- Learn how speaker isolation pads work, how they’re constructed & which ones you need
- Check out some of the best monitor isolation pads available today
- Also, check out our guide to the best acoustic foam panels
Monitor isolation pads might be the last recording studio accessory a music producer thinks of, but they are one of the most underrated features in a well-equipped, modern recording studio.
In this article, we’ll look at what isolation pads actually do, then review the best options on the market in 2022.
(If you’re in the market for new studio monitors, check out some options in 7 Best Studio Monitors Under $1000 For Music Production)
Why Are Isolation Pads So Important?
There are four main areas where using acoustic isolation pads can help your sound.
These include: transients, bass response, stereo imaging, and phase relationship.
Every audio engineer knows how hard it can be to get the low-end frequencies right. If your monitors sit on a flat surface, like simple monitor stands or a table or desk they’re subject to what’s called coupling.
This affects the bass response by creating unwanted resonant frequencies in the low end. Acoustic isolation pads “decouple” the monitors from the desk surface they sit on and absorb vibration to minimize or eliminate this problem.
So essentially, isolation pads reduce the recoil caused by the forward motion of the speakers and give you a more accurate representation of the sound that is actually coming from them.
What Are The 7 Best Monitor Speaker Isolation Pads in 2022?
Here I’ve gathered together seven of the best monitor isolation pads you can buy in 2022.
- Auralex ProPad XL (Our Pick)
- Primacoustic RX17
- Primacoustic RX12
- Ultimate Support MS80B
- Auralex ProPad
- Ultimate Acoustics Ultimate Isolator
- Gator Frameworks GFW ISOPAD
1. Auralex ProPad XL
Based off of the best-selling MoPADs, the ProPAD XL uses an MDF base covered with ISO-plate to isolate your speakers.
- Excellent quality
Auralex is at the top of the heap when it comes to sound treatment products. Almost every professional studio I’ve ever been in used their products in some capacity.
Besides the overwhelming quality, perhaps the most appealing thing about the ProPad XL is that they let you position your monitors to your exact needs.
Sometimes control rooms can be on the smaller side. This feature makes installation easier than having to rearrange more of your gear than you have to. They’re also slip-resistant so you don’t have to be shy about using a larger tilt angle.
At the dimensions of 13”x19”x2.125”, they are designed for larger, professional-grade monitors. They might be pricey, but at least you get them as a pair.
2. Primacoustic RX17
This flat monitor pad eliminates resonant coupling from your nearfield speaker to the stand, giving you the most accurate sound possible from your monitor.
- Rugged design
- Solid load handling
- Can accommodate bigger monitors
Let’s make something very clear – rugged is an understatement for the RX17.
They’re incredibly stable thanks to anti-recoil technology and can handle a crazy load limit of 50lbs. Given this, they’re meant to bear larger professional monitors.
At 17”x17” dimensions, there are really no near-field monitors they can’t support. Multiple levels of construction mean there is a steel plate between layers of isolation foam on either side.
The base is made of urethane foam. A neoprene top also provides the perfect amount of non-slip cushion.
They’re great for certain needs, but the flat design might not work in every studio.
3. Primacoustic RX12
The Primacoustic RX12 Recoil Stabilizer flat monitor pad eliminates resonant coupling from the nearfield speaker to the stand, giving you the most accurate sound possible from your monitor.
- Works with most sizes of monitors
- Anti-recoil design
Primacoustic’s RX12 bills itself not as isolation pads, but as recoil stabilizers.
This means they provide cushioning and frequency adaptation as the speaker moves.
They’re designed for a horizontal fire, so if you like your monitors to be situated vertically these might not be a perfect choice for you.
This set of high-density foam pads is tailor-designed for nearfield monitors (as most are on this list).
It’s built on three principles. High-density foam decouples the monitor from its surface, a steel plate provides stabilization, and surface traction keeps the monitors in place.
These absorb vibration, focus the stereo image, and low end that is so hard to tame. It also improves the transient response.
They have a horizontal fire angle but can be adjusted up or down depending on your needs.
The RX12s are constructed with a three-tier design that includes the urethane foam base that provides the actual isolation, a thin steel plate, and a top made of neoprene.
They have an impressive 88lb load limit and will provide increased punchiness and bass response that extends further than without them.
You’ll notice greater detail in all frequencies, better transient response, and better depth in the sound.
4. Ultimate Support MS-80B
The MS-80 desktop monitor stands from Ultimate Support are the ideal way to transform your desktop workspace into a real-deal monitoring environment.
- Unique look
The sweet spot in your space isn’t far away with this adjustable pair.
The MS-80B has a sleek, modern look that sets it apart from some of the other players on this list.
High-density acoustic foam provides the ideal amount of isolation, whilst a non-slip design and front-end lip keep your monitors safe at any angle ranging from up to 3”.
The dimensions of 11.75”x10.25” accommodate many different sizes of monitors without being too obtrusive. But don’t let their streamlined look fool you – they can handle up to 75lbs.
5. Auralex ProPad
Based on the best-selling MoPADs, the ProPAD uses an MDF base covered with ISO-plate to isolate your speakers.
- Great decoupling and isolation
- Comes with unbeatable Auralex quality
Simply put, Auralex makes some of the best speaker isolation pads. Their products aren’t cheap, but the quality and durability certainly make up for it.
The way the decoupling design of the ProPad speaker feet works is through an MDF base with an isolation plate on top.
They sit at a fixed angle and are not adjustable. This means that depending on how your setup is situated, you might have to rearrange some things in order to get your monitoring position proper.
The base here is smaller at 13”x8”, which is still solid dimensions for most models of monitors. And the slip-resistant technology Auralex designs means they aren’t going anywhere.
6. Ultimate Acoustics Ultimate Isolator
These dense foam pads decouple your monitor speakers from the surface they're on, which improves accuracy and stereo imaging.
- Dual bases allow for more customization
- Improves low-frequency response
- Allows you to mix with confidence
No matter what setup you’re working with, these are some of the best monitor isolation pads if you’re looking for flexibility.
Instead of a larger base like many of the selections on this list, this pair is unique in that there are two smaller bases that support each monitor.
This is great in that you can customize them to whatever width your monitor is, but without the extra mass to absorb more of the vibration, it could turn some people off.
However, this also means they are highly adjustable, allowing you to angle your monitors up or down.
7. Gator Frameworks GFW Isopad
These super-affordable Gator Frameworks GFW-ISOPAD-MD isolation pads sit between your studio monitors and your desk or monitor stands and absorb all of that extra vibration that would normally transfer from the speaker to whatever it's sitting on.
- Great for small studios
- Decouples monitors well
Project and bedroom studios often have space constraints, but there are still monitor isolation pad options.
The GFW Isopads might be the best speaker isolation pads for the hobbyist.
Perhaps the best studio monitor isolation pads for small project studio setups, the Isopads are designed to accommodate smaller monitors – up to 6.5”.
However, they are still big enough to allow you to position them as you’d like. These isolation pads are comprised of two singular pads with a removable top for angling them slightly, no matter how cozy your space might be you can find a use for them.
Each pad comes in two pieces. The removable top allows you to angle your monitors as needed. But this reduces the overall mass, which could affect their efficacy depending on how your room is set up.
Do monitor isolation pads work?
Yes!! No matter how well your recording space is treated, they can help you get the most out of it.
Isolation pads even out the low-end response, align phase issues, make the stereo image more cohesive, and tighten up the transient response.
What do isolation pads do for studio monitors?
To put it simply, they help to focus the sound in a number of ways.
Essentially, isolation pads reduce the recoil caused by the forward motion of the speakers and give you a more accurate representation of the sound that is actually coming from them.
Are isolation pads just foam?
Not necessarily. They generally include a few layers of different materials that all work together toward the common goal of getting the most out of your monitors and room.
Should I put rubber feet under the speakers?
This is debatable. As long as the monitors are decoupled from the flat surface that they’re sitting on you should notice a considerable difference.