By Wilde Becker. Speaker Stands. At Tuesday, July 30th 2019, 19:03:49 PM.
We tend to think of a loudspeaker as a fixed box that produces sound directly from the moving cones of the speakers (and, where the speaker is ported, from the port as well). Although that is certainly where most of the sound comes from, the reality is that no matter how rigid the cabinet is there will also be some vibration of the cabinet walls.
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.
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.
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.
You can make a speaker move less in many different ways, and one of those is by adding more mass to the speaker and the stand; making it harder for the speaker to move. That’s why you’ll find a sand compartment in most stands.
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.