Generally, when you’re talking about acoustic treatment, it means first figuring out where your room’s problems lie and then doing a general or focused application of material on walls, corners and ceiling to remedy the problem. This of course comes with the residual hit on your wallet. But there is one affordable acoustic treatment anyone can bring to their setup that will instantly improve the sound of their system: Speaker isolation.
By decoupling your speakers from their stands or console top, and providing a solid, stable platform for your back-end transducers of choice, you can remarkably improve your low end and stereo image. Below are six affordable solutions for improving the phase relationships between you and your speakers—resulting in a better listening experience when you work.
Auralex ProPads and ProPads XL (auralex.com) measure 8x13x2.125-inches and 19x13x2.125-inches, respectively. The ProPads will isolate most standard mid- and close-field monitors using 5.25-, 6.5- or 8-inch woofers, while the ProPAD XLs are compatible with many larger twin-woofer, horizontally oriented monitors. The design features a .075-inch Melamine-wrapped MDF base covered with a thick layer of ISO-Plate, an isolation material made from 100-percent recycled rubber.
Auralex ProPad XL
The Carillon Audio Mofo professional studio monitor foam isolation pads (carillonaudio.com) are available in two sizes and weights suitable for any range of monitors with 4-, 5-, 6-, 7- and 8-inch LF drivers. They offer a 5-degree slope for optimal positioning and promise to eliminate contact-borne vibration and resonance. Each unit comprises a 3.5mm steel plate, a no-slip EVA pad and a high-density foam base.
Carillon Audio Mofo
Offering a simpler solution for monitor isolation, Sound Network’s China Cones (chinacones.co.uk) are energy conversion devices that reduce oscillations in audio systems. When positioned as a tripod under a speaker, they promise better realism, dynamics and stereo focus. Self-adhesive rubber pads (included) are used to prevent the points from sliding, and if necessary, thin double-sided tape may be used to secure the cones to the underside of your speakers.
IsoAcoustics speaker stands (isoacoustics.com) are built with a unique, patented isolation technology that eliminates energy transfer to surrounding surfaces, promising enhanced bass and improved image. They come in three sizes, can adjust between 3 and 8 inches in height (model dependent), and can be tilted up or down by using the included inserts. The stands can accommodate most manufacturers’ speakers and are also integrated into Argosy Console’s new Spire i-Series stands. The Isolator’s are made of a high-modulus co-polymer with the opening, internal taper and concave, void end resulting in a compliant element to contain the supporting tubes or rods.
IsoAcoustics speaker stands
Primacoustic (primacoustic.com) Recoil Stabilizers come in 12 downfire, horizontal or upfire models designed to work with most speakers and subwoofers. They comprise a heavy 1/4-inch, laser-cut steel plate, a thin neoprene top surface and foam base designed to eliminate vibration-borne resonance. The stabilizers promise to reduce a speaker’s backward recoil as the coil pushes energy forward improving sharpness and definition of the resulting impulse.
Primacoustic Recoil Stabilizer
The Pro-coustix Isoflex monitor isolation pads (hypedupacoustics.co.uk) are purchased in pairs for each speaker (four pads total for two monitors). The pads are each 100x40x290 mm, made from high-quality polyester black foam offering high-compression load deflection properties. The pads can be interchanged, allowing five separate speaker-positioning angles, and also have a precision-designed curved front to reduce planar reflections.