Can you shed some light on your background and how it connects to Carbide Audio?
I'm a software engineer so my background is in IT. I've been passionate about audio since I was a young kid listening to my grandfather's gear in the early 90s. He was a DIY audiophile who at one point built his own amplifiers so I like to think that his passion to experiment with audio influenced me. My combined interests in audio and software led to experimenting with early audio software tools for things like digital room correction. These experiences spurred my interest in psychoacoustics to better understand the influence the room has on our perception of sound and music. Through reading and experimentation I started to learn about the importance of decoupling room and equipment from vibrations. More recently my background in software helped me explore other software tools for designing and modeling vibration decoupling designs. Programming knowledge helped me translate these designs into CNC code to machine parts. It was after acquiring all the necessary tools to build and verify my own designs that I founded Carbide Audio to work on creating audio equipment full time.

Were any of your other hobbies/activities helpful for your audio developments?
Outside of audio I've had some other hobbies which were influential in forming Carbide Audio. I'm a bit of a shade tree mechanic having experience rebuilding old BMW engines. Hands-on experience with basic mechanical engineering concepts involving cars in my earlier years would later help me in my quest to innovate in the area of vibration isolation. Generally speaking, lots of hacking around with computers and mechanical things over the years has been influential in me being inquisitive and trying to figure out how things work.

When was Carbide Audio officially established?
Carbide Audio was established in March 2019. Our first product launched in July 2021. The Carbide Base footers represent about 2 years of R&D that would lead to a US patent application for the design.

Where are you located?
Our machine shop and office space are in the small town of Llano, Texas. Llano is located west of Austin in the Texas hill country. Fortunately Llano is a hub for ranch businesses in the area which helped with easy access to freight transport for raw materials and heavy equipment in and out of our business. When you're moving in CNC machines that weigh over 6'000kg, truck and freight access to such a remote location is an important consideration.

What incentivized you to research and use viscoelastics?
Viscoelastic materials can be ideal for audio since they are so lossy. As the name implies, they behave much like a viscous fluid under deflection, allowing intermolecular friction within the material to dissipate vibrational energy as heat. The elastic property gives the materials sufficient resilience to support weight. The ratio of how viscous or elastic the material is can be adjusted depending on application. In our footers you can choose between more viscous/less elastic by using the gray ViscoRings as shipped in your samples or go to the other end of the spectrum of being less viscous/more elastic by using the black ViscoRings. Higher elasticity translates into higher resilience to extra weight at the expense of slightly less vibration dissipation aka damping. Carbide Bases utilize six different viscoelastic materials throughout, each formulated for its specific application.

Viscoelastic materials can have some downsides, too. Most significant is difficulty achieving a low resonance frequency mandatory for isolating low frequencies. It might seem counterintuitive but you don't want a very large amount of the material spread horizontally over a wide surface area. It needs to be tall and thin to act like a spring with the low spring rate necessary for isolating very low frequencies. The problem becomes stability. You can only go so far without risking toppling equipment. This is where our Carbide Base is unique in that it was designed to provide a high level of stability using viscoelastic materials with low inherent stability. Vertical ridges brace the outside of the ViscoRing to prevent it from buckling while simultaneously allowing most of the surface area to bulge under compression. Viscoelastic buffers repel excessive horizontal deflection/tilt to provide stability. This ability to use viscoelastic materials with a desirable shape is what allows for the isolation of such low frequencies. Without it, bass and midrange can sound muddy and congested. This is because at frequencies near the device's resonance frequency, vibrations passing through the device are actually amplified not reduced. All passive vibration isolators exhibit this characteristic. So we sought to push the resonance frequency down below the lower threshold of human hearing so that whatever amplification does occur happens below musical content. Most competitors have much higher resonance frequencies which means poor isolation of low frequencies. Many audiophiles have a bad impression of viscoelastic isolators because an insufficiently low resonance frequency amplifies vibrations within the audible range. Viscoelastics also drain away vibrations which is a bit different than vibration isolation. Much like how a heat sink dissipates heat from electronics, my material of choice dissipates vibrational energy in the supported device. We published a small experiment we did showing this benefit here.