I have Harbeth SLH5 Plus Anniversary speakers with Skylan 4 post stands. Currently using the Q-Bricks that came with the stands. Wondering if anyone has tried ISO Pucks between the SLH5 (or any Harbeth speaker) and Skylan stands. What differences in sound, if any, did you notice.
I've asked similar questions in the past, and there hasn't been a clear answer or any real unanimity. (When is there?)
An interesting broader question is whether some kind of treatment between stand and floor is more important than between speaker and stand. I saw a review of a Spendor Classic 1/2 where they'd gone the whole hog with Isoacoustics Gaias on the feet of the stand.
There's lots of things like those pucks that will work to improve sound. Then there's things like springs that work a whole lot better. With springs you can go two ways: cheap and pretty good, or expensive and amazingly good.
Cheap and pretty good are Nobsound, only $30 for a set of four. These replaced BDR Cones and Round Things that cost ten times as much, and the BDR was the best of all the cone/spike/stiff type footers. With Nobsound you will hear improved imaging, greater detail with less glare, blacker backgrounds and more depth. Bass will be greatly improved, and a lot less of that bass energy will go into the floor so less sound transmission to other rooms and especially less to your turntable.
With Townshend you could put Pods between your stand and the speaker, or put the whole thing on Podiums. John Hannant at Townshend can help you figure out which way to go with that. With either of these you will hear the same improvements as Nobsound, only with greatly improved bass that is much tighter and more smooth and accurate, and a huge improvement in the tone and timbre of individual instruments. A guitar sounds so much more like a guitar, and not only that but the type of guitar, type of strings on the guitar, and if its a pick or fingers plucking the strings. Just takes everything springs do and ups the game with a whole lot more refinement. They do this by being really well engineered with just the right amount of damping in proportion to being freely suspended.
Look at my system. https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8367 I am big on vibration control. Have been for 30 years. Have tried a whole lot of stuff. These are the two best options, and I use both in my system. (Need to update pics, sorry! Townshend Pods are now under turntable and amp. Nobsound and other springs everywhere else.)
@ericsch Keep an open mind. Certain posters on here have an approach that one might describe as one size (solution) fits all. Speakers--Moab; amplifier--Raven; cables--Synergistic; and so on and so forth. You get the idea. Although there is some true eccentricity over on the Harbeth Users Group site, there are also a couple of very useful threads where owners report on all kinds of solutions for the speaker/stand interface.
Not to particularly defend MC, but for one to suggest a possible solution that may work (or won't work) it is alway's only useful if the suggestor' advises from personal experience. MC covered that prerequisite.
This is not a specific answer to your question regarding ISO pucks but more about my experience with stands for my Harbeth SHL5 models, the SHL5, SHL5 30th Anniversary and the SHL5+. I owned the various models for about 10 years. I first used the Skylan stands and thought they were OK but nothing special. I thought they produced muddy bass and mid-bass. I then went to the Something Solid XF stands which were a major improvement across the board.
After about 2 years I then moved on to the ridiculously expensive TonTrager’s at the suggestion of the importer. These stands bring out the best of the SHL5+ for the whole spectrum.This is just my opinion and YMMV. I have recently sold my Harbeth’s and moved on to Vandersteen Treo CT’s.
You may want to look at the Harbeth pages on Facebook as they have had many discussions on stands and footers for the Harbeth’s.
I've always preferred a hard interface between Harbeths and the stands, especially Skylans. I used 3 or 4 casino chips and I thought the sound was more open. But you have to try different things and see what works. All dependent on your room and sonic preferences.
No experience with either harbeth or skylan but I always prefer to decouple the speakers from the stands. Iso acoustics work well.
A fun and informative test is to play some music fairly loud, with heavy bass or kick drums, and touch the speaker stand... is it vibrating? Now put your speakers on isoacoustics and repeat. The stand should not be vibrating at all. Its good to fill the stands with play sand or lead shot if possible. I’ve been able to fill pretty much every rack and stand I’ve come across. Sometimes you have to get creative and cap off certain areas or use tiny screw holes to fill stands (which is time consuming and tedious but worth it).
Anyhow good luck! Iso acoustics are great products in my oppinion.
When I had the Harbeth C7, I used Stillpoints Ultra SS between the speaker and my Sound Anchor stands. They were extremely effective. The only drawbacks are that they are expensive and it's easy to knock the speaker off the stand if you (or your kids/partner/dog/cat) bump it.
I am locked in with Skylan stands. I had Noel make mine two inches shorter than their standard height for the SHL5's. I'm glad I did now, as adding isolation increases the height a little bit and I am short.
I don’t have experience with the Harbeth but I’m using the same stands with my Omega Super Alnico Monitors. Given the weight of the speakers, I picked the ISO-Puck Minis to use between the speakers and the stands and I’m happy with the results. Part of it could be due to the extra ~1" height increase but I think they helped a little bit with the bass/midbass texture. I thought they were worth the $100 outlay. By the way, I have my stands filled with rice and that also helped with the overall sound quality. If you have the speakers/stands on suspending wood floor, I suggest using the provided spikes but use something like Herbies cone/spike Puckies or Gliders, or something similar to decouple the unit from the floor. In my experience the combination of the ISO Pucks, mass loading of the stands, and decoupling from wood floor made a noticeable improvement in the sound quality. Your experience might be different given a different set of speakers.
I fell into the Skylan trap with my old C7es-3's. Stay away from the Harbeth forum when it comes to recommendations on things like this (seriously). I now have the Super HL5 Plus and I have learned a lot about stands for Harbeth speakers. Put those stands up for sale and stop throwing your money at them. Your speakers need a stand with an open bottom. I would recommend you go to resonantwoods.com and order a pair of Linear II stands which are made for your speakers. You won't ever ask a question about stands again for your Harbeths. I have no affiliation with this company, I've never called them, written them a letter or know where they're from. My Harbeth dealer told me about them and I liked the looks of them and was hopeful that the bottom of the stand being open would make a difference. I promise you, it will solve all your problems. I know Alan told you they sound great sitting on atop a pile of books. Alan is wrong and anyone on the forum telling people they love their Skylan stands has no idea how good their speakers could actually sound if they just had them on a stand with an open bottom.
The LInear II stands look very nice and expensive. At this point, I really don't want to change stands. The Skylans are solid and well built. The wife would not be happy, "Honey guess what, I'm getting new speaker stands." "Why?" " Well, you see it's the bottom part......"
Good luck. When you get sick of it refer back to my post. I spent two years dealing with those stands. You can have all my q bricks, Herbie's, ISO pucks, cat litter, lead shot and all the other baloney that's been thrown out there. My wife was mad that I bought the speakers because they sounded so bad. Now she loves them.
Before I got the SHL5's, I had the C7es-3's, also on Sklyan stands. It's hard to imagine the C7's sounding bad under almost any scenario. I gave the C7's to my son and they still sound great in their new home.
@ericsch I thought that as well until I got rid of the Skylans. I'm not sure why anyone would question why a thin walled speaker would not sound better if the top the stand it sat upon was open. Do people consider the bottom of the speaker different than the top or sides? Clearly you would assume the speaker would sound different with a stack of books sitting on top of them or the sides clamped together with a wood clamp or pressure applied evenly to the sides of the cabinet.