Soundeck has released a new version of its DF Damping feet. Paul Rigby wonders if it’s worthwhile to upgrade
You may remember that I reviewed Soundeck’s DF Damping feet back in July of 2020. You can check out that review HERE.
If you just want the potted history, these damping feet are designed to sit underneath your HiFi components. That is, your turntable, DAC, amplifier and more. Even your speakers.
In practical terms, I like the fact that they hug the ground. That is, I have some damping feet that sit around 3cm off the shelf surface. I have one set here that sits 4.5cm high. The DF Damping feet are a mere 3mm high. That’s right, millimetres.
What I like about that is that they don’t dominate the component that sits upon it. The DF Damping feet don’t draw the eye.
Secondly, because of that low height, they don’t tempt accidents. I don’t know how many times I’ve had a component on relatively high damping feet, I’ve then changed a cable, accidentally given the whole thing a push and pushed the entire component off the damping feet supports, resulting in at least one corner of the component crashing down on the shelf. Not good.
That’s never happened with the Soundeck feet.
More than that though? They sound good. They actually work as damping feet. They lower the noise floor resulting in clearer mids, better bass focus and more fragile treble response. Subtle effects like reverb from cymbal hits or resonance from an upright bass were better presented.
How do they sound good? Because the feet are made from two plates of damped steel. Inside is a sandwich filler of visco-elastic polymer. As the metal plates are agitated with vibrations, they flex. This movement stretches and contracts the microns in the polymer which generates heat. This energy transfer is where the noise goes. This is known as constrained layer damping. It’s a common practice, especially in the heavy industry that Soundeck’s parent company is involved within.
Result? I use these little feet all over my own HiFi. I love them.
Well now, the owner of Soundeck, Les Thompson, contacted me and said that he had updated the feet.
I was told that the new feet were made from the same materials used. They were created too with the same method of production. The difference? They are now smaller.
Soundeck had received requests to reduce the diameter of the feet. Some users placed the DF Damping feet underneath small components and the feet were sticking out in a rather obvious way. So, to improve the aesthetics, Soundeck reduced the diameter.
The original feet could be bought in circular or square shapes but, taking the circular foot as a comparison, that original size has been reduced down from 80mm to 50mm. Placing the new set under a small for factor DAC I have here, the new design certainly looks neat and tidy. In aesthetic terms, it’s certainly an improvement.
Finally, just to round off my quick look, I gave the new feet a quick listen.
I played a variety of CDs and vinyl spanning The Cure, Mott the Hoople, Dexter Gordon and Frank Sinatra.
I really didn’t expect much. What I wanted to check is that the sound quality was maintained and didn’t fall below the standards of the earlier model.
What I didn’t expect was for the new, smaller feet to actually sound better! I went into the sound tests convinced that the feet would be the same in sonic terms. That I would hear no appreciable difference.
I had to flip during A-B tests a dozen times to make sure I was hearing right and because they differed from my own expectations.
The improvements are relatively subtle. Not massive but, good grief, the enhancements are definitely there.
Basically, the noise floor has dropped with the new models. The midrange and treble is now clearer. Slightly confusing midrange details are now more recognisable. For example, a lead guitar sequence in a Mott the Hoople track makes more sense now because my ears can follow the progress of the fingers easier.
Treble-infused cymbal work seem to pop out of the soundstage a little further. Bass appears to be a tad more focused now. Lots of little things really but you add those up and the improvements are actually there.
I was quite taken a-back, let me tell you.
I started writing this review with one aim in mid, to offer a quick update piece to report on an aesthetic only enhancement of a set of damping feet. That changed as soon as I heard the performance from these feet.
Thing is though, why? Why the improvement? I asked Soundeck’s owner, Les Thompson. Now Les’ main job is within heavy industry. This HiFi malarky is but a side project of his main company, SDS.
That company uses sound-damped steel to lower the rise in underground railway installations, gas pipes and the like (in case you didn’t know, if you don’t sound damp a gas pipe – it screams and keeps the neighbours awake at night).
Using his own experience of heavy industry-based damping, he did explain that the basic resonant frequency of the feet changes from one size to another.
That change is what I’m hearing and, in this particular case, its certainly for the better and for me, is worthy of an actual upgrade.
I’ll certainly be swopping my old, larger DF Damping feet and putting the new Mk.IIs in their place.
One of the oddest reviews of ever done because it featured one of the most surprising conclusions, I’m happy that I gave the DF Damping feet a sound test when I did!
SOUNDECK DF DAMPING ISOLATION FEET MK.II
Price: £16 each, £44 for a set of three or £54 – for a set of four
Tel: 0191 259 0700
GOOD: even smaller form factor, easy to use, value for money, lower noise, improved sound quality
[Don’t forget to check out my Patreon Page at www.patreon.com/audiophileman, for exclusive postings, giveaways and more!]
Icon PS3 phono amplifier
Aesthetix Calypso pre-amp
Icon Audio MB845 Mk.II Monoblock Amplifiers
Quad ESL-57 Speakers with One Thing mod