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Cheap Method of Getting More From Your Speakers and System!

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  • Cheap Method of Getting More From Your Speakers and System!

    From Galen Carol.
    Precision Speaker Alignment

    Over the years, I’ve found a number of ways to optimize system performance. I’ve distilled these tweaks into brief descriptions that I call “Tuning Tips.” Every few of weeks I’ll be sending you one. I think you’ll find them to be helpful and insightful and I guarantee if you’ll use them, you will improve the sound of your system. Let me know if you have tips of your own and we can add them to the list.

    Have fun reading!

    - Galen Carol


    Be certain your speakers are precisely aligned

    Without a doubt, the most commonly overlooked and/or underappreciated issue in audio is speaker alignment. I’d say 90% of the systems out there are under performing due to improper positioning. While some of you have been fastidious in your approach to speaker placement, the plain truth is that most of us have not invested the time to fine tune our set-up. I can almost guarantee you’ll improve the sound of your system by revisiting the procedure and paying careful attention to the details.

    Once you've found the ideal location for your speakers, it's important that you fine-tune their position. Often missed in the set-up procedure, carefully equalizing the distance from the listener to each speaker is a critical step in optimizing soundstage. For accurate imaging to take place, sound from each speaker must arrive at the listening position at precisely the same moment. This requires the speakers to be exactly the same distance away from the main seating position. Using a tape measure for this procedure can be cumbersome. A laser measure is ideal and will give you extremely precise readings. If you don’t happen to own one, I’ll offer a simple alternative that requires only a piece of string - It's easy and very accurate.

    Simply tape a string to the midpoint of the listening chair, trying for a spot as close to ear level as possible. Now, unroll enough string to reach a speaker, then pull the string taught at a reference point on the speaker (an example would be a mounting screw or bolt near the tweeter). Grasp that point on the string with your thumb and forefinger, then walk to the other speaker and compare. Simply adjust positioning until each speaker is at precisely the same distance.

    While you're at it, use the string to gauge distance to both the inside and outside corner of the cabinets to insure the toe-in is the same for each speaker.

    It is critical that one take the time to insure locating and set-up have been fully optimized. It would be difficult to overstate the importance that a small change can make. Once you've got things pretty close, you'll find that a fraction of an inch can make a noticeable difference.

    I'm willing to bet, that in an hour's time you'll be hearing better sound.

    Get out those tape measures and go to work!

    Note: This Tuning Tip is intended only as a (not so) gentle reminder to revisit your speaker set-up routine. We've looked at only just one aspect of the speaker set-up process, so I invite you check out my article on Speaker Placement for a more thorough examination of the topic.

    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor,

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

  • #2
    I too, have discovered the most minor of speaker adjustment bringing a much appreciated improvement, especially in bottom end tautness, and even more so, in depth of soundstage.
    Avalon Time, Walker Proscenium, Koetsu Coralstone, Air Tight PC-1 Supreme, Goldfinger Statement, Dalby record weight, Kondo KSL-SFz step-up, Jadis JP80-MC...heavily modified, Convergent Audio JL-2 Black Path, Sony NS999 ES Modwright modded, full loom High Fidelity Ultimate cables, Rel S-5 sub, Stillpoints ultra and 5's, Shun Mook, Dalby footers, Critical Mass bases, Acoustic System Resonators, Magnum Dynalab Etude, Telefunkens throughout, assorted fuses, Furutech outlets, PurePower conditioner.


    • #3
      I've found using an office chair with casters and adjustable height allows one to quickly assess the geometry of the speaker geometry with regards to the listener rather than continually moving large speakers. Once the best distance/angles are discerned, then duplicate that to the final seating position.

      As an aside I've found that the ideal geometry can vary in from one recording to the next, usually a matter of inches in angle, distance and/or height it can make a difference.