Review: IsoAcoustics ISO-L8R 155 Monitor Isolation Stands

Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

IsoAcoustics hold nearfield monitors at their ideal height and angle while isolating them from nearly any mix-clouding, sympathetically vibrating work surface. 

Image placeholder title

As a general rule, we choose our studio monitors for the most accurate translation of recorded audio that we can afford. For that reason, especially in our modern DAW-based production world, studio monitors are increasingly our most costly investment. 

So after buying your ideal studio monitoring system, how do you best utilize it? First and foremost, careful placement is key; this means your monitors are positioned at an ideal height, angle and spread (in relation to your ears and distance from the sound source) and are isolated from resonant surfaces, such as desktops, meter bridges and even most speaker stands. 

At NAMM 2012, I discovered an Ontario-based company, IsoAcoustics, Inc., and their clever little monitor stand kit, the ISO-L8R 155. While desktop speaker stands are nothing new, IsoAcoustics’ approach to monitor placement and isolation is quite fresh and innovative. In reviewing the ISO-L8R 155 in conjunction with some of my favorite speakers, I discovered that this $99 kit could significantly improve the performance of speakers I thought I’d heard at their best. 

Features 

The ISO-L8R 155 kit is designed for use with studio monitors with dimensions greater than 6- by 7.5-inches (width by depth) and weighing less than 30lbs. each; speakers within this range make up the majority of modern studio monitors sold today. 

Carefully packed unassembled, the ISO-L8R kit makes two complete speaker stands that can be built between 3- and 8-inch heights, with inserts that can precisely angle the speakers up or down; thus, the ISO-L8R can place your small monitors at their ideal height in relation to your listening position. 

Equally important are the ISO-L8R’s vibration-isolating properties; its hollow steel tube risers, high-strength ABS(acrylonitrile butadiene styrene,a common thermoplastic)framework and rubber (copolymer) bushings comprise its ability to significantly isolate speakers from any work surface. 

In all, the ISO-L8R 155 offers 14 combinations of height and tilt adjustments. 

In Use

My use of the ISO-L8R 155 kit began with an easy assembly. I must note that the kit is intuitive in its construction. 

Over the past year or so, I have primarily used (and adored) Primacoustic Recoil Stabilizers underneath a pair of passive KRK R6 studio monitors in a nearfield position. My studio desk has a raised overbridge, which has worked well with the Recoils/R6 combination, but only with the R6s placed horizontally; otherwise, the tweeter easily overshoots the top of my head. Swapping the Recoils for the ISO-L8R 155s, I was able to place the monitors upright (vertically) and angled down to my ears; as an added benefit, this allowed for more space on my crowded overbridge while opening a new world of positioning options, too. 

Sonically, the R6s seemed to perform truer to the source material while atop the ISO-L8Rs; this was especially evident when directly compared to speaker-on-desk placement. Mid-bass to the lowest frequencies tightened up significantly, and random/various sympathetic vibrations ceased; in a word, my monitors became more clearly “separate” from their physical surroundings. 

I can’t overstate how monitoring with a product such as the ISO-L8R can change end results of productions; built step by step, the final mix with such increased insight becomes something clearly different than without it. For example, I found myself “guessing” less regarding bass content of individual tracks, so that, after track compression and EQ, mixes became something a lot closer to the “ideal” ones I hear in my head. 

Summary

As in every product purchase, the question essentially comes down to, “is it worth it?” The ISO-L8R 155 costs $50 per side, and I believe it will add far more value to your speaker performance than that; your mileage may increase with even higher quality monitors. If your work surface puts your tweeters at the wrong height and/or angle, going IsoAcoustics is likely the most precise, sturdy and affordable solution in studio monitor platforms today. 

Price: $99 per pair

Contact: IsoAcoustics | isoacoustics.com