Post binding for crude tone control

I have a newish pair of ATC SCM40 passive speakers.  They're 3-way, notoriously revealing and have triple binding posts*.  The posts are connected by metal plates (steel?).   The dealer advised, and I believe it's common practice, that I bind my cables to one of the bass driver's posts, and to one of the tweeter's posts.  I expect this setup treats all 3 drivers the same, with an equal amount of plate in each's circuit.

Recently, I've upgraded cables, fuses, USB cables etc, and resolution of the system has increased along with a little digital glare.  Female vocals are too often sibilant.  The probable cause is the ethernet stage and I am working on improving it, but to "tame the treble" I thought I'd try playing around with the binding setup.  It occurred to me by binding across the bass or mid-range posts I might be "favouring" those drivers, and attenuating the others.  I'm assuming the plates have a slightly higher resistance than my TelluriumQ Ultra Black II cable.

So, I unplugged from the tweeter's terminal and moved the cable's plug to the mid-range's.  Each cable is now bound to both the bass and mid-range posts.  The tweeter's posts are connected by only the plates.

And, hey presto, the system is now exhibiting a slightly warmer, darker sound.   I might be wrong, of course;  wouldn't be the first time the Emperor's new clothes are warmer and more musical. 

Has anyone else done the same?  

It did occur to me that strategic use of resistors might attenuate a driver even further, though I doubt this could improve resolution.


* - has anyone ever tri-wired their speakers?


I've had several sets of speakers which were bi-wire/bi-ampable and my experience is that pretty much all those supplied metal plates connecting the bass and satellite sections of the speaker binding post SUCK.  Even those with a nice shiny gold plating sound lousy.  If you don't want to tri-wire then I recommend using quality wire jumpers or make your own.  And yes, in my opinion, you can use anything in your system as a tone control.  I don't know why some audiophiles are so opposed to that notion.  Good luck!


I agree with finding another source for connecting the binding posts. The idea of tweaking things as a substitute for tone control(s), is a bit more vague in that you may get better music through a certain range, but not so much in other frequency rages, such as deep bass. I'm not crazy about the idea of actual tone controls either because some else has chosen the high or low pass frequency to start with. Some of the older gear used to have selectable turnover frequencies for the bass and treble controls, giving a better chance at hitting the target.  

I hate to break it to you, but if a speaker is inherently too hot on top, it is a losing battle trying to change that, as you are attempting to change its core voicing. No amount of cable swapping, binding post configurations, or EQing will solve this. Your best bet is to find speakers that sound more balanced to your ears... you'll save yourself a lot of grief, believe me.

While it is not pretty and gold plated, try a couple of lengths of copper wire and see if it makes a difference. If you like it, get a couple of lengths of AQ or Cardas or whatever speaker cable you prefer. You’ll be amazed how crappy those shiny medal plates are.

All the best.

bojack---do you know this from personal experimentation?  Perhaps that hot top end is only a matter of synergy and yes, changing cables, plugs, & outlets can solve this issue.  I have gone through this with an overly bright midrange on a pair of large DIY speakers I bought some years ago akin to Legacy Focus using Eton drivers.  I thought gold would smooth out the mids but actually, it seemed to exacerbate the problem.  Tubes in the source did help some using either a Raysonic 228 or a Modwright Oppo BDP83 SE but what really did the trick was much better cabling and getting all the gold out of my system.  My wires are mostly DIY silver plated solid core copper.  I went exclusively to Oyaide 004 and 046 plugs and my outlets are all Cruze Audio Maestros and there is significantly more detail but the mids aren't as pushed forward and sound more natural  without the bite.  There is no reason the OP couldn't achieve the same results with his hot top end doing nothing more than improving the jumpers or tri-wiring.  Along those same lines, I've found the IeGO 8095 rhodium over PURE silver plug to be both very detailed and extended and yet somehow able to smooth out an aggressive top end and brightness in the midrange.  So bojack, nothing personal but I'll have to disagree with you on this one

I have SCM40’s too that replaced SCM 35’s. I have biwired them, using the stock jumpers. I had originally tried fancy jumpers from Cardas, but the sound was smoothed too much. I was surprised that I preferred the stock jumper plates.


These speakers benefit from biwiring, in my opinion. My SCM40’s are not bright or hard at all. The SCM35’s could be bright and hard on poorly recorded material.

Binding cables to one of the bass driver's posts, and to one of the tweeter's posts - I wonder if this really works, or ever observable, but good idea nevertheless - to try. Thanks.

I have a pair of SCM-19 v2 and use high quality jumpers that match my speaker cables. I found both clarity and smoothness improved with jumpers instead of the stock plates.

I asked the owner of Audiosensiblity cables about diagonally connecting speaker cables as you described and he suggested it is better to connect the speaker cables to the base driver posts since it uses/needs the most juice. He also recommended using one set of the best quality possible speaker cables along with jumpers rather than bi-wiring with two sets of lesser quality speaker cable (for a given budget.) I presume the same logic applies to tri-wiring (unless you are using multiple amps?)

I recently replaced the stock binding posts on the ATC's with WTB Nextgen, which required enlarging the mounting plate hole diameter. It was a bit of a project but here again clarity and smoothness improved. 

FWIW jumpers seem stupid expensive for what they are and I would suggest making your own with appropriately high quality speaker cable and terminations, i.e. 4 banana-spade jumpers for each speaker.

Post removed 

Don't get me wrong, all, it can still sound great, but like most I want better.  

I think it likely, however, that I will try for a warmer speaker cable.  I've read great things about the Purist Audio range.  In particular, their Poseidon might well do the job.

Out of curiosity and having temporarily taken leave of my senses, I made some jumpers out of the same wire as some great speaker cable I was using and they actually sounded worse. The gold plated jumpers on speakers are's silly to worry about them as an inch of wire is utterly inconsequential and that flat jumper has far more connectivity than pretty much any jumper.