Adding speaker stands to your setup can make a huge difference, if done correctly.
Speakers can be supported several different ways. Some have even opted to use milk crates, concrete blocks or something similar with mixed results. I hope to explain in simple terms, all your need to know about the topic so that you can make informed decisions about whether you need speaker stands or not.
Most believe that a speaker is a fixed (or ported) box that produces sound from the moving cones of the speaker. While most of the sound is produced this way its not just the moving cone that determines how a speaker sounds. Have you noticed that most speakers are built into heavy wooden or plastic cabinets? This is not just to make them look nice, but it also drastically changes the sound by introducing resonance. Without the resonance of the cabinet, you’d hardly hear the speaker at all. Cabinet are designed to be rigid but no matter how rigid they are there will be some vibration of the cabinet walls. Plus, as the speaker cone moved in one direction it will attempt to push the cabinet in the opposite direction, so the cabinet needs to be securely held in place and stable.
One of the roles of a stand is to prevent vibrations from being transferred to other structures, such as floors. It should also hold the speaker as firmly as possible and reduce any movement of the speaker cabinet. In addition, a stand is usually meant to better align the drivers to the relative position of the listener, which usually means having the tweeter aimed at an imaginary point just behind the listeners head.
Sometimes stands are fitted with spikes on the base, which make a rigid and stable contact with the floor. As long as the sand are very stable and sturdy this works well with solid floors, but can also cause vibrations from the cabinets to be transferred to the floor making the floor act as a kind of soundboard (which is not a good thing) Some spikes provide material uses to isolate them from either the stands or the floor or both is some cases eliminating much of the transference of vibrations.
In general, the heavier the stand, the less it will tend to move. Some stands have hollow support columns that can be filled with various materials (steel or lead shot or even sand) to add mass to the stands to dampen resonances. We plan to add a stand of this type in the very near future so keep an eye out for them.
Our tilted stands provide a rear lip to keep the speakers from sliding off but most will also want to add something to isolate the speakers from the stands. Many use felt padding or even Blu-Tack under each corner (which acts as both a removable adhesive and as a damping medium) Another alternative is to use high-friction rubber matting. If you already have stands and do not have anything to provide isolation between the speakers and the stands or the stands and the floor you should probably consider adding it to prevent the cabinet vibrations from reaching the stand and/or the floor.
Another import thing to consider are the materials used in the stand. We only use select clear red oak, which means it is free from any defects or voids. You want your stands to be as solid as possible and not made of flimsy materials that are likely to move or rock. Your stands need to be completely stable to avoid the conditions we have talked about here.
I hope this has help to explain what all goes into a high-quality speaker stand. If you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to ask. We look forward to having the opportunity to build you a great pair of heavy duty speaker stands for your setup that will provide a lifetime of listening pleasure.