Cinder Block Speaker Stands bottom

Okay, I know what you’re saying. Cinder blocks as furniture are for starving students and heavy beer-drinking guys that never grew up. Well, I’m not going to argue with that. But with a little extra preparation, I think that you can make some pretty nifty, and very functional items for home: Let me present my cinder block speaker stands.

It all started when I needed some new speaker stands. In an effort to have your speakers produce sound as accurately as possible, it is important to place speakers on a good stand. I know most of you out there probably just stick your speakers on a desk, or shelf, and mostly likely the speaker is pushed all the way back against the wall. Well, let me tell you that this is NOT optimal. Speakers should be at least 1 foot away from the wall, and placed on sturdy structures that will not resonate with the speaker, which can color the sound. Large surfaces like desks or shelves are also not good for speaker placement, as the early reflections of the sound off that surface can cause uneven frequency response and comb-filtering effects (if you want me to go more in depth, just leave a comment).

Looking around on the internets, I was unable to find decent-looking speaker stands for a reasonable price. Most nice speaker stands run you several hundred dollars. If I had spent thousands on the speakers, maybe this would be a more reasonable option, as these examples tend to be well built and also quite attractive. However, the speakers I am using in my bedroom were purchased second hand for the mere price of $20 (nice speakers though)! Amazon has some nice looking stands for $30, but the reviews led me to believe that while it’s nice looking, the construction and materials are poor. In addition, its shipping weight of only 14 lbs (7 lbs a stand), convinced me that these stands were not heavy or sturdy enough to appease the inner audiophile in me. So I thought to myself, what’s cheap and heavy. Cinder Blocks!!! Went to the hardware store, and a few days later had some great speaker stands that are sturdy as a rock and didn’t cost me an arm and a leg! Not only do they provide a nice stable base for the speakers, but the holes in the cinder blocks are perfect for storing CDs!!

The cinder block style isn’t for everyone, but with your paint color of choice, I think these stands would fit in in a lot of situations: from more urban apartments, to people that just like quirky furniture. I personally love how they look.

My final speaker stands are quite easy to build, here’s what you need to do if you’d like a pair of your own.

First you need the following:

  • 4 cinder blocks (~$2 per block)
  • 2 wooden disks (~$7 each for a 17″ diameter disk, but if you’ve got extra wood around, you can make your own)
  • 1 tube of epoxy (~$5, I used the 2 ton holding strength variety)
  • sealer-primer suitable for use on concrete (~$9)
  • Paint ($depends, I grabbed this awesome mint green from the mis-mixed rejects bin for $4)
  • Optional: Speaker Spikes ( ~$8/set, I used this to make sure these puppies were firmly planted, and also to prevent my carpet from being permanently imprinted)

I’m pretty sure you can figure out what to do from here, but in case you need directions:

  1. Glue blocks and wooden base together. If you glue it like it stands (wooden base on bottom), you wont need any clamps since the weight of the cinder blocks will be enough to hold it while the epoxy sets.
  2. Optional: Drill holes for speaker spikes. I only used three spikes per stand in a triangle pattern. If you got the ones I linked to in the parts list, then you’ll need a 1/2″ drill bit and drill to make the appropriate holes. You’ll want to drill nice and slow to make sure not to mess up the plywood too bad. I actually did this step last, but it ended up ripping up some of the wood, and i had to repaint it, hence my suggestion to drill before painting
  3. Apply primer. Get in all the nooks and crannies. Then wait for it to dry (it tells you how long to wait on the can that the primer came in). If you drilled holes for the speaker spikes, try to keep the primer out of these holes.
  4. Apply paint. If you drilled holes for the speaker spikes, try to keep the paint out of these holes.
  5. Optional: if you are using speaker spikes. Go ahead and install these now. If you got the ones I linked, you’ll need a 10mm allen wrench to install the insert. Then the spikes thread into the insert.

All done! As a final touch, i used some plumber’s putty between the speakers and the stands to provide a damping couple between the speakers and the stands.

If you end up building a pair, shoot me an email with the results!

Here are some more pics of my new setup :)

Cinder Block Speaker Stand Room
Cinder Block Speaker Stand Top

 

18 Comments for this post

Cinder block speaker stands…

Santi writes in with these surprisingly nice cinder block speakers – Okay, I know what you’re saying. Cinder blocks as furniture are for starving students and heavy beer-drinking guys that never grew up. Well, I’m not going to argue……

OK, that’s all nice and I’m sure you are correct with regards of needing sturdy stands and a foot away from the wall and don’t place them on a shelf or a desk, BUT – with $20 speakers, does it really matter?

Indeed maybe a bit overkill for the speakers… but I got them USED for $20. They originally carried an MSRP of $400 for the pair (Mix Magazine review of the M-Audio Studiophile SP-5B). But whether you have $5 speakers, or $5000 speakers, a good pair of stands and proper placement can make any speaker sound better (or rather more true, better is subjective).

This was a really cool idea Santi. “MAKE:Blog” led me to this site, I will definitely bookmark it, if this is what you guys are about.

I don’t really have the room for speaker stands at the moment, so my speakers are hanging all at the same level in the suggested 5.1 style of doing it. But, believe you me, if I decide to switch to stands, I’ll use your clever idea! Only thing I didn’t understand is those speaker spikes. That spike goes into your floor? I don’t understand what that is for.

awesome. the monkey coordinates well with the speaker stands.

Great solution, though I fit most of your description of cinder block users myself, I’m also a little more advanced in electronics and audio. Since you are using more than 1 block you could add a thin layer of something that absorbs vibration between them, as well as between the speaker and the block it rests on, to get the most from both mass and decoupling; or bond the whole thing together from top to floor for more bass transfer. Audiophile DIY may think of sorbothane, cork, rubber, caulk, or even 3 Superballs. Of course real audiophiles will probably pour their own blocks from a proprietary blend of cement that they’ll debate the merits of theirs over other’s or “stock” cinder blocks until the end of time ;)Anyway, good to go as is (congrats) and room for future tweaks – great project!

Also, how about full-size pictures next time ya’ll do a DIY project, with picture instructions like on Instructables? That would be helpful.

Thanks for the feedback guys! I’m always working on ton’s of little projects, so if people like hearing about them, i’ll continue to post them up.
 
Matthew, the spike in installed onto the base with the spikey part facing the floor. What is does is pierce the carpet, so that the stand can make solid contact with the solid floor underneath. You can get into a huge argument of whether or not solid coupling, or lossy coupling is better, but my main motivation for the spikes was so that the weight of the cinder blocks didn’t have to sit on the carpet, which would no doubt result in a permanent impression.
 
As for step-by-step pictures. I thought this one was so easy, that it didn’t need them (and to be honest I didn’t bother taking pictures when i was making them, as I wasn’t expecting them to end up nice looking). I’ll keep that in mind for future DIY’s though, as this was my first one :)
 
Brain, I like your ideas for tweaks! I’m using three balls of plummers putty in between the speakers and top of the cinder blocks right now in a attempt to get some vibration damping. I think i may experiment with mouse pads, or maybe even throw down the $40 for a set of MoPads

they look great! they remind me to day of the tentacle game!

[...] in shelves inside the blocks. Maybe cinder blocks aren’t just for college dorms any more. DIY: cinder block speaker stands [Velvetron via [...]

maybe i missed it, but how much does each stack weigh?

cz, I don’t have a scale. But I’d say they are a good 50-60 lbs per stand. Not fun to move around… but that’s the point!

What about resonance from the holes in the blocks? I’m sure it’s not a ton, but having holes in speaker stands seems like a problem. I’ve never seen a speaker stand with holes in it. After all, sound likes holes — look at most instruments….

No shot! These look quite dangerous if you have little kids around the house.

[...] nei college del mondo reale è la libreria fatta con le bozze di cemento. Questo progetto di Velvetron stravolge in parte quello stereotipo utilizzando invece delle bozze e della tinta verde acido per [...]

Uh, how does it sound? Cinder blocks directly coupled to the speaker are a low frequency shunt – sucks all the bass out. Your ear is tuned to hear the leading edge of all sounds. All real sounds start at zero freq. Yes, even high C on a violin. It just gets to the high fundamental very quickly. This means that your cinder blocks will make listening to recorded real instruments and voice less enjoyable. So, tell me, how does it sound? Have you tried listening with and without blocks? – curious.

really good article…

I have spent a bit of time going through your posts, more than I should have but I must say, http://fusenetwork.org/blogs/entry/Mother-Conjugal-dresses, many Thanks….

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