Want to set up your speakers quickly and correctly? Paul Rigby looks at Kralk’s KALSUS which claims to do just that, with laser-borne accuracy, in fact
Produced by the speaker outfit, Kralk Audio, the KALSU system is designed to set the ideal orientation of your speakers. So that everything is pointing in the right way and so that each of your ears is receiving the same information at the same time, in a balanced manner.
So what is KALSU? That main parts are two skinny black boxes. Each contains a battery-operated laser that can be switched on and off. You also get a bubble balance gadget and a measuring tape.
The idea is that you use the supplied tape measure to set up your speakers in a basic way. That means five to 10 feet apart with each speaker’s outer edge the same distance to the wall. Once you’ve done that, you place each laser unit on top of each speaker and align the front of the each box with the front edge of each speaker, making are that the tweeter is aligned too.
You next need to measure the distance from the floor to the laser aperture and make a note of that, then you need to measure the listening position, “The instructions assume that the speakers are already at the correct height,” said Kralk boss, Alan Clark. “Most manufacturers try to get stand mounted speakers to about ear height when seated as do most floor standing designs, so long as the two central lasers are at the same height at the listening position roughly around where your ears would be that is the correct spot.”
Next swivel the lasers towards your listening position. If your seat is away from the wall then its good idea to put something in the chair to pretend it’s you and aim the lasers at it. Some speakers need to point directly at the listener. So, point both lasers directly at your chair-borne object. Other speakers need their tweeters to point just off-axis from each ear. Again, manoeuvre the lasers to do just that. Now you know that both of the speakers are aligned.
The lasers will also show the first reflection point. That is, the first position on the side walls where the sound first bounces after leaving the speaker. Sound doesn’t just leave the speaker and hit your ears. It also bounces around the room. This first bounce position will be to the left and right of the respective speakers. You will easily see it when using the KALSU. When you find it, make sure you damp this area to stop nasty reflection echoes.
Once thing, you should only use the lasers for no more than 10 minutes at a time. They warm up and lose accuracy over that 10 minus mark.
This tool has been built to use when setting up your hi-fi system or tweaking. As I’ve just moved house, it proved very useful for me, setting up my speakers in my new listening room.
The system, which Kralk uses itself to set up speakers, is easy to use and works. For example, I thought my system was set up accurately but found out, after using the KALSU, that the left speaker was actually ending up two foot too far to the left and the right speaker wasn’t hitting my right ear but my left ear! After using the KALSU, I notice a big improvement in the structure of my soundstage. It was much more balanced and coherent with everything clicking into place: the vocals were pushed back into the stereo image creating a 3D effect, instruments sounded precise and accurate while the soundstage now had a sense of layering. Why? Well, frankly because I was now listening to the speakers and my hi-fi as I should have been doing in the first place, instead of the cock-eyed way I’d been doing it for too darned long!
It’s not just for people setting up a new hi-fi system either. As Kralk’s Alan Clark said, “I sold one to a guy who was frustrated with his wife moving the speakers all the time to clean, he spent hours trying to get them back in the right position and now with the KALSU he can do it in seconds.”
I can imagine the same issues with children and pets and the like. Only issue I have is using it with speakers without a flat top. My Quad ESL-57s where a case in point. They have rounded tops. I worked out a system where I used the KALSUS underneath the speakers on the stands themselves. But any issues like these can be sorted pretty easily.
A brilliantly simple system. Easy to use and quick to process, it does the job and does it efficiently. It even comes in a sturdy little briefcase for long term storage. The KALSUS is now a permanent part of my hi-fi toolkit.
Website: The old website is down – awaiting an update.
GOOD: Easy to use, accuracy, also tracks reflection points
BAD: needs thought when used with curvy speakers