Diling it in

In our last post we managed to get our loudspeakers roughed in, measured and connected and confirmed that everything is correct in our electronic setup from end to end. Excellent work so far.

Our next step will be to dial in the center image and for this I recommend you find a track with a well recorded voice. I always use a voice for this step because of anything in music we’re most familiar with it’s the human voice. For this particular task I use one of my favorites which is an older CD called the Best Audiophile Voices, recommended to me by a good friend here in Boulder (thanks Robert!). The track I like best is by Jane Monheit. You can choose any track you like as long as it’s well recorded, simple and has a voice that sound natural. This is important because next we’re going to try and get the voice to sound like it’s in the room with us and if it wasn’t well recorded naturally, then our task will be impossible.

Now that you have chosen the recording you’re going to use, let’s spend a minute understanding what it is we’re trying to achieve. We have a few goals in mind: getting our voice to be the correct size, placing the voice behind the loudspeakers, the source of that voice to disappear, sound natural, placed at the correct height and finally to be in the room with us. That may seem like a tall order and it may sound unlike what you have now but it’s what you want and it’s where we’re going to get to.

Let’s start with the first task: getting the voice to be the right size. If you have a moment to click on the link I provided you’ll read an earlier post about getting the volume correct. This is the very first thing we’re going to do: get the volume correct so the size of the person is correct. This is a critical step but fortunately pretty easy. If you’re using the Monheit cut note as you turn up and down the volume the relative size of Jane – louder and she gets too big, softer it’s the opposite.

Just imagine for a moment she’s in the room, standing halfway between the back of your loudspeaker pair and the wall behind the loudspeakers. Is she the right size? Adjust the volume until she is.

This will get you close but, of course, we may need to toe in the loudspeakers a little bit to snap the width of her voice into the proper size and focus. Avoid doing this right now and try and ignore this issue just for the moment. Use the volume method to get as close as you can and then we’ll get down to finer details in a future post. It won’t be perfect but this will get you close.

Tomorrow we get everything behind the loudspeakers.

Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.