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Topic: Coupling or decoupling monitors?

  1. #1

    Coupling or decoupling monitors?

    At the moment I have my monitors on a raised platform that is part of my desk. They sit on Mopads which rest on the desk. I'm not sure how much vibration the Mopads prevent, to be honest; I know they still pass a lot on.

    I've been looking at china cones, but I know they take the opposite approach. Rather than decoupling the monitors, they actually couple the monitors to the surface, passing on a lot of vibration, but supposedly at non-audible frequencies. The advantage should be that the monitors are absolutely locked in place, and thus don't lose energy in moving themselves. I'm guessing, though, that the cones are only going to give any improvement when used on a surface that doesn't resonate much itself...which isn't my desk. I suspect that, when the cones pass on non-audible frequencies, my desk is going to vibrate at a whole bunch of harmonics.

    Is anyone else using them, and what has your experience been?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    West Seneca, NY

    Re: Coupling or decoupling monitors?

    Good question. Have you tried silicon pads?

  3. #3

    Re: Coupling or decoupling monitors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Styxx View Post
    Good question. Have you tried silicon pads?
    Not yet - I tried getting sheets of neoprene, but couldn't find anyone that supplied it in the UK.

  4. #4

    Re: Coupling or decoupling monitors?

    It depends!

    Which, btw, is the answer you'll get from most of the folks in that field to most any question!

    The objective of coupling or decoupling your monitors is to remove the rest of the environment from the equation that describes how they react to whatever it is you are feeding them. Does that make sense?

    If you were able to completely decouple them from the surrounding environment then all of the energy would cause the drivers to move, and none of that energy would be passed to the furniture that holds the monitors. Needless to say, this is seldom practical.

    If you were able to couple the monitors to the earth in such a way that no energy was transferred because the earth is so massive that it can't be moved by the loudspeaker then you'd be back in business... again<G>!

    Both work, neither works... makes one want to pull one's hair out.

    The best solution I've found is to build massive stands (I use 4" dimensional lumber to build a column that I fill with sand) and then decouple the monitors from the stands themselves. The stands sort of couple themselves to the earth, and they don't move much.

    Hope this helps...

    Bill Thompson
    Audio Enterprise

  5. #5

    Re: Coupling or decoupling monitors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pingu View Post
    ...I suspect that, when the cones pass on non-audible frequencies, my desk is going to vibrate at a whole bunch of harmonics.

    Is anyone else using them, and what has your experience been?
    I am not familiar with the china things you mentioned, but I am always a bit suspicious of any gizmos that are supposed to have some beneficial property with regard to the behavior of loudspeaker systems.

    I favor louspeaker cabinets that are locked down somehow (perhaps by the action of their own mass and gravity). I want the cone to be acting on the air, and do not want energy to be wasted moving a cabinet around the room like an unbalanced washing machine during spin cycle.

    Gravity usually does the trick for me, because the mass of my cabinets is substantial compared to the mass of the various moving parts contained therein. If some part of your cabinet is moving enough to relay substantial energy to something like a desk, my gut reaction is to suggest that the cabinet is much too flabby and needs some sort of stiffening. If movement of the air is causing something in the room to resonate oddly, then more detective work is in order.

    I have only had to really worry about that sort of trouble with high-powered systems for live sound reinforcement. I have seen a stacked system fall down because nobody noticed that one of the high cubes was "walking" off the bass bin underneath! 8>[ Newtonian physics at work.

    In a studio environment at ordinary listening levels, I would be much more worried about the position of the drivers and cabinet corners in relation to nearby reflective surfaces. Small differences in position can make a big and interesting difference with combing.

    That being said, my wooden monitor cabinets are bolted to flanges that screw onto threaded pipe. The other end of the pipe screws into a flange that is bolted to a piece of plywood that is flat on the floor. (Parts got cheap from the local hardware store--they cut the pipe to length and threaded it for me.)

    If you do get a gizmo, be certain it has a money back guarantee, and do your own double-blind experiment to evaluate its performance.

    Best of luck with your system!
    behind the scenes at:

  6. #6

    Re: Coupling or decoupling monitors?

    I read the marketing material for those china gizmos, and I chuckled when I observed the pictures.

    In case anyone has not seen them, they are small feet that one attaches to a loudspeaker in a tripod configuration. The "before" picture shows a speaker cabinet sitting on a flat surface, and the "after" picture shows a cabinet elevated a couple of inches off the flat surface because the feet appear to be a couple of inches tall.

    There certainly will be significant, audible differences when those two systems are compared, differences that have nothing to do with the material the feet are made from. Differences in the pictured situation are caused by the change in the relationship between a) the loudspeaker baffle/cabinet corners and b) the reflecting surface upon which the system is placed.

    If you made three wooden feet of the same height as the china ones, any comparison of the systems would be much more accurate. Suitable wooden material for a comparison would cost a few cents.

    Best wishes!
    behind the scenes at:

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