Here is a basic litmus test that is a trade secret of Audiophiles. Play a piece of music with very strong bass. Place your hand very lightly on the speaker's side which has the most vibrations. Place the same hand on the middle of the speaker stand's pillar. Compare the vibrations that you feel. You may have to do this several times to have an accurate assessment. If the vibrations on the speaker is stronger than that on the stand. Your stand is not too good at its job. If the vibration feels about the same, your stand is doing a decent job. If the vibrations are stronger on the stands then on the speakers, you have one hell of a stand.
Characteristics of a Good Speaker Stand
The general perception is that a good speaker stand must be heavy and well damped so that it does not ring. Less well known is that the type and grade of metal used affects its performance. Which is why some stands cost a lot more than others. Other less obvious characteristic would be the effectiveness of the design in removing vibration from the speakers. For example the flatness of the top plate. All the stands I have used in the past fail this point. Place a speaker on a stand and it will be rocking away. Hook up the speaker cable and see your speaker do a twist to face away from your listening position. The only solution would be to place blu-tack or three cones under the speaker to stabilize it. A flat top plate ensures maximal coupling of the speaker. A good stand is thus able to efficiently remove vibrations from the speaker and sink this into the stand itself, which thus has to be heavy.
Many commercial manufacturers (by commercial stand manufacturers, I’m referring to the various so called branded stands that are manufactured by companies that are more often furniture builders than actual audio enthusiasts – this includes even the famed stand & deliver brand and even some outsourced stuff) use 3mm thick steel plates for the top and base of the stand. This is basically nothing but cold rolled Sheet Metal. The column used is nothing but a pipe probably 18-16 gauge thickness (which, once again is incorrectly described as heavy gauge- what’s heavy about 1.5mm?) These have to be filled to even be acceptable. A truly heavy gauge column is one that would be “ring free” even if unfilled. Here we are talking about 3.5-4 mm. Base and top plates at least 6-8 mm thick would be far better. This can normally be confirmed by looking at the tech specs or user manual. Good spikes can be found by googling.
This is quite a debated topic but most audiophiles agree about the ill effects of glass. Fortunately none of the pro stand makers use it. Many others who did use it have also discontinued its use. Glass is/was used only because of its low cost to machine into any shape. One could probably get a top and bottom plate for 3-4 dollars however its ill effects on acoustics (harsh sound signature) and its tendency to chip or break has discouraged many makers to stop using it. Most agree on the use of Metals, some use exotics like marble and some use combinations of wood and steel, yet these have their downside as well in terms of acoustics.
Mass & Weight
This is one of the most important aspects of a stand that is ignored by many manufacturers only to save on shipping costs. But this is what makes and breaks a stand. Always try and find out the net weight of the stand. Under 6-7 kgs per stand and it will have stability issues. I am more comfortable with a stand that at least weighs twice or bit more than my speaker (unfilled). This provides for stability and prevents it from tipping over easily. Mass adds to “weight” and a feel of presence and authority in your music, light stands well, just sound “hollow”. The weight of the stand will also give you a hint about its construction and gauge (is it really heavy gauge construction? etc.)
Many stands offer different features. But these are exactly what they are-”features”. They are not as important as the aspects described above Some offer spikes on the top plate and some offer affixing screws where you can bolt your speaker to the top plate (of course the speaker must have a provision for this too). Spikes on the top plate work for some and don’t in other cases. It all depends whether you are from the “isolation” or “coupling” school.
Some stands offer wire mgmt. However this is a highly debated topic .Many Purists hate wire mgmt. In fact they use ceramic or porcelain pucks and tweaks so that their speaker cables don’t even touch the floor! Let alone allowing a cable that carries the audio signal to pass through another electrically conductive column. Even practically while switching cables; cleaning etc. wire mgmt. becomes a headache. However Home theatre enthusiasts who are not so picky sacrifice all this for the neat clean look, hence stand makers design so as to satisfy both clubs.
Here at pinpointmounts.com, we can accommodate your desires to buy new or upgrade your current speaker stands and mounts. With our versatile and encompassing inventory, we are certain you will find the best quality at the best prices. If you have any questions or inquiries please contact us and we will answer as quickly as possible. In addition, we have live chat on our home page.