Genelec are one of the foremost audio monitor manufacturers in the world. They have just announced the release of SpeakerAngle, an application for iOS devices which claims to be “the first digital tool which allows anyone to correctly set and match the angling ("toe-in") of both stereo and 7.1 surround sound speakers”. Let's find out.
At heart, SpeakerAngle is a simple application. It uses the iDevice's built-in gyroscopic sensor to measure angles.
SpeakerAngle takes less than five minutes to use and could drastically improve your stereo imaging.
Here are the basic instructions for using SpeakerAngle for a stereo setup. The application assumes that speakers are equidistant from the listening position and from the wall behind them.
- Position both speakers at “zero-axis” (facing directly ahead - not angled)
- Place the iPhone (or iPad) on top of the left speaker and align the edges of the speaker and iDevice.
- Touch the left speaker in the app and “zero” it. This lets the app know that your speaker is at zero-axis.
- Physically rotate the speaker inwards whilst the iDevice sits on top. The speakers in the app will rotate too. When the speaker is in, the “industry recommended zone” (from 20 to 45 degrees) the app will alert you.
- Repeat for the right speaker. The app will alert you when both speakers are at the same angle.
Theoretically, if both speakers are the same distance away from each other as they are from the listener (think 3 points of an equilateral triangle), an angle of 30 degrees will provide the best stereo imaging.
Setting up a 7.1 surround system is a similar process, just with more speakers.
I tried SpeakerAngle using the steps listed above to set both my speakers at exactly 30 degree angles. It immediately became obvious that I sit too close to my speakers, ie. the distance between the two speakers is greater than the distance between me and the speakers. It was obvious because both speakers were pointing at a listening position somewhere behind me.
As a result of this, I moved each speakers slightly inward towards each other, not changing the angle, but changing the distance between them to create a more equilateral triangle. The speakers are still angled at 30 degrees, but are now closer to each other and therefore my listening position is correct.
For most people, setting up their speakers is a case of sitting in the listening position and angling the speakers until they face the listening position directly. This is fine in most cases, but SpeakerAngle can assist in the process by quickly highlighting problems with either distance or angle.
SpeakerAngle doesn't do anything highly technical, and there's no real voodoo magic in getting monitoring positions correct, but the whole process takes less that five minutes (maybe ten if you include reading the instructions) and could help you improve your setup. For 99 cents, it's difficult not to recommend it.
SpeakerAngle is compatible with iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later and iPod Touch 4th Generation and later. It is now available at the iTunes App Store at a price of just 99 cents.
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