Alan A. Shaw
Harbeth Audio UK
The various constructions and materials in stands give varying results. I have found over the years that the Something Solid stands give me the pace and lack of colouration that I prefer.
These stands are designed for the rapid dissipation of energy via coupling the speaker to the stand and thence to the floor. Any attempts at decoupling the speaker with Blu Tak, Plasticene, rubber, foam, Sorbothane and all sorts of materials I have tried, make the sound slower and fat. Horses for courses !!!
I am still searching for some great stands for my P3ESR's. Any thoughts? Something Solid have been recommended a few times, but I just don't think I could live with them from an aesthetic point of view.
So any other thoughts? They need to be solid, well built, reasonably attractive and obviously bring out the best of the P3ESR's. And available in the UK as well...
Thing is, if you need a stand that sounds good, there are very few that do the job nowadays. Most of the specialist stand makers have given up since the fashion in GB turned to matchstick sized floor-standers. So you are left with two that I know of - Partington and Something Solid.
Both of these make good sounding but (perhaps) aesthetically challenged stands. The Something Solids do have the advantage in being constructed from relatively small section steel and are nowhere near as obvious as some of the others.
Yes, it's a shame that there is so little choice here in the UK. I agree that sound must be the priority - it would just be great if it was possible to find something that was aesthetically pleasing as well! It seems that the popularity of Harbeth and perhaps Spendor classics in the US and Aisan markets means that there is much more choice over there when it comes to stands for BBC-heritage speakers.
Has Foundation come up with a stand yet for the smaller Harbeths? I have a set under my Monitor 30's and they sound and look great. As a dealer, perhaps you could help us out on this one, hifi_dave?
Hi KT, I don't think those are available in the UK... I do like the simple structure and clean lines though.. something like that for the P3 would be great
Isn't Solidsteel available in the uk? the SS-7 ( or the lower SS-6) stand would be perfect for the P3ESR. With such a tall stand the tripod design should help stability quite a bit. I believe the top 'plate' can be customized to fit any speaker size. http://www.solidsteel.it/scheda.php?...rie=&codpro=21
Thanks P.C.... I hadn't come across those before. They look interesting. Apparently no UK distributor though!
The Solid Steel stands and racks have been imported off and on - we did them for a while but they were ferociously expensive. We sold a few racks but the speaker stands weren't popular because of the styling - 'theodolites' was the usual quip. I don't believe there is an importer just now.
Thanks for the info everyone... mmm... maybe I need to reconsider those Something Solid stands! Alternative would be to go down the custom route which is obviously more pricey.
I love my Music Tools stands (www.musictools.eu) and they sound good to me (they were purpose built/designed for the LS3/5a so I guess this is no surprise).
One manufacturer that I've seen nice quality finish from is Custom Design (www.customdesign.co.uk), which I believe are based in the UK. The do both high mass as well as open frame stands (plus custom stands to order!).
I had previously posted that I had Foundation Speaker stands. Well after the left Harbeth tipped over (luckily all is fine, thank heavens) I decided to spend the money on really good stands. The Foundation stands really were flimsy, and considering I spent around $4,000 US on the Compact 7-ES3's (about 2 months pay) I decided to save up the money and purchase better ones. They weigh around 140 pounds between the both of them, and are pre-filled with proprietary filling, sealed and have done well so far. I did spend around $800 US on the stands from US based company (Made in the US State of Florida) which makes custom Harbeth Stands called Sound Anchor http://www.soundanchors.com/.
I live in New York, USA so I don't know about the overseas distribution. I'm sure you could arrange something if there's no dealer in your area.
These Sound Anchor stands do look very heavy, which is not always a good thing with the Harbeth speakers IMO. I ordered a custom stand, made by Custom Design and they are extremely stiff, but quite light. They feature a paint that reduces ringing. I spikes them directly into a solid wooden floor.
@hifi_dave: can you tell me how Something Solid couples the speakers to the stands?
Do you have any thoughts about the difference in sonics after you swapped from the Foundations to the Sound Anchors ? that would be very helpful. As you pointed out, while they are "bullet proof" they aren't exactly beer and pretzels money.
Sound and Bullethead,
I'm a dealer for all Sound Anchor, Foundation, and Skylan in the U.S. I have had success with all three stands and try to allow the customer to choose based on his preferences.
The Foundation stand is designed to follow the open top and European style. It can be damped by putting material in the holes where the feet are threaded. I have not done this so my comments are based on an undamped stand. I find the sound of the Foundation to be very open with lots of detail and quite engaging. At the same time I do not notice a lack of bass. I never thought of the possibility of your speakers getting knocked over, but I'm sure it is possible.
The Sound Anchor is a very heavy stand with an open top as well. It is designed for the person who wants to place his speakers and forget about tweaking as this is not possible. They are do not ring due to the built in damping. Some customers feel the weight of the stand (and the use of damping material) over-damps the speaker. I have not noticed this in my room but it definitely sounds different than the Foundation stands. One customer returned his Sound Anchor's claiming, "It sucked the life out of his Harbeth's". Still it is a very nice stand. Both the Sound Anchor and Foundation stands come assembled and ready to use as soon as you open the box and attach the feet.
Many customers like Skylan. While you need to assemble Skylan stands yourself it takes a total of less than 30 minutes and is kind of fun. It also allows you to adjust the amount of damping to your room and personal tastes. Adding damping also increases the stability of the speaker. This stand does not have an open top. Some people hesitate to purchase Skylan stands since Harbeth speakers "breath" and they feel the flat top may have a negative effect on this. I have not noticed any drawback due to the top. One of the nice things about Skylan is that Noel (the designer and manufacturer) comes at no extra charge. He spends a lot of time helping his customers. This is not to say the other manufacturers don't care about their customers; I just noticed that Noel works at helping and being available with ideas before and after the purchase.
So, there you have it. Two stands from Canada and one from the U.S., with different design approaches and likewise different sonics. Prices range between $500 and $800 USD. I believe all can be purchased direct or through your favorite dealer. There are many alternatives to these 3 stands from smaller companies that make your stand once they receive your order - to making your own. We have seen some very nice work on this blog form do-it-yourselfers. To me, they all sound different. What you prefer and how it makes you feel while you are listening is what matters most.
Good post John. I should be very helpful to those trying to decide which way to go. I would like to add however the most recent version of the Foundation stands are an improvement over the original. If you had to assemble your Foundation stands you have the original design. It is important to adjust the spikes or feet properly so the stand is level and stable before mounting the speaker. A small amount of blue tak will help to keep the speaker from slipping but only use a very small pea size amount as it could damage the veneer when removed.