Getting the Most out of your Electronics

Getting the Most out of your Electronics

Other than buying a new amplifier or streamer, there's a few cost-effective solutions to improving your existing equipment, and the best thing is, even if you upgrade your equipment in the future, these solutions will still work, so you're not wasting anything. 

We'll save the cable discussion for another article, but we wanted to talk about chassis and component control, both internal and external, using Nordost Sort Kones, HRS Damping Plates and HRS Isolation Bases

Vibration is the Enemy

Imagine you're connecting up your hifi system. You've got to go through a process of connecting a series of small cables into even-smaller holes so that data can be sent between your hifi components to produce music. Now, imagine doing that during an earthquake. Impossible, right?

This rather crude analogy applies to the internals of your hifi as well. All the little transistors, resistors and capacitors inside your hifi operate just fine in isolation, buzzing away at their own internal resonance. But put hundreds, even thousands of them together on a single board inside the tiny box that is your streamer or amplifier and suddenly you have a lot of vibrating devices creating hundreds of tiny electromechanical vibrations that knock the poor suckers around trying their best to play your favourite song. 

By controlling the electromechanical vibrations through active methods (such as the Nordost QPoint) or passive methods, like what we're going to talk about in this article, you give your hifi equipment the quietest, earthquake-free environment to do their job, which produces real sonic benefits.

Damping your Chassis

One of the most cost effective improvements you can make to your components is the HRS Damping Plates. The premise is quite simple really - mechanically couple the chassis of your hifi to a resonance-controlled mass to control the vibration of the chassis. 

Available in three sizes (4.5", 9" and 14.5" - 12cm, 23cm or 37cm) and two thicknesses, the application is simple - just put it on top of your hifi components and see what it does. 

We frequently lend these out to our customers as its a simple thing to test - simply take it home, power up your hifi system, play 30 seconds of a song, then put the HRS Damping plate on a component in your hifi chain, and play the same 30 seconds again. 

Our experience has been that it make things sound cleaner - it drops the noise floor so that you hear more of the music.

Note that it doesn't work on everything - since the damping plate is designed to improve the chassis, if the chassis of your hifi is already good, then there's not much to improve. The simplest way that we've found to see if your hifi component is a good candidate for the HRS Damping plate is to tap it with a knuckle. If you hear anything but a dull thud, like the sound of your knuckle tapping stone, then there's a pretty good chance the damping plate will improve your chassis. 

Sort Out the Vibrations

Next we look at what goes underneath your hifi. Most isolation devices try to limit the affect of external vibrations on your hifi, but the majority of the vibrations occur within the chassis itself (as mentioned above). Nordost Sort Kones aim to draw vibrations out from within the chassis away and out, reducing the timing errors and distortion. 

There are three different material types - Aluminium, Bronze and Titanium. Selection of the material is critical, and dependant on your chassis type, the application, and the surface that your hifi sits on, e.g. glass, wood or metal. Selecting the right Sort Kone type and strategic placement under your hifi is something best done after a consultation with us. 

Sort Kones provide a “blacker” background to your music. With it comes greater focus, instrumental color, depth, transparency and dynamic range. Your system will sound more natural and more lifelike, your music more lively and engaging, the musicians like better musicians – simply because you’ll finally be able to hear the notes they’re playing, the way they play them and precisely when.

Unlike the HRS Damping Plates, we haven't found any component that hasn't benefitted from the Nordost Sort Kones, and given how affordable they are, it's a no brainer to at least give these a try in your system.

A Good Foundation

The last item we want to highlight in this article is the range of HRS Isolation Bases. The mechanical structure of your components is something that everything should aim to treat, and a demonstration we quite enjoy doing. There is a significant difference between the simple act of comparing your streamer's performance if you put it on the floor, compared to a normal piece of furniture, to a isolation base. 

The range from HRS consists of four performance levels:

  • E1X Base
  • R3X Base
  • S3 Base
  • M3X2 Base

As you work your way up the chain, you get improved vibration control through some patented technology developed by HRS. We helped HRS develop a comparison table to show the differences between the bases which can be downloaded here.

It's a deceptively simple upgrade, but one that you won't regret. Of course, proof is in the auditioning, so we welcome anyone to come in to hear this demonstration!

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