Cheap Tweaks: DiversiTech EVA Anti-Vibration Pads

October 29, 2013



There’s little to debate about the effects of unwanted vibrations in a hi-fi system. They suck. I’ll go so far as to say that the audible annoyances of untamed vibrations in your system and listening room can wreak havoc on your entire listening experience.

That said, it’s no surprise that the variety of isolation products marketed to audiophiles claiming to reduce, eliminate or drain vibrations from our audio components reaches far and wide. From utilitarian to esoteric, from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars, the options and combinations you could test are endless.

The Spirited Uncle M is a strong advocate of isolation. From the source unit all the way down the line to the speakers and component stands, he goes to great lengths to ensure every piece of equipment is independently isolated in an effort to liberate his hi-fi system from noises caused by mechanical, structural and environmental vibrations. Following in his footsteps could get quite pricey.

After a few audio lectures from The Music Maestro and some further reading by way of Enjoy the Music.com’s “Moderately Priced Vibration Isolation Device Shootout,” I was actually set on testing the highly-reviewed Quest for Sound Isol-Pads and Bright Star Audio IsoNodes for myself until some additional Googling turned me onto an intriguing (and cheaper) alternative to try first.

Enter the DiversiTech EVA Anti-Vibration Pad. If these things were marketed to audiophiles you can bet they’d retail for $25 or more for a set of four. Thankfully for us budget-minded audiophiles, DiversiTech is actually North America’s largest manufacturer of equipment pads for the heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigeration industry. That’s right; these vibration isolation pads are designed for industrial use, which means they’re tough, they come in a variety of sizes (2” to 18”), and they can be had for cheap (under $1 each depending on size and quantity).

According to DiversiTech, these pads are “the latest generation in vibration dampening technology.” In testing the EVA pad against other designs, DiversiTech concluded that under the most severe vibration extremes, the EVA pad outperforms cork and rubber by a wide margin due to the special composite foam center that’s more structurally sound than cork and more effective at vibration dampening than solid rubber (both of which are prevalent in audio isolation footers). 

There’s nothing magical here. There are no gimmicks or outrageous marketing claims. There’s just some R&D that’s led to a simple product that works. The EVA Anti-Vibration Pad consists of a blue proprietary polymeric foam core laminated between two sheets of black anti-skid styrene butadiene rubber.

So where can you use these? Under any component that you want. Thanks to their ability to support 50 pounds per square inch, even the 2” pad can support hefty amps and loudspeakers.

But before we get further along, let me just share another TSUM quote I am far too often reminded of: “Shit in, shit out.” Meaning, don’t expect these things to make a low-fi system sound like hi-end separates. What you can expect, however, is a noticeable reduction in mechanical vibration noise caused by any spinning motors, fans or transformers in your components; fewer structural vibrations traveling through your component racks, speakers stands, and floorboards; and less coloration caused by sound pressure level vibrations. As with all things audio, however, results will be somewhat system-dependent.

I’m currently using these pads under several devices in my hi-fi system and around the house: amp, CD player, PlayStation console, satellite receiver, computer tower, computer speakers, bookshelf speakers, subwoofer, even beneath my Monster Power surge protector/power conditioner.

If your results are remotely close to mine, you’ll notice a much cleaner soundstage after introducing these into your system. Micro-vibrations producing low-level noises are eliminated (or at least reduced). Both mechanical and sound pressure level vibrations plaguing components and racks are tamed. Used under speakers and subwoofers, that all too common “buzz” from the vibrations transferring into their stands and floor once the bass starts rumbling is reduced or eliminated, resulting in a cleaner, tighter low-end punch and increased clarity throughout the dynamic range. And mechanical vibration noises from devices with internal fans and HDDs will be lessened.

In fact, some of the most noticeable results I’ve had come from using these pads beneath my satellite receiver, PlayStation 3, and computer tower—all units with intermittently noisy internal fans and HDDs. My ears are especially sensitive to rattles, hums, buzzes, and other audible annoyances, and these damn thing have plenty of them. With the EVA Anti-Vibration Pads in place, I’m happy to report that the mechanical vibration noises emanating from these black boxes are substantially lower.

The EVA Anti-Vibration Pads are also excellent to use under CD players, Blu-Ray/DVD players and turntables. Keeping the spinning mechanisms of these components level and free from vibrations is critical to their performance. I've found that strategically placing three of these pads directly beneath the base of your component allows you to easily level it while also increasing its isolation from vibrations by bypassing the often sub-par stock footers. 

Really, the results are impressive; the price to performance is excellent, and I feel as if I am at least one step further along in my journey to find Audio Nirvana thanks to the lower noise floor and more focused soundstage these EVA Anti-Vibration Pads help to create.

Now I can already hear The Spirited Uncle M spouting off his favorite punch line in response to any mention of “affordable,” “budget,” or “cheap” in relation to hi-fi audio: “What did the little bird say? Cheap, Cheap, Cheap.” Nevertheless, I think it’s important to keep an eye on costs, especially for the beginner audiophile inexperienced in navigating the snake oil and smoke and mirrors that plague the world of audiophilia.

So before you get caught up in dropping your hard-earned money on all of the expensive isolation footers marketed to hi-fi enthusiasts promising a direct route to Audio Nirvana, I suggest giving these a try. Heck, even if you have expensive isolation footers you may want to put them up against these in a shootout. To my ears, the DiversiTech EVA Anti-Vibration Pads are a cheap tweak that works.

Tried these? Tried others? Share your experiences in the comments below. 

Manufacturer Info: DiversiTech

Where to Buy: I purchased from Pex Supply, but there are other sources (Google it).

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29 comments

  1. Hello Audio Fanatics,
    Don't waste your money on these isolation pads. They are made for industrial use and are to compressed/hard to use for audio. Quest For Sound's Isol Pads are the only patended pads designed for audio use, period. Try them, you'll keep them. If your on a budget, then buy four at a time ($25.00) to isolate one piece of gear at a time. Audio Maniacs for the Good of Music.

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    1. That's a bold statement. I don't think their design is patented, I believe only the name "Isol-Pad" is trademarked.

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  2. If your to CHEAP to spend $25.00 for proven isolation, then High-End Audio is not your game. Shop at Best-Buy with all the other Want-A-Be Audiofools and think your hearing real music. Audio Maniacs for the Good Of Music

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    1. You responded twice and made the same 5th grade grammatical mistakes both times. You sound like a salesman for the other brand. As far as I can tell, you're a troll.

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    2. Money Talks and Bullshit Walks so either put up or shut up.

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    3. Only becouse its cheap doesnt mean it wont work. Sure, it might not work as well as the $25.00 ones, but at least he didnt waste too much of his money.

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    4. He doesn't actually know if the Isol-Pads actually work better than these or not. He hasn't compared and is only trashing these because of the price.

      Here are some questions to consider:

      If Quest for Sound or Mapleshade or anyone developed a special formula for their pad why not a unique design so they wouldn't be mistaken or compared to cheap industrial ones? Why are there no measurements shared from the tests they would have had to run to show the effectiveness of the different cork compression ratios to decide which was best? Why no data showing comparisons to competitors? If someone has this info, I'd really like to see it so there wouldn't be any guesswork at determining which one is best at reducing vibration transfer.

      I'm all for trying different products to see what works best, but in the end the performance has to justify the price. For a little pad simply meant to keep mechanical/environmental vibrations at bay hidden beneath your components, I'd prefer to buy the best price:performance and put the rest of my money into more music or components that will really make a significantly greater difference.

      Let's not fight about an anti-vibration pad.

      Delete
  3. There's a difference between being cheap and being practical. Measurable results would be needed to justify the expense of most footers. Tweaks like these are going to have limited results compared to upgrading components any way.

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  4. FYI- The difference between being cheap and being practical is called being frugal. Frugal is just a nice way of saying your being cheap. We are talking about $6.25 each for the Isol-Pads. Your ears will give you the measurable results you would need to justify the expense. This is not rocket science. D. Webster

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    1. Have you tried the pads reviewed, or are you just pushing the Isol-Pads because you own them and they're higher priced so they must be for "audiophiles"? Spending $20 on the DiversiTechs is better than spending $150 on the Isol-Pads I would need for all of my components if they're going to accomplish the same thing. That $130 saved can buy a lot of music or go towards other equipment. That's why I'd like to know if there are actual measurements showing the vibration reduction.

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  5. Hi Matt,
    Curiosity Killed the Cat and your curiosity concerning the Isol-Pads vs EVA pads will eventually have you questioning your decision to have purchased the industrial pad over the audio pad. The best advice would be to get one set (4) of each and try them under your source first. Your ears will tell you what sounds better. Then use them under each speaker to determine what product offers the best results. We all hear sounds/music differently but in the long run, hearing is believing. Have yourself a mini shootout to determine the pad that is right for your system. D. Webster

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    Replies
    1. A shootout between the Isol-Pads (Quest for Sound), Isoblocks (Mapleshade), and DiversiTech's EVA and Cork pads with some way to measure the vibration reduction capabilities would be ideal. I haven't seen any reviews from the audio media directly comparing this design of isolation product to each other.

      Delete
    2. Hello Mr. Lilly,
      Since your blog has created this controversy over cheap versus the real deal, then why don't you purchase all the mentioned isolation pads and run your own shoot out. Your results would be greatly appreciated by all your readers. D. Webster

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    3. I'll need to find a way to measure the vibration frequencies. I'll look into it.

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  6. Does anyone know of other pads using the same design that should be tested?

    So far I know of

    Mapleshade Isoblock
    Quest for Sound Isol-Pad
    DiversiTech EVA
    DiversiTech Cork

    I would want to test others using the same 3-layer design.

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    Replies
    1. FYI - Unless you are going to hire an audio engineering lab to test these pads correctly for vibration frequencies then just use your ears as instruments to determine the audio validity of the isolation pad. When one goes to a stereo shop to demo gear or speakers they do not use testing equipment to evaluate what to buy. Just do what you have posted on your site, STARE WITH YOUR EARS, hearing is believing. D. Webster

      Delete
  7. I want some of these for my appliances. They shake a rattle a lot. We don't care when we're not home but when it's late it tends to get irritating. My wife and I plan on buying some mounts for them.
    John Bond | http://www.missionsupplyonline.com/product-lines/trelleborg-anti-vibration-mounts

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well Mr. Lilly, whats the holdup??? When are you going to do this "SHOOTOUT" thing??? My Linn-LP12, Marantz UD8004, Sansui 717, Aragon 8008, Audible Illusions M3a, Furman PL-8, Magnepan MG 1.6's are all waiting for your results??? Lets finish-up what you started please, ain't nobody getting any younger??? And, I'm sure there are others, like myself, waiting to spend some $$$ on the right footers??? Thank You Kindly

    \

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    Replies
    1. The idea had slipped my mind. I had trouble finding an app that would let me record and export the data in a way that I thought I could get results to accurately compare. I can try looking again.

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  9. What ever it takes, we just want your opinion??? By the way, from what you already know about these EVA footers, do you see a problem installing under my equipment and getting the results you initially got on yours, including the Maggies??? Also, how many 2x2 footers under each unit, including the Maggies??? Thank You Kindly

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    Replies
    1. I think you will be happy with the results, and the beauty of these is that they are cheap enough to experiment with compared to the footers most high-end audio companies offer; so if you don't think they help, you are only out a few dollars instead of hundreds.

      I use the 2x2 size under my speakers, preamp, amp, cd player, SAT box, PS3 and headphone amp. I also used them under a 75lb. subwoofer before. These EVA pads are rated to support 50lbs per square inch, so they are plenty durable for your gear. They also come in larger sizes if you want: 3x3, 4x4, 6x6, 12x12 and 18x18 according to the DiversiTech website. I generally use 3 or 4 pads under each piece of equipment depending on the stability. Using 3 pads under the CD player and made it easier to get perfectly level.

      You can definitely try them under the Maggies. These pads made a big difference in how much vibration could be felt being transferred into my speakers stands (that are sand-filled), for example.

      Delete
  10. Wow. Seems the peddlers of audio voodoo really can't handle it when sales of their overpriced junk are threatened by something practical and cheap. Ignore them. There is no controversy here that has not been invented by semi-literate trolls to try and protect their little dunghills. You have nothing to prove, so don't even try. Let them rage and continue to make fools of themselves.

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  11. Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful! I've been looking for books of this nature for a way too long. I'm just glad that I found yours. Looking forward for your next post. Thanks :)

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  12. From the images for Quest for Sound Isol-Pods, it seems like they are just reselling the DiversiTech Cork or some variant of it under their own name. Considering the absolute lack of data provided by Sound Quest, it is hard assume otherwise. BTW, the cost of DiversiTech Cork is about 72 cents each, as compared to $25 for a set of 4 as sold by Sound Quest. I can see why the peddlers and trolls for Sound Quest would prefer to obfuscate.

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  13. The foam in these pads are designed to compress under heavy gear yes but pay attention to the opposing ribs on either side. It is these ribs that flex and stand between your device and vibration that INTERFERE with audio and electronics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”
      - Charles Bukowski

      Delete
  14. Damn, this could be the least expensive upgrade I've ever heard of...

    For the grand total investment of < $5.00 what do I have to lose? I will order two dozen just to play with. If they don't work, who cares. But, if they do work as the reviewer has claimed, it would be the best value purchase I've ever made.

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    1. As I have used them for longer amounts of time, I think you get the best results when using them under speakers, subs, and tubed devices. Turntables would probably benefit if your platform is not already isolated. But yeah, these are cheap enough to experiment with unlike a lot of other isolation products geared towards "audiophiles".

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  15. I just received a bunch of 2" x 2" x 7/8" E.V.A. Anti-Vibration Pads ordered from SupplyHouse.com, and put them under my turntable and also under the cutting board that my turntable sits on. I also put them under my Fisher tube amp.

    I wasn't expecting much, but for $0.49/ea plus $5 shipping, I figured "what the heck?" These little blocks really made a difference; bass is fuller and deeper, treble is cleaner, dynamics are snappier, and the overall presence is more realistic. Record background swoosh is much quieter too.

    I definitely got my eleven bucks' worth!

    ReplyDelete

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