The RM12 tweak

If Rega's Roy Gandy is to be believed, I am neurotic. Roy said audiophiles are those who like to fiddle around and tweak things and they could be "neurotic" (see If that's the case, then I'm an incurable neurotic. And I might as well share another tweak with the other neurotic audiophiles out there.

It was something I had always wanted to do but somehow never got round to doing.

I had always wanted spikes that would not scratch the tiled floor - unlike folks in the West whose homes have carpeted floors, most Malaysians live in homes with tiled floors. It could be terrazo, normal tiles, marble or granite slabs or porcelain tiles, but the spikes of speakers will always scratch them - which is bad for marriages because the wife would be fuming mad.

In my previous house the terrazo floor had holes and scratches where the speakers were placed. I had used one-sen coins as footers, but the maid or the kids would habitually shove the speakers a bit and leave scratches all over. Luckily my wife found out only when we shifted out.

In my new house, there are porcelain tiles on the floor. So I had to use spikes with rounded tips otherwise divorce documents would be coming my way.

I went to ATS Rack in Amcorp Mall and found out that they sold only spikes with sharp tips. I could use them with dimpled footers, but the total cost was a bit too high for me. Also, sharp spikes on footers can still scratch floors if the kids knock the speakers when they are wrestling with each other.

The owner of ATS was kind enough to tell me that I could try shops that sell nuts and bolts.

Since there was one at Jalan Gasing, Petaling Jaya, I decided to try my luck. The shop is at the end of the row of shops diagonally opposite the EPF building beside the Esso petrol station next to St Francis Xavier church. It's called Gasing Industrial Supply 'Kedai Jual Nat dan Bolt'.

I had with me a spike that came with the ATC SCM40 floorstanders.

A quick check revealed it was M8 size.

I described what I wanted and the shopkeeper gave me the following - cap nuts (with hemispherical caps), set screws (a rod with screw threads) and nuts. All are made of steel.

Set screws (the long things), nuts
and cap nuts (the shiny things).

The 'spikes' that will not scratch floors.

Two nuts were used as spacers.

The cap nut costs 60 sen each; the set screw set me back 70 sen each and the nuts cost all of 10 sen each. Eight cap nuts, eight set screws and 16 nuts cost me all of RM12 (US$1 = RM3.16).

Back home, it took around 15 minutes to screw everything into place. I had to use two nuts as spacers because the holes at the bottom of the speakers were not deep enough. The set screws come in different lengths, so if you measure carefully you may get a perfect fit.

I found out that I did not need to do any levelling because the floor was quite level.

Then I played some music. There was more transparency and the bass seemed tighter and overall the sound was cleaner. The soundstaging vertically also improved somewhat.

There did not seem to be any difference between using sharp-pointed spikes and those with rounded ends.

Now I am thinking of buying six more cap nuts to use as footers on speaker stands when I review bookshelf speakers.

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  1. i received this via gmail:

    tweaking hifi is the ultimate experimentation of bringing the best to your ears, not a "neurotic". why let anyone determine what's best for you ? just like the age old kamasutra , i try it 69 ! i know what's best for myself

    eddie tan


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