I’d never considered tightening the screws holding the loudspeakers in the box.
That would be filed under the “that’s the way they made them - don’t touch” rule.
Once I’d overcome my aversion to the idea, out came the allen keys and torque wrench set.
I tried the first screw gently and was immediately surprised at how little effort it took to turn it through a full 45 degrees until finger-pressure tight. I’d even go so far as to say it was well on the way to being actually “loose”!
Once I had tightened all the screws on both speakers (just one screw was tighter than all the others) and played music, the improvement was startling. Previously unheard delicate cymbal patterns were suddenly there. Tonal improvements took place - vocals, for example - and there was no apparent loss of musicality.
Best free upgrade I’ve ever had.
Which begs a couple of questions. Were my speakers the victim of poor quality control at the factory? If not, why would ATC deliberately release a product put together so that it doesn’t perform to it’s best?
Or is it that the screws became loose over time?
Whatever the answers, the improvements were dramatic.
Ask the next mechanical engineer you meet how much vibration can wreak havoc on sensitive (and not-so-sensitive) items. Then consider how much vibration speaker drivers are exposed to! Screws being shaken loose over time is more or less to be expected.
I love my second system in my bedroom. Some evenings when I feel totally knackered the main system just feels too much. I retreat to the bedroom and lying there listening to a smaller gentler sound is wonderfully soothing
Other nights I’m bang up for it and the big rig gets cranked right up
To this end, try to occasionally listen to your system from the next room through an open doorway, if that’s feasible. Doing this strips away much of the attention-getting hi-fi stuff. If it still sounds alive and engaging, you’ve probably got the essentials right.
When evaluating a new component, or any change in the system, try not to make judgments while you’re listening. Instead, just relax into the listening session, then think back to it later that day or even the next day. Something that was initially impressive (or seemed to address a deficit that was bothering you) may not survive this digestion process. Conversely, something that failed to blow you away may stick with you, in a good way, and draw you back.
I’ve been messing with toe in for what feels like an eternity. The manual says fire straight ahead but I always felt that lacked cohesion. I’ve been trying all sorts and now, with the most gentle of toe-ins, everything has snapped into place. It’s like tuning a radio in the old days and you find that magic spot on the dial and you daren’t touch it again. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say it’s a box upgrade level gain. I can’t measure it but I’d say it’s a few degrees and no more.
The soundstage is also much deeper. And all for a few degrees.