Eating humble pie?

Having enjoyed a settled system for most of 2022 which followed a great deal of home demoing and upgrades last year, I’ve been sitting back and enjoying the music with minimal fiddling.

This evening however I took a weird turn. Spotting a couple of throws lying over the sofa I decided to cover the TV which sits between my speakers and hang the other over a couple of glass doors which are around 2 meters to the right and behind my listening position.

I’ve been quite sceptical of large scale room treatment in a domestic setting, but wow am I eating some humble pie right now and wondering why I hadn’t tried this simple room treatment earlier! Everything is more coherent and musical. I must have become attuned to what was before an obviously over bright and reflective room. Vocals are suddenly more realistic and the soundstage more balanced and I’m hearing far more nuance and detail. The best free upgrade so far!

Have you ever had to eat HiFi humble pie and why? Cables? Ground array plugs? Room treatment? Other perceived snake oil? I’d love to hear if you’ve had similar experiences.


The reason I don’t have TV between speakers. Instead I have thick curtains behind the speakers. Proper arrangement or implementation of room furnishing (instead of professional room treatment products) will work reasonably well within their limits. Fabric sofa on side wall and a large thick rug on the floor in front of the speakers in my case.

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I plonk an old foam cushion on the back of the couch (opposite the speakers) and that helps - then can easily be hid behind the coach after. Not pretty, but its only me listening generally


Room treatment. The most over looked and cost effective upgrade!

10k worth of hi fi, and wont spend £500 on room treatment …!


Mainly I suspect because there’s no ‘gospel’ rule to apply which works for every system in every room - potentially lots of -ve trial and error, but a throw over a TV is cheap as chips.

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Probably why I love a projector onto the wall between the speakers. Currently my hi-fi kit is low between the speakers, not ideal but too much stuff for the alcove currently.

Maybe I’m being a bit slow here, but what is it about TVs in particular that spoils the sound?

Hard reflective surface

I keep a large dollop of the very best snake oil in a plastic bottle next to the music system. I find that liberal doses sprayed over the amps makes a huge difference, although the electrostatic loudspeakers are in danger of arcing if too much is applied.


Oh dear, I thought you sprayed it up your nose :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:

I haven’t tried that yet, as I rather think that it might make me sneeze.

Never really noticed much benefit from acoustic panels in front of the TV (never been sure why a TV is worse than a wall TBH).
A couple of monster bass panels behind the listening position and some absorption at the reflection points brings much better results in my room.

Interested- do you keep the plastic bottle of snake oil on the Brains side of your system or Brawn? Have you tried removing all traces of snake oil after application for true homeopathy effect? I presume you get yours from Holland and Barret, purveyors of mystical none sense?

No, the snake oil is powerfully addictive stuff, and I don’t want my much cherished Naim kit to develop what would be effectively a crack habit. So I always store it well away from the music room, just to be on the safe side

I’m hoping very much that the equipment doesn’t take on Triffid-like abilities to move around the house in search of the ‘crack’, particularly as I’m away from home at present.


I recently got sucked too deep into the ASR / “measurements are king” pitfall and ordered a great measuring DAC and amplifier combo. When pairing my KEF Reference 3s with the RME ADI-2 DAC and the Benchmark AHB2 amplifier, it felt like the life had been sucked out of the music. Cold, sterile and sibilant. Yuck. Hooked the KEFs back to the Nova and the magic was back. I learned a valuable lesson on leaving well enough alone and so, onward and upward along the Naim upgrade chain we go.


Most of today’s flat screen TVs are soft enough to not seriously impact a listening room - but those old tubes and later plasma screens with hard surfaces could be a nightmare to control. The best room treatment I’ve found are hard wooden floors (fixed to concrete underneath) and big boogcases full of records or CDs (with jewel cases replaced by a softer alternative of course).

I came to this thread as new speakers are breaking in, and I had forgotten the rollercoaster that this phase can be. They sounded great when just hooked up, then lost all the energy in the next two hours before they slowly started to wake up again. Which got me thinking of the sonic impact of cabling, slight concerns that the amp wasn’t a great match after all, that radiator behind the left speaker etc… Fortunately, I have a few cans of Graham55’s snake oil at hand, which I take with my coffee. And if that doesn’t work, I dip my credit card in it - but not just yet!

I think it called Nordost Eco3 these days. A mate of mine bought me a bottle back in the early noughties. I sprayed it on speaker cables, interconnects, speaker cones and cd labels. It cleaned them…….

I thought you were continuing the snake oil theme yet I see this spray actually exists!!! Surely folk haven’t bought in to it??

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You can still buy it for £40 a bottle. It was definitely a “Thing” back in the day. Mine ended up in the bin.

I bet your bin lid sounds just sweet, plenty sound stage, nice and black between clattering, warm mid range and a great separate bass? I toed my grey bin and recycle bin in a tad to no great effect, perhaps I should invest in some Eco3?

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