To couple or not to couple your speakers to the floor or slab

There seem to be two trains of thought on speaker coupling or isolation from the floor. Some or most speaker manufacturers provide spikes with their speakers. Do you use them or do you purchase isoacoustic pucks etc. for isolation and audio nirvana?
I’ve always used spikes or cones under my speakers, but I’d like to be tempted in another direction if something’s better.

I have Isoacoustics Gaia II with spikes. They work great for me.

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Spikes only on the stands. The big floorstanders go in the carpet. Happy with the results.

Here is a closeup picture of my IsoAcoustics sitting on the spikes.

I used to spike my speakers through the carpet and into my room’s concrete floor. I read about decoupling the speakers in various articles. I tried out some Herbie’s Decoupling Gliders under each spike to see if it improved the sound. To my ears, the sound became cleaner, more distinction in voice v. instruments, etc.

Herbie’s has a 60 day return policy. If you don’t hear a difference you can return the product for a full refund. That is an easy way to determine whether coupling or decoupling sounds better to you.

There should be a Paul video of an audio show demo of the IsoAcoustics footers v. regular spikes - identical speakers, same source, etc. The difference was clearly audible even with normal YouTube sound quality.

Believe it or not I now have my speakers on PS Audio PowerBases and enjoy the sound. The back edge rest on the platter of the PowerBase, the front edge are elevated by two “halves” of the old style VooDoo Cable “IsoPods” (the base part and the bearing, with the bearing only touching the speaker base).

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It would be interesting to see a picture of this deployment if you care to share. As an aside, if you ever find yourself with a PowerBase that you don’t need, let me know. I have been trying to get one or three at a fair price since just before PSA stopped making them – no luck.


Sorry, I don’t own a camera or have a phone connected to the net or with an output to a computer. I’m just not interested in pictures enough.

I’m hoping I never have to sell any of my PowerBases, I love them!

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Isoacoustic Gaia Titan, one of the best upgrades ever!

FWIW - Here is the Gaia video I referenced above. The demo begins around 1 minute into the video. I heard a similar sound quality increase with the Herbie’s Gliders. I don’t remember if the quality increase with the Gliders were as big as you can hear in the video.

Opinions vary - you might not hear a difference like I did.

Gaia video

The problem first of all is that rigid cabinets will have resonant frequencies and the drivers create a huge amount of energy. You then have to consider the resonance of the surface they are coupled to. My first job in offshore engineering was testing for resonances between machinery and the things they were attached to. The energy they could produce was destructive and at times fatal.

So I would suggest that the coupling or decoupling used for rigid speakers will be unique to the combination of the speaker and type and construction of the floor they sit on. To test it you need transducers and sophisticated measuring equipment.

An answer is for the cabinet to dissipate the energy to inaudible levels. This was extensively researched by the BBC and the results published for all to see and use. See for example:

Alan Shaw, who has been making these cabinets for 40 years, explains it thus:

"What underpins the BBC’s thin-wall cabinet philosophy (and I was surprised to read that exact word in one of Harwood’s papers recently) is the observation that a perfectly cast bell will ring on for many seconds. Conversely, a bell with a hairline crack will sound leaden and hardly ring at all. It’s the same with cabinets: if the panels are all rigidly glued together then at some critical frequency or other a note or notes in the music will trigger the cabinet’s natural structural resonance. In such a rigid structure, there is nothing that can be done to suppress the ringing - and each time that note reappears, it tops up the ringing which then becomes a permanent drone underneath the music.

Conversely, in a thin-wall cabinet, the lossy joints (i.e. removable baffle/back and the generally 9-12mm thin panels used throughout the box) each act as an acoustic hairline crack. They inhibit the build-up of resonance. Simple as that really!

Now, let’s not kid ourself that it is possible to kill cabinet resonance stone dead. It isn’t. Not with any approach to cabinet design because the sound pressure inside the cabinet is huge. What the thin-wall approach does is to move unwanted resonances downwards in amplitude and frequency so that they are adequately buried below the music and then pushed down in pitch. Note that I said adequately. Providing that the resonance, be it from the cone, cabinet or even recording - whatever the source - is x dBs below the fundamental, the BBC proved that it was completely inaudible. Once inaudible to trained listeners on all types of music/speech, that is the end of the matter. Inaudible to the trained listener is as good as the solution needs to be. It is neither necessary nor cost effective (nor good engineering) to continue pushing for a degree of theoretical excellence that nobody can appreciate but everyone must pay for. That pragmatism keeps our speaker affordable - and sounding natural.

What we seem to be lacking in the industry today is the good old fashioned common sense that was abundant when serious researchers with zero commercial interest (i.e. the BBC) had their hands on the tiller. Thank goodness that they thoroughly documented their efforts for posterity since physics, acoustics and our hearing are the same now as fifty years ago."

Thin wall speakers require open frame stands so the cabinets can flex naturally, but otherwise I’ve found it makes no difference what they sit on. Personally, I use $5 of acoustic foam.

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Gaias seem to be the ticket. I would need the spikes as well for my carpeted room. Right?
Thanks to everyone for all the great input.

If you want you can take a picture and email it to yourself. Then post it. Also if you have cell coverage (which you do with a cell phone) chances are it is connected to the internet.

Good info. I’ve seen some of this before. It always interests me how most speaker manufacturers spend so much on heavy, deadened cabinets (steel reinforced, laminated exotic materials, etc. ) while some follow the thin wall philosophy. I have no access to thin wall speakers around here. It would be interesting to listen to some.

I can’t take a picture and mail it to myself. I don’t have email access to the phone, I deliberately chose a non-internet plan for my phone as I just don’t use my phone. . . I make about five calls a month, don’t need to be connected or have a bunch of apps “out in the world,” and got the cheapest plan I could, costing me about 20 dollars a month. I’m on a fixed income and can buy more music saving on phone services I don’t need. And I’m just not that interested in cameras and pictures, never have been. I’m more auditory than visual.

I have no interest in having pictures, but I find photography itself fascinating. Thus, I have an excellent SLR camera and glass, take pictures, but delete them. I have no pictures of my family, cars, trips, whatever.

Your method is cheaper. :slight_smile:

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