While today’s recording apparatus is getting cheaper by the minute, when it comes to outfitting your studio, knowing how to cut corners—and cut costs—is always an invaluable skill. Why incur expense when you can create something from scratch that’s significantly cheaper (and probably even better)?
As a subterranean studio dweller who’d rather build than buy, I’ve become accustomed to using inexpensive materials and what little construction ability I have in an effort to improve the quality of my workspace. For instance, a few years ago, I decided it was time to take down the Corona Light boxes and procure a proper set of stands for my Tannoy monitors. Unfortunately, most of the models I saw were either ridiculously expensive or looked like they’d crumble the second you turned up the volume. Around the same time, a friend of mine showed me the monitor stands he’d built from scratch for his own control room. They were very basic models made from pine and filled with sand for extra support, with a platform on top for the speakers. He too had experimented with store-bought stands, but his were “the best I’ve ever had.” Impressed, I made a beeline for the lumberyard, and days later, I had a suitable pair of homemade pedestals that have been in service ever since.
The following speaker-stand design (an amalgam of various blueprints) requires very little building know-how, and will cost you a fraction of what you’d expect to pay for store-bought stands (I built mine for all of $25). The stands can be custom-designed so that they hold the monitors exactly at ear level (which is crucial, since having improperly placed monitors can adversely affect your mixes). And because they are hollow, you can fill them with sand or other heavy material in order to keep them nice and solid.
Two 8-foot lengths of 1x12 white pine or oak
Two 8-foot lengths of 1x8 white pine or oak
Wood glue, wood screws
4 pieces of foam padding, approximately 1 foot square
Dry sand or gravel (optional)
Wood finish or stain (optional)
1. Start by measuring exactly how high you’ll want the monitors situated, as the stands aren’t adjustable (though if you’re off by a few inches, you could always add a shim or two). Mine measured about 37 inches from the floor to the platform, so that the tweeters are roughly at ear level. Also, when making your measurements, allow an inch or two for the foam padding that will sit atop the platform (to “decouple” the monitors from the floor).
2. For each stand, make a cylindrical column using the 1x8 for the front and rear of the stand, and the 1x12 for the sides.
3. Fashion a pair of 20” plates from the remaining 1x12, and attach to the base of each column.
4. Fill the columns to the top with coarse sand or gravel (optional, though recommended—the heavier the stands, the better the sound, theoretically).
5) Measure the bottom of your speakers, then cut a platform to match (using some of the scrap lumber) and fasten to the top of each stand.
6) Place the foam decoupling pads on top of the platform and under the plate to prevent vibrations from being transmitted through the floor.
7) Apply wood stain or paint (making sure to use a flat, not glossy, finish), or simply leave as-is, then mount the speakers and test for sturdiness.
8) Turn it up!