Couplers - what they are and what they do

Precision Couplers Symposium Platforms will NOT work properly with equipment with rubber or sorbothane feet, since good mechanical coupling between chassis and the tops of our platforms is absolutely necessary for proper results (soft, compliant feet "break" the mechanical connection and prevent proper resonance damping - in fact, these types of footers actually intensify internal resonances). Precision Couplers are the latest evolution of Coupler technology for vibration control platforms, a concept developed by Symposium in 1993 and introduced the following year with the first Super Platform. Made from solid 7075 alloy, a premium grade of aircraft aluminum known for its excellent hardness, strength, and excellent thermal transmission and self-damping characteristics. Each Precision Coupler is cut from a solid bar of 7075 aluminum and precision machined to have highly finished surfaces which preserve nearly perfect flatness on its opposing parallel faces. There are presently two varieties of couplers: Precision Couplers, and the Supercoupler, which is covered elsewhere.

Most Symposium Platforms are supplied with Couplers, since mechanical linkage from the component into the platform is an essential and primary feature of Symposium vibration control technology and methodology.

Svelte Speaker Sets, which come in pairs, are sold without couplers, because they should be used with the loudspeaker placed directly onto the Svelte's top surface. Precision Couplers are otherwise standard with all Svelte, Super Plus and Ultra Platforms, and are also available separately.

So what IS a "Coupler" - and what do I do with it?

The Coupler is a very simple device - and is supplied because it's important to make good mechanical contact to the chassis of your component. The reason for this is that mechanical energy "conducts" through materials analogously to electrical energy - that is, certain types of materials conduct mechanical energy (or vibration) well, and others don't. Examples of materials that conduct energy well are metals; a material that is a poor mechanical energy conductor is rubber. Usually, the denser the material, the better it can conduct energy. For instance, everyone knows that sounds underwater can be "heard" from great distances - greater distances than through air. This is due to water's superior density over air. Metals, because of their relatively high density, and also because of their atomic structure, are able to transfer energy with less loss than compliant materials. Thus, Symposium Couplers are made of a high grade, "aircraft" aluminum alloy, with good transmission characteristics. In all cases, using three or four couplers under your equipment instead of simply placing your equipment down on its original feet provides significant advantages by mechanically connecting the component's chassis to the top layer or "plate" of the Symposium platform. In this way, the Symposium Platform becomes an extension of the component's metal chassis, providing a mechanical ground for energy to be drained off and dissipated without extraneous resonance or reflections back into the component.

Special notes about coupling the component
In general, we've found that the more contact with the chassis of the component, the better the results. Taken to its logical extreme, this would necessitate removing the original feet of the component - something which we don't advocate unless adequate ventilation can be preserved through the chassis, or in cases where ventilation isn't an issue (specifically, in components where the bottom of the chassis is sealed).

Where couplers are placed can have a considerable effect upon overall results. This is due to several factors, including the construction of the component's chassis bottom and location of protruding screws and other solid constructs linked to the interior of the component (which can be additional conduits for internal energy drainage). We have found that one should start with placement near the outer corner of the component, where the chassis is most rigid, and move the couplers in toward the center. In general, the best locations, as with Rollerblocks, seem to be approximately 1 to 3 inches in from any outside edges.

If your component's feet are too high

Tapped Precision CouplerIf your component has very high feet (more than 13/16" inches or 2 cm), the Precision Couplers will not touch the bottom of the chassis. Precision Couplers are made with a 1/4-20 threaded hole in one of their faces which allows two to be screwed together with a small 1/4-20 setscrew (available at any hardware store or from Symposium) in order to make one Double Precision Coupler of 1.625" (4.1 cm) in height.

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