Checkpoint SA-S P-770 laser alignment tool Robert Deutsch November 1998

Robert Deutsch added some thoughts in November 1998 (Vol.21 No.11):

When it comes to positioning loudspeakers in the listening room, you can never have too much accuracy. The ideal is to position each speaker in such a way that the distance to the listening seat is exactly the same, and the speakers have exactly the same vertical orientation and angle of toe-in. Once the speaker-to-listener distance of the two speakers is closely matched (you'll need a measuring tape and the help of an understanding Significant Other), you'll need to adjust the toe-in. The amount of toe-in is partly a matter of personal preference: less toe-in normally results in a wider soundstage, but may lead to a hole in the middle. Whatever toe-in you decide is right for you, it must be the same for both speakers. Vertical orientation is just as important; if it's not the same for both speakers, the listener could be on-axis for one and off-axis for the other.

Checkpoint's SA-S P-770 laser alignment tool is the ideal device for positioning speakers. I found out about this gizmo from Lonnie Brownell's "Industry Update" item in Vol.21 No.1, and my review of the Dunlavy SC-IV/A elsewhere in this issue provided the first opportunity to check it out for myself. Essentially, I concur with Lonnie: The P-770 should be in the tool chest of every audiophile who wants to get the best sound from loudspeakers.

To use it, you turn on the laser, hold the P-770 against the speaker's front panel, and adjust the speaker's position until the appropriate toe-in and vertical orientation are obtained. I used a large piece of cardboard placed in the listening seat to see exactly where the laser was pointing. Using the P-770 is more accurate than any other method, like the common one of eyeballing the speaker from the listening position. The P-770 looks and feels like a precision instrument, and is good value at $189.95. There are a variety of accessory devices available for it, but they're mostly for use by custom home-theater installers. (The Checkpoint Sound Alignment System has been approved by THX.)

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