​Equipment Isolation Solutions

Why Supporting Audio Equipment Is A Three Part Problem

Most audiophiles, audio dealers and even manufacturers will tell you that the function of a good rack is to isolate the equipment sitting on it – and they’d be wrong. What we actually need to isolate is the signal passing through that equipment. That might seem like splitting hairs, but when it comes to mechanical energy and the damage it does to the signal and the resulting musical performance, it’s a crucial distinction – because the equipment itself generates small but significant levels of mechanical energy, vibration that exists right in the same space as that fragile musical or digital signal. So, a rack that isolates your equipment from the outside world is only doing half the job, while the soft feet used on most equipment actually make matters worse, by trapping that self-generated energy within the chassis.

 

Effective equipment support consists of three separate and distinct functions

  • A system of equipment couplers that attenuates energy otherwise trapped in the equipments’ chassis.

  • A floor interface that isolates the supported system from externally transmitted energy.

  • A rack structure that helps dissipate the energy that enters it from the floor, the equipment itself and the air in the listening room.

 

Any effective support solution must address all three problems.

 

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Why One Size Never Fits All

The mechanical energy transmitted through the floor, the walls or the air is a constant, in the sense that it impacts the whole system to the same extent – unless you take steps to protect it. But the degree and impact of the self-generated energy produced within your equipment varies considerably. That energy comes from transformers and power supplies, transports and other moving parts, or just from components passing the signal. So the nature of each unit and the size and type of components it uses has a profound impact on both the amount of internal energy it produces and the nature of that energy.

The mechanical energy transmitted through the floor, the walls or the air is a constant, in the sense that it impacts the whole system to the same extent – unless you take steps to protect it. But the degree and impact of the self-generated energy produced within your equipment varies considerably. That energy comes from transformers and power supplies, transports and other moving parts, or just from components passing the signal. So the nature of each unit and the size and type of components it uses has a profound impact on both the amount of internal energy it produces and the nature of that energy.

 

Optical disc transports are an obvious source of unwanted energy, but there are other problem components too. Large transformers vibrate at the AC frequency, while huge power supply caps will pulse in time to the music’s dynamic demands. In contrast, a switch-mode supply will produce much lower levels of mechanical energy, but they’ll be at far higher frequencies, where they wreak a completely different kind of damage. Finally, you also need to consider the size and relative fragility of the signal being passed. The output of the average CD player or DAC is relatively robust, but the signals received by a phono-stage can be tiny, while the integrity of the data generated by digital sources is notoriously sensitive to vibration.

We have never had to house equipment that varies so much in size and shape. That equipment has never demanded such a range of different support strategies to optimize its performance, balancing the degree of isolation and dissipation supplied by the supporting structure and surface.

Any successful support solution must be modular and configurable, adaptable and upgradable. It must also be effective – and just like any system, your supports are only as effective as their weakest link, meaning that every element in the rack must be the product of equal care and attention to detail.

The Grand Prix Audio Equipment Support Solution

By recognising the three fundamental functions of any effective equipment support, we are also able to sub-divide the elements that make up your chosen rack(s) by type, allowing you to configure them for optimum value and performance.

 

  • Couplers and their supporting surface
    Equipment couplers and three different, critically damped shelf types to maximize the attenuation of self-generated energy.
    Differing levels of attenuation to suit different applications.

  • Isolation – the floor interface
    An advanced and carefully considered spike solution or two different sizes of APEX conical isolation interface.

 

  • Dissipation – the frame structure
    Three frame designs offering differing performance levels, degrees of isolation and energy dissipation, including the fully suspended Silverstone for critical ultra low-noise applications.
    Five standard heights with custom heights to order.
    Adjustable shelf height and modular construction allows users to alter shelf spacing and upgrade legs and/or frames over time.

Grand Prix audio’s modular, configurable approach to equipment support allows you to tailor individual equipment support solutions within a rack and within a system, maximizing musical performance where it matters, adapting and upgrading your support solution as your system changes and grows.

Grand Prix Audio Racks – delivering the right support solution in every situation