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]
Paul Kelly (email@example.com) recently sent me a most interesting e-mail titled "Cones, Stones, & Groans." I'll share it with you now, as I gave "Sean" (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 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."
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.
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.
In the September 1998 installment of "Fine Tunes," I wrote about the benefits of using nearfield listening to minimize your room's effect on the sound of your system. What you hear at the listening position should be first-arrival sounds from the speakers rather than chaotic reflections—in-phase and out—from the room. Allen Perkins of Immedia, importer of Audio Physic speakers, has written a white paper entitled "Principles and Techniques of Speaker Placement." It's provided to all purchasers of Audio Physic speakers. Essentially, it's a primer on nearfield loudspeaker placement (footnote 1).
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.