Old 06-13-2018, 07:47 AM   #1
Tubeguy
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Default Isolation pads for monitors?

I never had isolation pads. I always use stick on foam feet to isolate monitors. I figure that the feet have much less surface than the full size pads so should transfer much less vibrations to what ever the monitor is sitting on.
Hifi people often use pointy cone feet to make the transfer surface even smaller, these are also common to isolate turntables.
What do you guys think?
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:50 AM   #2
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Better than the pointy feet in my opinion. I have some pointy feet, not sure they made any real difference. I did try to measure before after that made me think I lost a handful of dB of low end being transferred to the floor but I'm not confident that was accurate. Main reason is for one set I was trying to reduce boom boom boom to not wake up wifeypoo but I still manage to accomplish that.

I want to think I may have shaved a dB or two of low end "maybe" - the foam pads I use for my Equator D5s angle upwards a bit which I do think helps with reflection's off the desk as well as some damping against acoustic coupling to the desk.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:04 AM   #3
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IsoAcoustic ISO-L8Rs here. They work pretty well, though not as well as proper stands not on the desk would.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:29 AM   #4
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I have a set of Auralex MOPads. They are probably about 15 years old, amazing a piece of foam have held up well. Haven't compared them to other products, but I do like the placement options they give me. I think I've misplaced the little supplemental wedges at this point, oh well. Just about anything is better than nothing here.

When I had more Control Room space, I made stands out of sand filled PVC pipes with toilet flanges on top and bottom. The MOPads are a bit more portable, lol.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:58 AM   #5
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I remember Ethan Winer doing a test of isolation pads. You can read it here: http://ethanwiner.com/speaker_isolation.htm

His conclusion was that monitor isolators don't make any real discernible difference.

For what it's worth, I think that Ethan can at times go just a bit over the top with the audio-fools stuff in some cases, but on the whole I think he does a bang-up job of dispelling audio myths. And I love that he actually tests what he preaches, not leaving things to blurry internet opinion. Also, I think that he very much has good intentions with what he does. Probably not too many people recording at home knew anything about acoustic treatment before he started writing about it and started lengthy discussions on it.
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:39 AM   #6
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Get a smaller desk and speaker stands, or wall brackets.

Using the pads you may slightly reduce sympathetic resonances from your table, don't expect much though.
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brainwreck View Post
I remember Ethan Winer doing a test of isolation pads. You can read it here: http://ethanwiner.com/speaker_isolation.htm

His conclusion was that monitor isolators don't make any real discernible difference.

For what it's worth, I think that Ethan can at times go just a bit over the top with the audio-fools stuff in some cases, but on the whole I think he does a bang-up job of dispelling audio myths. And I love that he actually tests what he preaches, not leaving things to blurry internet opinion. Also, I think that he very much has good intentions with what he does. Probably not too many people recording at home knew anything about acoustic treatment before he started writing about it and started lengthy discussions on it.
Wow, that was really interesting, thanks for sharing. I'm kind of embarrassed that I've been duped this whole time!
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:56 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Softsynth View Post
Get a smaller desk and speaker stands, or wall brackets.

Using the pads you may slightly reduce sympathetic resonances from your table, don't expect much though.
I would agree, all my speakers are on stands at this point but when I was using the D5s for remote tracking I used the pads on the glass desk I was provided, but again my main purpose was just to decouple even if slightly with more focus on the angle of the drivers at my ears because the table was roughly waist high from my chair position.
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:14 AM   #9
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I've got my Logitech 2.1 set arranged in a way that may cause uncontrollable eye twitching. You've been warned.

Sub is on a wire rack, elevated about 3 inches, and about 2-3 inches away from a wall. Bass is noticeably louder on the other side of the wall.

Speakers sit on homemade plywood shelves that have been attached to desk-mounted computer monitor arms (VESA mounts). They just sit there, at full risk of falling off, metal feet on wood shelf. The arms let me adjust speaker height and stereo field at will, while also using desk space that is behind my monitors and therefore otherwise unused.
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brainwreck View Post
I remember Ethan Winer doing a test of isolation pads. You can read it here: http://ethanwiner.com/speaker_isolation.htm

His conclusion was that monitor isolators don't make any real discernible difference.

For what it's worth, I think that Ethan can at times go just a bit over the top with the audio-fools stuff in some cases, but on the whole I think he does a bang-up job of dispelling audio myths. And I love that he actually tests what he preaches, not leaving things to blurry internet opinion. Also, I think that he very much has good intentions with what he does. Probably not too many people recording at home knew anything about acoustic treatment before he started writing about it and started lengthy discussions on it.


wait - he's testing on a really small table there - this is only going to reveal changes to low end vibrations that either excite some sympathetic vibration of the table itself, or of energy that transfers through the table to the floor, and either excites some sympathetic resonances of the floor or transfers from the floor to the listeners body.

- and a microphone isn't even a good way of testing that - you need a physical body that's sitting in a chair or sitting / standing on the floor. measurements unattached from a body are useless.

(kinda just talking out of my ass here, btw, but some of this might be brilliant! )

on a larger desk, one thing these pads do is to raise the speakers off the desk, giving you a less direct angle of reflection - especially if they put the speakers at an upward angle. a 2x4 or anything rigid can do this as well, however, that rigid mass can introduce it's own problems.

besides, you don't want your desk rattling and moving your optical mouse around when you aren't touching it do you? :P
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
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but some of this might be brilliant! )
Possibly, when I added my "pointy thingy's" I had laid my SPL meter directly on the stand on the floor because all I wanted to measure was if more low end/vibration was getting there. The second test was to actually take the SPL meter to the master bedroom, lay it on the bed where my wife's pillow is and measure the difference.

I thought there was about a 5dB SPL loss in the master bedroom but I didn't write down and track the numbers close enough (it was a semi-afterthought) and she still awoke at roughly the same pounding "this sounds farking jamming" SPL level from the mix position late at night.
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Old 06-13-2018, 01:21 PM   #12
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I'll say one thing they DO definitely help with: keeping all the other crap I've got sitting on my desk from rattling
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Old 06-13-2018, 01:27 PM   #13
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IsoAcoustic stands here.
At least they're good at getting the monitors in better position from the desk.
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:51 PM   #14
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My speakers sit on home-made stands on top of 2x2 posts that run from the (concrete) floor to ear height. I wanted to try the recoil stabilization thing, so I put a slab of marble under each speaker. The marble sits on two pieces of plywood that are separated with a layer of green glue. (There is a layer of foam rubber just under the speaker, but the only reason for that was to try to couple the speaker with the mass of the marble slab... I would have used something thinner and grabbier if I had it. For all I know it might be defeating whatever advantage the marble offers.)

Here's a pic.

Can't say I noticed a huge difference from all of that. (Besides having them at ear height, which obviously does make a big difference.)

-c
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karbomusic View Post
I would agree, all my speakers are on stands at this point but when I was using the D5s for remote tracking I used the pads on the glass desk I was provided, but again my main purpose was just to decouple even if slightly with more focus on the angle of the drivers at my ears because the table was roughly waist high from my chair position.

I understand. The angle of the drivers could make a significant effect on what you hear, depending on the radiation pattern of the drive units.
Attempts to Decouple the speaker would not have changed the amount of bass heard downstairs, but it can reduce unwanted resonances carried through the desk; example: I can move a NAS drive on the floor upstairs by as little as say 1 or 2cm and it removes an audible sympathetic hum through the floorboards heard downstairs.
Bass sound waves being so long your other half probably hears some of the lowest bass in greater clarity than you in the same room as the instrument creating the bass sound waves! - at least this is especially noticeable in British homes that are typically smaller than the US, as I understand it.

Personally I would have only experiment with various materials if I had a rumble from a humming powered or active speaker. I wouldn't buy pads, I would go DIY, but I know they're only cheap things.
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:29 PM   #16
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Bass sound waves being so long your other half probably hears some of the lowest bass in greater clarity than you in the same room as the instrument creating the bass sound waves!
Absolutely - and my studio room is a floor above the MBR and it's back wall leads to attic space which is directly over the master bedroom so I'm sure it's one big low-end resonator. I had no expectation the isolation pointy mounts would work but it was fun and the first thing to try before I go a more expensive route.

Quote:
- at least this is especially noticeable in British homes that are typically smaller than the US, as I understand it.
4200 sq feet and no kids so it was too good of a deal to pass up - which gave me the entire 3rd floor as my music/lab/man cave. But my actual studio room is small enough to resonate easily.

Quote:
Personally I would have only experiment with various materials if I had a rumble from a humming powered or active speaker. I wouldn't buy pads, I would go DIY, but I know they're only cheap things.
To be clear (just in case I wasn't) the wife/bedroom part is using those pointy isolation pegs on my Dynaudios - the foam pads was just something I used when I recorded my last project outside my studio and just wanted them up off of and angled better from the glass kitchen table I was provided in a makeshift setup.
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:31 PM   #17
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.......
4200 sq feet and no kids so it was too good of a deal to pass up - which gave me the entire 3rd floor as my music/lab/man cave.
............

Very nice.
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:33 PM   #18
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Very nice.
It's still new to me and feels weird after 30 years of living in band basements whathaveyou.
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:42 PM   #19
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It's still new to me and feels weird after 30 years of living in band basements whathaveyou.

I'm sure all those prayers offered up to the Flying Spaghetti Monster played their part in where you are today. Keep the faith.
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:43 PM   #20
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I'm sure all those prayers offered up to the Flying Spaghetti Monster played their part in where you are today. Keep the faith.
You bet.
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:52 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clepsydrae View Post
My speakers sit on home-made stands on top of 2x2 posts that run from the (concrete) floor to ear height. I wanted to try the recoil stabilization thing, so I put a slab of marble under each speaker. The marble sits on two pieces of plywood that are separated with a layer of green glue. (There is a layer of foam rubber just under the speaker, but the only reason for that was to try to couple the speaker with the mass of the marble slab... I would have used something thinner and grabbier if I had it. For all I know it might be defeating whatever advantage the marble offers.)

Here's a pic.

Can't say I noticed a huge difference from all of that. (Besides having them at ear height, which obviously does make a big difference.)
I think the marble should help clepsydrae, the more mass the better. The only resonance you should have would be what's generated from your stand.

My studio speakers are mounted in the wall, or I should say, appear to be mounted in the wall. I say that because they are actually suspended on nylon ropes from an upper beam. I made the wall section where the speakers are extra beefy so it's pretty solid. However, there was still way to much transmission through the walls. As soon as I suspended them, there was a huge difference and there was no longer any vibrations in the wall.

I'm thinking of adding some other smaller monitors that I can put closer to the position where I sit. Rather then use any pads I will instead suspend them, somewhat Like I did with my main speakers. Of course it will be a whole different situation.

I put together a quick draft of what I'm thinking shown in the picture below. Of course it would be quite different than what's shown, I just wanted to show what I have in mind.

The small ropes used for absorption could be small nylon rope, maybe 1/16th. There may also be some rubber type material that would work, I haven't checked the market for a long time.

I also have some adjustable wooden stands I made many years ago that can be adusted from 3-ft to 5.5-ft, I think they would work perfect.

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Old 06-13-2018, 05:02 PM   #22
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Actually I would do it more like this. I'm not afraid to put 3 screw holes in my cabinets. Doing it this way it makes it easy to tilt the speaker to where it's desirable.

This is basically how I did it with my main studio monitors, although they are much bigger.



EDIT: Actually, ha ha, I might just suspend them from the ceiling. Why not.

EDIT#2: Also the 2 side eye screws should go up just above the halfway mark for better stability.
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:55 PM   #23
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:51 PM   #24
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b est bang for buck I have found is 30mm diameter sorbethane half spheres.

8 of them cost me around 5 bucks & reduced rattling, noise tansmisson, etc from my The Rock IIs far more than the mopad thingies I have under my smallish Tannoy monitors do.
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Old 06-14-2018, 02:54 AM   #25
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After my post I thought I'll do a little very basic test. I've put a monitor on a large wooden table, no feet, no pad and put my ear on the table. Than I put 1/2" feet under monitor, than I made 1" flat foam base and tested that.
Results were:
nothing - a lot of audible resonance from speaker to the table
1" foam - way much less resonance
1/2 " feet - similar to foam pads but seemed to be even less resonance.
Using a mic on table would be more accurate, one could see graph but I think it's safe to say that anything thick and soft should work good enough to prevent too much furniture resonance.
But I do see the point of buying the pads, mainly because one can place the monitors on angle very easily. So I'll probably get the cheap China ones for $3 and see what happens
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:23 AM   #26
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old wet suit material is a good pad... often can be found in thrift shops for almost nothing.. and can contact cement multi-layers to get more thickness
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:46 AM   #27
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Something to keep in mind is that angling your monitors in relation to your ears changes the response (off-axis response). Surely most people here have played with angling a microphone, and you know how drastically it changes the sound. That can be a good thing for a microphone, depending on how you want to shape the sound. But changing the vertical angle of your monitors might make accuracy much worse. Try it and see what you think before buying something that will change the vertical angle of your monitors. And remember that monitors are designed for on-axis response.

Also, if you are angling down to your ears, you might be increasing reflections off of your desk which is going to have an effect on the sound of your monitors.
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