Old 02-05-2019, 01:03 AM   #1
Tubeguy
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Default Isolation pads saga

I'm sure this has been done over and over but would like to hear some opinions anyway. Thinking about the isolation pads and how important they apparently are, today I realized that none of the monitors or home speakers ever come with them. So I ask why, they cost nothing to make and if they improve sounds so much, it would be in the manufacter's interest to supply them together.
So why not?
Personally I can' make up my mind. Without the pads my monitors sounds full and lively, without them they appear to sound little cleaner but also thinner and definition of body is somewhat missing. Maybe room acoustic play big role in this as well, I don't know. Normally I just have cheap 5mm stick on feet on the bottom and that's what I'm used to.
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Old 02-05-2019, 01:34 AM   #2
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They can change the angle/position of the speakers and maybe they can help if you have a vibration/rattle on your shelf/desk. Otherwise I think they are "snake oil".

I've always been skeptical and I've never seen any blind listening tests but I ran-across this recently.
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Old 02-05-2019, 02:13 AM   #3
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As I mentioned I can definitively hear a difference but which is better for mixing I'm not sure. Using the foam feels like having slightly different speakers but are they better or worse it's hard to tell. Maybe just a different sound color. Been putting pads on and off whole evening and still can't make up my mind. I'm starting to think it's maybe because of the 5cm difference in height. I wish I had some of those speaker wire isolation pads to try :-)

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Old 02-05-2019, 02:53 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by DVDdoug View Post
I've always been skeptical and I've never seen any blind listening tests but I ran-across this recently.
I've just fished reading this, seems that my extra height idea could be correct.
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Old 02-05-2019, 07:45 AM   #5
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I bought some cheap sorbethane hemispheres and sat my speakers on them.
FWIW it definitely helped reduce vibration from my 2 metre length of kitchen worktop, which is what I had my monitors sitting on. Further perceived improvement from sticking the monitors on the sorbethane, on top of a pair of home made wooden 4U boxes, which put the tweeters nicely at hear height for me.

Also the sorbethane hemispheres were very very cheap on ebay.

Still there after several years.

My secondary monitors are sat on sheets of 8mm neoprene, which also reduces vibration but not (to my ears) as well as the cheaper sorbethane.
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Old 02-05-2019, 08:39 AM   #6
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My understanding is that ideally, you want your monitors ANCHORED completely. This means that only the monitor elements move. However, this can be difficult, it requires large amounts of mass, space, etc. Many therefore resort to uncoupling the speakers from possible resonating surfaces and objects, meaning that they are LESS anchored, sort of "floating" in the air. This will make the cabinets move MORE in relation to the speaker elements, which is not necessarily a good thing, as it can mess with lots of things accoustically.

So, anchoring is preferable, always. If this is not possible, trying to strike a decent balance between unwanted resonances and enclosure movement is the next best thing.
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Old 02-05-2019, 08:57 AM   #7
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If your speakers are solidly constructed, there's no need for isolation pads as isolation.

My speakers are sitting on my desk and don't transfer any vibration at all, unless they're very loud. And in that case, the vibration comes from the sound hitting the desk. In fact, an external disk drive is far worse and I tend to not put that on the desk itself.

Mind you, these speakers are just compressed fibre board. Nothing special. They're also over 40 years old. I also had an identical pair that spent a decade in a slightly humid attic and that one was vibrating a lot. Had to scrap those cases, as repair is next to impossible.

If you need to place the speakers any higher, you can just use what comes in handy. The same goes for angle.

And if you can feel the wall of the speaker cabinet vibrating, when you put your hand on it, you need to get other speakers, as the ones you have now, will be very unrealistic sounding. That might sound fine, as lots of people love harmonic distortion too, but those are not studio monitors.
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Old 02-05-2019, 03:59 PM   #8
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I used to use them, but after measuring the sound with REW and a measurement mic I found no measurable difference so I ditched them. Similar to, but not as extensive as, Ethan Winers test in post #2.
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Old 02-05-2019, 09:07 PM   #9
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In my previous post I said I can hear the difference but I just did a simple test. Instead of 5cm pads, I placed 5cm cigar boxes under the speakers. These boxes are thin and resonant. It sounded same as with the pads so now I'm even more sure it's the height making the difference. In fact I think that lifting the speakers from large flat surface like table changes the reflections so the comb filtering is just different, maybe more or less pleasing to the ear.

I find the most audible improvement is having some foam between speakers to minimize wall reflections and sound can be tweaked depending where I place the foam.

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Old 02-06-2019, 05:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tubeguy View Post
[...]today I realized that none of the monitors or home speakers ever come with them. So I ask why, they cost nothing to make and if they improve sounds so much, it would be in the manufacter's interest to supply them together.
It depends on the brand and quality of the speaker. Genelec (THE word in studio monitors) near field studio monitors ALL come with their "IsoPods" by default and if you wish to put them on microphone-stands (or other thingy that has the standard thread on it) with the IsoPods also attached, you can buy an optional attachment plate has pins on top for securely setting your monitors on them while it can be screwed onto a stand or what ever has the thread.

And it allows you to tilt the speaker as well wich is very nice design.

https://static.bhphoto.com/images/im...000_969154.jpg

IsoPod is the black rubber thingy at the bottom of the monitor:

https://www.genelec.com/studio-monit...studio-monitor

I believe only the oldest (discontinued) models from Genelec don't have one. And of course ones that are meant to be installed inside a wall as a structure don't have the IsoPods. But they don't need them anyway at that point.

The thing is, that any speaker will vibrate the surface/mass it's put on, and those isolation foams etc. will prevent your table or speaker stands becoming audio source themselves or affecting the speakers frequency response with any mechanical resonances that might occur.

In my opinion, if someone sells a studio monitor(s) that don't come with the isolation pads of any kind, it's an inferior product. Any manufacturer that is serious about their sound quality should provide the isolation pads or they're just ripping you off

Though, that being said, most manufacturers don't have such a neat and integrated way of having isolation stands. They sell you a simple box with speakers and think it's great design and make you get the rest.

Oh well... Genelec isn't cheapest for a good reason
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Old 02-06-2019, 05:44 PM   #11
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interesting topic, I have always been "told" to isolate speakers from the desk, yada yada, so I have mine on stands. I also have a set of Run DMC figures that barely stand on their own. So what?

They used to be off to the side on a small shelf. Recently I thought I'd try putting them on the monitors to see how long they'd last and bring them to the front of the studio. Well that was 1 month ago. These figures are still standing there on their own.

My point is, someone mentioned that well made speakers probably won't vibrate much, which made me realize...i think it's true! I expected them to fall and they haven't moved at all. I mean, who puts something breakable on top of speakers, right?
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Old 02-07-2019, 03:04 AM   #12
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Heres what I did to establish the existence or otherwise of transmitted vibration.
Put my hands on the kitchen work surface that forms the basis of my studio "desk". without the sorbethane hempispheres I could easily feel vibration through the desktop at relatively low levels. With them, it was massively reduced.
Utterly subjective, but.....
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Old 02-07-2019, 03:52 AM   #13
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It depends on whatever your monitors are currently sitting on. If it's a heavy solid desk/surface, iso pads of some description probably won't make things sound too different. If it's a desk that's prone to vibrate then trying to isolate them from the desk itself will cut down on annoying vibration noise.
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Old 02-09-2019, 02:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poetnprophet View Post
interesting topic, I have always been "told" to isolate speakers from the desk, yada yada, so I have mine on stands. I also have a set of Run DMC figures that barely stand on their own. So what?

They used to be off to the side on a small shelf. Recently I thought I'd try putting them on the monitors to see how long they'd last and bring them to the front of the studio. Well that was 1 month ago. These figures are still standing there on their own.
I am sure that those figures won't last very long on my JBL SLR305. Those enclosures resonate like no other speaker I have. In fact I believe their big sound is partly created by the cabinet. Somehow they managed to make them work well anyway but I'm not sure how would they go if I was to set them up in a living room for HIFI.

Anyway, I think "bladerunner" said it best in his post.
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:38 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by bladerunner View Post
It depends on whatever your monitors are currently sitting on. If it's a heavy solid desk/surface, iso pads of some description probably won't make things sound too different. If it's a desk that's prone to vibrate then trying to isolate them from the desk itself will cut down on annoying vibration noise.
If the desk resonates, you should probably not use it at all...
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Old 02-09-2019, 03:32 PM   #16
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If the desk resonates, you should probably not use it at all...
Exactly.. The upshot being that iso pads are pretty useless unless it's to minimise a glaring problem such as a vibrating desk.
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