Installation Notes – Updated

On a modern, even and level floor, the challenges wouldn’t be so great, but the limited range of adjustment and the stability issues would remain. Fortunately, Vienna offer optional, upgraded outriggers and cones for the Mozart Infinity, based on the ones provided for previous Mozart models and very similar to those on the Beethovens. These have massive, threaded spikes and substantial lock-nuts, both easily adjustable from above. Past experience tells me just how effective this arrangement is, both in terms of mechanical termination and stability, but also ease of use. You can achieve really precise results that have a major impact on musical performance with relative ease – at least in practical terms. The optional feet don’t look as svelte or integrated to the speaker as a whole, but working with the standard feet has proved a salutary experience, demonstrating the extent to which apparently peripheral elements can seriously undermine or limit potential performance. The Mozart Infinity is capable of remarkably musical and engaging results. Stand it on the basic cones and satisfy yourself by adjusting one of them to stop the speaker wobbling and you will never know just how good they could be. One obvious conclusion is that the ‘optional’ feet should be considered obligatory. The second is that you shouldn’t underestimate just how responsive this speaker is to set-up…

In some respects, I travelled the same journey with the Nel Extreme, although in this case, the challenges were more to do with access and practicality that the actual mechanical execution of the spikes. The Mozart’s standard cones were easy to use but performance limiting. The spikes on the Nels were effective enough, but a serious pain to adjust with any degree of precision.

The Nel Extreme showing just how close the slender spikes place it to the floor. Note the added height of the Track Audio footers!

To start with, by electing to use three spikes on the speaker T&T has created a situation in which levelling and rake angle are easy to adjust – azimuth less so. In fact, as soon as you use either front spike to alter lateral tilt, you automatically also impact the rake angle. In this case, that matters, because the Nel Extreme is a superb performer, in which tiny adjustments to rake-angle, azimuth and toe-in contribute mightily to musical presence, focus and the highly developed sense of artistic intent. This is one of those speakers that is never going to sound bad, but get it dialled in (particularly in terms of attitude and height off the floor) and the performance takes flight. The challenge lies in the deliberately small spike dimensions, which makes getting hold of them tricky if, like me, you have fat fingers, as well as the classic issue of trying to lock the spikes off without tweaking their setting. Get a spanner on the lock nuts and you simply don’t have enough grip on the spike to stop it turning as you lock it down – and it turns enough for you to hear the difference! These are genuinely revealing speakers, embodying all the best points of a mini-monitor while making a more than fair stab at minimizing the weight, scale and dynamic limitations. The spikes certainly contribute to that performance, but they also make it painfully difficult to achieve. I’m going to be experimenting with a set of the smooth running Track Audio spikes, with their slick lock nuts and spanner flats, to see if they improve practicality without impairing performance. I’ll report back in the review proper.