Speaker Spike Philosophy

This is a learning exercise for me.

I am a mechanics practitioner by training and by occupation, so I understand Newton’s Laws and structural mechanics and have a fairly effective BS-detector.

THE FOLLOWING THINGS PUZZLE ME, and I would be glad to hear from those who believe they understand so long as the responses are based on your actual experience or on sound mechanical arguments (or are labeled as conjecture). These are independent questions/musings, so feel free to weigh in on whichever ones you want, but please list the number(s) to which you are responding:

  1. Everything I have read recently ("Ask Richard" (Vandersteen) from 15 Feb, 2020, for instance) seems to indicate that the reason for speaker spikes is to hold the speaker fixed against movement induced by the drivers. I have seen in the past other explanations, most employing some use of the term "isolation" implying that they decouple the speaker (from what?) Evidently the "what?" is a floor that is fixed and not moving (let’s assume concrete slab foundation). So to decouple the speaker from the floor, which is fixed, is to . . . allow it to move (or not) as it wishes, (presumably in response to its drivers). These two objectives, "fixity" and "isolation" appear to me to be diametrically opposed to one another. Is the supposed function of spikes to couple the speaker to "fixed ground" so they don’t move, or is it to provide mechanical isolation so that they can move (which I do not think spikes actually do)? Or, is it to somehow provide some sort of "acoustic isolation" having to do with having some free space under the speaker? Regarding the mechanical isolation idea, I saw a treatment of this here: https://ledgernote.com/blog/q-and-a/speaker-spikes/ that seemed plausible until I got to the sentence, "The tip of a sphere or cone is so tiny that no vibration with a long waveform and high amplitude can pass through it." If you have a spike that is dug into a floor, I believe it will be capable of passing exactly this type of waveform. I also was skeptical of the author’s distinction between *speaker stand* spikes (meant to couple) and *speaker* spikes (meant to isolate/decouple, flying in the face of Richard Vandersteen’s explanation). Perhaps I am missing something, but my BS-detector was starting to resonate.
  2. Spikes on the bottoms of stands that support bookshelf speakers. The spikes may keep the the base of the stand quite still, but the primary mode of motion of such speakers in the plane of driver motion will be to rock forward and backward, pivoting about the base of the stand, and the spikes will do nothing about this that is not already done by the stand base without spikes. I have a hard time seeing these spikes as providing any value other than, if used on carpet, to get down to the floor beneath and add real stability to an otherwise unstable arrangement. (This is not a sound quality issue, but a serviceability and safety issue, especially if little ones are about.)
  3. I have a hard time believing that massive floor standers made of thick MDF/HDF/etc. and heavy magnets can be pushed around a meaningful amount by any speaker driver, spikes or no. (Only Rigid-body modes are in view here--I am not talking about cabinet flexing modes, which spikes will do nothing about) "It’s a simple question of weight (mass) ratios." (a la Holy Grail) "An 8-ounce speaker cone cannot push around a 100/200-lb speaker" (by a meaningful amount, and yes, I know that the air pressure loading on the cone comes into play as well; I stand by my skepticism). And I am skeptical that the amount of pushing around that does occur will be affected meaningfully by spikes or lack thereof. Furthermore, for tower speakers, there are overturning modes of motion (rocking) created by the driver forces that are not at all affected by the presence of spikes (similar to Item 1 above).
  4. Let’s assume I am wrong (happens all the time), and the speaker does need to be held in place. The use of feet that protect hardwood floors from spikes (Linn Skeets, etc.) seems counterproductive toward this end. If the point of spikes is to anchor the speaker laterally (they certainly do not do so vertically), then putting something under the spikes that keep the spikes from digging in (i.e., doing their supposed job) appears to defeat the whole value proposition of spikes in the first place. I have been told how much easier it is to position speakers on hardwood floors with the Skeets in place, because the speakers can be moved much more easily. I was thinking to myself, "yes, this is self-evident, and you have just taken away any benefit of the spikes unless you remove the Skeets once the speakers are located."
  5. I am making new, thick, hard-rock maple bases for my AV 5140s (lovely speakers in every sense), and I will probably bolt them to the bottom of the speakers using the female threaded inserts already provided on the bottoms of the speakers, and I will probably put threaded inserts into the bottom of my bases so they can be used with the Linn-provided spikes, and I have already ordered Skeets (they were a not even a blip on the radar compared to the Akurate Exaktbox-i and Akurate Hub that were part of the same order), and I will end up doing whatever sounds best to me. Still, I am curious about the mechanics of it all...Interested to hear informed, reasoned, and reasonable responses.
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You are stuck in the weeds of book mentality. I will follow up on the ‘clogging of signal pathways’ when I get the time to do so.

See this is just plain wrong, or again communicated poorly. There is no need to seek out "earth’s ground", otherwise known as something with high mass. You simple convert it to heat .... the most common form, by far, of vibration control.

No! You are just plain wrong believing the most common form of vibration control delivers the greater results. We seek only the best!

A one cannot control vibration.

B you are exposing yourself to inexperience, in particular the hands-on variety.

You are now discovering the difference a direct coupled approach to vibration management delivers. Conversion to heat is sluggish - at least with the products we have auditioned that rely on this methodology.

We lose the life, the dynamic, the harmonic structures when we listen to products based on heat conversion. We hear softer and rounded tones where we seek the leading-edge dynamic and live experience.

In music there is a timeline. In musical reproduction there are time elements. Beginning with the voice or the musical instrument to the mic diaphragm, to the recording equipment to the playback to the room performance and finally the human ear, music reproduction quality is relative to high-speed.

Everything in the entire musical spectrum is related to speed. Too fast and the note goes sharp too slow, and the note is flat. In classical music, the musicians play a bit behind the note where in rock the musicians play slightly ahead of the note.

Speed in music governs all sounds. Speed defines the highly audible difference between springs and Points (not cheap spikes) and delivers to us the capabilities to produce that leading edge sound everyone seeks.

Example: if we used a different type of steel where the damping factors are greater, the absorption process in the material changes hence so does the performance of the Platform as well as if the brass geometry changes so does the velocity of resonance energy transfer, therefore altering the timing and speed associated with the result, a compressed dynamic performance with shortened decay qualities.

Heat conversion is a ‘slow go’ in comparison to direct coupling. We have tried it both ways and to our ears, high-speed is the audible difference maker.

Perhaps you would like to explain that to capacitor makers whose whole work is to eliminate electromechanical vibration that leads to ... distortion. But maybe you are just communicating poorly.

The reference is an analogy only.. Remember everyone reading is not - NOT an engineer!

However, if the capacitor makers were to examine their designs overall, they would never rely on another entity taking control over their potential performance. If they were to include a mechanical coupling device or mounting system that transfers energy and resonance buildup, their systems would perform at a higher rate of operational efficiency.

We have manufactured mechanical grounding mechanisms for all key parts in an amplifier such as the caps, transformers, outputs, power supplies and including the circuit itself. At full rated output power of 100 watts per channel the amp was quieter and near cold to the human touch. The heat sink became the entire chassis of the amp where we used our Points, not cheap spikes as the exit for resonance flow.

They say no one has reinvented the amplifier in over forty years - this result at the very least took that understanding to a new level of design. It was not the original sonic whatsoever, it was so much more of the original sonic plus more importantly, the musical character instilled by the designer did not change. You should hear what Live-Vibe Technology does for a valve design.

Huh? So is vibration good or bad now?

The initial vibration contains the dynamics and harmonics we seek as listeners. The problems begin when resonance created by vibrations forms on all surfaces large and small establishing component operational inefficiencies.

Thank you for your time,


Hey? Where did that previous post go? Am i answering a ghost writer?

I’ll give you an A for persistence 
" This new learning amazes me Sir Bedevere. Explain to me again how sheep’s bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes."