Why spikes? Do they really make a difference?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jim Williams, Jan 29, 2003.

  1. Jim Williams

    Jim Williams Second Unit

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    I have seen that a lot of people use spikes on their speakers. My question is this: do they really make an audible difference or are they just something someone thought up so that their would be one more accessory for us to buy?
     
  2. CurtisC

    CurtisC Second Unit

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    Hey Jim,I don't know that you need to buy them,if they came with the speakers and you use on carpet,I would use em'.One of the reasons is this keeps the speaker anchored at reference levels,I also think it helps my bass response a micro amout.
     
  3. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

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    Spikes provide very audible improvements in sound. Most noticibly in tightening up the lower octaves. My speakers have always sounded more focused and dialed in.

    Big differences here. Use them.

    -rob
     
  4. Brian Johnson

    Brian Johnson Supporting Actor

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    Yeah. I agree. I bought my RF-3 used. Only had one set of spikes that came with it. I can hear a noticeable difference in the speaker with the spikes. I have carpeted flooring, so YMMV.
    (yes, I plan on getting another set of spikes [​IMG])
    Brian
     
  5. TimTurtino

    TimTurtino Stunt Coordinator

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    As mentioned recently in another thread, spikes help to couple the speakers to the floor. This makes a more rigid connection, so that when the drivers move, the speakers do not, which is certainly what one wants...

    I only mention this because I (not being an engineer) had always thought it was to keep the vibrations from traveling through the floor. Oh well, live and learn,

    Me
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    you'd need a pretty frictionless surface and a pretty light speaker before they started moving on you. not a big thing either way if your floor isn't hardwood otherwise they do make nice holes.
     
  7. RayJK

    RayJK Stunt Coordinator

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    Any time you couple your speakers to a hard surface you are transferring energy into that surface. Since sound travels faster in hard surfaces than in air you get a smear as the two soundwaves reach you at different times. What you want is a speaker that doesn't move that is decoupled. This can be done by having a very inert cabinet or with carpet or both. There are a few esoteric ways to decouple also. One I've seen is a box with sandbags in it, on top of the sandbags was a double mdf platform for the speakers.
     
  8. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    No way can spikes have any effect on the sound. It simply not possible and has been debunked by many DBTs. Any change you hear is strictly in your mind.[​IMG]





    Oh! Sorry :b I thought we were talking about something else. Yes, always use spikes. It'll clean up the bass/mid bass.
     
  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    and here i thought the Atkins diet cleaned that up, silly me :b
     
  10. Guy Usher

    Guy Usher Supporting Actor

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    You can make a case for either way, if for no other reason but to level your speakers. Personaly I use them to push thru the carpet for a more substantial platform, I think it makes a difference and I am the one that counts, I like it I do it. . .
    There are some very technicial(sp) issues that I am not comfortable trying to explain, as the man said I am not an engineer, actually I think Spikes are really meant to de-couple the speaker from the floor. . .
     
  11. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    ok. i have spikes but have not used them but those here seem to think i should. but what do these terms mean?


    "keeps the speaker anchored at reference levels,I also think it helps my bass response....."


    "Most noticibly in tightening up the lower octaves. My speakers have always sounded more focused and dialed in."

    "spikes help to couple the speakers to the floor."

    "What you want is a speaker that doesn't move that is decoupled."

    "I think Spikes are really meant to de-couple the speaker from the floor. . . "
     
  12. RayJK

    RayJK Stunt Coordinator

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    Tony, I'll give it a shot for you.


    "keeps the speaker anchored at reference levels,I also think it helps my bass response....."

    Reference level is 85db of volume. This user is saying that spikes prevent his speakers from moving when played at this volume or louder and he feels his bass is better.

    "Most noticeably in tightening up the lower octaves. My speakers have always sounded more focused and dialed in."

    You'll have to ask the original poster what he specifically means by the terms he is using.

    "spikes help to couple the speakers to the floor."

    To couple is to attach. This user wants his speakers to be physically attached to the floor so that the mass of the speaker and the mass of the floor are both used to prevent panel vibrations.

    "What you want is a speaker that doesn't move that is decoupled."

    This user (me) is saying that you want to have the cabinet itself provide enough mass to prevent unwanted vibration and that if you couple the cabinet all it does is transfer cabinet vibration to the floor. Since sound moves faster in solids then in air this shouldn't be a good thing.

    "I think Spikes are really meant to de-couple the speaker from the floor. . . "

    This user seems to think that because there is such a small point of contact with a spike compared to the bottom of the speaker that it prevents vibrations from being transferred. Nothing personal but this is another audio myth and doesn't follow physics.
     
  13. Guy Usher

    Guy Usher Supporting Actor

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    Thats what I am saying. I think Ray is right, thats why I said I dont feel comfortable trying to explain how they work. But for ME I notice a difference, percieved or real, so I use them. If you have them try it and make your own decision. . .
     
  14. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

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  15. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Well let's think about what adding spikes just might do apart from keeping the speakers fixed in a particular location.
    Perhaps if the spikes are long enough and don't stick too far into the wood, they'll change the vertical displacement of the speaker a little. Maybe, just maybe in your particular environment this might have a positive benefit or at least a change since there could be changes in the overall reverberant field of the room. To that I say perhaps a greater benefit might be realized by placing them a little higher. Of course if you've got an ancheoic room this is all rather a moot point.

    As far as coupling it to the floor well maybe what you're doing is introducing an additional resonance since since the bottom of the cabinet is no longer on the floor. In this case what spiking has done is introduce colorations due to the box vibrating. Now maybe this is all indeed measurable and if so then the overall response of the speaker in the room, post and pre spiking, will be different. But is it a major difference or a subtle difference? Is it as signficant as when you change your seating position? Or when during cleaning, maybe you've moved some pieces of furniture around? Is it as signficant as when you're the only one listening vs when you've got two or more friends over? What about as significant as when you reorganize the books in the bookcase?
    Is it to a speaker manufacturer's potential economic benefit to add spikes? Certainly. It let's people tweak. Reminds me of those toys I used to have to put together for my kids when they were young with those pain in the ass decals. Made you think you were getting your money's worth. It's certainly caused a little cottage industry to spring up with people making spikes out of you name it and in a variety of geometrical shapes.
    The quicker bass thing puzzles me. If spikes make it quicker, and interconnects make it quicker, and speaker cables make it quicker then this would almost logically suggest that the sum total of all these might be similar to replacing the woofer cone to make it lighter or somehow improving it's transient response or increasing the woofer's self damping. Somehow this seems a bit of a stretch. I just can't come up with a plausible reason as to how that'd work.
    Personally I think it's subtle at best and that more improvement can be gained by working on speaker placement in general, and that includes examining their vertical displacements. I'd probably avoid it if I had neighbors downstairs and a lease that I wanted to keep though. After everything else I just might spike if my floors didn't matter but I sure wouldn't start demoing spikes.
     
  16. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    I spike, but to marble slabs.

    You might find this a good read dealing with speakers and equipment.
    Link at the bottom.

    Aside from the adjustability factor,
    spiking makes a speakers contact point smaller and easier for vibrations to leave and harder to transfer back. Spiking to a concrete slab, a piece of granite or marble, works excellent when using towers with some weight.
    BUT spiking to a typical homes floating wood floor, carpeted or not, "NO spikes" or a Vibra Pod type approach, (de-coupling), may actualy be better.

    I can only say experiment and see what you like.

    Speaker and Componet vibration control

    Regards
    Geoff
     
  17. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Chu.

    -rob
     
  18. Chuck Bogie

    Chuck Bogie Second Unit

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    If you've got hardwood floors, and use spikes, the spikes keep the spousal unit from moving the speakers around.
     
  19. Luke_Y

    Luke_Y Second Unit

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    Chuck- [​IMG]
     
  20. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Spikes couple the speaker enclosure to a large mass (i.e. the floor). This lowers vibrations in the enclosure and also prevents the speaker from physically moving. My first DIY (75lb downfiring sealed design) would literally move across the floor unless I used spikes.
     

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