It’s hard to think about the violent up-and-down (or whatever) movement of your car’s pistons while you’re driving. It’s just such a smooth experience that if you think about anything vibration-related, it’s the damn washboards on a dirt road or something else tire or suspension related.
Suspension, and more importantly in this case, isolation, is the topic du jour in our continuing DIY audio mini series. We’re going to make some speaker stands, because just like rapidly moving pistons in your car, speakers use rapidly moving pistons to create your music. Those vibrations can either end up as sound that colors the music or they can be dealt with.
Speaker designers pay attention to some of that in general, and very refined designs see close attention paid to it. Inside nice speakers, you could find a bitumen pad, which is thick aluminum foil over a much thicker layer of rubbery tar that sticks to anything. The rubber/tar stuff, bitumen, is good at vibrating with the cabinet, and the aluminum layer holds it still like an adult’s hand buffering an attacking child wielding a water cannon at a barbecue.
We’re going to do something like that for your speakers today. This project is easy to hack together, and if you have more time to spend on it, you can make it look prettier.
The idea is that if you have bookshelf speakers, the actual bookshelf or entertainment center or whatever will vibrate with your speaker cabinets, causing sound to be emitted.
In contrast, most floors have a concrete or hard wood bottom, and that by nature doesn’t vibrate much at all in the audio range. By making a heavy base, we’re letting it and the floor play the role of aluminum in bitumen pads — lovingly holding your nephew at bay while trying to keep your burger dry. Sorry, I keep getting these flashbacks.
We need 3-inch PVC pipe, some MDF wood or plywood, 36-inch long threaded rods (six of ’em), washers, nuts, lead shot and sand.
I won’t get too detailed for the sake of space, but I hope I talked you into the reasoning behind making these.
Here are the instructions, in a giant run-on sentence: Figure out a height that’s under 30 inches, cut the pipes as exactly as you can (use tape to make a straight line around the pipe before cutting), cut the bottom base bigger than the upper base, cut two pieces just a bit smaller than the top and bottom bases but bigger than a cluster of three 3-inch PVC pipes arrayed in a triangle, drill 3-inch holes in a triangle arrangement through the smaller pieces, glue those to the top and bottom bases, drill a hole in the center of each pipe location for the threaded rod that will tension the pipes, slide the pipes in the base, insert the rods from the bottom, fill halfway with lead shot and the rest with sand, then place the top piece on with its own holes for the threaded rod and tighten down. Donezo!
You should probably paint the stands for the sake of aesthetics or your living partner. Get your speaks on these, and you can kiss excess vibrations goodbye.