Speakers hung from ceiling on aircraft cable.


Opinion question:

We are thinking of suspending a pair of KEF LS50 speakers from the ceiling using aircraft cable. Do you think having them not rigidly mounted will diminish bass? Will the woofers cause the speakers to move?

davidclarke
David, I did this with a pair of open baffle speakers I made for a friend.
It worked wonderfully however I crossed to a subwoofer at 80 Hz. The
Speakers also weighed 20 lb each. 

The LS 50's are not very big and they do not go very low down. I suspect they will be OK. If you feel them move with bass you can always put a lead sheet on the top of the speaker to weigh it down. I would not use cable. You will have trouble getting the speakers to face in the right direction as the cable is torsionally compliant. Better to use chain it is much less torsionally compliant and will want to stay in one position.
When it's on the floor, it's not rigid, is it?

Ok let me ask this, what are you trying to do? or stop, or figure out?

They will swing, the longer a single tether the further they will swing.

2-4, not so much, actually can stabilize the cabinet, tip it, easy to vacuum under, ay..

Regards
Wow, deja vu all over again. Hanging your speakers from the ceining was a common practice when I worked for RogerSound Labs in the 1970s.

Short answer: bad idea. Why?
1. Imaging sucks. Do you enjoy the soundstage from ceiling mounted speakers? Cable suspension is worse.
2. Significant loss of bass response. Maybe not so much a problem with the LS-50s but why make a bad situation worse?
3. Loss of resale value. Trust me, no one wants to buy your speakers with holes drilled into them.
4. Reputational damage. Yours.

Surely a flat platform with a filament at each corner would work, kind of like a child's swing, only don't push it!  Blu-tack speaker to platform.
Newton's third law says no.

The drivers are motors and pushing back and forth against the cabinet. If they are not rigidly held in their 3 dimensional space relative to the listener you will introduce all sorts of artifacts.

In fact, even with stand mounted speakers, mass often helps to improve clarity and performance but your suggestion is even worse than a basic stand mount.
I wonder if there would be a correlation between people who tell you suspending speakers from cables is a bad idea and those that tell you to put your speakers on spring platforms?


In terms of losing bass, just remember that most concert speakers are suspended.


It would also do to research the relative weight of the cone+voice coil compared to the total speaker weight.


In terms of mass in cabinets, that typically improves rigidity.
When I was about 20 I had my speakers suspended with some hi test fishing line. It rawked dude! Probably not something that I’d do now.

It might actually sound okay. Worth a try, especially with some relatively small speakers like those.
You could try mounting them on a ceiling mount pole designed for TVs. Or something like that.
Yes.
Yes.
The only way to hear if the loss is acceptable is try it.
This is a practice used in baffleless dipoles for bass and midrange drivers,  where the drivers hang on a swing, however generally not suspended from the ceiling but a frame.

Doing without the baffle avoids vibrations transmitted to the panels. Of course this requires significant eq because of the 6 dB/octave slope before the dipole peak, which is where the drivers should be operated. I'm experimenting with this now.

Anyway, probably not doing much hanging boxed speakers in a swing.
If you have the right speakers yes. Mine are hanging fine. 15 year's now. There also inverted with springs, between the cables. Then you build soffits around the monitors.  There is a very good reason why very hi end recording studios (mount) there monitors in this fashion.  One is bass, two imaging, three is woofer bounce, from the floor. That is my experience.  :-)
I had a Mini Utopia speaker suspended from 4 piano wires behind a perforated drop screen in a multi purpose home theater for 5 years.
Worked fine crossed over at 50 HZ.
OK, I can't resist this....*s*

We've been to concerts where the speaker arrays weigh a lot more than a LS50, typically hauled up with chain hoists.  Obviously, whatever you hang X from needs to be able to cope with the weight.

I've had three bookshelf speakers, vertically aligned, per side hanging in my shop.  Each side weighs 'bout 60ish lbs., affixed together with 4 threaded rods with some blocking to basically 'clamp' them together. 
Nil vibration between them...and no holes either.

Suspension is chain, overrated for the weight involved; this is done in a fashion to allow the 'array' to be tilted forward about 10 degrees.
This is easily adjustable...if it's on the floor.  Not a fan of manipulating heavy objects in mid-air....

BTW, the speakers are motionless even with heavy bass lines...cones moving to and fro cancel out, but it's not a concert hall either.

If you're going to weight a speaker for stability, do it on the bottom. Top-heavy anything hung is not a good idea....

In a 'residential app', the occasional 'bump' needs to be considered. Do not stand up underneath them, nor walk into them.  High ceilings are preferable.

You do give up the floor effects on bass, but it works at the ceiling too.
And there's always the corners...

Have at it, J
....too much work to test the idea......I would think it best to leave it alone.
@stringreen, yes, one’s going to have to expend time, energy, and some $ to do so. In my situation, it made sense and got the drivers out of harms’ way....and idle fingers, too....;)

But the ’poor man’s line arrays' light up a 40’ x 24’w.x 14’h. space rather nicely. *L* Closest thing I’ve got to a reasonably ’uncluttered’ listening room.

Been considering hanging a pair of my Walsh omnis’ upside-down just to see what hath j wrought....;)
hmmm....Springs, no....Bungi cord, Yes. Ought to dampen any vibration.
I’ve a source for cord without hooks....

One has to think outside the box....Personally, I don't believe 'the box' exists....
In terms of losing bass, just remember that most concert speakers are suspended.
Mmm, some but not most. That's why JBL makes 18" bass drivers and stage managers use plenty of 'em.

Also remember that concert stages are usually higher than the audience. And "soundstaging" as we use the term in home audio is not a factor in concerts.

I can only offer my opinion, having tried almost every permutation of suspending speakers in rooms of all shapes and sizes: it's great if you are looking for lots of noise. But stereo imaging as most "audiophiles" would expect isn't possible. YMMV

Check Newton's Third Law.
He had your answer three hundred years ago.
Whatever happened to education?
So, different situation, but I "suspend" my surround-sound speakers from the 4 corners of the room.  I drill a small hole in the ceiling, push through a long carriage bolt with a large washer to hold it from the top.  Obviously you can add side speakers this way as well if you have a 7+ system.

I then use a small car hose clamp to hold the speaker to the bolt (there is a small clip area on the back of the speaker) and a nut from the bottom to hold the speaker and clamp in place tightly.

Oh, when suspending speakers, always have the woofer at the top.  Since mine are in corners, this obviously imitates corner positioning on the floor.  Also, high frequencies are short, so a slight tilt directs the tweeter towards the ears a bit and gives the bass a nice resonant corner.

Works great for home theater where quality of sound is not the same as serious listening. Anyway, not sure what you are trying to do, but this works quite well and we did it for customers back in the day for non-critical listening and for increasing floor space in the room by moving speakers up.

Cheers!
Never heard of this it is extremely weird.
If I tried suspending my speakers on cables from the ceiling my Wife would suspend me on cables with hooks on the ends!!
"Check Newton's Third Law"

Newton had Maganapans. 
Newton, Sounds like a biblical story that apple. I read some where some one mess the whole world up by eating a apple. Just saying. :-)
I did something similar with a pair of Klipsch La scalas in college.  We hung the tweeter and midrange from the ceiling..  While imaging might have suffered (i dont remember nor did i care) it was AWESOME!  It made the speakers sound much bigger than they were and were so much fun.  

Bass will be fine since these don't go that deep anyway.  

There's often too much credit given to "imaging" on here.  Sometimes you just want good sound and you're not always sitting in that one sweet spot.  I think they'll sound great.
Basically they will be "near field" monitors around my work desk.  I have a couple of powered KEF woofers too.  I think the LS50 are so massive compared to the driver there will be no issues.  Plus I cross them over at 100hz. 
Not only do people do this:
https://www.soundandvision.com/images/EBTB-Venus.jpg
but they even go out of their way to do something like this.
https://youtu.be/I0-xgJCOAy8
2left....Those Venus speakers look more like security cams to me....not that I'm paranoid, mind you....

(Matrix 'come hither' finger curl) C'mon, cupcakes...*nasty smile*

I've seen the 'cube in cube' suspended speaker DIY.  At least paint or 'grain' the pipes to cover the f'n labels, Chuckie....*damn*...lame....

I'd be more impressed if they were hypercubes....;)
Now...if both cabs and cubes were painted with Black 3.0.....👍
Many a pair of Bose 901s were suspended by 4 chains per from the ceiling. Much cooler than the pussified tulip stands of the day.
Funny now I quite like the tulips. 
Problem was the 901s still did not sound that great so after a few months I moved on to the Corner horns. They were not on chains.
Back in 1985-1987, I suspended my small Polk Monitor 4As. I used a finished wood base, with 3 brass eyescrews, just bigger than the speaker base. I used black nylon braid fishing line to a brass ring; brass chain to a ceiling hook into the ceiling joists. I had use lateral black line to keep from twisting.

it sounded VERY GOOD! I used a passive subwoofer. 

Imaging was first rate. A very open, spacious sound. 
@chorus...and a Good Thing that likely was. 👌

Re Newtons’ 3rd; his apple only fell down. Driver cones, back and forth.
Even with varying fq, there’s cancellation there. *s*

richopp, actually the imaging isn’t lost entirely, since it’s into a closed space vs. say, an outdoor venue. For some ’quiet’ evening work, it certainly exceeds the typ. ’job site boombox'....;)

Either a cd into the player or Spotify from the cell, the receiver with an old SAE 2 channel parametric into the ’arrays’...’pause’ for machine noise....

It may not be ’phile, but it’s not so bad...and spl is Not an issue. *G*
@jrwaudio....only if the hooks go to harnesses....his 'n hers....;) *L*

Not long after I first met spouse, she moved into an apt. that featured 2 h.d. eye lags into the ceiling....

We looked.
We looked @ each other.
We laughed...and said, 'nah'.
"It'll be some years before we're 'up' for That."

Still 'not there'...she's acrophobic, and I'm not a fan of moving targets...;)
I have done this with my Dolby Atmos height speakers and it works like a charm.
i used 1/16” SS cable with eyes screwed into cabinets and ceiling. Find the balance point, use 1 eye top of speaker and 2 at the bottom.
works great !
David you are right and you will be absolutely fine. I would do it with just one chain per speaker sized so the speakers hang at ear height.
Even if you did not cross out at 100 Hz you would be fine. The mass of the cone assembly is far less than the rest of the speaker. Imaging will be just as good as if they were on stands and because you are crossing out at 100 Hz distortion levels in the little woofer will drop considerably. It should make a wonderful office system, a lot better than the two Sonos speakers I use.  
I hung my huge Cerwin Vega speakers with 1/4" steel anchored to  beams (4 straps per speaker!) on my ceiling! Sounded great and solid! When I sold my house the new owner wanted them and I sold them! They are still hanging 35+ years!Cheers!
One advantage to hanging the speakers is the ability to spin them around while playing stuff to get that Leslie organ speaker tone...not necessarily useful, but doable.
i have 4 bose 901's hanging with a chain that is used to hang a ceiling lamp!
There was a local winery that was operating a barrel room inside a quonset hut and they had a pair of decent sized (I forget the model) Magnepans suspended in the air at one end by bifilar cables so the audiophile owners could listen while working in the hut.

Didn't actually sound half bad....
Why would you want to ??
wolf, hang ’em from a revised ceiling fan....

That way you don’t have to keep getting up and going from one to another....

Cabling? You’re on your own...*L*

Let me know what a Leslie sounds like played through them, though....