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Please help me understand the purpose of speaker stands...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
My question that I have about speaker stands is, do they really have a function besides being a place to put speakers? For example, speakers are usually put up on little risers between the stands and the speakers themselves in order to isolate the speaker from the stand, right?

So if the speaker is isolated from the stand, what does it matter material (metal, wood, etc.) the stand is made of? How do they enhance the sound of the speakers?

If the speaker is isolated from the stands by a piece of cork, rubber puck, a riser disc etc., why would it matter if the stands were filled with lead shot or completely empty?

What do the carpet spikes do to affect the sound?
Edited by michaelkingdom - 7/12/12 at 11:15am
post #2 of 17
Any talk of vibration transfer is largely hype in my opinon from people with golden ears. A good speaker should have virtually no vibrations and a speaker stand is typically not designed to be a good resonant cavity. I had someone tell me that I shouldn't have used hard wood for my speaker stand but I sure as hell can't tell any issues with it.
post #3 of 17
Their primary purpose is put the speakers at ear level.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Okay, so stands do not effect the sound of speakers?
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelkingdom View Post

Okay, so stands do not effect the sound of speakers?
Not by any mechanical action, despite claims to the contrary. As noted they get the tweeters up to ear level, where they should be. If a cab is lifted high enough there's some loss of acoustical coupling with the floor in the midbass.
Quote:
What do the carpet spikes do to affect the sound?
Nothing. They are useful to keep subs from dancing when their weight alone is insufficient to do so.
post #6 of 17
There are different types of stands (wood/metal) to go along with the style of the rest of the room. Carpet spikes are useful in ensuring that the stands are more secure in carpet. I know my speaker stands would be a lot less secure without them. Most everything else is hype.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have read about people filling the stands with lead first, then sand and then cat litter on top to disperse the resonant frequency let off by the speakers.

http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110210122524AAPci2Z

Here's a thread where people say stands "tighten up the bass" and "improve imaging"

http://www.avforums.com/forums/av-stands-cabinets-seating-furniture/282076-do-speaker-stands-really-make-difference.html


I'm starting to become a bit skeptical about the science...
post #8 of 17
A speaker stand's main function is to couple the speaker to the floor as well as possible (it is a given that you have to get the speaker at the correct height for listening, of course...lol).

To that that end it needs to be as rigid as possible, and fairly massive.

The best ones are solid steel and welded so there are no screws or nuts , or as few as possible, holding them together. Loctite should be used on threads to prevent any hardware from loosening.

The best way to weight them is with lead or steel shot filling the column.

The speakers should sit onTHREE spikes and they should have carpet-piercing floor spikes at the bottom (or THREE metal feet if sitting right on a wood or concrete floor ).
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by KidHorn View Post

Their primary purpose is put the speakers at ear level.

+1
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

A speaker stand's main function is to couple the speaker to the floor as well as possible

What is coupling a speaker to the floor?

If the speaker is isolated from the stand, why would the weight of the stand matter or if the stand is on spikes?
post #11 of 17
What about this statement from VMPS?

"How to improve your stand

.......

3. Add a baffle. A “beard” installed on the front of the stand, top to floor, vastly improves the sound. Almost any material will work, even cardboard. It’s puzzling that manufacturers turn out open frame stands at all. The cavity below the woofer destroys bass response, as Paul Klipsch pointed out 35 years ago. Adding a front baffle the same width as the speaker and extending from the top of the stand to the floor gives the bass a boundary to travel along and increases efficiency below 100Hz up to 6 dB."

http://www.vmpseurope.com/loudspeakers/626r/
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelkingdom View Post

If the speaker is isolated from the stand, why would the weight of the stand matter or if the stand is on spikes?
It doesn't. As for 'mechanical coupling', it does not exist. The only way rigidly attaching a speaker to the floor could aid in its sound is if the speaker is so lightweight that it sways, which would be a loss of energy that otherwise would be heard as sound. But a speaker that light would also be so flimsy that the panels would vibrate, overshadowing the swaying anyway.
Quote:
3. Add a baffle. A “beard” installed on the front of the stand, top to floor, vastly improves the sound. Almost any material will work, even cardboard. It’s puzzling that manufacturers turn out open frame stands at all. The cavity below the woofer destroys bass response, as Paul Klipsch pointed out 35 years ago. Adding a front baffle the same width as the speaker and extending from the top of the stand to the floor gives the bass a boundary to travel along and increases efficiency below 100Hz up to 6 dB."
True, but only with old-school full range speakers, such as those PK made, like the Heresy. The loss of response with a cavity relates to when the distance from the baffle to floor is 1/4 wavelength. If that's more than 2.8 feet, which is 1/4 wavelength at 100Hz, the loss occurs where the subs are operating anyway. So while an important issue 35 years ago, today not so much.
post #13 of 17
Totem will sell you little metal things to sit on your speakers. A lot of people sell a lot of stupid **** to people who are gullible enough to buy it.
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelkingdom View Post

Okay, so stands do not effect the sound of speakers?

They sure as hell do. Getting the speakers at proper height so that you're not listening off axis is a big deal. But milk crates or a shelf could do that too. However a proper speaker stand won't create any unwanted reflections and it will allow you to move the speakers back and forth or side to side or toe them in to get the soundstage right.

As for damping the stands in order to improve the speaker's vibration characteristics, I look at the flip side of that thought. My side surrounds are on metal stands that consist of two big square metal tubes with a flat metal plate on each end. The top plate supports the speaker and the bottom one makes the whole thing stand up straight and provides a place to screw in floor spikes if desired.

So,have you ever heard Mike Oldfield's recording Tubular Bell's? Well, my speaker stands are basically two tubular bells side by side with a metal plate at each end. The speaker cabinets are well damped and braced, essentially silent. The stands will ring, well, like a bell at high volumes. So I keep each of mine filled with about 60 lbs of sand that makes it pretty much impossible for those tubes to ring at anything like an audible level or frequency. It also makes the stands a little more massive and less prone to tip over.

Does the sand make an audible difference? Maybe, at high enough volumes, at the right frequencies, sitting close enough, you may be able to hear the undamped tubes. At lower volumes and different frequencies maybe not so much. But the whole point is to keep the speakers from energizing those tubular bells rather than having the stands change the sound of the speakers.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Okay, so if they effect the sound, it is only in the case that:

1 - they are ringing at certain frequencies
2 - you have older box speakers that would benefit from a baffle

Those seem like fairly isolated cases. So, it seems like stands are simply...stands. They put the drivers on-axis and hopefully look nice. Wow, that's pretty simple!
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

True, but only with old-school full range speakers, such as those PK made, like the Heresy. The loss of response with a cavity relates to when the distance from the baffle to floor is 1/4 wavelength. If that's more than 2.8 feet, which is 1/4 wavelength at 100Hz, the loss occurs where the subs are operating anyway. So while an important issue 35 years ago, today not so much.

Does it still have an effect if you are not using subs? Say a pair of Revel M22's or Usher Be 718's being used in a pure two channel stereo.

Is there any reason a stand with a baffle going down to the floor should not be used?
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrlittlejeans View Post

.
Is there any reason a stand with a baffle going down to the floor should not be used?
Perhaps,as it's a complicated scenario. The rear wall also figures into the equation, and if the speaker is close enough to it then the benefit of a face on the stand is lessened, if not eliminated entirely. If the speaker is prone to boom in the midbass region using a stand face will make it worse. And as every room has different response there's no easy way to predict what will work best. If using stands you should try open frame at first, then add a face to see it if makes things better or worse.
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