Imagine if you will a 100cm measuring tape. Back when we all first started recording on our beloved 4-track tape machines, we were at the first couple of centimetres on our route to recording studio perfection. As our experience and ability grew and our gear got better we moved up past the 50cm mark to where we are now. On my journey, I would like to think I'm somewhere around 85 to 90cm along that 100cm tape. My gear is great, I like to think I know what I'm doing, but to get me that last 10cm to the magic 100 is a major step. The first is, of course, the space we record or mix in. This is by far the biggest hurdle to clear before we get to the studio of our dreams but there are often lots of little things that we can invest in to push our sound slowly but surely towards that magic meter. At Musik Messe this year (2017) I found one in the form of the DMSD 60 speaker decouplers.
What Does The DSMD 60 Do?
It is a well known acoustic concept that decoupling your speakers/monitors from the thing they are standing on (stands, desk or meter bridge) is the best way to get the very best out of said speakers. As much of the acoustic energy as possible is converted into sound waves and not into vibrations in your studio furniture. The DMSD 60 system does just that. These 8 little devices, four under each speaker, separate/decouple the speakers from what they are sitting on and the speakers sound better.
The DSMD 60 was designed by Italian studio designer Dave Mastrodonato who is responsible for some amazing studios all over the world. Using high-quality aerospace grade materials the I believe that the DMSD 60 is one of the best and most effective speaker decoupling systems available today.
Installation & Testing
The DMSD 60 and their little brother the DSMD 50 were everywhere in the Pro Audio hall at Musik Messe in Frankfurt this year. On their booth, DMSD had a very simple test. Two pairs of Amphion One18 and BaseOne25 speakers. One pair had the One18 sat directly on top of the BaseOne25 and the other pair had the tops and subs decoupled through the DMSD60s. I could then switch between the two sets of speakers and say which one I liked best. Night and day, chalk and cheese, OMG. I think I ran out of cheesy ways to express the difference. The decoupled version had a better stereo image the sound field was wider, there was more focus and clarity to the sound. It was like I was switching between two different sets of speakers.
Once I had persuaded Dave to let me borrow a set for review I tried the DMSDs under both my Facal Twin6 BE monitors which had been mounted on a pair of IsoAcoustics ISO-L8R430 Studio Monitor Isolators and my newly "borrowed" Dynaudio LYD48 speakers.
There are no real rules where to put the DMSD so I went for about 2cm in from the edge of each and 2-3cm in from the front and back. I am told (so it says on the DMSD FaceBook page)
The unique design significantly reduces the energy transmitted by speaker cabinets, thus dramatically improving low-end tightness as well as accurate stereo image.
Well, I would have to agree. With my Trinnov room correction system, which runs my Focal Twin6 BE's and my sub, in bypass, the image was really very good. The bass still felt tight and accurate and not "flabby". When I re-calibrated the room with the DMSD decouplers in place it was as if I had a new room. There it is again, the OMG effect. These things work. The Twin6 BE is not the cheapest monitor on the market but nor is it the most expensive. My list of "rig tester" tracks sounded amazing. The stereo picture was amazing. Yes, the Trinnov was helping but the DMSD 60s were taking the sound quality and my experience to another level. You really have to hear these things to believe it.
With the Dynaudio LYD48s, the effect was even more pronounced. With the speakers just sitting on the meter bridge of the console I was losing a lot of bottom end. When I put the LYDs on the DMSDs they sounded tight and punchy and had a lovely top end air to them.
The Cost For All This Audio Delight
So as I said in my little story earlier, getting the last 10 to 15cm of the way to studio perfection is going to take some serious cash. The DMSD 60 ship as a set of 8 (4 under each speaker or monitor) and are available in several different colour options and they cost a smidge under £600. Now yes, that is a lot of money but the IsoAcoustics mounts I was using are over £100 each and they don't make the speakers sound a fraction as good as the DMSDs do.
If you want to improve your £1000 monitors try a set of DMSD 60s and hear the potential investment for yourself. If you have some serious money invested in your speakers, what are you doing? Get a set of DMSDs NOW. It will be the best investment for your investment you have ever made. Does it sound like I was impressed yet?
You can find out more about these amazing decouplers at the DMSD website.