The 10 Best Speaker Stands
10. Vivo SP03B
9. Bose UFS-20 Series II
8. VideoSecu MS07B
7. Pangea Audio DS400
6. Bose FS-1
5. Sanus HTBS
4. Kanto SP26
3. Sanus NF36
2. Mount-It MI-28
1. Ultimate Support MS-90
Standing Out Without Standing In The Way
There is no denying the perceived power of music as a tool for human expression, communication, and unity. While it may be considered a stretch to call it a universal language definitively, music does bring people together in ways that often transcend race, ethnicity, culture, space, and time. This can hold true regardless of the method by which high-definition audio content is delivered to the human ears. In reference to that point, if you're not restricted to the use of a pair of headphones to listen to music, then high-quality speakers will become your new best friends. Even more important than a speaker's aesthetics is where and how it is positioned in a given space to ensure delivery of the purest and most unadulterated listening experience possible to the largest group of people at the same time. In order to achieve this goal, you'll need a sturdy set of speaker stands.
Aside from the consideration of aesthetics, a speaker stand is a mounting device that an audiophile can use to direct high-frequency sound waves (coming from either a stereo system or television) in a manner most suitable to their environment. Ideally, a speaker stand facilitates the delivery of premium-quality audio to a given audience at ear level, ensuring minimal distortion or loss of detail.
But could you experience awesome, uncompromised sound by placing your equipment on a bookshelf? In order to answer this question, we must first consider the basic principles of a loudspeaker along with a stand's major benefits to realize how the two work together and why a bookshelf setup might not be the optimal choice in every circumstance.
We tend to think of a loudspeaker as a fixed box (or cabinet) that produces sound using its internal moving cone and other components. While most of the sound comes from the cone, so do ancillary vibrations as a direct result. Regardless of how heavy and durable a cabinet might be, these vibrations will cause it to move slightly in one direction or another. Keeping that in mind, the ideal speaker support system will prevent excessive vibrations from being transferred to other nearby objects like floors, desktops, or elaborate shelving, while simultaneously keeping the cabinet firmly in place. The major drawback to placing speakers on those fancy bookshelves or hardwood floors, then, is their contact with surfaces. Most of our options have minimum surface area, meaning they don't obstruct the effective delivery of hi-fi audio to a listener's ears. The closer a surface is to a speaker, the greater the chance for early reflection and sound distortion, hence the reasoning behind centering speaker stands rather than placing them in corners or next to walls. For example, by centering two speaker stands on either side of that brand new 4K television in the middle of your living room, the projected sound has a direct path to your ears without having to bounce off other interior boundaries on the way.
Speaker stands are typically constructed from either wood or metal. Metal stands offer plenty of weight and stability, and are often painted in black or other colors to blend in with their surroundings. Wooden stands generally offer a similar degree of sturdiness to their metal counterparts. But when they're hollow, this creates the need to be filled with sand, lead shot, or some other material to prevent excessive movement due to vibrations and sound pressure. Additional stand components include top plates and bases. Most top plates are made from rubber for a superior grip on the entire speaker cabinet. The top plate usually features a pre-drilled hole in the center, making it easy to mount equipment. The base is the widest part of the stand and keeps the speaker from falling over.
Sounding Out Your Options
When hunting for a speaker stand, you should look for one with a dedicated compartment for sand that can accommodate extra weight. This is beneficial for use in large rooms when sound dampening and overall stability are your top concerns. A stand with good weight won't topple over easily, providing extra safety when you have children or pets running around the house.
Consider an option that includes spiked feet. Not only do the spikes serve to keep the stand stable on carpeting and hard floors, but they further assist in minimizing vibration and distortion, which can come in handy if you watch a lot of high-volume action films or sports programming with a lot of people around.
Height is an extremely important factor to keep in mind, as well. Many stands give you the choice of adjusting the overall height of their top plates, depending on the size and acoustics of the surrounding environment. The best speaker stands are those that allow you to keep the tweeters at ear level, making adjustability a key convenience.
If you have a lot of equipment in your entertainment space, look for a set of stands with integrated channels for cable routing, as this will minimize excess clutter along the floor or behind the speakers themselves.
A Brief History Of Speaker Stands
The loudspeaker itself dates back to the latter part of the 19th century, when Johann Philipp Reis installed one of the first of these devices in his telephone in 1861. Alexander Graham Bell later patented his first electric loudspeaker in 1876, capable of reproducing intelligible speech for the purpose of a telephone patent.
By the 1930s, loudspeaker manufacturers began to include additional drivers in order to improve overall frequency response and sound pressure levels.
Speaker stands didn't gain a lot of popularity until the 1970s. Up until that time, most traditional furniture had not been fashioned to dampen vibrations or enhance sound quality. That said, the speaker stand evolved as a purpose-built accessory attributed to hi-fi enthusiasts and professional musicians who discovered that lifting speakers off the ground and isolating them from those excess vibrations would improve audio quality.