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IsoAcoustics L8R200 Monitor Speaker Stands Review

IsoAcoustics L8R200

TL;DR:

IsoAcoustics L8R200 Review. The IsoAcoustics monitor speaker stands do an excellent job of tightening up the sonic performance of your existing speakers, although the price is quite high.


Preface and Science Behind The Design:

In professional audio we can spend thousands of pounds on hardware, however this is only half the battle. We often overlook the less obvious which, in this case, is acoustic isolation. As a result of sound waves interacting with the environment around you, reflecting off any number of surfaces, or sound transferring itself into unwanted objects, harmonics are produced, amplified, or even absorbed, which deteriorates the reproduction of the raw signal.


Inherently speakers are the initial cause of these problems, and being transducers they are designed to vibrate in order to create sound. Speaker manufacturers spend huge amounts of time dedicated to fine tuning a speaker cabinet design, however when you place speakers directly on a desk or a workstation you are effectively modifying, or extending, the cabinet. This leads to the vibrations travelling into the desk, which unfortunately masks or amplifies certain frequencies. During tracking, mixing, or playback your ears will naturally end up compensating for these problems in the box because you believe that the signal you are hearing is the signal recorded as it originates from the front, but this is wrong, and finally leads to a mix that will not translate well.


In light of the above, many people believe that any type of foam underneath their monitors will fix this problem, some people opt for special acoustic foam which, although has a better scientific result, may not be as scientifically effective as you might imagine. Even if you believe that it does make a dramatic difference to your ears, you wouldn’t be wrong, although having spent years searching for a much better solution, I finally came across something better than anything I have ever tested; the IsoAcoustics speaker stands.


Before continuing further, I would like to clarify the basic scientific differences between foam wedges and the IsoAcoustic stands. Specially designed acoustic foam wedges are made from high density polymer with millions of small holes inside. As the sound travels down through the foam the energy is gradually reduced because the kinetic energy has to travel around the holes in a chain reaction sort of way. These spherical holes are not consistent and requires millions of them before the sound will be adequately attenuated and different wavelengths have different sizes. Low frequencies have much more power than high frequencies because they have a larger size, and foam cannot entirely eliminate this energy transfer efficiently. The IsoAcoustics stands use Newtons ‘Law of Reciprocal Action’, where every action has an equal and opposite reaction, to attenuate the energy created by the speakers by dispersing it through the IsoAcoustics structure through precision measured energy dispersion channels. The IsoAcoustics stands are much more efficient and effective at dispersing low frequency energy, which is often the most problematic frequency range.


Get Fit:

On their website, IsoAcostics has a number of speaker stand sizes available. To make sure that you get the correct fit, I advise that you visit their website to check which models is best for your monitor speakers. For the purpose of this review I would like to advise that I will be using the L8R200 model, which fits my Dynaudio BM6a MK2 monitor speakers perfectly.


Unboxing, Features, and Build Quality:

The IsoAcoustics speaker stands arrive in a simple white box. Inside you can expect to find two upper platforms, two lower platforms, eight 3” poles, eight 8” poles, and a simple set up guide. The IsoAcoustic stands should be assembled according to ear level, positioned as an equilateral triangle configuration where the users ears are at the centre, but this is easy really and can easily be n fourteen different configurations to get the right result.


The curved x-shaped platforms themselves are made of a very strong and sturdy black ABS plastic with a screen printed IsoAcoustics logo on the front, whilst the cylindrical poles are hollow and appear to be painted a glossy painted black steel. Where the monitors sit, there are four cup shaped rubber risers which, over time, create a small vacuum with the monitor speaker cabinet. In between the upper and lower platform are two double flange rubber isolators which separate the steel poles from touching the ABS plastic platforms, and below the lower platform there are rubber feet to grip to the work top and not allow them to slide or move around. Overall the IsoAcoustic stands appear to be of high quality, and are easily assembled. On another note, the IsoAcoustic stands should not be overlooked because of their simple presentation, their design is complex and is something that is patented.


Performance:

Having previously used specially designed foam wedges I found that there was certainly an improvement in the sound that I was hearing, however I still seemed to struggle with the timing and precision attack of bass signals; they felt wooly and slightly indistinct. Although the IsoAcoustics are over double what you would pay for a high density acoustic foam set, there was an immediate and vast improvement to presentation and accuracy of sound after A/Bing both solutions.


As predicted, the main difference was in timing of sub, mid, and high bass signals. The appearance of these frequencies changed, they tightened and didn’t sound so forward because there was an increased sense of air and accuracy. When in the crucial mix phase, it is often extremely difficult to present a mix that has a tight rhythmic element as well as smooth bass. In many instances indistinct bass frequencies during the mix phase results in the producer increasing the rhythmic bass element to cut through the mix, when more accurate gating and ‘fitting’ EQ sculpting techniques should be used instead. If you have suffered from your mixes sounding dull on other systems, then you may well have experienced this problem and the IsoAcoustics stands could help with this. Obviously they won’t eliminate all of your bass problems, but they can sure set you on your way.


Other significant improvements were identified in the low-mid frequencies where again, there frequencies had more clarity to them. Overall the tightness experienced in all of these areas has made me feel that my monitor speakers are now ‘more’ monitor speaker like thanks to an increased neutrality and nimbleness of the finer nuances. If we come to the mids and the treble frequencies the difference becomes negligible, however with the IsoAcoustics stands you will never underestimate the importance of clear bass or clear mids again.


Review Conclusion:

Now having used the IsoAcoustics stands in my system for a number of months now, there is absolutely no way that I could ever go back to using ‘standard’ acoustically optimised foam. The difference is vast and I am sure that they will potentially save you hours of frustration within the final mixing stage. Our only reservation is the price of the stands and therefore we award them with a very well deserved four stars.


Edd Harris

Edd Harris - 27th June 2014

US RRP: $179.99 | UK RRP: £132.00

Four Star Award
IsoAcoustics L8R200 Monitor Speaker Stands Review
4/5 stars
IsoAcoustics L8R200 Review. The IsoAcoustics monitor speaker stands do an excellent job of tightening up the sonic performance of your existing speakers, although the price is quite high.

Editors Rating: