Recommended Components 2022 Edition Miscellaneous Accessories

Miscellaneous Accessories

Audio Research Tube Damping Rings: $5 each
Damping rings for all AR products are now available to the public at large. They're made of a proprietary polymer material that converts kinetic energy to heat, and their improvements are not subtle, exclaims BJR: tighter, cleaner, deeper, more dynamic bass; more coherent transient attacks; crisper, more extended highs; plus "improvements in the reproduction of subtle gradations of low-level dynamics." Give 'em a whirl—the cost is minimal. (Vol.23 No.2, Vol.26 No.8)

AudioQuest binding-post wrench: $17.95
A great idea improved—similar to the original Postman, but with a metal sleeve reinforcing the sockets. (Vol.20 No.9)

AudioQuest JitterBug FMJ: $69.95
This aluminum-bodied version of the JitterBug performs the same USB noise filtering as the original. JA found that using a JitterBug FMJ with the Questyle M12 USB headphone amplifier, the presentation took on a tad more transparency, coupled with a touch more ease. (Vol.45 No.2 WWW)

Ayre Acoustics Irrational But Efficacious System Enhancement CD: $20
Ayre's test CD includes five tracks of various white, pink, and brown noise, as well as two glide tones that sweep from 5Hz to 20kHz. The disc produced a less electronic sound in JM's system, while lowering the noisefloor and improving microdynamics. "I am flabbergasted," said he. "Highly recommended."AD adds that this CD should be used "with caution, and with the understanding that, as with trying to measure a transformer with a DVM and unintentionally magnetizing the core, negative results may ensue and may take a few days to fade away." ST points out that "weird shit goes on in hi-fi. Don't dismiss it until you try it. I use this thing, too. Just don't play too loud." (Vol.33 No.12, Vol.34 No.2, Vol.36 No.10 WWW)

CAIG DeoxIT GOLD Wipes K-G1W-25: $25.95/25ct; K-G1W-50: $45.95/50ct
These small pads are made of a slightly abrasive textile that has been impregnated with Caig's DeoxIT Gold contact cleaner. JM uses them on the outside of RCA jacks and on the pins of RCA plugs to treat corrosion, oxidation, condensation, and general grime. JM: "A small but powerful stocking-stuffer…You'll feel like a pro!" (Vol.25 No.12, Vol.36 No.10 WWW)

ETI Copper LINK (Bullet) Plugs: $129 (pack of 4) ETI Silver LINK: $279 (pack of 4)
Originally called the Eichmann Bullet, this RCA connector uses a clever design in which the hot signal is conducted by a hollow rather than a solid pin, and where a smaller, solid pin at the connector's periphery takes the place of an unnecessarily massive ground sleeve. AD heard "a more open and explicit sound" with a "deeper, more open, and more inviting" soundfield. Silver Bullet Plugs made the difference "clearer, more explicit, and even smoother." (Vol.27 No.12 WWW)

Intona USB 3.0 Galvanic Isolator: $369 (cable not included)
This small module fits between a source component's USB Type A port and a D/A processor's USB Type B port. When HR first used it with the HoloAudio May processor, he "jumped back," he wrote. "The sound changed more than I expected it would." When he removed the Intona, "the soundstage was drier, flatter, and smaller. Instruments sounded plain. Reverberation on the recording was noticeably reduced. Music was less intoxicating." JA found no measurable differences in the output resulting from inserting the Intona between a MacBook Pro and various D/A processors. (Vol.43 No.8 WWW)

Littlite L-18-LED: $119.95
The latest generation of Littlite mixing-console lamps provides high-efficiency, long-life LED illumination; a rotary switch selects clear white or red light. JM finds the 18" version especially helpful near a turntable or CD player. (Vol.36 No.10 WWW)

Magnum Dynalab 205 Signal Sleuth FM Booster: $549
We've left this on the list forever, because there's not much for FM fans these days, and because this unusual, niche product has shown amazing staying power. This is not your typical powered antenna amplifier. It's a notch filter that preceeds the tuner with 18dB/octave edges, so it amplifies only the signal you want—sort of a pre-tuner tuner with selective gain. You can use it to attenuate signals that are too strong, and if you want to hear stations that are easy to receive, there's a pass-through. Best with old-fashioned analog radio signals. (Vol.10 No.6)

Stabilant 22 contact enhancer: Various sources and prices
Originally sold by Sumiko under the name "Tweak, " Stabilant 22, a contact enhancer that comes in several forms, is now used mostly in the automotice industry. The most useful form for audiophiles is Stabilant 22a, in which the polymer-semiconductor-based contact enhancer is mixed with isopropynol to help it flow and penetrate connectors. Stabilant 22 is the concentrate form and must be mixed with pure isopropynol before use. JM recommended using it on all signal-level connections. Concentrate available at; other forms are available on eBay. (Vol.25 No.12, Vol.36 No.10 WWW)

UpTone Audio USB Regen: $175
UpTone Audio's USB Regen is a wall-wartpowered accessory designed to regenerate both a USB datastream and the USB bus's 5VDC before either makes its way to the DAC in a computer-audio setup. Intended to be installed between the user's computer and DAC—UpTone advises siting the Regen as close as possible to the latter, and includes a solid male-to-male adapter to enable this—the Regen is built into a sturdy aluminum case just slightly larger than a Fig Newton. (The Regen's wall wart is about three times the size of the Regen itself, and is of higher-than-average quality.) As for the Regen's audible effect on a computer-audio system, ML said, "Wow: not subtle," and described the Regen as the most effective such accessory he'd tried. Commenting on the effects of the UpTone Regen on one of his multichannel systems, KR wrote, "all hints of the abiding brightness were eliminated and, as a result, the frequency balance was smooth and unaccented." In a Follow-Up, and JA found that the Regen made no measureable difference in the output signal of an associated USB DAC. He also discovered that installing the Regen without first deselecting the associated DAC as an output device and twice relaunching the file-playing software—once before adding the Regen, and again after installing it and reselecting the DAC—served to prevent his system from playing high-resolution files at anything higher than 16-bit/44.1kHz. Whee! (Vol.38 No.11 WWW)

donnrut's picture

Not a single disc player reviewed under $4 thou??? Come on. I don't drive a Porsche Taycan or a Lambo. I have a $7 thou turntable rig assembled over several years of upgrades. My SACD player died 5 years ago, and now, I am in the market for $500 or $1000 disc player. I'll stream eventually but I have listened to my CDs, tossed out the bad ones and have maybe 200 that are well engineered/mastered, about 50 SACDs. I want S'phile to help me get a decent player. There are maybe half a dozen newish models.

johnnythunder1's picture

been doing a little research. The Hegel (discontinued) was 5k. The Bryston is 3+k. Ive had my eye on a Rotel CD 11 Tribute. It's like $600 and gets very good reviews.

AndyT2050's picture

I have a Rega Research Apollo Cd Player. Beautiful sound, nice design in my opinion. Not too expensive

moinau's picture

Nothing in the 500 to 1000$ range SACD player, although this Arcam might interest you.
Arcam CDS50

Ulfilas's picture

There is one recommended in the integrated amps category:

I have one myself, and grateful for the recommendation I am.

rlo's picture

Can you please bring back the links on the mobile page that let you jump to the relevant recommended component page? This has been missing for the last few. It’s quite annoying to have to switch to desktop theme to be able to go directly to the page I want (e.g. loudspeakers, amplifiers etc)

Jonti's picture

I've had mine for about 18 months and still have a sense of quiet awe every time I listen to/through it.

Tube-rolling can also yield excellent results. I have switched to NOS Mullards, which work a treat by (to my EAR) thickening the syrup and stirring the pot in such a way that the ends and edges of trailing sounds glisten, firing off from a weightier centre. (The stock EAR-stamped tubes were fine, just different: lighter-sounding, I think; I assume Tim would have approved the use of NOS Mullards given his views on the quality of many new tubes doing the rounds.)

Just for the benefit of any readers thinking about rolling those tubes, here's some extra instruction I received from an engineer at EAR Yoshino on how to go about it:

"Remove the top cover by removing four screws on the bottom of the unit. The jumper plug is located on the left side of smaller power supply circuit board labeled ECC83 and 13D16. The default position for the jumper is 13D16 with standard 13D16 valves fitted. If ECC83 valves are fitted then move the jumper one position to the right in the ECC83. position."

And finally, on the subject of MM/MC carts, I think it's fair to say (as correctly reflected in its rating here) that the Phono Box gives a solid platform to MC carts but really excels with MM/MIs. Try it with a London Decca!

[Edited version of post on Herb's original review]

hesson11's picture

The comments under the heading "Harbeth P3ESR XD" seem to imply that the XD version is identical to the 40th Anniversary edition, which Herb reviewed. Is that, in fact, the indisputable truth? I don't believe I've ever seen any official word that this is, in fact, the case.