Speaker stands actually perform multiple functions, only one of which is putting your speaker in the right place. Another is to isolate the speaker, to reduce the amount of vibration passing through into your desk or table. In some situations, the stands also add mass, to provide extra inertial damping of the speaker cabinet movement. Where smaller nearfield speakers are concerned, the first two functions are probably the most important: aiming the monitors at your head and preventing vibration transmission through the desk.
Iso Acoustics have created a modular speaker stand that features a number of height options. The skeletal stand comprises high-density, moulded plastic tiers with resilient co-polymer mountings in the corners, joined by steel tubes of suitable lengths to achieve the correct height and tilt. The components are very nicely engineered and much more robust than they look (and than the photos in this review might imply).
The kit we had for review included eight 'long' tubes, eight 'short' tubes and four each of two sizes of plastic insert/spacer. These inserts can be pushed into the ends of the front or rear tubes to lengthen them slightly and provide a degree of tilt. Thus, by using either size of spacer at just one end of the tube, or by fitting one to each end, you can get three different tilt angles in addition to the 'no spacers' straight-on alignment. The longer tubes produce a platform roughly nine inches in height, while the shorter tubes give you a stand elevated by around four inches.
Once the tubes are pushed home, the stands are reassuringly rigid, but there's still enough resilience in the mountings to soak up a significant amount of vibration. The upper deck has rubbery pads fitted to the corners to keep the speaker in place, and similar pads are fitted to the base to keep the stand from sliding on the desktop.
The stands take only minutes to assemble and will comfortably support typical studio monitors up to around the 'two-way, six-inch-driver nearfield' sort of size, although they're probably best used with smaller speakers. They certainly feel secure and stable, and also help isolate vibration, as can be confirmed by putting your hand on the desktop to feel what still gets through. The only thing they don't do is hold the speakers rigidly in place. Indeed, the resilient mounts are specifically designed to have a little give in the direction of the speaker cone travel. (If you do need extra mass to stabilise desktop speakers, I've yet to find anything more effective than Primacoustic's Recoil Stabilisers). If getting your speakers in the right position and damping vibration is your main concern, these Iso stands do a great job, offering a novel and attractive approach to supporting desktop speakers and incorporating effective damping. They also look pretty cool! Paul White
$99.99.£89.99 including VAT.