Fine Tuning Vandersteen 5s An offer gone missing

Awhile back I purchased a pair of Vandersteen 5's and I inquired regarding placement, etc., etc. As anyone who has these knows, there are a host of room contour adjustments that can be done. There are 11 adjustment "pots" for bass contour which generally require the use of an SPL meter and test CD to set accurately. One fine Audiogonner said in an e-mail that he had a very good way to accomplish these adjustments by "ear" and that I should contact him once I was fully satisfied with the speaker placement, cables, etc. Now, the e-mail (and address) has gone missing. Would that member be so kind as to contact me again? Of course, I would also welcome comment and advice from others. Thanks
If you can afford Vandersteen 5's you can afford True Audio, True RTA, the full suite is $99 and is an accurate professional level tool.

Microphone and preamp for computer interface $200

Then you can tune the speaker properly from bass to treble
mre2007 - Rives will work, a cd from Vandersteen with 11 frequencies matched to the 11 potentiometers makes the job easier. Also, time alignment goes out the window for the bottom firing bass (low frequency = long wavelength = even if the bass was time aligned you couldn't tell it).
I am lucky enough to live near Zargon and he was kind enough to fine tune my 5As. The improvement was like getting new speakers.
Oh, you would have to add that Agaffer. .. :-( Ha!

Jeff, the obvious question (for which I probably know the answer) is, can a guy lay his paws on one of the Vandersteen-produced CD's?

Thnaks for the new info regarding True Audio D. I will look into that software. I come from a staunch background of trusting only one's ears and am a bit reluctant to admit that tools like this can help optimize room sound. But, I'm getting there.

I will be in touch, Zargon. Thanks again for your kind offer.

OK, I am listening to your plea, and despite my better judgment, and the admonitions not to do this in the 5A user manual, lets give a try at a very simple “by ear” setup (Richard, please forgive me). I will leave out all of the complicating iterations, rationale, subtleties, and second order effects, to make it as simple and straightforward as possible.

Some of you with lots of test experience may be horrified by the compromises and potential inaccuracies in the approach below. I am trying to respond to 4yanx, so please don’t attack like vampires. If he tries it and likes the change, then he is better off! If not, no harm done. Let 4yanx be the judge.

All you need for this procedure is a test CD with 10 test signals from 20 to 160 Hz, and your ears. Recognize that determining audio levels across test signals by ear is a challenge and potentially frustrating experience – just do your best. All listening is to be done from your normal listening position. Also, following this procedure will not optimize the subs in your room; only potentially improve their performance in the current location.

“By Ear” Procedure

1. Set the low-frequency contour controls to minimum, the bass levels to “0”, and verify that all 11 room compensation bands are set straight up for both speakers (12 o’clock).
2. With both speakers playing, set the volume at a comfortable listening level for music you enjoy.
3. Listen to each of the 10 CD test signals on both right and left speakers individually, by moving the balance control back and forth. Try to determine if one side sounds “on the average” louder or softer than the other. If so, boost the bass level on the sub amp for the weaker side, or reduce the stronger side, or both until they sound the same. If it is not obvious, leave the bass levels at “0”.
4. Center the balance control, and disconnect the right speaker at the amp.
5. Starting with 160 Hz as a reference, play each test signal and take notes on whether it sounds louder or softer than the reference. A code like zero, one, or more +’s or –‘s for each band is a good approach. Pick the one signal you determine best represents the middle level (some louder, some softer). That signal is your new reference.
6. With this new reference, repeat the step above recording the number of +’s or –‘s for each of the other bands. You now have a rough profile of the sub performance over the 10 test signals, and are ready to adjust the 11 room compensation controls. These adjustments are meant to reduce, not eliminate the variation. A complete flattening of peaks and valleys may cause a non musical result. (Note, the 11 room compensation control frequencies do not match up to the 10 standard 1/3 octave test signals on a test CD.)
7. Pick the highest signal (most +’s), find the closest control and reduce its setting to 9 AM. If it is between controls, adjust both to 10 AM. Take the 2nd highest signal and reduce to 10 AM, and the 3rd highest and reduce to 11 AM.
8. Pick the lowest signal (most –‘s), find the closest control and increase its setting to 3 PM. If it is between controls, adjust both to 2 PM. Take the 2nd lowest signal and increase to 2 PM, and the 3rd lowest and increase to 1 PM.
9. Now reconnect the right speaker, disconnect the left speaker, and repeat steps 5 to 8 above. It is very likely that the sub profile and corresponding room compensation control settings will be very different for this channel, depending on the non symmetries in your listening room and its decorations.
10. Reconnect the left speaker and set the low frequency contour control and each speaker to 7. Play a CD with a good bass track moving up and down through its range, and centered on both channels. Adjust the low frequency contour controls jointly to your preference. Up will make it bigger and boomier, and down will make it tighter.

Listen to a variety of music and see if the bass is better balanced and more uniform, whether the mids have cleaned up, and whether you can hear more detail etc. If it is worse, just back out the changes, and appreciate the difficulty of what you have attempted, and the potential value of more rigorous test methods using RS meters, RTAs, and acoustic SW.

Good luck!