Tice R-4 TPT & Coherence ElectroTec EP-C "Clocks" Jack English February 1993
After hours and hours, the 1.2 upgrade to my Versa Model 1 turntable was completed and the final adjustments made. The most obvious change surprised me considerably: there was simply far less sound coming out of the Versa. Everything was much quieter. To achieve the former volume levels, I had to substantially increase the preamp's gain setting. What was gone was a significant layer of very low level grundge and noise. Backgrounds had less filler; the music was presented in stark relief. The upgrade had removed a very significant veil from the music. While I hadn't been aware of RF in my system, the upgrade had eliminated an entire layer of it.
But as the hours rolled on, I became more and more aware of a slight new harshness. My system, while not sounding harsh per se, did sound harsher than before the upgrade, record after record confirming my suspicions. Two possible explanations came to mind: the upgrade might have introduced the added harshness, or was now allowing me to hear for the first time something that had been in my system all along. Hoping for the latter, I made a number of changes, including interconnects, speaker cables, and cleaning all my contact surfaces. With each change, the new harshness remained.
Retracing all the power connections I'd made in solving the hum problem, I flip-flopped my power connections. No change. I went over every detail of my setup before and after the change, including what was and wasn't connected to my dual Tice Power Blocks and Titans. No change. I even went so far as to ensure that each component was plugged into the same outlet it had been originally, with the same plug orientation. No change.
Then it hit me—one formerly filled plug was empty. At John Bicht's insistence, I'd plugged the control unit directly into one of my dedicated wall sockets, which left vacant a socket in the Power Block. But that wall socket hadn't been empty when I started: a Tice TPT clock used to be plugged in there. In fact, it had been there for a long time. Though I hadn't heard any change when I put it in, I'd simply left it there. I reconnected the control unit to the Power Block and plugged the clock back into the wall. After a half hour or so, the harshness vanished.
When I'd first done a series of A/B tests with and without the clock, I hadn't heard any differences. However, I'd left the clock plugged in for a long time. Obviously I'd become accustomed to what the clock did, but remained consciously unaware of its effects, never noticing them until the clock was removed and the modified Versa's lowered noise floor made the disappearance of the clock's relatively modest improvements more audible. Once this improvement was taken away, a very slight harshness crept back into my system. Reinstating the clock removed the harshness. Much to my surprise, the TPT-treated clock did have a positive effect in my system. It's back in and staying in.—Jack English