Spikes, feet, and toe-in – is your setup dialed in?

In this episode of Ask The Expert we're discussing spikes and feet, as well as the general positioning of the speakers, including a little something called toe-in.

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In this episode of Ask The Expert we cover exactly where and how to set your speakers down on the listening room floor, to ensure that your setup is dialed in to perfection.

Remember to send us your questions to have them featured in future episodes. Simply use the 'Send us your questions' form at the bottom of this page and they'll land right in our inbox!

 

Tell me about spikes versus feet. What should I use in what situation?

With all of our speakers you have two options. All of the speakers come with rubber pads underneath the feet by default, so, if you have a hardwood floor or some other type of hard floor, just put the speakers down on the floor and the rubber feet will isolate them from the floor.

If you have a carpet, then the rubber pads don't work particularly well and the speaker might be unstable on the carpet. In this case, you'll want to insert the floor spikes so that they can penetrate the carpet and go into whatever floor is beneath that – hopefully concrete or something similar – and then adjust them so that the speakers stand perfectly level. Then the speakers are solidly grounded on the floor, and you should get the best performance from them.

I've read about something called toe-in. What does this mean exactly?

If you imagine setting up the speakers in front of you and pointing them directly forward, that is what we call "no toe-in." On the other hand, if you imagine angling the speakers towards you to have them point inward towards a listening position in the room, that's what we call "toeing-in" the speakers.

The reason for doing this is that the speakers' tweeters are more directional than the woofers, meaning that the amount of tweeter level compared to the midrange and bass levels will vary depending on which angle you put the speakers in. When you have more toe-in, you often gain more tweeter level.

Of course, it also depends on the room and how the reflections work in your room, but what you can do is to test out different angles and figure out what actually sounds best from the listening position.

One tip on how to do this is to start out by actually placing them wrong. Toe them outwards, which is definitely going to be wrong, and then start listening to a track that you know well, whilst gradually angling them inwards.

Take note of whether the sound improves – which it will do in the beginning – and at some point you will have gone too far, and it will begin to sound worse, at which point you should being to angle the speakers outwards again.
This is a simple yet effective way of figuring out what the optimal toe-in for your specific listening position is.

Among other things, you should be listening to check that the singer's voice is clearly positioned in the middle – that you have a believable presentation of the voice in the middle of the room.

Of course, you want to have a wide soundstage, where things are properly separated from each other, but you don't want to have a hole in the middle – you want that center imaging to be perfect. The balance of those two things needs to be right.

Once you start trying this out, and you do this gradually, it will very quickly become quite apparent. It's a lot easier to hear than it is to explain, so just give it a try and you'll get the right result.

 

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Dynaudio Magazine

Dynaudio Magazine is our universe of sound and music-related articles, videos, and podcasts, covering everything from loudspeakers and technology to extraordinary people, and our very best tips and tricks.

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