Oehlbach Shock Absorbers

Simonofthepiemans

Novice Member
Hullo

Does anyone have any experience, or thoughts about using the Oehlbach Shock Absorbers as a cheap method of trying to isolate speaker stands on wooden floors?

Cheers
 

larkone

Member
Spikes are the usual method of isolating speakers/stands from the floor - the principle is that the very small contact area (the point) will transfer less energy. If you are worried about the wooden floor then you can get cups to support them or use a coin under each one.
 

Simonofthepiemans

Novice Member
I've read lots of articles that indicate that there's no point in spikes (no pun intended) unless you have a concrete floor that you're trying to acoustically couple your stands to. Whereas on a wooden floor you want to try and decouple the speaker stand so the floor acts less as a soundboard and excites the the floor less.
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
Is there an obvious problem with bass or are you concerned there might be? Are you trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist?
 

Simonofthepiemans

Novice Member
In not unhappy with the bass but it could sound cleaner, there's a muddy element to it that is definitely not helped by the room dynamics. I'm just trying to mitigate unwanted resonance, as much for me as for the neighbours and my partner who gets twitchy, especially as I have a penchant for electronic music.
I've got large windows which the ports are about 800mm away from and the floor is definitely very reactive as i feel it as well as hear it. I need a big rug, that's on my list. I'm just looking at other aspects to help. Unfortunately, spikes and shoes are a bit annoying as the stands get moved some and I thought the isolator pads might be easier in that regard and wondered if they would also have any impact sonically. Two birds, one stone and all that.
 

larkone

Member
I've read lots of articles that indicate that there's no point in spikes (no pun intended) unless you have a concrete floor that you're trying to acoustically couple your stands to. Whereas on a wooden floor you want to try and decouple the speaker stand so the floor acts less as a soundboard and excites the the floor less.
You have argued against yourself here - the whole point of a point is that it reduces the area of transmission to a tiny amount. Whatever you use will transfer some energy, its down to how efficiently they can reduce the amount of energy. Even the Oehlbach Shock Absorbers will transfer some energy. If you want to effectively decouple the stands from the floor then don't put them on the floor - simples.
 

Simonofthepiemans

Novice Member
Well, yes. Logic dictates this and that's partly why I'm asking the question. I think you phrased it succinctly above, "how efficiently they can reduce the amount of energy", and I'm just curious if anyone thinks that using something like the afformentioned absorbers, as opposed to spikes will make a blind bit of difference in my lively room.
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
Spikes are not about solid floors - on solid floors, spikes are more likely to make things worse, by reducing stability.

With TT's the idea is to isolate the TT from environmental vibrations, just like your car's suspension isolates the passengers from the road surface. hence you use shock absorbers when you can't solve the problem statically (e.g. wall mount the TT). The Oehlbach Shock Absorber is such a device.

With speakers the idea is to couple the speaker to the floor so that the speaker does not rock as a result of the movements of its own cones. Obviously the best solution would be to bolt the speakers to the floor, but few people like to do this. The Oehlbach Shock Absorber does exactly the opposite of what you want to do when applied to a speaker - it is designed to increase the speaker's rocking. For speakers you would want an Oehlbach Spike, not one of their resonance dampers, assuming that is that you needed anything.

There is an exception - when you have a bookshelf speaker on a shelf that also holds a TT, for example. In such a case want to keep the speaker's vibrations from affecting the shelf and hence the TT and would use a shock absorber to protect the shelf. The sound is already compromised, so it won't get worse.

Spikes are used when you have a layer of (spongy) carpet or the like between the speaker, which needs to be kept rigid and immobile, and the floor, which is already rigid and immobile. The spikes pierce the carpet, allowing the speaker to rest on the concrete floor.

The problem with (suspended) wooden floors is that the wood is elastic, so is not immobile. For such situations, heavy concrete slabs can be used to reduce their elasticity. In your case however, "they are not an option".
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
I should add that concrete slabs and the like are not an option.
Would you rule out wall-mounted bass traps?

Perhaps my experiences of how room structure effect the sound is not typical but I have found that suspended wooden floors in old properties with thick soft-ish brick walls and lime & plaster mortar really damp the bass well so that there is negligible bass overhang. Subjectively, bass just doesn't appear to linger after the note has ended in these type of rooms.

On the other hand, concrete floors (incl. wood over concrete) with concrete ceilings and concrete block walls usually exhibit harder- hitting bass that hangs around after the event ('thunderous' would be a good way to describe it).

What I'm saying is that no matter how you support the speakers, the room structure may have a bigger influence. You could try strategically placed (and possibly disguised?) bass traps - it's likely to make some difference. And, as you mention, rugs might help too. But before you go down the room treatment route (if you do) it's best to determine the exact nature of the problem by reading up on the subject and, ideally, carrying out acoustic measurements.

The use of speaker stand spikes is always contentious and you see so many contradictory articles/reviews as to their mode of operation. IMO, spikes couple a stand to the floor - they don't decouple. Whilst the point of contact 'tween stand spike and floor is of minimal area, the pressure exerted is enormous and thus keeps the two surfaces in contact under 'normal' listening conditions. Assuming a 15kg stand + speaker weight, the pressure at the point of spike contact with floor will be >2000 bar so those surfaces aren't going to part company. The use of compliant gunk, like Bluetack, to seat speaker on stand is common and will, to some extent, decouple speaker from stand - though depending on the amount used, may not be very relevant.

You may have conflicting requirements here. Reducing the propagation of bass through the floor (so as not to annoy others in the household or your neighbours) may require a different solution to improving bass quality in the listening room. Good luck with this because there is rarely a 'one size fits all' solution to these problems.
 

DT79

Well-known Member
I found that these are a game changer for me. They’re pricey, but then nothing else quite does the job and once you buy then you’ve got to figure you’ve got them for life. I’ve got them on my speaker stands and 2 subs. They give you all the benefit of spikes, but make everything sooooo much easier to move and don’t risk damaging anything.

My subs are also on these, as I had terrible issues with them vibrating the hard wooden floor and nearby furniture - Auralex II ISO Series Acoustic Decoupling 4,5 x 38 x 38 cm black/charcoal | eBay

Again, pricey, but effective - in this case if you’re handy you could probably make up something equivalent with some MDF and a suitable type of foam.

Also if they aren’t already then fill your speaker stands with something suitable such as kiln dried sand, to add mass.
 

DT79

Well-known Member
I should add that concrete slabs and the like are not an option. The missus would become most fraught 🤔
You can buy some pretty nice looking alternatives to concrete slabs though. You could find a place that does kitchen worktops and get some finished off cuts of quartz or granite worktop to go under your speakers. Or even just a general stone mason might be able to sort something for you.
 

Simonofthepiemans

Novice Member
Just wanted to say thanks for all your input folks. It's appreciated.
I've put a set of Iso accoutic 130's between the top plate and speaker which has helped somewhat. Now, If I could only find the rug that best compliments the colour of my speakers I'll be laughing
 

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