Lowering the Noise Floor

We are always looking for ways to get the very best performance out of our Hi-Fi and Home Cinema systems. Regardless of your budget, lowering the noise floor is a cost-effective way of improving the performance of your equipment, without replacing any of the major components.

The silence between the musical notes is often heralded as the best music maker of all. In our opinion therein lies a lot of truth to such a statement! For many of the best musicians, it’s often what is not played or how something is phrased that makes it communicate better.

The dynamic pitch, the pace of the music, stopping and starting when things should, the communication of the ever-important message in the music, whether purely with the music/musicians themselves or the lyrics that drive it home to head and heart alike.

These are the complex qualities that we too are trying to emulate in building an extraordinary audio system. Reducing unwanted noise or interference has been the key to many of the greatest and most worthwhile advances in audio performance over the last decade, better connecting us with our music and the musicians who are creating it, in both the analogue and digital domains. Squeezing ever greater performance by lowering the intrinsic noise floor in any given product, in conjunction with the other products in the chain, rather than purely trying to produce more and more information at the expense of balance and naturalness – this is a far more complex subject than at first it might seem.

Acoustically

Acoustics is by far the number one culprit to added distortions (>70%), both smearing, altering & distorting the music/sound. In particular, the super important and fundamental relationship/issue of the phase & time domain, in-room, that affects our whole connection and relationship to the music. The human ear is incredibly sensitive and revealing, especially with regards to timing and phase. It is often far more critical at picking things up that intrinsically matter than measuring devices alone!

Looking at it in a slightly different way, investing in ever more accurate loudspeakers which are truly more phase coherent, dynamically unconstrained with ever wider bandwidth while doing nothing about the fundamentals or advanced acoustical issues in your room, is almost akin to throwing your money away. If you had been informed that your house was built on an unstable foundation, but you carried on with the build anyway, trying to compensate with alternate solutions, with ever more expense that would essentially end up in the same place – likely being condemned or substandard – then you rationally wouldn’t do it, right?

Mechanically

Mechanical is related to the energy created by the products themselves and/or the acoustic feedback from the sound waves in-room. It is related to how we can mitigate the effect on a particular product as well as the knock on effect that then applies to subsequent products in the chain.

Isolation, rather than pure damping, is our fundamental position with regards to mitigating mechanical/physical-electrical transference of energy. The lowering or negating of this particular part of the noise floor is crucial especially when it comes to the audio components themselves.

The ability to mimic true ISOLATION requires something to be free from direct connection to the surface that it is sighted on but in addition, having the ability to filter the supported product and the surface it is placed upon. Therefore breaking and not creating a feedback loop.

Electrically

This is more based on the shared noise between components as well as the grounding of the components. Dealing with RFI, EMI and Para-magnetic properties, as well as High-Frequency pollution, carried, as well as generated, by the mains current and the components themselves.

Lowering the noise floor in the electrical/signal domain has many similarities and connections with the mechanical. Basically, you want to get as much of the signal, whether that’s the actual electrical power or the audio signal itself, throughout the chain from beginning to end retaining as much of its integrity as is possible. Proven materials, methods, construction and grounding are key to this process. Where good transmission and the reduction of interference in that transmission go hand in hand.

Discover More

Now: