May 18

How to Build Your Own DIY Studio Monitor Stands

If you’re building out a home studio for recording projects, there are so many details to consider. Getting the right equipment is incredibly important, of course. But simply having the right gear isn’t enough. You also have to take care of the space you’re in and give some thought to how you use your gear if you want to get the best results.

Take your studio monitors, for example. Having the right set of studio monitors is critically important. But even a great pair of studio monitors won’t sound right if they’re poorly placed.

The simple truth is this: You can’t get the most out of your studio monitors without proper floor or desktop stands. If you’re running low on cash, here’s how you can build your own.

Why You Need Studio Monitor Stands

Most beginners hook up their studio monitors and put them in the easiest place possible: on their desk, pointed at where they’ll sit to do their work. This makes sense on the surface, but it actually creates all sorts of problems.

Your studio monitors weren’t designed to be set on such a reflective surface. Doing so will distort the sound you hear 100% of the time. And when you’re mixing audio, that’s the last thing you need!

Additionally, setting your monitors on your desk doesn’t place them at the right angle so that your ears are sitting in the “sweet spot.” The majority of the sound is smacking you straight in the torso.

The ultimate goal here is to decouple your monitors’ sound output from their surroundings. You want to put distance between that sound and anything that might alter or distort it.

Putting your studio monitors on stands can solve one or both of these problems. By decoupling the sound from reflective surfaces, you’ll get a truer output. And by placing the speakers optimally within the room and at the right height and angle, you’ll hear exactly what you’ve recorded — free of distortions and other problems.

Step 0: Check Materials Cost and Be Sure You Want to Do This

Before you get started on a plan for building your own DIY studio monitor stands, it’s worth making sure that doing so is the right move. Material costs can vary pretty widely. If lumber is markedly expensive when you’re ready to start this project, for example, you might spend more on materials than you would buying a commercially available studio monitor stand.

Also, while this project isn’t a complicated one, not everyone has the DIY skills of Bob Vila. If the steps described below sound daunting to you, think twice about going DIY.

If you’re unsure about going DIY, check out some of the best desktop and floor-style studio monitor stands that we’ve found.

Step 1: Measure Everything. Twice.

The first step is to measure everything relevant to this build. You’ll need to measure your own self, which will go best if you have another person to help.

Start by measuring your ear height while sitting normally in your chair. We’re all different heights, of course, but we all have different torso lengths, too. Your ear-to-floor measurement is key because that’s where you want the sweet spot of your speakers to be aimed.

Next, take the dimensions of your studio monitors. (Yes, you’ll need to have those in hand before starting the build — different speaker sizes and configurations will have different needs.) Also, measure how far up or down the speaker the woofer and tweeter are.

Next, measure the thickness of the materials you plan to use in the base and shelf, including any grips, spacers or cushions. (You may need to read a few steps further to know what all this means and then circle back.)

The goal here is to determine the height at which the woofer (or the point between the woofer and the tweeter) should be, then work from there to determine the overall height of the monitor stand. Once you know the overall height, subtract the thickness of the base and shelf (plus extra stuff attached to them), and you’ll have the height measurement of your column.

Quick Note About Angles

The above step assumes you want a flat shelf., If you’re custom-building your stands, there’s no compelling reason not to build them flat, and it’s much simpler that way. Still, if you want to angle your monitors, you can. You’ll just have to do the calculations on height, angle and so forth yourself. (And you’ll want to add a rim to the back of the shelf to keep the speaker from sliding off, of course.)

Step 2: Choose Your Materials

The simplest DIY studio monitor stands are those made from quality lumber or MDF, and those made from a combination of wood and PVC. The PVC method is probably the simplest, but the all-wood approach will look better in the end.

If you’re choosing PVC, you simply need two lengths of PVC pipe that match the column height measurement, plus four closed over-pipe flanges (with screw holes).

If you’re choosing all wood, you need enough MDF or other lumber to create eight segments that measure four inches wide by your column height measurement — plus plenty of wood glue, if you intend to fill your stands.

Either route, you’ll also need materials for the base plates and shelves. Again, a decent thickness of MDF works well. The top shelf needs to slightly exceed the measurements of your speaker, and the bottom plate should likely be slightly larger than that.

Lastly, plenty of wood screws, a good drill or impact driver, and the ballast of your choice (a 50-pound bag of sand will do the trick). You’ll also want some rubber or felt pads for the base if you’re installing on a hard surface, and you might want to experiment with rubber feet or spacers between the shelf and the speaker itself.

Step 3: Build the Base

Next, you’re ready to build the base. Simply cut your lumber or MDF to the dimensions you’ve determined and sand off any rough cuts. Attach the rubber or felt pads/feet to the bottom, one in each corner. And that’s pretty much it for the base!

If you’re worried about stability, you might elect to install a metal plate on the bottom of your base. Be sure to wait until the end of the build, though, so you don’t run into problems with screws. Assuming you get the plate centered, this strategy will add some heft and keep your stands in place. But in most cases, if you’re filling the column, a plate isn’t necessary.

Step 4: Build the Columns

Next up are the columns. If you chose PVC, this couldn’t be simpler. Just install one of the over-pipe flanges onto the center of the base plate, with the opening facing up. Then stick one segment of pipe into it.

If you’re going all-wood, here’s where your carpentry skills come into play. You’ll need to turn four of the lengths of wood into a rectangular shape resembling a column. Use a combination of liberal amounts of wood glue and wood screws spaced every four to six inches. You might need to do one seam at a time, or you could do one end piece and the two side pieces together, then attach the other end piece separately.

Once your column is built and dried, affix it to the base plate. Again, use wood glue at the joint, and then run wood screws in vertically from underneath the base plate.

All that wood glue is going to make a mess, but you need a tight seal if you want to fill those columns with sand. (And you do: you’ll get even greater decoupling, to a degree that could shock you if you’ve never experienced it before.)

Once the wood build is dry, clean off any excess wood glue and proceed.

Step 5: Fill Them Up

Now comes the fun part. Take that big bag of sand (and perhaps a large funnel) and start pouring. If you’ve sealed everything properly, the sand will hold within the wooden or PVC column. Fill it close to the top, but don’t overfill.

By the way, there are other products you can use as ballast instead of sand. That’s something you can explore on your own if you like. But sand will work quite well, so that’s what we’ll go with for this tutorial.

If your build is properly sealed thus far, you shouldn’t see any sand leaking out. If you do see leakage, take note of where, then empty the column and seal the offending spots.

Step 5: Affix the Shelves

Your shelves are the flat pieces your studio monitors will rest on. Once you’ve cut your shelves and sanded down any rough edges, the next step is to affix the shelves to the tops of your columns.

PVC method: Affix the other over-pipe flange to the bottom center of the shelf using wood screws of an appropriate length. (Make sure the screws aren’t so long that they pop through the top!) The flange and pipe should fit securely, but if not, you can use any old sealant or glue to secure the fit.

Wood method: Center the shelf on top of the column and sink one screw vertically down into each of the four boards that make up the column. Some wood glue wouldn’t hurt, and would probably prevent sand spillage if you eventually set the stands down or transport them horizontally.

Step 6: Aesthetics

Next up is aesthetics. You probably don’t want the raw lumber or naked PVC pipe look in your home studio, so now’s your chance to do something about it. Select a stain that matches your desk or décor, and pick a complementary paint if you’re using PVC. Stain and paint the various surfaces until you’re satisfied with the look.

Step 7: Top Shelf Treatments

You’re almost done now; there’s just one more step. It’s time to treat the top shelf, to whatever degree you want to do so. At a minimum, you should place some felt pads or small rubber pieces in each corner. You’ll create a tiny amount of separation this way, plus you’ll keep your speaker from sliding off if bumped.

If you built an angled shelf, now’s the time to add a strip of wood to the bottom end to brace your speaker and keep it from sliding off. The thickness of this strip depends on the angle you choose, but don’t skimp here.

Your speaker will perform well simply sitting on a wooden platform, given the battening and decoupling measures already in place. But one more layer of decoupling certainly won’t hurt!

If you can find or make rubber spacers that are a little thicker but still secure enough that you won’t be afraid of your speaker getting knocked off the stand, do it. One more layer of decoupling could improve the sound from your studio monitors even more. Look at examples of commercially made stands if you’re not sure what this tip is all about.

A Note About Desktop Stands

This guide was created with freestanding studio monitor stands in view, ones that stand on the floor behind your desk. This is the best approach that’s feasible for home setups. But hey, we know that not every home studio is large enough to accommodate this kind of setup.

If you must use desktop studio monitor stands and still prefer to build them yourself, you can modify these plans by simply changing your column height measurement. With a shorter rise, you might not need as large a base platform, either.

Still, make sure you have enough desk space to accommodate the stands before you set out to build them. Some commercial options might take up a smaller footprint than a well-built DIY desktop stand.

Building your own DIY studio monitor stands can be a fun project with a result that’s better than what you can get commercially, especially if you’re outside the “standard” height range. This guide should get you well on your way to a solid DIY studio monitor stands build. But if, after reading, you’d prefer to stick with a commercially available stand, check out our guide on the best studio monitor stands you can buy today.


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