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Spukee

Filling speaker stands - such a big difference (duh)

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After a decade of playing around with bookshelf speakers, I finally decided to see what effect filling speaker stand would have in my setup.

I used kitty litter (bentonite clay) and filled the stands to 95%.  The kitty litter was also unused😛.

 

I have always read the benefits of filling speaker stands and the science is sound - dampening the stands ensures only your speakers are making sound and minimises the vibration.  However...

 

I never thought that filling stands could have anything but a positive effect on the sound.  In my setup, it improved imaging, but practically took the life out of the speakers.  The dynamics died.  WTF.

 

I was so confused I had to test it with another set of speakers to make sure what I was hearing was right.  Second speakers hooked up - and exactly the same effect.  Stand placing was exactly as before and after filling.  In the end, I reduced the fill to ~50% and voila, the dynamics were back.

 

Anyone else have the same experience?  I know good sound is subjective and every room is different - but it goes to show how much of an art speaker making is and how hard it is to make a speaker most people would like.  I also would have thought bookshelf speakers are tuned on 100% dead inert stands...  but I kind of doubt it after this experience.

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I tried a few different things for my bookshelves and ended up getting the best isolation by making a little wooden platform using springs and other bits and pieces I bought from Bunnings. It goes speakers -> little bits of cork -> springs -> wooden plank -> stand. Even when the speakers are blasting bass at full volume, if you touch the stand/platform it's totally inert. Cost like $5 in parts.

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1 hour ago, Spukee said:

After a decade of playing around with bookshelf speakers, I finally decided to see what effect filling speaker stand would have in my setup.

I used kitty litter (bentonite clay) and filled the stands to 95%.  The kitty litter was also unused😛.

 

I have always read the benefits of filling speaker stands and the science is sound - dampening the stands ensures only your speakers are making sound and minimises the vibration.  However...

 

I never thought that filling stands could have anything but a positive effect on the sound.  In my setup, it improved imaging, but practically took the life out of the speakers.  The dynamics died.  WTF.

 

I was so confused I had to test it with another set of speakers to make sure what I was hearing was right.  Second speakers hooked up - and exactly the same effect.  Stand placing was exactly as before and after filling.  In the end, I reduced the fill to ~50% and voila, the dynamics were back.

 

Anyone else have the same experience?  I know good sound is subjective and every room is different - but it goes to show how much of an art speaker making is and how hard it is to make a speaker most people would like.  I also would have thought bookshelf speakers are tuned on 100% dead inert stands...  but I kind of doubt it after this experience.

 

What are your spkr stands made from - wood?  aluminium?  steel?

 

I would've thought there's a synergy between the stand material ... and the fill material.  So that:

  • steel stands - you fill with a heavy material ... sand or steel shot.
  • aluminium stands - you fill with a light material ... eg. kitty litter.
  • wooden stands - I have no idea!!

 

Andy

 

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Guest Muon N'

Used litter provides more damping :D

 

I have been going to do my stands for years but still haven't done them, they are made from quarter inch steal but would still benefit from being done, but they weigh a heap now and I'd likely bust a nut moving them when filled if I needed too :$

 

20191118_142341.jpg.cec4e43d1dc7e246cd22170fce879218.jpg

 

I really should follow your example :)

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1 hour ago, andyr said:

 

What are your spkr stands made from - wood?  aluminium?  steel?

 

I would've thought there's a synergy between the stand material ... and the fill material.  So that:

  • steel stands - you fill with a heavy material ... sand or steel shot.
  • aluminium stands - you fill with a light material ... eg. kitty litter.
  • wooden stands - I have no idea!!

 

Andy

 

Good point - I'm using aluminimum on a heavy metal base.  There's no resonance with kitty litter filled to nearly 100%.  Sound's not the best though.

 

1 hour ago, Muon N' said:

Used litter provides more damping :D

 

I have been going to do my stands for years but still haven't done them, they are made from quarter inch steal but would still benefit from being done, but they weigh a heap now and I'd likely bust a nut moving them when filled if I needed too :$

 

20191118_142341.jpg.cec4e43d1dc7e246cd22170fce879218.jpg

 

I really should follow your example :)

Try the kitty litter (unused LOL).  Cheap and you can tell the difference.  I suggest taking a base-line listen - filling halfway - having another listen and do the full one.  See what you prefer.

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Guest Muon N'

@Spukee yes, you can over damp like with lots of things :)

 

But I'll have to drill some filler holes at the top through the quarter inch steel, not looking forward to that, and will need to wait till I can buy a good bit.

 

Edit: one cat per post should do the trick!

Edited by Muon N'

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10 hours ago, Spukee said:

After a decade of playing around with bookshelf speakers, I finally decided to see what effect filling speaker stand would have in my setup.

I used kitty litter (bentonite clay) and filled the stands to 95%.  The kitty litter was also unused😛.

 

I have always read the benefits of filling speaker stands and the science is sound - dampening the stands ensures only your speakers are making sound and minimises the vibration.  However...

 

I never thought that filling stands could have anything but a positive effect on the sound.  In my setup, it improved imaging, but practically took the life out of the speakers.  The dynamics died.  WTF.

 

I was so confused I had to test it with another set of speakers to make sure what I was hearing was right.  Second speakers hooked up - and exactly the same effect.  Stand placing was exactly as before and after filling.  In the end, I reduced the fill to ~50% and voila, the dynamics were back.

 

Anyone else have the same experience?  I know good sound is subjective and every room is different - but it goes to show how much of an art speaker making is and how hard it is to make a speaker most people would like.  I also would have thought bookshelf speakers are tuned on 100% dead inert stands...  but I kind of doubt it after this experience.

What was the difference in sound between 50% and no filler.

 

On my previous speaker setup, l had lead shot as a filler and the difference was chalk and cheese.

Everything improved dramatically.

So wondering if the kitty litter is the problem?

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12 hours ago, andyr said:

 

What are your spkr stands made from - wood?  aluminium?  steel?

 

I would've thought there's a synergy between the stand material ... and the fill material.  So that:

  • steel stands - you fill with a heavy material ... sand or steel shot.
  • aluminium stands - you fill with a light material ... eg. kitty litter.
  • wooden stands - I have no idea!!

 

Andy

 

My Whatmough stands for my 202 leadlines are made from 10mm thick steel, already as heavy as buggery! 20kg! Washed sand does the trick. Never tried any other material. Steel shot would be over the top IMO...

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For my Kii 3 stands I bought some fine bricklaying sand.   I purchased a pack of big aluminum foil baking trays for oven use.    Followed a simple recipe I found on line to pour the sand into the trays to a 50 cm depth then into a preheated oven.   Pop the trays in for 40 mins.    Sucks out all the moisture so no issues later in life re rusting of the metal stands.   

 

Be very careful and wear oven gloves because the sand gets seriously mega hot and stays hot for along time.    Be warned and be careful.   Particularly if you have inquisitive kids around.

 

Made a world of difference to my sound

 

Regards Cazzesman

 

 

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I have found Garnet to be a great option, finer and more dense than sand, no potential health issues of lead. Can be bought at a reasonable cost and no need to stuff around with drying in ovens like sand.

 

made a very significant difference in Dynaudio stands. 

 

https://www.bunnings.com.au/flexovit-10kg-garnet-sandblasting-grit_p6330485

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Just now, Chill3 said:

I have found Garnet to be a great option, finer and more dense than sand, no potential health issues of lead. Can be bought at a reasonable cost and no need to stuff around with drying in ovens like sand.

 

made a very significant difference in Dynaudio stands. 

 

https://www.bunnings.com.au/flexovit-10kg-garnet-sandblasting-grit_p6330485

Wow, 5 min late 😂

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15 hours ago, Spukee said:

After a decade of playing around with bookshelf speakers, I finally decided to see what effect filling speaker stand would have in my setup.

I used kitty litter (bentonite clay) and filled the stands to 95%.  The kitty litter was also unused😛.

 

I have always read the benefits of filling speaker stands and the science is sound - dampening the stands ensures only your speakers are making sound and minimises the vibration.  However...

 

I never thought that filling stands could have anything but a positive effect on the sound.  In my setup, it improved imaging, but practically took the life out of the speakers.  The dynamics died.  WTF.

 

I was so confused I had to test it with another set of speakers to make sure what I was hearing was right.  Second speakers hooked up - and exactly the same effect.  Stand placing was exactly as before and after filling.  In the end, I reduced the fill to ~50% and voila, the dynamics were back.

 

Anyone else have the same experience?  I know good sound is subjective and every room is different - but it goes to show how much of an art speaker making is and how hard it is to make a speaker most people would like.  I also would have thought bookshelf speakers are tuned on 100% dead inert stands...  but I kind of doubt it after this experience.

I would have thought damping the stands would have show the speaker with out the stands effect. maybe the damping material is show up something else in your system.

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I would have thought damping would be a positive too.  I have completely taken out all the filling and prefer this sound the best vs 50% and 95% filled.  Maybe there is such a thing as over-damping!

 

Anybody want some used HiFi kitty litter? 😛

 

 

 

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I filled to 3/4 first (sand in metal stands) and felt the life was drained from the music.  Emptied out back to about 1/3 and that was good.

In effect it seemed you are tuning the sound  with the stands.

The big gain came when l isolated the speakers from the stands on a pair of Isopad-Pro8’s.

The speakers are free from stand coloration and just do what they are designed to do.

Probably the best bang for buck mod l have done.

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Without isolation, damping on it own is not going to give much benefit, it will simply change the resonant frequency of the stand and (hopefully) speed up the rate at which vibrations are dissipated away from the structure of the stand and into the damping material. I think its self evident from reading some posts here that altering the amount of fill in your speaker stands is altering the resonant frequency, referred by many as tuning, of the stands to suit particular tastes, but not completely removing the vibration feedback loop, which is created when the stands are still vibrating (which is still measurable even though you can't feel the vibrations by touch) in sympathy with the speakers.

 

In my experience you will get more benefit primarily from isolation. Damping the support structure underneath the isolation material will provide the icing on the cake. When you have effective isolation under your speakers you can forget about tuning the stands, (but damp them if you can) the speakers simply float. Physically and sonically. 

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Guest Muon N'
14 hours ago, Dave O))) said:

Without isolation, damping on it own is not going to give much benefit, it will simply change the resonant frequency of the stand and (hopefully) speed up the rate at which vibrations are dissipated away from the structure of the stand and into the damping material. I think its self evident from reading some posts here that altering the amount of fill in your speaker stands is altering the resonant frequency, referred by many as tuning, of the stands to suit particular tastes, but not completely removing the vibration feedback loop, which is created when the stands are still vibrating (which is still measurable even though you can't feel the vibrations by touch) in sympathy with the speakers.

 

In my experience you will get more benefit primarily from isolation. Damping the support structure underneath the isolation material will provide the icing on the cake. When you have effective isolation under your speakers you can forget about tuning the stands, (but damp them if you can) the speakers simply float. Physically and sonically. 

My stands are heavy steel and isolated from the floor, but ML-1's sitting on the top plate of the stands with just some small bits of blu tac between.

 

Not sure if they have any kind of fill as I bought these from a guy that used them with BOSE 901's and they were made custom, I am presuming they have no fill but It's difficult to tell with such thick steel I find.

 

Now I like to experiment when something tweaks my interest (see that pun?), and this does!

 

So have just cut up a pair of the small white's anti-vibration blocks you buy from Bunnings and placed those between top plate and ML-1's.

 

There is a difference, not huge....but I think for the better, I'll need to listen more then revert again to qualify any change I am perceiving.

 

20200117_194342.jpg.70b145f957732200ecf50993d7190e0a.jpg20200117_194420.jpg.b4e7a69e0a8e644f64f626cc0ca29f56.jpg

Edited by Muon N'

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Try IsoAcoustics IsoPucks - a cost effective version of Gaia.  They work wonders under my subs.

 

Edited by dbastin

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Guest Muon N'
30 minutes ago, dbastin said:

Try IsoAcoustics IsoPucks - a cost effective version of Gaia.  They work wonders under my subs.

 

Very far from cost effective on my budget and compared to $1.75 for what I have used, those are $79 per pair and I'd need 3 pairs so that would be $237.

 

Edit: my investment of $1.75 has helped, noticing a little better clarity with some instruments more distinct in the mix, and the sound stage is a little better also. Not the huge difference I noticed when I isolated the stands from the floor, but still It's an improvement.

Thanks  @Dave O)))

Edited by Muon N'

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I bought a set of isoacoustics pucks for the purpose of testing against a few other products, including some that I am developing in collaboration with a couple of very bright SNA sparks. @Muon N' it shouldn't take a large spend to achieve noticeable results as you have found. I'm hopful that my friends and I will be able to offer a range of cost effective engineered isolation solutions, but the proof is in the pudding and we intend to find out out whether the budget conscious audiophile will be able to have his pud and eat it too 😀

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Guest Muon N'
8 minutes ago, Dave O))) said:

I bought a set of isoacoustics pucks for the purpose of testing against a few other products, including some that I am developing in collaboration with a couple of very bright SNA sparks. @Muon N' it shouldn't take a large spend to achieve noticeable results as you have found. I'm hopful that my friends and I will be able to offer a range of cost effective engineered isolation solutions, but the proof is in the pudding and we intend to find out out whether the budget conscious audiophile will be able to have his pud and eat it too 😀

Sounds good, I'm thinking about a constrained layer solution right now based on these anti-vibration blocks as a layer.

 

Edit: I'm thinking of two layers of this with a thin Bamboo sheet between, likely won't reach the level of something better engineered but will suit my budget and I'm using materials I have found to work together.

Edited by Muon N'

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7 minutes ago, Muon N' said:

Sounds good, I'm thinking about a constrained layer solution right now based on these anti-vibration blocks as a layer.

 

Edit: I'm thinking of two layers of this with a thin Bamboo sheet between, likely won't reach the level of something better engineered but will suit my budget and I'm using materials I have found to work together.

Could I suggest that you try the bamboo pieces as a damping layer fixed to the top of the speaker stands with glue and/or screws then use the bunnings pads as the isolation interface between that and your speakers? I reckon you'll get good results that way

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Guest Muon N'
15 minutes ago, Dave O))) said:

Could I suggest that you try the bamboo pieces as a damping layer fixed to the top of the speaker stands with glue and/or screws then use the bunnings pads as the isolation interface between that and your speakers? I reckon you'll get good results that way

That's similar to what I have done under the stands, Bamboo on top of the Anti-vibration pads :thumb:

 

This R&D is hot sweaty work, oh wait! that's just this weather :lol:

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Ah yes, water trickling down skin... I can do that sitting on my bum 😬

 

So long as the bamboo has a strong bond with the steel plate it should work well. There's always a compromise between damping/isolation and ultimate stability.  Lettuce know how it goes 👍

 

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Guest Muon N'

Will seek out some Bamboo of appropriate thickness, I think IKEA has some small boards that may do.

 

I'm actually thinking the other way around with the Bamboo on top, but will experiment :)

Edited by Muon N'

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