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Adjusting tilt with a laser level.


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I would like to adjust the tilt of my cloth Quatros with a laser level.  I started by leveling the speakers as well as possible with a good circular bubble level.  Then I used my laser level (a Huepar Box 1R), set on the front of the speakers top plate to refine the level.  Suppose the laser level line is at 45.5 inches from the floor at the listening position and my ears are at 34.5 inches.  How should I adjust the laser line (by tilting the speaker) for the right tilt?

Also, my floor sags somewhat, so that one speaker is slightly higher than the other (a little more than 1/8 inch).  Should I adjust the laser level for each for the same tilt for each speaker (drop from level), or should I adjust so the laser level to the same height above the floor for each speaker? 

Thanks for any advice.

 

 

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I should mention that I'm using Soundocity outriggers on my Quatros.  These make it easy to level the speakers laterally, but they do a have limited range of adjustment for tilt.   They add about 1/2 inch in height, so you probably want your ear height to be within an inch of 36 inches at the listening position.  Works out fine for my Stressless listening chair.

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1 hour ago, ctsooner said:

Tilt is as important as anything with all Vandersteen's.  Just do the set up as Richard posted as it's the easiest way.  Let us know how it goes with the outriggers.

I've been using the outriggers for many years with great success.  I originally got them because the flooring under my carpet is very uneven (in addition to the building sagging).  With the standard cones and spike, to get the speakers leveled laterally, I had to use washers on the front cones, which did not work very well.  The outriggers have level knobs, so it's just a matter of adjusting those to level the speakers laterally.   They also make the speakers very stable.  And I now have the knobs adjusted for the right amount of tilt as measured with the laser level.

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On 5/6/2021 at 9:19 PM, Richard Vandersteen said:

Use the laser to point at a "X" on a piece of cardboard in the listening position 8 inches above your ear height.  Use whatever amount of washers on the rear spike to get the laser on the X exactly.  Do the same for the other speaker which will automatically compensate for the floor problems.

 

RV

Just verified my setup last night - the laser hit the 8” mark on the money from both speakers. I think my system now sounds better knowing that my eyes have confirmed my ears. 

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On 5/6/2021 at 9:19 PM, Richard Vandersteen said:

Use the laser to point at a "X" on a piece of cardboard in the listening position 8 inches above your ear height.  Use whatever amount of washers on the rear spike to get the laser on the X exactly.  Do the same for the other speaker which will automatically compensate for the floor problems.

 

RV

Richard, this method for Quatros works great. I checked yesterday, and found my Quatro Woods to be tilted too far back (laser ~12” above ear height). I adjusted the tilt to 8” and the sound is much more engaging. Thank you!

 

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Thanks.  That indicates you did not follow the instructions in the manual about tilt as it would not be that far off.  The idiot that wrote the manual (me) assumed the floors in homes would be flat and level (mine are but then I built our home) so the chart in the manual assumes they are.  There is a +- tolerance for the exact listening height but what is 100 times more important is that the two speakers be EXACTLY the same.  You can use the chart for the speaker that is most level and use a laser pointer pointing to  a "X" on the wall directly behind the listener to adjust the amount of washers so the laser points exactly at the X.  Trust me, after all these years following the instructions in the manual will get the performance I designed into the product.  Think about it, if getting the alignment correct  made no difference then "time and phase alignment" is not audible and I am full of shit!

RV

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3 hours ago, Richard Vandersteen said:

Thanks.  That indicates you did not follow the instructions in the manual about tilt as it would not be that far off.  The idiot that wrote the manual (me) assumed the floors in homes would be flat and level (mine are but then I built our home) so the chart in the manual assumes they are.  There is a +- tolerance for the exact listening height but what is 100 times more important is that the two speakers be EXACTLY the same.  You can use the chart for the speaker that is most level and use a laser pointer pointing to  a "X" on the wall directly behind the listener to adjust the amount of washers so the laser points exactly at the X.  Trust me, after all these years following the instructions in the manual will get the performance I designed into the product.  Think about it, if getting the alignment correct  made no difference then "time and phase alignment" is not audible and I am full of shit!

RV

Richard, I was also surprised that I was that far off. Your manual is very clear and I have read it closely on the tilt factor for the Quatro, 3A Sig, 2ce, 1c, and 1b which I have owned (along with subs and vsm-1s - I’m a fan!). Where I realized I went wrong is trying to accommodate for my uneven floors. I added washers to the front cones as needed to level each speaker right to left. Then, as the floor is lower under the left speaker, I added additional front washers to bring the left speaker to the same height as the right speaker (using a laser level). The chart specified 9 washers on the back spikes then resulted in the laser point on the opposite wall being right on the same “X” for both speakers.  

Of course where I went wrong is that the additional front washers messed things up. A few washers doesn’t seem like much, but it certainly changes the tilt front to back. I certainly may have done something else to mess it up also. The method you outlined with the 8” above the ear height is very simple and easy to understand – especially for boneheads like me who overthink things and mess them up in the process. Thank you for laying out this straightforward method!

  

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  • 4 weeks later...

After installing granite bases under our Quatro's, I adjusted the number of washers as suggested in the manual to get the correct tilt back.

But, guess what!  

Based on this thread, I applied the laser leveling technique described by Richard and discovered that our speakers weren't tilted properly.  How could this be?  I ended up placing an electronic level on the tops of the speakers and ultimately discovered that our floors are not flat.  Not surprising - this is New England with suspended floors and all that.  

The height of our couch combined with the added height of the granite bases suggest that the our speakers should be level with zero tilt according to the manual.  To get that, I had to add three more washers to the back spikes.  That doesn't sound like a lot; just a fraction of a degree.  But, when extended to the listening position, that moved the laser spots by a fair amount down to where they should be.

Apparently our floors slope down from front to back by about three washers worth over the depth of the Quatros.  That's about 5/32 of an inch.  Not a lot.  But, a lot for this.

Moral of the story - the chart in the manual works great and is completely accurate when you have truly flat floors.  If you don't, you need to make additional measurements and adjust accordingly.  It's absolutely, positively worth the effort.

Just today my wife commented that the recordings I played this morning for her after redoing the subwoofer controls "sound just like we're in the room."  That's very high praise from her, heretofore only expressed once with regard to a Richard Sequerra system that cost about the same as an Aston Martin.  She knows what live music sounds like too - she spent many years of her life in practice rooms and performance halls of various sizes.  (I think there's still a bit of room for improvement, but not in the loudspeakers.  I'm certain that Kentos and Sevens are even better, but the rest of our world isn't up for that.)

Side note:  I then had to explain to her why the audience sounded like they were behind the musicians, when obviously they were not when the pieces were recorded.  That had apparently always bothered her.  New mysteries revealed very day!

Edited by BKDad
Badd spelling, grammatical errors and.
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Great post BK and interesting.  I think when Rutan set mine up, that he made sure my floors were level, but not sure.  Jim, I didn't know you had mission furniture.  I own some Stickley pieces and I also make this style (1900-1912) and it's variants.  

We all spend or talk aobut spending so much on corner traps or diffusers or....  Jim uses one guitar in the right hand corner for his bass issues (nice to own an adjustable bass speaker isn't it?) In addition, setting up the speakers properly out of the gate may even negate some of the room issues folks can have.  

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10 hours ago, TomicTime said:

Imagine 7’s setup with the laser for recline........ha.

46456406-8DA3-41A6-9A7F-7B56184570DF.jpeg

Between the 7's, the Bedrocks, the M7-HPA's, new cables, and a new house with a new listening room, that would be a half million dollar upgrade.  I'm 100% sure it would be wonderful.  

I admire that, but envy gets in the way of having fun...  🙂

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sorry, my point was and should have been....meticulous setup, assume nothing is level or symetrical ( including the recliner ) and follow the instructions.....no matter what gear you have....

Pete - Yes a fan of that era and we could only afford a piece, here and there at truck load sales, so nothing is an exact match....

one of my points should have been that model one and two owners even enjoy what 7’s can do with spatial information...and RV’s relentless quest to get pistonic drivers into all the line. i know this because we are blessed to also have a pair of Treo....same sonic signature and great imaging. Until recently we also had 1ci ....ditto..same great image...

the room has 16+ ceiling w lots of openings......not much need for bass traps...... it’s flat at the bottom EQ pot, both sides....

back to the music

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3 hours ago, Huang said:

I want to double check my Treos is the 8" measurement valid for Treos too?

i believe so, my understanding is top of cabinet to acoustic center of mid / tweeter is a constant w possible exception of the “ sock models “

i will ask RV, or perhaps he will weigh in....

jim

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