount of deviation from a perfect sphere. The marketing pitch for the TC balls is about the extreme hardness of the material, but then I notice that they all have very accurate concentricity too. So which is the more important measure here ?

Out of production - Commercial roller type VID's (may be available on the used market)

Final Laboratory Daruma 3-II Isolation Devices -
Simple, "Double Stack", 3 part design, looked like soft aluminum
$100 per set (2001)
It appears the company is long out of business, so no availability, unless the rare used sale.

(TGE/Vistek/AVT) Aurios Inc. Media Isolation Bearings (MIB)
(pronounced 'oreos', like the cookie)
$300 per set

MIB - 3" dia., 3 balls per block, top and bottom curves (TC balls ?)
VIB - 100, 320, 410, 450 - (now Newport) - Vib. Iso. Bearing - ball race & spring*)
Pro, Pro Max, VIL - no information…

Co.'s technology license terminated on December 31, 2012 (bought by a competitor), liquidated inventory - Out of business - "This Product is no longer available" - Acoustic Sounds.
business history link
SoundStage! The Y-Files - Audible Oreos -- Sonic Sugar? (7/2000) (wordy, but interesting, some excerpts below)

"Balls of undisclosed composition ride inside a thin retaining plastic wafer that connects two circular precision-machined steel plates with elevated, minimum-contact rims facing outwards. The three wafers are held together by a central screw. This screw is pre-tightened to guarantee proper freedom of motion for the balls that travel inside a slightly conical raceway. The profile of this raceway creates a self-centering effect -- if the bearing is level, it always aligns itself after lateral motion subsides… this device relies on precision-tooling and first-rate components to create the load-bearing capability, virtual indestructibility and mirror-polishing which insures that the inside tread spacing for the balls… smooth and free of friction… a set of three Aurios could support up to 1000 pounds?"
"It offers 1/10" of lateral freedom in a circular horizontal plane to address the main area of micro-vibrational impact. What we have here then is a device that is minimally coupled to its support structure below, producing about 90% de-coupling/isolation versus 10% coupling/damping."
"Craig Goff’s expertise… resulted in the "Aurios Project", which is a direct outgrowth of Vistek’s existing research and products.
"Now that I’ve heard the results, I’m convinced that de-coupling rather than coupling is where it’s at!" **
...Srajan Ebaen

* combines balls and spring to handle 6 degrees of freedom (horizontal & vertical), diff. springs/models for diff. weight ranges
** I very much agree


Symposium Acoustics 'Technology' page

Barry Diament on Vibration contro for Audiol




GCAudio Isolation overview


  1. Daudio's Avatar
    Addendum: (for some info that got left out of the original post - odd that BLOG's can not be edited after posting, unlike forum posts (through the time limit is way too short there))

    1) Ingress LEVEL 3 block dimensions = 1-1/2" diameter x 1/2" high

    2) Source for the DTA (my initials) DIY (Do It Yourself) Acrylic Ball Blocks: Acrylic Dimple Block products

    Sources for Stainless Steel Bearing Balls: Amazon, VXB bearings

    And a picture of some Acrylic Dimple blocks:

    P.S. Funny how the CA blogs can't upload an image, but need a link to a web hosted image. And now that piece-of-crap PhotoBucket needs (f-ing) Flash to allow one to copy the image link. The longer the web exists the worse it sucks :(
  2. cjf's Avatar
    Thanks for putting this list together.

    I've been using Symposium Series 2+ Rollerblocks with the new G2.5 Superballs directly under my amps for about a month now. It was an intersting tweak to try out as I also use them in combination with a set of Solidtech Isoclear "Springs" which live under my Maple Amp platforms.

    There were 3 things I noticed immediately after the Rollerblocks were added.

    1: Greater instrument/voice separation within the soundstage
    2: Less perceived loudness given the same volume level Input
    3: A lack of edginess/hash in the backdrop of the soundstage. This so called edginess is something I didn't even realize was there before but it was pretty obvious to hear once it was gone. Hard to put words around really!

    I've posted some acellerometer data measurements over on What Best Forum that you may find interesting (same username). Long story short, I'm a fan of the Rollerballs also.
  3. Daudio's Avatar

    Thanks for the comments and listening impressions ! If you have a chance sometime, I would like to know what the bowl radius is on the Series 2+ blocks. And if you could confirm, or update, my measurements for the blocks, and ball diameter, to make sure the list is correct, I would be very appreciative :) Ask me if you are not sure how to go about measuring the bowl radius.

    On another topic, I recently bought a set of the new Ingress Level 3 blocks with the large diameter(2"), and high polished bowl. I may even get get a set of Tungsten Carbide balls for them since they are (more) affordable in small sizes (3/8"). Then I would have to setup a time to replace my main Acrylic/SS set when I have the proper attitude to listen critically to the change :) (not that common !)