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Buddha
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"Shake it off!"

Hola,

Question:

You play a recording and it sounds TERRIBLE!

After you pull it off the turntable, out of the CD tray, away from the 8-track player, or yank it out of your cassette deck, how do you re-set?

Back story:

Yesterday, went to melody Records and found a clencleanclean copy of Aja, and since my records are 600 miles away, I shot 2 bucks into Donald Fagen's pocket and took her home and cleaned her up and had my way with her.

But, I digress.

I also found a pristine copy of Ben Webster's "For the Gov'nor," which I had never even heard of before and gave it a whirl.

Low treble glare up the ying yang! Yup, right up both the ying and the yang!

Like a sonic ice pick to the back of your eye kind of glare.

I gutted out decent renditions of "I Got It Bad" and "Sentimental Mood," but it polluted my ears.

Off it went, and when I put on a new disc, it sounded bad, too, but I know it not to be so!

The demons of foul low treble glare had infested my rig!

Switch to CD and, "Bam! same thing!

Even a switch to the gold CD of "Kind of Blue" made Miles' trumpet sound fuzzy/frizzy at the start of "So What." (And, by the way, doesn't "So What" sound alot like "Day In - Day Out?")

Now, as Keanu said in the bus bomb (literal and figurative bomb, eh?) "What do you do? What DO you do?"

Have you ever had a bad recording possess you rig? Infest it with foul spirits of glare, harshness, seeming distortion, or other general sonic mayhem?

How did you 'shake it off,' so to speak?

What's your protocol?

(I don't wanna spoil any answers with my solution yet.)

JIMV
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Re: "Shake it off!"

While this will have no real effect, I have found sacrificing a really bad CD to the trash Gods followed by using Kontac on every system interconnect often placates the Audio Gods.

mrlowry
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Re: "Shake it off!"

Sometime I run the Ayre degaussing disc. If that doesn't work I stop listening to music to punish myself for being so critical. I've made listening to the system a crime in my house to encourage listening to music. That may sound weird but at one time I had a really bad case of Audiophile-nervosa. That's one of the occupational hazards of having sold high-end and getting to hear systems that were 3-4 times as expensive as my home system every day. Now I only allow myself to "critically" listen to the system at home while auditioning new products or tweaking.

tomjtx
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Re: "Shake it off!"

I recommend a good stiff drink of your choice , I bet it would do wonders.

ncdrawl
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Re: "Shake it off!"

I thought you were going to be talking about the Wilco DVD of the same name(amazing, btw).

I just stop listening to music for a while and let my ears reset. The harshness may be from listening fatigue(which, as a recording/mix engineer I get quite often),,, so I limit myself to about an hour and a half of steady listening.

RGibran
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Re: "Shake it off!"

I find this is sometimes the last straw in what I had been suspecting for a while. Something just not right with the system lately. But I have not done anything to the system lately. The only thing I

JIMV
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Re: "Shake it off!"

That makes no sense...how could your two month old tweak, which worked, suddenly not work?

bertdw
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Re: "Shake it off!"

I'm having a similar problem at the moment. A little female (vocal) trouble, you might say. Last weekend I was watching the Celtic Woman special on PBS. My teenage daughter sat through the whole thing with me and even enjoyed it! That alone was priceless. Anyway, with the TV speakers off and the sound coming through the big rig, I noticed some distortion on some of the vocals. It was like a buzzing, or kazoo-like effect. The "breathier" vocals didn't have this problem, only the clear, "operatic" sounding ones. I chalked this up to lousy MTS stereo coming through my crappy cable box. A few days later I found one of the Celtic Woman CDs at a local used CD store. When I took it home to listen, I heard the same distortion! I thought something was wrong with my system, so I listened with my iGrado headphones on my computer. Not a high-end source, I know, but I heard the same thing. To make matters worse, I've begun to hear this problem on other recordings that have sounded fine until now. Sarah Brightman, Tierney Sutton, and even Jane Monheit (gasp!) now exhibit some of the same distortion.

The only solution I found, and it's only a partial solution, was to move the speakers a little closer to the back wall. The change in tonal balance has distracted me from the vocal distortion enough to let me ignore it, but I can still hear it if I listen for it. And I have a hard time not listening for it now. Buddha, how long are you going to make us wait for your solution?

tomjtx
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Re: "Shake it off!"

bertdw,

it could be that this "distortion" always existed but you didn't notice. Once you noticed it your brain was trained to identify it.

That is both the blessing and curse of ear training, both musical and audiophile.

After I had 18th century counterpoint as an undergrad (we wrote inventions and fugues) I was able to hear things in Bach I had not heard before.
Once the brain is aware of something it much easier to hear it.

bertdw
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Re: "Shake it off!"


Quote:
It could be that this "distortion" always existed but you didn't notice.

Yes, I thought of this too.


Quote:
Once you noticed it your brain was trained to identify it.

That's the excuse I gave my wife last year when I bought my Vandersteens. My old speakers had a coloration I could no longer ignore.

Thanks.

ncdrawl
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Re: "Shake it off!"


Quote:
That makes no sense...how could your two month old tweak, which worked, suddenly not work?


it makes all the sense in the world. the brain is a mysterious thing.. in this case, his ears began to work better.

JIMV
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Re: "Shake it off!"

Or worse...perhaps it was better two months ago

Jan Vigne
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Re: "Shake it off!"


Quote:
Have you ever had a bad recording possess you rig? Infest it with foul spirits of glare, harshness, seeming distortion, or other general sonic mayhem?

Hasn't happened in decades and I've got some crappy recordings like anyone else does. One live Eric Clapton/Derek and the Dominos is a sonic disaster but the music's great. I pull it out every now and then becasue I like the music. Nothing "infests" my system other than a little bit of 60Hz noise when it's time to do housekeeping chores.

ncdrawl
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Re: "Shake it off!"


Quote:
Or worse...perhaps it was better two months ago

it wasnt the power cord that made it better, friend.

gkc
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Re: "Shake it off!"

Buddha, this gets right to the nub, doesn't it? I, like you, listen to a lot of live acoustic music. That is the dream we take home with us. Then, we go to our (fill in the blanks) $------- music system. We know the life support systems are okay (nothing clicks, grunts, or bleeps when we boot up), so we pull out something off the shelf that we look for to recreate the mood or sound, or both, of what we just heard live. And the pain begins.

Most of us who love music have, say, a thousand different versions of it on our shelves, be they analog, CD, SACD, or tape. 80% of it lives in the middle zone. You can pick nits, but you still enjoy the music, and you enjoy what your constant tweaking and upgrading has done for the system that has to reproduce the software. "This sounds better than what I used to have," you say, "even though it isn't perfect." So you pull out one of the 10% that is transcendent. By now, you aren't even in the same time zone as the concert you just heard -- you just want to hear something, anything, that sounds "live." And, dammit all, it sounds pretty close. Then you get brave. You go to that superb performance of music you particularly love, shrugging off the vague memory of the last time you played it, and the wallpaper started to peel. Emboldened by mediocre-to-good software that sounds either pleasantly listenable or absolutely transcendent, you go for the gold -- this is a bad recording, but I have to have the MUSIC, and tonight EVERYTHING sounds better.

Screech. Boom. Hiss. Grind. I believe we have now arrived at the moment you describe.

What to do, you ask? Straight gin is a good option. Dulls the senses, yet allows the flow of the music to come through.

Fact, in my experience. Nothing , no new speakers, no new preamp, no new power amp with super chargers, will affect the sound that comes into your listening environment ONE HALF as much as your software.

What to do? Recognize the fact for what it is. Seek neutrality in your upgrades. Extreme fixes will only work for, at BEST, one-third of your home listening enjoyment.

Realize life isn't perfect. Accept any joy you get from your home music gratefully and without qualifications. Drink. And I ain't talkin' lemonade.

Still, most importantly, a propos your system choices, seek neutrality and transparency. Even the shit sounds good if you love the performance and it fills out the room in a lively way.

When a went to Triangle speakers a few years ago, it was because of the software go-'round. You never won, when you catered your upgrades to the best (or even average) software in your collection. I have never looked back. I am happy as the proverbial pig in shit, because I know life's limitations. The Triangles have been true to middle-C. The extreme audio sins still show up on the bad recordings, but not as egregiously. True to middle-C. And transparent, and willing to disappear with ALL recordings. Which means wide and deep sound-staging.

Should everybody buy Triangle speakers? Of course not! That would be absurd. BUT. You could use the same criteria as I used, voiced to your own ears, when you seek to upgrade. Be true to your own ears, your own "middle-C," as it were. But you needn't sacrifice transparency and wide and deep imaging, no matter WHAT floats your boat. Now, that is what I call progress. And, I can tell you, no matter HOW bad your worst software sounds tonight, it would have sounded a HELL of a lot worse 10-20 years ago. And that's a fact. I am old enough to know.

Happy tunes.

Buddha
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Re: "Shake it off!"

I think when sonic calamtiy like that happens, the offending frequency gets so much cognivitve attention, even the next several recordings are perceived on that bias. Instead of 'down filtering' the offending frequency, I up regulated it! I wonder if that's a common audiophile trait?

My solution was several or the above:

1: Have a belt.

2: The ritual 'freshening' of the interconnects.

3: Leafing through the Music Direct Christmas catalog. Is it a thing of beauty, or what?

4: Play some discs which I KNOW don't have this problem. Branford Marsalis' "Trio Jeepy" is great in this regard.

5) Shake head an say "blulululululu."

6) Fluff up the listening chair.

7) Listen by candle light.

It amazes me that such a phenomenon happens. I guess it's a form of defect perseveration.

I once knew this girl who, honest to gosh, made Scarlett Johansen look like dirt. Every Scarlett attribute, this chick trumped it.

However, she has a horrendous psoriasis spot on her inner thigh.

Go figure. After a while, that was all I saw, even when I didn't see it. I felt like I was in a Seinfeld episode.

Well, anyway, the good sound is back.

rvance
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Re: "Shake it off!"

I fire up my Kamakiriad DVD-Audio and let Fagen's slow-bopping cool do the musical alternative to Bombay gin and purple Kush.

JIMV
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Re: "Shake it off!"

If you have done nothing to it and the quality of your power is the same and nothing has failed in your gear, then the problem is more likely your ears than your gear.

ie; in how you listen

mrlowry
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Re: "Shake it off!"


Quote:
If you have done nothing to it and the quality of your power is the same and nothing has failed in your gear, then the problem is more likely your ears than your gear.

ie; in how you listen

Yes, sometimes it might be mood that stops us from enjoying our systems. However I've long believed that Humidity also affects the sound of a audio system (which is an invisible variable that most people wouldn't think of) by changing the density of the air. I'm also aware that sounds really, really "out there."

Buddha
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Re: "Shake it off!"

When I listen at shows, I've noticed a similar sort of thing. Almost like our sense of taste and foul food, sometimes a sonically putrid experience can leave a bad sound in your ear!

MJS
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Re: "Shake it off!"

If it's me, I probably need to sleep. I am hyper-aware of (and most annoyed by) sonic imbalance when I'm exhausted.

Austin
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Re: "Shake it off!"

If your senses are so rarefied that it hard to shake such an experience, maybe writing some poetry would help? Or a bath with rose petals?

Buddha
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Re: "Shake it off!"


Quote:
If your senses are so rarefied that it hard to shake such an experience, maybe writing some poetry would help? Or a bath with rose petals?

Wow, a first post!

Welcome.

Thanks for your insights, I'm glad they worked for you!

I'm impressed, someone with such empathy, he honored this thread with his first post.

dbowker
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Re: "Shake it off!"

As some have also speculated, I'd say it's neuron related (if not just plain neurotic, heheh). Like nausea that stays with you from a bad smell, or disgust from a gross image or movie or even a bad dream.

To shake it off I guess I'd go do something like take a walk, eat something really good, go read a bit, and that drink idea isn't so bad either. Anything but music for at least an hour.

es347
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Re: "Shake it off!"


Quote:
Hola,

Question:

You play a recording and it sounds TERRIBLE!

After you pull it off the turntable, out of the CD tray, away from the 8-track player, or yank it out of your cassette deck, how do you re-set?

Back story:

Yesterday, went to melody Records and found a clencleanclean copy of Aja, and since my records are 600 miles away, I shot 2 bucks into Donald Fagen's pocket and took her home and cleaned her up and had my way with her.

But, I digress.

I also found a pristine copy of Ben Webster's "For the Gov'nor," which I had never even heard of before and gave it a whirl.

Low treble glare up the ying yang! Yup, right up both the ying and the yang!

Like a sonic ice pick to the back of your eye kind of glare.

I gutted out decent renditions of "I Got It Bad" and "Sentimental Mood," but it polluted my ears.

Off it went, and when I put on a new disc, it sounded bad, too, but I know it not to be so!

The demons of foul low treble glare had infested my rig!

Switch to CD and, "Bam! same thing!

Even a switch to the gold CD of "Kind of Blue" made Miles' trumpet sound fuzzy/frizzy at the start of "So What." (And, by the way, doesn't "So What" sound alot like "Day In - Day Out?")

Now, as Keanu said in the bus bomb (literal and figurative bomb, eh?) "What do you do? What DO you do?"

Have you ever had a bad recording possess you rig? Infest it with foul spirits of glare, harshness, seeming distortion, or other general sonic mayhem?

How did you 'shake it off,' so to speak?

What's your protocol?

(I don't wanna spoil any answers with my solution yet.)

Install a 2nd Tice Clock.

mjalazard
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Re: "Shake it off!"

Listen to Yoko Ono for a while, then you'll realize that the Ben Webster disc ain't so bad after all!

geoffkait
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Re: "Shake it off!"

We ran this one up the flagpole recently over on Audio Asylum's Isolation Ward where some ideas put forth why the sound might suck all of a sudden included change in weather (pressure/humidity), change in mood (fatigue, anxiety, etc.) and changes in system component/cabling. Someone even offered up the placebo effect.

Has anyone noticed the importance of the level of the transport/CD or is it just me? :-)

es347
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Re: "Shake it off!"


Quote:
Buddha, this gets right to the nub, doesn't it? I, like you, listen to a lot of live acoustic music. That is the dream we take home with us. Then, we go to our (fill in the blanks) $------- music system. We know the life support systems are okay (nothing clicks, grunts, or bleeps when we boot up), so we pull out something off the shelf that we look for to recreate the mood or sound, or both, of what we just heard live. And the pain begins.

Acoustic is the key operative here. I struggle with an audiophile's lament that the recreation of live performance is the unattainable holy grail. I often attend live shows and in that context, what I am trying to recreate at home is nothing more than quasi-inaccurate amplification driven through big old PA speakers. Imaging is pretty much a nonexistant in that vocals and instruments are playing through the same two speakers. Just about any decent audio system can recreate that experience. On the other hand, if the live performance is indeed acoustic then, yes, recreation of that event becomes a challenge. I'm betting that the vast majority of live performances folks here on the board attend are of the amplified variety.

JIMV
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Re: "Shake it off!"


Quote:

Quote:
Hola,

Question:

You play a recording and it sounds TERRIBLE!

After you pull it off the turntable, out of the CD tray, away from the 8-track player, or yank it out of your cassette deck, how do you re-set?

Back story:

Yesterday, went to melody Records and found a clencleanclean copy of Aja, and since my records are 600 miles away, I shot 2 bucks into Donald Fagen's pocket and took her home and cleaned her up and had my way with her.

But, I digress.

I also found a pristine copy of Ben Webster's "For the Gov'nor," which I had never even heard of before and gave it a whirl.

Low treble glare up the ying yang! Yup, right up both the ying and the yang!

Like a sonic ice pick to the back of your eye kind of glare.

I gutted out decent renditions of "I Got It Bad" and "Sentimental Mood," but it polluted my ears.

Off it went, and when I put on a new disc, it sounded bad, too, but I know it not to be so!

The demons of foul low treble glare had infested my rig!

Switch to CD and, "Bam! same thing!

Even a switch to the gold CD of "Kind of Blue" made Miles' trumpet sound fuzzy/frizzy at the start of "So What." (And, by the way, doesn't "So What" sound alot like "Day In - Day Out?")

Now, as Keanu said in the bus bomb (literal and figurative bomb, eh?) "What do you do? What DO you do?"

Have you ever had a bad recording possess you rig? Infest it with foul spirits of glare, harshness, seeming distortion, or other general sonic mayhem?

How did you 'shake it off,' so to speak?

What's your protocol?

(I don't wanna spoil any answers with my solution yet.)

Install a 2nd Tice Clock.

Buy a power product to clean up your AC.

geoffkait
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Re: "Shake it off!"

"What I am trying to recreate at home is nothing more than quasi-inaccurate amplification driven through big old PA speakers. Imaging is pretty much a nonexistant in that vocals and instruments are playing through the same two speakers."

That would probably explain the skepticism.....

sorry, couldn't resist...

I suspect the acoustic performance quality is rather dependent on the room/venue acoustics, as it were...i.e., pretty sure my modest home rig sounds better than some acoustic venues....

gk

es347
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Re: "Shake it off!"

Nope. The skepticism has more to do with the bs claims regarding exotic power cables, tice clocks, mpingo discs, yada yada.

geoffkait
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Re: "Shake it off!"

Ah, some hands-on experience with those thingamabobs?

Or they just rub you the wrong way? (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

:-)

gk

JIMV
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Re: "Shake it off!"


Quote:
Nope. The skepticism has more to do with the bs claims regarding exotic power cables, tice clocks, mpingo discs, yada yada.

Just because one device depends on a belief in magic does not mean all devices do..power cables change the sound of my system but magic hockey pucks....snake oil.

geoffkait
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Re: "Shake it off!"

"Just because one device depends on a belief in magic does not mean all devices do."

Ah, ha! - a strawman argument within a strawman argument. Good one!

:-)

JIMV
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Re: "Shake it off!"

Too much time spent on political forums...the old 'strawman from a strawman' ploy works so well there.

geoffkait
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Re: "Shake it off!"

Works pretty well on audio forums, too, I hear tell.... :-)

Your view of "magic" tweaks is based on experience, I take it. I can live with that. :-)

JIMV
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Re: "Shake it off!"

I have tried power fixes and had a lot of success. I have borrowed hockey pucks and heard no change so for me one is magic and the other a real tweak.

Buddha
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Re: "Shake it off!"


Quote:
I have tried power fixes and had a lot of success. I have borrowed hockey pucks and heard no change so for me one is magic and the other a real tweak.

And Ethan will say that power fixes are magic.

es347
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Re: "Shake it off!"


Quote:

Quote:
Nope. The skepticism has more to do with the bs claims regarding exotic power cables, tice clocks, mpingo discs, yada yada.

Just because one device depends on a belief in magic does not mean all devices do..power cables change the sound of my system but magic hockey pucks....snake oil.

Hey JimV,

You certainly are not alone in your assessment of exotic PCs so if you hear improvement, great. It's just very hard for me to understand how installing a low-capacitance, shielded power cord on the last 5 feet of a 120v circuit can make a difference given all the romex in your walls and the miles of distribution on the source side that is subject to all the rf interference and other nasties out there. I do know a little about harmonic distortion of power systems having analyzed and installed fixes. Those big ole PCs certainly look as if they should sound better and sometimes that's all it takes. Again, if you hear a + difference, go for it.

geoffkait
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Re: "Shake it off!"

"It's just very hard for me to understand how installing a low-capacitance, shielded power cord on the last 5 feet of a 120v circuit can make a difference given all the romex in your walls and the miles of distribution on the source side that is subject to all the rf interference and other nasties out there."

Note to self: Do not bring up the subject of audiophile fuses on this thread as the fuse conducting element is 100 times shorter than a Power Cord.

:-)

geoffkait
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Re: "Shake it off!"

Remind me some time to list the Four Reasons why audiophiles might report they don't hear certain tweaks, or say that the effects are subtle at best.

Actually there might be Five or Six.

:-)

JIMV
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Re: "Shake it off!"

Perhaps he needs better ears....There are few things I will say simply cannot work but there are a lot that have never worked for me. The Hockey Pucks are the most absurd example. Expensive yet do not work...

JIMV
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Re: "Shake it off!"


Quote:

Quote:

Quote:
Nope. The skepticism has more to do with the bs claims regarding exotic power cables, tice clocks, mpingo discs, yada yada.

Just because one device depends on a belief in magic does not mean all devices do..power cables change the sound of my system but magic hockey pucks....snake oil.

Hey JimV,

You certainly are not alone in your assessment of exotic PCs so if you hear improvement, great. It's just very hard for me to understand how installing a low-capacitance, shielded power cord on the last 5 feet of a 120v circuit can make a difference given all the romex in your walls and the miles of distribution on the source side that is subject to all the rf interference and other nasties out there. I do know a little about harmonic distortion of power systems having analyzed and installed fixes. Those big ole PCs certainly look as if they should sound better and sometimes that's all it takes. Again, if you hear a + difference, go for it.

I agree...I have no idea why it works,,,it just does.

mrlowry
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Re: "Shake it off!"


Quote:
"It's just very hard for me to understand how installing a low-capacitance, shielded power cord on the last 5 feet of a 120v circuit can make a difference given all the romex in your walls and the miles of distribution on the source side that is subject to all the rf interference and other nasties out there."

Note to self: Do not bring up the subject of audiophile fuses on this thread as the fuse conducting element is 100 times shorter than a Power Cord.

:-)

Geoff-

When it comes to power cords I'm a middle of the road guy. In my mind they do make a difference but spending as much on the power cord as you did on the component is just plain silly. A great way to try them would be cheaply would be to look for sales on older model PS audio cords or check out HCM's deal on the old audioquest AC-15's (http://hcmaudio.com/comp.asp?compID=1231) Below is something that I've posted in the past that might make the whole "power cord thing" make more sense.

The main argument against power cords being able to create audible difference is that the power cord is NOT in the signal path, this is false. An amplifier, for example simply modulates the power coming out of the wall to produce a larger version of the signal that it receives as an input. Hence the power supply is in the signal path. Hence, in my opinion the power cord IS in the signal path in a very real sense.

Interestingly this theory of mine was helped to form by McIntosh labs who believes that their power supplies are in the signal path and are major contributors to that "MAC sound." What's ironic is that McIntosh doesn't believe in high end speaker cables or interconnects, let alone power cords. Mac has been very public about this belief. Only recently at trade shows did they start using better interconnects and speaker cable, just to "shut people up." The IEC socket of a removable power cord does compromise the connection slightly but allows for much better power cables to be used, a slight step backwards for the possibility of a couple of major steps forwards. But the same cord soldered directly to the power supply versus being removable and connected to an IEC socket would be the best solution.

Other arguments brought against power cords have to do with the fact that the last 6 feet can

geoffkait
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Re: "Shake it off!"

Re Hockey Pucks.

Oh, you really did mean Hockey Pucks, I thought that was some sort of euphemism. In that case, what we got is another strawman argument, since noone is claiming that hockey pucks work, at least not me, inexpensive though they may be...

Have you tried cans of spam on speaker cabinets? :-)

Cheers

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Re: "Shake it off!"

"but spending as much on the power cord as you did on the component is just plain silly."

I agree, who says you have to?

Nice blog!

gk

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Re: "Shake it off!"


Quote:
Re Hockey Pucks.

Oh, you really did mean Hockey Pucks, I thought that was some sort of euphemism. In that case, what we got is another strawman argument, since noone is claiming that hockey pucks work, at least not me, inexpensive though they may be...

Have you tried cans of spam on speaker cabinets? :-)

Cheers

mpingo discs = magic hockey pucks, but harder to spell.

geoffkait
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Re: "Shake it off!"

That's what I thought you meant, then I wasn't sure.

Sorry you didn't have luck with the magic hockey pucks; I find them quite powerful, even one of them...but I'll be the first to admit they can be a little, uh, tricky to use. Without some directions and a strategy for placing the Mpingo, it's easy to draw a blank. Or even make things worse. Mess you up.

gk

JIMV
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Re: "Shake it off!"

Perhaps there is some ritual that goes with the things?

geoffkait
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Re: "Shake it off!"

No, but there are instructions...

:-)

JIMV
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Re: "Shake it off!"

Sort of like this?

" Before the almighty and ineffable God Satan/Lucifer and in the presence of all Demons of Hell, who are the True and the Original gods, I, (state your full name) renounce any and all past allegiances. I renounce the false Judeo/Christian god Jehova, I renounce his vile and worthless son Jesus Christ, I renounce his foul, odious, and rotten holy spirit.

I proclaim Satan Lucifer as my one and only God. I promise to recognize and honor him in all things, without reservation, desiring in return, his manifold assistance in the successful completion of my endeavors."

For that is the only way those things would do anything at all, with a lot of reliance on magic, spells, and blood ritual.

My 'setting up the turntable' ritual involves more expletives and on several occasions, blood sacrifice as I poke myself with small sharp tools.

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