Quarter Notes #10 (Volume 3, Issue 2)

Updated: Sep 2, 2020

Dear Get Better Sound Readers,

Welcome to the tenth issue of Quarter Notes!

Quarter Notes is a quarterly newsletter for Get Better Sound readers, expanding on the Get Better Sound manual, as well as introducing new and timely subjects.

This issue discusses setting up speakers and what to listen for. But wasn’t this covered in Get Better Sound? Well, GBS does cover this topic. But this is the tale of my personal efforts and (sometimes new) revelations as I set up my new speakers in my demo room. It goes into more detail that I hope you can think about and employ for your own system.

Additionally, we’ll look at some other topics that will be of interest as well. Yes, I’m actually gonna take a break from Computer Audio this issue, except addressing a mini-breakthrough I came across recently.

Don’t forget, you are invited to e-mail me with your questions and comments.  If appropriate, and with your approval, I may include your note – or a reply to it – in an upcoming newsletter – as I have done in previous issues.

Best e-mail address

Since you’re reading this, the e-mail address that I used to notify you must have worked.  However, the only e-mail address I have is the one associated with your initial Get Better Sound order.  

If you have an e-mail address that you’d prefer to use to receive Quarter Notes notifications, send it to js@getbettersound.com. Be sure to list the month of purchase (if possible), and definitely include the address I used originally along with the one that you want to use to replace it.

Health issues and your correspondence

Most of you remember the Interim Quarter Notes I sent out in late October 2011. In that update, I mentioned the health issues I was encountering and an upcoming surgery.

Initially, I replied to each of your notes, but it quickly got out of hand as many hundreds of notes kept coming in! I was surprised and overwhelmed (in a good way) at the sheer numbers of well-wishes, but I couldn’t possibly keep sending individual replies! So now, I want to thank all of you who sent encouraging and uplifting personal notes.

The total hip replacement surgery on Nov. 30 went very well. I have two more surgeries to go, but I am very optimistic that the outcome will be better than ever. Thanks for your support, your thoughts, and your prayers!

It’s not just babies that take nine months – the 1st comprehensive GBS DVD review is born!

We started shipping the DVD sets nine months ago. While there have been some interesting commentaries that have appeared, the first comprehensive review has just been posted in the new Positive Feedback Online – Issue 59.

Rather than quote from it in this newsletter, for those who might be interested in reading reviewer Jeff Day’s take on the DVDs, please go here:


The only significant area where I disagree with Jeff is the price. He quotes it at $39.70, the regular price. However Quarter Note Press has had it promotionally priced at US $19.95 for a while now.

Question about the Best Coupling to the Floor

Reader Al N. sent me a note wondering if I might comment on the best coupling to the floor with speakers (and I’ll add racks and amp stands as well).

Of course any “Best” statement is always going to be disputed. And in this area, I’ve probably gone against the Audiophile Establishment more often than not. :(

This answer comes from the experience of doing hundreds - if not thousands - of set-ups and from all those Show demos I did where we won Best Sound.

I know there are lots of well-respected (and famous) designers out there who recommend spikes for their loudspeakers. I’ve written and commented on this position before, but it seems as if I need to touch on it in a little more depth.

This topic comes up on a number of RoomPlay voicing sessions as well. Quite simply, using spikes as the interface between the floor and the speaker consistently produces what I call Audiophile Bass. There is no question that the bass is tighter. It even affects the overall sound in the higher registers.

I tend to prefer more of what I call a musically organic sound, whereas the spikes produce a more mechanically precise sound. So there is room for calling one or the other a simple preference.

Until you think about the sound of live bass, acoustic or amplified, I always say, “It’s not a preference when you have a reference.” :)

Over many years of concert-going, and making live recordings for various entities, including Public Radio Affiliates, not once have I EVER heard live bass (acoustic or amplified) that sounds as tight and shriveled as I hear from systems where spikes are used. Not once – never…