Well, I decided to give isolation wedges a try on my Mackie HR824 monitors.
If you are like most folks…it’s a bit natural to wonder “Do these really work?” Physics stands behind the idea that they should. But let’s face it…most folks (myself included) need to see (or in this case…hear) the proof.
The science behind isolation wedges is that they get the monitors off the surfaces they are sitting on. Bass frequencies tend to propagate along floors and walls…which means the bass frequencies are artificially boosted because they use those surfaces like an amplifier. In other words…the engineer would get an inaccurate representation of what they were actually hearing and mixing. Which can throw off your mix. Decouple the monitors from surfaces using the isolation wedges, and you should make the mix more accurate.
The good news is my monitors are actually pretty far away from the walls…I’m in a second story “loft” of sorts for my home studio setup, and the monitors are mounted on top of shelves on the half wall that creates a railing for the studio space. So that primarily leaves the surface the monitors are sitting on to be the source of any issues.
I acquired my generic wedges from an eBay purchase. Roughly $8.00 for a set. It’s just a starting point…as the studio grows and improves, I’ll invest in better and better gear. I didn’t realize what I was getting until they arrived and I unpacked them.
I got a better sense of the nature of my purchase after I did some research;
The only downside is the wedges were sized for 8″ monitors. My Mackies are a bit more substantial that that. Thankfully, I had ordered two pairs…one for the Mackies and one for the Event 20 20s that sit nearby. Thankfully…at least to solve this situation…they are rarely used, but they are there to provide a second frame of reference when listening to mixed. The set for the Event monitors were adopted by the Mackies. But this is still a bargain considering we’re now up to $16 per speaker.
As I did the installation, I used the spectragraph app on my iPhone to take before and after readings from the mix (listening) position in the room. (A spectragraph shows how much energy/intensity is going on across a spectrum of frequencies.) The wedges did indeed decouple the monitors from the surfaces around them, and I saw a reduction in the low end.
As you can see, there is a lot less sound energy represented under 1000 Hz. This visually represented by the lessening and thinning of the red and yellow colors in the graph. Plus the angles cut into the wedges allowed me to better angle the monitors so the tweeters were firing towards my ears in the mix/listening position, versus over my head and at the wall behind me. Not too bad for $16. I’ll either buy a second set of the N-Audio for my backup monitors or I *might* experiment with a different wedge brand/design for the next purchase. Stay tuned…