CHEAP TWEAKS

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OconeeOrange
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CHEAP TWEAKS

Post by OconeeOrange » Thu May 12, 2011 7:14 pm

CHEAP TWEAKS

Probably covered here a few times. I just ran across this thread : http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl ... from&1&4#1

WARNING: If you are already kinda anal about audio, this might put you over the edge and you will never have time to just play your tunes. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:



Here are some samples: (I have to say the hands behind the ear works good, but my arms get tired.)
CarverEar.jpg
CarverEar.jpg (95.73 KiB) Viewed 2278 times


I had my ears professionally cleaned, and I was amazed at how the soundstage suddenly became wider and deeper.

Treble Magic: Cup one hand behind each ear as you are listening. You will notice a substantial increase in volume and clarity of treble response. You can decide whether this provides additional clarity, or is instead a distortion.

Pinot Noir works wonders. If you and your special someone drink a bottle or two of wine, then save your used natural wine corks. You can make them into a framed 2D abstract art poster and hang it on your wall. The natural cork will absorb sound waves and deaden the room just a bit. You can position it on a bright wall for example, or you can glue the corks at different levels and hang them between the speakers and the first reflection point on your celling. Few of us bother with this reflection.

Wear some earmuffs for about 1/2 hour before listening to your stereo. When you take them off, your ears will be super-sensitized, at least for a little while, as your brain has adjusted by "turning up the gain" of the input from your ears.

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Re: CHEAP TWEAKS

Post by TNRabbit » Tue May 31, 2011 6:39 am

My favorite:

03-13-10: Blueskiespbd
OK I just finished reading all the tweaks listed here and would like you to consider the cheapest and best tweak I can think of. It is often used in the boating circles that some people find are real money savers. My brother in fact did this with his boat and although he is not known to be the brightest bulb in the room it does seem to make a lot of sense. He sold his boat and now goes out in his cousins boat. We can do something similar, short of selling all out gear.

You simply do some research and find a few audiophiles in your area that are known to have really great sounding systems. Shoot them an email or phone call and arrange for a hookup. You can even invite them to your place for a listen to your rig. you can make new friends and enjoy listening to their systems they they have invested thousands of dollars in and untold hours of tweaks. You can save enough money dong this to even afford a few nice bottles of wine to share with your new audiophile friends.





:lol: :lol: :lol:
TNRabbit
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CHEAP TWEAKS

Post by treitz3 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:24 am

There are some cheap tweaks that actually work, though.

Caig De-Oxit on all connections and potentiometers
Added weight on speakers or subs [a lot]
Fern type plants on the sides of the mains
On wood floors, a carpet between the mains and the listening position
Spikes
Sorbothane risers on tubed gear
Using coins to level an unlevel surface for an LP player

and my personal favorite....

a knife
In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to a good analogue reproduction.

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Re: CHEAP TWEAKS

Post by OconeeOrange » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:39 am

treitz3 wrote:There are some cheap tweaks that actually work, though.

Caig De-Oxit on all connections and potentiometers
Added weight on speakers or subs [a lot]
Fern type plants on the sides of the mains
On wood floors, a carpet between the mains and the listening position
Spikes
Sorbothane risers on tubed gear
Using coins to level an unlevel surface for an LP player

and my personal favorite....

a knife
Help me here. As I see the advantage of spikes, they put great pressure on a tiny point which is sorta like the one of adding weight on top. Would not Sorbothane be even better?

Instead of coins, trimmed beer coasters are good, and I use beer caps to raise my DAC a little higher for air flow. Those great AV Risers were just a tad too tall to fit under there, but I use them other places.

I guess Ferns work two ways as they affect the sound waves and your mind because they look so good.

I have a lot of knives of many styles from Rambo to West Side Story - so how do I use them to help my audio?

OO

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treitz3
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You don't know?

Post by treitz3 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:44 am

They come in handy while at Carverfest to stick in between the timbers within the cabins to stop unwanted vibrations.










Pffft.....rookies! :D
In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to a good analogue reproduction.

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Re: You don't know?

Post by OconeeOrange » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:57 am

treitz3 wrote:They come in handy while at Carverfest to stick in between the timbers within the cabins to stop unwanted vibrations.
HaHa, yeah I remember those photos now - :lol:

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Re: CHEAP TWEAKS

Post by Dreamer » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:01 pm

One great cheap tweak I've found is to use some "blue-tak" under bookshelf speakers (on a stand or bookshelf) to get better coupling. Most small speakers (at least ones that aten't ultra-high-end) don't have provisions for screw-in spikes or feet.

I've used it for my Celestions, my Minimus 7's, and even my old AR Rock Partners, and it seems to tighten up the bass a smidge, and bring the mids more into focus. At under $2 a pack, this stuff is a no-brainer for small speakers.


Other cheap tweaks in the more high-end audio-nut range are cable risers made from old ceramic or glass telegraph insulators (I swear by these for speaker cables, especially if you have runs longer than 1 meter). Telegraph insulators can often be found on Ebay or at flea markets for under $5 each. There is a high-end tweak company making new ones and they sell for something like $20 each, which is sinful, in my opinion...


Spikes under speakers (especially big ones) are a MUST, and OregonDV is probably the most economical source for spikes/feet/ I have OrgeonDV spikes on all my Martin Logans. They were a HUGE improvement for the bass, and significantly improved resolution and focus in the mids.

And someone also mentioned adding weight/mass to components and speakers, and I whole-heartedly agree. I've got 3 10lb wheels (weightlifting plates) on the backs of each of my Martin Logan Sequels, and one small 5lb wheel each, on my Silver 7t's, my M-500t, my CD transport, and my Benchmark DAC. For the investment, it makes a noticeable difference, and unlike other forms of mass-damping, it is easy to do, and easy to un-do as well.

Silver interconnects are my own personal favorite "tweak", although some folks don't consider cables to be "tweaks" but rather "components". Almost all my interconnects are White Zombie Audio RCA and XLRs, and they were a HUMONGOUS improvement over the Monsters, AudioQuests, and even the MITs I've had in my rig. The price of silver has gone up substantially since I bought my cables (about 3 or 4 years ago) but WZA still has the best prices in the business for pure silver cables (about 1/4 what the "brand names" charge...) Please note that Silver cables don't sound good in all systems. If your system has high-resolution speakers, slightly bright-ish digital, and T-moded Carver amplification (which is sort of tubey) it is my experience tha tSilver will sound good, but if your digital front-end is more mellow (like Jolida, Carver, or Rega) Silver cables can make your rig sound strangely "synthetic".

Cleaning your contacts regularly (twice a year--I do mine when I change my clocks and replace my smoke-detector batteries) can be an astonishing improvement, especially if you haven't cleaned them in a few years. I use DeOxIt, and my only complaint about that brand is that the small aerosol cans loose their pressure LONG before you run out of contents, and it is a little spendy. If you have a system like I do with a LOT of connections, but you only clean them once or twice a year, get the bottles of liquid that DeOxIt sells, and buy a pack of Qtips. Your wallet will thank you in 6 months, when it's still useable...

Cable Management is another of my pet tweaks. Nothing drives me nuts faster than "cable spaghetti", and if you dress your cabling neatly (keep power cords away from interconnects and speaker leads, and try not to cross cables at angles other than 90 degrees) you can see a not-subtle improvement in sound.

Also, removing ALL fluorescent and halogen light sources from the circuits that your components are plugged into can DRAMATICALLY lower your noise floor. It can take a "gray silence" to "near-black", just by using a different outlet on a separate breaker, or even removing fluorescents and halogens from the room altogether.

If you have electrostatic speakers (particularly Martin Logans), then there is a whole BOOK of cheap tweaks to those speakers, but one that many people forget is keeping the ESL panels clean. I run a vacuum over my panels every few months (with an attachment that DOESN'T have any brushes or bristles, but the one that has the felt-like pads works great). Getting the dust and pet hair out of your Stators can make a BIG difference in the mids and can bring significant clarity and brilliance back to the highs.

Think outside the box folks--there are a LOT of tweaks that you can do that don't require machine skills, a degree in electrical engineering, deep pockets or even competency with power tools. Most of all, HAVE FUN, and be willing to try things that might sound a little hokey--some of the most silly-sounding ideas actually WORK and don't cost more than a six-pack of good beer...
.....HT Rig • Sony STR-DG600 Receiver • Carver M-500t • Sony BDP-S1 • Sony DVP-NS3100ES • Apple Airport Express •
..............................• Martin Logan Scenarios, Logos • Realistic Minimus 7's • Velodyne F-1500b •

2 Ch. Rig • Carver C-4000t • Silver 7t's • Krell KAV-300i • Oppo DV-981HD • Benchmark DAC1-USB • MacBook Pro 17", iTunes •
......• Technics SL-1350 turntable with Sumiko headshell, leads, and Bluepoint cartridge • Martin Logan Sequels •

.........................................................-+-Click Here to see my system-+-

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Re: CHEAP TWEAKS

Post by basspig » Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:20 am

Tweaks... the MOST effective tweak I have done was to install acoustic traps in and around my speakers and on the side walls. The measured frequency response went from something like +/-26dB to +/-3dB over the audio spectrum, just by removing reflections that cause comb filtering. The quality of the sound went from something like a good PA system, to that of a pair of Wilson Bischops.
My other tweak was to replace the cheap RCA cables that came with CD players and tape decks with Monoprice cables, which have heavy sheilding and lower capacitance per foot. The slight hum I used to have is gone.
Last tweak was to adjust the gainstaging of every component, so that no headroom is wasted. Having too much gain on a power amp means you could be putting up with 6-10dB higher noise floor than necessary. I used an oscilloscope and dummy loads to measure the clip level of preamp, crossover and power amps, taking into account short term headroom of power amps, to align the gain levels for minimum hiss while retaining full drive level to the power amps. That single tweak got rid of a lot of hiss.
I've made internal mods to my C4000 which reduced hum and hiss too, but that isn't something everyone can do or needs to do, especially if your speakers have less sensitivity than 112dB 1W/1M.
Take care,

Mark & Mary Ann Weiss
http://www.basspig.com The Bass Pig's Lair - 16,500 watts of driving surround sound!

Business sites at:
http://www.ampexperts.com
http://www.mwhdvideo.com
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Re: CHEAP TWEAKS

Post by Dreamer » Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:13 am

basspig wrote:Tweaks... the MOST effective tweak I have done was to install acoustic traps in and around my speakers and on the side walls.
I am 100% in agreement with this.

The biggest "gee whiz" improvement from a tweak I ever had was when I got a set of Michael Green Room Tunes, and put them up in the corners, and on the side walls of my listening room. The difference was NOT subtle and was, in a word, ASTOUNDING, and instantly noticeable.

Good room treatment doesn't have to be walls covered with studio panels or special sheet rock walls installed. IT can be as simple as a few strategically placed acoustical damping or reflective devices...
.....HT Rig • Sony STR-DG600 Receiver • Carver M-500t • Sony BDP-S1 • Sony DVP-NS3100ES • Apple Airport Express •
..............................• Martin Logan Scenarios, Logos • Realistic Minimus 7's • Velodyne F-1500b •

2 Ch. Rig • Carver C-4000t • Silver 7t's • Krell KAV-300i • Oppo DV-981HD • Benchmark DAC1-USB • MacBook Pro 17", iTunes •
......• Technics SL-1350 turntable with Sumiko headshell, leads, and Bluepoint cartridge • Martin Logan Sequels •

.........................................................-+-Click Here to see my system-+-

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Re: CHEAP TWEAKS

Post by basspig » Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:11 am

Right. All that is required is to kill the secondary reflections that end with the listening position. You can use a mirror to 'see' where these bounce areas are and then place your absorbtion there. That way you can keep some 'liveness' in the room without turning it into an anechoic chamber.
Take care,

Mark & Mary Ann Weiss
http://www.basspig.com The Bass Pig's Lair - 16,500 watts of driving surround sound!

Business sites at:
http://www.ampexperts.com
http://www.mwhdvideo.com
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Post by treitz3 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:39 am

I am surprised that no one [myself included] has not mentioned this yet....and it's completely free. It is also the most important tweak one can have for their rig.

Proper and optimum placement of the speakers.

Below, you will find a link to a thread that explains in utmost detail how to achieve the best sound out of your rig....just by placing the speakers in the optimum location and then setting them up properly. This right here can make or break a system and sometimes just a 1/4" of movement can mean the difference between an OK rig and a stellar rig. Start with the post linked and scroll down to find out how to get the best that your rig has to offer.

viewtopic.php?p=139943#p139943
In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to a good analogue reproduction.

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Re: CHEAP TWEAKS

Post by OconeeOrange » Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:22 am

Dreamer wrote: The biggest "gee whiz" improvement from a tweak I ever had was when I got a set of Michael Green Room Tunes, and put them up in the corners, and on the side walls of my listening room. The difference was NOT subtle and was, in a word, ASTOUNDING, and instantly noticeable.
http://www.michaelgreenaudio.com/

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Re: CHEAP TWEAKS

Post by Zoot Horn » Sat Sep 24, 2011 2:03 pm

playing with that Avatar again eh?

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Re:

Post by Dreamer » Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:49 pm

treitz3 wrote:I am surprised that no one [myself included] has not mentioned this yet....and it's completely free. It is also the most important tweak one can have for their rig.

Proper and optimum placement of the speakers.

This is CRITICAL for any kind of speaker, and the difference between properly placed speakers and ones that are even a tiny bit mi-aligned is NOT subtle--this can make a HUGE difference in terms of soundstaging, dynamics, harmonics, and even voicing.

And if you are an electrostatic fan like me, placement can be the difference between "hey these sound pretty good" and "HOLY $#!+, these sound AMAZING!".

I know when my Sequels are properly placed--distance from back wall, proper angle and proper toe-in--the difference is like night and day. They go from sounding like really decent speakers to being almost spooky in the way they realistically reproduce ambience, air, pace, and resolution...

If you have cone drivers, aligning speakers can be a painstaking process involving bubble levels, tape measures and even laser pointers, and can take HOURS.

But one of the GREAT things about MArtin Logans is their curvalinear ESL panels allow you to get toe-in dialed in with nothing more than a flashlight and a tape measure, and generally takes less than 30 minutes... :-)
.....HT Rig • Sony STR-DG600 Receiver • Carver M-500t • Sony BDP-S1 • Sony DVP-NS3100ES • Apple Airport Express •
..............................• Martin Logan Scenarios, Logos • Realistic Minimus 7's • Velodyne F-1500b •

2 Ch. Rig • Carver C-4000t • Silver 7t's • Krell KAV-300i • Oppo DV-981HD • Benchmark DAC1-USB • MacBook Pro 17", iTunes •
......• Technics SL-1350 turntable with Sumiko headshell, leads, and Bluepoint cartridge • Martin Logan Sequels •

.........................................................-+-Click Here to see my system-+-

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Re: CHEAP TWEAKS

Post by OconeeOrange » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:39 am

Magnetic Levitation Platform for turntable:

http://shop.grantfidelity.com/Nobility- ... tform.html

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