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Over The Top Extreme Audio Experiments..Successes & Disasters?

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There are 2 kinds of audiophiles. Audiophile Type 1: if they place something under their equip. and it makes some improvement, they rub their hands together and say "good."

 

 Audiophile Type 2: They try to obtain or build 10 more, thinking it will only multiply the benefit.

 

 Do you go all out? What over the top experiments have you done, that have either succeeded or blew up in your face (so to speak, I hope)?

 

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Here is one of mine. Quite a while ago I found a bunch of non-audio related items that I had a hunch might make good footers for under my CD player. I put 3 of them under my player & I am sure I noticed a nice improvement. I thought if could find something flat, I could tier them and use another 3 under that. It made another nice improvement. I figured if I kept going adding  tier after tier, I could get improvements every time I added another tier. By now the CD player, the Optimus 3400 was resting on countless tiers with these footers between each tier. I don't really remember how many tiers I was up to. Maybe twelve or 13. The player was up higher than my height now. I could no longer see the little window with the green light on top of the top loading  player which displayed the tracks. Soon I would need a step stool to put a CD in the player. Everything was going fine and then. while playing music with a lot of bass in it, all of a sudden like a house of cards, everything came tumbling down. The player survived, but I didn't feel confident about the structural integrity of all the tiers stackid one on top each other to try again. I think I just hooked up my turntable and played records for a very long stretch of time. The turntable was too heavy and would have been too top heavy to try any such thing with it. It was back down to Earth.

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My stack with footers in between each layer was an eye sore and I don't know if it would have stayed up for long anyway, but with each new tier added, over the course of days, there was an audible improvement. I was exploring what was for me; new vistas in sound. The music I was playing over and over again was Sade greatest hits. She has a great voice and singing style, but more important for my experiment, her songs almost always have a really cool driving bass line which puts a lot of vibration into the room. Her rhythm section is world class, and music like that is the perfect music for serving as a test for acoustic isolation. With my isolation tiers getting higher and higher, it felt like a modern day Jack and the Beanstalk scenario. The ironic thing about it, was the things I was using for footers in between tiers, had beans inside them, the same kind as Beanie Babies I believe.

 

 Of course all this was back in the mid 1990s. I have moved on to much better equipment many times since then, and experiments that do not make the room look that ridiculous. Knowing that I could explore deeper and deeper levels of sound quality by simply going further and further with it,  was a real kick though. Decades of experiments have taught me that CD player isolation is nearly as important as turntable isolation. I can even hear improvement with high quality tape decks, but to a lesser degree.

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My "extreme" ideas have been in the area of hard wiring, or soldering everything together - regularly laughed at here, and in other forums; but it's just a case of applying common sense ...if the parts of the circuits within a component need to be soldered together.for electrical integrity, why shouldn't every other point in the overall circuit of an audio rig also have a high level of integrity? Tried this concept 35 years ago - and it worked ... gave me SQ far superior to anything else on offer that I listened to back then. These days, one can buy components which are highly integrated, all in one box, which have the possible issues of cross interference between the various internal areas largely under control - saves a lot of time in the optimising.

 

Vibration, or rather the sensitivity of under-engineered components to this factor, is something that needs to be taken very seriously with digital... there are a number of parasitic behaviours from excess movement which impact the SQ, dulling and diminishing the "liveness" of what one hears - which means anything one does to attenuate or damp the coupling of shaking energy will likely have audible benefit.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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19 minutes ago, fas42 said:

These days, one can buy components which are highly integrated, all in one box, which have the possible issues of cross interference between the various internal areas largely under control - saves a lot of time in the optimising.

 Sure, but they invariably share the same PSU area which among other things usually reduces channel separation.


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 28-06-2020

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1 hour ago, sandyk said:

 Sure, but they invariably share the same PSU area which among other things usually reduces channel separation.

 

Yes, that might happen ... which is why I said "issues of cross interference between the various internal areas largely under control" is the goal - these days, this is easier than ever, because the various areas need less power to run them; part of the Green thinking.

 

The active speakers I'm now using have absolutely everything in a single box, at the back of the right speaker ... and these show excellent signs of indeed getting the key markers of better sound happening ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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As Fas42 has correctly pointed out, vibrational shaking of even slight degrees can degrade sound quality. Just to what degree? I guess only us guys who have been experimenting with it for decades know for sure. One guy skeptically asked me one time, " you mean to tell me that if I can find all kind of little doo dads like you have, I can improve my sound by like 50%?"  I shook my head and told him "its a way bigger figure than that!"

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Best anti-vibration thingy ever: Metal cigar rings (yes that was a thing once, during the cigar fad) and felt pads.

 

 

 

IMG_0084.thumb.jpg.3fcd7459b521dc9b2d6632818e8c1f63.jpg


In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake ~ Sayre's Law

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I have never the cigar ring combined with felt idea. Combining a hard material with a soft material sometimes gives good results. Think of vibration as impact. What would be good at damping impact? I have recently looked in the meat market section at the grocery store for animal bone.

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On 5/30/2020 at 3:22 AM, Digi&Analog Fan said:

I could get improvements every time I added another tier. By now the CD player, the Optimus 3400 was resting on countless tiers with these footers between each tier. I don't really remember how many tiers I was up to. Maybe twelve or 13. The player was up higher than my height now. I could no longer see the little window with the green light on top of the top loading  player which displayed the tracks. Soon I would need a step stool to put a CD in the player. Everything was going fine and then. while playing music with a lot of bass in it, all of a sudden like a house of cards, everything came tumbling down.

 

I guess you needed to be reminded of the old expression regarding, "too much of a good thing". Regardless of the effect on the sound, I would have expected it be rather obvious that the stack of 12 or 13 tiers was inherently unstable. :)


"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted"- William Bruce Cameron

 

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With vibration, either tie what is sensitive to the highest mass object possible, as rigidly as possible - or use various viscoelastic materials to damp the movement. Getting exactly the right arrangement in place counts for everything here - a half-hearted effort may easily make things far worse ... experiment, experiment, experiment ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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Re: Allan F. "It would have been obvious to you that 12 or so tiers of stacking would be unstable" What??  I could have stacked them twice as many if I would have used glue. Being such a tall eye sore, I wasn't committed to having it there permanently, so the glue stayed in the drawer. The player survived the tumble.

 

 The tier stacking might have made around a 50% improvent, but most of my improvement comes from doing all sorts of other things. Both outside and inside of equipment. The CD 3400 was not exactly crappy equipment back then and neither was the rest of my equipment. Joe Grado (of cartridge fame) was the guy who brought the CD 3400 player to the attention of the Stereophile reviewer who reviewed it. Considering the bass dominant music I was playing, along with the fact that the player was a featherweight light portable player, it obviously was even more prone to rattle and vibrate than a player of more substantial weight; which themselves are very prone to vibration and whose sound quality can be more than doubled, if you really know what you are doing. My sound with compact discs, (using different equipment) is exceptionally open. People have commented more than once, " why are your speakers on the floor and the sound on the ceiling?"

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All you really need is redbook cd. If you hear its full capability, you will be amused at how people used to complain about CD sound. It was the players, not the cds themselves at fault usually. SACD, with its unbelievably higher sampling rate was a bit of a disappointment IMO. Not that it wasn't noticeably smoother and a bit more open, often. But with a sampling rate that dwarfed red book I was expecting big things. Another thing surprising is that in its first year, I read where the Stones Let It Bleed was the best selling SACD title. You would have thought audiophiles would have chosen something even  better recorded. Great music though.

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8 hours ago, Digi&Analog Fan said:

All you really need is redbook cd. If you hear its full capability, you will be amused at how people used to complain about CD sound. It was the players, not the cds themselves at fault usually. SACD, with its unbelievably higher sampling rate was a bit of a disappointment IMO. Not that it wasn't noticeably smoother and a bit more open, often. But with a sampling rate that dwarfed red book I was expecting big things. Another thing surprising is that in its first year, I read where the Stones Let It Bleed was the best selling SACD title. You would have thought audiophiles would have chosen something even  better recorded. Great music though.

The truth is unless you listen to a NOS DAC, you are rarely actually listening to Redbook but something that is hardware upsampled and possibly converted PCM<>SDM(DSD). I happen to largely share your sentiment, but hate it when people hop on a pedestal about this. Its all in the mastering mostly and there is no firm choice sonically.


Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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I have not gotten into much streaming yet. I listen to actual discs. Except for YouTube where I rarely even hook it up to my stereo. I guess if I ever get into streaming seriously, I will have a lot to learn. When compact discs came out, I didn't even buy a compact disc player until about 10 or 11 years later. Same with video games, I didnt get into those until they were out about 10 years. 

 

 I wasn't even sure if I liked the sound of digital audio until around 1999. My first CD player was a modified one that a local modifier talked me into buying. It took him a long time. In his modifications he bypassed the fuse (no fuse), and a firecracker (or a bunch of them) wentoff nearuby, and it must have sent shock waves to the electrical lines. The player got fried. I never went to the trouble of getting it fixed. I didnt like the way it bleached tone colors. I am on about my ninth player now. Never thought I would consider cds as sweet sounding as records. But they are about as sweet as any LP playback I have owned, and in other ways are superior to any LP playback gear I have owned. I never went overboard on ultra expensive cartridges. But I always had a nice table, arm and preamp.

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