what to use on my frankenspeaker stands

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edfowler

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what to use on my frankenspeaker stands
« on: 28 Dec 2014, 05:57 am »
So I have been experimenting with DIY speaker isolation. 

My latest iteration consists of two 45lb steel Olympic weight discs with a dozen racquet balls seperating them while they sit atop four very large moving men. The moving men help further isolate the stands from the floor (which is an isolated floating wooden floor with short carpet) and allow me to experiment with different speaker placement.

The speakers are Aerial Acoustic Model 6s with outrigger stands.  I have 2" by 2" spiked brass footers screwed into the Aerials and these brass spikes are resting on cork and rubber blocks on top of the steel plates.

This has effectively decoupled/isolated the speakers from the floor. I feel absolutely no vibration in the bottom steel disc and almost imperceptable vibration in the top steel disc, but I still feel a lot of vibration in the 2" x 2" brass footers/spikes. 

Would you recommend something other than these brass footers to keep more of the energy in the actual speaker?  The speaker will easily rock back and forth with the slightest touch so I want them anchored well to the top steel plate.

I also want to address the vibrations I feel on the speaker wires coming into the binding posts.  The speaker wire is Audioquest type 8 bi-wire with BFA ends.


Herbie

Re: what to use on my frankenspeaker stands
« Reply #1 on: 28 Dec 2014, 02:26 pm »
Hi, edfowler. Much of the glare and other sonic anomalies from loudspeakers results from higher-frequency, acute micro-vibrations that you can't really feel or readily detect. Best results are usually determined by what you hear by audition, not necessarily what you can or cannot feel at places other than the speaker baffles.

Racquetballs, cork-and-rubber, and Moving Men are all rather poor loudspeaker isolation materials. They can provide satisfactory results in some circumstances, depending how they interact with other aspects of the system. Audition and sonic results are what matters; so whatever works to your satisfaction is of course okay. Usually, with appropriate, efficient isolation materials you don't need to build up so much of a totem pole or Dagwood sandwich to set speakers on.

Using "Thin" Fat Dots instead of spikes between the speaker bottom and steel plate of the outrigger should provide an improvement. This won't rigidly anchor the speaker to the plate but won't allow any more wobble than the spikes do. Or, instead of replacing the spikes with Fat Dots, use a Herbie's Hush Puckies grounding base under each of the spikes.

I'm wondering if the speakers' tendency to rock or wobble is because of the racquetballs. You'd be best off to ditch the racquetballs in any case and use Big Fat Dots instead, or just ditch the weights. These speakers will probably perform optimally with "Thin" grungebuster Dots between the speakers and outriggers, and either Giant Cone/Spike Decoupling Gliders or Giant Fat Gliders between the outriggers and floor.

With tall, narrow speakers like the model 6s, you'll usually have some tendency for the cabinets to rock or wobble if touched or pushed on a carpeted floor. This is usually no problem because the speakers won't wobble on their own--they'll usually settle onto the carpet and perform perfectly well if supported with appropriate isolation materials.

A Hal-O JR (or HAL-O Mini Jr.) damping instrument placed on each body of the BFA posts will help with speaker wire vibration. Mini Jrs. placed incrementally along the cable length will help, also. Instead of damping instruments, wrapping Teflon plumber's tape or rope caulk around cables incrementally along the cable length can be beneficial also.

Steve Herbelin
Herbie's Audio Lab
« Last Edit: 28 Dec 2014, 03:28 pm by Herbie »

edfowler

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Re: what to use on my frankenspeaker stands
« Reply #2 on: 29 Dec 2014, 02:27 am »
Interesting.  My listening position is on a platform so I need to either tilt the speakers up with spikes to get the tweeters aligned with my ears or I could possibly use a pair of extremely heavy, sand filled MDF speaker stands that I built to lift the speakers high enough to dispense with the spikes (front spike is twice as tall as rear spikes).

If I use the speaker stands I could try some of Herbies' Dots.  Do you  think I should try to thin fat dots or the big fat dots between the speaker and the stand for maximum benefit?  If I use the dots I will probably have to remove the outrigger as it is designed to be used with a single front spike in the front.

Also, if I go this way, would the moving men under the speaker stand be sufficient since the speaker itself is decoupled?  Or will I need a Herbies product underneath the stand too?  These stands weigh 150 to 200 lbs apiece by themselves (the speakers only weigh about 60 lbs each).

Herbie

Re: what to use on my frankenspeaker stands
« Reply #3 on: 29 Dec 2014, 02:54 am »
With the configuration you have in mind with the stands, Fat Dots between the speakers and stands would be taking on most of the isolation burden, so in this case, Big Fat Dots would be more beneficial than "Thin" Fat Dots. Though providing little or no real isolation, the Moving Men under the stand should be okay, no harm, just for allowing mobility of the speakers. Sand-filled speaker stands usually do very well.

Though the outriggers are designed to be used with a single spike in the front, you should be able to use Fat Dots instead, or at least at the back, and if using a spike in the front, use a Herbie's Hush Puckies grounding base under the spike, or under all the spikes. Outriggers are usually used with narrow speakers to provide a wider footprint for increased stability; if your stand provides a wide enough footprint and stable support, you wouldn't have any particular need for the outriggers.

Steve
Herbie's Audio Lab

edfowler

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Re: what to use on my frankenspeaker stands
« Reply #4 on: 29 Dec 2014, 02:59 am »
Okay, I will drag those heavy speaker stands out to the listening room and see if the 6's will be stable enough without outriggers and spikes.  If so I will order four big fat dots for each speaker and see how that sounds.


edfowler

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Re: what to use on my frankenspeaker stands
« Reply #5 on: 29 Jan 2015, 04:07 pm »
I dragged the 200 lb. each sand filled stands out and set the speakers on them.

I haven't even ordered the big fat dots for the speakers yet, but I did order a few other Herbie's products to put under the cd player, dac, amplifier and underneath some brass weights that I put on top of the speakers.

I've got to say that even without using the big fat dots (which I feel will probably produce the biggest improvement) there was a substantial improvement in the sound of my system.  I just put the baby booties and grungebuster dots in and cued up some Marcus Miller and sat down to surf the net.  I was kind of just casually listening when my jaw dropped and I had to put the computer down and listen.  WHERE DID ALL THAT POWERFUL BASS COME FROM???

I'm a believer now.

BTW Steve, you mentioned that my speaker cables being 40' long were way to long.  With the Herbies isolation stuff I feel the system sounds amazing.  I am using Audioquest TYPE 8 with single amp end and bi wire speaker ends.  I have an extra 39 feet of type 8 that I can chop up into four 9' cables and run one cable to each of the bass and treble posts on the speakers (two full TYPE 8 cables to each speaker).  I can run dedicated AC lines up to the front between the speakers. Do you feel that this would be a significant improvement over the two 40' runs of TYPE 8?  Cutting up my 39' TYPE 8 would be the cheapest way to go but there would be no turning back.  Would I be better off getting a pair of Mapleshade Double Helix or Clear Day cables instead?

Herbie

Re: what to use on my frankenspeaker stands
« Reply #6 on: 29 Jan 2015, 04:51 pm »
I'm not an expert on cables or Audioquest cables. In general though, a 40' cable is quite a bit longer than needed if you only need 9'. Virtually always, a shorter cable or interconnect will give a better sonic result than a longer cable to some degree or another. If the system sounds amazing, there shouldn't be an urgent need to change from what you already have, though. With a 40' length, RFI can be problematic. Sometimes long runs of speaker cables that are highly shielded will result in some loss of dynamic impact. Audioquest Type 8 doesn't seem to be overly shielded, however. You'll hear RFI buzz or hum with your ear up close to the speaker drivers, but if you hear no buzz or hum from your listening distance, you're good.

Personally, I'd stick with the cables I already have if they sound amazing, and cut them down to 9' lengths if highly certain that 9' will accommodate any future needs. That's what I've done in similar circumstances and was very happy with the results. You want to be very confident with skills required for any associated splicing or soldering that might be needed. Trying another type of cable will give you a different type of sound, which may or may not be more to your liking or preference, depending on how the cables synergize with your system.

Steve
Herbie's Audio Lab

edfowler

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Re: what to use on my frankenspeaker stands
« Reply #7 on: 30 Jan 2015, 01:15 am »
So if I use the same type of cable only a smaller length of it (9 feet instead of 40) there will be less 'buzz' or 'hum'?  I never noticed the buzz before but it sure is there when I put my ear up to the drivers.  And by the same token, 7 feet of cable will have less buzz than 9 feet right?

If this is true I definitely want to move everything up front and use shorter cables to the speakers.

I don't want to get this too far off topic.  Its just so exciting to hear my system sound better and better.  I previously had the speakers in another less acoustically perfect room and didn't really care to listen to them that much.  I just preferred listening to music with my headphones because they sounded so much better.  Not anymore.

Herbie

Re: what to use on my frankenspeaker stands
« Reply #8 on: 30 Jan 2015, 02:20 am »
There will likely be less hum or buzz. RFI hum/interference is not solely a phenomenon of the speaker cables, though. Every component and piece of electronics in the audio system contributes some. In general, the longer a cable or interconnect is, the more potential for it to act as an RF (radio frequency) and/or EMI (electromagnetic interference) antenna.

Though outside my area of expertise, I understand there are other factors also that contribute to signal degradation directly proportional to cable length.

Steve
Herbie's Audio Lab