Is Spiking Necesarry?


I like to move my speakers around a bit for to test how they sound, so I slide them.  I have the Proac D48Rs, they are kind of heavy so with the spikes in it makes it tough to move them.  I haven't consciously tested or compared the sound with spikes or without them.  Does it make a difference?
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I have found spikes sound better.  A compromise recommended to me by a dealer was to put the speakers/spikes on a piece of plexiglass...
if floor is wood...also some spike protectors slide easily, some do not...
I use little brass disks sold for just this purpose.

The general idea is to minimize the surface area of the speaker cabinet to the floor, AND minimize the movement of the speaker in space. Woofer's exert a lot of energy and may actually move the cabinet as they play.

So, spikes + mass are a good combination. Are they that important vs. say, flat furniture feet? Not sure.

Adding weights to the speaker top is also something to experiment.

If you can't hear the difference though, it's just a fetish. :)

Best,


E
Almost forgot, IsoAcoustics just started selling isolation feet for speakers, in addition to their usual bases. Worth checking out.

Best,

E
mine sound noticeably better when I push the spikes through the carpet to make contact with my basement's concrete floor.  i do this with the subwoofer too.  
pain to move around but the sound is better.

on the other hand i was in the vinnie rossie room at AXPONA and he demoed his system with the harbeth's resting on top of the end tables.  
still sounded very good but a little loose / boomy in the bass if you weren't dead center.  

short answer- yes IMHO
Only if your guests are having trouble loosening up.

Years ago, I brought home 3" thick granite surface plates. I placed my speakers directly on them without spikes.  Floor was concrete slab. Sounded great so I would not say that spikes are always needed.
movement of the entire box back & forth will modulate the cone movement - causing phase error and other horrible things

so you want a way to prevent that - spike or very heavy cabinets will work

or... buy electrostatics or Maggies - problem solved (and a lot of other problems are solved too)
Are the speakers on carpet or flooring? One option is to decouple the speaker from the floor by placing the spikes into isolation bases.
See Herbie's...
http://herbiesaudiolab.net/base.htm

or Decoupling Glider...
http://herbiesaudiolab.net/spkrfeet.htm
A big +1 for lowrider57!!
Mr. Clone OP, to circumvent the whole problem of continually moving the speakers around to try and get the best sound why not just cut to the chase? Use the speaker set-up track on the XLO Test CD to find the absolute best locations for both speakers. You’ll never have to move them again. Using this method on the XLO CD is much, much better than trial and error, which is really like trying to solve 4 simultaneous equations in 5 unknowns.
goeffkait,

I've never used that CD.  Can you explain what type of tracks it has specifically to help locate the speakers properly?
It’s the Out of Phase track. Move the speakers a little at a time. Start with speakers about 4 feet apart and slowly move them apart. Would you believe most speakers are set too far apart? I suppose we must think soundstage will be improved by moving them farther apart. "When it sounds like my voice is coming at you from all around the room" (when the sound is most diffuse) ...the speakers will be in the absolute best locations for when the system is in phase. It probably goes without saying that room anomalies should have been dealt with prior to using the speaker set up track, in order to be able to get the Full Effect of the voice coming at you from all around the room with no specific directionality. As the room acoustics improves so will the clarity and drama of that track.
I have lowther fideleo speakers on a slate floor & have found that spikes on top of ball bearing footers work well. I don't move them once in the sweet spot though. That would truly be a pita. The combination creates a nice soundstage.   
Spikes helped tighten up the bass for me, just a tick, on a pair of Cantons on padded carpet.  Once the spikes are installed, watch out for your feet.
@randy-11  - or... buy electrostatics or Maggies - problem solved (and a lot of other problems are solved too)

Or other problems are created. It's literally a double edged sword....... I wanted to like Maggies, but their dipole configuration does not work in my room. And it's not because their is not enough room behind them....

@reubent 
Maybe it's because you didn't spike them!
why didn't their dipole configuration work in your room?
geoffkait, re  06-26-2017 1:23pm post....

Yeah, sometimes spiking the listener(s) vs. the speakers is the easier answer....;)  Does have to be done with a certain amount of trepidation, though.  Too much can create other 'sonic issues'....*G*
@kosst_amojan - You may be onto something! I did not spike the maggies when I tried them in my room.....  ;~)

@randy-11 - Randy, my room is not symmetrical. There is a greater mount of boxed-in area behind the left speaker than there is on the right. It caused a volume dropout on the left side that I was unable to solve via speaker placement. I've struggled with this issue a bit over the years with different speakers, but the dipole configuration seemed to be much more noticeable that with my sealed box speakers.

@kclone - Regarding spikes: In past iterations of my system, I've spiked the speakers. I think it makes a small difference, especially in bass accuracy (in my system, from past memory). However, they can be a PITA. As has been suggested, first get your speaker placement dialed-in to the point you don't feel the need to move them again. Once you have the position established and marked, consider adding spikes.

I've kinda gotten over the need to tweek my system and I just listen to music now. My current "large bookshelf" speakers - Infinity RS1.5 are currently sitting on milk crates. Yes, I think they should be on proper stands, with carpet spikes, but I'm not compelled to put in the effort to buy/build proper stands at the moment. 

Spikes definitely alter the coupling between speaker and floor, the type of change, the effect on sound and whether it's a good thing or not probably depends a lot on your floor construction and speaker placement.

I've got a pair of ProAc D38's that I've had on a carpeted floor in an old weatherboard house on piles. The cones are quite wide and I doubt they would make it through the underlay to the floor beneath which may explain why I can't hear any difference with or without them. We've just moved to a new place with far brighter acoustics and hard floors, so I'll have to experiment again and see what works. For me, speaker placement is the first thing to sort out, then try the spikes. Good luck and enjoy the speakers! I'm just a wee bit jealous ;)

Cheers

hi,
isolating your speakers is paramount to good sound, spikes are not good at all please see spikes v podiums youtube video also have a read on the internet in the speaker isolation forums, if you want to have a serious upgrade put your speakers on Townshend Audio Podiums you will never move them again and the sound will keep you more than happy for many years 
good luck john
ps check Audiogon listings there up at bargain prices NEW and EX DEMO good luck
I run ProAc D15's and use Herbie's Gliders with the stock spikes. Happy as hell - they slide with ease on the hardwood floor. Soundwise - a little tighter bass but you have to adjust the spikes to keep them rock solid to the floor. No movement at all. They go out of adjustment every month or so. 
Helps. The little Star Sound is good under speakers. Quality of stands make most difference but wood, metal or synthetic can sound better. 
Walk them over, I have that problem also! That is lift then up a little and with one side up move them over a little. I should have said with one corner down. Easier to do than to describe. I moved a gun safe this way once.
I'm a big believer in spiking assuming you're not planting those things on some obnoxiously resonant surface. I have nothing kind to say about the absurd quack-ware products hocked to isolate or "float" speakers. The concept is preposterous on it's face. If there was any legitimate merit to such concepts, folks like Magico, Wilson, and Focal would design their cabinets with isolation solutions, not robust spiking solutions. 
Herbies big fat dots under Thiels on hardwood floor over concrete has been best in my system.  Spikes the worst.

What is the general consensus if any, on speakers sitting on hardwood floor in room above basement. I guess this is called hanging floor but I'm not sure. What about some kind of a damping material between the speakers and the floor?
Kalai--helped a friend use those footers SVS makes for its subs on a set of DefTech towers (can't remember which model, but with a built-in sub) on wood floors over a basement.  seemed to do better than some homemade platform/plinth thing he had.  for pretty cheap and a little elbow grease.  noticeably, but not drastically, reduced some vibration.  he thought it actually helped the bass.  I couldn't really tell.
Kalai, If your basement ceiling is not finished, you could also reinforce it under your system to make the floor more robust in that area. Just a thought. 
Moving my speakers (Vandersteen Treo CTs) on their built-in spikes is difficult-to-dangerous by myself. I cut four pieces of 2 x 2 a bit longer than the speakers are wide , then slipped one under the front and one under the back of each speaker, as "skids." This lifts the spikes just clear of the floor and makes moving them quite a bit easier.
@john_g   What type of floor do you have your Treo CTs on?
Kalali, put a 2x2foot concrete paving slab from Home Depot under speakers.
I'll try the concrete slab idea and can put a few felt pads underneath to avoid scratching the wood floor. For now, I've put some isolation control pads - 3'x3' square 1' thick cork sandwiched between rubber, under the three ends of my 2Ci speaker metal stands and the bass is a little better controlled. Reinforcing the floor from basement ceiling is a good idea too. I'm guessing this is a common home construction style in northeast US or homes with a full basement.
I've been advised bass *always* sounds tighter and better defined when the speaker is on spikes, and there are two reasons for this.

1) Allowing some airflow under the bass of the speaker reduces floor coupling significantly, floor coupling adds bass (boundary effect) muddying the sound;

2) The pounds-per-square-inch for floor contact is like 1000 times higher with the spikes, giving much better coupling to the floor and preventing micro-motions of the entire speaker with bass energy, which causes IM distortion from the rest of the speaker;

All subtle, but, supposedly, instantly audible.

Also, speakers tend to look "kewler" with the spikes on :)
Yeah but it depends on what you are coupling the speaker to.

Also, live music does not necessary have tight bass nor does it image in a 3D fashion.

Depends on what you are after in your system.

Herbies's gliders are necessary .
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@gdhal 
I completely agree. Whether on a joist floor or a concrete slab, I've always seen improvement with spikes. 

As for live music, most of the live music I've experienced is being broadcast to a crowd numbering into the 5 figures over megawatt line arrays rigs. I'm not familiar with any HiFi rigs that will modulate your voice or injure you if misused. I don't think it's possible to replicate the modern live concert experience in a residential setting. 
@gdhal   ??  What is the basis for your quite categorical claim in favor of spiking into the listening room floor?  I am still spiking my speakers but they are being spiked into Herbie's gliders!  Speaker vibrations are not going down the spikes into the concrete slab under the padded carpet and back up the spikes into the speakers!  The speaker vibration is being dispersed from the gliders into the carpet.  Those vibrations dissipate.  I had my speakers spiked without the gliders and with, with is it.  The sound is cleaner.  Perhaps my situation is aided by the fact that the deep bass is reproduced by my stereo subs.  BTW... they are also decoupled!  After decoupling them I did have to increase the subs bass level a bit as I was no longer hearing the smeared resonant bass coming back up the spikes.  YMMV vary, but it can't hurt to try it and listen for yourself.
@hifiman5

In answer to your question, and to be honest, I never heard/read of Herbie’s gliders. So I cannot say for certain that in my own experience spiking directly to the floor would be favorable to the gliders. At face value, the gliders do seem like a viable option/improvement over directly spiking to the floor. That said, I still believe and can say with personal experience that spikes through carpet onto wooden floor are preferable to rubberized feet and the majority of the speaker base being in contact directly with and only with the carpet.

I did not read on their website http://herbiesaudiolab.net/spkrfeet.htm whether or not "gliders" is indicative of the fact that one can freely and easily move the speaker. Question to you... in your experience can spiked speakers on gliders be easily moved? (i.e. the gliders easily move along carpet with the speaker spiked to them)
I'm calling BS on the sound going down the spikes and coming back up to be heard in the speaker. The speed of sound through air sea level air is 340 m/s. Sound traveling through a steel rod parallel to it's axis is about 5000 m/s. The speed of sound perpendicular to it's axis is about 3000 m/s. There's no way you're hearing that. 
I'm sure decoupling speakers from the floor sounds "cleaner". You're not hearing the busy details being randomly disperses by a resonating cabinet. 
I think this (spike) discussion is all over the place because we are mixing the applications. I always thought the spikes were provided for people who place their speakers on carpet floor. This way the speakers are, 1) more stable, and 2) they cut through the carpet and bond with the floor underneath. Hardwood floors; depending on sitting on a concrete slab or on hanging wood base, pose a completely different set of requirements. My most recent experiment of isolating the speakers from wood floor using damping blocks seems to give the least distorted bass. I could literally feel the very low octave vibrations in my listening chair with them sitting directly (on metal stands) on the floor. Those who actually like to "feel" their music under their seats and might prefer a solid coupling of the speakers to the floor...
No.... but spell checking is........
@gdhal   I appreciate your question about the Herbie's gliders.  It is easier to move the spiked speakers with the spikes in the gliders.  I am still careful when doing so as I fear toppling over my speakers if moved carelessly.  

I just found my email correspondence with Robert Herbelin from Herbie's Audio Lab about the gliders.  Here it is:  
Placing a Cone/Spike Decoupling Glider underneath each cone and spike of the speakers would likely be beneficial, better isolating the speakers from the floor and any vibrations that would affect the speaker's performance. Many of our customers have found that the Gliders improve bass response and linearity, as well as other subtle sonic improvements throughout the audio spectrum. In addition, Gliders allow for easy repositioning of the speakers when needed. Between the three different options, titanium has the best potential to control the very high frequency, acute vibrations that tend to cause glare, though that potential isn't always realized; besides that, sonic differences between the three metals is subtle and system dependent. Due to the lower price, brass is the default recommendation; stainless steel is a good alternative to brass if you prefer the stainless steel aesthetic, and titanium has the greatest potential for controlling vibrations among the three (again, that potential isn't necessarily always realized and is somewhat system dependent).

@hifiman5 

Thanks. I'll give the gliders some consideration after I get my speakers set up in a week or so. I'm getting the Triton Reference and I will be spiking them to the floor (through carpet onto wood). Another concern I have with the gliders is that I imagine they raise the height of the speaker at least a half inch, maybe more. Not that a half inch is ultra critical, but many speaker manufacturers situate the tweeter at 41 inches (or thereabouts) because that is the typical ear level height in the seated PLP. Also, in my case I have some acoustic panels that were also placed with the height of the tweeter in mind. Still, the gliders do seem worthwhile and are not expensive (as audio gear goes) either.  
@gdhal  The Herbelins will let you return the gliders if they don't work for you.
For many years, as a machinist and field tech with the Westinghouse Corp. I spent a great deal of time analyzing and solving problems related to resonance and vibration. Wither to couple or to isolate, you are looking at two very different solutions to address a common problem. While it does make moving a heavy speaker a bit more difficult, using a good, well secured set of spikes can be very effective, as long as the floor itself is good and solid. Spikes help to solve three problems. They eliminate looseness and vibration between the speaker and floor; they couple the relative small mass of the speaker to the much greater mass of the floor and structure of the home which helps to reduce the chance resonance and they prevent your speakers from walking. Spikes is, by far, the cheapest and easiest way to solve most problems and get better sound from your speakers but if your floors are not solid or you live in an area of heavy traffic and are getting outside vibrations through your floors then isolation (usually much more expensive and difficult to achieve) is your best option. There are some very expensive products out there that may or may not work. Not only do you want to reduce or eliminate vibrations from outside sources, you do not want to cause instability and movement of the speaker itself. Try first, before spending a lot of money, a small, thin, sand bag or firm gel pack under each corner of the speaker. Sometimes the simplest and cheapest solution is the best.
Regards,
Jim
Post removed 
Re Herbie's gliders.

I now have them under my big Thiel 3.7 speakers.

My speaker have sat without spikes on a shag carpet over a solid wood floor, and the bass response (and general sound) has been so even and seemingly perfect I've never bothered with spikes.  (I remember trying spikes after a while of listening but they didn't do anything for the sound, and raised them higher than I wanted).

For various reasons I sometimes have to move my speakers around - even if to achieve different spatial or tonal balance effects as I desire.
I tried using some castor wheels under them - the shortest I could find - but it seemed to alter the sound to a bit too much upper bass richness (possibly, simply by raising the tweeter/woofer position higher, though it may also have changed some floor bounce characteristics).

Finally I discovered the Herbie's gliders and ordered the Giant Threaded Stud Glider.  They just screw in the place of spikes and only raise the speaker something like 1/2 inch, which when the speaker is sinking into carpet a bit anyway, barely makes a difference.   As to sonic benefits I thought *maybe* I heard some clearing up in the midrange...but I'm not remotely confident about that because it is far too arduous to take unscrew and screw in the gliders to compare.  What I can say is that they make moving the speakers a breeze, whether over carpet or wood floor (sometimes I have to move them between rooms).




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