My vote : Spikes for sure.........( for your aplication )
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It is really a matter of synergy and personal preference--you really need to try different approaches to find what you would personally like.
In most instances, where a suspended wood floor over carpet is concerned, I would certainly try, as an option to either spikes or soft feet, an energy absorbing platform that contacts the entire surface of the bottom of the speaker (e.g., Symposium Svelte Shelf). With these devices, the vibration of the speaker cabinet is transferred to the platform, and the soft inner core of the platform converts that energy into heat and thereby dissipates the energy. The result is a tighter sound and greater clarity.
Rubber feet on carpet would tend to be less stable so that the speaker would shake excessively and that could be a source of spurious emissions from the whole speaker. Spikes would be much more stable and would transfer the energy to the flooring below. The potential problem with that is that the floor itself could act as a large sounding board.
But, again, let me emphasize that all of the potential problems with any of these approaches are just that--theoretical, potential effects, and in fact, those effects might be just what is needed to make the sound better. Perhaps the extra bass bloom from the floor acting as a sounding board might be a benefit, not an unwanted effect. The tighter sound of using an energy absorbing platform might make the sound too dry for one's taste. The only way to find out is to give each approach a trial.
If I could only try one alternative, it would be the energy absorbing platform for any speaker that cannot be spiked to a concrete slab type flooring.
spikes all the way, but depending on how sharp they are and speaker weight, they may actually sink into the plywood floor and cause the speakers to not be level. In those cases, it's best to use spikes and floor saver metal disks under the carpet that contain the sharp spikes or adjust the spikes length to compensate for the amout it sinks into the plywood. At 80 lbs. per speaker you may get away without the floor saver disks as the spikes may not penetrate that far into the plywood. YMMV.
I use a platform I made myself with the spikes on them. I have the same plywood under carpet and it works out great. I did experiment with the spikes on the speakers after that. The platform gave me a solid foundation coupled to the floor. You can play with de-coupling if you like after the platforms are put in.
The cheapest and perhaps sufficient approach would be just to get good big spikes, say, Audiopoints brass spikes. They should penetrate the carpet. Another possibility is 2" thick spiked maple platforms under speakers and spiked speakers. To possibly improve it further - Boston Audio Tuneblocks S for spiked components, that's under spiked speakers between speakers and spiked maple platform. I use them with my speakers.
Number of opinions of this = number of audiophiles present + 2. [ some are bound to be of at least two minds on the subject, as I am]. I use and sell the Star Sound brass cones, which work well; I have also used the FIM roller bearings which I also sell. I really like the SR MIGs also, haven't used them under speakers yet as the ones I have set up have their own outrigger base. There was a really good looking outrigger base with spikes for a not totally unreasonable price but the web site has disappeared and I fear they are gone. Maple or sandwiched MDF shelves should work; years ago I knew someone who was using grave markers, he called them "dead weights". With the exception of the roller bearings I like the coupling devices better than isolating ones; haven't tried all obviously; Ceraballs works well under components but haven't had them under speakers.
The underlying principle here is that the speaker (enclosure/frame) must be "mass coupled" to the floor (or, preferrably, to the planet!) so that the only thing that can move is/are the drivers. Spikes are simply the easiest and least destructive solution in most cases. But you could, for instance, bolt your speakers right to the floor;--)
And then of course, there's the issue of floor itself: it mustn't move at all. This is often a problem with wood framed (joisted) floors where the subfloor can deform (bend) slightly as it spans between joists. However, there are some tricks (which are obvious to architects and builders) that will minimize the effect of this common type of floor deformation:
1.) The best situation is if the speakers point (front to back) along the same direction as the floor joists. This is most likely to happen automatically if the speakers are placed on the long wall, since joists are usually oriented to span the short dimension of the room. Why is this (long wall) placement best? Because the subfloor's movement (if any) only allows the speaker to rock from side-to-side in this case. But the drivers only move forward/backward, but the direction of the floor joists in this case, prevents the speakers from reacting (rocking) front-to-back; it they did/could, it would rob the drivers of energy they could/should be transferring to the air! This condition would also reduce the drivers' transient response (accuracy in following the signal) -- a problem that particularly degrades the midrange. Of course, they can STILL (possibly) rock from side to side, but that WON'T MATTER unless your speakers have side-firing woofers ;--) Of course there are other acoustic benefits to 'long-wall' placement.
2.) So if you are lucky, and able to orient your speakers in line with the direction of the floor joists as described above, you'll do even better to 'center' the speaker (left-to-right) over the space BETWEEN two joists, as opposed to it straddling a single joist. This will mostly eliminate side-to-side rocking -- although this is less critcal as I explained above.
Implementing these "tricks", if you can, will result in a huge improvement in transient response; e.g. detail and clarity of vocals, plus cleaner (more slam) in the bass response. And it's free ;--)
3.) Unfortunately for many of us, there are multiple reasons we're unable to place our speakers along the long wall, as in 1.) and 2.), however, it's still possible to realize many of the same benefits (minimizing forward/backward rocking) if you will crawl under the floor and actually locate the two joists (now running side to side across the room) which are nearest the speaker -- the one closest in front of the desired speaker location, and the one running closest behind, and mark their location on the floor above. Then center the speaker(s) front to back BETWEEN those two joists -- again, as opposed to the speaker straddling across just one joist. This "trick" will further minimize forward/backward rocking -- the taller/heavier the speaker, the greater the benefit; although, even with monitors on stands, it still really helps to increase the speakers' effective mass by filling those stands with sand or shot. BTW, it's OK to add toe-in to the speakers, but wait until after you've determined the best location relative to the floor joists.
I would stay away from granite. IMO, you need to ABSORB, not REFLECT. What I believe happens with granite for example, is the drivers move causing vibrations in the cabinet. Those vibrations travel down the cabinet, through the spikes, into the granite. Then, those vibrations bounce off of the granite, travel up through the spikes and back into the cabinet. I believe you should spike the speakers into a maple block to absorb vibrations. You can buy small spikes/cones and place them under the maple into the floor. Just my theory....
I use a inch and a half thick slab of black granite under my floorstanding speakers. The speakers have cones and feet protectors which I purchased from Adona, sitting on top of the granite. As the speakers weigh 85 pounds each, they are extremely stable. In my case, It made a tremendous difference over just having the sharp cones going through the carpet to the wood floor below. Bass impact is much better now with no smearing and everything seems more defined. I am currently using Odyssey Kismet Reference speakers and also used this combination on a pair of DeVore Gibbon 8 speakers a few years ago. The results were pretty much the same.
I will say that the cost of the granite was a bit pricey, I believe I paid around 100.00 for a pair of 10" by 14" pieces 1 1/2 inches thick, polished on all edges as well as the top.
Devilboy, spikes when placed under speakers, are for mass-coupling the speakers to the floor. Nothing more, nothing less. As I said, you could bolt the speakers to the floor and acheive the same thing, maybe better! The speaker designer engineered his speaker as if it would be operated in a COMPLETELY RESTRAINED state -- the specified performance of the drivers he used depend on it! If you say things sound better than with the spikes going through the carpet and into the floor, I would offer that the granite slab is now probably bridging across the joists underneath, whereas before, without the granite, and unbeknownst to you, the spikes just happened to be landing on one of those weak places in the floor, as I described in my post. I can't tell you how many times I've seen audiophiles fooled by not recognizing this oversight! (Same comment applies to Stereo5's experience.) You guys should go back and review exactly WHERE on your wood floors the spikes were originally landing, relative to the joists underneath -- and then reposition the speakers as I recommended! Then you can tell me about how great the granite works;--)
As for the comments about
vibrations travel down the cabinet, through the spikes, into the granite. Then, those vibrations bounce off of the granite, travel up through the spikes and back into the cabinet.that is just patently impossible! The whole point of spikes and cones (especially when used under electronic components and turntables, etc.) is to act as MECHANICAL DIODES; meaning vibrations travel out the pointed tip, but CANNOT return back the other way! If the speaker cabinet is vibrating, either the designer meant it to, as in many of the English bookshelf speakers, or, more likely, the enclosure is inadequately braced! The only "vibrations" a speaker should produce are the ones from the drivers when coupling them to the air!
Further, you are certainly doing your speakers no justice by placing them on a "carpet sandwich"! I don't care if the granite slab weighs 500 lbs! It will still allow the speaker to rock. Even a few micrometer 'squish' at the speaker's base, will translate into a few millimeters of sway at the top of the enclosure (you know, where the tweeters are located?) and that is enough to cause doppler distortion in the high frequencies coming from those tweeters.
Go back and examine your floors and determine the location and direction of the joists. Then position your speakers as I indicated and I guarantee, you'll get better performance than you have so far -- that's for sure! All that speculative pseudo-science is the devil! -- only physics will set you free ;--)
I would also consider contacting Herbie's Audio. They're not extremely expensive and they have a nice wide variety of solutions. If something doesn't work for you, they would take it back in trade for something else to try. Most importantly, if you tell them your situation, they will provide answers backed by a warranty. I'm about to place and order for Big Fat Dots to put my monitor stands on.
Nice to see you on Agon Jaxwired.
I've used herbies dots myself for stand mounted speakers. Work great! I also like plain old museum putty for that.
I am going to try outriggers as a solution. I'm willing to spend $200, but not $800. I'm placing and order with loudspeakerstands . net today.
Now I've got to find the right bolts. Off to home depot...
My preference for my room/speakers...
(flooring is padded carpeting over poured cement basement floor)
18" x 18" Travertine tile, 2" thick maple plinth from Timber Nation on that, then Totem Ball & Claw supporting Totem Forests on the maple plinth.
Ball & Claw being sort of unique to Totem, I'd go w/spikes in their place.
I didn't like the sound when using rubbery sort of stuff under the speakers.
Try making a platform of cinder blocks. They are cheap and might really improve things. I would also put spikes under the speakers. I am using Vandersteen 5A's that come with spikes. In my last home in New Jersey, my listening room was on the second floor the flooring itself was oak. When I moved to Scottsdale, Arizona with Travertine tile floors and no basement, the speakers sounded so much better, I couldn't believe the difference. My other suggestion is to move.
I would not recommend spiking speakers to a suspended wood floor. That will transmit energy from the speaker to the floor and end up shaking the floor and walls. I can easily hear this with my speakers on a suspended wood floor. And I can fell it as well. The LF energy moves along the floor and shakes the chair. I like the rigidity of spiking, but not what a shaking room does to frequencies.
I found decoupling (with large Herbie audio dots) works better than spiking, but it's still not perfect.
The best I've tried to date is using Nordost Pulsar points. I feel no bass from the floor. It is amazing how much bass can be transmitted to the floor and conversely how you can reduce it significantly. And the sound is very good. I think any product along the lines of bearings in a cup would work well.
Wish I had a concrete pad but I get pretty good results with the Pulsar Points.
Bmckenney -- think about this: your speakers/drivers (unless you're talking about down-firing subwoofers) vibrate horizontally. Your floor vibrates vertically. So it's not your speakers that are exciting the floor. It's the air pressure (SPL) of the waves in the room (which are omnidirectional) that are exciting the floor, and there's not much you can do about that, other than stiffen the floor from below, or by adding another layer of subfloor.
Decouplers on speakers are always inappropriate anyway, because the object is to restrain the speaker enclosure from any kind of movment whatsoever. And anything resilient between the speaker and the floor (or slab) that allows the speaker to rock forward/backward in equal-but-opposite reaction to the movment of the driver(s) will degrade performance: bass slam and hi-freq. transient response. So the notion of decoupling a speaker from the floor is completely counterproductive in terms of getting the best performance, and any speaker manufacturer will tell you that! Some people might like the way their speakers sound when they decouple them (God knows why!?) but they are definitely NOT operating the way their designer intended,
So get your speakers back on their spikes, but pay some attention to positioning them (relative to the floor joists) as I outlined above.
Well, I use both coupling and decoupling devices together, Polycrystal spikes with Boston Audio tuneblocks for spiked components, on a wooden floor in my appartment. It is better in every respect than just spikes, especially there is less distortion in all frequences and everythings is tigher and sharper. But my speakers are quite loose and do perhaps need more control than average.
I totally disagree with Nsgarch's comment that decoupling is always inappropriate. With carpeting, coupling makes sense because the carpet pad drowns out the resonance. On a wood floor with floor standers, decoupling is the only way I've ever had success. I actually went two years with my speakers on Aurelex Grammas which are made for guitar amps that sit on raised stages. I would spike your speakers and be done with it. I use a caliper to get three of the 4 spikes set even with each other and tight and the fourth one close to the other three(always leave the front right side as the loose one). Once in place, you set the fourth spike.
Stanwal... as fate would have it, I received the following E-mail from the organization you refer to where-in you say "There was a really good looking outrigger base with spikes for a not totally unreasonable price but the web site has disappeared and I fear they are gone".
As many of you are aware our sites www.oregondv.com and www.soundocity.com are currently unavailable. Unfortunately, we have experienced a serious situation and due to some strange circumstances we have lost all of our website data. My son and I are committed to continuing this operation of audio accessories and will be rebuilding our sites ASAP. Regretfully, this will take up to a couple months before we are up and running again. However, we will continue to build and sell our products, including outriggers, via email.
Please pass this information onto our online audio friends and any others interested in our products. At this point we have no way of passing our information on except for email.
All orders placed over the last few weeks will be fulfilled ASAP and I fully look forward to a regaining our site presence and talking to you soon.
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I purchased two 3/8 thick steel plates that are 1 inch wider and longer than the base of my Avalons I drilled and taped holes in each of the corners to screw in 3/8 x 2.25 spikes I covered the bottom of the plates with Rope Caulk and to level them I beat them into the plywood sub-floor with a dead-blow hammer.