Jazz And Speaker Placement
Inspired by the purchase of a new pair of speaker stands (custom made for my LS50s, whatever good that does), I just went through a painful reevaluatIon of my system’s speaker placement. A lot of reading—particularly into the SBIR phenomenon, along with KEF’s own literature—and even more experimentation. Two guidelines: No rules and no big money on footers.
The last time I tried this, I wound up with the speakers on spikes, 4” from the speaker wall, with socks stuffed into the ports. (Some members of this forum may not have heard: I’ve done away with the terms “front” and “back” walls, along with the confusion and explanations that always accompany then, in favor of the terms speaker wall and listener wall. Please use these terms going forward.)
The first person to hear this setup asked, “Where’s the bass?” He was right. The sound had been tightened within an inch of it’s life. Bass and drums were staccato, with plenty of black space audible. But that’s not the way bass sounds, nor a kick drum. They are soft instruments, with lots of attack and decay. They are not “transients,” at least not in the way that I understand that word. (To me, “transient” has about the same descriptive power as ‘postmodern.”)
This was “audiophile bass,” to borrow Paul McGowan’s phrase, and it had to go. The socks had been long gone by the time the new stands arrived, now, following the advice of McGowan and our own MillerCarbon, I got rid of the spikes and replaced them with a dot of poster putty. Played around with the positioning but kept them in the SBIR-friendly spot close to the wall.
“Miss You” by The Rolling Stones was my reference bass sound during all of this. Great bass line and it now sounds glorious. But I’m still new enough at this game to question my own ears. So allow me to ask the jazz lovers on this forum a question:
Bill Evans’s famous stand at the Village Vanguard has been issued on two albums (probably more). The Paul Motian-heavy “Sunday At” and the more normal sounding “Waltz For Debbie.” In my new setup, I’m “Waltz,” Motian and LeFaro are as loud in the left channel as Evans does in the right. (I may have the channels reversed.) Is this how it’s supposed to sound? In the old days, Evans dominated. Now the famous interplay among this trio is more clear.
It sounds good but it’s definitely a change. Is this how it’s supposed to be?
Worried in Williamsburg.