A low-frequency damping stage for the Sony Playstation SCPH100x

by Mick Feuerbacher, April 2006. Updated June 2006


During one of my first sessions with the PS1 I listened to some very busy Big Band music. I had the feeling that somehow everything was muddled toghether and it sounded like a rather undefined sound mush. My thought was that the PS1 is good, but not good enough to handle such complex music. A little later I put a pillow under the PS1, just for testing purposes. I listended to some tracks and did not hear much of a difference. Without particular thoughts I put up the Big Band music again and was very suprised - suddenly the mess was gone, I could clearly find my way through the very busy music. Every instrument and note had its own clearly definded place.

I have heard of other PS1 users that had similar experiences. So damping of the PS1 seems to be important. To be more precise, the PS1 needs an appropriate damping stage with a low resonance frequency. In this article, I describe my setup, which works very well.



This is a view on my current setup. The idea behind it is simple: in order to achieve a low resonance frequency a high vibrating mass is required. This is provided by a heavy wooden plank. On the other hand, a spring element also providing some damping is needed. I have experimented with some different materials including some commercial damping feet.





Eventually, the best solution turned out to be a weakly inflated bycicle inner tube. The one I use is taken from a childrens bike, it has a diameter of about 30 cm.



Directly on top of the tube I placed a plank of bamboo end-grain wood. I was told that this material has preferrable vibrational properties on itself, but the main advantage for the present purpose is that it has a very high density, i.e. it is rather heavy at not too large outer dimensions (and it looks good). My plank weighs almost 3 kg and I found it in a kitchen store. The size is 30 x 30 cm, the thickness is 4 cm.

You may use a marble or granite plate or even an ordinary paving stone. Just experiment with some heavy supports here.

The PS1 is placed on top of this plate. I have replaced the original felt feet by rubber feet but this may not be the optimum solution. It is very important that the PS1 is rigidly coupled to the support, so that the high mass of the latter has an effect. Therefore, I will soon replace the rubber feet by spikes to provide good coupling (see update below).

The current setup has a resonance frequency of about 4 Hz. It should be possible to further lower this frequency by filling the tube with water (or even a high-viscosity fluid) instead of air. I have not tried this yet but it may be worth wile...

The described system will serve as a good damping stage. You can then put it onto your normal audio rack.

This is a view of my complete mounting setup. The bench is self-made (laminated beech wood) and has a upper shelf connected to the lower part by spikes. The lower part connects to the floor via flat rubber feet. These features may lead to some additional improvement, but they are certainly marginal compared to the effects of the damping system described above.

(The little box on the right is an Audiodigit TA-2020 amplifier, which I have put into a printer A-B switchbox. Under the bench are the power supplies of the PS1 (left) and the amp).



Update June 2006

I have now replaced the rubber feet by spikes to provide rigid coupling between the PS1 and the heavy wooden block.

I did not use commercial spikes but took some tip shaped socket screws, which are much cheaper and do a perfect job. To attach them to the PS1, I removed the original feet (felt pads) and directly cut a M5 thread into the present holes.




This is a view from the inside of the case. The grub screw is directly screwed into the case. It is secured from the outside by a lock nut.



A view of the full setup.