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Centre speaker on cabinet? A solution!

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
So I recently started looking in to room acoustics and was scouring the net for some ideas and got sidetracked when i came across a video on speaker isolation for use in studios and near field monitors where they typically have speakers placed on a desk. It got me thinking. Admittedly a desk or cabinet is not ideal as a speaker stand because of a number of reasons but like me I suppose many enthusiasts don't have the option to place a centre speaker on a dedicated stand. The reason why a cabinet or desk isn't ideal (from my limited knowledge, I'm sure the experts can explain better) is because of cabinet resonances, some of the energy produced by the speaker is transferred to the cabinet and in effect what we hear is a mix of both the sound coming from the speaker and resonance from the cabinet. This has the effect of muddying or blurring the sound, matters made worse if like me you have a closed cabinet with front doors since the entire cabinet now becomes a part of the speaker acting as a front baffle and introducing nasties that certainly no speaker manufacturer intended in their design of the speaker and internal crossover. Considering the fact the centre channel carries much of the movie content and dialogue, a combination of all these effects is a recipe for disaster and is the last thing anyone needs. Generally speaking despite all these issues the brain fill in the gaps and we get on with watching the movie either oblivious to these effects or seemingly helpless. In my case it was the former since I was so preoccupied with perfecting my stereo that surround sound took a back seat. Now the question for me was what can be done?

I quite often see people talking about tweaks for their speakers, changing cables, using squash balls, granite, blu-tak and so on all of which promise to tackle some of the issues and bring greater clarity from the speakers. Whilst some of these tweaks may address certain issues they are certainly not the last word for those that want a complete solution. This is where a speaker isolation pad/platform can help, the best known of which amongst home cinema and audio fans are the Auralex moped variety. These are basically machine cut bits of designer foam which are quite good for decoupling the speaker from the cabinet however they don't do much to stabilise the speaker keeping it from the back and forth motion which all decent speakers have the potential for given enough juice. So I started snooping around and came across this little company called Primacoustics. They are primarily a room acoustic manufacturer from the US providing room treatment solutions to studios and businesses. They also do a couple of speaker isolation platforms, in particular interest here are their Recoil Stabilisers. This is basically a speaker isolation platform made of three layers. At the bottom is a thick base of foam for decoupling the speaker, on top of this is a heavy steel plate to add mass ensuring speaker stability and on the very top is a layer of neoprene non-slip surface to keep the speaker firm. They come in different shapes, sizes and angles and are also sold individually, ideal for our purposes here. Unfortunately I couldn't find a shape and size I wanted at a decent price to carry out my little (then questionable) experiment so carried on looking, five minutes later I came across an isolation pad that looked almost identical to the recoil stabiliser but from a company called Sinn7 and less than half the cost. So I placed an order for one and when it arrived was pleasently surprised to find that although under their description the Sinn7 Pro 8 Monitor Pad made no mention of the neoprene base it does in fact come with it (or some material that serves the same purpose). The similarity between these two pads are uncanny, makes you wonder if there's been any copyright infringement.

So what effect has it had? I previously had my centre speaker on some bits of acoustic foam angled upward toward the listening position. It just about did the job of decoupling but in retrospect I don't think the thickness was enough to carry the weight of the speaker. I had on a few occasions during high spl movie viewing noticed a certain tendency for the speaker to sound congested with some odd sounds that I'm sure shouldn't have been there, they were like distortion but at certain frequencies, rather than getting the full impact of the soundtrack I was perhaps getting just half of it. At lower listening levels too I would sometimes hear it so subconsciously knew something wasn't right but I persevered. Once the speaker was setup on top of the Sinn7 pad, the first thing I noticed was just how stable it sat, I tried applying some pressure pushing the speaker back but the neoprene (?) base had a vice like grip on the gloss lacquered speaker, it simply refused to move. The Sinn7 logo is an eyesore though, will have to spray over it. I then put it to the test with a few dialogue rich action movies to see if the pad had any audible effect. Initial impressions are wow, far beyond anything I had expected the sound has become more transparent like a few layers of veil have been lifted, it's less localised and more immersive with the subtleties from the centre channel floating around with the rest of the speakers to create a very 3 dimensional holographic sound with more impact and more immediacy to it. Who would of thought all this from a mere £40 upgrade? Had i known I would gladly have paid ten times as much for it. Would I recommend it? For a simple no nonsense solution that also looks great, hell yeah!

Link to Primacoustic: Primacoustic Acoustic Solutions

Link to Sinn7: Sinn7 - Monitor|Pad Pro 8 Monitor|Pad Pro 8 224291

Hopefully this will be useful to some that visit the speaker subforum for advice on upgrades, placement etc
 

Ambient Fish

Active Member
Hi Mission, I went to the site your link connects to, and I can see the item, however it is not obvious how you order the product (Sinn7), can you tell me how you managed to order it please. Currently using squash balls and they do a competant job but like you I think it could be better.
 
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Ambient Fish

Active Member
Thank you, I tried google but I must have been doing something wrong lol, Ordered one.
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
Great, well I hope it works out for you, do let us know as the more people that try the more feedback we can collect to help others in a similar situation.

As a side note I would have gone with the Primeacoustic rx9 model but they don't do it in the upward tilt version which I need as it fires away from the cabinet door and direct toward the listening position. The rx7 was the next best option with the upward tilt but as mentioned above the Sinn7 appears to be an exact copy but at less than half the cost. :)
 

Somnambulist

Well-known Member
As a future tip for others, you can make these yourself for quite a bit less money by purchasing the individual bits online: high-density foam (not packing foam), square cuts of steel off ebay or if you're near a metal worker place (paint w/hammerite), neoprene sheet - I did this for my nearfields because the price on the Recoil's was mad, although I was too lazy to cut the foam so I bought Auralex MoPads. Cost me about £45 to make a pair with 1cm thick steel, and the MoPads allow for several ways to angle the speakers.
 

Ambient Fish

Active Member
Great, well I hope it works out for you, do let us know as the more people that try the more feedback we can collect to help others in a similar situation.

As a side note I would have gone with the Primeacoustic rx9 model but they don't do it in the upward tilt version which I need as it fires away from the cabinet door and direct toward the listening position. The rx7 was the next best option with the upward tilt but as mentioned above the Sinn7 appears to be an exact copy but at less than half the cost. :)

Get an e-mail saying it had been sent so I expect to have it to-morrow (Friday) I will post back with my thoughts, TBH, I have beeen looking for something better than squash balls for years and this is the first affordable solution I have found (you have found lol), it should look much neater on my rack too which is a bonus:smashin:
 
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MI55ION

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the tip Somnambulist, DIY has never been one of my strong points when it comes to these things although I can understand your point if you need multiple pads and want maximum value for money. For a single pad however I don't think it's worth the time and hassle when we have a decent alternative like the Sinn7.

Talking about DIY, this is as far as I'll go: below we have before and after shots of the pad with that disastrous logo and after it went through my handy work lol!



image-3986728291.jpg



image-3854833832.jpg



image-2830094595.jpg
 

Ambient Fish

Active Member
Ha Ha, Sinn7 arrived this morning, great service, less than 48 hours from order to delivery almost instant gratification, took me about 5 mins to get the pad under my center speaker.

Looks great, much better than my old squash balls, I don't mind the logo at all, center is now properly supported and it won't be moving around at all.

Sound Quality wise, I have to agree with Mission here, this is one cheap upgrade that does exactly what Mission said it would, I'm sure my old set up let the center move back and forth under high SPL, it is now rock solid but well decoupled from my rack, I would therefore reccomend this to anyone who has their center speaker on a shelf or cabinet and wants to be sure that it is not interacting with said shelf or cabinet 10 out of 10 from me.
 
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stevefish69

Well-known Member
I might have to have a look at a pair of RX7-UF's as my Center is down on the floor sitting on a standard Horizontal Gramma at the moment - Nice find there MI55ION :D
 
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Ambient Fish

Active Member
Couple of piccies of the Sinn7 in situ
 

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Ambient Fish

Active Member
2nd bonus I just noticed, the Uni Q drivers of my front 3 speakers are now all in the same horizontal plane, the center was a couple of inches low before.
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
Somnambulist said:
Mine weren't works of art. There's concrete inside the black fabric:

Brilliant mate that looks quite substantial, concrete, foam, steel, neoprene, you cant go wrong with that combo! Just for aesthetics I would perhaps spray the mopads black.
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
Ambient Fish said:
2nd bonus I just noticed, the Uni Q drivers of my front 3 speakers are now all in the same horizontal plane, the center was a couple of inches low before.

Pleased to hear it worked out for you, that centre speakers seems quite wide, could imagine dual sinn7 pads being the perfect size in width, but as you say if it sits firm on just a single pad then great! Can you really live with that logo staring you in the face? Lol
 

Stretchy

Active Member
Cheers for the info in this one, facing similar thoughts myself so may give these a look or follow the granite chopping board and pollipods route.
 

Ambient Fish

Active Member
Pleased to hear it worked out for you, that centre speakers seems quite wide, could imagine dual sinn7 pads being the perfect size in width, but as you say if it sits firm on just a single pad then great! Can you really live with that logo staring you in the face? Lol


TBH, I just don't see it mate, if it becomes a problem I'll follow your solution and do a quick respray, the main thing is the improvements it brings, I would go double ugly for that:eek::D

It is absolutely rock solid with just the 1 but still decoupled from the rack win win
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
Well the fact a single pad can decouple and stabilise your centre speaker to a point that it's rock solid is testament to just how effective these are.

Agree with you totally about the benefit vs aesthetic side of things too, I actually think the pad as a whole looks rather slick. Just the logo troubled me but there was an easy enough workaround even for a diy novice. I guess I'm just a bit susceptible to these things.
 

Ambient Fish

Active Member
Yeah the foam grips the glass like a limpet but absolutely zero vibration and movement at high SPLs, it really is a no brainer, in ten years of tweaking it's the best £38 iv'e spent no question, next would be my DVE disc.
 

Jaunty

Well-known Member
Hmm. I know it is all a matter of opinion...my Centre is already on Auralex Mopads, is it worth getting the Sinn 7 or a home brew Somnambulist upgrade do you think? Guess I could stick a baking sheet on the Mopads as a trial run :).
 

Somnambulist

Well-known Member
The steel plate was the important part of mine, nice heavy dense mass for the speaker to sit on - copying the Recoil Stabilizers as it were. Search eBay for 'steel plate' - I can't remember which seller I used but he made a listing cut to the size I wanted and I just painted it w/hammerite.

If you go on TNT Audio's site they also show you how to make isolation platforms out of boxes of sealed sand, although they're more suited for components w/moving parts.
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
Jaunty said:
Hmm. I know it is all a matter of opinion...my Centre is already on Auralex Mopads, is it worth getting the Sinn 7 or a home brew Somnambulist upgrade do you think? Guess I could stick a baking sheet on the Mopads as a trial run :).

I think the most important thing here is to follow the key components of the recoil stabiliser, decoupling on its own isn't enough but if built properly the DIY version could be just as effective. Since you already have the foam you can add rest of the ingredients to make your own, so a thick layer of steel, some neoprene, glue and spray all for under £15. All available on eBay and I'm sure If you contact a few sellers you'll find one more than happy to cut the pieces to your desired size.

Edit: lol as somnambulist said above!

Edit 2: does anyone know if theirs a specific type/brand of glue that'll work best to bond metal with foam? I take it superglue wouldn't work.
 
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Jaunty

Well-known Member
Thanks. I have a friend who works with metal so if i get around to it it could be a little job for him.
 

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