why spikes under speakers???

could you guys educate me about the use or need for spikes under speakers, it seems to me that putting an air pocket under a speaker would be the last thing you want to do, isnt bas about pressure? and if you put a gap of air between speakers and floor arent you losing some of what makes bass work? I am not claiming this to be bad, I simply want to pose my questions about this concept and get educated on why this is a good idea, and when it may not be a good idea...thanks
El, to answer your question about what makes Audiopoints better, here are some explanations.

The material and geometrical shape of the Audiopoints make the difference, based upon what we want to achieve.

Audiopoints do not "drain", nor do they "dampen" by design.

What they do, is provide an evacuation path for the vibrations to do what they naturally "want" to do.

According to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, which you are certainly aware of, all energy will seek the ground state via the path of least resistance. Vibrational energy will do so, just like electrical energy will. Ground states can vary, normally based upon mass, with the earth being the most commonly used mass for this destination of the energy.

If a path for this vibrational energy is not provided for the energy to seek the mass of the earth, then it will seek other routes to dissipate the energy, generally running around and around inside the equipment chassis, until it is exhausted.

If a path is provided for it to seek the larger masses of the house/foundation/earth, then it will take that route, as long as it is the least resistant one. This path must be easy for the energy to travel in, and very rapid, for our audio purposes.

Audiopoints use a specially formulated brass material, which is hard, with low lead content, for this purpose. It also uses specialized shape.

These things working together provide an pathway for this energy to transfer to the higher mass earth to be dissipated to the ground state remotely from the equipment.

We never say that vibrations should not be dissipated, but that they should be dissipated somewhere else besides in the equipment or stand, not locally. We also do not claim to eliminate vibration, but only to reduce a large percentage of the unwanted vibrational effects on the equipment.

Now, how do we do this?
We have designed a product which utilizes the reduction of Coulomb's Friction in the system, to improve the speed of the evacuation path. If Coulomb's Friction in the junction between the equipment chassis and the "cone" is reduced, then the ease with which the vibrations can transfer becomes much better. Then, the material and geometry provide an optimized route for the vibrations to travel earthward. A "White Paper" written by mechanical engineers is available on this subject, on our website.

For our products to be best used, no intervening items should be between the equipment chassis, our products, and the floor. Sometimes people put things in there, and it can reduce or defeat the performance of our products. We make various products that are different heights, including racks, so that people can get the benefits of our engineered pathways, at different heights of the shelving, and not have to resort to using other materials and devices between the audio/video equipment and the floor.

That is basically it. All we provide is a path for the energy to travel where it will eventually be dissipated by the earth, not returned into the equipment chassis to be recirculated. All based on solid physics, and borne out in audible performance. The math for the Coulomb's friction proof is shown on the white paper on our website.

The issue here, for us, is not to make some kind of "laboratory grade isolation table". What we do is provide a system which will improve the listening pleasure to the owner of the audio system, by addressing the unwanted vibration effect issue to a signifcant extent enough to make the sound better. We don't claim "perfection" or anything like that. We claim that using our products will improve the sound, in a way that doesn't have "deadening" effects that are common with local damping schemes. And in comparison to most local damping schemes, the sound that results from use of our products is preferred by many users, because dynamics and lifelike sound quality is preserved.

If you have very deep technical questions, I can refer you to our mechanical engineers, who can address these, as they may be beyond my abilities to answer(as a non-engineer).
Tom, help me understand why vibrational energy wants to go to ground?
I understand that in an electrical circuit with a anode and cathode, applying a PD will cause motion in the circuit and that electron flow will occur via the path of least resistance. I don't understand how this propagates in a component that has self-induced vibration from the motion of internal components, and/or airborne induced vibration. How is there a natural force that sends vibrational energy looking for an 'out' via ground/earth?
I'm sure you are right, I just need help understanding it.

Isn't it more like a convection effect, and doesn't 'drain' and 'evacuate' basically mean the same thing when convection currents are considered? A transfer of energy I can understand, but analogizing it as a polarized conduction as per an electrical circuit needs more explanation.

It's a fascinating subject, thanks for sharing your ideas.

Rooze, good question.

Basically it pertains to the thermodynamic laws, which state first that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can only be transferred; and secondly that energy will seek the ground state via the path of least resistance.

This applies to all forms of energy, including vibration.

When a body becomes excited by an external source(such as airborne vibration), then energy has been transferred into it from that external source. Its energy potential has been raised.

This energy will then seek its own way to be transferred somewhere, because the energy seeks to be transferred until it reaches its ground state(at which it is no longer in a state of excitation).

Where it will be transferred to, is decided by the path of least resistance that it can access.

Since high mass things, such as the earth, have a large propensity to be able to absorb many forms of energy, and dissipate it, this is ideal for the energy to be absorbed into, because it can become fully dissipated quickly and easily there. And there can be high mass things(like concrete, lead, and stone blocks, etc) that can act as a "false ground" or ground plane that is of low enough potential, compared to the excited body, that it can act in this role to an extent that it can deal with the amount of energy involved.

However, these high-mass and low-relative-potential bodies may or may not be easily accessible to the energy, due to many things, and the result is that the energy goes where ever it can to be dissipated, including vibrating everything it can get to, in an attempt to dissipate it as heat and friction, or to be dissipated in many different lower mass items that it can most easily get to.

One thing is for sure, it will try to go somewhere.

By recognizing the behavior of energy in this way, we can then direct the energy where we want it to go, much like a wire would do with electrical energy. A wire is a much easier path for electrical energy to travel, than it is to jump across the air, so it goes on the wire, as long as the other end of that wire is attached to a device with a lower relative potential.(Maybe not a perfect analogy, but illustrative of the concept). And so it is with other forms of energy too. By creating a "path of least resistance" for this vibrational energy, we can direct it to a place where it will be less detrimental for our purposes of audio listening.

That's all there is to it. A simple matter of understanding the laws of thermodynamics, and applying appropriate technology to work with them.

No, our systems do not do this perfectly, and maybe not even close to perfectly. But, they do it well enough to make an audible difference in the performance of the audio gear that we are trying to improve. The results are an audible improvement in sound systems, and a visible improvement in the picture of video systems. While perfection may not be attainable, a system which provides a significant enough improvement is deemed worthwhile by many users. And that is what we offer.

We recognize that other forms of vibration control, such as local damping with rubber or foams can be effective. However, we have found that a common side-effect of local damping schemes is "deadening" of dynamics and lifelike sound. One of our design goals was to reduce the unwanted effects of excess vibration without "deadening" the sound. Since our system leads the vibration to a remote place to be dissipated, the unwanted side-effects of "deadening" the sound do not take place when our products are used.

Not every audio hobbyist subscribes to our concepts and methods, but there is no doubt that it is an effective way to deal with unwanted vibration in entertainment systems. Whether one individual prefers it, or another method, is solely up to that individual's tastes and ideas of good sound.

Thanks again. Your explanation answers my questions, and raises others! (that's a good thing!).
I honestly think that we haven't scratched the surface as far as vibration control of audio components goes. I've read some theory from Michael Green and find some of his opinion pretty radical but at the same time quite thought evoking, as yours are.

I'll follow your threads with interest.

TWL, without disputing the benefits of spikes, whether it be for isolating or "draining" and I do believe that there are benefits in using spikes, I must take you to task for mis-using the 2nd law of thermodynamics as the explanation for the "vibration" draining effect.
The 2nd law does not refer to any energy going to ground through the path of least resistance.
As quoted from the Perry Handbook, the 2nd Law is "The Entropy change of any system and its surroundings, considered together, resulting from any process is positive and approaches a limiting value of zero for any process that approaches reversibility."

The second law requires that the entropy of an isolated system must either increase or in the limit, where the system has reached an equilibrium state (the vibrating speaker system, isolated by the spikes), remain constant. The vibrations are converted to heat.
For a closed but not isolated system (the vibrating speaker system tightly connected to another mass or floor),it (the 2nd law)requires that any entropy decrease in either the system or its surroundings be more than compensated by an entropy increase in the other part.

The short of it. Energy tends to goes to its lowest expression of it. Heat (Entropy) is the lowest level of energy. For an isolated system (suspended speakers is as close as one could get, I guess) the vibrations are converted to heat through absorption in the speaker systems mass. If the speaker system is not completely isolated some of the vibration is also absorbed by the attached mass.

Even if one uses the "vibration draining" description for an explanation and I can see where this is an attractive explanation for the non-technical person, the use of the 2nd law as the explanation for the draining of vibrations to ground is stretching an analogy too far.

I feel that the benefits that we derive from spikes is that we isolate the speaker system from the floor and keep the floor from vibrating because of the speaker. A vibrating floor definitely doesn't help with the speaker's perceived performance. There are enough things vibrating in the listening room from airborne vibrations, without having to deal with direct excitation of the room surfaces by the vibrating speaker system. This also has the benefit of not exciting some of the sources (turntable) which can be affected negatively from outside vibrations. Sooner or later, the cartridge/arm has to be protected from outside vibrations.

I respectfully submit that the engineers with whom you work probably used the "drain to ground" analogy because they wanted to somehow explain the benefits to a non-technical person. They have, I believe, underestimated your intelligence and knowledge from what I have gleaned from your excellent posts on turntable and arm performance.

With respect,

Bob P.