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Stephen Scharf
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Make your own roller bearing isolation system for $16.50

I'm a big believer that you don't need to spend ridiculous amounts of money on your system to get excellent and enjoyable quality of music from your system. My Paul Speltz Anti-cables speaker cables, which sound arguably better than many, much more expensive, "high-end" speaker cables, cost me $70 for a 7 foot pair (yes, they are that good; they are also a TAS Editor's Choice for 2008).

After reading Barry Diament's very informative web site about using a bicycle inner tube as a vertical subsonic seismic low frequency filter (something which I also had discovered from a friendly audio dealer, and written about here) and some egg holders and marbles to serve as a horizonal/rotational seismic filter, I set about making my own roller-bearing isolation system.

Now, you can go buy Symposium's beautifully crafted and engineered "Rollerblocks" products starting at approx. $169 for the junior version, or you can make something that provides nearly the same functionality for about $16.50.

Buy two packages of Shepherd's 1 3/4" I.D. non-slip plastic furniture cups; these cost me a little over $7/each at Orchard Supply. They have a nice concave inner surface and a cool, sticky soft rubber bottom that keeps them in place between your turntable and it's supporting board/shelf.

Since I couldn't find any 1/2" glass marbles, for the roller bearings, I bought a package 1/2" wooden balls at a local Michael's craft store for a budget-busting $1.19 (they were out of the $11,900 audiophile-grade ball bearings). The best ball bearing to use here would be a 1/2" steel ball bearing, preferably tungsten carbide.

Assemble the roller-cup system as shown:

I used three assemblies under my vintage Rega Planar 3 to keep the table from "rocking". When you press on the plinth from side to side, the table will move in the horizontal or rotational plane, but quickly settle back to it's stable position. It's this ability to move horizontally and rotationally that provides the isolation from subsonic seismic resonances that can affect the quality of playback.

You can then place the board your turntable sits on either on an 18" bicycle inner tube or on a vertically damping set of roller blocks made up of squash balls and 2 or 3" rubber Quick-Caps, as shown (thanks to Jan Vigne for this tip). Both provide low frequency seismic isolation in the vertical plane, and much cheaper than commercially available systems made up of (audiophile-grade) squash balls.

As soon as I get some proper steel 1/2" ball bearings, I will replace the wooden balls.

Try it....my turntable has never sounded better.

tomjtx
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Re: Make your own roller bearing isolation system for $16.50

Did you do a DBBT (Double Ball Bearing Test ) ?

BTW I ditched my 3,000 speaker cable for anti cable, never looked
back.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Make your own roller bearing isolation system for $16.50

Looks like it should be a winner, SS. Good thinking.

Stephen Scharf
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Re: Make your own roller bearing isolation system for $16.50


Quote:

Did you do a DBBT (Double Ball Bearing Test ) ?

BTW I ditched my $3,000 speaker cable for anti cable, never looked
back.

Yeah, I've read of people ditching $4,000 Nordost speaker cables for Anti-Cables and never looking back, either. Goes to show that you can get high-end performance and functionality without paying for the audiophile-grade profit margins that many high-end vendors charge.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Make your own roller bearing isolation system for $16.50

Sorry to tell you, Stephen, but the profit margins on cables are about the same as profit margins on other gear.

Stephen Scharf
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Re: Make your own roller bearing isolation system for $16.50

Yeah, I knew that....

Wait 'til I post about the music server system I heard Sat. that could be put together for a very reasonable amount of money; way, way less than a $60,000 CD player. And it would take advantages of some of the principles developed by Altschuler of TRIZ in that it would remove the harmful effect of a "tool" acting on an "object" by removing the tool itself. More on that later...

Jan Vigne
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Re: Make your own roller bearing isolation system for $16.50

I'll watch for it. Removing the "tool" seems to be a promising new way to think about source material.

Unfortunately, the present day economy has forced me to consider "way less money" to be about no more than $50. Think they can manage that?

Buddha
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Re: Make your own roller bearing isolation system for $16.50


Quote:
Yeah, I knew that....

Wait 'til I post about the music server system I heard Sat. that could be put together for a very reasonable amount of money; way, way less than a $60,000 CD player. And it would take advantages of some of the principles developed by Altschuler of TRIZ in that it would remove the harmful effect of a "tool" acting on an "object" by removing the tool itself. More on that later...

Interesting guy.

I'm trying to think of the manufacturer, but there is a CD/digital player whose manufacturer thought along the same lines.

With all the computing power we have access to, it should predict for some great and cheap innovation with regard to the ills of CD/digital playback!

mrlowry
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Re: Make your own roller bearing isolation system for $16.50

Stephen-

Have you thought about ceramic ball bearings? That's what Finite Elemente is using in similar products and unlike many other tweak companies they've done the research and provide numbers to back it up.

Stephen Scharf
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Re: Make your own roller bearing isolation system for $16.50

Yes, certainly, but they would be wasted expense on three plastic furniture cups. If I had a serious, extremely smooth and finished concave bearing race like that used in Symposium's Roller Blocks, that would be a desirable way to go. But a carbide steel ball bearing would be fine when used with these plastic furniture cups.

Stephen Scharf
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Re: Make your own roller bearing isolation system for $16.50

Per Jan's gentle prodding, today I went out and bought three large glass marbles to replace the wooden balls in my home-made roller bearing system.

As you might expect, the glass marbles make much better ball bearings that imperfect wooden balls, so the table is now much easier to move with respect to the application of a horizontal side-force, so it should now function better in isolation of rotational and horizontal seismic resonances.

The table now moves much like a suspended platform-type in the horizontal direction.

Sounds great, too.

geoffkait
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Re: Make your own roller bearing isolation system for $16.50

Always good to see someone who appreciates the rotational seismic forces as well as those in horizontal plane. I find the vertical piece to be quite important as well.

Stephen Scharf
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Re: Make your own roller bearing isolation system for $16.50

That's why I am using Jan's squash ball/Quik-Cap design under the maple board that the roller blocks/TT rests on.

wkhanna
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Re: Make your own roller bearing isolation system for $16.50

Can you describe the 'difference' you heard from your Rega?
I may try this with my MMF-7.

& thanks for the tip, nice!

Stephen Scharf
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Re: Make your own roller bearing isolation system for $16.50

Improved clarity, definition, air...all the stuff one usually gets when isolating the TT better.

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