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Your most recent system tweak, did it help or hurt the sound?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by draden1, Dec 18, 2019.

  1. PopularChuck

    PopularChuck Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bay Area
    I had the same experience... Glad I did it,don't want to do it again. :)
     
    toddrhodes likes this.
  2. draden1

    draden1 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Des Moines, IA
    So with these speaker placement methods of the grid and the Sumiko setup, are you guys reading about these in books or just stumbling across them online?
     
    toddrhodes likes this.
  3. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    I learned about Sumiko here, and then read up more about it and watched videos about it on YT. I'm a process guy, so it was nice to have a list of do this, do that, then listen for this, do that, etc... Same with the Flying Fish "VTA Setup" record.

    And as much as I joke about hating the process, it was actually kinda fun and very illuminating, how little changes can have big impacts on sound. I undertook the process since I'm in a small, irregularly-shaped room.
     
    Doctor Fine and Tim 2 like this.
  4. chipcalzada

    chipcalzada Forum Resident

    Thanks for the detailed response, the Gaia II's has been on my wishlist. Do these things ever go on sale?
     
  5. Claude Benshaul

    Claude Benshaul Forum Resident

    I'll give my input as well:

    The IsoAcoustics pucks went under my KEF LS50 that are placed on my desk. I used 4 under each speaker and they do a much better job of isolating the speakers from the desk than the previous Auralex ProPad I had. They also don't need the scrubbing and cleaning the ProPad needed due to their porous and rugged surface which transformed them into dust and grime magnets, so - Win!

    The GAIA III went under my old KEF Q5 tower speakers in the living room. They probably cost more than the market value of the Q5 but they solved a more pressing problem than widening the stage, tightening the bass, adding volume or whatever is used as an excuse to buy them nowadays. For me it was making sure they remained planted in their places despite having the roomba bump into them or suffering from excessive feline attention. They were previously on spikes and half the tiles in my living room got scratched or chipped.

    So there you have it. The pucks definitively work and the GAIA III may also be the bee's knees but that's not why I bought them.
     
    Tim 2 and chipcalzada like this.
  6. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scottish Borders
    Moved my speakers back two or three inches. Worked a treat.
     
    Claude Benshaul likes this.
  7. PopularChuck

    PopularChuck Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bay Area
    Nope. They're stupidly pricey ... Gotta be huge margins on those. But they do work.
     
    Tim 2 and chipcalzada like this.
  8. PopularChuck

    PopularChuck Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bay Area
    I read about it in the book Get Better Sound by Jim Smith. He worked in the audio industry forever and now has a business doing system installations and setups for homes and audio shows. I heard about the book through a thread here.
     
  9. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    To me, that method isn't about OCD, it's about making the speakers work with and in your room and the method is very different from the grid setup as the result can be a very asymmetrical setup of the speakers, depending on your room. It's all about listening and not being obsessed with symmetry, allthough very slight changes to the setup can make big differences, and yes, it can take a very long time to get it right :D.
     
    Doctor Fine and Claude Benshaul like this.
  10. Claude Benshaul

    Claude Benshaul Forum Resident

    That's very true. I ended with one speaker slightly toed-in and 5-10cm back while the other is straight. One advantage with the Sumiko method or the rational speaker placement setup is the widening of the sweet spot. The only caveat is that it can be a long and tedious process.
     
    Doctor Fine and bever70 like this.
  11. Otlset

    Otlset under western skies

    Location:
    Temecula, CA
    Is rolling in some NOS tubes in my phono stage a tweak or an upgrade? Anyway, it did help the sound. :)
     
    draden1 likes this.
  12. Melvin

    Melvin Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I recently replaced my Pagoda's stock output tube with a WE396A (D getter, JW Military version) for a very nice improvement in sound quality.
     
  13. vinnn

    vinnn Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    Swapped out my cheapo, Kabeldirekt shielded interconnects from Amazon for Chord Clearway Analogue.

    Actually very nice, the difference is subtle and hard to describe without delving into audio reviewer clichés but music now seems smoother or less hot sounding and slightly more open. They're definitely staying.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2019
    Tim 2 and draden1 like this.
  14. plastico

    plastico Forum Resident

    Location:
    ontario canada
    I disconnected the antiskate on my Audiomods Classic arm that is playing my AT ART 9 and WTF!!! Everything is better across the board! Got this idea from this forum and tried it out.
    Cheers, Doug
     
    draden1 likes this.
  15. dennis the menace

    dennis the menace Forum Veteran

    Location:
    Montréal
    I recently upgraded my interconnect cables (digital and analog) from Audio Quest Big Sur to Audio Sensibility Statement SE Silver with great results. Earlier in the year, I upgraded my amp power cable to AudioQuest Thunder and again the results were immediate.
     
    Tim 2 and draden1 like this.
  16. ayrehead

    ayrehead It was like that when I found it...

    Location:
    Mid South
  17. Ontheone

    Ontheone Poorly Understood Member

    Location:
    Indianapolis
    This is going to sound ridiculous to many and it did to me until I sort of accidentally tried it but it's essentially a free tweak. Raising your speaker cables off the floor. The other evening for some reason I decided to use my toe to lift one speaker cable up just a few inches that was running immediately next to my amp (which sits on a Symposium floor stand). Not expecting to hear any change I was a bit startled when I thought I detected a change. I repeated this like 6 times over the next minute or so and sure enough, even in this short section of cable (perhaps lifted 3 feet of the cable length off the floor) the sound became more open/less smothered and more dynamic. I used small wooden pieces from an old wine crate and lifted the rest of the speaker cables and I can attest to it making a difference, at least with my gear in my setup. It's the stupidest thing I've ever heard and I feel almost embarrassed that I believe it works as I have no idea why it should make a lick of difference. I haven't tried this yet with power cables.
     
    stax o' wax and chipcalzada like this.
  18. ayrehead

    ayrehead It was like that when I found it...

    Location:
    Mid South
    I have my speaker cables off the floor and yes it does make a difference.
     
    chipcalzada likes this.
  19. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    I had a bunch of those blue/black vibration absorbers just hanging around, and they're 4" squares, about 3/4" thick, so I stuck two together and sat them on the floor vertically, and lay my cables over top of that.

    I think it does help, but I also think that purpose-built "cable elevators" are somewhat snake oil, since I personally don't think it matters how you get them up, just that you do if you can. A friend of mine uses CD cases. A dedicated space is awfully nice for this sort of fringe stuff :D
     
    Fdee, chipcalzada and Ontheone like this.
  20. Ontheone

    Ontheone Poorly Understood Member

    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Agreed. This is what my free elevator looks like using a scrap wooden cradle inside a wine case. It doesn't look bad and it's essentially hidden as it runs between/under my rack and floor amp.

    [​IMG]
     
    toddrhodes, MGW and chipcalzada like this.
  21. chipcalzada

    chipcalzada Forum Resident

    Free tweaks are the best. Coincidence! I too raised my tonearms phono cables just yesterday with spare wooden spikes I had lying around, just popped on some blue-tac underneath and I was quite surprised at how the sound changed, not by a lot but noticeably more open and dynamic. Previously the tonearm cables were just dangling on the shelf, the height is maybe half an inch but it seems to have done something, might be the blue-tac also creating a barrier between the shelves vibrations and the cable. In any case, happy and surprised that it made a subtle positive change.

    [​IMG]
     
    bluesaddict likes this.
  22. MGW

    MGW Less travelling, more listening

    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    Three:
    1.Upgraded the interconnect between my DAC and integrated amp from Nordost Red Dawn RCA (original) to Nordost Red Dawn XLR Leif. Massive and unsubtle improvement.

    I also borrowed a RCA version of the Nordost Red Dawn Leif and that made little difference or improvement.

    2. Made the Orbe Clamp/Spindle upgrade to my Michell Gyrodec. Similar, in that it just gave more of everything.

    3. Isoacoustics Gaia IIIs under the Ironwood stands of my Sonus Faber Concertos (these are bolted to the stands). It's early days yet but a wider, deeper soundstage is clearly evident. Also seem to be getting better defined base.

    The Gaias were only installed yesterday. The Isoacoustics carpet spikes are a real PITA but essential on 'normal' carpet and underlay.
     
  23. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Forum Resident

    Added a Schiit Modi 3 to my old CD player and mucho better.
     
  24. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    I consider certain "tweaks" essential to getting the best sound. Regardless of system cost or quality they can cause the sound to go from sweet to downright irritating if you don't get them right. I am talking about tubes (mainly small signal), interconnects and speaker cables.
    They do have a cumulative effect and can vary depending on source- it's a tricky balance to get vinyl and digital sounding their best using the same set of tubes for example.
    I like my vinyl to have a touch of brightness yet the same tubes playing digital can be too bright so I offset that with a slightly warmer interconnect for my file player.

    A most recent "tweak" that had an extremely positive effect was to use a the balanced connections between my new preamp and power amp and good quality XLR cables. The balanced connections sounds more resolving and warmer at the same time while noticeably increasing dynamics and drive when compared to using the RCA connections.
     
    stax o' wax and MGW like this.
  25. ayrehead

    ayrehead It was like that when I found it...

    Location:
    Mid South
    MGW likes this.

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