Express Speaker Stands
I received a pair of small bookshelf speakers for
review recently that required stands for their setup. Unfortunately, the only thing I had
in the house at the time was a pair of cheap 20" stands that werent quite tall
enough to do the job with these particular speakers. Normally, I would make my own stands
from .75" MDF, then veneer and stain them, but my schedule of late has kept me out of
the woodshop. There was no choice; I had to look at other options.
I shopped around town to see what was available and the
only stands I was able to find consisted of four pieces of cheap, vinyl-wrapped
particleboard at $50 or so, and some spindly steel stands that ran from $70 up to about
$90. None of these was heavy or stable enough to securely anchor itself and a speaker
while sitting on heavy carpet and a pad. So, once again I took my search to the Internet,
which led me to Parts Express. Having purchased products from this company in the past, I
was already familiar with their reputation for quality and value. What I didnt know
was that they sold speaker stands in various sizes and quality ranges.
Eventually, I settled on the 24" "audiophile
grade" stand (part number 240-744), their top-of-the-line speaker stand at $97.80 per
pair. There are two other stands in the same line: one 18" model (240-748) for $92.25
per pair and another 12" high (240-749) for $87.80 per pair. All three stands are
virtually identical except for the overall height, so comments about the 24" stand
should apply equally to the other two as well. I ordered the stands online directly from
the company and within a few days I had a 53-pound box sitting on my front porch.
The stands arrived in good order, which was a little
surprising, considering that the box looked as though it had been through a pitching
contest somewhere along the way. The relatively heavy box was badly mangled and had two
tears along one edge, yet the contents were unscathed and all of the parts were there. The
stands come disassembled, so be prepared to spend a little time setting them up. The
unassembled stands consist of a heavy 3.5"-diameter center post, a 9" x 10"
top plate, a 9.5" x 11.75" bottom plate, four 1.5"-long spikes for the
base, and four smaller adjustable spikes for the top plate. Both the top and bottom plate
are .375"-thick solid steel and are quite heavy by themselves.
The bottom plate has a round "foot" at each
corner that the spikes screw into, providing a slightly wider base than would be possible
if the spikes were placed inboard of the outside edges of the plate. The feet are each
adorned with an attractive brass cap. The rest of the stand is finished in a utilitarian,
but attractive, black crinkle finish. The top plate includes provisions for installing a
small adjustable spike at each corner that can be used to couple the speaker to the stand
and provide a small amount of tilt, if desired. I affixed my speakers to the stands with a
small blob of Blu-Tac at each corner.
Assembly is simple enough. Attach the base to the closed
end of the tube with a large screw, and then attach the spikes to the base. Parts Express
states that the floor spikes are adjustable, but they lack locking nuts, so getting them
to stay adjusted may prove to be a challenge. I screwed mine all the way down and left it
at that. Once this is done, fill the center column with sand or lead shot, or some mixture
of the two. I filled mine with "play sand," available at the local home center
for less than $5. Each stand took about a third of a 50-pound bag of sand. Once the column
is filled, align and attach the top plate and install the speaker spikes, if desired. Both
plates could use an alignment tab that would mate to an indentation on the center tube to
aid in alignment, but I was able to line them up fairly accurately by eye the first time
out and only had to make minor adjustments. Thats all there is to it.
The completed stands actually measure almost 26" in
height with the spikes installed, and weigh in at about 40 pounds each (with the sand).
When filled with sand they are extremely sturdy and stable. Given about a day to settle
into the heavy carpet in my listening room, it would take a pretty hard hit to push these
stands over, and once the center column is filled, theyre basically inert.
The performance of the stands, with all of the speakers
Ive had installed, has been consistently good. They provide a stable support system
with the ability to make small adjustments via the included speaker spikes, which may aid
the imaging qualities of certain speakers. I can think of only two things that would
improve them: an opening on the back of the center column to handle cable management, and
locknuts for the floor spikes.
If youve invested a fair amount of money in a pair of
quality monitor speakers, why entrust them to flimsy, unstable particleboard stands when,
for just a little more money, you can put them on a solid, quiet foundation? Most other
stands Ive found of this weight and quality cost two to three times the price of the
stands from Parts Express. That makes these an easy recommendation and a sound investment
in your stereo system.
Price of equipment reviewed