Free air, tighter bass - snake oil or cheap tweaks?

Usually when we talk about snake oil it's because some one is out to make a buck on the gullible.  In the case of these tweaks I want to recommend I'm not going to make any money, and you may not spend any either, but I find them useful.

Cover your Speakers

I don't know why a modest change in your acoustics can make such a difference but I usually find that covering my speakers adds a lot of air and room ambiance.  I like to use some thick curtains that I've had from a house a long time ago.  Works really well.

Weigh Your Speakers

I don't mean put them on a scale, but put a weight on top.  Of course, this doesn't apply to those with behemoths.  I find this especially useful with lightweight speakers that are on stands or very small footprints.  Think 2-ways, both bookshelf and floor standers.  I think the additional weight resists the tendency of the woofer to move the box back and forth, creating a kind of Doppler distortion in the bass. In some cases I find this tweak can really make a speaker sound tighter and clearer from the mid-bass downwards.

Clean up the Floor

We often pay attention to the walls, but not the floor, especially behind speakers.  I find that room treatment, cushions and blankets here can really cut out hash I didn't know I had. 


I often cover bass cabinets of my Aerial 10t with furniture blanket. Bass control this way is simply INCREDIBLE My speakers are loaded with lead shot on the bottom. I also use solid platform so they don't stand on carpet floor. 

Another cheap tweak:

Check and/or tighten up screws on your speaker drivers every once in a while.


Erik, I thought you were making a joke, but I soon realized you didn't mean covering the front of the speakers, and the drivers.

Damping small speakers with a weight , a tuned one, is very important...

I do it...




I soon realized you didn't mean covering the front of the speakers, and the drivers.


Um, that's not what I meant, but this would be a great way of getting rid of sibillance problems.   🤣

@erik_squires, I like both of your ideas.

Many years ago there was a company called Audio Concepts who sold to the DIY speaker builder market. They competed with Madisound and Parts Express and Meniscus. Anyway one of their kits was a medium-sized floorstander whose outer surfaces were covered with 2" thick egg-crate foam, with cut-outs for the drivers. Allegedly it imaged very well. I never went to that extreme, but admired their design for its no-holds-barred devotion to eliminating enclosure reflections and diffraction.  Your removable curtain/blanket approach has a MUCH higher WAF! 

As a longtime dipole enthusiast, I’ve often added weight to the top of a dipole speaker. The idea being, a dipole speaker is seldom perfectly rigid and free from rocking, so it can be thought of as an upside-down pendulum. Adding mass to the end of the pendulum (the top of the dipole in this case) lowers its natural rocking frequency, making it less prone to rocking at audio frequencies. Improvement shows up in imaging and bass response, but in my experience it’s usually not a huge improvement.