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Speaker isolation pads and stands are snake oil?
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Author Speaker isolation pads and stands are snake oil?
Panason
Any difference in sound by using these is coming from between your ears. Any good speaker cabinet does not vibrate...

http://ethanwiner.com/speaker_isolation.htm

Quote:

One fact that isolation proponents miss is sound transmits mostly through the air. Another fact is competent loudspeakers have sufficiently rigid cabinets that don't shake and vibrate very much. Yet another fact is wires and electronic components are mostly immune to vibration. So while it's possible that putting a subwoofer on springs or a rubber platform will reduce coupling to the floor, the majority of sound emits from the driver's cone. If the floor shakes with loud bass notes, that's due to the cone moving rather than cabinet vibration.


Quote:
So what can we learn from these tests? First, it's clear that moving a loudspeaker even a small amount makes a very real change in the perceived and actual frequency response. So raising your speaker on an isolating stand can change what you hear because of the height difference alone, even if any isolation present had no effect. (It's well known that the correct loudspeaker height puts the tweeter at ear level because that gives the flattest response, so please do that!) But my tests also call into question the hearing acuity of professional recording engineer endorsers, and "golden eared" magazine reviewers, who claimed to hear "obvious" improvements in clarity, bass tightness, and imaging. Either they don't realize the limits of their own hearing, or they all have even worse speaker stands than the flimsy piece of crap table I used!

cretaceousear
Are you saying this is snake oil - can't tell from your comment.

But whatever .. decoupling speakers can make a big difference. It might not in every case.
Panason
I'm suspecting that it is.... check out this vid at the end of the article:

calaveras
It's like many other audio related subjects.
Think it through, use common sense. If extraordinary claims are made, demand extraordinary proof.

Decoupling your monitors so that your whole mixer/table isn't resonating in sympathy with certain frequencies while ignoring others is plus. Decoupling from the floor so you do not get an exaggerated impression of low end is a plus.
But pretty much everything past that is exceedingly hard to quantify. When they start talking about the vibration induced in the cabinet by the motion of the speaker, and claiming their special blend of seven herbs and spices (and foam) will cure that. I call shenanigans. Maybe if DJI made a servo actuated gimbal that ran at audio frequencies that would be possible. Otherwise all the foam blocks do is decouple the speaker from structural resonance which can favor some notes and not others. It cant know that motion in one direction is bad and correct automatically in such a way to maintain time domain relationships. It's just foam. Or oily foam. Or foam sandwiches.
umma gumma
propping your desktop speakers up on cans of chick peas makes everything sound better!
calaveras
umma gumma wrote:
propping your desktop speakers up on cans of chick peas makes everything sound better!

Dont be silly, it has to be Sabra hummus. Spicy.
Astrolabe23
All the sounds come from between my ears, the challenge is in getting them to your ears just like I hear them.
Blairio
Everything has a resonant frequency. For speaker cabinets it seems that the trick is to move it above or below the audible range. Or filter it, or dampen it.

Many hifi speaker stands come with spikes, intended to couple the stand to the floor (through the carpet), and prevent the speaker enclosure demonstrating Newtonian motion - boogy'ing about.

On the other hand, near field studio monitors often have foam (or other) isolation. I have Equator D5's sitting on their dedicated angled foam supports. They sound good, better (more focused) than when they simply sit on the shelf. That could be because of the foam material, or the angle the speakers sit at. Either way, the wee bits of foam work.
cretaceousear
I have my Yamaha MSP5s on a dining room sideboard - perfect for extending the bass. Putting the speakers on heavy foam stops the boominess.
But that first guy does his tests on a nice solid metal structure without any cavity, so his starting point is way better than those of us in cluttered domestic situations.
Muzone


That's hardly a decent monitoring set up let alone a precision audio test lab.
Hard to place any credibility on measurements taken in that environment - but hey, dude's got graphs so it must be true.......
Dave Kendall
Where HiFi claims are concerned, it often helps to start from the perspective that it's almost all snake oil, and then look for things that aren't, or maybe aren't.
Saves a lot of time that way round. smile

I agree that in practice, foam pads under speakers can help stop things rattling and vibrating, but I don't think there's much precision needed -just have it thick enough - say, more than 5mm thick.
cretaceousear
Muzone wrote:
That's hardly a decent monitoring set up let alone a precision audio test lab.

Gahh.. going senile here.
They looked like nice hefty steel tripods at a glance.
Now I've looked I can see they're a joke. d'oh!
Panason
I think you guys should actually read the article.

Any way, that short video is all I needed to see to make my conclusions. Speaker isolation is indeed snake oil, relying on human psychology to sell. People think that speakers will vibrate because they don't realise the work that has gone into them, precisely to stop them from vibrating.

If speakers need isolation externally then they need to be thrown away. The speaker cabinet is supposed to isolate the speaker vibrationally from the outside world and provide a solid housing for the cone to do its work.

If the vibration is so small that it will not make water in a glass move, then it's nothing to worry about.
Kent
Ethan Winer barely knows even enough to be wrong. Unless it’s about the subject of housecats.

He’s an infamous crackpot. I read the first two quoted paragraphs and the faults in those lines of attempted persuasion should be evident to the point that arguing against them would actually lend credence to his claims.
Muzone
Panason wrote:
....... If the vibration is so small that it will not make water in a glass move, then it's nothing to worry about.


Oh dear d'oh!
Kent
Panason wrote:

Any way, that short video is all I needed to see to make my conclusions. Speaker isolation is indeed snake oil, relying on human psychology to sell. People think that speakers will vibrate because they don't realise the work that has gone into them, precisely to stop them from vibrating.

If speakers need isolation externally then they need to be thrown away. The speaker cabinet is supposed to isolate the speaker vibrationally from the outside world and provide a solid housing for the cone to do its work.


Look, I know that it is folly to attempt to dissuade someone from a position or opinion that they hold without dumping a ton of evidence into the conversation that refutes the opinion or position. I have no inclination to do that. I work in audio and acoustics. These layperson findings need to be viewed very skeptically as they, as presented in this thread, are blanket statements and lack precision.

The assertions in the above quoted paragraph are crude and flat wrong in more than one way.
Just stop. You aren’t an expert in acoustics and are a layperson that has freshly stumbled into a new topic and it appears to be secret knowledge. These claims and ‘evidence’ are simply sloppy.
Panason
I'd be interested to hear what your credentials are (apart from 10 years on Muffwiggler) and why Winer is a "layperson" and a "crackpot"...

I'd b even more interested to hear why you think the evidence in that video is not relevant.

Quote:
Just stop


I don't think so.

If you don't present the "ton of evidence" then don't try to be condescending about your superior knowledge.

Prove this is wrong - I have no investment either way!

Quote:

You aren’t an expert in acoustics and are a layperson that has freshly stumbled into a new topic

Bring on the expertise!
Panason
Here's 8 pages of discussion with Ethan Winer on this subject

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/studio-building-acoustics/1066376-test ing-loudspeaker-isolation-products.html
Kent
No, thanks. I’m not taking the bait and will ignore the snipe.

I’m not willing to invest time in debunking what amounts to an audio conspiracy. You’re just looking to spar and I don’t use forums for that anymore.
We’ve both put our assertions forward. I’m fine with that.
Panason
No mate, I am not looking to spar. But maybe you are... If you think I'm here to troll people just click on that Ignore button right now please.



The topic title has a question mark so I am mildly interested to hear why Winer is wrong and why my conclusion is wrong. I don't have a degree in acoustics science but just because I have less than a year here doesn't mean I "just discovered " music technology, so you can lose the condescending tones if you don't want "sniping".

I read through some of the arguments against Winer and most of it sounds like hot air to me, delivered in a scientific language to impress.

Winer's tests did not need to be much more precise and elaborate and he explains why that is with the data he collected.

The argument boils down to whether cabinets vibrate significantly to create an acoustics issue and my point is that any decent monitor will not have this problem. People think that a wooden box that makes loud noises is bound to vibrate and it just escalates from there.

It's a "conspiracy" in a similar way that hi-fi speaker cables are... "crackpots".... keep on trucking with the passive aggressive / condescending commentary.
Dave Kendall
Clarifying my position - in the studio I used to work in regularly though the 90s and 00s, putting the NS10 nearfield monitors directly on top of the custom wooden workstation for the two yamaha 02/r desks and the hard disk recorder control surface caused slight but audible vibrating/buzzing at certain frequencies. Not massively loud, but disconcerting enough.

Putting foam pads under them pretty much solved the problem.
That was a far easier solution than re-designing or altering the studio furniture.
Blairio
Panason wrote:


The argument boils down to whether cabinets vibrate significantly to create an acoustics issue and my point is that any decent monitor will not have this problem. People think that a wooden box that makes loud noises is bound to vibrate and it just escalates from there.


Any physical object has a resonant frequency - even the most expensive monitor. Sometimes it is turned to advantage (think of the sound board of an acoustic guitar). Other times it is a curse (look at footage of the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940).

Good monitor design shifts resonant frequencies away from the audible spectrum. But it is not just about the monitor.

In addition to dealing with the vibration modes in the monitor enclosure itself, you will also have to deal with sympathetic vibrations generated by the monitor in the physical environment it is operating in. To address this you can decouple the monitor from its environment, or you can anchor it, for instance by building it into the fabric of the studio control room wall.

Don't just think about the monitor in isolation. The interaction between monitor and listening environment needs to be controlled for as well.
talon
I was using foam previously, but moved to sorbothane hemispheres, huge difference.
digitalganesha
It's astounding that there's this much debate on something that can be instantly proven or disproven by simply trying and listening.... every, EVERY, set up is different... from the differences in floor flatness, the desk or furniture being used, room, etc... if you're using near fields; simply try placing some sort of foam (open cell, closed cell, whatever) under your monitors and then LISTEN. Do you hear a difference? Crank the volume, hear anything then? One of two things will occur... sound will improve in purity or it will not. In my case, foam under my Dynaudio's reduced noise pollution from my desk. I don't need to write or read an article about it....
cretaceousear
The glass of water will have it's own resonant frequencies. So depending on the sound being played the water may not move.
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