By Wilde Becker. Speaker Stands. At Tuesday, July 30th 2019, 19:06:32 PM.
A speaker platform is designed primarily to provide a degree of mechanical isolation between the speaker and the surface upon which it is placed, while keeping the speaker firmly in place. This is particularly important when siting speakers on lightweight desks or shelves, as these can easily be set into vibration if in direct contact with a speaker cabinet.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Of course, you do still need to attend to room reflections by adding some basic acoustic treatment — but that’s another subject and one that we have covered on numerous occasions in our Studio SOS series.