Decoupling Gliders vs Spikes Alone for Speakers

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Decoupling Gliders vs Spikes Alone for Speakers
« on: 11 Jun 2013, 03:25 am »
Hi. Just thought I’d share a recent inquiry and reply with the forum. (This was a follow-up inquiry regarding our Cone/Spike Decoupling Gliders for use under Vandersteen 2Ce speakers and a wall-vibration issue).

Inquiry to Herbie’s Audio Lab:

I just spoke with Richard Vandersteen about some issues and I was wondering about your thoughts? He said if I put decoupling feet under the spike feet (I am on tile on a concrete floor) it will distort the speaker sound. He says for instance if the woofer causes the cone to move 2/1000 of an inch and the tweeter moves the cone 1/1000 of an inch some of the sound is cancelled and muddied. He says the vibrations I am feeling on my wall (affecting my wall-mounted turntable) are caused by low frequencies from the bass of the speaker. I believe what he is implying is due to the "rubbery" nature of the speaker being on your feet not all of the energy will be transferred to the air and the speaker will actually move a little and that small movement will cause the other drivers like the tweeters to not have as effective sound pressure. With all that said I have found your products to be VERY useful and I respect your experience. Can you give me any thoughts about the speaker moving while placed on your devices and how it might affect the music?

Herbie’s Audio Lab’s reply:

Hi, Mike. Herbie's Audio Lab products are not made out of rubber or Sorbothane, nitriles, or any of those other materials with resonant and reverberation issues that will cause the speaker sound to distort. Herbie's dBNeutralizer material that does the job is not a "rubbery" material.

Cone/Spike Decoupling Gliders will help to hold the speaker cabinet and baffle steadier, reducing distortion. I'm not sure exactly what Richard's referring to regarding moving the cone 1000's of an inch, because the Vandersteen 2Ce speakers have separate cones for the bass and tweeters. The idea is to keep the baffle that the speakers are mounted to as motionless as possible for the cones to render the music most accurately. In music, you have an almost infinite array of frequencies and cone movements interacting simultaneously.

Spike feet do not have much capacity to absorb and reduce speaker driver-generated cabinet vibrations. Some vibration is "drained" to the floor, yet the floor, whether hardwood or concrete, will resonate some of those vibrations right back up the spikes the way they came and introduce both coloration and distortion to the music. Much of the vibration that causes a lot of distortion is higher-frequency, acute micro-vibration that you cannot really feel or readily detect. dBNeutralizer very effectively arrests these vibrations as well as a considerable amount of the more "macro”- type vibrations. Having Cone/Spike Decoupling Gliders between the spikes and floor physically absorbs a substantial amount of cabinet vibration, allowing the speaker baffles and the cabinet itself to remain more motionless in place, and eliminates any reverberation from the floor affecting the speakers. Also eliminates speaker-generated floorborne vibrations that can affect your other audio components.

With an effective and efficient isolation/decoupling of the loudspeakers, you'll get a better defined, more linear, and deeply extending bass with general improvements throughout the audio spectrum, bringing out more of the speakers' inherent potential. A little more life-like with more of the intangible ambience that helps to define a live sound, more faithful to the originally recorded event.

I would say most simply that Richard simply doesn't know Herbie's Audio Lab loudspeaker isolation/decoupling products. Several of our Vandersteen customers, however, have the experience of improved sonic results with both our Cone/Spike Decoupling Gliders and Giant Fat Gliders.

Spiking speakers to the floor instead of using a rubbery isolation material is an old-school golden rule. Compared to rubber feet, for example, spikes will generally give you a much more linear and better-defined sonic result, better focus and imaging, greater detail. Compared to the recorded source, however, spikes give you a compromise. For the benefit, you also have some detriment: you'll usually have a more harsh, rigid musical rendering, with some coloration depending on the spike material and floor composition -- and with some higher-frequency, acute micro-distortion you'll lose a bit of the ambient intangibles in the decay of notes, atmosphere and tonal textures.

Herbie's Audio Lab doesn't believe in trade-offs -- only improvements, and that's why our products feature an isolation material formulated specifically for loudspeaker use. Cone/Spike Decoupling Gliders are an improvement over spikes alone, just as spikes are an improvement over rubber feet. This isn't conjecture or theory--the proof is in the pudding and we have at least a few thousand customers using our dBNeutralizer-based isolation products with loudspeakers who have experienced the improvements. For a second expert opinion, you might contact or ask Jim Smith, author of "Get Better Sound."

Richard is certainly correct that wall vibration is from the bass frequencies of the speaker. As to how much is caused by airborne acoustic vibration and how much is from floorborne vibration generated by the speakers being coupled to the floor neither he nor I can know. Floorborne vibrations are going to be more obtrusive than airborne vibrations at equal amplitude. Since you mentioned previously that you don't play the music very loud I feel that floorborne might be a major contributing factor. Even if the wall vibration were entirely airborne, your speakers and system will benefit substantially with the Gliders, and hopefully Tenderfoot isolation feet under the turntable will adequately isolate the turntable from any problems regarding wall vibrations.

Anyway, like I said, the proof is in the pudding. So with a 90-day money back trial there's not much to lose and certainly potential for substantial gain with the Gliders.

Follow up e-mail received four days later:

I have now A/B the cone/spike decoupling gliders. Very good detail and stage is robust and well defined. Very good product and well received!

Very Satisfied Customer,