Size of Atacama Atabites

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Speakers' started by shnplr, Jul 17, 2018.

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  1. shnplr

    shnplr
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    Hi,
    Does anyone know what the actual (approx) size of these pellets are? They look small but its hard to tell - they don't look to be as small as sand granules.

    Also for improving sound quality is it the mass or density that plays the most important role..or a necessary combination of both. I could not find any tests which compared sound produced by atabites vs other medium - this seems strange since nearly everything else audio related gets measured.

    Here is Australia it costs about $100 for a 7.5KG of these things...I know, relative to the price of my speakers/stands I should be happy to invest another $400..but still.

    To conclude I've looked at other options, many threads suggesting
    - kiln dried sand of some format
    - kitty litter (seriously?)
    - lead (really?)
    - steel (meh)
    - other compound
    - aquarium pebbles
    - etc

    Personally I'm not that thrilled with any of these - moisture, more moisture, poisoning, rust, unknown toxicity, reaction, cost. I think I'm settling on Garnet stones - I'm just not sure about small 30/60 or larger 1-2mm pieces...but I'd like to use a medium which is not as fine as sand - but maybe just a bit smaller than atabites.

    A 25 KG bag of garnet stones only costs about $30 and:

    Garnet is not a radioactive mineral.
    Garnet does not contain heavy metals.
    Garnet does not hold moisture.
    Garnet does not contain toxic and cancerogenic substances.
    Garnet does not contain free silica and does not cause silicosis disease.
    Garnet with high specific gravity (4.0-4.1).
    Garnet can be used freely on every type of material surface because it has no corrosive effects.
    Garnet's Sensitivity To Acid No
    Garnet's Moisture Absorption No (Not hygroscopic)
    Garnet's Magnetic Characteristic Slightly Magnetic

    This seems pretty good to me.

    Cheers,
    Paul
     
  2. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Check this thread, it covers the subject pretty thoroughly -

    Quality Dry Speaker Stand FILLER - CHEAP

    Aquarium Gravel/Pebble tend to be pH neutral so as not to through off the pH balance of the Aquarium water. So that is a plus. And the pebbles are pretty fine.

    Kiln dried Play Sand is a good alternative, but play sand has very find dust in it. If your stands are not absolutely sealed, that fine dust will leak out.

    Atabites, while nice, strike me as crazy expensive.

    Another alternative to Aquarium Gravel is fine Chicken Grit. This can be found in Farm and Feed Stores. It comes in various grade or sizes, and the small are similar to aquarium gravel. The make up various on the type of stone available. Around here, it is small granules of Granite. You want the type that does not have calcium added.

    Check out the thread linked above, and see if you find anything helpful.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  3. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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  4. larkone

    larkone
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    Surely the question is do your speaker stands need mass loading? Anyone selling stuff to mass load speaker stands is going to tell you you have to buy it otherwise you are in the realm of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt that your speakers might not sound the best, and as you say no one has actually tested if this really works.

    I would test it yourself with some ordinary cheap pea gravel or similar and see if you can hear a difference.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2018
  5. shnplr

    shnplr
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    Hi,
    Thanks for your replies. On the Atacama website it says regarding the speaker stands:

    "All three tubes are designed to accept Atabite SMD 7.5HD filler which will add mass and reduce ringing (two packs per stand would, under most circumstances, be sufficient)."

    I'm not sure if I hear any ringing or not!! But I wouldn't want to test the theory on expensive atabites, but a $30 might be worthwhile risk I feel. I can't believe adding garnets would reduce sound quality - at worst there'd be noticeable difference.

    So my question was more to do with the actual size of atabites and any known tests to prove atabites reduced ringing?

    And if anyone knows the actuals measurements (dimensions) of atabites, and has put them on digital scales, I'd be interested in the result.

    Cheers,
    Paul
     
  6. Hixs

    Hixs
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    I never bothered with filler for my Nexus 10i. They're only used for my surrounds speakers, so didn't see the point.
     
  7. Smoking Joe

    Smoking Joe
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    Me personally, I bought a 10kg bag of plastering sand in my local builder's providers for a fiver. I then spread it very thin out on the path in my back garden and let it dry for a few days, raking it around every so often. Then swept it up and used it.
    I was actually tempted to use it to mix concrete and use that, but just the sand was the least hassle option.
     
  8. shnplr

    shnplr
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    Hi,

    I think sand is generally OK. Sand is porous. With air dried sand, some moisture content could remain inside the granules. Oven drying will ensure no moisture on surface or in interior or particles. Place sample to an oven or hot plate heat, which does not exceed 239 degrees F (115 degrees C). While drying material in this manner, it should be frequently stirred.

    For example all moisture is removed by heating the aggregate in an oven at 105°C (221°F) to constant weight (this usually constitutes heating it overnight). All pores connected to the surface are empty and the aggregate is fully absorbent.

    I live in an area with high humidity and any type of sand may not be ideal - I probably wouldn't consider any substance which requires drying first out of principle, since it implies using something that may not have been dry to start with, however I can appreciate under the right conditions sand can remain dry and suitable for many.

    While sand is generally non hygroscopic (not beach sand which contains salt of course) - dried sand should be highly absorbent due to its porous nature (though I don't think this should be a problem). On the other hand Garnet stones will be completely dry and are non-porous.

    It'd be great to compare any differences in produced sound quality between a porous sand based material vs a dense non-porous substance like garnet stones (or atabites).

    Cheers,
    Paul
     
  9. Smoking Joe

    Smoking Joe
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    I live in a damp country and near the sea but I wouldn't be concerned about moisture to be honest. Most stands are heavy gauge steel and also painted. They will live inside a house so even if any moisture was left in the sand it will eventually dried out in the house.
     
  10. Hixs

    Hixs
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    The inside of the stand won't be powder coated, and if enough moisture is there will start to rust the stand.
     
  11. Dolus

    Dolus
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    Many moons ago when I filled a pair of stands, I bought sand from the local pet shop. Before filling I lined the stands with a plastic bag/bin liner and when done folded the top over and tucked it in.
     
  12. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Sand is made up of tiny fragments of Quartz Crystals, it is not porous, but the tiny crystal, through surface tension, sand can absorb and hold water for a significant amount of time.

    Sand - Wikipedia

    But you can buy bags of already Kiln Dried Sand for ...pardon the expression... dirt cheap.

    Once dry, sand is generally inert and non-reactive, but tiny quartz crystals are mixed with very fine dust, and that fine dust can leak out of the speaker stands if they are not completely sealed.

    So as an alternative to fine sand, I came up with the idea of using Aquarium Gravel or Dorset Pea Gravel, which are also pH neutral, dry, and do not have fine dust.

    Chicken Grit is also a workable alternative if you can get fine enough grit.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  13. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    As an alternative, assuming limited resources, you could put sand into common Zip Lock Bags and drop them down inside the column until the column is full. Fill the bag to roughly the diameter of the Column and drop it inside. The bags should pack down as more a added.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  14. Smoking Joe

    Smoking Joe
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    What do you think about my original idea of pouring in concrete? I opted just to use the sand in the end as it was less hassle and quicker. But I wonder if concrete would be good?
     
  15. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    One assumes you mean mixed concrete. It would have to be wet when you pour it in, not good for steel columns, not good for wood columns. Perhaps tolerable for Aluminum.

    But one the Concrete is in there it is in there forever. With Sand or Aquarium Gravel, if you have to move the Stands from house to house or room to room, you could pour it out. Unless you have a dolly or a cart of some type, it is going to hard to lift and carry a column or two of concrete.

    Also, some people like to tune the stands by putting varying amounts in. With sand and gravel you can always add and subtract until you get what you need. Far more difficult with concrete.

    Steve/bluewizard
     

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