Quarter Notes #21 (Volume 6, Issue 1)

Updated: Sep 2, 2020

Dear Get Better Sound & Through the Sound Barrier owners,

Welcome to the twenty-first issue of Quarter Notes, published on April 9, 2017. Quarter Notes is a free newsletter for Get Better Sound and Through the Sound Barrier owners, expanding on both, as well as introducing new and timely subjects.

Best email address

Since you’re reading this, the e-mail address with which I sent this QNs must have worked. However, the only e-mail address I have is the one associated with your initial Get Better Sound or Through the Sound Barrier order. If you have an e-mail address that you’d prefer to use to receive Quarter Notes notifications, send it to js@getbettersound.com. Be sure to include the e-mail address I used originally, along with the one that you want to use to replace it.

Mass loading loudspeakers

I used to (over 15 years ago) employ this tweak on certain systems, but had frankly forgotten about it. Recently saw a post on Audio Asylum.com by Jeff Medwin (aka Dr Lowmu on AA) and it all came back.

Mass loading – adding weight to your loudspeaker – can result in some pretty amazing improvements. Contrary to what you might think, the system will sound louder than pre-mass-loading. The sound takes on a purity & authority that you didn’t know was there. Musical dynamics improve as well. The result is even more musical involvement, for relatively little money.

IMO, a slight increase in weight has an exceedingly slight effect. With mass loading, I tend to think of percentages. In past experiments, I found that – whenever possible - adding about 50% or more of the original speaker’s weight made a significant difference.

My Tannoy Canterbury loudspeakers weigh 150 lbs each. My REL 212/SE subs weigh 122 lbs. each.

I added two 57 lb. patio blocks to the top of each of my Tannoys. So I added approximately 114 lbs each – over 75% increase in weight!

I added four 15 Lb. patio blocks to each of my RELs – for a total of 60 Lbs./speaker (about 50% of the REL original weight).

Although the results were a wonderful improvement to my already musically engaging sound, the issues that accompany performing this tweak are many:

1 – Ummm, it does not improve the appearance!!! At minimum, you will probably need a dedicated room or a man-cave for such a tweak.

Here’s a look at mine, before I substituted another 57 lb. block for the 3 15 lb. blocks on top. This is also before I ever thought about reducing the visual effects:

After a quick ‘n easy attempt to cover up my work:

Still not exactly “attractive”, but I am still working on it. That’s a REL 212/SE behind my left channel Canterbury. It has four covered 15 lb. patio blocks on it as well.

I will add some weight (about 65 lbs.) to the bottom (Canterbury stand) as well – in this case, for stability, in case someone bumps into the speaker. Who knows, there may be a further improvement to sound! Fortunately, this time it will not be visible. :)

2 – You have to have a speaker that is amenable to adding weight. In other words, you need somewhere to mount the weights.

3 – You need to be sure that your speakers are in their best location, as moving them post mass-loading will be difficult…

4 – Never tried it on inherently solid and weighty speakers such as the larger Magicos & Rockports, so I have no idea if it will work for them.

The good news:

1 – As already noted, the improvement is quite noticeable, with no negative sonic effects. Well, you may need to isolate the blocks from one another, as they can find amazing ways to vibrate against one another. I used foam-core poster board. Not the thin, almost paper-thin stuff but the compressible thicker stuff (eighth inch thick or more)

2 – This is cheap!!! I got my 16 patio blocks at Lowe’s hardware store for less than $40.00!

Evolution of RoomPlay Reference