Acoustic Zen Adagio Floor-Standing Speakers Set-Up

I have owned a pair of Acoustic Zen Adagio Floor Standing Speakers for two years. They have been in 5 different rooms in 5 homes and apartments in that time (been downsized a lot!). No matter what I try, I cannot get ANY bass response at all. I have used the Cardas speaker setup instructions and every other article I could find on speaker set-up. I have tried several different preamp/power amp/integrated solid state and tube electronics from McIntosh, Jolida, etc. with absolutely no bass. I have 3 test cd's from Stereophile and a tripod mounted Radio Shack SPL meter. I have laser rangefingers, etc. I have moved bookcases, cd and lp racks, equipment racks, etc. until I am blue in the face. I only have one piece of furniture, a recliner--the bachelor's dream sound room. I have tried Acoustic zen, Audioquest, and Cardas interconnects and speaker cables. Nothing, absolutely nothing, produces even a hint of bass. The speakers are connected in phase of course. I don't believe the speakers are damaged as they image well almost any where I place them, and the sound stage is very 3D. Can anyone offer a serious suggestion? I don't need any jokers at this point in my life please.

Thanks, Alwaysbroke

I know this is an old thread but I wanted to share my experience with my Adagios. I had two problems in my new (much smaller) house. 1) the midrange was very in your face. I tried various angles in and out but I could not get a good balance. I figured out the midrange was bouncing back off the rear wall and reinforcing the midrange and top end. The back wall was behind a pot belly stove so I could not mount any diffusers there so I tried tilting the speaker back and bingo! Problem solved. 2) great bass alongside the speakers and down the back of the house but lacking in any practical listening position.  I had the speakers various distances from 30cm to 1m from the back wall but still insufficient bass. One day against the usual speaker setup rules I moved them back against the wall with a slight angle in to allow for speaker leads and another bingo! The bass became more prominent, not overpowering and very clean. This is probably due to room node interactions but despite the speakers being transmission line loaded with front ports I was still surprised at the great quality of the bass- no drag, boom, muddiness or doubling. Really happy in my little house now.


I am replying to my own post of several years ago. I can't say enough about how wonderful these speakers sound now. Looking back, I feel rather stupid. Since I will only work a couple of more years, I decided it was time to replace old gear with new gear with warranty. I purchased my first integrated amplifier of my audio lifetime, an Anthem 200 w/ch which is just great. I got an OPPO 95 universal player as well and purchased high-end Acoustic Zen balanced cables. Still no bass. The short "wall" behind the speakers was actually a sliding glass door goi9ng to a porch that was open to the outside. I put up 4 X 8 x 2" styrofaom insulation to make a "fake" wall. Should have known better. I had previously tried the speakers along one long wall, but it was only a thin wall separating the living room from the kitchen. At the encouragement of Larry at Sound Ideas in Gainesville, FL, I tried the speakers against the other long wall--the one made of concrete blocks that was a real wall. What an unbelievable improvement!! After spending a few weekends adjusting the speaker positions with Stereophile Test CD's and a R. Shack digital SPL meter mounted on a tripod, I achieved great success. I recently added a Definitive Technology SC 6000 SuperCube subwoofer as recommended by Larry including the best position (on the same axis as the main speakers just to the side of one speaker, not jammed in a corner), and I now have the best sounding and enjoyable system ever. The Adiago's totally disappear, and the sound stage is very 3D. The Adiago's are sitting on the big spike kit, and the sub on the provided spike feet. I plan to add the threated feet and maple speaker blocks from Mapleshade soon. I added the Mapleshade brass footers, 2" thick walnut block, and isoblocks to the OPPO 95 with real improvement. I can't image ever selling these speakers unless I find myself in a much smaller place to live after I retire.
Thanks for your suggestions. I have tried all of them to no avail. I lived in Knoxville, TN, some years ago in a big house with a basement. That was back in the days of good income, and I had a pair of Avantgarde Uno speakers, Cary tube amps, a variety of CD and SACD players, etc. It got to the point where I wouldn't even sit in the living room as the sound was so bad, zero bass no matter what I did. Finally, after a year of spending tons of money on different gear, I realized the bass was in the basement! I could stand on a ladder and get great bass near the ceiling as well. Man, did I feel stupid and a job loss led to me moving anyway.

I spent all night trying to find the solution and finally there it was, the piece of gear that had not been changed. It turns out the CD player is the source of the problem. As you suggested, the bass is being rolled-off before getting to the amps and speakers.

I never had the thought to listen to the test cd tone tests other than for bass. Once I did, I realized the bass was at least -20 dB compared to the higher frequencies. It is a wonder I could hear any bass at all and thank God I never listened to those other tones with the amp set at the volume I needed to hear the bass.

Looks like a new CD player is needed. I just bought a Jolida 9A phono preamp as I decided to get back to vinyl so I hope the bass is there when I buy a turntable.

Well, just call me stupid, just not ignorant!

Five rooms and no bass. Hmmm.

When you stand with your back up against the wall, do you get bass then? If so, move your chair and/or move your speakers so that you get sufficient boundary reinforcement.

If you don't get bass even up against the wall, one possibility is mis-wiring of the woofers. Connect the + terminal of a battery to the + input terminal, and the - to -. The cones should both jump forward. On both speakers.

Another possibility is that for some reason the low end is getting rolled off before it reaches the speakers.