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Buddha
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Question for Myrtle wood block users.

Hola,

For myrtle wood block users, have you guys noticed any block to block variation?

In the pic, there is that one piece in the back that seems like it would be very different from its bretheren.

Besides block to block variability, how about variation based on the orientation of the block?

Lots of variables: Long axis aligned with long axis of the gear, or perpendicular, or with the block 'laid flat,' on it's side, or 'tall wise.'

Do you put the feet of the gear on them, or directly in contact with the cabinet?

Have you tried them with spikes below, or just 'plain?'

With such an affordable tweak, I'd be curious to see the personal variations people have noticed.

I was playing with some MDF blocks, putting MDF blocks under an amp and then the amp on an MDF shelf. With those, there are a laminated side and unlaminated, making for a more obvious difference! The other question is whether or not you want similarly composed blocks/shelves, or different...so I thought I'd ask y'all.

mrlowry
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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.

Buddha-

My Ayre wood blocks are used in sets of three (three points define a plane and all) with the logo right side up. Up side down would probably (nearly certainly) sound the same, that's just the clearest way that I can think of to describe what I feel to be the best sounding orientation. I do not believe that the benefit of the Ayre/Cardas blocks is in their resonant behavior ADDING a pleasurable element to the sound. I believe that the mechanism at work that improves the sound is the DRAINING of resonances AWAY from the component and into the equipment rack. One block is used under the power supply of the component because that's usually the biggest source of vibrations in things other than CD players and turntables. Whenever possible the woodblocks are placed against the side of a protruding screw, bolt, etc on the bottom cover because these fasteners are the best mechanically conductive pathway. The acoustic impedance of the wood blocks is much more similar to the metal (Myrtle wood being extremely hard) of the component bottom AND the wood of the rack shelves than the rubber feet. Why don't they allow those same resonances in as well as drain them away? I'm don't really know to be honest with you. Now I would admit that with this theory the ideal situation would be to have metal shelves and metal footer, all made for more or less the same metal.

Buddha
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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.

Thanks for the answer.

Do you hear a difference depending on their orientation?

Have you tried then on their sides, rotated to face different directions, or any such thing?

Putting them in contact with the chassis the way you is interesting!

Did you compare the sound with them under the feet of the gear?

mrlowry
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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.


Quote:
Do you hear a difference depending on their orientation? Have you tried then on their sides, rotated to face different directions, or any such thing?

A long time ago I did briefly try the other orientations in another system (more revealing and accurate than my own) and the one I described was the best. Because of rack lay out that's also the only one that would work except for the amp. The amp weighs about 100 lbs and getting the blocks far enough under it to contact with a fastener is a two person job so it makes direct A/B's extremely difficult. Not to name drop but Charlie Hansen and Steve Sliberman (sp?) of Ayre also feel it to be the best set up so I'm in good company. When I worked for an Ayre dealer Steve would only reveal his conclusions after I had done the experiments myself, they encourage people to "play" with them.

During my time at an Ayre dealer I sold hundreds of sets and told everyone the same thing, "If you don't hear a difference please bring them back." I only had one set come back and that was because the guy owned Halcro gear and the standard feet were too tall to allow their use. I once sold a set to a hard core skeptic non-tweaker because his system had to fit into an armoire and his CD player HAD to set on top of his preamp which ran hot and had top vents. When I told them that in addition to allowing the preamp to breath it would make the CD player sound better he gave me a complete "f&CK you" look. Three days later he called me back and bought three more sets for other components because he had heard a difference even though he didn't want to.

I can't speak for Cardas but Ayre is very picky about who their dealers are from a customer service stand point. If you purchased them and DODN'T hear a difference I'm sure they'd let you return them.


Quote:

Putting them in contact with the chassis the way you is interesting!

Thank you but I can't really take credit for the concept. I found that chestnut while reading about Symposium (http://www.symposiumusa.com/fatpadzetup.html) after Stephen Scharf's thread on DIY roller blocks (http://forum.stereophile.com/forum/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=58843&an=0&...) piqued my interest in that company. The amount of change in the sound just by making sure that they made contact with a fastener of some time was an ear opener. My DAC doesn't have any exposed screws, nuts, or bolts on the bottom panel but I've thought about removing one of the feet, reinstalling the screw and then touching the wood block to that. Because of the tight confines of my rack that isn't nearly as easy as it sounds but maybe this thread will psyche me up to finally do it.


Quote:
Did you compare the sound with them under the feet of the gear?

In all honesty no, not with the blocks but I have tried it with cones, racquetballs cut in half, and audioquest sorbothane feet. All of these tweaks worked better under the bottom chassis than under the feet so I now basically assume (always dangerous) they will work best that way.

Editor
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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.


Quote:
For myrtle wood block users, have you guys noticed any block to block variation?

Nope (but to be honest, I haven't listened out for any).

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

mrlowry
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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.

Since they are a natural material every sample is going to differ a bit. That might, in fact be part of why they work so well. Maybe different blocks work on slightly different different frequencies because of variations in the grain structure of the wood. Possibly because feet manufactured from man made material are made to such tight tolerances (resulting in a near uniform "tuning" frequency) they usually add a distinct, coloration in addition to their benefits and the Myrtle blocks really don't. Pure conjecture on my part but it wouldn't surprise me.

Buddha
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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.


Quote:
Since they are a natural material every sample is going to differ a bit. That might, in fact be part of why they work so well. Maybe different blocks work on slightly different different frequencies because of variations in the grain structure of the wood. Possibly because feet manufactured from man made material are made to such tight tolerances (resulting in a near uniform "tuning" frequency) they usually add a distinct, coloration in addition to their benefits and the Myrtle blocks really don't. Pure conjecture on my part but it wouldn't surprise me.

You bring up a great point that transcend wood blocks.

Humans do seem to have a predilection for things with 'natural' variations.

Studies have shown people aesthetically prefer the slight imperfections of a real drummer to a drum machine, and more 'organic' arts/designs over 'machine perfect' similars.

I wonder, since we can't exactly measure, yet, if the blocks maybe do something a bit 'human' to the sound. I.e. not being perfectly uniform at what they do.

Now, before Ethan storms in and tells me that drum machines keep perfect time and perfect time is, by definition, perfect; I admit to just be lightly chatting about these things, not trying to make claims!

I have an old favorite preamp (Superphon Revelation II in space case) that purposefully came with a wood chassis, so what the heck, why not some blocks? They claimed it removed metal to metal interactions in the circuits, but maybe they predated the Myrtle wood idea?

ethanwiner
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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.


Quote:
Now, before Ethan storms in and tells me that drum machines keep perfect time and perfect time is, by definition, perfect


No way! I use drum machines (not really a machine, but MIDI programming in software) only because I can't play the drums. If I had my druthers I'd use a real drummer on all my pop tunes.

A good friend of mine is an expert pro musician, and he once made an excellent observation about this. MIDI software often has a "humanize" feature that randomly slides the drums hits randomly forward and back within a user-controlled window. That is, you can tell it how "sloppy" to allow, and it will move all the hits around, but not more than 2 milliseconds, or more than 5 milliseconds etc. My friend explained that real drummers sound real not because their timing is imperfect! Rather, a good drummer will "push" the beat in some sections, or lay back a bit on the snare playing slightly late compared to the kick drum. That is what makes a drum track sound real, not random variation.

--Ethan

Buddha
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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.

Where did I say random?

ethanwiner
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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.


Quote:
Now, before Ethan storms in and tells me that drum machines keep perfect time and perfect time is, by definition, perfect


More:

Another important difference between a live drummer and playing back drum samples in software is the volume and tone quality of the sounds. If you hit a snare drum with "x" Gs of force it has a certain timbre. If you hit it a bit harder it becomes a little brighter sounding. Good drum samples usually offer two or more sound choices recorded at different volumes with the resultant different timbres. But a real drummer is far more nuanced and creates much more variation in timbre. A real drum hit at ten different velocities sounds very different and much more natural than the same recorded sample played back at ten different volume levels. And then there's playing with brushes, scraping the cymbals sideways rather than striking them straight on, hitting a tom near the edge versus in the center, and much much more.

--Ethan

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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.


Quote:

I have an old favorite preamp (Superphon Revelation II in space case) that purposefully came with a wood chassis, so what the heck, why not some blocks? They claimed it removed metal to metal interactions in the circuits, but maybe they predated the Myrtle wood idea?

I bet the myrtle blocks would be particularly effective under that preamp.

Grado comes to mind with their headphone amps, phono preamp, top headphones, and top cartridges and their use of wood. In some ways a wood chassis would be a good thing because it would resonate less than a THIN metal chassis. Plus less metal would mean less negative interaction with the electrical signals in the component. The major negative that I see for a wood chassis would be a lack of shielding from radio frequency interference. For example Grado's phono stage will have issues with picking up noise (sometimes even radio stations) in certain environments. If someone could make a wood component that was well shield without using metal they'd really be on to something.

roadcykler
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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.

If the blocks made any difference, wouldn't it stand to reason that each one would have different characteristics? Regardless if they were a "matched set" (came from the same tree), there will still be differences. My question is why not use a harder, denser wood for isolation but I already know the answer. Because myrtle wood is a relatively rare wood that grows not too far from where Cardas is located so it's easy to procure and charge ridiculous amounts for a piece of wood. P.T. Barnum knew what he was talking about.

mrlowry
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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.

Yep, $15 completely exorbitant. How DARE they? Where do they get the NERVE? Um, in case anyone missed that it was sarcasm.

As I previously theorized about block to block variation:


Quote:

Since they are a natural material every sample is going to differ a bit. That might, in fact be part of why they work so well. Maybe different blocks work on slightly different different frequencies because of variations in the grain structure of the wood. Possibly because feet manufactured from man made material are made to such tight tolerances (resulting in a near uniform "tuning" frequency) they usually add a distinct, coloration in addition to their benefits and the Myrtle blocks really don't. Pure conjecture on my part but it wouldn't surprise me.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.

You need to team up with LS. He's madder than all get out that O filed a Schedule C. You two can find conspiracies and failures in everything together and leave the rest of us alone.

rvance
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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.

We burn Myrtle firewood up here in the NorCal/SouthOre coast. But the burls...ooooh, they get real $$ for them.

Buddha
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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.


Quote:
Yep, $15 completely exorbitant. How DARE they? Where do they get the NERVE? Um, in case anyone missed that it was sarcasm.

As I previously theorized about block to block variation:


Quote:

Since they are a natural material every sample is going to differ a bit. That might, in fact be part of why they work so well. Maybe different blocks work on slightly different different frequencies because of variations in the grain structure of the wood. Possibly because feet manufactured from man made material are made to such tight tolerances (resulting in a near uniform "tuning" frequency) they usually add a distinct, coloration in addition to their benefits and the Myrtle blocks really don't. Pure conjecture on my part but it wouldn't surprise me.

I have been planning to undertake a trial of three different things as supports based on the same idea.

It may be that the 'chaos' or variability is an asset.

Maybe the lack of uniformity makes for a better set of performance characteristics.

Perhaps one sorbothane support, one ceramic cone, and one brass cone, or whatever.

roadcykler
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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.


Quote:
Yep, $15 completely exorbitant. How DARE they? Where do they get the NERVE? Um, in case anyone missed that it was sarcasm.

Considering you can buy 3+ board feet of hard woods such as hickory and maple for about the same amount of money, yes it is exorbitant for such a small piece of wood. But I suppose the fancy logo they burn into it accounts for five or six cents of the cost.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.

ST has provided an easy to acquire substitute for the Arye units. A complete set will cost you less than $5 and fit an entire system with enough left over to start a good fire if you're in the NorthWest.

You do read Stereophile, don't you?

mrlowry
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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.

I have been planning to undertake a trial of three different things as supports based on the same idea.

It may be that the 'chaos' or variability is an asset.

Maybe the lack of uniformity makes for a better set of performance characteristics.

Perhaps one sorbothane support, one ceramic cone, and one brass cone, or whatever.

Buddha-

I have an old friend of a friend that is a super hard core tweak that uses one of each under each component remarkably they are all exactly the same height:

-Solidtech Disc of Silence
-Ayre wood block
-Black Diamond Racing cone (sorry don't know which one)

I've never heard his system but it's supposed to be transcendent.

ncdrawl
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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.

I read it but dont remember that. what was it?

Quote:
ST has provided an easy to acquire substitute for the Arye units. A complete set will cost you less than $5 and fit an entire system with enough left over to start a good fire if you're in the NorthWest.

You do read Stereophile, don't you?

Stephen Scharf
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Re: Question for Myrtle wood block users.

Who needs myrtle blocks when you can use roller bearings and inner tubes!

A lot cheaper than those aftermarket blocks, too.

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