Just how much do speakers suppose to vibrate?


I have a pair of Totem Staff speakers and when I play music with some bass content I can feel the top of the speakers vibrating to some degree. I like the sound of the speakers and I just wonder if the speakers suppose to vibrate this way. I do not play music very loud (around 85 dB peaks) and yes I tried stuffing the lower chamber with sand, but I did not like the result. Also I tried putting some iron weights over the top of the speakers and the vibrations lessen about half (this according with a vibrometer app for android). According to the vibrometer the vibrations go as high as  IV in the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale. Is this level of vibrations normal for this speakers? Also I should mention that the speakers are spiked directly to the floor which is compose of tiles over concrete.
tiofelon
In a well treated room, the sides and rear aren't as important as the doppler effect of the speaker itself actually moving back and forth. Adding weights is the best thing you can do. :)

But it only matters if you can hear it.

Best,


Erik
Try to put 10-15 pounds iron weight in the lower chamber instead of sand. Also, putting speakers on spiked wooden platform should be beneficial. Not all vibration is bad, you want to 'tune' not deaden. This I am not sure of, but it's possible that puting one half inch Walker Audio resonance control disc on each speaker would do good, one inch disc would probably be too much but hard to know without trying.
I remember the funny scene from the movie "Private Parts" when Howard asked ladies to sit down on their subwoofer when he was humming very low into his studio microphone LOL.
You have these right?

"TOTEM BEAK

research and development

The “Beak” was developed to control parasitic vibrations that occur on top of a speaker cabinet. These resonances actually interfere with speaker performance, specifically the waveform symmetry emitted by tweeters.

Implementing a Beak on any speaker can actually control and provide a better interaction between speaker, tweeter and housing.

Careful thought and research were poured into the development of the Beak. Its precisely defined contour was carefully designed; if any of its properties were altered, it would impact the flux created within and render the unit ineffective.

the shape

The “Beak” is milled in a prescribed form, which controls resonance and directs emanation. These distortions occur within a strict range.

The Beak can actually channel common distortion and move it through its cavity to the discharge point on top, hence its shape and name.

As the beak on a bird or whale channels sound, this Beak channels the negative effects of dynamic speaker housings.

totemacoustic.com 10

mass and detail

The mass of the Beak is crucial to proper holography and image integration. In addition to the proper size and curve ratio, tests were done to determine the texture on the surface of the Beak. The spacing of the micro ribs increases from the bottom part to the peak. In fact, the line structure (micro ribs) controls the velocity at which the Beak dissipates distortion, actually helping the tweeter extend its range. This surface texture actually helps alter frequency and phase, allowing you to lock in a proper height and cor- rect three-dimensional image.

placement

The placement of the Totem Acoustic “Beak” on a smaller speaker is usually towards the outer front corner of a speaker pair. If one looks at the top of the “Arro” (our smallest surface area speaker), the placements of the Beaks are right up front toward the outside. Other small speakers benefit from approximately the same arrangements. On larger speakers or on units with top mounted tweeters, a proper location must be derived. Experimentation is the key to determining the proper location.

specs

The high frequency difference when using the “Beak” is measurable and quite apparent. The tweeter generally has better linearity in the 8 kHz to 20 kHz range. Therefore, better staging and imaging is evident. At the crucial crossover point, frequency dips both on and off axis can be alleviated by as much as 1.5 dB. Outcome: better harmony between woofer and tweeter, resulting in enhanced speed, impact and transients."

Also, mass loading with lead shot instead of sand is another recommended option according to the manual. The higher density might help. Cheers,

Spencer


Thanks Spenser for bringing up Beak topic.

Beak indeed is a cool Totem tweak that works magic over their small foot-print speakers including Totem Forest. I also found that it does hefty on adjusting the image symmetry and can be played around. Not necessary position of beaks should be symmetrical per each speaker. 

Well, I have couple of these I don't need. They don't really work on my Aerial 10t giants simply because the surface there isn't flat. Beak works best when upright. I know that it's not appropriate, but would entertain personal messages if anyone interested.


    check out starsound and talk to robert.I use all his stuff ,let it vibrate just the right way ..imho
Try Symposium Super+ bases with or without spikes(this depends on the floor underneath)they will give better imaging,stage,bass quality and more information retrieval.Not cheap but well worth the money.
Every speaker cabinet, indeed everything, vibrates at some frequency.  Speaker designers create cabinets which can move the vibrations to different areas of the spectrum to contour the sound to their idea of what it should be.  Companies like Wilson use heavy cabinets, and Harbeth uses much thinner ones.  In short, I would not think about whether the cabinet vibrates if you like the sound.  Beaks or weights on the speaker will change the resonant frequency, which may or may not be to your liking.  I really think it's a matter of choosing a speaker you like and listening - don't obsess over the design.  At least that's what I think. 
It’s fine and dandy to let the vibrations and flow and look the other way, but speaker cabinet vibrations that are directed to the floor should be minimized to prevent or minimize what’s generally called acoustic feedback and to reduce the effect of those vibrations on internal wiring and electronic crossover elements as well as the speaker cable connectors, not to mention reducing the effectiveness of the various drivers. The trick is to damp vibrations without over-damping as well as isolate the floor from the speakers.

If the speakers are vibrating due to interaction with the floor, as is usually the case with suspended plywood floors found in most modern home upper levels, then its often a good idea to try to isolate the speakers from the floor better by using isolation stands or platforms of some sort. The bad effects of floor interaction and resulting vibrations transmitted to the floor and then the room is muddied less articulate bass that also obscures detail in the mid-range compared to otherwise.

Vibrations detected from the cabinet may also well be a symptom of this and not the root cause of any resulting sound issues.

Many good speaker isolation products out there. Main thing is to find the one that fits your speakers and needs best.

As an example I use Isoacoustics brand isolation stands under my smaller monitors and Auralex Subdude platforms under my floor standers. Both cost a mere $100 or so a pair to try and are similarly effective in greatly  cleaning up the sound overall when needed.





mapman
13,599 posts
08-18-2016 4:53pm
"If the speakers are vibrating due to interaction with the floor, as is usually the case with suspended plywood floors found in most modern home upper levels, then its often a good idea to try to isolate the speakers from the floor better by using isolation stands or platforms of some sort. The bad effects of floor interaction and resulting vibrations transmitted to the floor and then the room is muddied less articulate bass that also obscures detail in the mid-range compared to otherwise.

Vibrations detected from the cabinet may also well be a symptom of this and not the root cause of any resulting sound issues.

Many good speaker isolation products out there. Main thing is to find the one that fits your speakers and needs best.

As an example I use Isoacoustics brand isolation stands under my smaller monitors and Auralex Subdude platforms under my floor standers. Both cost a mere $100 or so a pair to try and are similarly effective in greatly cleaning up the sound overall when needed."

Mapman, from the Aurelex website: "

• Dramatically reduces structural vibrations through walls, floors & ceilings

Thus, the problem is reducing the vibrations from the speakers TO the floor not the vibrations FROM the floor to the speaker. The low frequency seismic vibrations we’re talking about when we think of structural vibrations are generally in the range 0-20 Hz - well below the frequency response of virtually all hi end speakers. However, the structural vibrations the speakers produce exacerbate the acoustic feedback situation for all front end complements.

Cheers

No vibrating allowed!

If they sound good to you, that's all that matters. If you're curious and motivated, you've gotten some good suggestions. 

I've tried different tips for isolating components, some improved clarity and others sounded different- not neccessarilly better. 

I'd just let em rip.

Regards

Yes of course it’s the speakers that are the source of vibration. That’s what dynamic speaker drivers do. Who said anything about seismic waves? Not me.

Speaker interacts with floor and waves propagate through the floor. Anything in contact with the floor is vibrating to some extent from there including the entire speaker not just the drivers which are the true source.

If the floor is massive and rigid like a concrete foundation for example the waves produced by the speaker driver movement is not likely to make the floor vibrate so likely not a real issue that case.
There are varying design philosophies on the issue whether a speaker should resonate to quickly disperse energy or be completely inert. As sbank mentioned above Totem sells a product to reduce vibration and by the marketing they would fall into the second camp. Why you had poor results with sand fill could be a matter of altering the cabinet geometry or of Totem designing the speakers with that resonance in mind(the beak only focuses on the top of the speaker.)

I put the 6" drivers from my vibrating B&W DM 14's in my B&W Matric cabinets, ad they sound much cleaner with the wine rack innards to damp the vibration. I put 803 drivers in the DM 14 cabinets and they got muddy.

Reversed for good.

The wave energy from the back of the drivers can not be destroyed. An example of how this will affect the sound…..If the cabinet has an area that is 100 times larger then the driver then if it vibrates at only 100th as much the sound coming from the cabinet will be equal to the sound from the front of the driver. 



Weights may or may not work. The best outcome would be to absorb those vibrations so the whole room isn't affected. Since good speakers, or the best speakers cabinets use composite cabinet walls, thus combining the beneficial effects of two different materials, you might try different materials to place on top of your cabinets. A good example of this would be to ping  a wine glass. When is resonating simply place your finger on one edge. It stops pretty quickly. Sand bags or even a small bag of a grain like quinoa just to test things out. Heavy weights are not likely to be good absorbers rather they might make that energy move to the front panel and worse yet out through the front of your driver, a disaster that few designers consider. 

Perhaps just a little off the original topic but most speakers are stuffed with way too much fiberglass stuffing. Performance will be considerably improved by removing most of the stuffing. Let the speakers breathe.

Whether you add mass to the speaker, or clamp its sides, or change the platform/stand the speaker is sitting on, or change the way the speaker couples to the floor, you are altering the tuning.  Whether this is good or bad really is a matter of taste, so experimentation is the only way to find out what would be beneficial. 

There are a number of speakers that, by design, have thin walls that vibrate quite a bit.  They are designed to rapidly dissipate vibrational energy instead of storing and releasing energy more slowly (which is what thick, heavy walls tend to do).  Examples would be Spendor classic speakers and Harbeth speakers.  I recently heard the Harbeth 40.2 and I thought that this is a pretty good speaker, so that technique does work.

The more massive a body the lower it's resonance. The lower frequencies are the more difficult they are to deal with. 

geoffkait has a good point that many speakers are over dampened. Some very expensive are way too massive.