Written by 4:06 am Subwoofers • One Comment

Speaker and Sub Setup, Where’s the App for That?

Paul Wilson wonders why there isn’t already an “app for that…”

Living in our modern times one would think there is an app, short for application, for just about anything. A Google search indicated the Apple App Store has millions of them. I saw numbers ranging from five million to ten million, possibly even more. I was not interested enough for further exploration on that particular question so suffice it to say there are lots of apps. Far more, in fact, than one could ever hope to use in ten lifetimes. Except, it would seem, an app to take over the job of, or at the very least do most of the heavy lifting in setting up speakers and / or subwoofers in a listening room. 

AR-AppForThatSmallScale.jpgBeing one of the more difficult things to actually get right, speaker setup is often painstaking, time consuming, and evolving over time. Every time I became convinced my speaker placement was wrong came after the previous conviction it was correct. For now anyway, I have finally found what I consider the best and most musical spot for my speakers and subs. That does not mean, however, I don’t sit and questioningly wonder “what if…” 

Because getting speaker placement is as difficult as it is, and because there seems to be an app for everything and anything imaginable, I did a search on the Apple App Store for Speaker Setup. A subsequent search for “Subwoofer Setup” yielded the same result – “Your Search Had No Results. Try Search Again.”  Frankly, I found that a little hard to believe. Can I not get a little help over here? I am looking for an all-encompassing, total front to back app that tells me on thing and one thing only – put the speakers “right here.” 

Because the lack of such an app came as such a surprise I decided to try an Internet search instead. For speaker set up I found 404,000,000 results and for subs, 19,700,000. Seriously? Now obviously I am not claiming there are four hundred million ways to set up speakers. I have to imagine there must be at least ten valid, workable, successful ways to set up speakers in a list of four hundred million. 

AR-DBReading.jpgAs far as an app is concerned one roadblock, I suspect, is measurements. Precise placement of each speaker relative to side and front walls, to the listening chair and to each other are necessary for proper imaging, soundstage, and bass response. So maybe because measuring distances is so important, perhaps that is one reason there is “no app for that.” 

Another problem, perhaps, is the room type. Listening rooms are infinitely variable and no two are exactly identical. Maybe that is a hinderance. Call me crazy, and possibly I am, but in ten million apps doing who only knows what, I have to believe there is some allowance for variables in whatever the app is supposed to do. Again, maybe I’m overreaching, but didn’t the latest IOS 12 revision include some type of measuring device? I haven’t figured out how to use it yet but it is there. Would that not be of some assistance or is it perhaps too soon after the release of the new update? Could some app developer, also an audiophile, be slaving away on a speaker placement app right now? 

About the closest thing I have found is an app for speaker toe in. Of course, unfortunately, that is of no use to me since I don’t toe my speakers in anyway. The Blades have a wide dispersion pattern and toeing them in, at least in my audio room and to my ears, lessens the soundstage width. However, I did use the toe in app to set my speakers at “zero,” which I could have also done by sight. 

AR-FFTMeasurement.jpgI realize there are apps that act as a frequency generator, as a FFT measuring device, a spectrum analyzer, take Db readings, and all of that. There are apps that do some of the things that are necessary for proper speaker placement. None that I have found, however, does it all. You see, I’m greedy. Probably even a touch lazy. I want an app that will tell me the left speaker here, the right speaker there, and if that does not suit your listening pleasure, let me know and I’ll start again and will revise everything. I’m here to help. I want an app that removes guesswork, one that takes everything into account. Most of all, I want one that is easy to use and is basically automatic – push one button and presto, speakers are set. 

Of course, I also want to be ten years younger. That’s not likely to happen either. Oh well, I suppose one can dream.

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