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How to explain a Recoil Stabilizer

  Tuesday 03 August 2010, 17:58
Think of the recoil that occurs when you fire a riffle. The forward energy of the bullet escaping the chamber and barrel explodes forward as the rifle and your shoulder push backwards. This 'recoil' is needed on a rifle. Without the recoil, after repeated use, the gun would simply self-disintegrate. But is recoil a good thing with a loud speaker?
How to explain a Recoil Stabilizer

For years, studio designers have painstakingly mounted large soffit speakers on concrete blocks and have gone as far as bolting them down to make sure that they are completely anchored and do not move. This produces a tighter, punchier sound and is often the reason why one studio is preferred over another. How often have you heard folks exclaim: "the sound of the room is amazing!" or "that studio is a great bass and drum tracking room". Often it is not just the room, but the way the room and reference monitors interact.

Half way through the 1990s, something changed. Instead of listening to these huge room monitors, the industry switched to nearfield monitors. Nearfields took much of the room out of the equation and made it easier to work for long hours with less ear fatigue. We all switched! Even the big studios. This is when we started to go wrong. Not with the nearfields... with the application! What we found was that when we placed our nearfield monitors on the meter bridge or on stands, they would vibrate. To stop the vibration, we solved the problem by placing foam underneath the speakers. Products like the Auralex MoPad and the Primacoustic IsoPad became fashionable. They solved the vibration problem. In fact, when monitors are directly coupled to a desk or shelf, the desk will vibrate and impart a sound into the mix. By decoupling the speaker from the desk (using foam) we solve a big problem! Yup the Pads do help! But we introduce a new problem at the same time!

But no one ever thought about the down side... what about the recoil? Now that the speakers are no longer stable, what is happening to the sound? It is OK for the speaker to move around? What is actually happening? Simply put, the speaker moves backwards as the driver moves forward. The brain is very perceptive with respect to transients. This gives us clues such as spatial positioning or depth of field. When the loudspeaker sways, the sharp edge of the transient has shifted - think of a square wave that is now skewed. It is no longer sharp. It has lost that initial 'instant-on'... instead, it now ramps up. And interestingly, it does not seem to matter at what frequency.

By stabilizing the loudspeaker - by adding mass like we did 20 years ago - the speaker no longer shifts. And the results are truly remarkable. And we are not talking the difference between audio wire here... the difference is very noticeable. On bass, you can hear more clarity and greater depth. On some monitors you almost get an octave lower bass! And because the transient is now crisp & clear, the depth of field all of a sudden becomes more focussed. But don't just believe us... We were also sceptical. So before we launched the product, we sent out 20 sets of Recoils to some of the best ears in the business. Everyone that got them came back with the same results. You can read the quotes below. The benefits of using the Recoil Stabilizer are real.

The RX7 Recoil Stabilizer is made from 3 different substances: The bottom foam isolation pad is made from medium density urethane that isolates the loudspeaker from the support desk or meter bridge. Next is the stabilizing plate. This is made from 1/4" steel that has been laser cut. The added flange on the front does 3 things: It adds more mass without taking up any more space; it is irregularly shaped so that it will not resonate; and it holds the logo to make it look cool! The top surface is a thin neoprene that is thin enough so that the speaker can no longer sway, yet it has plenty of 'stick' so that the speaker does not slide around. Simple - yet it works remarkably well.

We will be offering a complete family of Recoil Stabilizers to suit various speakers, firing angles and positioning. the first to be delivered are the RX7 and the RX7a - with a 5º angle. These are ideally suited for most vertically mounted active nearfields. The RX9 has a larger base and designed for horizontally mounted use. The RX5 is smaller for compact monitors and then there are larger recoil Stabilizers for mid-field monitors and subs.

The Recoil Stabilizer - a simple idea that really works. Patent Applied For.

This just in… From Seth Glassman – Producer, Engineer, session player bassist in New York:
"The Recoil Stabilizers are fabulous. I put them up and I listened to a record I'm just about to mix. I wanted to try to gather careful impressions, but as soon as I hit play I said, "What's that? The bass drum? Oh %#!&*- is that what my bass drum sounds like?" The bottom, and especially the top of the bottom, if that makes sense, is defined in a way I've never heard in my room before. Bass, kick, low toms, low end of guitars and piano are all much clearer, and low sounds that need work can't hide in the usual mush. It's really quite remarkable. Imaging is better, but the really stunning thing is the way the pillowy, moophy bottom has tightened up. And I actually thought it was pretty tight before. They have to be heard to be believed, and they're certainly the most cost-effective upgrade one could make to improve monitoring. Thanks again, they've really opened a window into my mixes." 

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