Speaker Stands - Coupled or Uncoupled?


My post a couple of weeks back about the speaker stands that cost half as much as the speakers they were designed for, got quite a bit of feedback. It got me thinking about speaker stands in general and how little I know about what makes a good stand.

What is a speaker stand's function? First, it's a device to raise a small bookshelf or monitor speaker off the floor. And why not leave the speaker on the floor? Besides the obvious - too easy to kick or trip over, raising a speaker off the floor accomplishes two things - it puts the tweeter on a plane closer to your ears and it reduces the proximity of the primary floor bounce. And while there are some audiophiles who prefer to put a bookshelf speaker on the floor and angle it upwards, they are in a minority. Most listeners and most rooms will benefit from putting a bookshelf or monitor speaker on stands. But, what kind of stand?

I've seen speaker stands made of metal, wood, glass, stone, cement and combinations of all of the above. I've also seen stands vary from extreme high-density, high mass edifices, to delicate thin wire structures. All of these variations on the theme of "speaker stand" have worked. As to whether one scheme is inherently better than the others, that is the question... My gut says, "Nope, there is no single right way for stand design, because speakers and rooms vary so much."

Some speaker stand designs are all about "coupling" the speaker and speaker stand to the room, which will, in theory, generate the most room-enhancement (and room gain) since more energy is transferred into the room via the coupling. Other stands are all about "isolation" and use every means possible to prevent energy from the speaker being transmitted via the stand into the room. Again, which solution will produce the "best" sound depends on the room, the speaker, and an owner's tastes.

So, until someone points me to the ultimate universal stand that can either couple or decouple the speakers from the room, I must opine that there is no one "best" speaker stand design. The room, your speakers, their placement within the room, and your particular acoustic ideals will all play a major part in determining what is the "best" speaker stand for any given application. 

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