Speaker spikes and cones are essential components to a person’s listening experience, but they aren’t part of the internal workings of the unit.
Speaker spikes are found on the base of a supportive stand. They mount it to the floor through the carpet or use a washer for sitting on a flat disk to prevent digging into the subfloor.
Speaker cones sit between the speaker and its stand to separate the two units by the smallest contact point possible.
By using these design elements, a Hi-Fi listening experience is possible – especially for those who want a genuine audiophile experience.
What Do Speaker Spikes and Cones Do?
Speaker spikes are cones with a wider base that reduce to a ball bearing or a point. The goal of this design is to reduce how much surface area is shared between the different contact points to minimize vibrational interference. That process improves the sound since the audio waves a person hears have more clarity.
Speaker cones have a practical application. If the cabinet is rounded at the bottom, the unit will rock back and forth as it generates sonic waves from an audio source. That movement adversely impacts the quality of the listening experience.
Installing cones at the pivot points of the rounded cabinet prevents it from rocking. This investment also creates separation between the stand, shelf, or counter and the electronics, reducing the amount of added vibration or waveform blockage that occurs.
In an ideal situation, a speaker cabinet bottom and the top of a stand are both flat enough to make firm contact with each other over a large area.
That would create a stable system where the link forces and vibrations would equalize between the two.
Without a consistent flatness, the sideways forces would create enough of a wobble where the unit could fall from its mount.
Speaker cones aren’t always necessary, especially when a stand and speaker cabinet are built explicitly to work together.
When you have enough vibration where movement is possible, it’s often more cost-effective to install cones than to revamp a cabinet or upgrade to a different speaker system.
What Do Speaker Spikes Do for the Listening Experience?
Speaker spikes create vibrational isolation by transitioning the audio waves from the speaker to the floor. The sounds broadcast outward for you to hear while the unwanted interference disappears beneath your fleet.
Although this design element is proven to work for an audiophile experience, a large spike can also cause extensive damage to your floor.
That’s why the best choice is a narrow design so that any holes in the carpeting can close if you decide to move your speakers.
Wooden floors are not forgiving when using this design option to improve your home listening experience.
Who wants to drive two, four, or six spikes into a beautiful hardwood product that costs several thousand to install?
That’s why an alternative “puck” design is useful in that situation. When there’s enough weight at the stand’s bottom, you can still achieve the energy transference without creating damage.
The puck design doesn’t always work for carpet because there can be different pressures placed on the equipment based on how it interacts with the padding and subfloor underneath.
If you have a stone or concrete floor, it might be necessary to drill holes into the surface for the spikes to work.
You’d hear the metallic puck interference with the alternative design. In that situation, it might be better to isolate the speaker as much as possible.
Simple Ways to Improve Your Home Sound System
Although spikes and cones are an effective way to create better sounds, these tools aren’t always practical. Your cabinet might not have enough material to support the addition, or your floor must remain intact because you’re living in a rental.
That’s why it is important to keep every tool available in your Hi-Fi toolbox to improve your listening experience.
Here are some practical ways to increase the quality of what you hear without needing to take on a major overhaul project.
1. Eliminate Surround Sound
You can have a sound system that doesn’t maximize your listening benefits because there aren’t enough speakers available to use. There’s also the issue of buying too many of the wrong speaker types.
When you want to listen to music only, you need three lines to maximize your experience.
- One speaker for the right channel.
- A speaker for the left channel.
- A subwoofer to maximize the lower frequencies.
Most music gets mixed with stereo output as the intended use. That means there is no advantage to adding more speakers. You’ll flood the room with extra audio waves that could increase interference issues.
If you have a multiple speaker system, it might be helpful to expand your listening options throughout the entire home. That investment might require an extra subwoofer or two, but it’s often worthwhile to invest in a complete setup.
You’ll just want to have a system that you can operate independently. If all the speakers work at once, the audio interference from other rooms could be problematic.
2. Avoid Using Sound Bars
Although sound bars are a fantastic addition for home theaters and daily TV viewing, they aren’t always a great investment for Hi-Fi listening. The goal of this technology is to combine multiple speakers into a single source.
Most sound bars are built to optimize audio coming from movies and TV shows instead of music. Many of them have extra features that create more clarity for speech and dialogue, but those features can muddy lyrics.
The biggest obstacle for a sound bar is that it won’t let you physically separate the right and left channels.
If you have an entire speaker set that includes a sound bar, such as the Bose Lifestyle 650 Home Entertainment System, that’s a different story. When you only have a single sound bar to use, the way the sound fills a room can be a little problematic for Hi-Fi needs.
3. Use Triangulation Methodologies
Every room has an acoustic sweet spot where you can enjoy the entire audio spectrum from each distinct audio source. When you’re working to improve a home stereo system, the best way to achieve results in this area is to create an equilateral triangle.
Set the right and left channel speakers at an equal distance from each other. They should also be an equal distance from where you intend to listen to your music or audio.
By taking these steps, you’ll maximize the stereo effect that your system produces without having overlap, lag, or delay occur.
4. Put Your Speakers at an Angle
Audio waves radiate outward. Since most speakers are designed to be directional devices, the cleanest audio tends to come from a source pointed directly at the listener.
If you aim the speakers in the direction of your preferred seat, you’ll reduce the number of soundwave reflections that occur.
Although this option only works when you have two primary channels, it can have some influence on subwoofer placement. You’ll want to place the lowest frequencies in a spot where they sound the best in the room.
There can be a lot of trial and error when following this strategy. You might find that the best listening spot is not where you’ve placed your chair.
5. Amplify Your System
Amplifiers are essentially volume boosters. You can put some extra power into your existing speakers to create a more dynamic outcome.
Although the volume might get a neighbor to come banging on your door, amps can work in isolation. They upgrade the power or provide a pre-amp that cleans up the signal a bit better.
You can find yourself endlessly upgrading a system this way, so it sometimes helps to add an integrated amplifier to get everything at once.
6. Remove More Obstacles
Anything with a solid surface in your room creates a potential obstacle for your listening enjoyment. That’s why the best spaces have an open-concept design where you can be in the center of the impact point of each speaker.
If you have bookshelf speakers in your setup, take them away from the corner or a solitary flat surface.
When they vibrate, the extra buzz can interfere with the other audio. If you don’t have enough space for a freestanding unit, consider mounting them to a stand.
7. Check Your Settings
Streaming services don’t always provide the best music files to hear. It’s often up to you to change the settings so that you can access a Hi-Fi option.
Since a high-quality file can transfer more data per second than one of average quality, your data plan could reach its limits relatively quickly.
If you’re listening at home, try to keep your streaming activities on Wi-Fi only. You’ll avoid throttling penalties on unlimited plans while having less lag on a maximum bitrate file.
8. Draw Curtains
Audio waves undergo changes as they move through each space. They’ll absorb into some materials, bounce off others, and make a splash in some spaces.
It’s the last issue that creates the biggest problem, especially when you’ve got a glass surface to manage.
Even though it seems like it won’t work, drawing your curtains will create a better sound profile in a room.
If you have glass tables or other surfaces, you’ll want to remove them to reduce unwanted modification. It might seem extreme, but it’s a fast and cheap way to create a better Hi-Fi result.
Best Spikes, Cones, and Isolation Feet Choices to Use Today
If you’re ready to improve your listening experience, spikes and cones provide an excellent solution to consider.
I prefer to use the Salamander Archetype Megaspikes when designing a new audio setup for myself or others. They come with a fantastic weight capacity – about 800 pounds.
Although you will put the speaker or cabinet on a spike with this product, you’ll receive floor protector pads in the box.
I have these spikes located on an oak hardwood floor with a dark stain, and they do an excellent job. Even when the volume is cranked, there isn’t a vibration overload. You can opt for a blunt floor mount instead.
Adding these spikes to a cabinet or stand adds over two inches of height to your unit. You can purchase a coordinating stand, but I drill holes in the four corners of my existing options to install with a simple bolt and washer combination. The inner thread height is 1.25 inches.
It’s a high-quality product that delivers consistent, predictable results. You’ll find it to be a solid addition to any shelf or rack with its stabilization benefits.
A Final Thought on Spikes and Cones for Speakers
Spikes are not isolation devices. They screw into the base of a plinth or stand to create less interference while the speaker produces audio waves. This design element also offers a firmer installation point for cabinets or stands when movement could be a problem.
When I was a kid, my parents took me to a Christmas party where I was the youngest person there.
After the typical gift exchange and an odd moment for me when someone microwaved their ice cream, the adults sent me downstairs to be with the teens.
When you’re 10 and surrounded by kids that are 16 or 17, you feel out of your element.
The guy’s room had dark wood panels, speakers up on shelves, and a complete entertainment system. I was jealous. The only thing I had was a clock-radio that had an alarm that sometimes worked.
He started to play some music, which had everyone bobbing their heads. The volume got louder.
Everyone else started talking about school and older kid stuff. I tuned into the music and bided my time until we could go home.
Out of nowhere, the speaker came crashing down from the shelf. It hit the kid in the head with the corner of the cabinet. He went running upstairs.
Everyone else looked at each other and came to the agreement it was probably time to head home.
That moment had a profound impact on how I approached music. From then on, I always looked for new ways to stabilize my speakers.
Part of that effort was to prevent something from falling on my head, but there was also a desire to improve the listening experience.
Spikes and cones for speakers aren’t always a suitable option, but they can deliver some incredible benefits when used under the right conditions.