Field Report: IsoAcoustics ISO-L8R 155

May 14, 2012


There are as many mounting or free-standing apparatuses for monitors as there are manufacturers of monitors. But one of the most important things about the studio monitor is that the sound should be as close as you can get to the audio being heard. With the amount of money spent on studio monitors, something as simple as a vibration or bad placement should not impede that sound.

IsoAcoustics ISO-L8R

Here's where the IsoAcoustics ISO-L8R 155 speaker stands come in. These little stands can help your studio sound cleaner by simply raising the studio monitors to ear level and cutting out unwanted vibration. Taken out of the box the set contains two upper sections for the base and two lower sections, four long pieces of tubing, four short pieces and four additional pegs to add a bit of an angle to the monitors. Using these pieces there are 14 combinations of height and tilt adjustments to achieve the ideal monitor positioning. The stands raise the monitor either 3" or 8" depending on the rods used, and from there you can angle the sides to tilt forward or back or any other direction at a 6.5-degree angle.

Gone are the days of trying to hang the monitors or having them sit on foam mattresses, which is really an eyesore. Any client who comes to listen to the audio needs to see a professional studio. The rubber isolators on these stands allow the speakers to "float" and remove that excess bass, which creates undesirable bass build up and resonances. This resonance/vibration can dirty up the sound and can even cause the monitors to vibrate themselves off a counter top. The rubber isolators also create a bit of a non-slip surface for the monitors and the counter so that when tilting, the monitor will stay on the stands.

Feeling isolated

Performance at a glance
◊ Isolates speaker from tabletop
◊ Angles speakers for better monitoring
◊ Supports up to 30lbs.
◊ Easy to assemble
◊ Adjustable height

Once I had the box opened it was time to put these little gems to the test. On the box it is written that the compatible speakers for the ISO-L8R 155 are studio monitors with dimensions greater than 6" × 7.5" and weighing less than 30 lbs. each. On the IsoAcoustics website there is a link to a document that provides guidelines for which monitors work best. (IsoAcoustics has two other sizes of stands, 200 for 7.8" × 10" and 130 for 5.1" × 6" monitors.)

I work out of three studios and each one has its own set of difficulties. I'll start with my radio station production studio.

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This studio doubles as a morning show broadcast room and the space is limited for the speakers - meaning there is only one place to put the monitors: on a shelf behind the person running the computer and console. The shelf is an old plywood shelf built into the studio wall and sits about 4' above the head of the production person's head. The older shelf is used to store CDs for the production library and yes there are some records and carts up there. The records are mostly for nostalgia anymore, but the carts are still in use due to our morning DJ being blind and still using carts. With all that plastic on the shelf we get a lot of vibration. Sometimes the vibration is not noticeable but when I push some serious bass through the system, you can hear the buzz. Another issue is that the speakers face straight shooting the sound straight over the head of the production person.

The ISO-L8R 155 allowed me to compensate for both problems. I was able to angle the monitors downward without fear of them falling on my head and without trying to hang the monitors. The rubber isolators built into the stands cut out all vibration. I played the Queen song "Dragon Attack" with its serious bass riff, and the shelf was free of vibration. With the speakers angled down, I finally got the full stereo effect of my production.

Another room

I then tried these stands in my professional studio, which is in the basement of a business I have recently opened. The problem with the monitor speakers here is when the system was turned up loud the bass created the vibration, which could be heard, and sometimes felt, upstairs. The upstairs is a gaming store, and when the customers are playing tournaments when I'm mixing audio it can be a distraction. The studio is still in its being-built phase so eventually we will have the room sound dampened so this won't be a problem, but I thought this would be a suitable test for these stands. The bass vibration was cut to a minimal/acceptable level that worked out nicely. My solution before was to set the monitors on mattress foam, and that did the trick, but looked nowhere near as professional as these stands. These look good while doing the job at the same time. I was also able to raise the speakers higher than before and again fully enjoy all the sound.

The final test was my home studio. I have a very small space and being my home I have not been ready to commit to mounting my speakers by hanging them from the ceiling. What if I want to change the mixer location? Then I'd have to rehang, and maybe re-cut the chain. These stands fit perfectly on my desk, which not only serves as my production console but also as just my work desk where my computer sits that does more than only audio production - a guy's gotta have his games.

Changing the height and tilt of the monitor speakers is very easy with this kit. Simply place the bars into the holes, and if you need the tilt, add the inserts into the side you need raised. I saw it as Tinkertoys for the audio engineer. In fact toying around with the pieces is almost fun.

IsoAcoustics
◊ 905-294-4672
isoacoustics.com
info@isoacoustics.com

Having the vibrations cut out and the ability to change monitor height and angle makes these stands a nice addition to any studio.


Wilson is an announcer, producer, webmaster and promotions guy at WAKO-AM/FM, Lawrenceville, IL, and an independent producer/voice talent.



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