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Most unexpected sound improvement

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Andy Pandy, Apr 8, 2021.

  1. Andy Pandy

    Andy Pandy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Brussels, Belgium
    Hi,

    When you upgrade your hifi system with new speakers, amps or a cart etc, you have normally a certain expectation about sound improvement. But sometimes you are blown away by the impact of a smaller purchase/adjustment/tweek.

    For example, my most unexpected sound improvement was when I upgraded the power supply for my turntable. Much more obvious improvement in sound than when I changed tonearm or cart.

    What are your most unexpected sound improvments?
     
    Meehael, sturgus, BrentB and 2 others like this.
  2. aunitedlemon

    aunitedlemon Music is medicine, dose often.

    Biggest difference that shocked me was adding a KAB TD-1000 to my turntable. Incredible add-on.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Swann36

    Swann36 A widower finding solace in music

    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    Fuses on my Infinity Quantum Jr speakers ....

    The fuses i got are Schurter costing £1.21 ($1.67) including the tax per fuse ...these are the expensive ones !!!!!!
    as they come with all the safety compliance paperwork RoHS, UL & CSA but what the heck ...and i only had to buy a pack of 10...next day delivery a very reasonable futher £6

    the thread i started is here ....

    Am i hearing things ? replaced the original 43year old fuses in speakers
     
    jusbe, woodpigeon and Andy Pandy like this.
  4. motorstereo

    motorstereo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ct.
    This year it would be this. I use it on my Furman PC so my pre and all my sources get the benefit. I was not expecting anything or at best something I think I might hear due to expectation bias. But my speakers started projecting very realistic imaging 3' to the sides of the speakers. They never did that before and it was the only change I made so I'm convinced it's this unit.
    [​IMG]
     
    fish likes this.
  5. Swann36

    Swann36 A widower finding solace in music

    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    What is it ?
     
  6. rcsrich

    rcsrich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    Finally purchasing a micro line cartridge. I would have happily invested more money years ago if I knew what kind of a difference it would make in my enjoyment of vinyl.
     
  7. MTB Vince

    MTB Vince Forum Resident

    Over the past two years I've done a massive overhaul of our combination stereo, 5.1 music, and cinema system. I've been genuinely surprised at the sonic significance of several upgrades but awestruck by only one. I recently replaced a fabric covered DIY Skyline diffuser I had built for the rear wall, 5 feet behind the MLP about a decade ago. The original 2D QRD DIY diffuser occupied 9 sq ft of wall space and had offered up an appreciable increase in "the spaciousness" of my system's sound. At the time I'd contemplated building additional units to cover more of the back wall but the single unit was a hugely time-intensive build and so I never got around to it.
    [​IMG]


    During the past two years' system overhaul though, my thoughts returned to that rear wall diffuser on several occasions. I had done a bunch more reading on acoustic diffuser theory and practical application in the intervening years and came to believe two things. Bigger (more surface area) would be better and swapping out my DIY 2D diffuser with its hemispherical scattering pattern for a 1D design that scattered sound in a cylindrical pattern would likely be preferable. I intended to go the DIY route again, likely with a Fractal Leanfuser design from Arqen but then I came across the wares of acoustic treatment start-up, Seven Audio on Fb and Ebay. After several PMed and emailed conversations with Lukasz, the owner of Seven Audio, I was totally impressed with the quality and design of his products, the incredibly reasonable pricing, and his willingness to customize his designs to meet my needs. After patiently waiting several months for the custom diffuser order to arrive from overseas it turned out my trust was well founded and well rewarded.
    [​IMG]


    Packaging was lightweight, clever, and seemingly bombproof. The five Seven Audio 1D Fractal QRD modules survived 10 weeks in transit from Poland, arriving unscathed and looking fantastic. The robust extruded polystyrene Lukasz chooses to use in preference to the expanded polystyrene used by everyone else was instantly and obviously better. I decided on a different install method from the keyhole mounts Seven Audio provides and used a single continuous french cleat. This made mounting the five units perfectly level a piece of cake. The best part though was hearing them in action and that returns us to the subject of this thread. The bill for my entire system-wide overhaul totaled many tens of thousands of dollars. Everyone of those dollars spent represented a step forward in performance. These diffusers amounted to about $1100 USD shipping and importation included. A fraction of the total bill. The sonic impact this larger (approx 27 sq ft) diffuser array had was mind blowing- wildly out of all proportion to the actual cost. The impression of space, depth, and image specificity thrown by good stereo recordings ballooned to occupy not just the front half of my 20' long room, but expanded in width, depth, and height to well beyond the physical dimension of my room. Fan-freakin'-tastic! I discovered the near magical benefits of effective room acoustic treatments on sound reproduction 30+ years ago. As is evident in my pics, am a firm believer. But just how spectacularly well these new diffusers worked out caught me by surprise once again.
    [​IMG]
     
    16hz lover, Macman, Kyhl and 17 others like this.
  8. Andy Pandy

    Andy Pandy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Brussels, Belgium
    What’s the name of the model?
     
    Swann36 and Alright4now like this.
  9. Andy Pandy

    Andy Pandy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Brussels, Belgium
    Interesting. Will look into these.
     
  10. MGW

    MGW Less travelling, more listening

    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    Power supplies, definitely yes. Both turntable and phono stage (and in the past both DAC and headphone amp) have benefited from upgraded power supplies, but the prize goes to my Isoacoustic Gaia IIIs for most unexpected big increase in SQ and rather against my expectation at that.
     
  11. woodpigeon

    woodpigeon Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New Zealand
    I was considering spending money adding a subwoofer and bass traps to even out peaks and troughs in the bass response, until the lovely folks on this board suggested improving speaker placement.

    Sure enough adjusting placement using the Sumiko method corrected the issue, and it was free.

    Much improved bottom end. Kick drums can have a very palpable thump now, and the huge hump around 100Hz is gone.
     
    Mindhead1, trd, rcsrich and 4 others like this.
  12. Tom Littlefield

    Tom Littlefield Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
     
  13. csgreene

    csgreene Forum Resident

    Location:
    Idaho, USA
    Why is it incredible? How does it improve your turntable's sound?
     
    intensemojo likes this.
  14. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Nothing before or since improved the sound of my stereo more dramatically than going from a Dual 1229 to a SOTA Sapphire with Sumiko Premier MMT arm. To put this in perspective, here are all the components I remember that I owned or still own:

    VM Model 562 record player
    Sherwood S-7900A receiver
    Dual 1220Q turntable/Empire cartridge
    DLK-3 speakers.
    Pioneer SX-880 receiver
    Kenwood KA-8100 integrated amp
    Klipsch Cornwalls
    SOTA Sapphire turntable
    Sumiko MMT tonearm
    Sumiko FT-3 tonearm
    Eminent Technology airbearing linear tonearm
    Grado TLZ-V cartridge
    Crown SL-2 preamp (times 5)
    Crown PSL-2 preamp (2 times)
    Rogers Studio 1 (times 2 sets)
    Rogers Studio 1A.
    ENTEC SW-1 subwoofer
    Threshold FET2 preamp
    Threshold S300 II power amp (times 3)
    Spectral DMC-5 preamp
    Perreaux Industries PMF-2350 power amp
    Spectral DMC-6A preamp
    Moore-Franklin Magnus preamp
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp
    PS Audio 5.0 preamp
    ProAc EBT (times three sets)
    Electron Kinetics Eagle 2A power amp (times 5)
    Electron Kinetics Eagle 2C prime
    ENTEC L-F10 subwoofer
    ENTEC L-F20 subwoofer
    ENTEC L-F30 stereo pair subwoofers
    Paradigm Studio 20 V3 speakers
    NHT Super One speakers (times 3)
    NHT Super Zero speakers
    NHT 2.5 speakers
    Klipsch SB-3 speakers
    Klipsch SB-1 speakers
    Crown PL-2 amp (3 times)
    ProAc Super Towers
    Crown PL-3 amp (3 times)
    Crown PL-4 amp
    Crown FM-2
    NAD C372
    NAD 312
    NAD 3155
    NAD M3
    NAD C326BEE
    NAD T-753
    Infinity BU-8 subwoofer
    Allison Acoustics AL-10 subwoofer
    Polk Audio PSW-10 subwoofer
    Klipsch SW-311 subwoofer
    Magnavox CDB-650 cd player
    Philips CD960 (times 2)
    I had a LOT of CD players.
    Rega Apollo
    Pioneer Elite DV70avi DVD
    Oppo BDP-95
    Marantz CDR-510 cd recorder
    Marantz PMD-331 cd player
    Marantz PMD-371 cd changer
    Sony CDP-322M
    Sony CDP-CE375
    Sony CDP-507 ESD
    Sony CDP-337 ESD
    Tascam CD RW900SL (times two)
    Tascam CD 200
    Tascam CD 200SB
    Tascam CD-355 changer
    Onkyo DX-390 CD changer
    Onkyo recorder
    Teac CD P1500 CD changer
    Teac CD P1100
    Klipsch Forte I
    Belle Klipsch
    Xiang Sheng 728A tube preamp (4 times)
    Klipsch Forte III
    Klipsch Heresy II
    Klipsch Heresy III
    Threshold FET One
    ProAc Response 1S
    ProAc Response D2
    Proton AA-1150
    Proton D1200
    PrimaLuna Prologue Premium
    PrimaLuna Prologue Five
    Mod Squad Deluxe Line Drive
    Klipsch Cornwall III
    Marantz 32
    Marantz 140
    PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium
    PrimaLuna Prologue 6
    ProAc 2S
    Klipsch Forte II
    Eagle 400 monoblocks
    Cambridge CXN/CXC
    Philips CDC 875
    Threshold FET 10 (times two)
    Cary CD-308 HD
    Cary SLP-88 preamp
    Audiolab 6000CDT transport
    Sherwood S-6020CP preamp
    Adcom GTP-830 7.1 Tuner/Preamp
    Adcom GFA-7300
    Threshold S150
    McCormack Line Drive TLC-1 Deluxe
    Nuforce STA 200
    Threshold S200
    Threshold FET 2 II
    JBL L100 Classics
    Audible Illusions Modulus 1
    Philips 7831 Receiver
    Cambridge CXA80
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
  15. aunitedlemon

    aunitedlemon Music is medicine, dose often.

    Looks to be the Flux-50 NCF. An in-line filter.
    A simple little plug-n-play for $1,250...
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
    Swann36, motorstereo and Alright4now like this.
  16. aunitedlemon

    aunitedlemon Music is medicine, dose often.

    The KAB TD-1000 has proven to have multiple benefits.
    What I noticed first was how much tighter the bass became, how much quieter the background got, and just how it cleaned up the space between instruments. I assume the damping it provides nearly completely knocks-out resonant frequencies.
    Another benefit is how silky smooth cueing has become. I can now just release the cue lever and it softly lowers onto the LP.
    And then the tracking. On a specific track of a specific LP I own, there is a reliable skip, even with the VM95ML in use. After installing the TD-1000, the stylus sails right through that skip with no inclination of an issue.
    All this aside, I was not having trouble with sloppy bass, blurry harmonics, erratic cueing, or poor tracking, these are just the areas where the TD-1000 made a distinct improvement. I don't consider myself a drinker of the kool-aid, the KAB damper just kicks butt for very little expense.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
    rcsrich likes this.
  17. Tourswede

    Tourswede Forum Resident

    Location:
    Berlin
    The best, cheapest and easiest was a wall mount for the turntable. Incredible improvement (for me in this apartment) for about 30.00 euro!
     
  18. Calvin_and_Hobbes

    Calvin_and_Hobbes Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    That's great to hear. Many people either don't understand or haven't heard the amount of benefit that a better source component can provide. Some of the improvement that people think only speakers provide can be gained by switching out source components.

    I've been testing a Qutest DAC and just switched it out for a Denafrips Pontus II DAC that I got this week. My same system sounds much more full in bass response when appropriate with the Pontus than it did with the Qutest.
     
    MTB Vince likes this.
  19. Ingenieur

    Ingenieur All is Good

    Location:
    PA
    Subwoofer
    Schiit Loki EQ'ed to pink noise
    Slight can't on speakers
     
  20. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    cartridge heashell lead wires. those 2 inch long wires that connect the cartridge to the removable headshell.
    weird but they are very important.
    i have always used a good quality set that came with a cartridge. unexpected because i did not know how good they sounded until i broke a connector and had to use a spare set, the stock Technics wires.
    holy cow did they sound horrible.
    i have ordered 4 different sets of quality lead wires since then and they all sound different!
    one set of high quality occ from audio technica, $44
    one set of dh labs silver sonic, $60
    one set of nordost heimdall from VAS, $40
    and one set of silver leads off EB, $11
    So far the nordost heimdall from VAS sound the best overall, smooth, warm and bassy.
    I would have never expected such an improvement and such a dramatic influence on the sound quality.
     
  21. motorstereo

    motorstereo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ct.
  22. LakeMountain

    LakeMountain Vinyl surfer

    Location:
    Netherlands
    I had 2 things, a Furutech powerchord and powerfilter and Marigo tonearm damping dots kit.
    The Marigo dots were a real surprise, easy to install, low cost ($50), no space required and hardly visible and they were able to improve my SME IV arm, which was the surprise to me! Your most recent system tweak, did it help or hurt the sound?
     
    MTB Vince likes this.
  23. csgreene

    csgreene Forum Resident

    Location:
    Idaho, USA
    How do you explain this?? Makes no sense as long as they are made of decent wire, insulation, and construction.
     
  24. Nakamichi

    Nakamichi The iceage is coming....

    Location:
    St199nf
    Out of interest, how did it improve things ?
     
  25. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    different electrical properties, capacitance, inductance, conductivity, different conductor, insulation and connector materials and platings, different weaving.
     

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