In today’s article, we bring you the top 10 best monitor isolation pads to improve your sound.
Have you just purchased some new monitors for your studio, but feel like your recordings aren’t sounding as they ought to? The sound is distorted, unbalanced and blurred. The high frequencies are obscured, and you aren’t getting an accurate bass response…
You shouldn’t always blame your speakers or monitors.
With your studio monitors or speakers in direct contact with your desk, vibrations from your speakers that go into the desk may result in the desk becoming a pseudo-speaker.
This simply means that apart from the sound that comes directly from your speaker, vibration from the desk which mixes with it, causing distortions.
The end result depends on the kind of pads you buy, but note that you may be facing more than desk resonance issues.
Here are our picks for the 10 Best Studio Monitor Isolation Pads:
1. Best Seller: MoPAD Monitor Isolation Pads By Auralex Acoustics
Auralex Acoustics, an award-winning Company, leads the acoustic treatment products industry. Their best-selling product in this category has always been the MoPAD Monitor isolator.
Made of durable foams, MoPADs are manufactured in pairs. There are four angling wedge pieces and four base pieces in each pair.
From the way they’re designed, they can be used to support all sizes of recording monitors and loudspeakers (including horizontal speakers) that each weighs up to 100 lbs.
Many companies produce clones of this product, with different foam thickness and angles. But Auralex is the unique brand that gives you a superior kind of solution.
- Its five positioning options make it workable. You can tilt the speakers backward or forward to get a perfect listening angle.
- They can be used to reduce vibrations which degrade the performances of sophisticated electronics.
- They offer cleaner, clearer, and more articulate sound.
- Produces a more precise and tighter bass response, and unmasks obscured higher frequencies.
- The isolated pads decouple loudspeakers to prevent coloration and sonic resonance.
- Sometimes, they can be a bit unstable with big monitors unless 2 pads are placed on them.
- Initially, you might find it tough to fix the Wedge Adjuster perfectly, but as soon as you get the perfect angle and position, you’ll be happy to have taken some time on it.
2. Premium Version: Auralex ProPAD
They are made of 3-layered foam construction. Also, a trademarked ISO-Plate is included on its top, and a Melamine-covered MDF base serves the purpose of increasing acoustic isolation and preventing slippage.
- They offer superior sonic isolation from loudspeakers vibrations and vibrations from the surface they rest on.
- The foam wedge is moved to the bottom which makes it possible to tilt upward, without a need to reverse the pads awkwardly, as is done with MoPADs.
- ProPADs offer fine midrange resolution and a deeper soundstage.
- Although the sound is improved, they are quite costly.
- For the price, it ought to be a bit wider. The ProPAD-XL versions (19” x 13” x 3”) cost double!
3. Best Stabilizer: Primacoustic RX7 Recoil Stabilizer – 10 Degree Up Fire
This Primacoustic RX7 Recoil Stabilizer is a platform for loudspeakers which is different from the ‘common’ foam pads.
Made from high density urethane, the base of the Primacoustic RX7 makes it different from other pads. The synthetic crystalline substance used in manufacturing the RX7 helps to detach the loudspeaker from platforms such as shelves, monitor bridges and other kinds of monitor stands. To help keep the monitor in place, it features a thin neoprene surface top and a heavy 4-inch steel plate.
The steel plate stabilizes the speaker as it rests on a foam-base.
This version features a 10-degree Up Fire that offers an ideal listening angle. The speaker coil moves energy forward, thus preventing the initial transient from suffering lag and the resulting impulse is sharper.
The imaging and transient response are improved, and this increases the accuracy of the bass response.
- The surface (non-slip) ensures that your studio monitors are stable.
- They are designed to last.
- 10-degree Up Fire for better listening angle.
- They’re quite costly (sold per unit).
4. Best Choice: KING DO WAY Two 5” Quality Monitor Isolator Pads
A King Do Way iso pad is made of top-quality elastic cotton materials and high-density foam that is shock-resistant.
The pads reduce unwanted protrusion that tends to mix with original sound. Also, King Do Way pads can effectively control echo sounds and unwanted reverb. They are as effective as other costlier brands.
While they are primarily designed to match 5-inch Studio Monitors, they’re also available for 8-inch monitors.
- Good isolation and more precise sound
- Minimal tilt.
5. Best Deal: Adam Hall SPADECO2 Studio Monitor Isolation Pads
These pads are great at sound improvement as they feature high-density acoustic foam which will prevent unwanted resonances with the surface they stand on.
They are wide enough to cover big monitors and can easily handle the weight.
- They’re not as expensive as Auralex isolation pads, and they’re good alternatives if you don’t have much to spend.
- There’s only a single unit for each loudspeaker.
- Unlike MoPADs, they do not have a variety of positioning options.
6. Most Affordable: LyxPro MNS-4
Regarding isolation, LyxPro MNS-4 iso pads perform a great job on any hard surface.
These isolation pads improve the accuracy of the whole monitoring system and eliminate irrelevant vibration thus improving bass sound accuracy.
- Tilted wedges for better listening angle.
- The segments come in sizes and colors that differ slightly.
7. Most Adjustable: MoFo Rizers
The MoFo Rizers package contains a pair of Monitor Focusing Rizers. They’re higher and larger than most available foam pads (12” x 15” x 4”). The package also contains a pair of black tiles (self-adhesive) to be placed on the Rizer decks for stabilizing your loudspeakers.
A feature that gives them an edge is that they’re adjustable. They can angle your monitors in whichever angle configuration you want.
MoFo Rizers can bring the monitor speakers to ear level. This is an all-inclusive cheap alternative to purchasing speaker pads and stand all together.
These produce a better mid-range definition, and they produce tighter bass and more defined sounds as well. They equally aid in improving the overall soundstage and imaging.
- They bring your monitor up to ear level, which means you may not necessarily need a speaker stand.
- They’re quite big for standard 8-inch studio monitors, and they take much space on a desk. They aren’t defined for monitor stands.
8. Cheapest: Pyle PSi03 Recoil Stabilizer Speaker Risers
The Pyle PSi03 Recoil Stabilizer Risers isolation pads are a great choice for those with a maximum budget of $20.
The bases of the platform are reversible for creating downward and upward firing audio effects.
The Risers are efficient at eliminating reversibility and unwanted resonance levels. They detach vibrations and irrelevant noise which confuse the ear.
- They can adapt to different subwoofers and speakers. The wedges are properly cut without any color variation.
- For more adjustability, an extra wedge could be added.
9. Smallest Sized Pads: Studio Solutions High-Density Studio Monitor Isolation Pads Pair (5” Monitors)
These high-density studio monitor isolation pads have similar features to other brands. They’re cheaper than Auralex MoPads.
The major difference is that at 7.4” x 11” x 1.5”, they are smaller than other monitor isolation pads available which might be a reason for their low price.
They’re designed to fit 5-inch Studio Monitors but will not be wide enough for 8-inch monitors.
The wedge is cut out for five different angle configurations that allow for more appropriate angling of the drivers.
- Availability of flexible spacing and configuration for double speakers
- They are not large enough for 8-inch monitors.
10. Sleekest: RightChoice XL-Pro
This is a great choice for people who are looking to buy cheap monitor isolation pads with a modest profile design.
Each package comes in a pair of two high-density foam pads, allowing for multiple configurations such as flat, tilt down, and tilt up positions.
Their 6” x 9” sizes are designed to support small speakers.
- Good for small 3-inch or 4-inch monitors.
- No logo in its front, which many people appreciate.
- Pads are properly cut.
- The letters ‘XL’ in the name is misleading, as they are not large enough to suit 8-inch monitors.
Why Use Monitor Isolation Pads (ISO Pads)?
If your loudspeakers haven’t been properly isolated from the surface that supports them, then you need a Monitor Isolation Pad (iso pad).
As we already mentioned, speakers produce resonant energy and vibrations. ISO pads provide a separation between the speaker and the surface it’s on as well as absorb all the vibrations that would otherwise cause distortion. If they’re not well isolated, the vibrations can be transmitted into the monitor stand or desk, and degrade the quality of your sound.
Studio Monitor Isolation Pads or iso pads can help to prevent this from occurring. They improve your sound by isolating the speakers from the supporting surface.
They are very useful for preventing sonic artifacts, decoupling monitors and reducing structural vibrations.
Also, they have an impact on low and high frequencies, and as such, the monitors will produce a more accurate bass response which is well appreciated by most sound engineers and electronic music producers.
So to get the perfect sound, you should consider getting some studio Monitor Isolation Pads.
Things To Consider When Shopping For Isolation Pads
1. Floor Stands, Desktop Stands Or Pads
In most cases, getting a pair of the best speaker isolation stands or a bookshelf speaker isolation stand is often a daunting task.
But, if you do not want to take that route for some reason, or do not have enough room for that, you can consider getting some desk stands or desk pads.
However, even if you go for a desk stand, depending on what you buy, you might also need to purchase some iso pads for them. Some desk stands cannot handle cushion vibrations.
The decision between going for desk stands and buying some pads will depend ultimately on the required height for your monitors.
If they need to be raised much more than pads can do, then stands may be the ultimate solution.
If the monitors do not require much height covering, it would be enough to consider some low-profile pads.
2. Supported Weight And Surface Size
As far as bookshelf speaker isolation is concerned, weight and size are very important. If the iso pads cannot support the speaker’s weight and size, it will result in the same issue.
If you’re able to get the perfect size of pads for your monitors, they should be just fine once you have the perfect weight support.
You should take base measurements of the studio monitors if required, and be sure to buy stands or pads that suit the dimensions.
3. Isolation Foam Pads Foam Quality
Most ISO pads or isolation foam pads are made with foam, which you might already know.
Although isolation foam pads may look alike, there are differences between them.
You may find numerous pads that look very similar but are sold at very different prices.
One of the reasons for this difference is the brand, and another reason is the production material used.
Also, some pads that look like they are made of foam might really have more than just foam.
So, it is worth taking a better look at the pads before forming an opinion about pricing.
Types of Monitor Isolation Pads?
Most people don’t know that there are actually three types of isolation pads for monitors. Each type of monitor isolation pad has a different form factor, and provide decoupling in a different way. Here are the types:
- Foam Pads
- Isolation Stands
- Decoupling Cones
Each of these different types of isolation pads makes use of either absorption or decoupling to isolate the monitor from the surface it’s on. Absorption as its name suggests absorbs the excess vibrations while decoupling pads prevent the vibrations from passing on to the surface.
Foam uses absorption while decoupling cones decouple as its name suggests while isolation stands use a mixture of both methods.
There you have it, the best speaker isolation stands on the market. It is essential to decouple studio monitors from its supporting surface in every monitoring system. Many bookshelf speakers, especially vintage bookshelf speakers don’t isolate sound well.
Fortunately, there are solutions to suit most budgets and situations. So, if you’re looking to improve the sound from your monitors, here’s a good way to do that. There are not many variations between them, but there are also a few unique options. Of course, there are many other options available on the market to choose from, but we consider these to be the best Studio Monitor Isolation Pads.