Optimising the position and set-up of your Kudos speakers could make a massive difference to the enjoyment you’ll get from your Hi-Fi system. Slight alterations can give dramatic improvements to the overall sound. You’ll hear the best and most detailed bass response, dynamics and mid-range clarity which your speakers can deliver from your audio system.
Rather than using extensive measurements when designing Kudos loudspeakers, we spend hundreds of hours listening to music by ear to achieve the purest and most engaging sound possible. So, while you have a bit more time on your hands, what better excuse to listen to some of your favourite music and try out our top tips for optimising the set up and position of your Kudos speakers.
Running your loudspeakers in
Let’s start with run-in time. The more you play your loudspeakers, the better they’re going to sound. We recommend that you run your speakers in for at least 30 hours before you make any real judgements and start to decide on their final position, but ultimately you won’t get their true potential until they have been run in for a few hundred hours – so get listening!
Setting up and positioning your speakers
We would generally recommend that an authorised Kudos retailer should install and set-up your new speakers, however, we understand that this isn’t always desired or possible.
The room is the biggest part of a hi-fi system and how the speaker interacts with the shape and size of the room, as well as your home furnishings is very important. When positioning your speakers, you should be sympathetic to the appearance of the room, as well as the tuning effects the room has on the speakers.
The key to setting up your speakers is to listen, make small adjustments, listen again and repeat until you’re happy with the sound. Once this process is done, the system is set for years to come, so it’s worth spending some time making the final adjustments to maximise the enjoyment you’ll get from the system. Again, it’s worth mentioning that fine tuning is best done after the speakers have been in place and used for at least 100 hours.
To start with, place your speakers in the position that would work best visually. Make sure they’re not too far apart, we recommend around 2m and at least 2m away from the main listening position for optimum sound quality.
The speakers should also be parallel to the rear wall so they’re facing forward forming a triangular shaped listening set-up (as pictured above). Kudos loudspeakers are designed to be listened to off axis, facing directly forward. Due to the exceptionally revealing nature of the drive units, they can sound a little uneven if set up angled in towards the ear, however this can be adjusted slightly depending on personal preference.
Now take a tape measure and make sure each speaker is equidistant from the rear wall and your favoured listening position; a few centimetres can make quite a big difference to the soundstage and how immersive the music is.
Image: Kantata Audio
Due to the isobaric loading on the Titan series and the downward firing boundary port arrangement, Kudos speakers tend to be more tolerant of room boundaries making it much easier to position them in your room. In an ideal scenario there would be plenty of space around the speaker (at least 45cm from any corners) but don’t be afraid to try them closer to the rear wall and gradually move them out to see where you like them best – a good starting point is around 20cm. Moving the loudspeaker closer to your room boundaries will increase bass response but may cause colouration and unevenness in the mid-range and mid-bass.
Getting the best sound from your speakers
Once you’re happy with the general position of the speakers, a degree of experimentation with the placement can bring some significant sound improvements. Play some music, with vocals ideally, which is dynamic and full range that shows some frequency extensions. How does the kick drum sound? How does the bass guitar sound? Does it sound like the vocals are in the middle of the speakers?
Stop the music and carefully move both speakers 2-3cm further away from the rear wall, ensuring they’re at an equal distance. Play the same piece of music at the same volume, and again, listen to the kick drum, bass guitar and vocals. This time, do you find it easier to hear each note of the bass guitar or can you hear the words from the vocalist more clearly?
If the answer is yes, then this could be your favoured position, so mark this spot on the floor with some tape so you can experiment a little further. Now move your speakers further out by a small amount and listen to the music. If the sound starts to deteriorate then go back to the position you marked on the floor earlier.
If the answer is no, keep moving the speakers a small amount to see if you can hear any improvements. If after a few adjustments you can’t hear an improvement, move the speakers back to your start position.
If the position of the speaker is limited to one place due to room constraints, you can still do all of the other tips to ensure your speakers are performing at their very best.
Image: Kantata Audio
Be mindful that all adjustments take a little while to settle, so don’t make too many changes at once. We recommend moving your speakers 2-3cm at a time and spend 20 minutes between each adjustment to allow the speakers to adapt to their new position.
Once you’re happy with your speakers position and the sound you’re experiencing, measure the distances again to make sure they’re equal to the listening position and rear wall. Now adjust the spikes, making sure the speaker is level and free of movement.
Stabilising your speakers
We at Kudos believe any speaker needs to be free from external movement for the best sound experience. Once you’re happy with the final position of the speaker, it’s worth taking the time to adjust the spikes so the speaker is level and free of movement or wobble. The nut holding the spike in place should be “pinch” tight, too much force or over-tightening may damage the spike or fixing.
If you have a wooden or tiled floor, and understandably want to protect it from spike damage, you can place a small floor protector under each spike which your Kudos retailer should be able to provide you with.
Image: Kantata Audio
One last thing, dress your cables
Something that seems obvious but is quite often overlooked. Firstly, make sure your chosen speaker cables are facing in the right direction – a Kudos speaker is quite ‘revealing’ so this should be quite apparent.
Try to use the optimum length of cable for the space. If you do need to get rid of some cable length, we would recommend trailing the cable back and forth between the speakers instead of looping the cable atop of itself as this can lead to inductance resulting in degradation of sound quality.
While the above is what we would recommend when setting up Kudos loudspeakers, there are a lot of other variables that can have an influence on the sound, such as rooms size and shape and what you furnish the space with. The best piece of advice we can give you is to listen and listen again to every change you make to achieve the sound that works best for your own personal enjoyment. For more tips on loudspeaker set-up and positioning get in touch with your local Hi-Fi retailer.
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