Form and Function. A striking audio equipment cabinet that adds to the sound quality of a music system
Bruce M. Schuettinger PA-AIC ISFD is a designer and craftsman of extraordinary talent and recognition. He has won many awards from various architectural, furniture, and arts and crafts councils, including the recent 2019 Pinnacle award from the 24th Annual International Society of Furniture Designers. Besides his unique furniture creations, Bruce has had the pleasure of conserving furniture and related wooden artifacts for major museums, government institutions, and private collectors for nearly 30 years. He has taught and lectured on the history, connoisseurship, and conservation of furniture on the collegiate level.
This knowledge of furniture construction, historical design and decoration, and his fine art background have moved Bruce into the world of Fine Art Studio Furniture design and production with four main goals:
- To make the public aware that furniture can be an expression of art as it was once considered.
- To acknowledge the meticulous hand craftsmanship of the craftsmen who have come before us.
- To create cherished heirlooms that will stand the test of time.
- To follow LEED certification guidelines and to practice sustainability and Green protocols while producing furniture.
Bruce started a new and exciting venture, MosArt Inc, and has led him into participating in the highest quality Fine Art Fairs and Shows in the country including SOFA, Art Market Hamptons, and Red Dot during Art Basel Week. Bruce’s furniture has received numerous awards including the prestigious Pinnacle Award for his liquor cabinet entitled “Secret Spirits” by the International Society of Furniture Designers
MosArt Furniture has designed and built a Stereo System equipment cabinet that will isolate the delicate electronics and turntable from unwanted mechanical and atmospheric vibrations generated by the sound waves emitted from the speaker system. This cabinet will insure the cleanest and most precise musical definition from your system electronics. This cabinet will allow the system to be played at high volume levels and not cause acoustic feedback from the wood floors to the turntable/arm/cartridge that distorts the music regardless of the speaker system employed in the kit. It is as if your system was floating in air.
Is this measurable? Can it be believed? You bet. We used a test anybody with a smartphone can via seismology application and listening tests. Be patient, we will get there….
A little over a year ago, when I installed a new arm and cartridge on Bruce’s Pear Audio TT, I noticed we could not play the music above a modest level before there was noticeable feedback that forced us to reduce the volume. We discussed possible solutions to the problem, and it was then that Bruce told me he was in the process of designing an equipment cabinet with built-in isolation, and of course, it had to be a work of the highest craft and art. There are many equipment racks with various methods of improving the isolation problem but none that could be considered to a higher standard utilizing traditional mortice and tenon and dovetail joinery, custom stainless steel adjustable support brackets dadoed and screwed into the vertical upright exoskeleton components, custom cut 1/8th “ thick veneer and a Richlite Black Diamond substrate and exoskeleton in many ways a fully customizable interior isolated rack system clad in the fully isolated decorative doors, top, and side panels. Richlite Black Diamond is a product that is made from rolls of paper that are saturated with a thermosetting resin before being cut to length and laid up by hand. Each sheet is carefully stacked, and the direction of the paper alternated, creating the ultimate balance and stability. The stacks are then pressed under even heat and pressure, which bonds the layers of paper together and cures the resin. Slowly cooled, the cured panels produce a solid, stable sheet of material. Richlite is very strong, extremely dense, and anti-resonant.
All shelves, sides, doors, lower legs, and top are isolated from the frame with a space-age material from a 3M company, Aero Technologies called E.A.R, C10002. This is a heavy rubber-like material that converts vibrations to heat and is used by the electronic, computer, and aerospace industries as well as the military for vibration isolation.
The isolation mounts reduce the transmission of energy from one body to another by providing a resilient connection between them.
So, a year later and Bruce brought his finished cabinet to Capital Audiofest last November and shared a room with GT Audio, Pass Labs, and Basis who showed off their newest and highly regarded turntable, the A.J. Conti Transcendence and the Superarm 12.5 . The cabinet is a knockout. Beautiful Spalted Maple veneer over birch ply panels for the doors only and Richlite Black Diamond for the substrate of the sides, top, and front stiles. The GT Audio speakers pressurized the room to extreme levels. The bass notes practically knocked you over. While I was photographing the cabinet with the doors open I noticed I could feel the bass notes on the door, but when I put my had on the top there was nothing, nada, zilch. I showed this to Bruce and that is when I decided to do a review to the cabinet.
A couple of months later on a sunny Saturday, I drove out to Bruce’s lovely home in Thurmont MD, just north of Federick, MD. In the living room perched between a pair of Spatial Audio Statement SE bi-amped Dipole speaker with 375 watt monoblocks servo amps was the Quieten cabinet, loaded with PASS Audio XA30.5 powering the coaxial midrange and beryllium tweeter and a Norma SC-1 Preamp with built in Norma Revo DAC-1 dac and the Pear Audio TT perched on top. The Spatial’s have dual 12” servo control woofers per side and can pump out some serious bass. So the first thing we did was to play some music from the TT source, and we played it loud, peaking over 100 DB’s plus. No feedback, nothing, nada, zilch. Drop the mic, go home.
Bruce’s amazing sounding system:
Speakers: Spatial Audio Lumina Statement SE with Rythmit Audio 370 Servo amps
Power amp: Pass Labs 30.5
Preamp: Norma SC-2 with HS-Dai DAC module
Phono preamp: Sutherland 20/20 Bob’s Devices SUT Sky 20
Turntable: Pear Audio Blue Cornett ll arm Hana ML cartridge.
Music Server: I MAC Upton Audio ISO Regen
Power Conditioner PS Audio Quintessence
No, I did not go home yet. Having too much fun listening to all kinds of music at concert levels. We made a few measurements using an iPhone app to have a graphical representation of what’s going on here. We had a very sensitive seismology app on the iPhone, and we measured the top of the cabinet and on the coffee table in front of the listening area. The pictures were taken playing the same cut from Nils Lofgren Live. The test that Bruce did at Capital Audiofest was that there were eight times more vibrations at the monoblocs on the floor then was measured on the top of the cabinet.
Details on the Quieten construction:
The interior exoskeleton, bottom, shelves, shelf supports and substrates of top and sides are constructed from 2”, 1”, and ¾” Richlite Black Diamond Paper Composite Panels; Custom 1/8” thick book matched spalted maple veneer, spalted maple solid for the handles, mahogany veneered plywood substrate for the door panels, 1” thick medium density cork panels from Amorim, C1002 Isodamp sheets 1/8” and ¼” from E.A.R, 8 Stillpoints Ultra SS cryogenically treated isolation feet, and ¼” Stainless steel adjustable shelf supports and accompanying bolts.
The fully customizable exoskeleton is composed of the 2” thick Richlite Black Diamond for the 8 legs, 1” thick Richlite for the side panel substrate, ¾” Richlite for the top substrate and bottom that are joined via sliding dovetails, dados, and rabbit joinery. The bottom has 12 venting slots cut into it to provide adequate ventilation for the audio equipment and has an incorporated stainless-steel cable management system.
The top and side panels are completely isolated from the exoskeleton with 3/8” E.A.R C1002 Isodamp gromets. The doors are hinged to the exoskeleton with self-closing European 35mm hinges that are isolated from the doors and the exoskeleton with the E.A.R. Isodamp 1/8 sheeting. The shelves consist of customizable isolation and construction systems to include the use of Amorim medium density vibration and sound-isolating panels and Richlite ¾” panels that are isolated from the shelf supports with either 1/8” or ¼” thick E.A.R. Isodamp C1002 sheets. The stainless-steel shelf supports are with dadoes, pressed, and screwed into the vertical exoskeleton components. All of the Richlite components are finished with a moderate low VOC satin urethane. The top, sides, and door panels are finished in a hand-polished high gloss moderately low VOC urethane.
The size of the three-bay cabinet: Length 71 3/8” x Width 20 1/2” x Height 36 3/8”
The cabinet presented here is a three-bay cabinet with doors. Bruce will build a one, two or three-bay unit, with or without doors in a wide variety of veneers.
Talking about having your cake and enjoying it too. As I said this is form and function for the audiophile who wants to present his system beautifully and reduce any slur and muddying of the music due to mechanical vibrations affecting delicate electronics and turntable.
Words and photos by Paul Elliott