A pointed discussion

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In yesterday’s post, I shared some common wisdom about spikes that turns out to be wrong. Thanks to my attentive and generous readers, I stand corrected.

The original thought process behind spiking speakers was not to isolate, as I had assumed, but the opposite—anchor the cabinets to the floor and transfer some of the excess cabinet energy into the floor. We don’t want the speaker cabinets to sing.

If the speaker sits atop carpet (which typically has a squishy pad underneath), it is effectively isolated from the firm anchoring possibilities of a cement floor. And it can be tippy.

All that aside, the use of spikes is still a hotly debated subject. Stereophile’s Art Dudley, for instance, suggests selling them to the scrap dealer in his Universal Tweaks #2.

Richard Murison, of Bit Perfect and Copper fame, posits: “I think the core point about spikes is that they simplify the mechanical interface between speaker and floor. It’s not the only solution to that problem, but it’s probably the simplest option – particularly with a rigid (i.e., concrete) floor. The problem gets much thornier, from a theoretical perspective, when the floor itself cannot be assumed to be rigid (such as a suspended floor) where the amount of damping in the speaker-floor coupling mechanism enters the equation.”

Like anything in audio, opinions abound. I have heard spikes and cones help, especially on equipment and turntables. Speakers always sound different when spiked, not necessarily always better. But that’s my experience. Your mileage may vary. Certainly, there’s no need to spike the giant 1.2 ton IRS V in Music Room One.

The original point I was attempting to make, that of keeping room vibrations alive to heighten the sense of reality, remains in the forefront of my thinking.