Cheap tweak from Virtual Dynamics:

Has anyone seen the short video from Virtual Dynamics showing the owner replacing all his speaker screws with all brass screws? I was wondering if you could hear an improvement. It's a cheap tweak, so I thought I might go to Home Depot and try out a set. What can I lose?
I plan to first try uniformly tightening the stock screws using the Wheeler Fat Wrench as demonstrated in the video. If that proves useful, then I'm going to look into the brass screws.
Sounds like a good idea. I don't have a Wheeler Fat Wrench, but I do have an older Black & Decker battery-powered driver that has similar adjustments. I recall that the video suggested starting at 8 ft.-lbs. torque. I think I'll do the same initially on the stock screws. I just came back from Lowe's and bought 3-packs of solid brass screws of the exact size of my speaker driver's screws. Each pack had six screws at $.98/pk.
I bought a Wheeler online from an outdoor sporting goods supplier. For some reason, I believe the equal torque on all the screws is as important as the brass screws. The screws are certainly the least expensive part of the overall tweak.

Of course, now you absolutely MUST have the screws cryo treated.

...just kidding.
I agree that the equal torqueing of the screws probably is as important as the composition of the screw.
Hi,I looked at the wheeler online and it looks like the lowest setting you can get is 10 lbs,How do you get to the recommended 8 lbs.
It does say 10 ft.-lbs on the ad I recently saw. Rick was using one in the VD video, and he mentioned it goes down to 6 lbs. He uses it to adjust gun stocks on his high end target guns.

Guess I'll find out when I receive the wrench. If 10 ft-lbs is the lowest setting, then 10 ft-lbs it shall be. At least all the screws will be equally torqued.
Apparently this Fat Wrench is offered in a couple of versions. Here is a site where the model shows 5-60 lbs. I don't think the differenc ebetween 8 and 10 lbs. would be that dramatic. Chances are if you manually tightened the screws down it would be more than even the 10 lbs. so you should be fine.

Hope I ordered the right one!
I think you'll be fine. I just did a torque test on one of the original screws on one of the midwoofers and it was about 10 lbs. Actually, I pre-tested all four screws on a mid-woofer driver and all four were slightly different. Hmmmm... interesting. Also, a correction: it is inch-lbs. not ft.-lbs. Even if you don't hear a dramatic difference, you can always use the Fat Wrench for your hunting and target rifles. Or if you don't hunt or shoot, it would make a great gift for a relative who does. (O: Let's have some fun.
Perfect stocking stuffer for Uncle Jed Clampett.
Might as well make sure the screws stay torqued too.

I torque screws on my spring guns (pellet guns), and use vibratite to ensure they stay put. One of the nice features of Vibratite as a thread locker is that the screw can be removed and inserted several times before it needs retreated.
The Vibratite is the missing link, I think. I have always wanted to tighten my drivers' screws, but I always thought I would just keep having to do it, and that they would eventually strip. Great solution!
I'll probably dig out my Utica 6 -30 inlb screwdriver, and try this tweak. My Gemme Audio Tanto speakers do not have grills, and the fronts are black, so the fun part will be blackening the brass screws.
I would be very careful if you plan to monkey around with your loudspeakers' driver mounting screws. Most higher end speaker manufacturers understand the importance of mounting screws, especially with regards to equal torque and loosening over time. As such, the better manufacturers torque them correctly at the time of assembly and may even add a little thread lock to keep them from loosening away from their original torque.

Some food for thought:
Regarding the higher end loudspeakers, just as strong an argument can be made for leaving well enough alone. Once the screws have been "seated" at the time of assembly, it may not be a good idea to break the screws away from their seated position. The integrity of the screw hole may suffer and you may end up with a connection that always needs adjustment from that point on.
Amen Seasoned.For every 20 happy campers,there's going to 1 who wished he never heard of the word Torque.Those wrenches mentioned will be accurate 1/2 the time if that.But what the hey,boys will be boys.Along those lines,I will ask said people who are tweaking "Where is the most accurate reading on a torque wrench"?Cheers,Bob
Good point, Seasoned.
USblues - In da middle, and mine is cal'ed by a friend who works in a calibration lab.

Also a good point about messing with $$$$ speakers too. I plan to start with TAD 805. With the Tanto speakers I will walk the torque setting up to see if any turn, and might leave them alone, depending on what I see.
less to do with resonance and more to do with being non-magnetic. Be very careful with MDF as it will not tolerate many screw swaps before it is stripped then you are up the creek
Springnr,dat would be da place.Nice to have a friend like that there....the Snap on people were 50 or so and that was 10 years ago.....yeah,its just so easy to get into trouble unless your somewhat hip to that.Kind of like trying to take out scratches on soft metals or acrylics/paint etc.It can be done,BUT........
Well, I guess I'll be the first to be in line for flames from the other side. I initially equally torqued all my stock screws to the same 8in.-lbs. Soundstage appeared to be a little cleaner and a tad more focussed and centered. Nothing really revelatory. I then put the brass screws in one speaker only. I'll be danged if that speaker with the brass screws didn't suddenly sound a tad louder with a cleaner, crisper sound than the other side. Since I have small mini-monitors, I swapped the speakers and sure enough, the brass-screwed side sounded better. I listened for a while to make sure what I was hearing wasn't some subconscious desire for the sound to be better, then I put the brass screws in the other speaker. Sure enough, the other speaker matched the first with brass screws. I can say that this isn't a night and day difference, but the whole soundstage sounds a bit taller now and wider and deeper. Depth seems to be the most improved. The overall sound is a bit cleaner with better transient response. To my ears, a very slight haze or veil has been removed. I think I'll leave the brass screws in for a while.
No sides,no flames,no right, no wrong.Just good clean fun here in the Western world.Many paths to salvation via luck or hard work or timing or.....well,don't forget good looks.I wonder what the brass does?Drain mad little electrons like the footers?Glad to hear the news,this is fun.Beats collecting stamps I'm sure....,yeah to hear anything from those is a revelation of sorts,who would of figured???Hey,could you try some more inch lbs until it snaps?That way we'll know how far to go.....your very kind....
Sorry, I'm not going to over do it with the torqueing. I might try it at 10 lbs. soon, though, to do a quick comparison.
Waiting patiently then,good luck,Bob
Sherod, you sure procured a torque driver lickety split!
I had an old Black & Decker already.
I just fashioned another tweak...a knock-off of felt tweeter surrounds presently being sold.

$23 worth of high density felt from McMaster dot com, an an arch punch purchased on E-Bay. Fastened to the speakers with TopStick toupe tape (my wife is a professional make-up artist, and TopStick is part of her kit). You can find it in drug stores, I think.

I have a 12"x7" piece of felt remaining for purchase if anyone is interested in making their own tweeter tweaks.
Have you noticed an improvement with the felt around your tweeters? It makes one wonder why the manufacturer didn't do this if it does improve the speaker (as it is a cheap tweak). I guess the same question would apply to the manufacturer as to why they don't use brass screws on their speaker drivers, assuming they make a sound improvement.
I haven't listened critically,yet. However, I do notice a slightly less fatiguing sound, and I changed the toe-in of my speakers a little (toe-ed them in more). They are easily removed, and the TopStick used to adhere them will not leave a residue, so there's no penalty in trying them.

The Absolute Sound just gave the professional version of these tweeter surrounds an award, which you may have seen.
I wasn't aware of The Absolute Sound award as I don't subscribe to any reviewer mags any longer. Many years ago, I subscribed to them religiously.
Another FYI - know your speaker when you do this. I have the Meadowlark Audio Blue Heron 2's, and I know for a fact there are layers of 'keldamp' between the drivers and the front baffle... this is a type of elastomer that helps to decouple the resonance and vibration of the driver to the front baffle. I was told years ago the amount of torque is very important as you don't want to over compress the material thus removing the absorbtion / elasticity of the layer... Not too sure how many other speakers have a similar driver setup. Just an FYI.
That makes sense. When I replaced drivers on my Castle Acoustics speakers, the replacement drivers came with new foam gaskets. I suspect over tightening would eliminate the benefit of the gasket.

The VD video makes mention of not using too much torque on the screws.
Hi Kirk,
I used to own the Meadowlark Osprey. Funny how I never knew about the driver damping material, however, I never had to replace a driver while I owned them, nor did I ever have a thought of needing to check for their driver screw torque. Too bad that Meadowlark's no longer around. They sure made some great speakers.
I posted a little review of the felt tweeter surrounds in the product reviews for tweeks a while back. I did not like the effect after a while. Could just be me though.
I just received an e-mail from the manufacturer of my speakers after I asked them if the screws on my speakers had to be a certain torque. His response was, " You want the screws to be firm, but not too tight to avoid stripping the screw holes."
All the hardware in my speakers and electronics are of the non ferrous type. The most musical of this type are those of solid brass. Brass is the metal of music. Tom
Great, thats what we have to do now, get brass screws. Oil, gas, gold, copper now brass will become the next commodity that will will 10fold in the next few months by people like us creating a shortage. Maybe we should keep a lid on this tweak so no politicians or brass ceo's find out about it.

BTW Sherod, good suggestion, great tweak.
Well, the credit, although known by some for a while, must be given to the owner of Virtual Dynamics. I simply brought it up for discussion.
Anyone else try the brass screw replacement and torque experimentation? I've been experimenting with different in.-lbs. and the results have been interesting. I've only tried 3-10 in.-lbs( I'm not so sure that my old Black & decker is accurate) but so far, regarding torque, too much thins out the soundstage and too little muddies it up. With my B&D driver, on my speakers, 5 in.-lbs seems to be just right( on both tweeters and mid-woofers). But I want to do some more listening and fine-tuning. I sometimes hate being an obsessive-compulsive personality. (O:
The Audiopoint designed and manufactured in 1989 was conceived on the superior conductive musical qualities of 360m brass. Brass was also used by the Starsound members in speakers, electronics and cables. All of this was previous to Virtual Dynamics. Brent and Robert from Starsound shared many of these original applications as well as the conductive makeup of the Sistrum platform with Rick of Virtual Dynamics. Rick has moved some of these concepts well forward especially in the use of magnets and brass as a resonance control in cables and chassis design.

I will applaud Rick in his recomendation of magnets instead of fuses in my system. No fireballs at my house or that of a friend. We both found the sonic upgrade to be immediate and huge. Much more stage, impact and sheer sonic joy. Same goes with the use of AVM that stuff works wonders as well. More music less noise and no damping WOW. Rick is always at the forefront and I believe there is much more on the way. Tom
Can you share what Rick recommended as far as using magnets instead of fuses in your system? This is intriguing.
Several years Rick came on these pages saying that the use of use of magnets in and around electronic circuitry was of great benefit. He got pushed around and laughed at as a result. He now uses magnets in many of his upper end designs. With more to come along. I used one magnet in a friends system, replaced the line fuse in his Bat 31SE preamp. The difference was huge and immediate. Now when music is played in the room his birds come down off their perch and sing and dance to tunes he has played way to many times before. Toe tapping I suppose. Sounds crazy but I've been there many times before. Maybe Rick will chime in to say why magnets work so well. Tom
My speakers are Reference 3a Dulcet. I e-mailed the main man, Tash, at Divergent Technologies and attached the VD video. He emailed me back telling me that the video was interesting and that it made sense to him. Tash asked me to run my personal tests with the brass screws and torque tests. I followed up telling him how the brass screws made a nice difference and explained to him how I came to fine-tuning the torque to achieve the best sound possible from the Dulcet. I suggested to him that he try his own tests in the factory and asked him for his results. So far, no answer from him. We'll see. I feel that this is a very good tweak and the laws of physics are in play here. I'm no physicist, but I'm thinking that the proper torque somehow is related to the screws matching the resonation of the cabinet with the speaker drivers. Perhaps someone can explain this phenomenon. It's obvious that the brass, being non-ferrous, doesn't negatively react with the driver magnets and brass has good drain-resonating characteristics. Help me here, tech guys.
The bass driver of my mains and its crossover both have resonance control brass tuning bolts that do make for a obvious change when tightened or loosened. My amps also can be tuned in a similar manner. Vibration can be given direction. Tom
The screws that matter most are those that hold the diaphragm and voice coil in place to the magnet assembly and face plate. The ferrous screws do just that, they screw with the field of flux as the coil moves back and forth in the gap. So the smallest speaker with the smallest coil is held in place with ferrous material at the closest distance to the motor assembly. Replace those screws one at a time that hold the dome in place. All of these that I have ever replaced have been metric size. Tom
Tom, besides switching to brass screws for your drivers, have you experimented with the torque? I'm curious what the proper torque should be for those inner screws for the tweeter, or maybe it depends on the type and brand of tweeter. I recall finding a thread on AA how the Merlin speaker driver's screws are properly torqued at the factory and some owners check for torque maybe twice a year. I remember that the inner screws on the tweeter are torqued higher than the outer screws.
Torque would indeed be a factor. As I said my bass driver,crossover and amp are tuned ear. I have not recorded the settings by torque measurements but by ear and then recording the postion like the hands on a clock. During shipment of any device that is "tuned" at the factory the tuning will change in transit to the end user. The tuning will also "relax" with use. Retuning may also be required with changes in cables, electronics, tube brands and room acoustic additions. Increased resolution as I found with the addition of the modified Altmann Dac, D-Clock, PS Audio transport all AVM treated and Rick's magnetic replacement fuses made for quick apparent retuning by ear. Yep that feels right! Now sit down and enjoy. Right was obvious. Tom
Sherod, The torque to "tune" applied would vary from speaker to speaker. Cabinet structure and material.. driver frame material and even the number of fasteners.....T Nuts used? Hey what about speaker stands? Coupling or de-coupling materials? How about the flooring material, it too would make for a difference. Yea but its easy. Tom
I understand the tuning by ear. Although I was experimenting with the torque using a screwdriver with a torque setting, I could hear the difference with each incremental setting. All this tweaking with the brass screws and proper torqueing not only puts the soundstage into perspective, but the best tone, timbre, and dynamics are also achieved when the setting is "just right".
Currently, I am using some heavy metal stands filled with playground sand. My floor is a concrete slab that is carpeted with a 1/2" foam padding under the carpet. The stands have basic cheap steel spikes that came with the stands. I am considering buying some Audiopoints, but I have read that the Audiopoints are more effective on a wood floor. I am de-coupling my mini-monitors from the stands with squishy isonode feet.
This thread is about to take a detour...
Sorry, Grant. I got carried away with other tweaks in mind. Sometimes my brain gets ahead of me. (O: