Why We Don’t Recommend Subwoofer Isolation Platforms

Hey there. It’s John Hunter with REL back again. We get questions all the time for you folks. And one of the ones we got recently was why does REL, not recommend isolation platforms. Pretty simple. They, they do some things that are really questionable. We work very, very hard as a design team to get the height exactly right. We, we work with different heights of feet. We experiment, we put them on elevators, we drop them down. We get it exactly right. So that the notes release perfectly. When you put it up, call it two inches on an isolation platform. You’re decoupling the sub from the floor and in many instances, it’s exactly the wrong thing to do.

I understand that there are times if you live in a for example, a small apartment, and you’re trying to prevent bleed through from down below, you may need to do something extreme. You may need to put down a foam pad or something, but as a general rule, isolating, putting it up on a platform will actually reduce the amount of deep bass increase the amount of upper bass.

And you’ll wind up with a sound that’s very light. People will write us and say well, it sounded crisper and faster and that would be because it’s no longer making bass. So just be very, very careful about these things. There are technical reasons that I have a hard time with isolation platforms as well.

When you isolate you’re trapping the energy from getting out of the sub and into the floor and mechanically having it couple out into the room. Um, a lot of folks I think, are just used to tweaking. So when people buy a sub, they get playing with it. They love it. Now they want to know what’s the next step.

And the next step is almost never going to be an isolation platform. Probably the last place I would go would be looking to decouple this huge energy engine, right? These things are massive amounts of movement, massive amounts of power required to produce these huge long wave fronts and putting it up on what amounts to a wobbly platform is exactly the opposite of where your thinking should be going.

So that’s a little bit more in depth explanation. I’m sure most people want to know, but it gives you some background to it. As engineers. Our job is to get as much clean, deep bass into the room, physically propagating into the room as possible. And that’s just not possible once you start putting them up on decoupling platforms.

Thanks for the question.

October 26, 2021 - Posted in: Q & A With John Hunter