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dog_or_man
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Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs

If you recognize the user-ID, you probably associate it with a litany of posts about trying to get rid of an unpleasant dryness, a sort of "reedy" sound in my system, that I've been logging-in to write about, over and over again, for years.

Over that time we've gone from room treatment issues, to power conditioning, to after-market cables, to RF treatments, to treating my IC terminals, and, well, back again, with no lasting success. Each time we've tried something, it's seemed to work for a few minutes (or hours), and then right back to the same old problem. Even the installation of a dedicated AC line made no difference. And the worst part was, I knew there was something actually *wrong* -- and I wasn't just listening in a finicky room, for example -- because what I was hearing was far more noticeable and jarring than any of the room/equipment changes I'd experienced before, and I'd listened in the past under some pretty un-ideal circumstances. Whatever was happening, I just wasn't getting it across in my posts in a way that equipped everyone who was trying to help with the right information to make the right suggestion.

Well, Charles Hansen of Ayre fixed it. And the best part is that he wasn't even trying.

In the past day or two, someone logged in to another high-end audio forum, asking what he could do to "warm up" an Ayre system -- which caught my attention because I'm not in the habit of thinking of Ayre stuff as excessively lean. Mr. Hansen made one quick suggestion and, when I applied the same suggestion to my rig, INSTANT SOLUTION.

Know what it was? Disconnect the TV and the DVD player from AC power when listening to music. Just like that, no more trouble, voila.

I had actually gotten pretty close to this fix by accident, since I had a power conditioner with a toggled power switch, connected to the undedicated AC outlet, managing all of my sources, while the amp and preamp were connected by themselves to the dedicated line, but because *all* of the sources were connected to the power conditioner, I was still dumping the RF crap from the switching power supplies of the TV and the DVD into the signal path whenever the CD player was on.

Now the amp and preamp are connected to the dedicated line, the CD player is connected to the undedicated line, and the DVD player and the TV are connected to the power conditioner, and *then* to the undedicated line. And to think, I only spent about two grand in RF shielding and new power cords and interconnects and speaker wires, that I wouldn't have had to spend if I could write about my trouble in such a way that other people knew what was wrong! :-)

So may I humbly and respectfully suggest that this experience be added to the "permanent record" of tweaker suggestions? So that the next time someone comes in and says, "I've got all of this reedy unpleasantness in my music and I don't think it's the speakers," we might all try suggesting this tweak as an antecedent to any money being parted with? It made all the difference in my system, and saved me from dropping any more ridiculous money on my rig.

Cheers, everyone. Sorry for the long post.

Dave O'Gorman
Gainesville, Florida

Stephen Scharf
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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs

Interesting reading, Dave. I came across something very similar to your conclusions in the Mapleshade Audio "free upgrades" section on their website. Anyone who has not read those pages should do so, it's good lots of really good, free techniques and tweaks to use to optimize performance.
http://www.mapleshaderecords.com/audioproducts/freeaudiotips.php
A point of clarification: now that only the TV and cable box are plugged into the power conditioner, do you just switch off the power conditioner to "disconnect" them from mains, conditioned power, or do you actually physically unplug them from the power conditioner?

dog_or_man
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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs

The TV and DVD player (no cable box) are connected to switched outlets on the power conditioner, so once the conditioner is off, the TV and DVDP are completely disconnected from the mains. Someone on another site just posted, saying, "Great first start; now you need to lift all your grounds by cutting the third pin off your power cords" -- which is fine with me as long as the rest of you promise to come to the funeral and not to fight too much over my gear.

mrlowry
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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs

Did Mr. Hansen discuss how/why this tweak works? I think that I do something similar by de-tuning (tuning to an empty station, that has empty stations on either side of it) all TV's and radios when not in use.

IN THEORY, as long as one component in a system is properly grounded every thing in the system is grounded through the ground connection of the interconnects. However then when disassembling the system one would want to unplug and disconnect everything else first. It's not something that I'd recommend for many people. One of the benefits to using a power conditioner is that it makes the entire system reference ONE PATH to ground (as long as everything in the system is plugged into it of course.) Many people feel that less paths to ground in a system lowers the background noise will be. Noticing I'm talking about PATHS to ground as everything in your house should share a common ground (except Antennas, cable TV systems, or Satellite systems.)

dog_or_man
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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs

I think Mr. Hansen was referring to the amount of RF interference generated by the switching power supplies inside the TV and the DVDP, as they "wait" for a power-up signal from their respective remotes. If that's the case, the tweak he suggested should only work if the TV and DVDP (and cable box, etc.) are completely disconnected from AC mains, as with toggling-off an unswitched power conditioner.

As for the ground lifting, I've read so much, from so many competing sources, I just don't know what to think about that. I had a nasty problem with an earlier configuration of my rig -- and I think, though I never verified it for sure, that the problem in that case was *because* the rig didn't have a safety ground, at the time.

dbowker
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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs

Interesting solution. My problem would be that I have quite a few custom settings in both my TV and DVD player(s) (Blu and HD-DVD) which would need to be re-set if all power was disconnected. Not that I have any hum/noise problems in my audio system anyway, but just something to point out if other folks didn't think about it.

mrlowry
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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs


Quote:
Interesting solution. My problem would be that I have quite a few custom settings in both my TV and DVD player(s) (Blu and HD-DVD) which would need to be re-set if all power was disconnected. Not that I have any hum/noise problems in my audio system anyway, but just something to point out if other folks didn't think about it.

Doug-

Most modern TVs and DVD do store the user default settings in non-volatile memory so that they are not lost because of power outages. The only reason that I say most is because I hate to use the word all. Satellite receivers are another issues after losing power they have to re-load a lot of their information. Up until a year ago I used to work in a retail environment where at the end of every day's business we used to flip the breakers off (everything was on surge suppressors) instead of turning every piece of equipment off individually. Over the weekend the majority of the gear would be completely cut off from electricity for two days. The receivers, surround processors, DVD players, Plasmas, and LCDs did not lose settings. We were a tweaky establishment so any lost settings would have been noticed very quickly.

dog_or_man
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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs

I concur. My TV comes back on with a menu, but the settings are all the way I left 'em.

dbowker
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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs

OK- my TV might (Samsung LCD) have non volatile memory, but my HD_DVD and Blu-Ray players don't for some odd reason. I just accidentally unplugged one this weekend and had to set it up like it was new.

On the subject of noise, I'll add this discovery. Where I live in New England, it's pretty common to have number of humidifiers in the house during winter, as all that dry heat is murder on the skin and nasal passages. This little devils seem like ultra-noise inducers, especially when on a Low setting. Took me weeks to figure it out as I thought perhaps it was something larger or in-line grounding issues.

The noise BTW is more on the transformer side, less "in" the music itself (although it could be there too). But my Krell amp has quite the large transformer, and I could hear it buzzing from across the room. Luckily, it's an easy fix to just turn off the humidifiers when I'm doing serious listening.

JIMV
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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs

Do you have all this gear in one room on one circuit? My TV/DVD player are on one floor and electric circuit and my audio gear on another. Would I expect a change if I killed all my TV power? ( I am reluctant as all my programing like time will need to be reset if I kill power to the TV system)

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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs

A shame that we audiophiles have to tolerate video intruding into our listening!

I found a trick that served me well in the realm of sharing video and audio:

Get a bit of Auralex foam and fit it to the sides of your video device.

I think video screens/TV's/etc goof up imaging and when I had to face the presence of continued video between my speakers, I gave that a try and, man oh man, it made a terrific difference!

mrlowry
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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs

Buddha-

For larger CRT TV sets in addition to the acoustic treatment on the sides of the TV try draping a thick quilt over the TV front.

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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs


Quote:
Buddha-

For larger CRT TV sets in addition to the acoustic treatment on the sides of the TV try draping a thick quilt over the TV front.

Agreed!

I've been planning a board sized to match the front of the TV and placing acoustic foam on that, too.

If I were single, there'd be no damned TV!

In the place I'm renting, no TV and I also have nothing else plugged in to the Hi Fi circuit for the room. No lights of any kind, nada. I listen by candlelight.

Gotta be a purist on something, I guess!

Plus, the mood for Hi Fi listening is much better that way.

mrlowry
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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs

Same here, I live in a small apartment and the only thing plugged into the circuit that powers my audio system is my audio system. The TV, (which is in the same room but not between the speakers) DVD, VCR, cable modem, router, etc. are all plugged into a different circuit. I think of it as a poor man's dedicated line.

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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs

Another big problem of cable tv and audio is that the cable company rarely grounds their system at an audio friendly location, like the same place your main system is grounded. This at worst causes a major hum at best is not giving you clean power to your gear. Solutions include trying to get the Cable system grounded to the right place, cable wire isolators ($20 or so each) or an isolation transformer. Of course as mentioned unpluggin them from power and interconnects into your amp helps too.

Cheers,
Ian

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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs

Another thing to try if you are getting hash into your system is moving your interconnects to different jacks on the back panel of your preamp. I use an unshielded IC on my cd player and I leave several open jacks between it and my other components.

KBK
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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs

I just went with a 650lb balanced AC transformer. That beast does not care what is on the 'wrong' side of it;it does not care what else is using AC power in the house...Nothing gets through to the audio system- except for clean Balanced AC. OTOH, the power company came out to take a look at least once, with puzzled looks on their faces,as they have no idea I have this thing in the house and I'm on the very end of a miles long (branched) line..with my own pole transformer. And this beast is notably more heavy duty than that pole transformer.

KBK
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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs


Quote:
OK- my TV might (Samsung LCD) have non volatile memory, but my HD_DVD and Blu-Ray players don't for some odd reason. I just accidentally unplugged one this weekend and had to set it up like it was new.

On the subject of noise, I'll add this discovery. Where I live in New England, it's pretty common to have number of humidifiers in the house during winter, as all that dry heat is murder on the skin and nasal passages. This little devils seem like ultra-noise inducers, especially when on a Low setting. Took me weeks to figure it out as I thought perhaps it was something larger or in-line grounding issues.

The noise BTW is more on the transformer side, less "in" the music itself (although it could be there too). But my Krell amp has quite the large transformer, and I could hear it buzzing from across the room. Luckily, it's an easy fix to just turn off the humidifiers when I'm doing serious listening.

There is a overall bandwidth 'efficiency of energy transfer' change across the board when going from high humidity to low humidity but most importantly, the high frequencies are affected by up as much as 10db.

Don't forget that one..or conversely...know it for the first time.

Buddha
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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs


Quote:

Quote:
OK- my TV might (Samsung LCD) have non volatile memory, but my HD_DVD and Blu-Ray players don't for some odd reason. I just accidentally unplugged one this weekend and had to set it up like it was new.

On the subject of noise, I'll add this discovery. Where I live in New England, it's pretty common to have number of humidifiers in the house during winter, as all that dry heat is murder on the skin and nasal passages. This little devils seem like ultra-noise inducers, especially when on a Low setting. Took me weeks to figure it out as I thought perhaps it was something larger or in-line grounding issues.

The noise BTW is more on the transformer side, less "in" the music itself (although it could be there too). But my Krell amp has quite the large transformer, and I could hear it buzzing from across the room. Luckily, it's an easy fix to just turn off the humidifiers when I'm doing serious listening.

There is a overall bandwidth 'efficiency of energy transfer' change across the board when going from high humidity to low humidity but most importantly, the high frequencies are affected by up as much as 10db.

Don't forget that one..or conversely...know it for the first time.

Yes, humid air is less dense, so perhaps it would seem to lower noise, since the speaker would have slightly lower output.

Watch barometric pressure, temperature, and elevation effects, too!

Imagine how JA would have heard things during a warm rainy day in Sante Fe! No wonder he moved to New York!

dbowker
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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs

"There is a overall bandwidth 'efficiency of energy transfer' change across the board when going from high humidity to low humidity but most importantly, the high frequencies are affected by up as much as 10db.

Don't forget that one..or conversely...know it for the first time. "

Definitely true, but it' gets so incredibly dry up here during the winter your nose will bleed just from lack of moisture! If anything the sounds probably gets a bit bright during these months from so little to travel through.

The humidifiers bring the air moisture up to maybe a comfortable 45%. In late summer I have for sure heard how really dense air clouds up the sound. Luckily we A/C for those times.

barondla
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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs

KBK, where did you get a 650lb balanced transformer? It sounds very interesting. Must take up a lot of room. I also have my own pole transformer right by the house.
thanks
barondla

KBK
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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs


Quote:
KBK, where did you get a 650lb balanced transformer? It sounds very interesting. Must take up a lot of room. I also have my own pole transformer right by the house.
thanks
barondla

It's an ex-pro unit for large computer systems or in this case, it came out of a cat scanner set up from hospital that relocated/retired it.

It is a 'line conditioner, that has a 25KVA continuous rating in either balanced or single ended use. This means it is actually a 50KVA continuous rated unit that has been derated. I asked the engineers at the given company that made it as I was being pdf'd the spec and wiring sheet so I could re wire it. The surge capacity is 100KVA for an hour and 200 or 500kva(?- something like that- ie, lots of headroom) transient surge capacity (limited due to losses, thermal and otherwise).

It is from 'Controlled Power', out of Michigan, Illinois. they make their own stuff from scratch.

I found it wasting away on Ebay, no-one knew what it was. It had been picked up by a salvage company and the label was a bit damaged..but I began researching similar units on the net and found it, identified it, conferred with the company engineers(the designers of the unit), and we poured over the ebay photos together while it was on ebay. I clicked on 'buy it now', based on their verification of it's specifications.

It was originally $8kUS in the late 90's. I paid $400 for it and $250 for the shipping and our own shipping firm that we use cleared it for us, and dropped it off at the company loading dock. I rented a truck and nearly gave myself a broken back and hernia getting it into the house and truck by myself. I broke the front door sill just a bit.. Whoops.

tom collins
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Re: Charles Hansen of Ayre saved my love for audio in 10 secs

kbk: what a great story. how did you explain the damage to mrs. kbk?

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