Equipment rack advice needed - castors or spikes or...?


The rack actually moves quite easily over the carpet with castors and seems stable. I was considering replacing them with spikes resting on Chord silent-mounts, which apparently are happy to be on a carpeted floor. I suspect though that I will experience something similar to you when trying to move it. I could attach carpet gliders to the back of the silent-mounts which would certainly make the whole thing slide easily but I suspect this will severely degrade the silent-mounts’ performance.

Also to be honest I’m not entirely convinced about spikes. I feel more aligned with the compliant feet school of thought such as Townshend Seismic Pods etc. Not that this gets me anywhere as the problems re- movement are still the same.

It does make me think however that the castors may not be all bad and perhaps in some ways I may actually prefer the sound like that. Impossible to tell of course without comparing but from experience I know that spikes tend to ‘dramatise’ the sound, emphasising dynamics and speed, whilst more compliant alternatives may sound less obviously dramatically exciting but at the same can have a very natural and unforced sound that can be nicer in the long term.

The more I consider it the more I’m inclined to ‘leave well alone’ as there are no obvious serious shortcomings in the music. Trouble is I always feel the itch to try to squeeze out that last bit of performance.

The grass is always greener over the fence! This is not always a good way to be. Sometimes one has to know when to draw the line, even if it involves some compromise. I think this is one such time.

I feel you could be in a minority here! Show me a pair of speakers or a rack that is not supplied, as standard, with spikes. :grimacing:

1 Like


Yes that’s true on both counts. I was generalising and really of course it depends on the specific design of stand or rack in question as to which is best.

However, products from Townsend Audio such as their Seismic speaker platforms have had brilliant reviews. Also IsoAcoustics GAIA isolators. Despite the rave reviews of these products it seems that spikes are still very much the default option. Of course they are very much cheaper to implement, which might be one reason.

It is interesting to trace back the origin of spikes. To the best of my knowledge and recollection they were ‘invented’ by Linn Products as a way of vastly improving the performance of their Sara apeakers when placed on their dedicated stands. The aim was simply to prevent the stands from rocking when placed on a carpeted floor. No more than that.

From that point onwards they seem to have been pretty much universally adopted with all sorts of outrageous and unfounded claims made about them. They isolate, they couple, they provide an ernergy pathway to earth, they prevent energy from the floor entering the system etc. etc.

Clearly these claims are contradictory and frankly just don’t make sense. They are pseudo-scientific gobbledygook. How can a spike both couple rigidly and also isolate? It really is complete and utter nonsense.

My view - based on nothing but common sense and my scientific background, is that spikes provide rigid coupling. They do not isolate. This is after all why they were invented. If you want isolation you need to have some sort of compliant or energy absorbing material in the equation.

Hence my scepticism regarding their application to equipment racks. If the idea is to isolate equipment on the rack from floor-bound vibrations then they will do exactly the opposite as far as I can see.

I accept that my view is a simplistic one and that there is probably a lot more going on, but I have yet to read a convincing explanation of how and why spikes work. What I can say is that from personal experience they appear to provide more detail, more shaply defined leading edges - in short more excitement, but they can also produce a rather relentless and tiring sound. Again, it depends on the specific application.

Honestly, it’s the most sensible idea I’ve seen here.


My view is that most equipment supports actaully provide very little in the way of isolation. A support rack is actually a resonance tuning device. It aims to place resonances outside of the audible bandwidth or to place them in areas where they appear to add excitement, detail or drive etc. to the sound.

Think about it. If racks really did function mainly by isolating then all competent racks should sound pretty much identical. They don’t. There’s someting else going on.

I suspect that a rack that truly provided perfect isolation would initially sound rather bland and unimpressive. Interestingly the extremely expensive and well-regarded Stillpoints rack seems to have several reviews alluding to this. Until it finally dawns on the listener that they are now hearing the music as it really is, without artificial embellishment.

In some ways perhaps placing your kit on ordinary furniture may actually provide a more natural and un-hyped up performance.

You have a point, although I don’t think you can level this criticism specifically at spikes more than many other HiFi components. I think you have to take many manufacturers claims with a pinch of salt, especially when they come from marketing department. Even Naim have been caught out by the ASA for making a claim they couldn’t substantiate.

As for what spikes actually do, it depends on how they are used. Their original use on wooden floors would couple them firmly to the floor. Put then on a hard surface, such as ceramic tiles, or insert floor protectors such as Naim Chips and they will not be constrained laterally.

Regarding alternative supports such as Townshend etc. I guess it can be hard to understand exactly what they are doing and why. I was talking to the dealer I bought my speakers from a while ago and he mentioned that he had tried quite a few of these supports under his own pair over the years, but always ended up returning them to their factory supplied supports sooner or later. Spikes? No, castors, the chosen type of support for Shahinian speakers.

1 Like


Yes, I agree that there are many things in hi-fi that are at best questionable. Some seem to work, others don’t. And the situation can change based on system and owner. There are no absolutes here that’s for sure.

I’m in no way professing to be any kind of expert in the engineering involved, my scientific career was in the medical field, but it’s obvious to me from what is said by so many people trying to promote certain products that they really haven’t any scientific or engineering understanding at all. They are just spouting sales clap-trap along the lines that Arthur Daley would have done.

Of course, not understanding why something works does not mean that it doesn’t. I would however have far more respect for manufacturers if they admitted that they really didn’t understand why their latest accessory was so effective rather than trying to explain it with double-talk and nonsense. A few do - but not many.

Weren’t the original stands for early Spendors (BC1s, etc.) fitted with castors too? I suppose this was for monitoring purposes.

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.