By Wilde Becker. Speaker Stands. At Tuesday, July 30th 2019, 19:03:26 PM.
We might call them bookshelf speakers, but does that mean it’s a good idea to put them on one? Nothing is stopping you from doing it, but it’s your sound performance that’s at stake – and there’s much to lose – and, if you’ve just shelled out a significant amount for your new speakers, it’s a bad start to what should be a great investment.
If you already have a pair of simple foam speaker platforms, you can improve their performance simply by gluing a heavy floor tile to the top. Ordinary contact adhesive works fine for this. Then you can either glue some kitchen mat to the upper surface, to provide some grip, or use Blu–Tack, as discussed earlier, between the tile and the loudspeaker.
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.
Where vibrations are allowed to leak into any studio furniture or wooden floors, the audible result is often a blurring of the bass and lower mid range, as well as a deterioration in the stereo image. By using an appropriate stand or platform, the bass end should tighten up to a very noticeable degree, leaving the mids sounding clearer and the imaging better defined.
An isolation platform works in a similar way to a car’s suspension, and comprises three mechanical components: a spring, a mass supported by the spring, and some form of damping to prevent the sprung mass from continuing to bounce around. In a car you have the springs between the axles and the car body: the car body provides the mass and the shock absorbers provide the damping, to stop you having a bouncy ride.
Fortunately, we don’t need to balance the speaker on actual springs, as a suitably dense piece of acoustic foam can act as both spring and damper. The speaker cabinet provides mass — so sitting a speaker cabinet directly onto a piece of foam, such as an Auralex MoPad, will bring about an improvement in the amount of vibrational energy getting through to the desk. However, foam isn’t particularly rigid, so the cabinet may still tend to move back and forth slightly as the speaker cones move, especially if the speaker cabinet isn’t particularly heavy.