The best thing to fill stands with is lead shot; but it's expensive.
I filled the bottoms of my Target stands with 20lbs. of lead shot (20lbs. is not much shot, but it makes a huge difference IMO).
I filled the rest of the stand with playground sand.
I've read about people using kitty litter, I think that is ridiculous. You want to make the stands inert to vibration, and lead is pretty darn inert.
I used sand on my Skylan stands ( 20" high 4 post ) filled aprox 2/3..I used construction sand ( in tubular bags )...Its a larger sized sand and works great..The real trick is to not over fill...You can over do it..I found 60-70% worked best for me...You can try 50% and always ad more if you need to......I also found that using the Big Fat Dots ( or similar ) for transition between stand and speakers works well...
Why is kitty litter "ridiculous?"
I believe that Noel at Skylan recommends clay kitty litter. Try calling him and asking; he's a great guy and easy to deal with.
I used a combination of lead shot and playground sand in my Target stands, and secured my Dyn. 1.3SE's with the Elmer's version of blue-tak. It worked great.... a very heavy and secure way to set up monitors. I've since moved on to floorstanders, but would use this same set up if/when I go back to monitors some day.
Speaking of monitors.... How do you like your Super HL5's, and what are you driving them with (amp & pre)? I've always been intrigued by them.
Excellent question, I just finished my own 4-pillar stands very similar to Skylans, except my posts are 3" round instead of square pvc and 26" high.
I'm filling mine with #9 Lead Shot on the very bottoms, (about 15-20%) then finishing with Silica Sand (to approx. 70% height of the posts) to prevent top heaviness.
Someone in the industry who I respect a great deal, but don't have permission to quote so I won't use his name, thinks very highly of Star Sound Technologies' Micro-Bearing conductive steel. Someone other than the folks at Star Sound, I should add!
I speculate that a poor man's alternative might be uncoated small-grain aquarium gravel (some aquarium gravels have a plastic coating, which I think would go counter to the philosophy of the Star Sound steel fill).
Thanks everyone. Sure is a multitude of opinions here!
I haven't set them up yet (no stands yet), but I'll report soon.
Quick comments on SHL5s (2007 30th anniversary edition with upgrade OFC internal wiring) on the floor...
Outstanding overall speaker. No offending characteristics.
No longer have to segregate my CDs based on how listenable they are--all are musical. Very nice vocals. Not state-of-the-art imaging in any direction but still has images in a nice 3D space with natural size sounds. A nice balance between fullness and image-boundary conditions. Reminds me very much of Sennheiser 650s (with a great headphone amp) but with better definition and detail. Silky and not abrasive at all. No screeching, grain, or hash or buzziness. Bass is solid and full but not boomy, a bit muddy on the floor, but really excellent on temporary tables I tried for a while. Overall, not nearly as tonally or spatially detailed as former Kharma 3.2s or Wilson WP6s,
but none of the pain from overexposure either that led me away from these. More transparent and better soundstaging than former Aerial 10Ts I had, without the occasional overrought bass or rare piercing lower treble. But, like Aerials, I can sit for long periods with zero fatigue.
Very balanced sound from top to bottom. Deep bass or sparkling highs only hinted at, but enough to be satisfying.
Sounds better with my single-wire Cardas Golden Ref speaker cable on the upper posts, despite Harbeths recommendations. Sounds better using EMM DCC2-SE's preamp
rather than separate preamps I have (Mac C46 or Jeff Rowland Capri). I use Stelth Indra ICs for all. (Actually, only one pair used for DCC2 to Edge NL12.1 amp.) I also use a Hydra 8 to plug in sources, and plug the amp right into the wall. The amp really grips the bass on the Harbeths well and makes it tight and formidable, but never abusive.
Again, I can listen to any disk with no fear, and that is so extremely valuable to me. What a sense of power that my system isn't dictating my musical tastes or moods. But, nonetheless,
SACDs sound extrordinary, with real focus and drive, but still relaxing, so I know the Harbeths do reflect the benefits of good upsteam equipment.
So, yes, I do miss the live, totally natural, liquid, you-are there sense you get with more sophisticated speakers with great recordings, but I need to live in the real world, too. If I only listened to classical, I would have stayed with the Kharmas with their extreme differentiation of tonality and layered micro-spatial cues that were really a joy, but I need to hear the Beatles and Boston and Blood Sweat and Tears and Chicago and Carole King and all that great British Invasion music without any abuse or abrasion to trigger those important synapses in my brain.
I placed the above comments as a review so I can add to it later and maybe answer some questions. The review should show up soon, I expect.
I custom made a stereo rack to match the Sound Anchor stands that my Spendor SP100's sit on. I filled 2x4,2x2,1x1 steel tubing with silica sand. Silica sand was plenty dense, heavy and dampened steel perfectly. Steel likes to ring.
Any clay kitty litter will do fine. I just got a pair of Skylan 4 post stands for my Monitor 30's, filled them about 2/3 full, 5 pounds per column, with unscented store brand kitty litter. I've been using kitty litter in metal stands for years. It was recommended to me by a guy who has been a high end dealer for over 30 years. At first, I was surprised that Noel recommended it, since Skylan stands don't ring the way metal stands do and it seemed to me that the only reason to fill the columns is to add weight and mass. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.
Anyway, the Skylan stsnds are terrific. Big improvement in bass definition, clarity, soundstaging, depth and imaging. It's like the speakers are suspended in air, but are absolutely stable. Terrific jump factor (which I noticed when my dog jumped).
Skylan stands are awesome.
Noel is the nicest guy and really knows his stuff about good sound.
He taught me more in a half hour that I did not know for years !
Yep, talked to Noel and waiting for a pair.
Silica sand - THE END. Get yourself some through a janitorial firm (silica sand was always used for public high volume ashtrays). Noel is a genuine guy and his product typifies beauty in simplicity.
Coincidentally, I just the other day listed one of Skylan's audio racks for sale on a couple of different (free) sites, and have been absolutely inundated by interest. I own 2 rack models and 2 sets of speaker stands, one pair of which were configured in the mid-80's, and just so good, I've never been able to let them go - despite owning only planars for the past 6 years. (you never know when I might need those stands again!). They're a load to move around because they're full of silica sand - solid and dead as can be - not sure why you'd use anything else. Hats off to Noel and his excellent, simple products!
My wife has acquired a taste for Native Indian pottery. She decorated an area in the music room with the expensive vessels. They had a tendency to hum along with the music, but after filling them with sand (2 dollars for 60 lbs at Home Depot), they actually make the acoustics of the room better by removing an echo...they are absolutely DEAD when tapped.
I'm using 24", two-post Skylan stands under a pair of EOS HD monitors. I found Noel's stands to be a bargain, well-designed, rigid and non-resonant when filled with a combination of lead shot and washed playground sand. I used 6 lbs of #9 lead shot mixed with about 14 lbs. of sand in each post. (About 40 lbs./stand) The lead shot is mixed with the sand from the bottom to middle of the post; sand only from the middle to top. While the results are quite good, I'm going to add more shot and sand and have a listen to see if the added weight makes a sonic difference. I also use 4 Herbies Audio Labs Square Fat Dots under each speaker. These are specially formulated for loudspeaker decoupling and are quite effective. They will tame floor resonance, tighten the bass, and allow more detail to be revealed in the music. One Harbeth SHLBs owner who uses the Fat Dots claimed "the sound opened up considerably."
I meant to say Harbeth SHL5s in the previous post.
Try using 6 DH Labs Ceramic Cones (small ones, points up) from Golden Sound and listen to the magic.
They will not harm the speakers finish, because points are slightly rounded and are finished in gloss black.
A synergistic match with Skylan Stands.
Use kiln-dried sand. This is all you need, and it's cheap. Buy it at your local home hardware.
Don't bother with lead-shot, cones, or any type of 'filler'...it does not and will not affect sound quality.
I have been using lead shot for years but only just now realized how bad it is. In steel stands [sound anchors, VPI TNT stand ] it added an enormous amount of midrange energy that did not belong there. I recently put my Spendor S 100s on the dedicated steel stands filled with lead shot. I had never liked the sound of these but didn't know why. Very bright. I then placed the speakers on a Mapleshade Quadrapier stand [ discontinued maple stand] with upward pointing cones [Mapleshade and Star Sound] and the sound changed drastically for the better. I recently got a VPI TNT stand and , following their recommendation, immediately put in 40 or 50 lb. of lead. I have a 24"x 18" x 3" Michigan Maple Block on top of it , resting on large cones. Had trouble getting my Scoutmaster to sound right. Tonight I moved it onto a dedicated turntable shelf I just got for my Star Sound rack. Same effect, much quieter, more natural. It uses steel bearings for dampening. Disclaimer, I have recently resumed being a small audio dealer. The above experiences represent my efforts to make the products I am going to sell sound better. I have a pair of Skylan stands for the Spendors on order and am eager to see what they do.