How do speaker stands make a difference in sound output?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ryan Cruz, Apr 16, 2002.

  1. Ryan Cruz

    Ryan Cruz Stunt Coordinator

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    Is it because of the speaker height alone?
     
  2. Eujin

    Eujin Supporting Actor

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    Height is just one factor. Good speaker stands provide a number of small benefits that, collectively, can have a pretty audible impact on the overall sound. One major obsession that audiophiles have is vibration. The vibration can come from within the speaker cabinet itself, depending on how well-constructed the speakers are. If you have speakers on stands right now, just put your hand on the cabinet and then on the main column of the stand--if you feel any vibration at all, you'll know what I'm talking about; if you don't feel anything, you're golden. Vibration also comes from the sound that is put out by the speaker. This sound energy can travel from the floor and up the stands, back to the speaker. The bottom line is that all this collective vibration can causes the speaker itself to vibrate, albeit minutely.

    So the goal of good speaker stands is to completely isolate your speaker from all this vibration. You'll find that all-steel construction speaker stands with one or two central columns that are mass-fillable (you can load them with sand, shot, etc.) are very popular. You'll also often find spikes or cones at the base of the stand--another isolation measure. Stands made from MDF are also fairly common, but with a few exceptions are generally less popular with the audiophile community (I'm making broad, sweeping generalizations here). If you read reviews of speaker stands (usually from the British press, as they seem to place more importance on them than their American counterparts), you'll often find that improved imaging is one thing that is always looked for. Some people also hear better bass extension with different stands. Now, take all this with a grain of salt because I haven't seen anything about double-blind listening tests of speaker stands, so maybe a lot of this is down to a placebo effect. But it makes some sense to me, at least intuitively.
     
  3. Todd_Michael_R

    Todd_Michael_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Ryan,

    I'm sure there are other reasons, but off the top of my head...

    * Speaker height is one -- they are able to position the tweeter at ear level for your fronts.

    * Placement -- stands give you options for putting your monitors/bookshelfs/standmounts to optimize your HT's sound field (no more placing speakers on mantles or bookshelves!)

    * Weight -- good speaker stands can be weighted down with lead shot or sand to minimize vibrations and maximize bass response.

    Hope this helps,

    Todd
     
  4. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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  5. Todd_Michael_R

    Todd_Michael_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Holadem wrote:
     
  6. Eujin

    Eujin Supporting Actor

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  7. Ryan Cruz

    Ryan Cruz Stunt Coordinator

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    Oh thanks a lot guys. my option is to also put the speakers in my bay window, which is isolated from the whole room. For those of you who don't know, the bay window is a raised area that is separate area from the room. It's just small enough to house my audio equipment.

    Since my TV is there, along with my other equipment, I was thinking that I would be a good idea to put it there since any vibration on the floor coming from the subwoofer, etc., would not travel up to the window. Maybe I could just put something under the speakers to dampen the vibration since they're just sitting on the wood in the ba window?

    The window is made of premium Narra (very tough wood)with cement under it.

    What do you guys think?
     
  8. Todd_Michael_R

    Todd_Michael_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Eujin,
    So true w/regards to a subwoofer. I was mainly referring to 2-ch music where I don't particularly use my subwoofer. In HT however, that's a different story! I too have hardwood floors and my SVS 25(22)-31PCi shakes the floors immensely -- good for annoying the neighbors. [​IMG]
    Ryan,
    Not knowing how large your bay window is, I would suggest making sure your speaks have enough room to "breath" behind and around them *and* making sure they are at the right height for your listening preference. If you find bass (down to your X-over) and mids to sound a little boomier and less detailed than you'd like, you may want to give them more breathing room. But, depending on your speakers and your preference, YMMV.
    Try out different speaker placements (in the bay window or on stands on the floor or whatever else) and see which one you prefer. Then let us know!
    Good luck!
    Todd
     
  9. Ryan Cruz

    Ryan Cruz Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks guys [​IMG]
     
  10. Robert_Dufresne

    Robert_Dufresne Stunt Coordinator

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    Ryan Try some bluetack under your speakers it

    realy helps with damping.

    Robert
     
  11. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    Spikes couple the speaker stands to the floor. They're useful in transmitting the speaker cabinet's vibrations, through the stand, away to the floor. This works because the cabinet+stand+floor is a much bigger mass than the cabinet by itself, so if they're closely coupled, they try to vibrate together, which means that the same amount of energy produces much smaller vibrations. It acts as a vibration sink, so to speak. This allows the sound to be produced just by the moving speaker driver, otherwise air is moved by the driver as well as the vibrating cabinet, which muddies up the sound.

    If you have a springy wooden floor which is getting vibrated a lot by a subwoofer, it might make sense to decouple the speakers from the floor - semi inflated rubber tubes and blutack come in handy in those situations.
     
  12. Brian Campbell

    Brian Campbell Stunt Coordinator

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    I just ordered an AudioSource SW-15 sub as part of my first HT system. I am having brand new berber carpet and a carpet pad installed on top of the concrete slab in my basement. The carpet is not especially thick.

    Do I want to put spikes on this sub?

    Will they damage my carpet or carpet pad, or concrete?
     
  13. Brian Campbell

    Brian Campbell Stunt Coordinator

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    So should I just place my sub on the floor instead of spikes? (don't want the chattering that Todd_Michael_R mentioned)

    Please also see my post just above this one.
     
  14. Sean Oneil

    Sean Oneil Supporting Actor

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