Fine Tunes #7 Letters
The big grin factor
Editor: I read Mr. Scull's "Fine Tunes" in the January 1999 Stereophile about cable-dressing etiquette. I have heard that cable dressing was important, but I never actually believed it would make any noticeable difference.
WOW, was I ever wrong! I fussed with all my cable routings for about half an hour, with amazing results. I ensured all my power cables were at 90 degrees to my interconnects, raised my speaker cable off the carpet floor, and separated the interconnects as best I could.
The clarity on CD was much improved. However, the largest improvement was in the phono stage. I could always hear what I thought was some sort of faint feedback or harmonic buzz when I played my LPs, which I used to attribute to a poor recording/tonearm combination. The annoying buzz is now gone, and the warmth and life of LPs are more enjoyable than ever.
The big grin factor has gone up several degrees as well!—Greg Chernoff, firstname.lastname@example.org
The phono stage, Greg, is the most sensitive part of the system, the one most likely to suffer from induced hum and dirty grounds. It's even a good idea to pull the interconnect on the digital when you play analog. Happy Listening.—J-10
Editor: Jonathan Scull's common-sense cable-dressing piece in the January issue ("Fine Tunes," p.67) is one of those "Why didn't I think of that?" things. Dressing the cables in my system has resulted in much-improved sound definition, hence better staging. The timpani are finally at the back of the orchestra, and stay there!
This tweak is worth the cost of a year's subscription to Stereophile, at least. Thank you.—C.C. Watson, London, Ontario, Canada
...and real-world physics
Editor: The great benefit of suspending cables above carpets and floors has been known for some time now. Its effect is to reduce capacitive and resistive loading—bleeding signal from the wire conductor to both the wire insulation and the carpet/floor, and back to the wire conductor at a later interval—resulting in less signal reaching the loudspeaker, and in the smearing of the music by this later signal arrival. Of course, the correct materials and method of accomplishing this are crucial for the greatest musical pleasure.
To accomplish this goal, I suggest cable manufacturers work synergistically with the cable-suspender manufacturer by spending less money on esoteric, often expensive dielectrics, insulations, and cable network devices, and concentrating on the real physics that result in good reproduced music. In other words, make a good product that has a positive synergy with the manufacturer that builds the cable suspender, again using sound physics to form both a more affordable system and one where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The outcome would benefit the music lover (an affordable price for this combo) and the manufacturer (with increased profits from higher sales volume due to the products' affordability to the customer).
Please don't sell the music lover out with ridiculous products of little value at exorbitant prices.—Tim O'Connor, Tim.Oconnor@ecolab.com