I was setting up a home theater in a rental house towards the end of 2021, when I encountered an issue with my three subwoofers. The sound produced by the subs was rattling the walls and projecting to the level above the theater. The bass notes could be heard throughout the entire house. Determined to find a solution, I began to investigate the root cause of the issue and realized that many people were decoupling their speakers and subs from the floor to alleviate the issue. Initially skeptical, I explored the physics and theory behind separating your speakers from the floor.
That’s when I came across the SVS SoundPath Isolation System, which is supposed to help isolate subwoofers or speakers from the floor. This product is designed to enhance the overall sound quality and minimize the transfer of vibrations to the room. Because of the high ratings and affordability, I decided to give it a try. In this review, I will provide an overview of the product and my verdict on its effectiveness.
The SVS SoundPath Isolation System is a set of four elastomer feet that are placed under the subwoofer or speaker. These feet have a unique shape and are made from a proprietary material that is designed to reduce vibration and absorb energy. The top of the feet are made out of gloss painted steel, with a hole down the center for a bolt to be passed through for mounting them to the subwoofer. The 4 pack cost $49 USD and the 6 pack cost $69 USD.
What’s in the Box
- 4 or 6 elastomer feet with steel outer shell
- Four M6 x 20mm bolts
- Four M8 x 20mm bolts
- Four 1/4″-20 x 20mm bolts
- Instruction card
The packaging was thoughtfully designed, with each of the feet having its own cut-out in foam, and all the bolts were labeled and included in separate bags. I appreciated the variety of bolt types included, ensuring compatibility with most subwoofers.
However, it’s worth noting that there may be different box configurations, so box layouts may vary.
Installation of the SVS SoundPath Isolation System was a breeze. To start, I carefully placed my subwoofers on the carpet and turned them on their side. Next, I removed the stock feet by unscrewing them and found the appropriate bolts that came with the isolation feet. I used these bolts to screw in the new SVS feet, and then placed the subwoofers back into their original position. The whole process took less than five minutes, and I liked how easy and straightforward it was. The process can be done by anyone with little to no experience.
Placing subwoofers on any type of floor allows some of the sound to be transferred into the floor or subfloor, and the type of material can affect how much of the sound is transferred. If the floor or subfloor is made of a rigid material like concrete, the vibrations will be dampened quickly and won’t travel far. However, if the subfloor is made of a less rigid material like wood, the vibrations will travel into the floor, furniture, and walls, which can lead to a number of issues.
One issue is that less of the energy produced by the subwoofer is transferred into the air, meaning less of it is used to pressurize the room. Additionally, there is more energy that’s transferred into adjacent rooms, which can be annoying for neighbors, spouses, or roommates. The floor, furniture, and walls can also vibrate, which can be distracting and interfere with the direct sound. To mitigate these issues, it’s important to use speaker decoupling methods such as placing the subwoofers on isolation platforms or using specialized feet that absorb vibrations.
After having installed the feet, I noticed a reduction in the amount of wall vibrations, particularly at the resonant frequency of my room around 24Hz, indicating that the decoupling was effective at isolating the subs from the room. This was the main reason I bought the feet and they were effective at allowing my subs to play at higher volumes before exciting the room. I also noticed when walking around my house that the bass was not as loud in other rooms which bothers others less when I want to crank an action movie to level 11.
Even though I was able to measure a 1-2dB boost in SPL when I first bought them in 2021, I was unable to reproduce this as I was preparing to write this article. It is possible that the difference is due to changes in the room layout, the presence of additional room treatments, or that I did not disable all room correction software during testing. I am not upset over this because this was not my reason for buying the feet, this was just a bonus.
Overall, the SVS SoundPath Isolation System is recommended for those looking to improve their sound quality and keep the bass contained in their theater. Keep in mind that results may vary depending on the room layout and construction materials used. Nevertheless, the simplicity and low cost of the addition makes it worth giving a try.
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