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What Is The Darndest Thing That Made An Improvement Tweak Wise?

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With all the spare time many have now; it would seem this would be a great time for tweaking and experiments. I still would guess that the audiophiles out there with the greatest sound are not necessarily the ones with the best equip., but the most creative ones & the most experimental ones. While its true that most tweaks don't make as big a difference as an intelligent major component upgrade, there is a multiplication factor involved. 10 creative tweaks that each make a subtle but clearly audible difference; they could add up to more improvement than someone's expensive new power amp or even expensive speakers. What if someone has 70 or 80 tweaks that each make a small but noticeable difference in the right direction? Are there tweakers out there in hi-fi land that are listening through vintage Yamaha & Denon equipment whose sound would rival or surpass some of the most expensive & exotic equipment out there today? What are some of the things you have happened upon that made a nice improvement in the sound? The fact that many of these things are discovered by accident makes it all the more fascinating.

 

  Here is one of the things that I discovered just the other day. I use vintage Tekna Sonic vibration absorbing devices on top of my speakers. In addition to having weight, they have fin shaped things on one side that help dissipate vibration. Just on a sheer whim, instead of them facing forward, with their front being parallel and just slightly behind the front top of the speaker cabinet; I angled them so that if they were square instead of rectangular, they would have looked like a diamond shape from the front. Wow! It didn't take much time at all to notice the easily heard jump in sound quality on very familiar material. I realized I had tweaked a tweak; so to speak. What are some of your pleasant discoveries?

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Making a suede turntable mat made a noticeable improvement over both felt and rubber. 

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I once completely removed the  mat that came standard on the Harman Kardon T65 turntable I was using and I preferred the sound of the vinyl record sitting right on the metal platter. Scratches to the lp did not occur. Everything got much crisper and more detailed. I thought about it,  and then realized that removing the thickness of the mat made the tonearm non-parallel to the record from the side, as if the height of the tonearm had been increased at the pillar. I once had a bookshelf speaker fall off its stand and land on something about 20 inches high and the bass instantly got so good that I realized that was the ideal height for the speakers. Many of our greatest discoveries have been made by accident. 

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Changed the power setting on my windows 10 laptop from Balanced to Power Saver - not a subtle improvement. 

 

Screenshot_20200522_083231.jpg

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After doubting it too much to even try it, after having read claims by many people, I finally tried unplugging my fridge and playing some very familiar music. A very noticeable improvement. I tried this fairly recently and now always unplug my fridge before a listening session. Now with summer near, I wonder if I will still do this if I have ice cream sitting in the freezer section. Maybe a good time to shed a few pounds.

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Replacing the jumpers on the back of my McIntosh with RCA cables...


No electron left behind...

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Replacing those metal U shaped jumpers does make a big difference. Not only that, but by carefully choosing the tonal qualities of the Rca cables that replace them, you can tweak your sound into being more warm, crisper, faster etc., as the actual character of the second interconnects used as jumpers does interject and blend its own character alongside the main interconnects tonal qualities.

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One of the best things that an audiophile can do to significantly  improve his sound is to make sure that his source has its own separate resting place; apart from all the other gear. It should be situated on something heavy that doesn't rattle and is well built. My CD player, which I am using as my source right now is sitting atop a multi layered arrangement which includes a heavy duty coffee table with glass removed, multiple layers of wood between springs and a long discontinued  VPI Isolation base, which is said to be their first product before they started making turntables. There is at least 120 pounds underneath my source, and I only have one source hooked up at any one time usually. That its perfectly level at the top is important, especially when using a turntable. Also in my main system, I make sure the source is as far away from the speakers as possible. Just moving your turntable across the room, away from the speakers will make it sound like a better turntable, but having something really heavy and solid underneath does wonders.

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Darndest thing ... DIY aluminium-coated heavy duty record mailer stiffeners cut to shape and strategically located (trial-and-error) to shield sensitive digital circuits. Whereas RedNet D16 AES benefits most from proximate mains shunt(s), the DAC and etherREGEN benefit most from EMI/RF protection. SQ delta not trivial. tbh I have a lot of this stuff surreptitiously lining Hi-Fi furniture inc. transformer cabinet.

 

 

20200522_162110.jpg

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21 hours ago, Digi&Analog Fan said:

After doubting it too much to even try it, after having read claims by many people, I finally tried unplugging my fridge and playing some very familiar music. A very noticeable improvement. I tried this fairly recently and now always unplug my fridge before a listening session. Now with summer near, I wonder if I will still do this if I have ice cream sitting in the freezer section. Maybe a good time to shed a few pounds.

 The running Fridge is most likely causing an increase in the ambient sound level with some even emitting a low level "whine" Sometimes, better positioning in the room may help to reduce this.

Even Air Conditioning running in Quiet Mode can do the same . ¬¬


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

 

PROFILE UPDATED 26-12-2019

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5 hours ago, Digi&Analog Fan said:

My CD player, which I am using as my source right now is sitting atop a multi layered arrangement which includes a heavy duty coffee table with glass removed, multiple layers of wood between springs and a long discontinued  VPI Isolation base,

 

I get an improved performance from my Oppo 103,  which is inside a wooden entertainment cabinet with Perspex doors, by sitting it on a piece of thick butyl loaded car noise isolation material.


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

 

PROFILE UPDATED 26-12-2019

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44 minutes ago, sandyk said:

 The running Fridge is most likely causing an increase in the ambient sound level with some even emitting a low level "whine" Sometimes, better positioning in the room may help to reduce this.

Even Air Conditioning running in Quiet Mode can do the same . ¬¬

 

Might be for some people, Alex, but certainly in my current setup our fridge is adding to electrical noise - easily noted by pulling the cord to the unit. Solution is to improve the electrical isolation of the setup - I will keep adding until there's zero impact from muck in the environment.

 

Overall the audio industry has never understood how sensitive human hearing is to anomalies in what they hear - which means nearly all systems never work as well as they could, if the extra care was taken to attenuate interfering factors.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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12 minutes ago, fas42 said:

 

Might be for some people, Alex, but certainly in my current setup our fridge is adding to electrical noise - easily noted by pulling the cord to the unit.

 Frank

 Also given your recent post about mains cables, this shows just how badly designed the PSU area of some of your equipment is.

Some gear may be sensitive to the spike as a fridge cuts in and out, but that can usually be eradicated by fitting a 275V VDR  (230VAC Mains countries) in a double adaptor where the fridge is plugged in.

 

Alex


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

 

PROFILE UPDATED 26-12-2019

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3 minutes ago, sandyk said:

 Frank

 Also given your recent post about mains cables, this shows just how badly designed the PSU area of some of your equipment is.

Some gear may be sensitive to the spike as a fridge cuts in and out, but that can usually be eradicated by fitting a 275V VDR  (230VAC Mains countries) in a double adaptor where the fridge is plugged in.

 

Alex

 

Alex, that's exactly the sort of trick I've been using for years to check sensitivity to noise - I juggle the type of devices that are plugged in, and monitor the impact. I have yet to come across a rig that doesn't react - the greater the potential SQ, the more one has to worry about it.

 

It's enlightening to read what the people behind the Living Voice speaker demos do - they go to fanatical lengths to condition the power; because they lose too much if they don't ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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15 minutes ago, fas42 said:

 

Alex, that's exactly the sort of trick I've been using for years to check sensitivity to noise - I juggle the type of devices that are plugged in, and monitor the impact. I have yet to come across a rig that doesn't react - the greater the potential SQ, the more one has to worry about it.

 

It's enlightening to read what the people behind the Living Voice speaker demos do - they go to fanatical lengths to condition the power; because they lose too much if they don't …

 Surely the Fridge is on a different electrical circuit to your audio gear ?

 There should be very little interaction other than the occasional switch on spike from the Fridge cutting in and out in that case .

 Another solution is to use a couple of mains filters. A DIY person can make a very effective filter using inexpensive ebay modules.

 e.g.  https://www.ebay.com/itm/3900W-EMI-18A-High-Frequency-Power-Filter-Power-supply-Assembled-Board-/283269375554

 

I  use a slightly different version in a Jiffy box with a top mounted double power point for my PC audio.

Abnormal electrical interference can also be caused by a poor or corroded Mains Earth in older houses.

I had this problem years ago at a previous address.

 


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

 

PROFILE UPDATED 26-12-2019

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36 minutes ago, sandyk said:

 Surely the Fridge is on a different electrical circuit to your audio gear ?

 There should be very little interaction other than the occasional switch on spike from the Fridge cutting in and out in that case .

 Another solution is to use a couple of mains filters. A DIY person can make a very effective filter using inexpensive ebay modules.

 e.g.  https://www.ebay.com/itm/3900W-EMI-18A-High-Frequency-Power-Filter-Power-supply-Assembled-Board-/283269375554

 

I  use a slightly different version in a Jiffy box with a top mounted double power point for my PC audio.

Abnormal electrical interference can also be caused by a poor or corroded Mains Earth in older houses.

I had this problem years ago at a previous address.

 

 

I started with it being on the same circuit. And worked forward to dedicated a circuit to the audio. Still is not good enough - this is the classic "step by step surgery" that I always do, finding out where I need to refine the overall situation.

 

My goal is to have the rig 100% robust - which I'm doing by adding in mains filters. Eventually the "are we there yet?!" dilemma will be resolved - the learning that I get from doing this exercise is always worthwhile.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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Putting pads behind my wife's art collection on almost every wall. Putting pads under her objet d'art and knick knacks. Putting washer pads behind the door knobs and getting special striker plates for the doors. The sub-woofers kept finding thing to rattle.

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 That is really interesting about the pads. Everything seems to vibrate and even though each thing only vibrates a little, lots of things in a room can add up. An acquaintance of mine left on a 2 week trip and forgot about some ripe bananas he had laying on a counter. When he got back there were many  hundreds of fruit flies flying around the bananas and in unison their sound was audible rooms away.

 

 The Tekna Sonic absorbers I use along with some products from Marigo, certain ones are meant to be placed on windows where the majority of the rattling takes place.  Some people once they treat their windows, cannot believe how quiet their rooms suddenly sound when playing music and before unheard low level details start coming through. Problem is with the Teknas they're old already and the adhesive under the peel off will soon give way and they will fall off the windows or walls. Thought about experimenting with other adhesives but I'm pretty sure it would leave marks.

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I put Sorbothane Hemisphere foot pads under every component that has spinning parts. CD/DVD players, hard drives or fans.

 

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I'm not a tweak guy, I pay attention to room acoustics, cables etc but at the same time IMO if one gets the most important basic things properly done one is very close to the optimum SQ result. Getting the right speakers which are well suited to one's listening room comes first, taking care of the room acoustics and speakers placement are very important too, next comes the system's synergy in which case the interaction between amp and speakers is IMO the most important factor but the source and cables also count just like clean power. But for me the moment when I had bought my dream speakers which I probably will  never upgrade and reversed the usual order of things by which I mean - I started to look for a listening room with good acoustics and appropriate size in regard to the speakers (35-45m2 in their case) was a turning point in my audiophile journey B|  I'm a huge fan of irregularly shaped loft rooms with diagonal roofs, they are very often just great acoustically x-D.

 

BTW I noticed long ago that parting with talkative girlfriends/wives usually has a surprisingly big, positive influence on noise floor during the listening sessions.. ;)

 


What’s true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well.
It helps men to rise above themselves.
 
  ―  Albert Camus, The Plague.

 

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1 hour ago, sphinxsix said:

 IMO if one gets the most important basic things properly done one is very close to the optimum SQ result.

 

BTW I'm afraid that I personally have seen/heard much more quite expensive systems not showing their real potential due to the fact that the owner hasn't taken care of the very basic things than systems in any price range which potential has been 'squeezed' to their very last drop.. (lack of the carpet in the listening room O.o being one of the most popular heavy sins..)

 


What’s true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well.
It helps men to rise above themselves.
 
  ―  Albert Camus, The Plague.

 

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On 5/21/2020 at 7:31 PM, Digi&Analog Fan said:

Are there tweakers out there in hi-fi land that are listening through vintage Yamaha & Denon equipment whose sound would rival or surpass some of the most expensive & exotic equipment out there today? What are some of the things you have happened upon that made a nice improvement in the sound? The fact that many of these things are discovered by accident makes it all the more fascinating.

Simplicity is the best tweak. 

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Out of curiosity, how bad can it be to have a piano in the room? Clearly it's going to sing but apart from the theory, any practical experience?

 

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