Giving Your Sound A Leg To Stand On: Choosing The Right Stands For Your Speakers/Studio Monitors
Choosing a pair of quality stands to put your speakers/studio monitors on is not only practical but also necessary. Many people still make the mistake of placing their speakers on desks or other flat hard surfaces, especially in the sound critical recording studio environment.
First, we first need to understand why speaker stands are the best choice when it comes to the placement of your studio monitors.
We then take a closer look at the qualities that make a high quality speaker stand while using the On-Stage SMS6000 studio monitor stands as the perfect example.
Why Choose Speaker Stands
In a previous article, we already discussed sound wave behavior and speaker placement in detail, and how crucial the placement is for optimal sound quality. Lets summarize quickly.
As we don't have the luxury of choosing the shape of the room we will be using as a home studio, we are pretty much stuck with a rectangular room with directly opposing walls parallel to each other, the worst case scenario. There is a lot you can do to minimize the unwanted negative effects of such an setup though. Read more about it in this article.
Lets focus for now on why speaker/monitor stands are the best choice for speaker placement in a home studio.
Using the dimensions of your room, placing your speakers against the short wall to travel the full length of the room and bounce off the back wall, will allow it to travel the maximum distance to allow the signal to weaken as much as possible before its reflected sound reach the microphone.
With speaker/studio monitor stands its easy to place and move the speakers around until exactly the right spot is found. It can also be accurately placed the right distance from the back wall to minimize the bass reflected from the back of the speakers.
A desk placed against a wall may sound like an easy solution, especially if you just happen to already have your desk and setup placed in this fashion. If you are in any way serious about the quality of your sound and recording, you may want to reconsider this decision very quickly.
(If things sound a bit confusing at this point, you can go through this article again, and things will become clear.)
Ok, back to the desk. If you don't have a desk or table in the correct position to start with, it would be inconvenient and impractical to move such a large object, apart from the fact that its other attributes makes it unsuitable to place speaker on.
The problem with desks and all other flat hard surfaces, is the sound reflection (reverberation) it cause. Sound from your speakers do not travel in a straight line to you. They also reach the surface of the desk they are standing on, which is then reflected and amplified. The result is that the sound reaching the listener/microphone is slightly distorted. (The original sound combined with the reflected sound.)
For this very reason, placing speakers on the floor or close to the ceiling will have the same negative effect. The right speaker height is actually at the listener/microphone's ear level. This also happens to be at the correct height not to cause any reverberation. (Less than halfway between the floor and the ceiling.)
To sum up, there are 4 main reasons why speaker stands are preferable to other surfaces or objects to place your speakers on for optimal performance.
- The ability to elevate speakers to the correct height for optimal sound quality.
- Avoiding reflective horizontal surfaces in the process which will cause reverberation and a resulting distorted sound.
- The small footprint of a stand saves valuable floor space, as well as freeing up desk space that would have been occupied by the speakers/studio monitor.
- The compact size also provides freedom of movement to allow the speakers to be placed in the optimal position and pointed in the correct direction.
In the relatively confined space of a home recording studio these are valuable attributes that will help make the setting up process a lot easier. Even after you already set up your studio, adding a pair of stands may help with quite a few existing problems, from setup to audio quality.
Armed with hopefully enough information to convince you of the importance of using speaker/studio monitor stands, its time to look at what makes a good quality pair of stands, and use the OnStage SMS6000 studio monitor stands as the perfect example.
What Makes Good Studio Monitor Stands
As with most products available to us today, not all audio hardware are created equal. This applies to speaker/studio monitor stands as well. To best understand what to look for in a quality stand, we look at the different attributes that make a good stand and use the On-Stage SMS6000 studio monitors as a reference.
The materials used and how well they are put together in a stand, play the biggest part in determining the build quality. Build quality is crucial, as the stands are carrying a pair of speakers worth hundreds of dollars or more, and also need to last for many years.
The SMS6000 Stands already looks like solid piece of equipment, before even touching it. It is solid piece of kit, made from steel, and able to hold speakers with a weight up to 90 pounds. The Black Powder Coat finish adds to the perceived quality, while the solid feel of the stands confirms this impression. These stands are made to last.
Small attentions to detail like adding adding a few cable guides/hooks to keep your cables need and tidy, also help with the impression of a quality component.
Sturdiness is a must for any speaker stand, as vibrations and small knocks needs to be absorbed without interfering with the sound.
The SMS6000 stands have an all steel construction that gives an impression of sturdiness. This perceived sturdiness is reinforced by its actual feel and moving the stands around. Even without speakers on top, the stands feel grounded and steady without loose parts or any hint of wobbliness.
The addition of self leveling carpet spikes to be screwed into the bottom of the stands, allows the speaker to sit solidly and balanced on any surface, even when placed on carpeted surfaces.
Weight is important as it adds to the balance and sturdiness of a stand. A very light stand may not only feel unsteady, but will be unbalanced when carrying a heavy speaker/studio monitor. The top-heavy result is prone to be easily knocked over, even from the slightest touch.
With a substantial weight of 24.2 pounds per stand, combined with a sturdy build quality, the SMS6000 are rock solid and feels like it is able to carry more than the stated 90 pounds.
The ability to adjust the height of a speaker/studio monitor stand is a crucial, but often overlooked by many beginners not familiar with the importance of height when setting up your speakers in a recording studio.
(Interestingly, many users go for aesthetics when it comes to choosing their stands. Unfortunately many of your most aesthetically pleasing speaker stands are fixed height units without the much needed adjustability and sometimes build quality. I guess this is one case of "looks aren't everything")
Luckily the On-Stage SMS6000 stands come fully height-adjustable. Height is adjustable from 36.5 - 54 inches, using a security pin to keep it in place as well as clutch to fasten it and ensure a secure and tight hold. This height range allows you yo find the ideal speaker height no matter what your seated position.
With the addition of self leveling carpet spikes, the stands can be further adjusted to enable it to stand sturdily on any surface, whether carpeted or hard floor.
All these adjustable features available on a pair of SMS6000 stands, makes them one of the most versatile speakers available.
Earlier in this post I touched on balance when I pointed towards the imbalance of a top-heavy speaker/stand combination. Here the substantial weight of the On-Stage stands contributes to a very good overall balance, regardless of the weight of the speaker.
But it's not just the weight of the stand that have an influence on balance. The actual base of the stand plays a vital role, and is not as easy to get right easy to get as one might think. Too big and heavy, and you end up with a sturdy, but rather clumsy and aesthetically displeasing look. Too light, and you end with the now familiar top-heavy scenario.
The On-Stage stands manage to strike a good balance between the two. With a triangular base of 18 inches, it provides the right size and shape for optimal balance without going over the top.
One factor that very seldom gets mentioned or considered, is the sturdiness with which the speakers are held on top of the stands. As is the case with the normal smooth surface on top of many stands, speakers can be knocked off position very easily from the slightest bump. In the worst case scenario this can result in the speakers tipping over with potentially devastating consequences.
Again, the SMS6000 stands avoid this from happening by adhering a non-slip pad to the top of the stand, preventing speakers placed on top of it from moving around.
Get more information and pricing on the On-Stage SMS6000.
This has been quite an in-depth look at something seemingly so insignificant. To be honest, the first time I was looking for a pair of stands for my speakers, I only wanted something to place them on. It was only after I started looking online and stumbled across a few guidelines, that I realized things may not be as simple I thought.
Only after a making an informed purchase and then experimenting with placement and a few other small adjustments, can one appreciate what a big difference the features described in this article can make to your overall experience and sound quality.
The On-Stage SMS6000 speaker/studio monitors are by no means perfect or the most attractive stands available. They just do exactly what they need to do and do it well.
The biggest take-away from this article is two-fold. The first being that the smallest thing can make a big difference in your recording studio setup. Secondly, there is always something you can do to improve on your recording setup, no matter how small.
I hope all this information has been helpful and encourage you to also pay attention to the smaller details and realize what a big difference it can make.
Feel free to leave me any comments or suggestions you may have. Remember to join my Mailing List to be informed whenever a new article is released, and share new developments and helpful hints & tips.
Catch you in the next article and happy recording!