Childproofing (and Pet-proofing) Your Speaker Stands
Life has a way of making things harder than they should be. Life in the form of kids and pets that is. One common complaint we hear is that people don’t want to put their speakers on stands because they are afraid they will be knocked over. We’ve seen lots of suggestions to combat this gravest of eventualities. Most of them bad. But, fear not! There is a way to childproof and pet-proof your speaker stands.
Disclaimer: Any parent will tell you that a dedicated child (or pet) can circumvent any method to keep them safe. I can’t tell you how many stories I have about my children that start with, “I don’t know how they did it but…” Pets are the same way. If they really want to knock over a speaker, they’ll find a way. Childproofing and pet-proofing your speaker stands isn’t about making it impossible. It is about making tipping them over more difficult.
Childproofing and Pet-Proofing Methods that We Don’t Like
If you search the Internet, you’ll find a lot of suggestions for securing your speaker stands. Most of these come from people that have the “securing” part in mind but not the audio part. Most of these suggestions will work, they just aren’t advisable from an audio standpoint.
We haven’t seen this one a lot, but it is out there. There is a thought that carpet spikes will childproof and pet-proof your speaker stands. This is categorically false. Carpet spikes do not “grab” the ground in any way. The idea behind them is that they directly couple the speaker stand to the ground. This makes them slightly more secure, in a way, because they are no longer sitting on top of the carpet. But there are so many disadvantages to carpet spikes.
By coupling the speaker stands to the ground, you are sending any vibrations directly into the structure of the home. This is a very good way to make your neighbors angry. The spikes are also notoriously hard to level. This causes them to rattle on the floor as the speaker vibrates the stand. Lastly, the speaker stand sitting on the carpet isn’t what is making it unsteady. It is the speaker on top that makes it top-heavy. Carpet spikes do nothing to address the root of the problem.
Securing to the Floor or a Wall or Nearby Furniture
We’ve also seen many suggestions that require you to bolt or otherwise secure the stand to the floor (Amazon link) or (rarely) a nearby wall (Amazon link). Using some sort of cable tie to connect them to other furniture has also been floated from time to time. These solutions will absolutely work for childproofing or pet-proofing, as long as you also bolt (or somehow secure) the speaker to the stand. Remember, you now have definitely coupled your speaker directly to the foundation of your home. Any vibration created by the speaker (which is how it makes noise in the first place) will be transmitted into your floor and walls.
You may not be worried about neighbors or other people in your house and therefore are less worried about sound transmission. Fair enough. But we are still not in love with such a permanent solution. What if you get a new couch and want to move your speakers? What if you get new speakers and want to sell your old ones? If you’ve bolted the stands to the ground and the speaker to the stand, good luck selling them with all that damage. Plus, do you really want to start drilling holes in your home?
Attach Something Heavy to the Bottom of the Stand
Of the suggestions so far, this one makes the most sense to us. If the problem is that the stand is top-heavy with the speaker on top, then you can childproof and pet-proof it by adding something heavy to the bottom. Unfortunately, most of us do not have access to heavy metal plates we can weld to the bottom of our stands. The common recommendation? Epoxy the stand to something like a concrete paver.
We just want to say, that will definitely work. It’ll be janky as heck and look very strange, but it will work. The larger (and heavier) the paver, the more sturdy the stand will be. Make sure you also have some way to secure the speaker to the stand as well. Lastly, you’ll want to add something under the paver to decouple it from the floor. You might want to grab some cloth or something to cover the top the paver. Unless your aesthetic is early industrial revolution, it’ll probably look out of place.
One last, and probably most important, audio concern is that you’ve changed the height of your speaker. Speaker stands come in standard sizes that will put the tweeter of your speaker at ear height. If you decide to add something under it, you’ve changed that height. While it might not make that much sonic difference, it isn’t optimal.
The BEST Solution
The reality is that most of these solutions are completely unnecessary. Many people wrongly believe that they are the first person to think of this issue. Manufacturers have known that people have wanted easy ways to childproof and pet-proof their speaker stands. The easiest solution is to allow owners to add weight to the bottom of the stands. You can do this with many stands.
When you search for a stand, make sure you look at the reviews and user manuals. Somewhere in there, you’ll find people filling the stand with something to add weight. If they can’t, they’ll let you know. There are lots of suggestions on what to use. Play sand (Amazon link) is often recommended through there are “audiophile” solutions that cost much more.
If you live in an area that has lots (or even some) humidity, we’d recommend using kitty litter. Get something that is unscented and non-clumping (Amazon link). Unscented for obvious reasons and non-clumping so you can get it out later. This will combat any moisture that might get into your stands. If you use sand or something else, there is a chance of mold. If you are going through the trouble of filling your stands with something, you only want to do it once.
Lastly, remember that you are only trying to add weight to the bottom of the stand. While a heavier stand will be harder to move, what you are really trying to do with this childproofing and pet-proofing is to keep the speaker from toppling over. Filling the speaker stand up about a third of the way should be more than enough.
Lastly, we suggest securing the speaker to the stand with museum putty (Amazon link). This will secure the speaker in a non-destructive way. While museum putty will provide some decoupling, you should still NOT use the carpet spikes and instead put something soft under it. If you have carpet, that might be enough. A couple of thicker mousepads will also work.
If your kid or pet really wants to knock over a speaker stand, they will. Life finds a way. But if you want to make it hard for them, you got to get heavy. Have another suggestion? Let us know in the comments so others can learn from your wisdom!