I’ve written a lot about studio monitors on Recording Base.
Still, a few more things are yet to cover.
In this guide, I’ll share with you one “most untouched topic” related to studio monitors, ie; Studio Monitor Isolation.
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Many recording and mix engineer don’t take monitor isolation seriously.
Especially, who those have their home studios started with limited knowledge in studio technology.
But like all the other things, monitor isolation is also very important – if you wanna mix like a pro.
So, why monitor isolation is important and what are the ways you can use to isolate studio monitors successfully, this guide is all about it.
Well without wasting any more time, let’s get started…
Why The Need for Monitor Isolation
Whenever you listen to monitor isolation by some pro engineers, a question arises in your mind.
Why do we need to monitor isolation for great recording and mixing experience?
Here is the answer.
Whenever sound emits from a source, it creates some vibrations.
When these vibrations pass through hard surfaces such as the recording table or monitor stand, converts again in sound energy.
However, in a homely environment, we can’t listen to them. But in a controlled environment such as in a well-treated acoustic room, you can hear them.
These low-intensity vibrations can alter the sound emits from the source (studio monitor). As a result, the sound your ear hears is not the same emits from the source.
Implementing Monitor isolation you can get rid of this problem and you’ll get the clean unaltered sound to mix.
That’s the reason why do you need to monitor isolation treatment in your studio.
So, here’s you got the idea that what is monitor isolation and why do you need this.
But how do you isolate your studio monitors so that you could get that unaltered sound?
5 Ways to Studio Monitor Isolation
There are 5 types of accessories you can use to isolate your studio monitors.
- Monitor Isolation Pads
- Monitor Isolation Stands
- Silicone Isolation Bumpers
- Isolation Pucks For Studio Monitors
- Isolation Springs for Studio Monitors
Let me describe all of them one by one. I’ll also share with you some examples that you can buy online.
1. Monitor Isolation Pads
Monitor isolation pads are the most common accessories to isolate studio monitors.
These are made of special rubber material which can absorb the vibration that your monitor emits during operation.
You have to place these pads between the monitor and the hard surface where your monitor is placed as showed in this image.
These isolation pads minimize the contact between the monitor and hard surface and the rubber used in these pads absorb the vibration emitting from the monitor and you’ll get the clean unaltered sound to mix.
There are several isolation pads scattered in the market and choosing the best one which does well, is a hard task.
Well, don’t worry.
Here are some good isolation pads you can choose from.
These are either tested by me or my friends so you can buy them without worry.
However there are several monitor isolation pads available online, these two are best of them. Even, the 1st one is personally tested by me in my recording studio.
Note: For different sizes of studio monitors, different sized pads are available on the market, so check out the recommended monitor size before buying.
2. Monitor Isolation Stands
Monitor isolation pads are widely used in studios even with monitor stands, but what if you get a monitor stand that works as an isolation pad too?
Isolation stands are these kinds of accessories.
They are designed to operate as a standalone acoustic solution for studio monitors where you don’t need a separate monitor isolation pads.
These stands are equipped with pointed rubber bumpers upon which you have to put your monitors.
When vibration passes through these rubber bumpers, absorbed by them and you get the clean and real sound without any alteration.
The other factor which makes monitor isolation stands more useful then pads is you can adjust your monitor’s height as per your need.
We all know that the perfect location of monitors is crucial for better mixing that I’ve already described in my article – How To Set Up Studio Monitors [Ultimate Guide]
You can refer to this article for a better understanding of how to adjust your monitors for better mixing.
stands make this process easier as you can adjust the height, placement, etc with simple adjustments.
Monitor isolation stands work as a vibration absorber as well as a stand too. So you get double benefit owning isolated stands.
Here are some examples of good monitor isolation stands. Let’s have a look…
3. Silicone Isolation Bumpers
Another type of studio monitor isolation accessories is Isolation bumper. Monitor Isolation Bumpers are small hemispheres made of silicone and come with adhesive. You just need to get 4 bumpers for each monitor and place them between table and monitor. So that the contact minimizes.
It’s a very cheap solution to monitor isolation. If you don’t wanna spend more money on the above accessories then you just get these silicone hemispheres.
But, they are not as effective as the above solutions. If you wanna get rid totally of monitor vibration then go with isolation pads, stands and other ways that I will describe you in a while.
However, if you are interested, check out here.
4. Isolation Pucks For Studio Monitors
Now let me introduce the most powerful monitor isolation solution – Isolation Pucks by ISO Acoustics.
This small circular accessory is newly designed by the ISO acoustics team.
The upper flange also called “suction cups” design adheres to the underside of the cabinet making the upper isolator live with the speaker and the lower flange adheres to the hard supporting surface.
The whole vibration emits from the speaker is managed inside the core of the ISO-PUCK’s isolators.
These isolators are carefully tuned to provide superior isolation and control while remaining on-axis.
ISO PUCKS performs outstandingly when it comes to absorbing sound energy which gives you the clear and 99% unaltered sound.
Eddie Kramer Engineer/Producer says about ISO PUCKS,
“I love the way the ISO-PUCKs have given us the clarity and focus in our mixes. The immediate reaction on first hearing was: Wow!!, way more definition in the stereo image!!”
Also, the compact design makes it mobile.
If we talk about the overall features of ISO PUCKS, these are great monitor isolators if you want to keep your monitors on your mixing desk.
If you are using stands then you get some difficulties using them.
But overall it’s a great way to isolate your monitors.
5. Isolation Springs for Studio Monitors
The last one is to monitor isolation springs which can be used as an alternative to ISO PUCKS and table stands.
However, these are not as effective as other options.
As springs are used in this accessory, you could get spring’s sound as they’ll become old.
This simple accessory has 4 springs adjusted between two rubber-coated aluminum rings for both sides.
When the speaker emits vibrations, it gets absorbed by the springs and rubber coating.
The engineering is so simple just like shock absorbers used in vehicles.
You can try them as an experiment in your studio. After all, they are cheap.
One great example is…
Well, here were all 5 ways to isolate your monitors that you can use to make your mix harder.
However, not all of them give the same result. Some of them are way better than others.
If you ask me for the personal suggestions, ISO PUCKS are great for the above table monitors where isolation stands are great for standalone operation.
The choice also depends on your budget.
So, it’s better to choose as per your budget.
But remember, if you want great mixes then there are so many tiny things you should take care of including monitor isolation.
Have a good day…
Gautam Roy is a recording engineer and a blogger from India. He loves music, writing and travelling. He is also an active investor and a successful entrepreneur.