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Casters vs Spikes

Discussion in 'audio' started by foxwelljsly, Nov 30, 2022.

  1. Durmbo

    Durmbo not French

    How thick are your felt pads Tony? I’ve tried ones 2-3mm thick & not liked the results, too muddy.
     
  2. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    I'm very much in the 'wot's yer floor' camp.
    Spikes definitely fire speaker energy into suspended floors, which could have unfortunate consequences for other kit on the same floor.
    However my floor is 70s bitumen over concrete, with carpet and underlay on top. Spikes work for me in that context.
    However, I have different views of spikes under amps, or under shelves carrying kit.
    I don't believe there is a one size fits all solution. I reckon most kit is fine so long as it's not on boomy hollow boxes etc.. but ultimately you'll only find out what's wrong, (if anything) by listening and trying various solutions.
     
    NickofWimbledon likes this.
  3. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    I have castors on my Spendor BC1 stands as I need to move the speakers into position to listen to them.
    My floor is polished wood.

    I've never liked the idea of spikes between speakers and stands.
    They really mess up the bottom of the cabinets.
     
    foxwelljsly likes this.
  4. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    No experience with wheels. I had spikes for donkey's years and just lately tried without spikes. Little to zero difference. All the speakers I owned and currently own are standmounts. Spikes and stands couple the speakers to the floor.

    Tried Isoacoustics Gaias last year which decouple/isolate the speakers from the floor. Noticeable difference, improvement in my case. Much cleaner bass and music flowed more freely. Tried another set of Gaias on another pair of newly acquired speakers last month after the bass and midbass sounded off to me, with or without spikes. Huge difference once the Gaias are installed.

    In summary, I don't think it will make a difference, wheels/castors or spikes, or stands placed directly on the floor without spikes unless the speakers are huge floorstanders then perhaps spikes may make a difference.
     
    NickofWimbledon likes this.
  5. dalryc

    dalryc pfm Member

    How are you meant to use spikes?

    Is it to dig into the flooring to closely integrate it with the flooring or to provide a tiny contact area to de-couple it?
     
  6. Rug Doc

    Rug Doc pfm Member

    Spikes are meant to make contact with the solid floor and they are designed to couple it to the floor, not decouple. If the spikes are set correctly (and there is zero wobble) you are in essence making the speaker stand and floor substrate act as one - any vibrations made by the speaker cabinet will be sent down into, and absorbed by the floor.
     
  7. dalryc

    dalryc pfm Member

    Does that not mean that the floor becomes an extension of the speaker?
     
    Mr Pig likes this.
  8. Rug Doc

    Rug Doc pfm Member

    Yes.

    But mass becomes your friend if your floor is solid. Ie a concrete slab.

    Do not couple to a suspended floor, you’ll then hear both the speaker and the floor playing the music :D
     
  9. NickofWimbledon

    NickofWimbledon pfm Member

    The maths to assess what is going on in a particular room to all the vibrational energy is fiendish. Fortunately, it is also usually unnecessary, as is picking between competing theories for the 'right' solution - because we have ears. I suggest giving a listen to more than one option in your actual room - if an option sounds better, then it is better, and if nothing sounds better then pick what looks best or is most convenient.

    For my very bouncy floor, spikes were marginally better than the rubbery feet for my B&W 804s, but Isoacoustic Gaias were vastly better than either. The previous speakers were Shahinian Compasses. Their rubbery feet were good, but granite supports from HNE with spikes were probably fractionally better overall for bass on a wood floor - and much better on a thick carpet. There is no One Size Fits All answer here.
     
    ryder likes this.
  10. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    You just reminded me, I have a pair of HNE granite platforms, with bosses threaded for spikes. I used them under big valve monos, but they would also suit under floorstanders.
     
  11. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    They will almost certainly make things sound worse IME. Mass is generally bad, adding even more moves things in the wrong direction to my ears.
     
    Sue Pertwee-Tyr likes this.
  12. Goat

    Goat pfm Member

    Currently using spikes on carpet/underlay over suspended wooden floor. Sounds good to me.
     
  13. Darren L

    Darren L pfm Member

    I've used speaker stands with spikes and speakers without spikes , (the Shahinan compass had hard plastic/rubber feet).
    In general I normally position my speakers without the spikes attached, easier to slide them on the carpet, once in the correct position I 'mark' the carpet with a bit of masking tape, then I screw in the spikes and place the speaker back in its position, ,I then use the spikes to level the speakers both individually and with each other.
    I don't have a preference for with or without spikes but I think it's essential to have some type of height adjustable 'feet', I'd really like to try some Townshend supports at some stage, even though the speakers will be on a rug , on a carpet over underlay on a concrete floor.
     
    NickofWimbledon likes this.
  14. Rexton

    Rexton Wakefield Turntables

    Castors all the way, no discernable effect on music.
     
    Martyn Miles likes this.
  15. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    In the context of a suspended wooden floor, perhaps. Not in the case of coupling a smaller vibrating thing to a something magnitudes more massive like a concrete pad.. But each to their own, and by their own experiences.
     
    Mullardman and NickofWimbledon like this.
  16. YNWOAN

    YNWOAN 100% Analogue

    In general I would recommend spikes but I’ve rarely used them on anything but a suspended wooden floor. If you like warm, woolly bass (and there are certainly people who appear to) then your opinion may well differ.
     
  17. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’d argue the reverse, the speakers that tend to “need” spikes are usually either badly ported, high-mass, or both, i.e. they are a disaster by design. The better the speaker (and room) the less it needs flawed logic/botches to fix. To put it another way; if the bass is so bad you need to get rid of some of it, or the sound so fundamentally boring you need to push the midband up to obtain excitement, then spikes may be the answer!
     
  18. NickofWimbledon

    NickofWimbledon pfm Member

    I'd encourage judging by your ears and in your own home.

    @Tony L has clearly heard pikes making things much worse and he is not the only one. On the other hand, if I translate 'need spikes' as 'sound better with spikes in some rooms', then the guilty speaker makes that are 'a disaster by design' would clearly include B&W, Spendor, ATC, PMC and Neat.

    It may be more interesting to note that spikes may or may not help in a particular room, but the scores seem a lot more consistent and unequivocal in favour of decoupling with Isoacoustic Gaias, Townshend Podiums or similar. Even they don't help in 100% of cases, but most of the time it seems that rigorous coupling (via spikes) may be better than a more relaxed approach with the same aim (hard feet, no feet), but a rigorous approach to decoupling (Gaias) delivers more more in more rooms.
     
  19. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    FWIW I am shitposting to some degree as the audiophile groupthink regarding spikes is just so absolute, all encompassing and exists in almost total isolation to pro-audio (where isolation is favoured/coupling avoided) that I just find it amusing. I’m sure the point of “we need to put spikes on this because people expect spikes on this” was reached decades ago and as such it is now just marketing/groupthink rather than based in any logic or credible research. I also feel the whole marketing thing this is connected to has conditioned people in dem rooms to select the leaner and more attacking of two choices and over the 40+ years that this mindset has existed audio has moved far too far from a genuinely natural balance and presentation. I’m of the mindset that if a hi-fi system sounds very different from say a well setup pair of Quad 57s, BBC monitors, HD-600s or whatever then it is quite simply wrong.

    That said spikes do clearly have some use with narrow top-heavy speakers e.g. slim floor-standers, mini-monitors etc when used on carpeted floors as they are inherently unstable structures. A wide spiked base makes them vastly more stable and can be achieved without nailing them to the floor and transmitting every vibration directly into the room structure (which to my thinking is a very bad thing). The more I think about the ‘problem’ the more I suspect the ideal mini-monitor stand would be a lightweight low-resonance wide-footprint tripod without any spiking top or bottom, i.e. felt pads at the top, rubber feet at the bottom. The footprint would give stability without rocking, a light material (wood, carbon, fibreglass or whatever) would avoid all the negatives of mass-loading (energy storage, sucking dynamics etc). The nearest I’ve seen to what I have in mind are the Audio Chic wood stands and I’d love to try a pair under the JR149s & LS3/5As, but they are far too expensive to just take a random punt on.
     
    NickofWimbledon likes this.
  20. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    All our floors are suspended and I don't have experience of spikes sitting directly on the floorboards, only on metal spike shoes as I value our hardwood floors and in the rooms where there's carpet/underlay the speakers are a PITA to move once the spikes penetrate through the carpet. IME, the worst interface is when the entire surface of the loudspeaker enclosure rests on the floor, this results in the most ill-defined/muddy upper-bass and the strongest vibrations felt through your feet. This applies to carpeted floors and exposed floors but the latter is of course worse than the former, not least because over time the vibrations cause the enclosure to vibrate itself away from where it was originally placed! Anything that reduces the contact area between enclosure and floor is an improvement IME.
     
    Durmbo likes this.

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