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Monitors/Stands: Is Coupling or Decoupling Better?
Old 5th October 2008
  #1
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Monitors/Stands: Is Coupling or Decoupling Better?

What are all of the "Bests" for a monitor stand?

In other words:
A) Do you want as much mass as possible?
B) Does size matter?
C) Should they be Spiked to the ground (is that considered coupling or decoupling?)
D) When do you use something like a Mopad or slice of rigid fiberglass?

Basically- what is the absolute best design for a monitor stand?
Old 5th October 2008
  #2
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Decoupling for sure, I prefer the stand to be HEAVY, speaker decoupled from stand.
Old 5th October 2008
  #3
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Decoupled? Hmm why does this work better?
So to decouple, you just need to isolate the speaker from the environment via physical touch by putting something flexible and absoptive under it?

Why do we need heavy stands? What does it do?
Old 5th October 2008
  #4
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plexisys's Avatar
 

Decoupling reduces unwanted vibrations and there is less risk of coloring the monitors sound or transimiting sound to the floor.

Size doesn't matter as much as mass. I used to have custom stands that were filled with sand. They worked great.

Never spike to the ground. There will always come a time when you will want/need to move them around.

Put an isolation pad between speakers and stands. I find the foam/rubber pads are much better than fiberglass. fiberglass eventually compresses.
Old 5th October 2008
  #5
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travisbrown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkEcho View Post
C) Should they be Spiked to the ground (is that considered coupling or decoupling?)
Depends what you mean by "spiked".

Do you mean fastened to the floor or "spiked" as in the fact that lots of stands have feet that taper into a spike so there is minimal contact point?

The latter is a method of decoupling. Fastening to the floor is definitely coupling.
Old 6th October 2008
  #6
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by spiked, I mean sharp feet. I thought that using carpet spikes would couple the stand more than decouple it because wouldn't the carpet be more isolating than metal spikes through the carpet solidly touching the floor?
Old 6th October 2008
  #7
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is it better to use carpet spikes or rest the stands on the carpet for better decoupling?
Old 6th October 2008
  #8
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkEcho View Post
is it better to use carpet spikes or rest the stands on the carpet for better decoupling?
Like mentioned, minimum contact point, spikes have a very small contact point.
But I prefer the other way I mentioned.
Also spikes can/will leave deep holes in your floor...
Sorbothane for decoupling the speaker from stand, have not found anything that even comes close for decoupling...
Old 6th October 2008
  #9
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doncaparker's Avatar
 

Lord knows I'm no engineer, but if you want to keep the monitors from passing vibrational energy to the floor, and the choice is between a large, absorbent contact surface and a small, really solid contact point, I would go with the large, absorbent contact surface. The key is to stop the energy from being transmitted. A whole lot of energy can be transmitted through a small, solid contact point. Spend a few minutes experimenting with a tuning fork and you will see what I mean.

FWIW, I use, from top to bottom: Monitor, MoPad, large landscaping bricks, desk, floor. This seems to work pretty well for me.
Old 6th October 2008
  #10
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travisbrown's Avatar
If I can concentrate hard enough, I just levitate my monitors.
Old 6th October 2008
  #11
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An alternative idea could be to adopt the method use on some turntables, a sprung platform. For example; you could have a platform on which the speaker sits and underneath, you'd have springs tuned to reduce vibrations reaching the floor cutting down vibrations being spread through the floor towards other parts of the building.
Old 7th October 2008
  #12
anyone want to post some pics of their DIY stands? i am thinking of building some.
Old 7th October 2008
  #13
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Here are the ones I just finished tonight. I had some stands from musiciansfriend, the onstage ones with the triangle base you can buy from GuitarCenter,
so I unbolted them and scrapped the center piece and replaced it with 4" ABS pipe and some flanges +bolts nuts and washers.

Here is what I came up with... Oh yeah, I filled them both with sand as well.





Apparently I didnt cut the ABS pipe very well and ended up being too short and after a lot of bad decisions I ended up using some 4"ABS coupling and cutting more and it just became a mess. Now the speakers are about 4 inches too high and theres not much I can do about it, as they are filled with sand.

I am thinking that maybe the cinderblock stacks would be easier....

The thing I did like about my design is that it was very simple to construct:

Once you have the guitar center stands, you can build it by buying:
4 x 4" ABS Flanges with clearing-plug
4 x 2.5"-3.0" Hex machine bolts
6 x 5/16 center hole, 1/4" washers
4 x 5/16 locking nuts

then you drill out the center of the ABS Flange plug, attach the triangle bass to one of the four flanges using bolt-washer-base-flange-washer-nut.
do the same for the top of the stand, except you'll only need one washer because the original washer should be reused. By the way- the bolts for the base and top of the onstage stand cant be reused because their threading is different than that of the typical machine bolt and on top of that the top bolts arent long enough.

just bolt everything together nice and tight, use a rubber mallet to fit all the pipe together, then fill the tube with sand and plug the top of the tube with the top section/flange and you are all set.

Another trick I have found with these stands is that, because the base is triangular and coincidentally, equilateral, if you line up the triangle with the room so that the triangle points towards you, but the back is lined up with the wall you face, then you can adjust the top portion by looking straight down and lining up the top with one of the 60* angled sections of the triangle base.. its hard because you can't focus on two objects 3 feet apart, but you can get close and then you know that your monitors are pointing at almost exactly an equilateral triangle angle of 60* at you.

Sort of hard to explain, but you'll figure it out.
Old 7th October 2008
  #14
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Ermz's Avatar
 

Curious.

As part of the 'assembly manual' for my Ultimate Support stands, they say that the carpet spikes are there to penetrate past the carpet and couple to the hard floor beneath. That doesn't really fit in with most people's descriptions of decoupling the stands.

I find that this topic seems to be one of the most confused and misinformed out of any in audio. I've literally looked through every thread on here about stands, and everybody seems to have directly conflicting opinions.

It's left me entirely confused, as there seems to be no consensus. The one logical thing is to decouple the speakers from the stand itself. That's fairly straight forward, as it stops transmissions radiating through the floor and to the listener prior to the 'airborne' sound hitting them. However some give the impression that coupling the stands to the floor increases their effective mass and hence stops vibrations. Yet, on the other hand, many others suggest that the stand should be decoupled from the floor to reduce transmitting speaker vibrations to the floor.

Where would one get Sorbothane or Neoprene pads to use for the speakers?
Old 7th October 2008
  #15
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Lunatique's Avatar
Does this sound right?

http://www.zenn.com.sg/Speakerstands.htm

I was just in the middle of shopping for speaker stands (and also researching on some DIY solutions), and I came across that link above. Does what he's saying sound right to you guys? It seems a bit odd to me since he didn't mention a word about decoupling and in fact says the opposite.
Old 7th October 2008
  #16
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BlueSprocket's Avatar
 

Mass is your friend. All the mass you can get.

If you look at great speaker stands, they all have one thing in common, they are not dainty. They all have a TON of mass going for them.
Old 7th October 2008
  #17
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSprocket View Post
Mass is your friend. All the mass you can get.

If you look at great speaker stands, they all have one thing in common, they are not dainty. They all have a TON of mass going for them.
I agree 100%, the fact is more speakers used today don't weigh much, so they add very little weight to the stand combo.
I will always prefer a FAR heavier stand than the speaker is.
And you want most of the weight as low as possible, I normally add steel plates to the bottom of speakers stands if I can, this also adds more stability, those stands that sway back and forth are not very good...
Old 7th October 2008
  #18
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duvalle's Avatar
 

if you are not a DIY guy like myself you could try these:
ULTIMATE MS-45 B - U.K. International Cyberstore
i have them filled with sand!

and i have 2 of those:
PRIMACOUSTIC RX7 RECOIL STABILIZER - U.K. International Cyberstore

sounds very nice with my adam p11a imho ...
Old 7th October 2008
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ermz View Post
Curious.

As part of the 'assembly manual' for my Ultimate Support stands, they say that the carpet spikes are there to penetrate past the carpet and couple to the hard floor beneath. That doesn't really fit in with most people's descriptions of decoupling the stands.

I find that this topic seems to be one of the most confused and misinformed out of any in audio. I've literally looked through every thread on here about stands, and everybody seems to have directly conflicting opinions.

It's left me entirely confused, as there seems to be no consensus. The one logical thing is to decouple the speakers from the stand itself. That's fairly straight forward, as it stops transmissions radiating through the floor and to the listener prior to the 'airborne' sound hitting them. However some give the impression that coupling the stands to the floor increases their effective mass and hence stops vibrations. Yet, on the other hand, many others suggest that the stand should be decoupled from the floor to reduce transmitting speaker vibrations to the floor.

Where would one get Sorbothane or Neoprene pads to use for the speakers?
This is exactly the problem I've been having.. Trying to figure out where to couple or decouple... It's such a difficult thing to figure out.

Another problem I have with speaker stands is that, unless they are adjustable (which usually means, they arent very heavy), then they dont always match your ears, which is important according to some acousticians around here. The tweeter is supposed to be at ear level, I believe, is what Ethan says.

And like you said, everyone seems to be completely conflicted in this, perhaps with this thread, we can find out the answer once and for all.

I have another thread that is pertaining to this that has some interesting information from tINY, give it a read.
Old 7th October 2008
  #20
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkEcho View Post
Trying to figure out where to couple or decouple.
There's no question that you want to decouple speakers so their cabinet vibration does not in turn vibrate the floor, or cause a desk they're resting on to vibrate. Sound travels through solids faster than through the air, so if the floor vibrates and you're more than a few feet away from the speakers, the different arrival times can create peaks and nulls. I imagine this is pretty slight unless the floor is very wobbly. Whether desk vibration matters depends on how rigid the desk is. If the desk resonates when you strike it with your fist, then that resonance can be excited by the loudspeaker cabinet. A ringing desk is as bad as a ringing room.

This comes up often and I always suggest a simple experiment to see if decoupling is even warranted. Not all speakers and desks require decoupling. Simply invite a few friends over and have them lift each speaker 1/4 inch while you listen. If you hear no change, then decoupling is not needed.

As for intentionally coupling, I imagine that depends on the quality of the speaker cabinet. An ideal speaker cabinet will be very heavy and massive, so as the woofer's cone goes in and out the cabinet will remain stationary. If you play loud bassy music and cannot feel vibration when touching the side of the speaker cabinet, it probably does not need to be coupled. But if it does vibrate and need coupling, how do you reconcile that with the need to decouple?

I haven't tried Primacoustic's Recoil Stabilizer, but their claim is that it couples and decouples at the same time. The cabinet is coupled to the heavy metal top for stability and rigidity, and that is then decoupled from the surface it rests on.

--Ethan
Old 7th October 2008
  #21
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Thanks Ethan!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
There's no question that you want to decouple speakers so their cabinet vibration does not in turn vibrate the floor, or cause a desk they're resting on to vibrate.
Just to clarify-

We always want the speaker decoupled from the floor, (whether that means decoupling between the floor and the stand, or between the speaker and the stand, as long as the speaker is not sending vibration to the floor).

Is this something we can set in stone?

Is there ever a time that you want to couple the speaker cabinet TO the floor and intentionally have those vibrations travel through the room?
Old 7th October 2008
  #22
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkEcho View Post
Just to clarify-

We always want the speaker decoupled from the floor, (whether that means decoupling between the floor and the stand, or between the speaker and the stand, as long as the speaker is not sending vibration to the floor).

Is this something we can set in stone?

Is there ever a time that you want to couple the speaker cabinet TO the floor and intentionally have those vibrations travel through the room?
I would say NO...
Old 7th October 2008
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nosebleedaudio View Post
I would say NO...
To which question?? heh
Old 7th October 2008
  #24
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travisbrown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkEcho View Post
Is there ever a time that you want to couple the speaker cabinet TO the floor and intentionally have those vibrations travel through the room?
Hmm...I can't imagine a scenario where I'd want any effect from coupling for reference monitors, but when you get into guitar/bass amps, then sometimes you do want the effect of coupling with the floor. Sometimes not. Coupling is sometimes a desired thing for live sound in some rooms.

"Decoupling" is a matter of degree. Unless you can levitate objects like me, all you do is minimize the effects of coupling with things that inhibit or absorb the vibrational energy like spikes, foam, mass, etc., so decoupling is really "as close to decoupled as we can get it" without defenestrating it.
Old 7th October 2008
  #25
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkEcho View Post
To which question?? heh
The last one.
Old 7th October 2008
  #26
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IntenseJim's Avatar
 

Beware of decoupling. I decoupled from my former wife years ago and the alimony payments are staggering.
Old 7th October 2008
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown View Post
Hmm...I can't imagine a scenario where I'd want any effect from coupling for reference monitors, but when you get into guitar/bass amps, then sometimes you do want the effect of coupling with the floor. Sometimes not. Coupling is sometimes a desired thing for live sound in some rooms.

"Decoupling" is a matter of degree. Unless you can levitate objects like me, all you do is minimize the effects of coupling with things that inhibit or absorb the vibrational energy like spikes, foam, mass, etc., so decoupling is really "as close to decoupled as we can get it" without defenestrating it.
Ok, so then, when you put a monitor onto a very massive stand, you are extending the monitors mass to include that stand? So if you use Mopads or something, you are not helping the inertial issue that Ethan mentioned as far as the cabinet not being massive enough to support the movement of the driver?

What if you hung the speakers from wire attached to the ceiling? that would certainly reduce the amount of transmission right? especially if it was hung with bungee cable?

ALSO: Carpet spikes arent decouplers are they? I'd imagine that carpet is much better at decoupling a speaker stand from the floor than using solid metal spikes that come into direct contact with the sub-floor...
Old 7th October 2008
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown View Post
If I can concentrate hard enough, I just levitate my monitors.
But can you let them down slowly in the event of an earthquake... or worse... a psychic power outage.
Old 8th October 2008
  #29
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Lunatique's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunatique View Post
Link: It

I was just in the middle of shopping for speaker stands (and also researching on some DIY solutions), and I came across that link above. Does what he's saying sound right to you guys? It seems a bit odd to me since he didn't mention a word about decoupling and in fact says the opposite.
No one has any insight regarding that link I posted? No one wants to refute it or agree with it?
Old 8th October 2008
  #30
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Ermz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkEcho View Post

ALSO: Carpet spikes arent decouplers are they? I'd imagine that carpet is much better at decoupling a speaker stand from the floor than using solid metal spikes that come into direct contact with the sub-floor...
The carpet spikes are apparently for direct coupling to the sub-floor (according to Ultimate Support). They are not there to decrease the contact point size or anything like that. So, given what Ethan has mentioned, I wonder WHY they would be included.
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