ISO Stands at work

IsoAcoustics – ISO Stands Review

Adding a platform to your studio monitors could do far more than stop your shelf from shaking. We stand tall with IsoAcoustics and discover what a pair of ISO Stands could do for you.

ISO Stands at work

Have you ever had that annoying moment, when you’re listening avidly to your mix, only to wonder what on earth that rattling noise is? Is it emanating from your mix, or more likely vibrations transmitted by your speakers, juddering through your monitor shelf? Luckily there’s plenty you can do to eliminate speaker-box vibrations and distractions, enter the ISO Stands.

The Good Place

Speaker or monitor placement is a fine art and a pursuit that is dependent upon a number of factors; size of speaker for one, and while the saying ‘bigger is better’ doesn’t always apply, as a general rule, speakers have to be of a certain size, in order to accommodate the electronics and speaker cones, while delivering a reasonable frequency response. This is particularly important for a reliable bottom-end, without the need to wade out into the murky depths of sub-woofers. (That’s a story for another day!)

The reality is, any decent or high-end professional setup will benefit enormously from speaker/monitor isolation. If you have the space, placing a solid pair of tall speaker stands on your floor in front of your listening position is an ideal, even more so if your floor is concrete and your can fill your speaker stands with sand or lead shot. You’ll be trying to prevent anything that can resonate from doing so, and this is a great place to begin. However, if like me your listening area is not as spacious as you might like, placing your monitoring on some form of shelf or monitor bridge might be your only option. This means that your shelf is quite likely to shake in sympathy, and quite possibly your desk or attached furniture too.

ISO 430
With an increased platform size, the ISO-430 copes effortlessly with larger monitoring capacities.

ISO Convert

Thankfully, there is help at hand. Many succumb to the foam-pad concept, positioning shaped foam-rubber mats, designed for purpose, under each monitor to help de-couple the vibration. This may alleviate the problem up to a point, but a far more robust solution resides with ISO Stands from IsoAcoustics.

With a range of 5 stands, they have a product for just about every size and weight of monitor, as well as options for radically improving your listening sweet-spot. When I swapped-out the aforementioned foam-rubber pads for ISO Stands, some years ago, I became something of an ISO-convert.

Let’s examine a common situation; all monitors require a degree of decision making during setup, that might dictate orientation or positioning. Some work better on their sides, and some in a vertical position. This was an experiment I went through without stands, in order to dictate which ISO-Stands I required, ensuring a great fit for the weight and size of my monitors. Furthermore, they offered considerable enhancements for fine tuning the listening position.

The first three stands in their range are the ISO-130, ISO-155, and ISO-200. These are all pretty identical, increasing only in size and capacity. The stands themselves have a lower and an upper platform, which are connected via four metal tubes. By using a combination of either shorter or longer tubes, you can extend the height of the speaker and adjust the angle of tilt, meaning that you can easily place the speaker’s tweeter directly in line with your ears, whether you place your speakers at desk height or on some form of monitor bridge.

The combination of the two platforms creates superior decoupling, preventing your desk from vibrating. Of course, there can always be a degree of vibration a greater volumes, but working at a sensible volume, the overall influence is staggeringly effective.

While the mere positioning capabilities are enough to warrant ISO-Stands, it’s the effect on the overall soundstage that impressed me the most. While my previous monitors were not exactly lacking in response and detailing, the presence of the ISO-stands tightened up the bottom end considerably, delivering a more detailed mid-range which seemed to feel more in balance with the high-end.

ISO Stand Variety

The ISO-130, ISO-155, and ISO-200 will be the go-to for most small to medium sized monitoring setups. Sold in pairs, they merely increase in size to accommodate weight and dimensions of speaker. Should you find yourself moving up to larger or more serious monitoring, the ISO-430 is the top of the ISO-stand line. At a width of 430mm and with capacity to support monitors weighing up to 45Kg, it’s a serious stand, with an increased number of vertical struts (6 in all) to indulge any larger size and weight.

These are my latest ISO stands, deployed alongside a large pair of near to mid-field monitors, with a more dramatic low end performance than my previous monitors. Even with this increased response, the ISO-stands ability to de-couple vibration to my monitor bridge is quite staggering, while the same sonic attributes remain. A solid and perfectly centred soundstage, with significantly improved lower frequency rigidity and performance.

The ISO-430 is sold as a single unit, meaning that two will required for conventional pairing. The same goes for the ISO-200Sub, unsurprisingly designed for modest sub units, so you’ll probably only need one anyway.

Stand by your Subs! The ISO-200Sub is perfect for decoupling those rumbles.

Perfect Alignment

Like many audio professionals, I took my time setting up my monitoring; if you’re going to be working most days within the same soundstage arena, it makes sense to get it right at source. I might even have reached for a tape measure, to ensure ultimate accuracy in completing the triangle, but my ISO Stands are embedded in my studio. They fulfil various inconspicuous tasks while adding comfort and assurance to the quality of my monitoring.

In choosing the right stand for your own monitors, the IsoAcoustics website offers a helpful selection tool, to ensure that you order the right stand for your monitors and environment.

I can’t quite imagine listening without ISO Stands now, and while more expensive than foam-rubber, could easily be one of the best upgrades you could ever make to your studio setup.


ISO-Stand Pricing (street pricing)

ISO-130 – £75/$89.99(pair)
ISO-155 – £89/$109.99 (pair)
ISO-200 – £135/$159.99 (pair)
ISO-430 – £99/$99.99 (per stand)
ISO-200Sub – £66/$59.99 (per stand)