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