Even though most people put their speakers on a bookshelf, is that the smartest idea? No one will stop you from doing so, but by putting your speakers on a bookshelf, you can lose a lot of the sound performance.
If you’ve spent a significant amount of money on your speakers, then you should carefully consider where you place them. Or, you should invest in a speaker stand.
Loudspeakers can be supported in many different ways, but people seem to be confused about what effects a speaker stand can have. Today, we’ll address everything you need to know about speaker stand design.
Before we get into the specifics of a speaker stand, we first need to know how speakers work.
The vibrations in your environment are detected by a thin piece of skin inside your eardrums. Those vibrations that are sent to your ear are interpreted into signals by this thin piece of skin. The signal is what we humans know as sound.
When an object creates vibrations through a medium, sound happens. The strength of the sound waves varies depending on how packed the particles are that it has to pass through. The best medium for sound is a solid, and the worst medium for sound is air.
You’re probably wondering, why does this concern you? When you’re hearing sounds, you’re actually hearing the pressure waves and the vibrations around you. The sound doesn’t only come from your speakers. The same sound waves will cause a reaction of all the material you have around your home. Depending on their quality, they will carry the sounds across.
If you work on your surroundings, you will be able to manage the reverberations and potential echo. Having a speaker stand can also help you a lot in this process.
How Speaker Stands Work
Although people usually think of a loudspeaker as a box that makes sound directly from the moving cones in the speaker, that’s simply not the case. Most of the sound comes from the moving cones, but the cabinet walls can create some vibration as well.
A proper speaker stand will prevent these vibrations from transferring to other structures, such as shelves, mixer meter bridges, desktops, and wooden floors. A speaker stand will also reduce the movement of the speaker by holding it in place as firmly as possible.
Benefits of a Speaker Stand
Sound placement is best handled by speaker stands. You will definitely experience problems directing sound without a speaker stand. Stands offer much flexibility and allow you to get the most out of your experience. Below, we’re going to go through some of the benefits that speaker stands have to offer.
Helps With Speaker Anchoring
The best way to anchor your speakers is with a speaker stand. The speaker stand will not only handle the vibration, but it’ll keep the vibrations from influencing your speaker. The floors in your environment can vibrate due to the mechanical force of the sound pressure. If you have wooden floors, this can make your speaker bounce, which will hamper and damage the performance of the speaker.
On the other hand, hard or concrete floors can’t reflect or move any pressure. This means that the entirety of the pressure will be on your speakers. This is why it’s so crucial to have a speaker stand. With a speaker stand, you’ll anchor the speaker and eliminate any unwanted movement. The audio color also won’t go through any audio changes or distortions.
Improves Mechanical Isolation
Although speaker stands help reduce early reflection, they can do even more than that. They also provide mechanical isolation, which means they can dissociate the speakers from the floor. A solid speaker stand will usually have rubber for wooden floors or spikes for solid floors.
The base plate helps cut down on the chances of the speaker falling by managing vibrations. The support columns also have compartments for wiring and sand. Lastly, the decoupling of the speakers will be improved by the top plate. In short, your speaker isolation will be improved by each part of your speaker stand.
A speaker stand also helps improve the audio experience and sound quality on a level you haven’t ever heard before!
Eliminates Sound Reflection
Cutting down on sound reflection is one of the biggest benefits of using a speaker stand. These sound reflections can be reverberations or echoes, which can be really problematic. If you have your speaker on surfaces like bookshelves, TV stands, or cabinets, they will vibrate back. Consequently, the audio quality will be changed as a result of the reverb and echo from these materials.
The sound image can also be easily distorted by surfaces. These surfaces change how we hear the audio and create a different sound profile. You’ll get a better idea of what the audio sounds like if you remove the potential effects of reflection. A speaker stand will help you by allowing your audio to work in ideal conditions.
Widens the Perfect Audio Range
The “sweet spot” is something that music maniacs care a lot about. It’s the location where there is an equilateral triangle between the stereo speakers and the listeners. You’ll get a bad soundstage if you don’t have a speaker stand. Aside from this, you won’t get a narrow audio image.
You won’t be able to get the best experience out of your speakers if you aren’t able to experience that sweet spot. You can clean up the bass and widen your sweet spot with a speaker stand.
Puts Sounds at Ear Level
The last benefit we would like to mention is the audio position you get with a speaker stand. If you set up your speakers at the proper level, you’ll get proper body and directionality from the audio. You should immediately notice an improvement in the quality of the audio!
Ideally, the stands should lift the speaker to ear level. This is important because it aligns the tweets and subwoofers relative to the ear, so it can play the best sounds.
The reason for this is because lower and midrange frequencies are less directional than higher frequencies. When the tweeters are at ear level, you will achieve better sound.
How to Pick the Proper Speaker Stand Design
Now that we’ve gone through all the benefits that a speaker stand offers, we can talk about how to properly choose a good speaker stand. You should consider the following points before buying a speaker stand.
It’s important that the tweeters on the front right/left and center speakers in your systems are at ear level. Some speakers offer an option to adjust their height, but this is rare given that weight stands aren’t light. For people with medium to large speakers, a pretty standard speaker stand height is around 26 inches.
Like with any other product, an important detail to consider is the material that it’s made of. You want your speaker stand to be made out of high-quality material. Generally speaking, speaker stands are made out of two types of material, steel or wood. Both have their own benefits.
Steel is the most commonly used material for speaker stands. Usually, speaker stands that are made out of steel have a hollow main support, meaning they can be filled with sand. Putting sand in speaker stands is a common practice because it improves the quality of sound and stability of the speaker. In addition, steel is more durable and holds up better than a wooden speaker.
On the other hand, wood is less expensive than steel. However, this material isn’t guaranteed to last as long as a steel stand would. Solid wood stands can be durable, but sometimes they can be harder to come across.
One of the most basic things you should keep in mind when buying a speaker stand is the weight rating. Will your speaker stand be able to handle the weight of your speakers? If it’s not able to do so, it’ll probably end up being very unstable once you place the speakers on top of the stand.
You also need to think about weight rating in case you have pets or kids. Some other things to consider when thinking about the stability of the stand is the size of the bottom plate.
Base and Feet
The stand will be more stable if the base is heavier and wider. Stands usually come with two options for feet, either spikes or rubber pads. Spikes should be used on carpet, while rubber pads should be used on solid floors. Spikes will pierce through the carpet, so that’s why they’re the right choice for this type of surface. On the other hand, if you have wood floors, you shouldn’t use spikes because this can create some pretty strong vibrations.
Top plates in speaker stands come in either a central hole for bolting, top plate size, and speaker studs or rubber feet.
Some stands have a central hole that helps you anchor your speaker. It’s best to find a speaker stand with this type of anchoring hole if you have a pre-driller bottom.
The entire size of your speakers should be accommodated by the top plate. To make sure you get the best stability you need to have good coverage.
For instance, speaker studs may look aesthetic and reduce vibrations, while rubber feet are typical in most stands.
The electrical wires of the speaker can either be exposed or hidden. Both steel and wooden stands offer hidden channels for the cables, but you still need to be careful about what size of cable can fit through those channels. Some stands only allow cables that are as small as 18 gauge, so make sure you don’t overlook this detail. If you’re sure you won’t remove the cables any time soon, you can also use heat shrink tubing.
FAQs About Speaker Stand Design
How can I ensure the security of a speaker stand?
Usually, most speaker stands have adjustable spikes or feet which help ensure the stability of the speaker. To make sure that your speaker stand is stable, you can also use a bubble level. But, make sure that you place the bubble level at the exact spot where you want your speaker to be positioned.
What should I consider when shopping for a speaker stand?
Some of the most basic considerations when shopping for a speaker stand are weight rating, top plate, cable management, height, construction material, base, and feet.
What makes a good speaker stand?
A proper speaker stand will have a construction that’s geared towards important features. For instance, a good stand will have rubber for wooden floors and spikes for solid floors.
What’s the perfect height for speaker stands?
The tweeters on the front right/left and center speakers should be at ear level. You should place your speaker stand depending on the height of your seating and the design of your speakers.
By using an appropriate platform or speaker stand, the bass will tighten up and leave the mids sounding clearer than ever. However, you’ll need to add some basic acoustic treatment and attend to room reflections as well.
To sum it up, a good speaker stand design will improve the sound image. When you compare the cost of the suitable stand or platform with the cost of the speaker, it’s actually pretty inexpensive. The initial investment might seem high, but it’s definitely worth it in order to improve your sound quality!