We’ve all been there, you’re just about get your sound monitors placed correctly by using tables, chairs, old books, a cat basket (seriously, I did this when I was in college); However, the sound never quite feels perfect and you know there’s more you could do.
I’ve just moved into my first apartment that came with an extra room I earmarked straight away as my studio. It’s not too big acoustically speaking (not a fan of huge studio rooms) and I spent some time insulating it properly.
There was no way the cat basket was going to be used again!
So, here’s my pick of monitor stands I discovered whilst setting up my new studio. I’ll also let you know which setup I went for at the end.
Ultimate Support JS-MS70 JamStands
These stands are very sleek and any pictures you’ll see on the internet don’t really do them justice. The base is solid steel and they can be locked at 32.25, 36.25, 40.25 and 44.25 inches respectively. That’s not a bad range of heights to have in the back pocket and I’m guessing most home studio setups will warrant something in the 35 to 40-inch range. The top plate, is 9 x 9 inches which makes it a good bet for most studio speakers; plus, it has the obligatory rubber feet on top to keep vibrations to a minimum. Weight is about 4kg and as you’d imagine most of that is within the base plate for security.
In Daily Use
One thing that stands out is the solid construction of the JamStand. The triangle base is extremely sturdy and come with a set of cleats that help the base sit on a carpet floor without the entire thing wobbling around.
That alone makes this monitor stand a great choice for home studios with plush bedroom carpeting.
One thing that pictures don’t show (and partly why I don’t think they do the JamStand justice), is that the black finish is metallic. I’m not sure why but it helps give the stand a more premium feel, something I was eager to achieve in my new “grown up” setup.
The body and height mechanism of the JamStand is easy to use and doesn’t take a whole lot of figuring out. There are pre-determined holes set into the mainstay that the locking system clamps into, part of the reason for set heights at 32.25, 36.25, 40.25 and 44.25. I set mine to the 40-inch mark which gave decent height and were a good match for the acoustics in my studio. The only drawback I can see for the JamStands, is the price. At about $60 it might put off those who can’t afford a huge layout so early in their career; however, if you’re trying to setup a quality home studio they make a compelling case.
- A quality product with a premium finish for the discerning studio setup.
- Price might put some buyers off.
OnStage SMS6000 Studio Monitor Stands
With a similar look and feel to the JamStands, OnStage are looking towards to higher end of the market. These stands are finished in a non-metallic yet tactile satin finish. To my mind, they lookever so slightly more durable than the JamStands so perhaps these would be more fitting to a commercial studio, or a home studio that gets a lot of use.
One thing that did impress me, was the locking mechanism. It runs from 36.5 to 54 inches with adjustment points every 4 inches up the mainstay. That gives the OnStage a good 10 inches’ height over the JamStand which is something to bear in mind.
In Daily Use
One difference that’s worth pointing out, is the use of spikes in the base of the OnStage stand in comparison with the JamStand and its cleat arrangement. These provided a fair amount of grip on carpet surfaces, although your mileage might vary if you’ve got extremely thick carpeting in your studio.
I managed to find a height adjustment around the 40-inch mark with ease and in fairness, the locking mechanism looks extremely robust. This ties in with the durable paint finish so perhaps these could be a great pair of stands to take on the road with you.
To be honest, after a few days use I realized that the spike arrangement was probably something for OnStage to shout about. It doesn’t look solid enough at first, yet you soon begin to understand the merits of its construction, they’re very stable in use!
As for drawbacks, there are two main ones. The height adjustment is perfectly acceptable; however, it’s geared towards people who need their speakers up high! This might be useful if you’re going to be gigging with them but might not suit all purposes.
The final drawback is the price. At $99 these are more expensive than the JamStands and in my view, are suited to bands and artists who gig, earn a living from their work and need to travel with them.
- A super solid and dependable set of stands that will go on the road with no trouble.
- You’re going to pay a bit more for that level of quality.
VideoSecu 2 Heavy Duty Stands
Geared towards the DJ / Club market, the VideoSecu comes with an extremely solid base plate with height adjustable feet plus a mainstay adjustment of 26.5 inches to 47 inches. Not as high as the OnStage pair; however, with an adjustment starting at 26.5 inches they give a degree of flexibility in places you need your speakers to be set low.
Another handy feature, is the fact the VideoSecu can tilt its top plate by 10 degrees. Perhaps not so useful in a home / studio setup but I can see how these would be useful for a nightclub / bar situation.
In Daily Use
Compared to other studio monitor stands I've worked with, I wasn’t that excited by the paint finish. In a rather drab plain black it wasn’t that tactile and almost felt utilitarian. Perhaps that finish tells a story of the intended market for the stands. One thing I can’t grumble about, is the quality of all adjustment mechanisms and the feet. They are about as solid as they come!The base plate sat extremely solid on my studio carpet floor and although I didn’t adjust the feet, they screw in and out solidly so long term use shouldn’t be an issue.
One thing that does amaze me, is the price. At $39.99 these are definitely worth considering if you don’t fancy pushing your budget above the $50 mark; however, the utilitarian feel and finish is obviously where VideoSecu have made economies.
- A no-nonsense stand that’s overtly been designed for nightclubs, bars and places where quality needs to trump everything. The price is a real bonus too!
- The lack of a premium feel might just put off the home studio crowd.
IsoAcoustics ISO-L8R155 Medium
A very different solution this time from IsoAcoustics. These aren’t stands in the traditional sense, they’re isolation units that both raise your monitors above the floor and attempt to stop vibrations making their way down the base.
At $109.99, they’re also the most expensive units I tested and I know this might put many buyers off.
However, they do have their uses, and I explain why they could be a good choice.
In Daily Use
One thing that blew me away when setting up these stands, is the sheer build quality of them! If the OnStage stands are a solid Audi level of quality, then these IsoAcoustics are like purchasing a Rolls Royce! The design means that each of the four support stands clip into both the top and base, creating a pillar effect to hold your speakers up.
Although the base doesn’t look that solid, the quality of construction means that the entire unit is very secure and should hold up very well over time.
As for sound quality, they make a huge difference! Medium to upper range clarity has improved making it hard to go back to a traditional stand afterwards.
The only two things that disappoint me, is the lack of decent height adjustment; however, that’s not really what these stands are all about. Price is also a huge issue and will put off all but the most discerning buyer – these stands are going to be fitted to high quality studios, period!
- Unbelievable sound quality and a fit and finish second to none.
- No real height adjustment and the price will shut many buyers out.
LyxPro MNS-4 Isolation Pads
Okay, I know, we’re veering away from monitor stands for the moment. However, I had to give a little bit of love for these Isolation pads because they are very good. If you want to purchase a set of height adjustable stands but want to achieve a similar effect to the IsoAcoustic system above, then these could be perfect for you.
These pads essentially slip under your monitors and the sound/vibration resistant foam stops it from travelling down your base. I gave these a trial on both the JamStand and OnStage product; they made a huge amount of difference!
The wedge is designed to fit a variety of monitor brands so most people should be fine getting up and running in no time. One caveat with this, you’ll probably need to gently remove existing rubber supports from your monitor stands to get the best out of the foam.
Priced at $25.99, these aren’t too expensive, although you might end up adding these to your monitor stand budget – pushing the overall price up. For those that take the plunge, your sound quality will never be the same again!
- A simple way to achieve IsoAcoustic levels of quality with an existing stand.
- It will push your overall stand budget up a bit and might take a few minutes of preparation of the top plate to get the foam fitting snuggly.
My Verdict & What I Purchased
As I said at the start, my current studio is in my new apartment and with a bigger budget I was happy to spend cash I couldn’t have dreamed about years ago. I was looking for quality, durability and a nice premium finish to go with with the work I’ve done making my studio a pleasant place to be.
With that in mind, my choice was the OnStage SMS6000 stands twinned with LyxPro isolator pads. It took a few minutes cleaning to get the existing rubber pads off my top plate, yet the sound quality from the isolator pads makes it worth it!
Of course, my demands from a set of monitor stands are probably different from yours. If you’re a fledgling artist and don’t want to splash the cash yet, the VideoSecu stands are a great choice and should support your career if you end up carrying your stands with you on the road.
For those of you who stay at home but don’t fancy shelling out $100+ on the setup I have, then JamStand have your back. At $60 these stands are a setup in quality but without having to blow your budget on them.
I’m torn on recommending the IsoAcoustic stands on their own. Part of the appeal of a monitor stand is getting your heights perfect and these don’t really do that. They’re one of those products that might work on a case by case basis and perhaps if my studio configuration was different, I’d buy them over my current setup. One thing I will say in support for the IsoAcoustic stands, is that the build quality is superb. If you do have a studio where the IsoAcoustics would fit perfectly, then I would have no hesitation in recommending them!
If you already have a decent pair of monitor stands, and just want a cheeky upgrade in sound clarity, then LyxPro is the product you need in your life right now! I would probably plan your purchase with a general upgrade in sound insulation and setup – you won’t regret it!