I would bet a fair bit of money that your carpet is over a suspended hardwood floor or plywood subfloor. Forget about the spikes, buy two pieces of Laminated or "Security" glass with a slightly larger footprint than your speakers, placing your speakers on top of the glass, preferably with vibrapods or Herbie's "Tenderfeet" between the glass and the speakers. You will be happy.
"I thought that spiked feet always improved the sound."
Never is there an always.
Thanks, you are correct on the suspended hardwood floor.
What makes this happen? The loose floor?
You can also try repositioning them "with" the spikes.
As Pmkalby points out, never is there an always. Your experience mirrors mine exactly, and from the reading I've done here and on Audioasylum, a fair number of people with floorstanders on suspended floors. Spiking the speaker to such a floor, as opposed to decoupling it, results in a significant degradation of the sound in my opinion. With the speaker spiked to such a floor, you can actually place your hand on top of it while playing and feel a ton of "vibration", for lack of a better word, that simply is not there with the speaker decoupled from the floor with something like vibrapods. And the sound with spikes, as you noted, can be pretty grim. It's as though all the flow and life has been sucked out of the music, with the bass being thinned out, the midrange being pushed forward and the highs being overly emphasized. You will probably have many suggestions here with respect to placing concrete pavers, or granite slabs, etc. under the speaker and then spiking the speaker to those. That may work as well, but what I like about the approach I've outlined above is that the laminated glass is 1) very thin so that it does not raise the speaker and the drivers into a very high position that may do more harm than good 2) it is, because of its construction quite inert and acoustically dead and 3) it is cosmetically unobtrusive.
I am currently using vibrapods between the glass and the speakers, but am tempted to try the Herbie's product because of very good performance from another one of his products. It may be worthwile to go with some other type of footer as well, but what I've described is fairly inexpensive and sounds quite good. I'm pretty cheap.
Yea, spiking a speaker couples it to the floor pretty effectively. Whether it's a good idea depends on what you're coupling it to, though. If you're spiking it to something solid, then it will help to stabilize the whole enclosure and can improve the sound by, in my layman's understanding, effectively adding to the inert mass of the enclosure. If, however, you couple to enclosure to a less inert surface (such as a suspended, wooden floor), you are really only expanding the resonating surfaces that can muddy or otherwise affect the sound. Spiking a speaker to a less-than-solid and inert surface is always a crap shoot. Pretty simple to diagnose, though -- if it doesn't sound right, it's probably not a great idea.
There seem to be two basic approaches when straight spiking doesn't work out. You could either seek to decouple the speaker from the uncooperative floor (air bladders, vibra pods, various flavors of isolation shelving, and countless other products or homebrews) or put something solid and massive under the speaker and couple it to that (ye old slab of granite, e.g.). Then, of course, you could always mix and match the two, such as when you hear about folks putting a slab of concrete on a bicycle innertube and then putting the speaker on that. Folks'll argue over what works best but, depending on their gear and circumstances, they're probably all right. I sincerely doubt there's any single cure-all, but I'm sure, in any case, that spikes aint it. Assuming you think it's fun to try new stuff, then anything that sounds like it's worth a go probably is. Have fun and best of luck.
Thanks everybody. I have taken off the spikes and may try some of your suggestions. Keep the ideas coming.
Same worse bass response with spikes on base of 30" metal stands with two way monitors. Low cut pile carpet over a hard floor. Lost the deep bass with spikes attached. Sounded best with them removed and metal bases sunk into the carpet worked just fine. Though the speakers move some when playing loud, the bass response gained outweighs the unneeded anchoring the spikes give. Again, the ears are the judge here and not the theory.
It is possible that the additional height that the speaker is raised off the floor by the spikes may have reduced the bass reinforcement that is normally provided by the floor. This could have reduced the bass frequencies by 3db due to the radiation into 1/2 space, instead of 3/4 space. Placing a small plate over the open space between the bottom of the speaker and the floor may restore that boundary reinforcement, and thus the bass response. It is worth a try.
The spikes generally cause the speaker to be more steady, and improves sound by reducing doppler that is caused by minor speaker rocking on an unsteady base. They can also provide a vibration evacuation path. But if the floor is very unsteady, then this may be a problem.
I agree that some experimentation is in order to find the best result in you situation. I think it is easy to place a temporary plate over the gap between floor and speaker that is created by the spikes raising the speakers off the floor. It just might do the trick for you. Boundary reinforcement is a real effect, and it can be compromised by even a couple of inches gap.
Another approach is to use set of three Aurios MIB ($100 used on Audiogon) to float each speaker on a smooth level surface of marble or granite resting on the carpet. One or two Home Depot floor tiles provide enough surface area for one speaker. Have not compared to the much less expensive Herbie's tenderfeet on laminated glass mentioned by Hdm in the lead off response to your inquiry. Aurios can only be used if the speaker wires are held up so that they do not pull on the speaker to be floated. Results with my big transmission line speakers were favorable as the bass became more clearly defined, and seemed to extend to lower frequency cleanly.
Your speaker was probably light in the bass to begin with. You became accustomed to the sound WITHOUT the spikes. Then when you put them in, the sound was different, that is less bass. Oftentimes, the floor acts as a bass addition, especially if the floor joists are running in the direction of the sound (read not perpendicular, which would break up the flow of the sound)allowing for more bass. The first rule of audio is, there are no rules. What works for Billy Bob, may not work for you, your tastes, and more important your environment. Place the speakers where they are acceptable to the wife, and sound the best to you. That will keep the peace and sonically give you the best result.
Spikes are intended to eliminate (ameliorate) the rocking of the speaker, as well as to minimize the amusical sound coming from the bottom of the speaker, when it sits directly on the carpet. I have experienced many occassions in which I liked the sound better, sans spikes. Don't let it worry you. Just do what works best.
PS If you want a private consultation you may email me for a more detailed explanation. I traveled the country as Director of Sales for a speaker manufacturer,and have 20 years in the industry, so my input may help. Although the group here seems to be doing a pretty good job already.
Wow, I am glad I found this thread today. After moving my Tekton 6.5t monitors from the top of my low and wide wooden stereo cabinet to older sound organisation 25" metal speaker stands (usually sold to pair with Linn Tukans), I was getting a much bigger sound stage and imaging but also a level of harshness and edgyness. The sound organisation stands have some very aggressive floor spikes and after removing them, I am very happy. The edgyness and harshness is gone but the great imaging and soundstage remained. I also think I got a little more bass out of the removal. I have the stand bases weighted down and hope to fill the hollow columns very soon. The Tektons are both on spikes and also screwed into the top platform of the stands since I do not want my cat to tip them off. I was thinking of adding some blue tack / fun tack between the stand platforms and the bottom of the Tektons, but I am very very pleases with the results I have now. Who knew that the floor spikes could have such an impact?
Also, interesting is that the sound is different depending on the spikes you use.
My speakers are on a carpeted concrete basement floor.
The original spikes were replaced with updated ones from the manufacturer, and they did make for an improvement.
But I felt like experimenting some more, so I used some BDR cones in place of the spikes, and things improved again.
Then I tilted the speaker foward slightly by placing some thin ceramic tiles under the rear two cones of each speaker.
Now for the first time in over two years of trial, error and frustration,am I getting the snapped into focus I have read about with my speakers.
It may sound a bit extreme, but if you have the ability to place supports under the floor (like steel jack posts directly under the joists), you may hear significant improvements. I've done this in a couple of installations, and the improvement was substantial... helped with turntable vibration as well. On older houses especially, the floors really tend to bounce!
I just moved my turntable to a wall bracket mount and has no skips / bounce when the kids scamper by.