Low-Cost DIY Speaker Stands
I would always recommend buying good quality speaker stands from a reputable maker. Unfortunately it can be hard to reconcile the cost of a ‘piece of equipment’ that does nothing other than support speakers, in spite of being assured by the experts that stands really do make a difference.
I won’t go into details about speaker stand theory and design in this article, suffice to say they should be sturdy, and of a height that puts the tweeter at ear level when seated (assuming that most of the time you listen to music seated).
At my local DIY store I came across two sturdy plant stands being sold at a fraction of the cost of speaker stands. Their height couldn’t have been better, even if they had been made-to-measure, so I snapped them up.
However, when I replaced my Music Fidelity MC-2 speakers with a smaller pair of bookshelf speakers the stands were about 15 cm too low.
The problem I faced was how to raise the speakers a few centimetres, to put the tweeters at ear level, without resorting to putting books under them. The answer came while again visiting my local DIY store – concrete blocks!
Most people probably don’t want blocks of concrete in their living room, but suitably disguised with a coat of paint might make them acceptable. Before painting though, concrete needs chemically sealing, as the surface is too powdery to apply paint directly. After sealing paint can be applied. I chose satin black and applied three coats, but two would probably have been enough.
Very little is needed in the way of equipment. I used one brush to apply the sealer, and another to apply the paint (this was cheaper than buying just one brush and a can of brush cleaner). Unlike the sealer, the pain was water-based so I used a milk carton cut in half to clean the brush between coats, and a plastic straw to stir the paint before use. The tray, to help keep things neat and tidy, originally had meat on it from the supermarket.
Here is the painted block of concrete. To prevent it from scratching anything I attached sticky cork feet to the base, bought at my local £1.00 store...
...and cut a piece of 2 mm thick cork to size to place on the top.
With the stands complete I introduced them to my living room, and this would have been the end of the story had I not come across a forum on the Internet about low-cost ways to decouple speakers from stands for a further improvement in sound quality. To find out more see the related article Low-Cost DIY Speaker Isolation Pads.
And finally a word of warning: concrete blocks are heavy! Be sure whatever you place them on is capable of supporting both the weight of the concrete and your speakers! Also, if on a stand, make sure the stand is extremely stable, so as not to present a health hazard.