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How To Choose the Best IsoAcoustics Product for Your System
In this article, we will help you understand how to choose the best IsoAcoustics product for your system. IsoAcoustics is a Canadian company that, as the name implies, specializes in isolation devices for home and professional speakers and components. In the world of performance products, IsoAcoustics is relatively new, only having been formed in 2012, but the people behind the brand have been in the business for decades.
They developed a patented technology to improve sound by reducing vibrations that came from years of work in the broadcast industry. Dave Morrison, who is the man behind most of the IsoAcoustics work was part of a team tasked with building the largest multi-media center in the world at 1.72 million square feet! They had to figure out how to isolate all of the recording studios, special effects studios, and TV and radio studios. It was a task that led Dave to come up with some unique ideas on sound isolation.
If you know a little about the Canadian tech market, you are probably aware of the NRC, Canada’s national research center designed to help Canadian companies who export around the world. Many Canadian speaker and electronics companies use their facilities to design and test equipment and IsoAcoustics has used them for a wide range of testing.
For those of you who already know you want to get some IsoAcoustics products for your system and just want to know how to pick the best ones, you can skip the next section. If you do want to learn more about how they work and the benefits, keep on reading!
How IsoAcoustics Products Work
When you think about isolating speakers there are usually two things that quickly come to mind. Is the speaker exciting the surface they are sitting on, causing that surface to make sounds that are not part of the recording? The other part of isolation is thinking about how to keep the surface the speaker is on from sending the sound into another room. When a recording studio has multiple rooms, they will actually float the rooms to help isolate them.
The first two parts of isolation have been addressed by many companies and there are known technologies that work well. Spiking a speaker or putting it on a speaker stand is one easy way to isolate it from the floor which in almost all cases will offer big sound improvements.
IsoAcoustics looked at a third aspect no one had really thought about. Think of this example. You attach a steel pipe to a concrete wall with a plate. This is akin to a spike on a speaker. If you bang the pipe with a mallet the vibrations will go down the pipe, enter the wall and reflect back up the pipe. IsoAcoustics wanted to address the vibrations that reflect back into the speaker or components from the surface it is sitting on.
They found through testing at the NRC these reflections coming back into a speaker had a pretty big impact on the sound. Through laser testing, they discovered the reflections actually caused the cabinets of the speakers to oscillate. The tests were really interesting in that for the control test, they hung a speaker on bungee cords to isolate it, then compared it with sitting on spikes, nothing, and using their products. If you are geeks like us, they have a pretty interesting white paper called IsoAcoustics Technology Explained.
IsoAcoustics award-winning patented isolation products come in many different configurations and sizes. They all are designed to manage the energy coming back into the speaker or component while also addressing the first two aspects of isolation we discussed as well.
The difference you hear when you compare with and without is tighter bass, much greater clarity and openness to the sound, and far better three-dimensional imaging. It's pretty dramatic in most cases. IsoAcoustics have a huge amount of positive comments from recording engineers who use them daily in their work, so it’s hard to dispute the pros!
Now let’s take a look at the models to determine which one is best for your system.
Choosing the Right IsoAcoustics Product
The very first thing to remember is you need to match the weight of your component up with the correct isolation stand or puck. You may see a series of stands and think the more expensive ones would be better, but that may not be the case if your speaker or component does not match up with the weight the IsoAcoustics stands are designed for. In discussing with IsoAcoustics and looking at their performance graphs, it seems you get the best performance if the weight of your gear is about 10-25% less than the maximum weight limit. Bearing that in mind, let's jump in and look at the various series.
On all of the stands, you must remember they are designed to work with the IsoAcoustics logo in the front. The patented isolation design manages control best when they are positioned this way. It is not a good idea to try and make them work sideways to try and help it fit your speaker better.
These include the ISO-130, 155, 200, 200sub, and 430. These are all modular stands designed for speakers. The ISO-130 is especially great for powered desktop computer speakers. There are 14 variations of height with tilt adjustment to optimize alignment with the listening position.
The ISO-130 will accept a speaker larger than 5.1” wide and 6” deep, which will fit right in with just about all computer speakers except for the very smallest ones. Things like the Peachtree M24 and M25, AudioEngine A5 series and HD6, Kanto YU4 and YU6, and The Fives from Klipsch are all perfect candidates for this great upgrade. You can adjust the height from a little under 3” to over 8” to raise them up to ear level and you can add up to 6.5 degrees of tilt. All and all these are super flexible and amazing value for what they do. We highly recommend them for computer monitors. They have a weight cap of 20 pounds.
For larger speakers and heavier speakers, the other models give you some options for speakers up to 75 pounds in weight.
The Aperta series look very similar to the Iso Stand series, except they are made from aluminum instead of plastic. Aluminum has some better isolation properties and if your speakers can work with the size and weight, these are a definite upgrade for not much more cost. You also get the choice of a nice looking black or aluminum finish.
The Aperta supports speakers wider than 6.1” and deeper than 7.5” and up to 35 pounds per speaker. They are about 3” tall and have adjustable tilt which is really easy to fine-tune.
The Aperta 200 allows for a larger speaker starting at 7.8” wide and deeper than 10” with a max weight of 75 pounds each. These are 3.5” tall with adjustable tilt as well.
If you have a monitor you are laying on its side, the Aperta 300 might be a good choice as it is designed for a speaker at least 11.8” wide and 7.8” deep with a max weight of 60 pounds. Bear in mind, the Aperta 300 is priced each unlike the others priced per pair.
Isolation Pucks are individual pieces designed to go under speakers and components. They do not allow for tilt adjustment. IsoAcoustics tells us these are not as good as the stands for speakers since they are not coupled together or have a way to mount firmly to the speaker. But for components and speakers where you do not want to raise them much, but get a lot of the benefits, they are great! All of the pucks have a small indentation in the center. It is super important for this to be completely covered on all sides. Do not rest the foot of a component in this indentation. In many cases, it is just best to remove the factory-supplied feet and replace them with the pucks for components.
There are three models in the IsoPuck Series - a Mini, Puck, and Puck 76. They are rated at 6 pounds each, 20 pounds each and 40 pounds each. We recommend you use at least 4 and keep the number of pucks even for best performance. Just try and match them to the weight of your component or speakers.
The IsoAcoustic Orea Series are beautiful isolation feet for components. They come in 4 weight ranges of 4 pounds each for the Graphite model, 8 pounds each for the Bronze model, 16 pounds each for the Indigo model, and 32 pounds each for the Bordeaux model. You just want to try and use the four that most closely match your component weight without going over, and staying at 90% or less of your component weight is best.
These get some tech from their top of the line Gaia series and make a pretty big difference under components, especially ones with motors like a CD player or video player.
This is basically a heavy-duty model from the Puck series that is designed to be attached to the bottom of a heavy speaker monitor or equipment cabinet. They were designed more for road shows than home use. Four of them will hold up to 200 pounds and you really only want to use these on a speaker or cabinet that weighs from about 150-190 pounds for the best performance. If you do not have a super heavy speaker, one of the regular puck setups would be preferred.
These are the cream of the crop. The Gaia series has the most IsoAcoustics tech. These are made to screw into the bottom of a speaker that already has inserts for spikes. As you might have guessed, there are several versions based upon the weight of your speakers. Since there is no standard for threaded spikes, IsoAcoustics offers inserts in every size you can imagine.
These are sold in packs of 4 so you will need two packs per pair of speakers. The weight ranges go from 70 pounds per speaker to 120, 220, 320, 420, and 620 pounds per speaker! Yes, there is something for everyone. If your speaker only has 3 spike inserts they even sell some weight ranges individually so you can buy a 4 pack and 2 singles.
If you have a pair of good to great floor standing speakers, you will be shocked at the improvement. By screwing these directly to your speaker, you get the best results by far compared to their other isolation products. Recording engineers all over the world are astounded by the Gaia which explains why they have won so many awards.
We hope this guide has given you some insight as to which award-winning patented isolation design from IsoAcoustics is best for your system. We find adding tweaks like these to an existing system are really fun as you can immediately hear the improvement and you are doing an upgrade without having to replace or sell anything!
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