Installation Notes – Updated

The Nel has custom, lightweight spikes, three to a speaker and with shallow lock-nuts. They possess nice, sharp points that actually have some chance of penetrating a carpet, but they have short threads and no way of gripping them when locking them off. One consideration here is the presence of the downward firing port. T&T don’t want to offer too great a range of adjustment, so that users can lift the speaker too high off the floor, altering carefully calculated port characteristics. But in both instances, the choice/design of the cones or spikes presented a challenge when it came to set up.

Enough is enough – just not topo much…

With wide-bandwidth speakers, balancing the bass weight and integration against the room is the first challenge – ensuring that too much bass doesn’t intrude on proceedings. With smaller speakers it’s a case of maximising the bottom-end without compromising musicality. In many ways, that makes the adjustment just as critical as for larger speakers when it comes to maximising musical potential. Let’s start with the Mozart. VA quote the Mozart Infinity’s -3dB point as 30Hz. Not only is the company unusually realistic when it comes to the specifications on its products, but that is enough low-frequency output to cause issues in most domestic rooms if the speakers are poorly sited. Experience with other floorstanding Vienna speakers (particularly the excellent Beethoven Baby and Concert Grands) has taught me that the speakers are super -ritical of attitude and height off the floor. As soon as I fired up the Mozart Infinities, it was apparent that they share the Vienna DNA, both in terms of their beautifully natural tonal colours, scale and dimensionality (helped by some deft DSP shaping in their on-board amplification) and in the demands those attributes place on set-up.

Long story short, by the time I had the speakers zeroed-out (dead vertical) on my 17thC. floorboards, there was little or no thread left on the cones to play with their attitude or height off of the floor. Working with what adjustment did remain, as well as a few extemporary experiments with varying the heights of footers or temporarily installing longer spikes, clearly demonstrated just how responsive the speakers are to height and angle adjustments. Yes, I could achieve some of the benefits of lifting the speakers on their cones by really careful fore-and-aft adjustment, but that was more a case of juggling absolute weight rather than improving bottom-end linearity. What’s more, with several of the cones extended to pretty much the end of their threads, the lack of locknuts meant stability became a serious problem. Adding standard nuts to the cones where possible, solved that issue, to significant sonic benefit – but aesthetically speaking it was a bit like drawing spectacles on the Mona Lisa.

Vienna Acoustic’s superb spike system – seen here on the Liszt speaker. The optional spikes for the Mozart Infinity are almost identical.