Grade 10 (Standard)/Tungsten Carbide Ball Upgrade (Single)
Tungsten Carbide Balls Introduced to the High-End by Symposium
Symposium was the first to discover the importance of ball material for ball bearing isolation devices, and introduced the Tungsten Carbide ball upgrade in 1998, a year after the first Rollerblock system was sold. As opposed to chromium steel balls, Tungsten Carbide balls provide better bass, lower background noise, more definite imaging specificity, weight, and greater musical authority. Some have characterized chromium steel balls as sounding "brighter" or "faster" than Tungsten as an initial subjective judgment. "Brighter," yes; "faster," no. Transient response is not lessened with Tungsten Carbide, and this material ultimately sounds and is better because it preserves a more coherent "link" to the Rollerblock body than chromium steel or other materials, due to its combination of improved mechanical transmission and hardness. While many believe that the TC ball is better because it is harder, this is not really correct. While hardness is desirable to prevent deformation of the ball under stress, the hardness of the ball by itself is secondary to another, more important parameter, which is mechanical transmissivity. The transmission index of Tungsten Carbide is close to that of aluminum, which means that it makes an excellent match for the aircraft aluminum Rollerblock body. This critical "link" to mechanical ground is often overlooked, but is absolutely critical for proper results. If hardness alone were the critical aspect of ball performance in footer devices, then ceramic would be a superior material. It is decidedly not, and is markedly inferior to Tungsten Carbide, as our testing has demonstrated. This is an important point utterly missed by many footer manufacturers who mistakenly use ceramic balls in their products because it is "harder." Ceramic, while harder, does not share the matrix atomic structure of metals, which conduct vibration far more efficiently, and with less distortion. This is the point of using Tungsten Carbide - and never ceramic balls - in our Rollerblock products, and is a key reason why they are superior.
Making the Grade
How perfectly round a ball is has a profound effect upon its vibrational characteristics and directly influences the amount of distortion produced (or not produced!) by the Rollerblock system as it responds to micro-displacements caused by vibration. The more perfect a ball and the more uniform each ball is, the better the Rollerblock system can respond to vibration, and the less distortion is induced into the electro-mechanical system which the Rollerblock system is protecting. The measure of this vital parameter is a balls "grade," followed by a number, for instance, "Grade 10." The number refers to the parts per million precision of the ball, and the SMALLER the number, the BETTER the ball.
Grade 10 Precision - now our standard Tungsten Carbide ball
In 1999, Symposium determined that grade precision - that is, how perfectly round each ball is, and how similar in size each ball is to each other - is of critical importance to performance in ball bearing isolation devices. Before that time, no one had considered this parameter, but it proved to be absolutely critical. We soon found out that Tungsten Carbide balls with precision better than Grade 25 was tantamount to "Unobtainium," and could not be acquired without contracting sufficiently technically advanced concerns to make them in quantity, just for us. We did that, and soon after testing was done, the verdict was in: Grade 10 was audibly better than Grade 25. At that point, all standard Tungsten Carbide balls supplied by Symposium became Grade 10 precision. "Off-the-shelf" bearings, by comparison, are generally Grade 100, or 10 times LESS precise (NOTE: in the ball industry, Grade 100 is sometimes referred to in the ball bearing trade and in auto mechanics circles as "Grade 1." This is a misnomer; the Grade is certainly not "1", which technically means 1 part per million precision, several times greater than present state of the art.). Other suppliers routinely supply Grade 25 Tungsten Carbide balls, but Grade 10 balls are audibly superior, which is why we implemented this improvement.
The Dual Advantage
Thus, there are TWO advantages in our standard TC ball: first, Tungsten Carbide itself, which is the best ball bearing material to use in footer devices that use balls, and second, the superior Grade precision. The first parameter, material, affects things like bass solidity, harmonic preservation, dynamics, and more, while the second parameter, sphericity precision, directly influences resolution, soundstaging, separation, and transparency. The combination of the two is quite powerful.
Trade Up to the Superball at Any Time
When you purchase standard Grade 10 Tungsten Carbide balls from Symposium you are guaranteed FULL retail value back at ANY time when upgrading to the unparalleled Superball. (Balls purchased from other sources do not qualify for this program.) The Superball, with certified grade precision as high as Grade 2.5 (the current state of the art) represents true state-of-the-art precision and is the finest ball currently available.
Why Buy Symposium?
We stand by our products with expertise and experience that has no match in the world of audio and video. Symposium invented and pioneered the first isolation ball bearing device for active components - the Rollerblock - and has carefully refined it since its introduction in 1997. Today, after many also-rans and imitations, Symposium Rollerblocks are still recognized around the world as the best equipment "footer" device available - at any price. And, after more than 10,000 Rollerblock devices sold, we know the requirements to make ball bearing isolation devices work to their maximum potential for audio and video, and carefully implement these parameters into the Rollerblock's design, manufacture, and continual evolution.
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