Larry Kart

Cheap sonic upgrade

49 posts in this topic

Been thinking about my equipment  (stereo equipment, that is) since I bought an Audio Technica VM740 ML cartridge a few weeks ago, a notable imporvement over what I had. For some reason my thoughts then turned to electronic interference between components. I have a hefty Marantz integrated amp, a hefty Marantz CD player, a Rega RX-7 turntable, and a nondescript cassette machine. These were stacked on a rack this way: turntable on top, then CD player, then amp, and finally cassette player. Just for the heck of it, I put the CD player on the bottom shelf, and the amp where the CD player was  to see if  separating those two components by a greater distance  than before might make a difference. I thought it did, so I looked up what substances  are most resistant to electrical conductivity, and rubber came out near the top. So I went to the hardware store, got several rolls of rubber shelf liner, cut the rolls to fit and placed three sheets under the cassette player (that would be one shelf above the CD player), three sheets under the amp, and two sheets under the turntable just for the heck of it.  So the amp and the CD player are now separated by a total of six sheets of rubberized shelf liner, as well as by the shelf that holds the cassette player. 

Voila! Sonic benefits (at least to my ear) across the board -- definition per se and  spatial definition too. Also, my spinal stinosis has been relieved (just kidding). And all for $16 at Ace Hardware.

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Which brand of green marker do you use?

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51 minutes ago, Chuck Nessa said:

Which brand of green marker do you use?

The Sharpie "Hurricane" model.

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Three Sheets Of Rubber

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The Hefty Marantzes

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The Green Sharpy Hurricanes

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I recall laughing when I read a Stereophile columnist singing the praises of Shun Mook Mpingo Discs. But I doubt they're cheap.

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Rubber Came Out

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Rubber Souled

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Now Appearing at Rudy's Club Jaqueshammer: The Nondescript Cassette Players.

No cover, no minimum, ladies drink free before 9 PM.

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All jokes aside, about a year ago I talked at length to a hifi expert, and he confirmed that resonances of component housings indeed could be a problem. He recommended putting weight on things, like engineer Pierre Sprey does with his lead bars.German companies sell heavy rubber feet to isolate components from the floor or rack shelves.

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2 hours ago, mikeweil said:

All jokes aside, about a year ago I talked at length to a hifi expert, and he confirmed that resonances of component housings indeed could be a problem. He recommended putting weight on things, like engineer Pierre Sprey does with his lead bars.German companies sell heavy rubber feet to isolate components from the floor or rack shelves.

About a year ago, I bought Pro-Ject Damp it High-End Damping Feet to put underneath my turntable.  I could still hear the effect of a washing machine's spin cycle down the hall; I was recording an LP to CD and could see the rumble on the VU meters.  Recorded again with the washer off and the rumble was gone.

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12 hours ago, mikeweil said:

All jokes aside, about a year ago I talked at length to a hifi expert, and he confirmed that resonances of component housings indeed could be a problem. He recommended putting weight on things, like engineer Pierre Sprey does with his lead bars.German companies sell heavy rubber feet to isolate components from the floor or rack shelves.

I am not an hifi expert but I noted it to. Placed aftermarket insulators between floor and the case of left channel power amp, no insulators on right channel amp just its own feet, I played a cd with mono button on, balancing left to right and viceversa I could definitely hear better bass frequencies, tight and clean.  After switching insulators to right channel amp there was still the same improvement, so I was sure it was not my room and furniture that influenced the difference.

Edited by porcy62

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32 minutes ago, Brad said:

So, how come a CD sounds better if you stop it and then press play, rather than playing it from pause? Because, dear readers, we can assure you they do.

We haven't heard a definitive explanation. Nevertheless, in our experience doing things this way just sounds that bit better.

No wonder so many people are willing to believe climate change isn't real. Woo is everywhere in our culture.

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I tend to think that nowadays common people believe scientists according to how much they confirm their previous beliefs otherwise scientists are only part of some sort of conspiracy 

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1 hour ago, Captain Howdy said:

So, how come a CD sounds better if you stop it and then press play, rather than playing it from pause? Because, dear readers, we can assure you they do.

We haven't heard a definitive explanation. Nevertheless, in our experience doing things this way just sounds that bit better.

Maybe it seems to sound "better" because you're hearing all the attacks of all the notes instead of starting in the jumble of already attacked pitches..

Not hearing the attack of a note is a weird thing to happen to your ears/mind. It's how you immediately know what instrument is playing. Without an attack, the timbre of an instrument can linger in ambiguity for a surprisingly long time.

So it's no mystery why, and it really doesn't sound "better" in any meaningful audiowonkystat way. It's just basic acoustical science.

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Just remember that "sound" to humans is merely what our mind does with those electrical signals from our nerves when those little hairs in our ears vibrate. As such, our mind can and will play it's usual tricks. Things that sounded good one way will sound better another... even if they are exactly the same. This is not something that's inherently wrong or right and its's definitely not something you can fix.

Expectation bias is a well understood example of the human subconscious mind at work. It's not woo or really science, unless you stick to the technical definition that biology is a science. It's just a natural thing our minds do.

If you hear an improvement - good for you. Go for it.

One thing to leave you with is this - companies that manufacture these sound improvement devices never publish any data to back their claims. This is precisely because they live off of your expectation biases and not on any measurable metric.

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Expectation bias also works both ways.

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That is correct, but why two different amp with exactly the same accepted measurements in terms of distortion, s/n ratio, etc, do sound different?

Edited by porcy62

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