Link Audio | RRP: $59 (four pack)
Gravity is a brand that is popping up more and more in recent years with an expanding array of well-designed, useful products. Yes, they make microphone stands, speaker stands, keyboard stands, guitar stands, lighting stands, and just about every other stand you can think of. But, they also offer a range of niche products that offer an ‘outside the box’ approach to audio production and live performance. And it’s in these lesser-known products that we can find inspiration and a new level of quality in our work. One such product is the SA SM IF 01, it’s a bit of a mouthful, and possibly means nothing to those who don’t live their lives dealing with product codes, so for the rest of this piece, we’re going to refer to them as the Gravity Absorber Pucks. Let’s take a look at what they can do for your studio environment.
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It’s amazing how much money people will invest in their studio monitors and think that they will achieve great sound simply because they bought great speakers. While this is partly true, more often than not, there are other factors in play when it comes to the listening environment that don’t allow the great speakers to operate as best as they should. Poor quality cables, unbalanced connections, dirty power, and hard surfaces or bass traps in untreated rooms are all problems that come to mind. I am sure these are all considerations made by many home recording enthusiasts when setting up their new studio monitors. Placement is another factor that often gets a lot of discussion. But, this generally revolves around position and angle of the speakers themselves, considering the listening position and the surfaces behind, in front and above the speakers. What is often overlooked, and critically so to achieve better sound and a truer stereo image, is the surface below the speakers.
The surface on which the speakers are placed will inherently become a part of the speaker if left untreated. Think about it, the speaker derives its sound not only from the moving cone, but from the cabinet it is housed in. This is why great pains are taken to ensure a cabinet and porting that matches perfectly with the driver. Placing a speaker on any surface forms a bond between the cabinet and that surface, and the vibrations of the cabinet then take on characteristics imparted by the surface too. Plonking your speakers on a shelf above your desk without any thought is essentially increasing the size of the cabinet and giving it a rather awkward shape too. The problem is multiplied when you place two speakers on the same surface. They then begin sharing their new ‘cabinet’ structure, and so affect how each other performs. Have a think about what this is doing to your stereo imaging, when the left speaker is directly connected to the right speaker and vice versa, sharing vibrations and affecting each other’s tonal characteristics. This was not how the speaker manufacturers intended these speakers to be heard, and I am sure is not giving you the best sound in your listening position.
So, now that I’ve gone on about the problems many of us have with speaker placement, let’s look at fixing this. This is where we bring in the Gravity Absorber Pucks and wish we’d had these sooner. These great little devices uncouple your speaker cabinet from the surface they are sitting on and allow the cabinet to behave on its own, as it was designed to do. They are pretty simple to use. One goes under each corner of your monitor speakers, so that they sit well balanced and stable. To achieve this balance with slanted speaker cabinets, the height of the Absorber Pucks is adjustable with a tilt angle of up to 15 degrees per puck.
Housed within a powder-coated steel ring, the Absorber Pucks feature a combination of silica gel and EVA foam to offer strength and isolation. Each puck can handle a load of up to 9kg, so a set of four will happily handle a speaker up to 36kg without performance issues. This means that powered speakers with large transformers and heat sinks won’t be a problem. Furthermore, any imbalance in weight distribution due to displacement of the power transformer in the cabinet can be adjusted by adding a little extra height to the puck under that region.
Now, may I say, the results speak for themselves. Even a modestly priced pair of power monitors jumps to life with the addition of two sets of Gravity Absorber Pucks. The stereo image appears to widen instantly, allowing you to hear more definition on both sides of the mix. Suddenly it sounds like you’re listening to two independent speakers delivering distinct signals, rather than a wall of blurred sound. Add to this the removal of further vibrations caused by low frequency rumble through the desk and the signal becomes more lively and well defined. You don’t realise how much noise you’re listening to in your furniture until you take it away!
They look sleek, they’re easy to set up and adjust for different speakers, and they improve the sound in your listening positions instantly. About the only criticism I have is that they are supplied in packs of four, when you know you’re going to need eight pucks right away. That said, I can see why this has been done, as many users will have an uneven number of speakers, so it makes sense to supply in single speaker quantities. No matter how much you spend on your monitor speakers, cables, power filters, and room treatment, you can, and should, improve what you hear with Gravity Absorber Pucks.