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geoffkait's picture
Last seen: 1 day 11 hours ago
Joined: Apr 29 2008 - 5:10am
How small can something be and still be heard?

Now for something completely different. How small can something be and still make an audible improvement? No, this isn't a trick question. I'm not trolling, I really am interested in what people think are the smallest tweaks, DIY mods or anything else. You know, things like Marigo VTS Tuning Dots (uh, oh, there's THAT word again) the size of this letter O. I'm thinking of Mpingo discs that are 1 1\2 inch diameter. WA Quantum Chips, the smallest ones are a tad bigger than the head of a pin. Got any others? Share, share.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

michael green
michael green's picture
Last seen: 5 years 4 months ago
Joined: Jan 10 2011 - 6:11pm

Everything affects everything else. There is no such thing as size in context of the whole. There can be a replacement but there can not be a displacement. For example in the truest sense if something was inert, it would fall through the skin of the planet and rest in the center. In the truest sense there is no such thing as isolation. The closet we have found to this is a ballon in the air with no wind, but even this is affected by it's surroundings. BTW I learned that one thanks to your buddies at NASA.

I think part of the mysteries in audio is that it has so much to do with what our eyes can't see. People tend to make theories based on parts and not wholes. This leaves a lot of room for the "If's". Here's an if. If we really saw the audio signal and system for what it really was would we be sitting here listening to all these unnecessary parts? I don't thing so.

So my answer is it can't be too small. I've seen people take the time to tune a room with plastic thumb tacs dipped in my wood filler solution and that's less than .35" in size. I've also made transfer washers for regular mechine screws made of wood that made huge differences.

Size is not the issue, the use is. I've seen audiophiles make their own on wall disc out of pennies, copper or brass shavings. Much of this is about how to, and matching materials with the size.

For example, you might have a room made from plaster in 80% humidity that completely rejects the Marigo Tuning Dots, but has wonder success with a piece of folded Kraft paper stuck on the wall.

I love the interaction of materials and application and that's one of the reasons I go toward variable cause you might have one guy where it works perfect and the next where it is a disaster. It's hardly ever one size fits all for the guy who is going all the way. When I was a dealer I carried a lot of the audio tweaks, but I would have to say that in all truthfulness most of the time they made a change but not the change. Guys make a change in their systems and 6 months later are looking for something else cause they start to hear the negatives that they didn't pay attention to at first. Audiophiles are extremely compulsive buyers, like a woman with shoes. Different is the name of the game but months later is when the real listening comes in. That's why I like referencing with a client, it's the only real way. Everything else is really not much more than product pushing and only the listener themself can be the engineer of their own place.

So my view of the little tweaks or any tweak is to make a listening plan and work with someone who can go in either direction. Meaning if I have a client for example who is using the disc and it cleared things up but lost some of the body I want to be able to bring them back toward the body side. Same thing with the guy who ends up with too much body, I want to be able to swing him back the other way. The key for me is this, make that person the master of his own system. Get to the place where it is not about product, but more about the method of listening that works for him or her.

michael green

wkhanna's picture
Last seen: 8 months 6 days ago
Joined: Jul 13 2007 - 1:46pm
How small is small?
geoffkait wrote:

Got any others?

I got a camel that fits through the eye of my cartridge needle.

If you came over & heard The Wife, you would be surprised how loud she can be for someone so small.

Then I got a hold of this guy & asked him to go into my DAC & find some better sound.

 photo images_zpsead29ec8.jpg

Funny thing, now that I think about it, I have not heard form him in while.....

 photo VMVA_zps43ef8716.jpg

Bill - on the Hill
Practicing Curmudgeon & Audio Snob
- just an “ON” switch, Please –

geoffkait's picture
Last seen: 1 day 11 hours ago
Joined: Apr 29 2008 - 5:10am
Green pen

Weight wise anyway, the Green pen ought to count for something. What's the ink on the outer edge of a CD weigh? One ten thousandth of a gram? Where's Costin when we need him?

Geoff Kait
Machina DynOmite

geoffkait's picture
Last seen: 1 day 11 hours ago
Joined: Apr 29 2008 - 5:10am
Bump thread "How Small can Something Be?"

OK, we have a few responses here including the old standby "Everything Matters" answer that's actually non- responsive to the question, you know, since it's impossible to prove that "everything" is audible as that would take approximately more than 300,000 controlled blind tests. Everything Affects Everything Else is the standard response from the tweakaphobe bunch. Yes, I realize that's supposed to support the Tuning Theory. Anyway, how small can refer to mass of the thing or its physical size. So with this in mind here are a few more objects and treatments that appear to be way too small to make an audible difference.

Walker Audio Black Diamond for Stereo Cartridge, fits on front face of cartridge. Size? You guessed it, a small diamond.
Sugar Cubes, tiny wood cubes with miniscule hole drilled in front face. 3/4" cube.
Intelligent Chip, approximately 1 million atoms. I'm betting this is the winner.
Flying Saucer for Windows, one inch by 1/2 inch copper foil. Now I ask you, how can that do very much?
Red X Pen. So, how much does three words in red ink weight? I sorry, but that seems pretty freaking harmless.
Silver Rainbow Foil. 3 mm by 10 mm foil.
Mikro Brilliant Pebbles, now that I think about it, is a plastic ziplock bag with about 30 really tiny crystals of various types. Completely innocuous looking. Mass one oz.
Rough diamonds for circuit board shims. The diamonds are 3 mm cubes.
Demagnetizing CDs - Maybe this is the winner since no mass is added to the system.
Ionizers for cables and CDs - Ditto

"A nail, a nail! My kingdom for a nail!"

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

geoffkait's picture
Last seen: 1 day 11 hours ago
Joined: Apr 29 2008 - 5:10am
More very small things

Morphic Message Labels, both Machina Dynamica AND PWB Electronics versions just released.

Teeny tiny compression springs from Machina Dynamica for isolating very light things like portable players, etc.

Essence of Music CD treatment. Spray it on, wipe it off. What's left? Almost nothing.

Flying Saucers for Windows, 1/2" by 1" copper foil. Hurts the sound if placed horizontally. Improves the sound when placed vertically.

Golden Sound small DH cones really ARE small. 3/4" tall and 3/4" base diameter.

Vintage Sony Ultralight headphones, like the ones I use. Weight less than 1 oz. Including cables.

Green Pen for painting the outer edge of the CD. I haven't weighed the amount of ink required to treat a CD but it's very close to zero.

Happy holidays!

Geoff Kait
Machina Dramatica

pentode's picture
Last seen: 3 months 3 days ago
Joined: May 10 2010 - 1:11pm
Some Posters May Have Small Craniums ...

... but we can, all too often, hear them. Right now I hear echoing when hitting my head on the amp's power transformer. Maybe it's that "little voice"?

geoffkait's picture
Last seen: 1 day 11 hours ago
Joined: Apr 29 2008 - 5:10am
Old school

Let me guess. Old school, right?

Geoff Kait
Machina Dyabolical

Doctor Fine
Doctor Fine's picture
Last seen: 2 weeks 1 day ago
Joined: Dec 13 2010 - 1:13pm
Cheap Improvements

I ran out of optical digital inputs and bought a ten dollar optical to coax converter box as a coax input was still available.
Turns out the source sounded much more fleshed out using coax even with a ten dollar gadget doing the job.
In fact experimentation showed that ALL my optical devices sounded more fleshed out once turned into coax.
You might think the digital inputs all wind up the same place and an extra step degrades the sound.
Also the cheapest upgrade I made to my main room system was to move the coffee table six inches to make it centered in front of my speakers.
Once it was centered the center image improved dramatically.
It was as if the sound waves were getting pooched up in a ball under the coffee table creating a hole in the room acoustics.
Centering the table straightened out the sound propagation bigtime.
Both these "upgrades" made more improvement than the difference between MP3 and CD.
They improved the way the overall presentation came through by adding weight and clarity to the playback.
A higher resolution only adds definition and does not change the emotional impact you get from tuning your system for fullness and solidity of image.
I'm not saying resolution doesn't matter.
Just that once the system is singing sweetly it becomes the icing on the cake.
I can enjoy low res if it is full and clear and sweet sounding.
My two cents.

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