In his first e-mail to "Fine Tunes," Rafael Teodoro (RBT@wolfenet.com) addressed a subject that Mark Gdovin, that faithful frequenter of the Stereophile soapbox, had already brought up. Mark had gone so far as to give readers sage advice from his brother, a materials engineer, regarding the dangers of applying Armor All to speaker cones and surrounds.
Sometimes tweaks take on a life of their own. Take the one of using Armor All to keep speaker surrounds from drying out, which you can read all about in the November 2001 "Fine Tunes No.41" I recently got another e-mail on the subject from Dan Mazza at Arizona Hi-Fi, who agrees with Mark Gdovin's objections to using Armor All. (Read Mark's comments on the entire issue in the readers' letters linked to "Fine Tunes No.41.").)
"Hi, Jonathan," Bob Matthews began his e-mail to "Fine Tunes" (email@example.com). "I enjoy reading your column every month, and enjoy hearing from other people about some of their cheap tweaks!"
Checked my e-mail and a message from one Thomas J. Zukowski (firstname.lastname@example.org) caught my eye. I sensed something...friendly. The subject line was "Re: August & September Fine Tunes." A reader, great, and on my birthday no less.
This episode of "Fine Tunes" is mainly about the care and feeding of speaker drivers. Before I launch into some of the tweaks—a few fairly wild and wacky—sent in by readers, here are two from my own experience.
Last month I wrote about lasers of various pedigrees, so useful in marking walls to the sides and behind the listening position to ensure that your loudspeakers are toed-in, level, and equidistant from the sweet spot for best soundstage, imaging and focus. Using small Avery stick-'em labels makes this a snap. I've converged the tweeter axes of my JMlab Utopias somewhere about a foot into the wall behind the rearmost of our two listening chairs, and use two Studio Traps and a single Argent RoomLens between the speakers to cancel and damp the near-rear-wall reflections. With just a jiggle of the chair back or forward, suddenly I'm there.
Thanks to all the "Fine Tuners" out there who filled the room early on Sunday morning at the Home Entertainment 2001 Show in May for my "Fine Tunes Clinic." And thanks to Victor Tiscareno of Audio Prism/Red Rose Music for the "technical stiffening." I applaud all your intelligent curiosity, questions, and tales of woe and success. Let's do it again.
I have to remember how seriously audiophiles follow Stereophile. Reader David Zappardon's (email@example.com) e-mail to me began with "Hello, my friend." But I have to admit to feeling some guilt when he yowled that he'd wasted two fruitless hours of his time looking for the silver-bearing conductive grease I'd mentioned in the October 2000 "Fine Tunes."
Paul Kelly (firstname.lastname@example.org) recently sent me a most interesting e-mail titled "Cones, Stones, & Groans." I'll share it with you now, as I gave "Sean" (email@example.com) a chance to expound on cones and how they work under equipment in the February "Fine Tunes." After reading through all the "Fine Tunes" archived on the Stereophile website (I thank him for his positive remarks), Paul wrote:
I get mail. Boy do I get mail! But I love hearing about and sharing some of the tips'n'tweaks from all you Victims of the Musical Quest. I can't help myself. Neither can you, I understand. Come to me. [sob]