Published at Wednesday, July 31st 2019, 07:41:26 AM. Speaker Stands. By Emestina Krause.
A cheap DIY option is to build a couple of towers by stacking concrete blocks or bricks. This low–cost approach really works — we’ve used it successfully on more than one Studio SOS visit — and because of the high mass, very little vibrational energy makes it through to the floor. Some people like the rugged appearance of bricks, but if it’s not to your taste you can always disguise them with cloth drapes, or even spray them gold if you like that kind of thing!
You could just plonk your speaker onto the top of your chosen stand, of course, but it’s best to have the speaker fixed to the stand in some way, because otherwise it can slide around. One popular and effective method is to place blobs of Blu–Tack under each corner; this acts as both a removable adhesive and as a damping medium. Another alternative is to use high–friction rubber matting, of the type sold for workshops and kitchens.
If you visit the various hi–fi forums you’ll find a number of conflicting views on what the best material to use is, but there’s often little to back up people’s claims, and I’d suggest that that way lies madness! Dry playground sand works just fine, and you can even leave it inside plastic bags if you wish to avoid things getting messy.
Many stands come with a compartment dedicated to sand and similarly heavy and well-damped materials. And there’s method in the madness. You see, the speaker plays music by moving its drive unit in and out to create sound pressure: when the drive unit pushes outwards, it creates sound pressure, but when it moves inwards it pushes the entire speaker backwards.
Subwoofers can be placed directly onto solid floors, but an isolation platform of some type will help clean up the sound if that floor is made of wood or chipboard. It isn’t a good idea to position subs very far from the floor — up to about 150mm shouldn’t present a problem, but more than that and the reflections can start to cause issues.
And according to Otto Jørgensen, this is where you have the most to gain from acquiring a pair of speaker stands: “The most impactful benefit of getting stands is added distance between your speakers and surfaces. It keeps early reflections to a minimum. And that’s especially important for the speakers’ low-end performance.”
All that unwanted movement can colour and distort the sound. We do our best to prevent vibrations by adding bracing to the cabinet, but that doesn’t really help with the movement.