Let's start with some observations

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I am going to start a series on how to setup your system and how to tweak and maximize it as best you can for any given room and setup. I think it’s important we lay a few ground rules down first so our expectations will be in line with our results.

First, let me state the obvious: there are any number of opinions on the subject of stereo setup and what’s being presented here is simply another view – one that has been built up over many years of setting systems up. Secondly, I am not the best setup man in the world – others are much better than I. For example, Dave Wilson and Peter McGrath of Wilson Audio are two of the very best setup men on the planet – I can get close but I do not possess their skills and experience. Harry Pearson and Arnie Nudell are the best I know of from that generation – and I am sure there are many more. I’ll do my best to share with you what I know.

I am going to assume that your room is whatever it is and that’s what we have to work with. I am also going to start at the beginning – meaning we’re going to wipe away everything you’ve done and start over – if you would rather keep what you have and simply pickup a few suggestions and setup tricks – then read along and ignore the first parts of this series. I always seem to have better results when I just wipe the slate clean and start fresh.

What you’ll need. If you’re serious about setting up your system and following along you’ll need, at a minimum, a setup disc that properly identifies left and right channels, makes sure mono is correct and phase is correct. I use the Stereophile test disc which you can find any number of places. Here’s a link to the version I use from Music Direct. I always start with the disc because you can waste a lot of time if the channels are swapped or they are out of phase – as lame as that sounds I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gotten it wrong and I have spent time figuring out why.

Tomorrow we get started and give some overall views on the room.