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IsoAcoustics ISO-L8R200 Speaker Stands
Review by: Scott Kahn

    4 Stars        

IsoAcoustics ISO-L8R200 Speaker Stands

There are numerous things you can do to optimize your studio mix environment. But whether you invest in new construction to optimize your space, purchase acoustic treatments to influence control over reflections and low-end frequency trapping, or invest in the best monitors you can afford (that are room/size appropriate, of course), there are some low-cost investments that everyone should make. One purchase that belongs on your “required” list is a solution that decouples your monitor speakers from your desk or mixing surface.

The benefit to decoupling your speakers from your mix surface is that those surfaces don’t become part of your speaker’s low-frequency response, which colors the sound and makes your monitors less accurate in their sound.

We’ve used a variety of solutions for decoupling speakers from our mix surface, and while they all make some difference, the biggest improvement that we’ve heard—and our favorite solution thus far, comes from the IsoAcoustics speaker stands.

The IsoAcoustics stands, available in a hard, black plastic or newly available in aluminum, have isolators installed between a pair of top and bottom plates, and their specific engineering ensures that vibration from your monitor speakers’ low-end response gets dissipated rather than transferred into your mixing surface or desktop. Although you might initially suspect springs or coils inside, there are no such components involved.

There are numerous stand-out features that make us prefer these stands to other products. First, they include multiple sized spacers that make it easier to optimize the height of your speakers in the mix environment.

In our studio, where our KRK VXT 8 monitor speakers usually reside on stands behind our mix desk, the substantial mass of the L8R 200 stands (reviewed) raised our speakers a bit too high for our taste. This led to our next favorite feature: the design, which cradles your speakers at four corner contact points, enabled us to orient our VXT 8 speakers horizontally, a feat otherwise impossible due to the curved nature of the speaker enclosures.

These stands are solid, with thick rubber feet on the bottom and rubber contact points on top. In a few months of use tracking and mixing numerous projects, our speakers haven’t budged from their position.

But more importantly, these stands made a sonic difference that we could hear immediately. Our speakers sounded great to start, but after placing them on the IsoAcoustics stands, we noticed an immediate open-ness to the low end of our source material that hadn’t been there before. There was increased low-end clarity that definitely made a difference in our ability to hear things clearly while mixing, particularly when dealing with the subtleties of kick drum and bass separation, or when sorting through the low-mid frequency buildup presented by a dense mix with lots of instrumentation.

Your first decision comes in the form of selecting the right stand, as they come in a variety of sizes based on your monitors. The IsoAcoustics website provides a handy, online stand selector that makes it easy to find the right product.

Each box includes an assortment of parts that enable to you to adjust the height of the stands as well as to set them up with either a tilt in the front or the rear in order to optimize your listening position. Assembly takes just a few minutes, and while there is decent printed documentation provided in the box, you’ll want to visit the website and watch a great, five-minute installation video that makes greater sense of the assembly instructions.

The ISO-L8R200 (MSRP $189.99) is size Large, and with a street price of $160 per pair, this is money spent that you’ll immediately benefit from starting with the minute you stick your speakers on the assembled base. If you’re using smaller monitor speakers, the ISO-L8R130 (MSRP $109.99) sell for only $90. Additional sizes are available, too.

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