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When boredom hits a Vandersteen owner...


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Thanks to the quarantine and the much needed rains in Southern California, I found myself deprived of all my weekend outdoor activities yesterday. After an extended nap that just ended a few minutes shy of the beginning of happy hour, I found myself loitering aimlessly around the house and within minutes I got carpet bombed with a long list of to-do’s from my wife. It was imperative for me to quickly create a crisis that required my undivided attention and most importantly declare myself unavailable for any other lowly tasks for the rest of the evening.

 

In the past few months, I had caught my house cleaner displaying a sense of unholy disdain towards my audio equipment especially my beloved 2WQ and had often seen her bully the subwoofer with the vacuum cleaner. I guess it all started after I had unceremoniously criticized her vacuuming techniques and chastised her for not using the crevice tool behind the subwoofer to get the cobwebs. Guess she hails from a country that doesn’t encourage constructive criticism and she obviously took it personally and secretly started bumping the vacuum to the subwoofer imagining it was someone else. I had to somehow save the sub from the clutches of this evil woman without offending her and giving her a reason to quit. That would create a completely new set of problems at home especially during these times of quarantine when her services were required more frequently than mine.

 

Using this as my primary life and death mission, I trotted off to the cabinet that holds and hides all frivolous (and at times impulsive) audio purchases made without a complete balance sheet disclosure at home. I found a Butcher Block Acoustics platform that I had purchased at one point in time but had forgotten all about it and realized that the three inches of separation from the floor would be enough for the subwoofer to look down upon the vacuum cleaner with an air of superiority. 

 

I got the block in position and went about gently coaxing the sub to adjust to the new environment. Separating the spikes certainly made it easy to get the sub over the block. However once the sub was on it’s new pad I realized that the spikes had that look as if their sole purpose in their life was taken away and it was pointless to exist. I had to unite them back with the sub. but realized that once I did that the sub would selfishly go about living life and strutting it’s thumping power and drive the spikes in the block. I felt like a parent that tries to find a happy medium with kids and I was back rummaging through the cabinet of audio excess looking for these metallic discs that could cradle the spikes and prevent abuse. I had bought them years ago to protect hardwood floors from my 2CEs. 

 

As much as alcohol consumption accentuates the enjoyment of music, it has a completely opposite effect when you are performing search and rescue operations on hardware smaller than an inch. After ten frustrating minutes searching I was in complete despair and filled with guilt for potentially having lost the discs. In times like these I had no other option but to call in reinforcements and reached out to the only reliable and trustworthy soul that has my back in the household without any preconceived judgements or opinions. My 10 year old daughter. I summoned her via s.o.s and debriefed her on the mission when she showed up.. “Honey, I am looking for something that is round, looks like a nickel but has a dimple in the center but only on one side and they move around in groups of three”.. Guess the alcohol was finally taking over my cognitive abilities. “You mean these?”.. She had found them in less than three seconds.. Of course it helped since they were right in front of my eyes. I felt stupid and embarrassed but in a gentle maternal way she dismissed my stupidity by saying “how could you know they were there? They were upside down and the dimple was hidden “...

 

Feeling jubilant, I went back to finish the job and that’s when things start to get ugly. It seems that when Mr. Vandersteen was designing this subwoofer, as a service to humanity, he must have opted to err on the side of caution and decided to make the subwoofer as heavy as humanly possible to prevent morons from moving them around as end tables. I realized that ultra heavy objects don’t like to be disturbed and stubbornly hold their ground if they are pushed the wrong way. I had to figure out a way to lift the subwoofer high enough to wedge and screw in the spikes and then position the discs precisely under the spikes all of which had to be done without scratching the surface of the block. By now I had consumed about four shots of tequila and could feel my strength surge to dizzying heights but oddly the weight of the subwoofer also appeared to be surging proportionately. They say that the human mind constantly has flashes of brilliance but they are so quick that for most part you don’t even know that you had them. I guess I hit the jackpot when I caught one. I was back at the cabinet looking for these vibration control pads that came with the blocks. These were strong enough to support the sub, tall enough to screw in the spike all way and light enough to maneuver. I managed to get the pads under the sub and screw in the spikes. Now came the challenging part of positioning the disc right under the spike. Fortunately it was easy to align the discs with the two spikes in the front however the single one at the back was going to be problematic. Thanks to the smooth surface of the block, the disc was behaving like a hockey puck on ice and getting the disc under the spike required immense precision and finesse. This entire ordeal reminded me of the Starwars movie where the only way to destroy the Death Star was to take that one impossible shot. Just like Luke Skywalker, I was relying on the force to help me out and I walked over to my workbench that holds all the tools that support my hobbies. My daughter who had been concerned about my muttering and my contortions on the floor around the sub felt that it was necessary to not leave me alone near tools that can cause bodily harm and walked along with me. I guess I must have been speaking to myself and must have dropped some key words like ‘hockey stick, flat, long, light’ when she grabbed a bicycle chain slack measuring tool and said “is this it.” Brilliant!!! That was exactly what I needed. 

 

I could tell you what happened next but unfortunately I have no recollection because five shots of tequila is beyond my normal quota. Suffice it to say that the disc found it’s way under the spike and I was able to lower the sub on the discs and it looks perfect. I suspect that my daughter had a big hand in the final steps.

 

I am sure my audiophile brethren are wondering that after this asinine endeavor, how does the sub sound? Sadly, I don’t know since my C27 preamp is with a local technician who is trying to troubleshoot a serpentine hiss that developed a few weeks back. He is confident that I will have it back before next weekend however his confidence in whether the hiss will have been eliminated is isn’t that inspiring..

 

Stay tuned for updates....

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all frivolous (and at times impulsive) audio purchases made without a complete balance sheet disclosure at home  ...............  oh my Stratocaster  .........  it's a good thing none of us on this forum have ever done anything like that!  😄

All kidding aside, you have accomplished a very tedious, injury-risking task that some mere mortals would have given up on shortly after the initial attempt.  I had a similar experience two weeks ago.  My mono amps needed to be recapped.  The adhesive on original rubber feet that originally came on them had long ago lost its grip.  Rather than regluing them, they were discarded and I went with a couple other footer options.  If you're familiar with Mapleshade, they sell all sorts of isolation devices (as well as some nice musical media).  They claim brass spikes on maple platforms are the best vibration isolating methods.  But, their stuff is quite pricey.  I had some maple platforms made by a carpenter friend and used small brass drawer knobs (big end under amps) to support my PSE Studio V's.  But, as the shape to the knobs was curved on the big end, it was not the most secure method.

When I got my amps back, I ordered two sets of  Dayton Audio ISO-4SN Satin Nickel Isolation Cones.  My amps only weigh 40 something pounds each versus your 2WQ, at probably twice that.  Adding to my challenge was the location of the amps (on the bottom shelf of my audio cabinet), with only 7" of vertical clearance to the bottom of the next shelf.  With neither the cone / spike or the footers attached to their respective surfaces, it was a bunch of fun (and I hadn't even gotten into the tequila yet!) trying to position all the parts.  As I would get two in place, another one would slip away.

Finally, I went down to Home Depot and bought a set of circular Velcro pads and secured the cones / spikes to the bottom of the amps.  Still, just like your experience, the challenge of getting the footers directly under the spikes,  holding the amps while lying on the floor in some not-so-comfortable positions, remained a hurdle.  By grabbing a couple 2" x 4" plywood blocks from the garage, I placed one in the back and one in the front, which raised the amps high enough that I could position the footers correctly, setting the back down first and then the front.

I did notice a change in the sound; mostly in the bass.  It seemed like there was more of it.

Great story Stratocaster; thank God your daughter was home!

Please do report back as to whether you notice any change in the sound.

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Steve, I am glad I am not the only person here with suicidal tendencies :😀.  My current audio situation is interesting since I have a preamp that has undergone some major repair, a new DNA 1 acquisition, a brand new CD transport, a new long interconnect and the sub on the platform. I can’t even begin to determine what is different in sound and what’s causing it. Besides, I noticed that the surface of the block is so smooth that the bass from the sub is causing the discs to move. That’s dangerous so I will have to take the spikes out and let the sub rest on the platform.

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Strato, that's interesting.  I wouldn't think that the vibration from the sub would be such that it would create sliding, but ........ we're destined to find a solution.  Since you're going to have to raise the sub again, before you eliminate the spikes / footers, maybe try gluing some type of rubber disc on the bottom of the footers.  I don't know if something that size can be easily located, but I'll look around too.  I think Brad or Richard would agree; you will lose some of the linearity in the sound by placing it directly on the platform.  Decoupling it tightens up the sound.  

Huang, thank you for the recognition, though some may substitute "gallant" in your statement with "whacko", "deranged",  "obsessive", or a host of other uninformed comments.  🙂

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That was a fun journey.  Keep this in mind when you think of us manufacturer reps who get 8 hours to set an entire system at a show and then have JVS, JA, and RH, sitting there ready to hear and judge it the next day.  God bless Richard and his adjustable bass.

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Brad, I've been told that by other reps of other brands, lol.   They say that his rooms are always as good as it gets (and these are from other speaker guys as well as electronics, lol).  He just knows what he wants to hear and figures a way to do it.  I've heard plenty of the show horror stories.  Great stuff.  I need to go to a show someday.   Never been to a 2 channel on, just Camjams in NYC as I have a lot of portable audio friends from around the world who show up to the NYC show.  

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Brad, I can only imagine. Maybe getting the judges to consume a few tequilas might help them hear stuff that doesn't even exist and give glorious reviews. In that case, the subs could very well be not connected or even better... sitting inside the back of the truck in the parking lot and it wouldn't matter... 😀 As it is we don't need the judges to tell the world how great the gear is anyway....

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