Feets Don’t Fail Me Now

I write this post at the end of a long journey. A journey driven by my tweakophile heart through a minefield of pseudoscience towards a counterintuitive conclusion.

I have, at last, found the right footers for my speakers. (At least for the next couple of weeks.)

I am here to tell of my journey but not to give advice. I have no knowledge to impart to anyone else. My journey that has touched on the far corners of the audiophile map but found peace in a very simple solution.

Spoiler: My speakers are resting comfortably on carpet sliders. Specifically, one-inch GorillaGlides from Amazon.

They work for me in my system and my room but I have no idea about other circumstances. I have LS50s that are poster-puttied to KEF metal stands that rest on a suspended wooden floor. That floor is in a Brooklyn brownstone from the late 1800s that was gut renovated about 15 years ago.

Of course, there was nothing wrong with the sound before I started this journey. That’s where my love of tweaks comes into play. Couldn’t I do better. In answer to that question, there are not many parts of an audio system that can has so many Solutions, so many different parts and so many possible set-ups, most of which don’t break the bank.

And I’ve been through them all. Spikes, various iso-pucks, about half of the Herbie’s catalog, and self-selected sorbothane bits and pieces. I don’t know why it took me so long to reach the oft-recommended carpet sliders, given that they’re probably the cheapest and easiest solution out there but, unfortunately, I’m not known for doing the cheap and easy thing.

Some observations from the journey:

—Spikes suck the bass out of the music like Donald Trump sucks the civility out of civilized discourse. It’s not that they produce “audiophile bass,” they just produce less bass.

—Few debates are as long and unproductive as coupling v. decoupling. Cables are the once and future king when it comes to misplaced debates, I guess, but (de)coupling must rank high. Which does what? Who knows? Who cares?

—Carpet glides have very little give, which serves to reinforce a conclusion I’ve reached several times before in several different ways: Damping is bad. I’ve tried damping in various places for various reasons but the consequences have been negative every time.

My belief, wholly unsupported by scientific fact, is that while damping—from iso-pucks and Herbie products, for example—may work to prevent vibrations from traveling from the room back up the stand to the speaker, they also degrade the stability of the platform from which sound is launched. In my experience, anything that is producing a signal that we will eventually hear as music—source, amp, or speaker—works better when it sits on something solid. “Solid” as in fixed and unmoving.

It makes sense that those components work better with less vibration but it makes more sense that producing and launching the signal is the primary concern. Anything mushy make the launching surface less solid. It sucks up signal that we should be hearing as music.

—If solidity is the goal, shouldn’t spikes work best of all? Makes sense. But that’s not the way it is under my speakers. It will take a wiser man than I to divine the reason.


Why not use a square ceramic floor tile from Home Depot under each speaker/stand for isolation from the carpet? I bought some for future use.

I copy and paste some great quotes from brownsfan made recently on this forum. 

@brownsfan noted three types of issues -- without mentioning the seismic one:

movement of the speaker cabinet back and forth and side to side due to Newtonian action reaction caused by the driver motion
cabinet vibration also due to the drivers motion
floor resonance being transferred back and forth between the speaker and flooring until it finally dissipates.

 I did not include vibrations transmitted to the speakers that have its origins outside the confines of the listening room as a 4th type of kinetic motion because the medium through which those vibrations are transmitted is the room flooring.  So my type 3 above is inclusive of anything that is transmitted to the speaker via the flooring.

In addition, I don't think anyone has said that such vibrations are not audible.  But I did say that they are probably orders of magnitude less significant on concrete than they are on typical wood subflooring over a crawl space or in a second floor application.  In my estimation and in my experience, the worst offender is usually type 2 if one is on wood flooring.  If not, then it would appear that type 3 vibration is the more significant.

The problem here is that we can't determine with any degree of certainty which of the 3 types is most significant in our particular setting.  Another problem is that addressing one type of kinetic energy may exacerbate the other two.  This is why I don't hear many people claiming spikes are the answer.  

The answer here is finding a way to rapidly (instantaneously would be ideal) convert these three (or 4 if you insist) types of kinetic energy to heat.  The idea of isolation only works if you are isolating from an external source (seismic, as example).  If you are talking about type 1 energy, you might address the movement of the speaker using spikes.  But the law of conservation of mass and energy tells us that the energy that wanted to move the speaker and now can't, must express that energy in some other form.  So spikes are converting the type 1 energy to a combination of type 2 energy plus heat.  Thus, if type 2 energy is worse in terms of audible effects than type 1 energy, spikes could make your speakers sound worse. And spikes can't do anything at all to address type 2 and type 3 vibration. 

This same argument can be applied to products designed to address type 3 or type 2 energy.  Unless a particular device is capable of converting all three types of energy to heat, and doing so rapidly and efficiency, the device is robbing Peter to pay Paul.  

I really think the manufactures that are super engineering their speaker cabinets have recognize what I am saying above.  That is what these super rigid cabinets are doing.  They are efficiently and rapidly converting type 2 kinetic energy to heat.

For those us that don't want to pay more for our speakers than we did for our house, we are forced to look for products like the Townsend for a poor man's solution, and the reality is that we are going to have to try some different types to see (hear) what works best in our particular setting. 

Thank you for telling us which way you lean politically. Just like the people who wear masks in their cars when alone. It’s good to know who you people are.

Jason Bourne: Nooooo! The whole point of the story is that I’m done. My long adventures have brought me to this solution. I’m gonna stick. (For now.)

Hilde: Browns Fan may know more about physics than anyone since A. Einstein. But in my experience, it’s not likely. Besides, I’m not interested in such hypotheses. I’m going to trust my ears, and my ears tell me that carpet slides are the answer.



Post removed 

Ozzy, do you live in NYC? I thought this is the only city with enough lunatics to keep wearing masks in appreciable numbers but maybe I’m wrong. What can these people be thinking? In their cars, outside with the wind whipping past them . . . probably in a CDC hazmat room. They’re obviously not "following the science" because there’s no science to tell them to wear masks.

I only have two possible explanations and one covers only a tiny minority of the population. If you do live in NYC, you know that are plenty of out-of-this world gorgeous looking women around. Until now, they’ve done everything possible to hide from the world around them. If you get on the subway and see one, they have a fixed stare into the middle distance. They’d cut off their right arm before making eye contact.

And who can blame them? Guys constantly gawking at them, hitting on them. I could see them finding happiness behind the anonymity of a mask.

Also, for whatever reason, wearing masks is sorta standard operating procedure in Japan. In Tokyo, anyway. It’s part of their culture. Maybe it’s becoming part of our culture. (Not the best part, I would argue.)

And yet the masks are less of a signal of a personal characteristic than the signals that come pouring out of the mouths of Trumpers about even the most innocent topics. Such anger! Such resentment! Victims of all sorts of conspiracies!

I put an ad on Craigslist to sell my old speakers. It was a very quick process, price readily agreed to, arrangements for pick-up easily made. But in that short time, the buyer’s political views might as well have been put up in skywriting.

"Do you want subway instructions?" I asked. "I don’t take the f***ing subway," he said. "What, we can’t drive? Are they going to take our cars away?"

"So you can use Waze?" "That f***ing thing? It’s programmed to take you out of the way so that you go past charging stations for electric cars."

Verbatim reporting. I used to be a journalist.

And here’s more, even though I’m getting a bit off track. My son is in his first year of engineering school. Rough going. Forty percent of the kids got a D or worse in physics last semester. (I’m thrilled that my son got a 78. He hasn’t gotten a grade like that . . .ever.) It doesn’t seem right to me that all of those kids should fail. The university shouldn’t admit kids they don’t think can handle the curriculum. It’s not a perfect analogy but I don’t think anyone flunked out of law school. A handful dropped out in the first semester but the admissions dept. didn’t let you in unless they thought you could make the grade. (Pre-med is different for reason I won’t go into here.)

Anyway, there’s a Facebook group for parents and I posted something along those lines. A very lively, civil debate followed. Until, "Well, now that they’ve made standardized tests optional, they don’t know what kind of f***ing kids they’re getting." I don’t know what kind of work you do, I replied, but it’s interesting that you know more than hundreds of people who have dedicated their lives to the admissions process. You alone, Joe Blow, have the answers?

"Whatever," he wrote. "I just don’t want any motherf***ing bridges to collapse under me just because some incompetent built it." Is that a big problem for you? I asked. Do a lot of bridges collapse under you?

I’ve found that attitude to be not atypical of people from red states. (Or Staten Island, in the case of the speaker buyer.) So bitter! So deprived!

I’d even venture a guess to say that they are worse than the mask wearers. If you’re wearing a mask today, it says that you’re halfway around the bend, not that you’re a fan of Dr. Fauci. Whatever explanation they offer for the masks, while not necessarily the ravings of a lunatic, are at least open to question. Whereas the disgruntled right wingers would argue that they’re weighed the facts, analyzed the situation, and come to what they believe is the correct answer.

But I apologize. This is not the place for such arguments. And I started it. I’m the bad guy. If the moderator would like, I’d be happy to go back and remove all political content. My point was about speaker footers, not politics, and I hereby apologize to all forum members.

But I was halfway through writing it that before it occurred to me that I was going down a road marked "Caution." So I’m going to leave things be unless, as I said, the moderator would prefer otherwise.


curiousjim, you must be thinking of someone else. I've never used another handle. I've made fewer than 10 posts, lifetime. Which doesn't excuse me for politicizing this non-political forum. (Or at least, I haven't seen much that's political before.) 

It's too late for me to figure it out now but, assuming that I can, I'll take the whole thread down tomorrow.

So funny. In the post where you declare you've made fewer than 10 post it shows you have made 89 post. You started the thread as @paul6002 and continued as @paul6001. Yes, you started the political part of this thread. I believe you should be able to say whatever you want but you should also be ready for the backlash.


Browns Fan may know more about physics than anyone since A. Einstein. But in my experience, it’s not likely. Besides, I’m not interested in such hypotheses. I’m going to trust my ears, and my ears tell me that carpet slides are the answer.

Go ahead and trust your ears. Brownsfan trusts his and I trust mine. But we don't exclude using knowledge to help us get closer rather than just guessing. We don't celebrate ignorance. But you do you.

Want something solid over carpet? 1.5 inch thick procelain / stone / marble tile should do it and won't break your bank.  Make sure you cut bigger footprint (1.5 times the width / depth of speakers whichever is greater) and place under the speakers.  I have done that to enhance bass performance of my sub for my secondary (standmount) system and result is great.



I know some people just can't help themselves but can we all try harder to keep this site about audio.  Really, it shouldn't be that hard.


pkatsuleas: When you’re right, you’re right. I’m sorry. I can’t take it down. I tried.

Curious Jim: Yes, when I got locked out for some reason, I had to switch my name. If I was trying to be deceptive, I think that I could have done a little better.

When I said "less than 10" I meant less than 10 threads. I never counted the number of individual posts. For you to arrive at the "89" number I assume that you had to count every post. Re: your obsessive detective work about my Audiogon activities. You’re not stalking me, are you? Have you developed some sort of obsessive online love? Should I call the authorities?

Hilde45: If you’re an amateur physicist and you want to study that kind of stuff, have at it. Whatever peels your potatoes. But this knowledge that you speak of is totally irrelevant to how I set my system up. All that matters—"all" as in the only thing that matters—is how it sounds to me. How my ears experience the music. There is no higher form of knowledge. I could do general relativity equations all day long but it wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference to the sound of David Bowie’s voice on "Heroes."

Actually, the knowledge you speak of could even be damaging if it distracts me from the purity of his voice. To me, the particular type of ignorance you speak of is bliss.

And, without any disrespect to brownsfan, my skepticism of "science" in audio forums is well-earned.

Post removed 
Post removed