To stack, or not? Cones, or not?

I’ve ordered a DirectStream DAC and MemoryPlayer and I see in the members systems photos here that some stack the units with the player on the bottom and vibration cones only on the bottom. Others have cones on both, but on separate shelves.

So, I’m wondering why no cones under the DAC when stacked on the player, and why some don’t stack at all? I appreciate that this may be personal preference but I’m curious to know what your process was in deciding?


Welcome, Electric!

My experience is that units with motors benefit less from isolation (although isolating them from other components may realize benefits). Thus, I would tend to place vibration control devices under the DAC rather than the transport.

If you read the manuals they say you can remove the feet from the upper component and it will fit right in place with the wood piece o top and the padded bottom of the upper component.

That said, I would never stack two components other than out of necessity. Isolating components gives you the option to use whatever sounds best for each one. I have always when possible have started with the Mapleshade style isol-blocks, a cutting board, and then cones with transports.

For my current dac I am using BDR pyramid cones.

I believe the less interaction between components the better. Often the gains are small or a preference, but all those careful details and tweaks are accumulative.

Under my amp I prefer the isol-blocks, board, and then large rubber stoppers, available at most hardware stores.

So my opinion is don’t stack.

I talked to tech support today and they also recommended not stacking. It’s funny, for the last 5 years I’ve had my soon to be retired Marantz SACD player on a heavy 3" cutting board (with four isolation cones) sitting on the top shelf of my Salamander rack. I removed it yesterday and the sound was slightly better. A slight edge was gone. My wife said the horns weren’t so irritating.

So, now I’m thinking I’ll have the DAC and MemoryPlayer on separate shelves with isolation cones. Tech support thought that maybe four cones per unit would be best, but three would be fine too. What are your thoughts on 3 vs. 4 cones?

(My DAC arrives Friday.) pulling-hair_gif

The idea of stacking components makes me a little sad, to be honest. sad_gif I would definitely not stack. I’m wondering if you’ve considered the Nordost Sort Kones? I have the Brass and Ceramic Kones under many of my components (3 each under amp/preamp/turntable/DAC/and Mac Mini server) and they have added definitely tightened the sound, IMO. Bass is better defined, percussion is more impactful, and generally everything is more musical. The biggest difference was under the TT, by far. Before the Kones I had sorbethane pucks under most components. A couple downsides to consider WRT the Kones: price and size. They range from around $45 apiece for the aluminum and steel to up to $350 per for the titanium and ceramic. I went for the BC Kones at $140 per since they had the best price/performance mix. I didn’t notice too much difference with the AS Kones but a big difference with the BC Kones. As for the size, they elevate the components 56 mm or slightly more than 2 inches. That has stretched real estate in my rack, for sure, but it’s been worth it, IMO. Also you really need to experiment with placement under each component, as their location affects their ability to drain unwanted vibrations. I don’t use a transport in my system since I’m either vinyl or computer audio, but I’d imagine that a transport such as the DMP would really benefit from these, as my TT did. YMMV, of course. Good luck!

P.S. As to whether you need 3 of 4 Kones, I’d say go with 3 since I haven’t seen any mention where 4 is truly advantageous, other than from a stability standpoint. However, with 4 you may run into wobbling issues. Nordost recommended 4 under the TT but I found 3 worked great so I stuck with 3. They also will support up to 75 lbs per Kone, so that shouldn’t be consideration.

Thanks to all who’ve replied so far. Very helpful!

Regarding the isolation cones, I have a brand called Audio Selection, made in West Germany. Not sure how good they are vs. the expensive kind mentioned, but they came free with the Odyssey monos I used to have. The only thing I’ve learned about placement so far is to have 2 at the front of my pre-amp where the weight is, and 1 at the back. Made a big difference after having 1 in front and 2 in back, at first.

Some users here (including me) have had good results with the AmCan footers. I use three under my DS DAC.

I have Stillpoints under everything and will ensure that my intended next purchase of a DMP is also sitting on the same isolation ‘cones’.

John777 said I have Stillpoints under everything and will ensure that my intended next purchase of a DMP is also sitting on the same isolation 'cones'.
I'd love to compare the Stillpoints vs. the Nordost Kones. By all accounts they are similar but I would like to give a listen myself.

Audio Selection cones, I think were and might still be sold by Music Direct. They are quite inexpensive.

Everybody has different tastes and set ups. I would look for used isolation devices and experiment with a few different types.

BDR cones can be often bought as seconds or B-stock. Check their website to see if they interest you. Also hardware stores sell different sizes of rubber stoppers, usually found in the nuts and bolts area, in those pull out trays. Some people like the Cardas/Ayre myrtle blocks, I don’t but they are inexpensive.

I use four whenever I have them, although some times one is not really carrying much of the weight, so it takes some adjustments.

If you decide to try more expensive items, buy from someone who takes returns, if not satisfied. Music Direct and Audio Advisor are two good sources.

Let us know what works for you.