Auditions: Snapshot Product Reviews

Feb 1, 2008 12:00 PM


Mix Regional

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Studio Monitor Decouplers

We use a variety of acoustic materials — reflectors, absorbers, diffusers and bass traps — to change a room's character, but there have been few such products created to enhance the performance of monitor speakers. So when Primacoustic announced its Recoil stabilizers, I was intrigued.

Recoil is a passive device that provides a stable base to reduce the recoil caused by the forward energy of the loudspeaker motion while eliminating disruptive resonant coupling from the loudspeaker to the stand. Conventional speaker designs move air using a cone, creating a piston-like forward motion modulated by the amplifier's signal driving a voice coil within a magnetic field. Along with this forward motion comes a recoil as the cone springs backward. And vibrations within the speaker enclosure can be transmitted to other surfaces, through stands, shelves, etc., causing unwanted resonances. One method of decoupling speakers involves placing a foam pad under the monitor cabinet, which isolates the enclosure, but such a spring-like surface can actually magnify the speaker's motion, resulting in image smearing.

The Recoil stabilizer attacks this problem by using a high-density urethane foam base for isolation, combined with a heavy laser-cut steel plate layered above the foam and then topped with a nonslip neoprene pad. By applying a substantial mass to the monitor/isolation combination, Recoil offers isolation, with vibration control of the speaker itself.

In A/B comparisons using a variety of studio near-fields — Mackie HRM8s, Meyer HD-1s and Dynaudio Air-6s — the difference was clearly discernable. In every case, the stereo soundstage was improved, as was the reproduction of HF transients. Recoil's secret is nothing more than basic physics: It's all about mass. At a retail of $99.95 each, Recoil stabilizers add a noticeable measure of clarity for serious listening. I'm impressed.

Primacoustic, dist. by Radial Engineering, 604/942-1001,
George Petersen

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