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'Mass loading' loudspeakers.

My Ruark Prologue One's have the facility to be mass loaded, something which I've never tried. I don't have any specific problem with their sound that I'm trying to address, but in all the years of owning these 'speakers it's never really occurred to me to wonder what effect mass loading them might have. Certainly I've always thought that they could benefit in the (physical) stability department from a little extra weight but I don't know what effect there could be on the sound.

So before I just "suck it and see" I thought I'd canvas for opinions. Any thoughts or experiences to share?

The rest of the system is Project Xperience turntable/Ortofon Rondo Red, Trichord Dino/Dino+, Linn Karik + Numerik, Linn Kudos, Linn Wakonda + 2 x LK100 (speakers bi-amped). VDH interconnects, Nordost speaker cable.

Thanks...A
 

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Re: 'Mass loading' loudspeakers.

I've got Prologue two's,when first bought, I thought they lacked some bass weight in my room, initially I mass loaded them with 1/2 bucket of Atacama Atabites each. Going by memory, this improved the bass response really well with no real negative effects on the rest of the sound spectrum. I then decided to move to a full bucket in each speaker, this tightened the sound up, however it also made it feel to me as if it has lost some of its speed and attack. Unfortunately as yet I have not worked out the safest way to get the atabites back out, assume I have to tip the speaker up and they will pour back through the hole. I am happy with the sound, though, I am inclined to think that maybe 3/4 of a bucket was actually the best compromise.

Rest of system, Linn Ikemi, Rega P2, MF Tuner, Linn Kolektor, Linn LK140, Linn LK85 (speakers bi-amped), Kimber and Atlas interconnects, Linn K400 speaker cable.

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Re: 'Mass loading' loudspeakers.

I did try mass loading with the Talisman 2 (few years back now) and I thought bass become slower! I found the Rurak produced more bass with 8 inches from the back wall....not sure would that also work with the prologue!

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Re: 'Mass loading' loudspeakers.

user="fr0g" wrote:
Try putting a couple of bricks on top first... :)

He just want more bass, not building a flat in the living room Smile

Anonymous
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Re: 'Mass loading' loudspeakers.

Thanks everyone.

Perhaps I could ask the question a slightly different way as well. What's the idea behind mass-loading? What should I expect to happen to the sound as mass is increased? My initial thought was that if I could increase the speaker's stability a tad, then I would possibly get a crisper sound? I assume, though, that I could take it too far and deaden the speakers if I add too much?

I wasn't really expecting to have a change in bass characteristic as described above - is that a usual effect of mass loading?

Don't really want bricks hanging around in the same room as my young kids Smile
 

 

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Re: 'Mass loading' loudspeakers.

Hi,
In my experience adding mass to a speakers does a few things. It adds stability and helps to damp the cabinet. The sonic effect is usually a cleaner sound with increased bass weight. However, go too far and the low frequencies become heavy-handed and lose agility. The sound will seem slower and stodgier.
As for bricks: I suggest they work best in a wall.

Anonymous
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Re: 'Mass loading' loudspeakers.

Thanks. I guess I'll give it a go with Atabites and see how I get on.

What about the use of granite platforms to stand one's speakers on? Any opinions on that option?
 

Anonymous
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Re: 'Mass loading' loudspeakers.

Granite slabs will work with your speaker stand spikes to better isolate your speakers from everything else.

Mass loading increases the .... mass of your speakers. The amount your speakers vibrate (which you don't want) is proportional to how hard the cone is throwing backwards and forwards, but it is also inversly proportional to their mass. Doesn't matter how ehavy your speakers are the same amount of vibrational energy will be put into them. But if you speakers are heavier it requires more vibrational energy from the same vibrational velocity. So mass loading reduces cabinet vibrations and aids stability.

The drawback of massloading any old speaker is that the enclosure you're putting your sand/whatever into is almost certainly a tuned enclosure - unless it's a specific mass load chamber or something designed for mass loading. Adjusting the air volume inside a tuned enclosure will adjust its tuning. Also, less ar inside means your reflex ports have to do more work as the pressure differentials created by cone movements will become greater. A reduction in air volume would also change what standing waves are able to form inside the cabinet - you have the height of a box and you double the minimum frequency of a standing wave that could be set up in it. So you may circumvent the designers steps to prvent standing wave development.

Maybe all that sounds discouraging, but I'd say, done right, the drawbacks will be far outweighed by the extra bass control and depth. So I'd say do it, but don't do it too much. Try it bit by bit and a brick on the top of your speakers could instead be some kind of lead/steel block or granite...

Anonymous
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Re: 'Mass loading' loudspeakers.

 Well the Ruarks are specifically designed to be mass loaded and do indeed appear to have a chamber for that purpose.

 
I'll give it a shot - thanks everyone! 

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Re: 'Mass loading' loudspeakers.

user="fr0g" wrote:
I nicked the bricks idea from What Hi-Fi by the way ! ;)

I vaguely remember it, I think that you were supposed to wrap it in felt or something like that. Cannot find it yet though, have found the one about sticking a copy of Harry Potter on top of your CD player- apparently it works like magic!

Anonymous
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Re: 'Mass loading' loudspeakers.

I remember seeing somewhere a foam brick you could throw at your TV, if it hit the screen it turned the TV off via some remote trickery.

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Re: 'Mass loading' loudspeakers.

user="fr0g" wrote:
I nicked the bricks idea from What Hi-Fi by the way ! ;)

I know and I was joking about building a flat Smile

but honestly bricks make no different...(sorry Andy!)

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