kernow

What hifi speaker setup guide

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https://www.whathifi.com/amp/advice/how-to-set-up-and-position-your-speakers

You were doing ok until point 3 where you just decided to give misinformation to newcomers to the hobby..  

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There is a part of point three that is okay - which is to mount bookshelf speakers properly.

Point one is very dubious - I've never seen any evidence that speakers measure differently after being 'run in'.

David

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Super Wammer

The running in section seems to be conflated with warming up. Certainly, cold and new speakers, just unpacked on a chilly day aren’t going to sound as good ime as ones that've been sitting in a warm living room for a few days.  
Some speakers are given a good blasting at full tilt during construction and assembly, but others may sound a bit tight when spanking new.  
However, there’s definitely a element of ‘user acclimatisation’ too, with any new kit.  I’m never sure how many manufacturers and dealers hide behind that and say it’s the kit settling in, burning in, or whatever.  

Edited by Nopiano
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Super Wammer

It is always the same - a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Someone reading this and looking at the diagrams will now assume the ideal listening position is the speakers toed in and the seating position and speakers forming an isosceles triangle.  It mentions nothing of placing or not placing in corners and any hint of avoiding side walls if possible.

It assumes that spiking your speaker stands will make them sound better but we know that depending on floor and room and a host of things (not least what our ears want to hear) that sometimes isolation works better than joining speakers to the floor.

It mentions nothing of ported cabinets and avoiding rear firing ports if space is at a premium and you cannot get them away from the walls.

As to cables I do agree - you need decently made well performing cables but they cover their arses by saying "good speaker cable can be the best-value way to upgrade"  -.. so they can but may not or may?  What always pisses me off is they never include summat like these cables in the mix of any of their tests  .. but hey ho   http://www.freesatcable.co.uk/speaker cable/Studio-Grade-Speaker-Cable-521-OFC/20m-of-Studio-Grade-Loudspeaker-Cable-521-Strand-OFC

I am so glad when i started we did not have all the bullshit brigade in the hifi press - in those days they used to review kit and most of the article would be on build quality and measurements - did it perform to spec.  With the minimum of subjectivity .. 
 

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Super Wammer
20 hours ago, kernow said:

https://www.whathifi.com/amp/advice/how-to-set-up-and-position-your-speakers

You were doing ok until point 3 where you just decided to give misinformation to newcomers to the hobby..  

Just checking that you are ok as point two was “Invest in stands, spikes and speaker cable” and you are against spending on cables. 

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Let the speakers run in 

Get the positioning right 

Invest in stands and cables etc 

Yes Dom, I'm ok mate 

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I'll never forget a what hifi review of an hifi rack:

For: excellent build quality

Against: could sound more exciting 

They are leaders in filling minds with paranoia 

Can't let people buy a hifi and enjoy music anymore but must sow seeds of doubts. Photography forums are no better 

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Moderator

It is reasonable advice for newbies who may be tempted to jam speakers into bookshelves.

Some speakers may need the materials used to be 'run-in', the rubbers/foams/glues. 

You need decent cables of which decent can mean many things but not tiny, thin wire that can't handle the power. And  not nordost Odin II. Becuase you do not accpet speaker cables makes a differences does not mean that is the case for a lot of if not the majority of the market.

This advice is for newbies.

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6 hours ago, George 47 said:

Some speakers may need the materials used to be 'run-in', the rubbers/foams/glues. 

This advice is for newbies.

I do wish, when people on this forum make claims like this - especially when they're  an established member, with the appearance of authority (trustworthy knowledge) - that they would provide a reason for why they believe this to be the case, such as a theoretical rationale or empirical evidence. 

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Super Wammer
6 minutes ago, Dazed&Confused said:

I do wish, when people on this forum make claims like this - especially when they're  an established member, with the appearance of authority (trustworthy knowledge) - that they would provide a reason for why they believe this to be the case, such as a theoretical rationale or empirical evidence. 

You’ll be able to find contrasting views on this, but I’d suggest this guidance from KEF is about as sane as it gets:-

https://www.shop.us.kef.com/blog/some-facts-about-breaking-in-your-new-speakers/
 

Excerpt:-  The suspensions and surrounds will deform as signal is applied to the speaker, and that deformation causes the material making up the suspensions and surrounds to soften and become more flexible. It should be noted that the cones themselves do not deform and by "deform" we simply mean "change shape" to accomodate the movement of the speaker cone and voice coil.

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Hi Nopiano

Thank you for taking the trouble to reply.  As I understand it, the job of the surrounds is to allow the driver to move freely and then return to its original position as quickly and precisely as possible, so obviously the manufacturers wouldn't want it to continue to soften and become more flexible past a point of optimum performance.  It does seem very odd to me that this process can supposedly take hundreds of hours yet the suppliers of the material are still able to provide sufficiently accurate data, and the designers are able to perform sufficiently accurate calculations, to make all this predictable enough to select the right material parameters for the job of each speker design.

There is a Wikipedia page here

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiele/Small_parameters

Here's an extract - the second paragraph mentions change in compliance of the surrounds.  Much of it goes over my head but, if I'm understanding it correctly, speakers should be 'run in' after a matter of minutes, not hours - 

 

The mechanical components in typical speaker drivers may change over time. Paper, a popular material in cone fabrication, absorbs moisture easily and unless treated may lose some structural rigidity over time. This may be reduced by coating with water-impregnable material such as various plastic resins. Cracks compromise structural rigidity and if large enough are generally non-repairable. Temperature has a strong, generally reversible effect; typical suspension materials become stiffer at lower temperatures. The suspension experiences fatigue, and also undergoes changes from chemical and environmental effects associated with aging such as exposure to ultraviolet light, and oxidation which affect foam and natural rubber components badly, though butyl, nitrile, SBR rubber, and rubber-plastic alloys (such as Santoprene) are more stable. The polyester type of polyurethane foam is highly prone to disintegration after 10 to 15 years. The changes in behavior from aging may often be positive, though since the environment that they are used in is a major factor the effects are not easily predicted. Gilbert Briggs, founder of Wharfedale Loudspeakers in the UK, undertook several studies of aging effects in speaker drivers in the 1950s and 1960s, publishing some of the data in his books, notably Loudspeakers.

There are also mechanical changes which occur in the moving components during use. In this case, however, most of the changes seem to occur early in the life of the driver, and are almost certainly due to relaxation in flexing mechanical parts of the driver (e.g., surround, spider, etc.). Several studies have been published documenting substantial changes in the T/S parameters over the first few hours of use, some parameters changing as much as 15%+ over these initial periods. The proprietor of the firm GR Research has publicly reported several such investigations of several manufacturers' drivers. Other studies suggest little change, or reversible changes after only the first few minutes. This variability is largely related to the particular characteristics of specific materials, and reputable manufacturers attempt to take them into account. While there are a great many anecdotal reports of the audible effects of such changes in published speaker reviews, the relationship of such early changes to subjective sound quality reports is not completely clear. Some changes early in driver life are complementary (such as a reduction in Fs accompanied by a rise in Vas) and result in minimal net changes (small fractions of a dB) in frequency response. If the performance of speaker system is critical, as with high order (complex) or heavily equalized systems, it is sensible to measure T/S parameters after a period of run-in (some hours, typically, using program material), and to model the effects of normal parameter changes on driver performance.

 

There is some discussion on the topic at the start of this video from 'Audioholics'.  They see to say the same thing (that 'run in' happens very quickly).  I have to say though, that even though hey refer to empirical evidence, I find them to be unecessarily cynical rather than taking a mor eschewed, skeptical position.

 

 

I think it would be much more sensible for WhatHifi to say something along the lines of - we recommend spending a good few hours if not days listening to your new speakers, before making a conclusive judgement on what you think of the quality of their sound and stereo image they can achieve in your room; it's likely that your brain will take quite a while to adapt to them.  Many manufacturers state that their speakers need time for a mechanical 'run in' but the evidence for this is not clear.

 

Edited by Dazed&Confused

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Super Wammer
42 minutes ago, Dazed&Confused said:

I think it would be much more sensible for WhatHifi to say something along the lines of - we recommend spending a good few hours if not days listening to your new speakers, before making a conclusive judgement on what you think of the quality of their sound and stereo image they can achieve in your room; it's likely that your brain will take quite a while to adapt to them.  Many manufacturers state that their speakers need time for a mechanical 'run in' but the evidence for this is not clear.

You’ve got the job as Deputy Editor!  Seriously though, I quite agree.  The thing is, that calm and measured reporting doesn’t catch the eye, and there’s a certain journalistic style needed for these mags, and especially websites. And then there’s headlines to hook you in.  WHF definitely ‘sex up’ the writing in journalistic ways, but they have to if they’re going to get noticed. Sad but true, I fear. 

Thanks for the articles above. Re the break in, my own speakers aren’t claimed to need breaking in, but ATC are mainly studio-focussed, and engineering led, so seem to be less given to the more whimsical views of the audiophile type.  I also believe every driver is given a full power blasting before assembly, which may we’ll achieve that initial loosening up.  I certainly have to run mine uncomfortably loudly to see much movement from the bass unit on music, but I dare say fifty watts of 40Hz would get it moving!  

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47 minutes ago, Nopiano said:

The thing is, that calm and measured reporting doesn’t catch the eye, and there’s a certain journalistic style needed for these mags, and especially websites. And then there’s headlines to hook you in.  WHF definitely ‘sex up’ the writing in journalistic ways, but they have to if they’re going to get noticed. Sad but true, I fear. 

Yes, you're right, of course.  I vaguely remember being surprised to read, when I was younger and more naive, that Hifi magazines tend to employ people onto their writing staff from the 'humanities' rather than science or engineering  - people who can write good copy and have an appreciation of marketing, who can be taught the basics of the relevant lingo, rather than people with the necessary technical knowledge , who with practice could hone their ability to convey the relevant information to the layman with clarity and brevity. 

I wonder if there is also an element of these magazines providing messages without explanation (withholding information) with the purpose of keeping their readers dependent on what they say, rather than being empowered to figure things out for themselves, so that they are conditioned to "just do as we say" and thus buy into all the advertising and promotion.  A very cynical use of trust.

47 minutes ago, Nopiano said:

Thanks for the articles above. Re the break in, my own speakers aren’t claimed to need breaking in, but ATC are mainly studio-focussed, and engineering led, so seem to be less given to the more whimsical views of the audiophile type.  I also believe every driver is given a full power blasting before assembly, which may we’ll achieve that initial loosening up.  I certainly have to run mine uncomfortably loudly to see much movement from the bass unit on music, but I dare say fifty watts of 40Hz would get it moving!  

That's interesting.  I won PMC who, I presume you know, have a studio heritage, but they espouse the idea of 'running in'  their speakers.  They also say the person who builds each speakers gives them a thorough listening test before they leave the factory.

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Point one is very dubious - I've never seen any evidence that speakers measure differently after being 'run in'.
David


Speakers are mechanical components and do ‘run in’ - unlike cables, for example!

The results are both audible and measurable.
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