Sand or shot for speaker stands?

Does anyone out there have any experience with filling their speaker stands with either lead shot or sand? I have the B&W stands for the 805's and need to fill them immediately, and would rather get it right the first time. Muchos gracias amigos.
Hi Redkiwi, I set up the stands with the spikes underneath, and heard an immediate improvement. There is a little more air, less of a bloated bass, and slightly better imaging. The difference is definite, but not dramatic. It isn't awesome yet, but getting much closer.
Albert, that is most helpful and sure makes sense. I didn't think of the probability of the stand plus the speaker being top heavy, yet something was bugging me and now I know what it is. I will have to wait a few days in order to find a local store that sells shot, and I am looking forward to trying some version of your process. Thanks.
Bmp, I alternate. I pour shot, then sift just enough sand to fill voids that the pellets will not go into. Not every situation will lend itself to this way of addressing the problem, so I will give a lengthy description of a problem solver on a larger project. I have the Soundlab Ultimate Ones, and the construction is such, that the speaker frames are one quarter inch steel pipe (very pretty pipe!) and welded shut at the bottom to a flange that contains the power supply. In this situation, I did not want a "upside down pendulum," that is, a frame where the weight was heavier above the center line than below the center. I had canvas bags made, with Velcro closures, and fitted with brass grommets. At the bottom of the Soundlab frames (pipes) were bags with 100% lead. Then just above those were bags with 75% lead and 25% silica. Then 50% and 50% of each. At the very top of the speaker was 100% silica. I achieved a mix of lead and silica, not unlike you are asking about for a smaller stand. However, the Soundlab is 7 feet tall, and this was a way to control resonances with a predictable mix, where otherwise, it would have been out of control! The grommets I described, were tied through by a long nylon cord. This allowed me to drop each bag and remove it (if necessary) to achieve the mix I wanted. I know this is a long answer, but the idea is that each project may need to be addressed in a creative way to get the proper results. Larger projects could possibly benefit from the idea I came up with for my speaker frames. In my case, pouring directly into this 7 foot long frame made this project completely out of control. Some of you may encounter similar situations, and hope this helps.
Albert, When you mix the shot and the sand, do you put the shot in first and then the sand, or do you alternate with a little of each?
Redkiwi, I want to be clear that I am asking about spikes into the floor instead of rubber feet. The 805's have an option of suspending the speaker itself on a type of small spike or mounting it to the stand with 2 screws through the plate that the speaker sits on directly into the underside of the speaker itself, locking it into place. The stand is a bit wobbly, even with the sand, so I guess I will try the floor spikes. I think that B & W's stands are aluminum, with a steel base. It seems that the speaker have good transparency, but are not imaging that well yet. I don't know if it is speaker placement or the sand fill. I will try the spikes on Sun. afternoon and see if that helps. I am still breaking them in and these sound aspects may change. That was very interesting info regarding resonances, and it makes sense to me.
I reckon the spikes are best to support the speaker, particularly if you have loaded your stands, and this will probably get rid of the "closed in" sound. Another issue I didn't mention was the nature of the speaker cabinet. With very dead cabinets, or ones with a low resonance point - such as the birch ply used for some UK speakers, I have found that aluminium stands can be best ie. very light and rigid. With most speakers now using MDF however, steel stands with some damping is usually best. Albertporter knows this well - don't get sucked into thinking that any tweak gets rid of resonances, they just shift them around. Whether it is lead or sand, you are just shifting the resonance point. What you try to do is smooth the resonances so that they dispell their energy quickly and over a wide band. Steel stands get rid of their energy quickly but over a narrow band. Filling them you spread the band, but the speed is compromised. Filling them with poured lead would probably be a disaster. You can get back some of the speed by using the spikes to support the speakers. Sorry for the rambling nature of the post.
Sackrete Contractor Grade Fine at Home Depot is uniform and dry (they keep it inside unlike the kiddie sand) and slides right thru a flunnel ~ $4 for 50lbs. My two-column targets took 20 lbs. each and no regrets. Don't forget to stick your 805's to the top plates lest you knock them off. Has anyone tried 90 weight gear oil :-)
Hi Guys, Thanks for all your help and suggestions. I will definitely try the #9 shot (thanks Garfish), and the silica sand, with a mask and a big pan (thanks Albert). Unfortunately, shot seems to be hard to locate in NYC, so I have temporarily put "playground" sand in my B&W stands. Anybody know where I can get lead shot in my area? I am just breaking in my new B&W 805's and if you will forgive the pun, they seem to sound a little "drier" now that the stands have been filled.(Redkiwi)Thanks for making me aware of the possible liabilities. The sound does seem a little bit more closed in, but it is early in the a.m. and volume is low and the speakers need to be placed more precicely, so I will check into it later in the day. My room is 20 X 12, and my floors are wood, which "gives" a little, with an 8 X 10 rug and the usual assortment of furnishings. Do you think I should use the spikes instead of the rubber stickies on the bottom of my stands to counteract an uneven and slightly "floppy" floor?
I am going to experiment with a hot lead pour- only 'cause I have access to a factory that produces and ships lead in all forms aywhere around the world (and they said they can do it). They will mix it with ~ 3% antimony (an impurity), otherwise the lead will 'shrink' too much inside the stands. You can't beat the density using this method!!- But who knows, perhaps I will get to the factory, and end up with lead shot like everyone else. Oh well, I thought it was a cool idea! If I do actually do it, I'll try and remember to let you know how it turns out. By the way- here's an interesting fact- pure lead weighs .4092 lbs/cubic inch. Goood luck!! Sutts
All of the comments confirm my personal experience. I do mix sand with the #7 or #9 lead shot for fill. However, the type of sand makes a big difference. I find that silica sand, used for sandblasting is the best. The silica sand used for this purpose must be completely free from every possible contamination, and its sharp, but odd shape packs in with the lead to form a very dense package for damping. Redkiwi is correct in stating that the results may vary. Everything done to your system that affects resonances, can go either way. It greatly depends on your environment, the audio equipment, and even the brand and design of the stand. In short, this is certainly worth experimenting with, for the potential gain to be had for such a small investment. One last thing, I suggest you get a disposable pan from an auto supply place, the type used for do it yourself oil changes. Be sure to wear a disposable mask and fill the stands (or whatever) over the disposable pan. If the tiny lead pellets spill on your floor, wether carpeted or hard, you will regret it!
Hi Bmp; Lead is MUCH heavier and therefore better. Orb's suggestion to fill lead voids with sand is good but messy. If you use small, eg #9 lead shot, there is not much room for sand. Using shot did wonders for my Vand. 2Ces several years ago. Cheers, Craig
Lead shot on its own is less successful that mixing it with a bit of sand, but the difference is subtle. Be careful to listen before and after as it is not a given that you will prefer the sound with your stands loaded. The sound can smooth out, the noise floor reduce and apparent bass extension improve. Equally the sound can become closed in and sluggish. How come? It depends on a variety of things, one of which is the floppiness or otherwise of your floor. For example a very floppy floor is best mated with light and rigid supports, whereas a rigid floor can work best with heavily damped supports.
I use a combination of both. I have Target R4 stands and use a bag of leadshot in each and top them up with sand.
Lead shot cost 15-18$ 25lbs bag, and you'll need 2. Around 40$ and is well worth it.