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CnoEvil's picture
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Black Ravioli

Isolation products, along with all those mains associated ones (cables,conditioners,re-generators etc) are like the "black arts" of hifi; witchcraft or essential mod?.....controversy reigns.

BR caught my eye, as it claimed to make a good improvement without fundamentally changing the sound, but enhancing what's there already; oh and not forgetting the more you use, the better the improvement - cynical sales tactic or truthful disclosure?

My Linn DS was the target of this experiment. It has a very well designed power supply (Dynamik) which I believe is a "switch mode" design. This is probably the reason that it hasn't responded to my usual tweaks.......Power Cables made little difference, and a mains regenerator (£1500 of Isol8) made it sound worse (bright and clinical).

Enter Black Ravoli - a selection of the original pads and the newer Big Feet for comparison.

First the pads. They were stacked 2 high to lift the Linn's feet off the rack (pads go under the chasis, preferably under the mains section). Amazingly, the more I put under, the better the improvement - and it did take the strengths of the DS and enhance them. It made the sound more natural (less digital), especially with voices/un-miked instruments, while the background got blacker and the soundstage got bigger.

They say to let them settle for a day or two - which I did. When I removed them, the soundstage seemed to collapse, voices retreated into the background and the sense of ease and naturalness somewhat evaporated.

Next the Bigfeet, which I was told would give even more of an improvement. They didn't. In the context of my DS and taste, it made the sound more detailed but less musical....a bit brighter and more clinical.

Needless to say I purchased the pads, and am happy with the result. These pads are not especially cheap, but if you have a mid priced system and above, and want to improve what's there already, they are worth a home demo. Start with the source and work forwards...... till you run out of money! They are particulaly effective under power supplies.

Just thought I'd share the results of my testing, in case it's of interest to others.

Cno

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Black Ravioli isolation

 

Great write-up.  These things certainly are controversial and hard to account for.  The ones that used to freak me out (and I'll try almost anything once!) are those cable-lifters to keep the leads off the floor.  

 

Many moons ago, when I sold hi-fi, we found that the Mission Isoplat made huge improvements to cheap amplifiers, like the then very popular NAD3020.  Big enough an improvement to be better than an amp of double the price.  Not sure they were ever designed for that purpose, possibly for turntables, but they sure worked.  We used to demonstrate them and most customers could easily hear the difference.  [For those born post-CD these were mdf boards with sorbothane hemispheres for feet, intended to isolate vibrations.]  With cheap amps they seemed to 'earth' the vibrations from the transformers, which you could hear 'singing' along with the beat.

 

I suppose it's just possible the Ravioli is/are having a similar effect on your DS?     

 

 

Krell CD and amp, Michell/Rega/Grado record player, Hitachi and Sony tuners, Nakamichi cassette, SBT streamer, Sonus faber spkrs.  Sony and Samsung BDP & TVs. Qobuz > iPad > AudioPro Allroom Air One

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RE: Black Ravioli isolation

Nopiano, thanks for the reply. Reading your posts, I gather that you have been around this game for a long time as well.

The world of tweaking is a strange one, no doubt about it. Back in the mid/late 70s I can remember buying the Trio KD 1033 (rival to the Sansui SR 222 Mk2) and trying different turntable mats (felt,cork etc) - which all sounded different. I ended up buying a thin "sticky" feeling one that was recommended by some hifi mag or other (you may even know the one I mean). When I sold the Trio and bought a Rega Plannar 3 (£183), I found the supplied felt mat sounded better.

Funny you should mention cable-lifters. I'm toying with the idea of trying the Myrtlewood ones designed by Cardas and sold by Ayre (cheaper that way). They're pretty inexpensive and am intrigued by the idea.

I think that Black Ravioli came from the Nuclear Sub industry (Sailforth Ltd), and as you suspected, are designed to "sink all vibrations to absolute zero".

I remember the Nad 3020 well, and the fuss it caused when introduced (1979 - £70 I think). At the time I went for the Arcam A60 (£115), but remember the launch of the Creek CAS4040 (1983 - £150) and the first Naim Nait (1984 - £240)

Hifi was a lot simpler back then

Cno

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Black Ravioli isolation

Unless the speakers are standing very close to the electronics, the biggest source of vibration is going to be inside the units themselves (transformers, CD mechanism, TT motor).

In which case I would expect this degree of isolation to be unecessary because it won't reduce the inherent vibration of the components and the transmission of vibration to cases and PCBs etc. from within. (Not unless the equipment cases and PCBs were lined with bitumastic panels, like car doors or old 'thin wall' BBC type monitors).

A CD player with a hefty transformer (as some have) will have two sources of vibration built into the same chassis. With any luck the manufacturer will have engineered minimisation of vibration by keeping CD mech and transformer far apart and have damping mounts for transport and transformer. Whether they do, or not, I can't understand how BR (good job it wasn't Black Spaghetti!) is going to help deal with the internal sources of vibration.

If speakers absolutely have to be sited right next to other equipment, then I guess BR and other solutions may help (granite chopping boards with squidgy feet underneath for instance) but I would recommend other solutions before BR.

At £80 (cheapest of their products) for enough BR to go under one 'box' that means £160 for enough BR for a CD + amp. (Instead of moving stuff around so airborne/surface borne vibration from speakers is minimised.)

Assuming a mechanically sound floor, and components that are kept the correct distance away from each other, then what is BR actually isolating the system from?

"We are currently awaiting the loading of our complement of small lemon-soaked paper napkins for your comfort, refreshment and hygiene during the journey."

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I had a look at their website. It did not leave me any the wiser. I don't think the Plain English Campaign would be impressed. What are they made of? Is it sorbathane in a bag? They need to 'burn in' too.

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RE: Black Ravioli isolation

Chebby, I'm not an expert in vibration control and how or why it effects the sound. All I know is that does - at least as far as I'm concerned. There is further info on their website, whether fact or spin....you can decide.

I've heard demos at shows and in dealers, with different brands, and there was always an improvement. This was again born out when I tried it at home. The only time it made something worse, was under an Audio Note Dac, where it removed all the life from it.

The casing of the Linn Klimax DS is one of the reasons it costs so much - they put an awful lot of effort into isolation and vibration control, which I assume they wouldn't have done without good reason.

Sorry I can't answer better than that. I go by what I hear, and go from there. I reject more of these type of products than I buy into, and always get a mate (or the wife) to check my findings.

Cno

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Black Ravioli isolation

CnoEvil wrote:
Chebby, I'm not an expert in vibration control and how or why it effects the sound. All I know is that does - at least as far as I'm concerned. There is further info on their website, whether fact or spin....you can decide. I've heard demos at shows and in dealers, with different brands, and there was always an improvement. This was again born out when I tried it at home. The only time it made something worse, was under an Audio Note Dac, where it removed all the life from it. The casing of the Linn Klimax DS is one of the reasons it costs so much - they put an awful lot of effort into isolation and vibration control, which I assume they wouldn't have done without good reason. Sorry I can't answer better than that. I go by what I hear, and go from there. I reject more of these type of products than I buy into, and always get a mate (or the wife) to check my findings. Cno

Sorry. I was just thinking aloud. They look odd. Less ravioli than cushions for 'Goth Barbie'.

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RE: Hi-Fi

RMutt wrote:

I had a look at their website. It did not leave me any the wiser. I don't think the Plain English Campaign would be impressed. What are they made of? Is it sorbathane in a bag? They need to 'burn in' too.

RMutt, it's definately not Sorbathane, but a layered construction of some kind - pretty solid with a little "give".

Maybe there are some dealers on here who sell it, and are brave enough to elaborate more.

I tried it, liked it and bought it. Demo kits are usually available, so it's easy to try it for oneself.

Cno

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Black Ravioli isolation

chebby wrote:

 

At £80 (cheapest of their products) for enough BR to go under one 'box' that means £160 for enough BR for a CD + amp. 

 

...my views on this kind of thing are well known.  I should probably leave it at that, but did you do an ABX on this CNo?

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RE: Black Ravioli isolation

chebby wrote:

Sorry. I was just thinking aloud. They look odd. Less ravioli than cushions for 'Goth Barbie'.

No need to be sorry, and your musings are perfectly logical.

As for "Goth Barbie", I think you might be onto something.......next step Dragons Den.....looking for a partner? Biggrin

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Black Ravioli isolation

 i'm interested, by the jist of this you purchased on a try or buy deal, am i right?

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RE: Black Ravioli isolation

the record spot wrote:

chebby wrote:

 

At £80 (cheapest of their products) for enough BR to go under one 'box' that means £160 for enough BR for a CD + amp. 

 

...my views on this kind of thing are well known.  I should probably leave it at that, but did you do an ABX on this CNo?

I did my version of an ABX.

First I blindfolded the wife. Then I slid the pads in and out from under the DS. She could tell without fail, whether I was adding or removing pads (without knowing). If I added 2 pads the sound got better, if removed 2 it got worse. Removing all at once it got much worse.

She confimed what I believed I heard. She didn't know what I was testing, or even what it was supposed to do. I just asked her to give feedback on what she was hearing........not a professionaly conducted test, but good enough for me.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Black Ravioli isolation

bluebrazil wrote:

 i'm interested, by the jist of this you purchased on a try or buy deal, am i right?

Yes BB, it's too expensive to do otherwise. My dealer had a "lend out" box just for that purpose. I tried both the original pads and the newer Big Feet.....the pads worked better for me, but that's unsual.

Cno

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Black Ravioli

I know this post was almost a year ago..but I just want to share my experience using the Black Ravioli pads. I hope I'm not breaking any rules on this forum before I start with my thoughts?Admin.?:)

Main system: MF AMS 35i / Focal 1028be / Electrocompaniet EMC 1UP / MIT cables

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RE: Black Ravioli

iceman16 wrote:

I know this post was almost a year ago..but I just want to share my experience using the Black Ravioli pads. I hope I'm not breaking any rules on this forum before I start with my thoughts?Admin.?:)

I started this thread in order to bring the product to the attention of the forum and get feedback (good or bad), from any other people using it......so I for one would be very interested in hearing about your findings.

I really rate the stuff, but it comes at a cost, so the benefits need to be taken in the context of the cost of the system.

I don't see how this could be a problem, as after all, the forum is about sharing knowledge and experiences.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Black Ravioli

Waiting for your post as well as I do think vibrations reduction has to be taken into account in any decent hi-fi system

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