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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 10:51 am 
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Location: Ontario, ON, CA
I have a pair of Target speaker stands, these are the ones with one post on each stand- 2 inches in width by 5 inches in length (approx.). The stands are holding Totem Rainmakers.

What effect would mass loading the stands make on the sound? Or is loading stands a given that I should have already done? What material should I use to load the stands? And how do I detemine the right amount of loading- my ears?


I thought there was a previous forum posting on this subject but I can not locate if there was?


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 Post subject: mass loading
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 11:01 am 
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Location: White Rock, BC, CA
Stands are most commonly filled with sand. Some of the obvious detriments to sound with them is improper height, or if they move. As long as they are immobile, (which mass loading should assist with) and your listening height is good, you should be rockin.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 12:38 pm 
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Location: GVRD, BC, CA
Generally one would mass load a speaker stand for 2 reasons,

1) to take the metallic "ring" out of the stand itself
2) to provide the loudspeaker with a more solid vibration free perch

Most stands that are made from hollow sections of "pig iron" do absolutely benefit from some loading. Use silica sand if you can get it, or you can just buy "dry playground sand" at Home Despot.

My experience says fill up the stand halfway and listen for a few days. Also, tap on the vertical posts with various implements to see if they still exhibit any ring of their own. After getting accustomed to the sound filled halfway, perhaps, fill them all the way and listen again for a few more days. Decide which is preferable to your ears.

One problem I have found over the years is with spikes sinking into wood floors due to overloaded speaker stands. Once the spikes dig as deep as they are going to, there tends to be a deadening of the entire performance. Listen carefully on the first day you load them up, and then every day for about a week. At the end of the week, you may find that the system doesn't sound as snappy as it did on the first day. Pay attention to leading edges of notes and bass getting tubby. If you encounter this, take some weight out of the stands. Better still, if it is acceptable to the Minister of Domestic affairs, buy 2 24" x 24" smooth top patio stones and use them on top of your flooring (regardless wood or carpet). Set the speaker stands on top of the stones. Overall better results in my experience.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:43 pm 
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575jim,

I mass loaded my Totem Sttaf speakers a couple of weeks ago and it made quite a difference. At first I really wasn't really sure if I needed to do this but now I realize how much I can cut down on the extra vibrations in my room. One thing I noticed was that my system doesn't seem to be as "loud" as it was before. I guess you really don't notice any unwanted vibrations until you get rid of them. In my case, the bass response became "tighter" and "quicker" after I mass loaded the Sttaf's. I personally used silica sand (about 5 lbs in each speaker). According to a reply I got from Totem regarding mass loading, their preference in choice for material used is "fine grain sand" or even "kitty litter". Different materials will yield different results accoring to them. Though in another response from Totem, they also told me that they found that silica sand to be "the best balance in terms of bass response, detail and imaging". I also added a set of three Vibrapod Notepads as well as lined the inside cover of my cd player with a piece of Dynamat to absorb any unwanted vibrations and this along with mass loading my speakers, has made quite a difference in my overall sound. It is definately a much "quieter" system now then it was before. Hope this helps. :D :D :D

Peter


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 7:13 pm 
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Location: Ontario, ON, CA
Thanks for the information, loading the stands is something I will be trying.

When using book shelf speakers which has the greatest impact mass loading the speakers or the stands?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 7:22 pm 
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575jim wrote:
Thanks for the information, loading the stands is something I will be trying.

When using book shelf speakers which has the greatest impact mass loading the speakers or the stands?


I'm not sure if you can mass load your Rainmakers or just the stands themselves.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 7:22 pm 
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575jim wrote:
Thanks for the information, loading the stands is something I will be trying.

When using book shelf speakers which has the greatest impact mass loading the speakers or the stands?


I'm not sure if you can mass load your Rainmakers or just the stands themselves.

Peter


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 7:26 pm 
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Sorry about that. I'm not sure how come my reply was posted twice :oops: .
Peter


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 5:03 am 
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Location: Ontario, ON, CA
Thanks Peter and Yaukui for the advice. Greatly appreciated!!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 6:57 am 
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Yaukui wrote:
...One problem I have found over the years is with spikes sinking into wood floors due to overloaded speaker stands... ...buy 2 24" x 24" smooth top patio stones and use them on top of your flooring (regardless wood or carpet). Set the speaker stands on top of the stones. Overall better results in my experience.


Jim, Yaukui,

There are far more subtle (and visually pleasing) ways to prevent the floor spikes beneath your speakers or speaker stands from sinking into your hardwood floors than patio stones. If the speakers/stands are situated directly on the wooden floor, you can use coins or spike interface discs (spike cups) specifically intended to solve this problem between floor and the pointy end of your spikes. Most audio boutiques sell the latter and they look much more slick than coins.

If you have a throw rug between your speakers/stands and the hardwood, the above suggestion doesn't work. In this case I too recommend a trip to Home Depot. There you can purchase a 4x4 foot sheet of 1/4" "Hardboard". You have the lumber department sales person cut the sheet of hardboard down into two pieces a few inches larger than the base of your stands/speakers. Upon returning home, you slip the hardboard pads beneath the rug where your speakers are situated and place the speakers back on are sitting on a throw rug on top of 'em. Hardboard is so dense that the spikes won't sink into the material more than a millimeter or two even if your speakers or speaker/stand combo are very heavy. My current speakers weigh on the order of 150 pounds each and I've still found this to be the case.

Happy Trails!
Vince@freewheelcycle.com

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 4:13 pm 
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Location: Ontario, ON, CA
Purchased some sand today and loaded up the stands. Nice!! They only took 4 pounds each to load to the midway point. I have spent some time doing some critical listening and there is a very nice improvement. The soundstage is a little larger and the base is tigher and more detailed.

Nice tweak for a low cost.(':lol:')


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 7:47 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2004 2:33 pm
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
Very good advice all round!

I prefer mixing lead shot with silica sand, but as with the different types of sand, how tightly you pack it, and how high you fill the post, it's all a matter of taste and of the characteristics of the speaker cabinets and stands.

Regards,

Joel.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 8:03 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 8:17 am
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Location: Nobleton, ON, CA
To fix your spike problem, I use the things you put on the ends a chairs to stop them from scratching the floor when they are moved. Get the ones that have a carpet like bottom and have rubber inside them with a metal ring. The ring is used to hammer in to the chair legs. Place one on each spike.

Your speakers will then be easy to slide around plus they are really isolated from the floor this way. Being that the spikes are floating on the rubber. Plus they are pleasing to the eye. Try them they are very inexpensive.

Andrew


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