Subwoofer Isolation: How Effective Are They? (Full Guide)

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Having a subwoofer in direct contact with the ground can create many issues due to the unwanted vibrations these subwoofers produce. Many people face this problem.

The quest to solve this problem has led to the introduction of subwoofer isolation products. Subwoofer Isolation Products are also known as “anti-vibration” products.

It is widely believed that isolating subwoofers from the floor helps to minimize vibration transfer through the floor and also helps improve the sound produced by your subwoofer. 

However, there are many skeptics who question whether Subwoofer Isolation products really work. In view of that, I took it upon myself to research how effective subwoofer isolation products are. And here is what I found.

Yes, subwoofer isolation products do work. Subwoofer isolation products work by decoupling your subwoofer from the floor so that energy from the subwoofer is not transmitted to the floor via physical contact. They absorb vibrations and keep your subwoofer unit from transferring these vibrations to your floor.

We’ll talk about all of the different types of subwoofer isolation systems available and how they compare in terms of effectiveness, costs, and several other areas. And then we’ll take a look at the best ones available today. But before we get into that, let’s talk about how they work.

How Subwoofer Isolation Works

The use of subwoofers leads to the generation of vibrations. It is generally known that objects that generate vibrations tend to transmit these vibrations or vibrational waves to anything they come directly in contact with. 

Subwoofers are no different. They can vibrate your structure, which wastes a lot of energy and creates annoying resonances.

Subwoofer isolation products work to prevent or reduce the transfer or transmission of these vibrational waves from your subwoofer to your structures. It does this by isolating the bass frequencies, preventing them from getting in contact with the surfaces around the subwoofer.

Basically, the idea behind the operation of these isolation products is that the subwoofer will inevitably vibrate when they are playing. But the floor on which they have been placed shouldn’t vibrate. 

They work by handling the energy of your subwoofer, thereby reducing the vibrations that resonate through the floor.

Before we continue, something worth noting is these products are not 100% efficient. Regardless of how much you spend on isolating your subwoofer, the vibrations produced can still get transmitted to the floor if you play your subs at extremely high volumes.

Types of Subwoofer Isolation Products

There are several different types of isolators that you can go in for that are of great quality with average prices ranging from 50 to 100s of dollars. Let’s look at the various types of isolation products available on the market.

Subwoofer Isolation Pad

Isolation pads are generally the most affordable option when it comes to isolating your speakers. They are usually made from high-density foam materials. These materials are typically rubbery or spongey materials full of air gaps.

What isolation pads do is separate your subwoofer from the floor. These pads serve to dampen the vibrations from your subwoofer before they have a chance to hit the floor.

It also provides a more focused low-end sound from your subwoofer by ensuring a tighter stereo output.

Subwoofer Isolation Stands

Isolation stands work by elevating and floating your subwoofer above the surface the speaker or subwoofer is placed on. It is very flexible and comes with height adjustment. 

One thing I like about subwoofer isolation stands is that they allow you to tilt and adjust your subwoofer to meet your desired specifications. It comes in different sizes for different speaker sizes.

One thing that is also peculiar with isolation stands is that they are designed to minimize contact with the ground and the subwoofer. And that was a design choice to reduce the transfer of vibration from the sub to the floor.

 It also provides you with the option of placing a vibration-absorbing rubber between your subwoofer and the stand itself.

This is a great option for minimizing vibrations and can be used in combination with isolation pads. However, it is quite expensive.

Subwoofer Isolation Spikes

The basic idea behind isolation spikes is to absorb vibrations while minimizing any path the vibrations have to the ground. 

Isolation spikes are used to decouple your subwoofer from the floor. This means that they increase the distance between your subwoofer and the floor and provide less contact surface or material for vibrations to be carried through physically.

The theory behind this type of isolation is that the spikes and cones serve to sink the resonances into the floor. They concentrate all the subwoofer’s weight on tiny points of contact. And by so doing, only a small amount of the vibration will be transferred through them.

Normally, you can use up to four spikes per speaker when decoupling your speakers to the surface it has been placed on. Isolation spikes are cheap and best suited for carpeted surfaces too. 

And if you want to improve the efficiency, you can use isolation spikes in conjunction with an isolation pad.

Subwoofer Isolation Feet

Isolation feet are individual pieces designed to go under your subwoofers and components, similar to isolation spike. They also decouple your subwoofer from the floor while resisting lateral movement and oscillations. 

Isolation feet generally have an inner core material between the top and bottom decoupling surfaces. This is where the isolation and vibration absorption take place.

If your subwoofer accepts screw-in feet, then you should definitely consider getting isolation feet to clean up your bass. 

Like isolation spikes, you can either opt to use 3 or 4 feet beneath each subwoofer. As long as the feet are positioned in a way that the subwoofers are stable and free from wobble, you should have no problem

Comparing The Types of Subwoofer Isolation Products

Isolation PadIsolation SpikesIsolation StandIsolation Feet
CostLeast expensive isolation productRelatively less expensive as compared to isolation stands and feetMost expensive isolation product on the marketMore expensive than isolation pads and feet
Mode of InstallationThey basically serve as a form of carpet for your subNeed to be screwed directly to your subwooferNo complex installation needed since they basically serve as a form of table for your subsNeed to be fitted under your subs
Material CompositionMajorly made from high density foamLargely made from metal with some made from rubberCan be made from wood, metal or plasticAre made largely from plastics or rubber
Ease of InstallationIncredibly easy to installEasy to installIncredibly easy to installEasy to install
Comparing Subwoofer Isolation Product Types

All the subwoofer isolation product types are incredibly good and can get the job done. However, from various blogs and reviews I read, isolation feet stand out by an incredibly slim margin. 

This is because they are required to be screwed directly to your subwoofer, thereby providing more stability to your subs than the rest.

By screwing isolation feet to your subwoofer, you get the best results by far. Ideally, you can place your sub on an isolation pad after attaching isolation feet to them in order to achieve maximum progress in your quest to eliminate vibration transmission from your subwoofer.

The only downside to choosing isolation feet is that your subwoofers must accept screw-in feet. Most standard subwoofers have. If not, you would have to choose a different option,

Things to Consider When Choosing a Subwoofer Isolation Product

Weight And Size of Your Subwoofer

Before you select an isolation product, you must know how much weight it can hold. The isolation product must be able to support the subwoofer you are using, especially if you decide to go in for an isolation spike, stand, or feet. 

This is because these isolation products are weight-specific and can easily break when the weight of the subwoofers placed on them exceeds their allowable limit.

The size of your subwoofer and isolation product is another thing to consider when choosing a subwoofer isolation product. Ideally, the bottom of the subwoofer box should have the same dimension as the isolation production you decide to go for.  

This will make them fit perfectly on the isolation product you acquire. And this is even more important if you decide to go in for an isolation pad or stand. That’s because they come with a fixed dimension.

The Density of The Subwoofer Isolation Product

When it comes to isolation pads specifically, it is important to know how dense the pad is. Apart from isolation stands, the density or thickness of isolation spikes, feet, and pad is one important factor to consider when choosing a subwoofer product. 

This is because the thicker an isolation product is, the more effective it is at shielding your floor and surfaces from the vibrations produced by your subwoofer.

Hence, if your subwoofer produces very strong vibrations, the isolation product you should go in for should be much thicker to ensure that it isolates your vibrations effectively.

Best Subwoofer Isolation Products

There are many subwoofer isolation products available. Many of these isolation products can be quite expensive, whereas others seem to be much cheaper. 

After going through hundreds of reviews and customer feedback, here are the four best subwoofer isolation systems available today

Auralex Acoustics SubDude-II

The Auralex Acoustics Subdude-II Isolation Pad (on Amazon) is, undoubtedly, one of the most sought-after isolation pads available today. This subwoofer isolation pad is suited to small subwoofers in home theatres and hi-fi systems. 

It has a unique patented design that features an inert structural layer that floats on the acclaimed Auralex Platform cushion. This platform is covered by a stylish velour covering.

The Auralex acoustics subdued-II preserves the accuracy of the audio track being played and dramatically reduces the structural vibrations through the floors, walls, and ceilings as well. It also tightens the bass frequency and increases low-end clarity.

SVS SoundPath Subwoofer Isolation System

SVS is a very reputable brand when it comes to audio equipment and accessories. That’s mainly because, over the years, they have delivered nothing but quality and top-notch products. And the SVS SoundPath Subwoofer Isolation System (also on Amazon) is no exception.

Originally, these isolation feet were added to only SVS SoundPath speakers and subwoofers till they decided to sell them separately.

These subwoofer isolation feet are designed to bring out the best performance from your subwoofer by decoupling and isolating it from the floor. It helps your subwoofer to produce cleaner and tighter sounding bass. And it is also very effective in reducing rattling and vibrations in rooms.

It is one of the best soundproofing materials on the market and is well suited for hardwood floors, carpeted rooms, and any environment where vibration or rattling is obvious.

These isolation feet work with many subwoofer brands, provided they accept a screw-in. 

IsoAcoustics Iso-200Sub Subwoofer Isolation Stand

If you are looking for a robust subwoofer isolation stand that will last a lifetime and gets the job done, the IsoAcoustics Iso-200Sub Isolation Stand (Amazon) is definitely an option to consider.

This stand has a unique patented design tested multiple times to ensure the best isolation possible. Although it’s not 100% efficient (like any other isolation system out there), they do a great job by preventing any vibration from getting to your floor and possibly through your home.

Another feature worth mentioning is that this isolation stand has an adjustable height, and also, you can tilt them at the right angle that works for your listening position. 

One thing I should also mention is they are not recommended subwoofers that weigh above 75 lbs. So before you pick them up, do well to check your subwoofer’s weight.

Facmogu Stainless Steel Subwoofer Isolation Spikes

The Facmogu Stainless Steel Subwoofer Isolation Spikes (Amazon) is the option to go for if you decide to get Isolation Spikes.

These spikes have a weight capacity of 440 lbs which is more than enough for a subwoofer. All I will say about them is, they get the job done.

Something to note is, these spikes are attached to your subwoofer by an adhesive. And from many reviews, the adhesive of these isolation spikes is not strong enough. So you may have to use an adhesive like Gorilla Glue to make them stick on your subwoofer without falling off. 

Should I isolate My Subwoofer?

If you want to eliminate vibrations and resonance on your floor and other structures, you should definitely isolate your subwoofers. Isolating the subwoofers will also make them sound tight and punchy. 

Isolation won’t make much difference on a concrete floor. This is because concrete is quite sturdy and doesn’t vibrate in the same way that a suspended or wooden floor will. 

Concrete floors do vibrate. However, the vibration is not as noticeable as other materials like wood. Hence, it isn’t really necessary to decouple a subwoofer from a concrete floor.

However, a room with a suspended wooden floor will definitely benefit from isolation. This is because wood is relatively less inert than concrete and is also less thick than a concrete floor or pad. Also, there is no packed earth under the floor to help absorb vibrations.

On a suspended wooden floor, unwanted floor vibrations can potentially increase the low-frequency reverberation time in a room. This makes these low-bass frequencies sound boomier.

Due to this, suspended floors and wooden floors, in general, are easily excited by vibration. This is because a wooden floor that is suspended above or on an upper floor has only air.

Therefore, although can clean up the bass, isolation products are not crucial to use on concrete floors laid on top of the soil, only wooden floors. However, subwoofers can still vibrate concrete slabs and floors with or without isolation feet when the subwoofer is played extremely loud.

Conclusion

Subwoofer isolation is usually overlooked by many when it comes to sound installations. However, it is highly beneficial. Subwoofer isolation products help to isolate vibrations from your speaker from being transmitted to nearby structures and improve the overall quality of your sound.

If you live on the upper floors of an apartment or a duplex, you should consider acquiring an isolator if you own and use a subwoofer. It will help you enjoy your subwoofer in your apartment with little or no complaints, as well as reducing the sub’s interaction with your room drastically.