I have always been a little underwhelmed with my hi-fi system. Tried some expensive (£5k+) speakers but to no avail. Started tinkering with the smaller elements. Firstly I introduced Ifi Audio Power Station and the sound opened up tremendously, with the removal of electrical interference (I live in London). This was an exciting start. Then came a Psu to my SN2 and the sound started to come alive, the bass was tighter and the whole sound gained vitality. But still. Then I changed my old Atacama speaker stands to Solid Steel stands and the PMC Twenty 22 never sounded so good. I started hearing subtleties in familiar music that made them feel fresh and emotionally engaging - such is the power of sound. Then I swapped out on the CD player my old (15 years plus) Nordost Blue Heaven RCA interconnects for a pair of Chord Shawline. I know these cables have been knocked in other conversations. I have also tried them against Ecosse NuDiva cables and the chords are without a doubt excellent. The separation between instruments, the ability to control sub-bass, and overall musicality; neutrality was remarkable. Finally (for now) I changed the speaker cable from Atlas Hyper 3 to Chord Epic X. I hadn’t until today, after about a week or two carried out a head to head. I knew the Epic cables sounded good, but when I plugged the Hypers back in, it was like someone had removed all of dynamism to the music. I was seriously shocked at the difference. Needless to say, my system is finally singing. Same equipment as before. Just needed to find the weakest link. Besides the pleasure of music this is what makes Hi-Fi so interesting.
And the most posotive aspect is that you can diy many cables at bearable cost and find much cheaper alternatives to hi fi accessories with a bit of research.
Great thread start! I agree with your title and experimentation. Some tweaks simply pay off; or to put it more accurately, are rooted in an inevitable improvement if one researches enough or understands what certain things do and why…maybe even where.
I’ve spent many years and sadly (stupidly) many monies on trying to discover the sound I could ‘envision in my head’. Lots of equipment auditions/ownership, upgrades and tinkering got me trade-offs, at best. I gave up audio for a few years; stepped away for family and a couple of projects I’d been working on, and circled back with a clean slate. That said, I have to admit the greatest impacts have been with simple tweaks…things that I wouldn’t have thought could possibly have made a bigger difference than a box upgrade or more expensive this or that.
My recent tweaks aren’t considered exciting, but they’ve been undeniable in what they have achieved. You’re right in that it is what can make HiFi so interesting, and I think it’s because there’s not a single system, room, or individual’s hearing that’s even remotely similar. It makes one’s tweak or sound work, while for another that same attempt fail miserably or not do it for them.
Your weakest link comment is also a valid one. I’m not much of a cable guru nor dabble in them much anymore, so cannot speak too intelligibly to it, but I get your point. It’s great when things just click regardless if intentional or by happy accident.
I’m almost glad to have reached this point of satisfaction with the sound because it is very time consuming, doing research, going back and forth on ideas, thinking shall I, shan’t I, getting distracted by even ‘better’ components. And whilst I did not change the main elements of the system, make no mistake, it does add up cost wise. This said, the money was spent where it was needed.
I do remain a bit incredulous about cables, surely a length of wire can’t have that much effect; but it does. I guess it is no different to being yet another of the many components that make the difference between entry level and exotic equipment. And for those who truly believe it is snake oil (some of it undoubtedly is), to be kind about it, I can only assume their hearing is not that sensitive.
The comment earlier about taking a more DIY approach to cabling is interesting. I’d like to know more about this as I know there is a hefty premium on cables, but there is a great deal of research time and engineering that goes into them.
I’m more of a ‘believer’ that differences can be made with analog rather than digital cables. Not to thread drift into this subject, but I’ve heard more subtle differences with the former and nothing of the latter in this regard. Overall, though, star-quad is the way to go, IME. Reducing noise wherever one can is the secret from what I am gathering, and is likely the source of everyone’s perceptions in cable differences, leading one to capture the nuances of one’s system.
Great thread! Yonks ago What Hifi banged on about using good speaker cable but the only time I have noticed a genuine improvement is with current Naim/Dynaudio pairing (cheap QED to Naca5). I guess in the past my budget Denon/Yamaha/Sony type kit feeding budget Mission/Monitor Audio couldn’t resolve this?
The increased ‘weightyness’ of this small tweak has really surprised me
Digital is digital. It is either on or off so far as information is concerned. Unless you have some spectacularly inadequate cable that as a data link is crapping out and affecting transmission rates I can’t see that it makes any difference. And yes, this is getting off the topic. Damn.
I had a friend many years ago (teens) who spent a lot of money on a midi system or two -Kenwood and Fisher comes to mind (is that even right?) Anyway I had no money and ended up blagging an old Akai cassette deck off my uncle and paired it with an Akai amp and KEF Coda II speakers which I picked up second hand for about £70. My mate came around my house and was gobsmacked by the sound this accidental gathering of equipment made. It was true, it trounced the shiny new with flashing graphic equaliser. I doubt cable would have made much difference. It just sounded good, and that was enough.
There are virtually countless tweaks which can result in uplifting SQ, some better than others. from diying all your own cables to isolating and grounding all boxes properly. Ytube is a great resourse for this and diyers such as tweakerman and oddiophile will give you some great ideas on what can be achieved for not a lotof money. My latest tweak is an isotek cd demagnetiser, burn in tweak and together with an anti-static device - zerostat, some very suprising results can be achieved esp when used in combination.
With the possible exception of quantum storage this is simply not the case. It’s analog being treated as digital.
There are many posts by other better qualified members in other threads here and on other sites.
Tbh I don’t understand what you are saying. Not to say I disagree. As I understand, digital info is a silicon based technology and relies on millions/billions of on/off switches. Yes, no, if you will. Given the relative simplicity off this on/off arrangement in terms of information conveyed, how does the quality of on/off improve with a cable?
Correct. Digital is converted to an analog square wave in the cable. The shape of the knee as that voltage rises to +.001mv (or whatever), reverts to 0mv, or dips to a negative voltage of the same amplitude, determines when that bit flips from 1 to 0 or a subsequent 1.
That knee is everything.
We live in an analog world.
I have a language barrier to jump, which makes this a little problematic. I’ll try nonetheless. As you said digital is a binary 0/1 system. These states are usually translated into voltage levels. Just as an example we can think about 0 and 1 V. Switching between these levels can’t be infinitely fast, which means levels between 0 and 1 V for short intervals. Unfortunately something like 0.3 V doesn’t exist in digital and would be an error. To avoid these errors levels below 0.5 are treated like 0, levels above 0.5 like 1. This makes the whole digital thing an approximation in the real world. A pretty good one, as my writing on a digital device shows. But the underlying system is open to the same types of interference as a pure analog one. Perhaps less fragile, but not immune.
Thanks for the explanation. Appreciated. I can see how a cable might cause errors in the information transmitted albeit not as susceptable as analogue.
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