I’m a big fan when makers specialize in a key part of the studio experience than being a catch-all of sorts. There’s so many audio tweaks out on the market, it can muddle up what solutions will work for what you actually need.
Which is why I’m excited to share my experience checking out the IsoAcoustics ISO-PUCKS Series.
These pucks are cleverly designed isolation tools to eliminate the transfer of energy from your speakers to the surface of your workstation or desktop.
You invested in a pair of $2000 monitors. After blowing through your project budget, you opt-in for a less-than-ideal IKEA Desk that’s sturdy enough to make some moves. The moment you place your monitors on your desktop, you don’t realize that the desk on which the monitors are placed have in-adherently become a part of the speaker cabinet. This is due to the concept of forced vibration.
In short, the quality of your monitors have been compromised, as the vibrations from your system interacts with the surface of your desktop.
To decouple the lateral movements and oscillations coming from your speakers, IsoAcoustics have invented a simple, yet effective tool to help eliminate the transfer of energy from your speakers to your workstation.
IsoAcoustics have a diverse collection of acoustic isolation gear from stands to equipment feet. And the ISO-PUCKS are a more cost-efficient and clever approach to measurably reduce these vibrations and optimize your critical listening spaces.
The ISO-PUCK series come in three sizes in Mini, Standard, and a *brand-new* jumbo edition (ISO-PUCK 76).
The key differences between the three versions are mainly for weight distribution and the amount of pucks per package.
DESIGN & BUILD QUALITY
At first glance, the ISO-PUCKS are aesthetically pleasing and feel very sturdy. I personally adore when companies marry together their culture and craft to build products that have a bit of character – paying respects to their Canadian sensibilities & love of hockey.
Each of the three versions have similar design components with slight variations in material and build quality.
The recommended use is a minimum 3 pucks per speaker unit to securely hold any type of system to a desktop, floor, or stage. It’s incredibly easy to install and use – spacing each puck equidistant to the underside of your monitor and push down slightly from the top to “suction” the pieces together.
As described by IsoAcoustics – “the ISO-PUCK’s upper flange “suction cup” design adheres to the underside of the cabinet making the upper isolator live with the speaker, while the lower isolator adheres to the supporting surface. All the energy is managed within the core of the ISO-PUCK’s isolators which are carefully tuned to provide superior isolation and control while remaining on-axis.”
This aspect of managing the vibrations “live” tickled my curiosity a bit. With most music technology, you can only really unbox and install the gear without damaging the goods. However, I had some fun with these ISO-PUCKS with a fully-comprehensive teardown to see what you’re really getting here.
In terms of construction, the rubber isolation mechanism is enclosed within the top disc or “suction cup” and center aluminum ring that’s attached to the bottom disc. In the Mini, the aluminum is replaced with a red plastic ring, but the main mechanism is a scaled-down version consisting of the same rubber material.
Upon disassembling the ISO-PUCKS, I discovered a correlation between the decoupling component within the device and what you may find in standard industrial stud isolators used in construction – mainly for floorboards when building new foundations. If you’ve ever built a studio from scratch, you would see these stud isolators in action to isolate the “floating room” or floorboards from the main structure of the house in order to reduce sound transmissions.
It’s in these little details and decisions that I truly commend innovators such as IsoAcoustics for cross-pollinating practices from different industires to build adaptive solutions within the MI space. And making these pucks cute to boot!
In my own experience, the ISO-PUCKS were most effective in the mid-to-low frequencies.
Prior to the testing, I have my Yamaha HS5 Active Studio Monitors resting on some Auralex Acoustics styrofoam pads and a pair of speaker stands.
I loved the change up in terms of aesthetics, making my workstation area look more sleek and professional. Overall, I found a greater sense of definition and clarity of the stereo image, especially in the low-to-mid frequencies and bass dynamics. However, there may be a specific bandwidth in which the ISO-PUCKS are truly effecting the sound quality itself.
If you are keen to dive deeper into the science, here’s a great resource and experiment conducted by IsoAcoustics to pinpoint if these pucks are the right solution for you.
IS THIS RIGHT FOR YOU?
I can see these ISO-PUCKS in any kind of space – from a bedroom producer’s haven to a state-of-the-art recording studio. They are an elegant and simple solution if you’re in need of acoustic isolation, but I don’t think it’s a cure-all solution.
Though IsoAcoustics does a remarkable job at serving specialized needs, you still need the whole enchilada with a sturdy desktop and acoustic treatment or sound panels to optimize your critical listening space.
If you already have a solid speaker stand, then these ISO-PUCKS won’t really move the needle. It’s ideal for studio producers that primarily have their speakers on a desktop or workstation… and if this is you, I don’t miss a beat and check these puckers out. Here’s a link to a nifty calculator to get an exact read on what you need.
I also envision these ISO-PUCKS coming into play for more novelty purposes with on-the-road DJs or performers to throw 8 or so pucks into a bag or trusty tech toolkit – when live events are back for good (post-rona).
For me, the ISO-PUCKS are a great little addition to my studio monitors set up and the ISO-PUCK Minis have made a cozy home with my 80’s Technics turntable in my vinyl listening corner.
It’s all about the vibes man.