Although Svelte Shelf's most noticeable feature is its attractive, slim design (hence the name "Svelte," meaning slim or slender), the fact is, it's not just a shelf, but a sophisticated, anti-resonant platform for the support of high quality audio and video components.
Placed under CD Players, DVD players, amps, preamps, speakers and more, Symposium's Svelte Shelf will improve the performance of your system without changing its inherent tonal character.
Prior to its introduction, equivalent performance required much greater thickness and mass. Weighing in at a mere 5/8" (1.6 cm) thickness, Svelte Shelf's design is simple, but effective. Now, even the most vertically-space-challenged rack or stand can benefit from Symposium vibration control.
The Svelte Shelf works well on most surfaces; it can be placed flat on an existing shelf or floor, or substituted for an existing shelf by ordering an exact size replacement.
Science and the Shelf
The Svelte Shelf is a tool for lessening the haze and imprecision which afflicts most "untreated" components. These artifacts are caused by vibration, and their severity can vary greatly from from component to component as well as from installation to installation. The Svelte works by draining vibration out of the component, while at the same time providing a less resonant surface for it to rest upon. Its design is a special modification of time-tested "sandwich" diaphragm technology used to advance the state of the art in loudspeaker performance.
Our products achieve their goals by reducing noise in the component, and the Svelte Shelf does this by obeying laws of physics. The Svelte Shelf's very rigid top and bottom layers vibrate more uniformly than less rigid materials, thus transferring more energy to the center section, where it can be dissipated as heat. And because the top is vibrating more uniformly, without "breakup" found in woods and other less rigid materials, there's less "blurring" of imaging and transient information.
Used correctly, the Svelte Shelf will improve the performance and accuracy of your audio or video system, with:
Superior transient preservation
More focus, with more precise imaging
A quieter background with a lower noise floor
Improved picture quality with video devices
Better bass, with less distortion and "boom"
Improved high frequency air, detail, and dynamicsv
NO COLORATIONS, PLEASE
Because of its constrained-layer design, the Svelte is non-resonant, so it will not add any colorations or other "flavorings" to the original material- pleasant, unpleasant, or otherwise. You'll hear more of the original performance, with all of its nuance, tonal color, and dynamics intact. Like most Symposium products, a Svelte is not used to "sweeten" or "soften" sound- but rather as a tool for the realization of a higher level of accurate sound reproduction.
Svelte Shelves will not "warm over" or "soften" sonic information, but rather will increase resolution and detail, including important time domain information, without adding harshness, artificial bass, or "hi-fi" colorations.
Precision machined from superior grade 7075 aircraft alloy aluminum, Precision Couplers serve to optimize Svelte Shelf performance if you do not have a suitable footer interface available. When ordered with Svelte Shelves, 3 or 4 Precision Couplers can be added at a special discounted price. When do you need these? If your component has built-in rubber or sorbothane feet (this includes feet with a layer of rubber or sorbothane either inside or outside), best results will be realized if these types of feet are bypassed. The Precision Coupler, at 13/16" (0.8125" or just over 2cm) thick will be tall enough to bypass most feet, but extremely tall feet may be bypassed with two Precision Couplers joined together (1 5/8" or 4cm).
The Svelte Plus
The Svelte Plus is an expanded edition of the Svelte Shelf and features a 1" thick center "heat sink" for double the damping and isolation power of the Svelte Shelf. If vertical space is not an issue, the Svelte Plus will provide superior results at a moderate price. Because of its modest 1.125" (2.9cm) thickness, the Svelte Plus is also a great performer under loudspeakers as an alternative to the Super Plus Platform.
Sveltes with Loudspeakers
Deployed under loudspeakers, the Svelte really shines. The most dramatic improvement is a lessening of "haze" and congestion, especially in the bass regions. This includes greater overall clarity and "cleaner" bass performance, with faster attack and release of transients. The Svelte achieves this by draining away and dissipating extraneous cabinet vibration, and in most cases, its success in this arena is independent of the speaker's weight, size, or construction. Further, the Svelte is effective across a broad spectrum of loudspeaker types and pricetags, from small bookshelf speakers to multi-thousand dollar floorstanding towers.
Benefits with Existing Speaker Stands
If you already have speaker stands, the Svelte will improve the performance and musicality of your speaker/stand combination when placed between the speaker's bottom and the top of the stand, thus damping both speaker and stand. Speakers with dedicated floor stands will benefit from the Svelte's superior energy dissipation capabilities.
The Svelte may be used flat on a floor with most carpets, wood floors, concrete, or tile surfaces - even on surfaces which are not perfectly flat, such as on Mexican tile, or floors with slight to moderate surface height variations. Also, Sveltes can be used on top of speakers, in order to dissipate energy from the cabinet, when it's not possible to place the Svelte beneath the speaker. When using Sveltes as damping pads on top of speakers (or components, where they also work as top dampers), make sure the platform is inverted so that the top side of the Svelte (which has the "Symposium" logo) contacts the cabinet. Also, in order not to induce diffraction effects, make sure that the Svelte does not protrude beyond the front edge of the speaker cabinet.
Interactions with critical loudspeaker placement
At only 5/8 inch (1.5 cm) thick, Sveltes cause only a minimal change in tweeter height if the original setup did not use spikes or cones, and virtually no change at all when most spikes are removed and the Svelte is inserted instead of spikes or cones. And, when installed as recommended, a Svelte can actually improve low frequency loudspeaker response smoothness by improving woofer-room coupling.
I've heard of using cones and spikes - but how can a shelf improve a speaker?
One way to envisage what's going on with Svelte Speaker Sets beneath floorstanding speakers would be to imagine the circulating mechanical energy in a loudspeaker's cabinet or frame as analogous to the water in a swimming pool, with the idea being to drain this "water" out of the pool as quickly as possible. Spikes provide three or four drainage holes in the bottom of the pool, but placing a Svelte Shelf in direct contact with the speaker's bottom or frame creates a profoundly more efficient pathway for vibration out of the speaker's structure, and would be analogous to opening up the entire bottom of the pool at once, thus dumping the water out much faster. A greater volume of unwanted spurious energy (greater mechanical "current") can now escape much faster from your speaker's cabinet, thus reducing intermodulation distortion and improving all aspects of speaker performance. Spikes can provide a path for mechanical energy, but can not dissipate it. The Svelte's design is an engine that dissipates mechanical energy as heat, eliminating much of it in a harmless form. The results are most evident in the bass regions, where there is less "haze" and "mud." Once this low frequency noise is lessened, the rest of the frequency ranges also benefit - resulting in cleaner, more dynamic mids and highs as well, with less "glare" and harshness. Although the Svelte Shelf is perfectly compatible with spikes and speaker stands, stands and spikes cannot and do not work the same way, and thus cannot accomplish the same level of results alone.
So does that mean that I can use Sveltes with my existing speaker stands or bases?
Absolutely! Sveltes are very beneficial when placed between the speaker and any type of speaker stand, and will amplify the benefit of any speaker stand by providing superior damping not only to the loudspeaker but also to the speaker stand itself. They even work with small computer speakers on desks!
What size should I get for my speaker?
We've found that it's best to have a Svelte that extends a little beyond the perimeter "footprint" of your speaker. While having a little more area gives optimum results, even Sveltes that are smaller than the footprint of the speaker have been shown to provide significant benefits.
What sizes are available?
Svelte Shelves are available in stock sizes of 8x10, 10x12, 10x14, 12x14, 12x22, 19x14, 19x18, 19x21, 24x19, and in custom sizes.
Deploying the Svelte under loudspeakers - the how and why
The speaker should be placed flat down onto the Svelte, WITHOUT spikes. While spikes are a useful and effective device, their function, when compared to a full Svelte Shelf, is somewhat limited. This is because the spike is an energy conduit between the speaker's cabinet and its support structure (in most cases, a floor). Excess mechanical energy which exists in the loudspeaker cabinet intermodulates with the action of the loudspeaker diaphragms - and this is true of dynamic or electrostatic speakers. As the cabinet shakes, it also moves the actual diaphragm through its support frame- subtlely blurring and muddying sound quality. The less extraneous mechanical energy in the speaker's cabinet, the better - all you want to be moving is the speaker's diaphragm - and the speaker frames and their supports should be absolutely solid and unmoving. Unfortunately, this is a virtual impossibility. Even with state of the art loudspeakers with extremely heavy resin-cast cabinets weighing hundreds of pounds, some energy will still be present, and this energy exerts a negative influence upon the speaker's movement. And while it's nearly impossible to completely eliminate this by-product of real speaker drivers in a physical world, it is possible to lessen the amount of energy. Spikes provide a good conduit out of the cabinet - but are rather small conductors. Various manufacturers have approached the problem by combining different metals or even carbon fiber or other materials in an effort to improve performance - but the problem is that, when all is said and done, they're still constrained by the basic spike itself, which is a limited pathway. The full Svelte, placed flat beneath the speaker, acts as a large "heat sink" that achieves the 3 D's of vibration control: Damping, Drainage, and Dissipation. The Svelte's stainless steel top reduces spurious resonances in the speaker cabinet itself, and the much greater available contact area can transfer more energy out of the cabinet, where it can be converted to heat energy by the Svelte Shelf.
The Svelte Shelf (and special Ultra Platform) and the Verity Audio Parsifal loudspeaker
In 2001, Symposium Acoustics had the honor of using the superb Parsifal loudspeaker made by Verity Audio of Canada. We went to work on developing special platforms for this loudspeaker, to be shown and used at the 2001 CES in Las Vegas. The platforms improved the already excellent performance of the Parsifal to the extent that the designers themselves loved the improvements - and implemented a similar system in their more recent loudspeakers.