Herbie’s Spike Decoupling Gliders: my…experience

So my Herbie’s gliders (giant, titanium) arrived to put under my 180 pound B&W 802 D2’s.

I immediately rushed to install them, alone (yes wait for it..) to see what kind of difference they can make.

I also adjusted my spikes so I had the speakers on their side to do what I needed to do. I righted the speakers again, on my own no sweat (just a hernia).

Rocked the speaker up and inserted the Herbie’s gliders, no problem. Except, ONE of the spikes popped out of the indentation in the glider and was resting in the top of the glider - and the 180 pound speaker toppled! I yelled “NONONONO…” I think I managed to yell about 7 No’s in the time the speaker took to topple.

Amazingly, it landed on three massive 8” thick extra firm camping mat that just happened to be there from when I had the speakers on their sides to adjust the spikes. By some miracle neither my speaker, my floor, and my body were damaged due to my stupidity fueled by impatience!

To further my stupidity, I proceeded to reinstall the Herbie’s under the speaker, on my own again. Yes, I did that. But this time I was successful, against all odds. What could I do, the family was asleep!

After this success, my senses came to me and I decided to wait to install the gliders under the second speaker.

This gave me a unique opportunity to test the difference in sound between my left speaker sans Herbie’s, and my right speaker with Herbie’s. The difference was not small. The Herbified speaker sounded more immediate, open, confident and clear. Albeit with a tad less “tangible” bass. While the non-Herbified speaker had more of that tangible bass, the bass was muddier. And the rest of the range was also muddier and less immediate. Listening like this was totally weird, it was like the cables were out of phase or something.

In the morning I sheepishly told my wife what happened and she helped my Herbify my left speaker in like less than a minute. I was greeted with a far more confident mid and upper presentation, which was more detailed, more solid, more open, and the soundstage was wider and more solid. All with a tad less bass but the trade seems easily worth it. I can see why some people claim that vibration control products impact tonal balance. But I’m not sure if it really is this or not - it may simply be that a degree of muddiness is removed and the tones just come through better as a result (with less bass “mud”).

I don’t have any experience with similar products (isoacoustics, Townshend, etc) so I don’t know how they compare. But I’m quite amazed and happy with the difference these make. They should come with a warning though! (Against being stupid that is)…. On a serious note, it’s easy to underestimate how unsteady your speakers can become with a single footing at a slightly different height than the others.

I do wonder about the physics of what is happening.  With decoupling products that is, I do comprehend why my speaker toppled. You use spikes to couple the speaker cabinet to the floor so it becomes fixed, to improve performance. So why in the world would undoing this with a decoupling device improve things further? I don’t get it. I noticed less bass. Maybe the flex reduces the speaker’s ability to produce as much bass, reducing vibrations in the cabinet and allowing mid and upper frequencies to shine more? Taking that logic to an extreme, would the ultimate decoupling device be suspending your speakers from the ceiling? Totally uninformed theory…


@nyev The way you describe the effect the gliders have on sound is the same way I describe it--the muddy bass is eliminated, along with some bass impact I suppose, and the rest of the sound characteristics are greatly enhanced. I use the threaded gliders on B&W CM9 S2's. Adding these feet may be the biggest positive different for the money I've found for my system. 

@sid-hoff-frenchman , or anyone, have you used Herbie’s or other anti-vibration products on your gear besides speakers?


Not sure what type of floor you have your speakers on, but if it is a suspended floor (wood floor over joists) the floor can get excited by the speaker, much more so in the bass region, and become a secondary transducer.  This would explain the muddy bass with just the spikes.  Also, not sure if you were using a cone cup under the spikes to protect the floor.  This probably wouldn't change anything since it would be rigidly coupled to the floor like the spike but wanted to ask. 

I have been wanting to try the Herbies with my Vandersteen 5's, but I have a concrete floor (basement) with viny tile.  Seems hard to believe the concrete would be a secondary transducer like a suspended floor.  The last time I checked (several months ago) the giant gliders were out of stock, but must be back in now.  Moving the speakers around on their cone cups is almost impossible since they tend to stick to the floor.  When the spike pops out of the cone cup the speaker doesn't necessarily tip over but it leaves a nasty gash in the vinyl tile.

One last thing, I too have had a tip over problem.  Luckily I caught the speaker before it hit the floor, but it wasn't a pretty site.  With three spikes it's very easy to tip the speaker slightly to remove or adjust the spike, but you don't have to tip very far before it becomes unstable.  Danger Will Robinson!

@nyev After the success I had with the gliders I decided to try out the Tenderfeet. They had a flash sale, and I figured what they hey, knowing that I could return them if I didn't notice a difference. So I put them under my preamp, DAC and amps. There definitely was an improvement. They are relatively inexpensive (especially in the audio world), yet provide a real noticeable sound upgrade.

A few months later they had another flash sale, but this time for tube dampers. I got some to try. They also made a difference, notably taming bass a bit. Though with my current system/setup/tube blend I didn't enjoy the change. However, I decided to keep them. It's always good to have additional "blending tools" for tweaking the sound to your preference, and they might be just the thing down the road.

After my experience with the previous isolation options, one being approx 10x the cost of the Herbies gliders, and the other being nearly 20x the cost I am both thrilled by the money savings, but also reminded that while you get what you pay for, more costly doesn't mean you will like it more, and not to be prejudiced against the less expensive options out there.

Wouldn't a Sorbothane or Sorbothane-like pad produce the same result at a much less expensive price?