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Posts posted by maxg

  1. Which is the most important cable is an interesting question. For me there is no straight answer to that one as it depends very much on the system. I have heard relatively dramatic changes for all 3 of the basic cables (speaker, IC and even power cables).

    If, for example, the system has cabling spaggetti behind his system with power cables and signal cables mixed, wrapped around each other and overlapping left right and centre then a power cable with better shielding might yield a more dramatic change than anything else.

    I should probably point out at this point that whilst I do believe cable changing makes a difference to the sonics I also beleive that there is usually, if not always a damn good real physics reason behind it.

    Going on the basics of capacitance, resistance, inductance and RF noise and taking into account the weakest link of the whole thing - namely the connections themselves most changes can be explained. Voodoo is rarely required. Shielding counts more - in my opinion - than the weave employed to strand the cables together.

    In the example above changes to power cables and/or interconnects might well make a bigger difference than a speaker cable change.

    Of al of the cable changes the power cable is the one that is usually greeted with the most incredulity. What difference can the last 2 meters of cable make to a signal that has travelled hundreds to get there? Well all I can say is this. It is the last 2 meters that are the closest to your system and the rest of the cables. It also happens to be the one that carries the most power and therefore can reasonably be expected to the one that is the largest potential generator of noise within the system.

    Ignoring the markettng hype- the job of a power cable is not to keep noise out of the power - it is to keep it in and prevent it leaking out to the other signal cables.

    Here is a little experiment anyone can do:

    Take your power cable (especially if it is a normal computer cable type affair) and tape about a meter length of it to any other signal cable (IC or speaker).

    Now listen to your system - can you hear the noise? I would be very surprised if you cannot.

    I will now give you a recent example of a cable problem I had - apologies for the length of this post:

    Recently I noticed a hum on my system. Ah - ground loop I said to myself. I set about changing every damn plug on the system with cheaters until the noise abatted. It didn't. No matter what was "Cheated" the noise remained.

    After a day or so of struggle I noticed that the noise was only present with the TT - the tuner and the CD player had none. After all sort of play with changing interconnect points, more power cable playing and so on and so forth I was totally flummoxed.

    Discussiing it with a friend he asked me - have you changed the antenna on your TV recently? Er....yes - I just re-connected it (was using only the satellite).

    Turns out that the cable for the antenna runs behind the stereo. My TT is set up with the earth direct to the TT itself (and not the arm) with the earth for the arm connections hanging loose. This was picking up noise from the antenna cable running behind it (through the wall). Even touching the earth cable changed the noise. Actually rigging up an earth connection for it (as opposed to removing it entirely) worked completely.

    Cables count - weird stuff happens to them.

    Actually here is a little trick for a free cable upgrade. Every so often - unplug all your cables and then plug them back in again. Oxidation builds up on connections along with dirt, dust and so on - the mere process of unplugging them and reconnecting them can make startling differences.

    Not all cable "science" is bunk.

  2. No. While I am of the "if it has the integrity to carry the signal it's good enough" persuasion, I also do not doubt the claims of those who percieve a difference. That said, the question of cost is of decreasing returns at all points in the audio spectrum. A 50k Rockport is NOT going to be 50 times better than my VPI. Probably not even twice as good.

    Now, to a total, raving lunatic, cost is no object, gotta have the best audiphile, a DETECTABLE improvement may well be worth 10 times the price...even if nobody else detects it.

    Go figure. Audiophiles have never been accused of rational thinking.


    I respectfully disagree Dave! To whatever extent having any hobby is rational - and that may be debateable - most audiophiles I know make pretty good decisions about improving their systems toward their personal tastes. Is it rational for a guy to pour $175,000 into restoring an antique car that you can't even drive to the store? Is it rational to buy a few pounds of paint and canvas for $1M? But, that's what hobbyists do. I think here again, we have the argument about "money" as if money was the central point in all this. As the saying goes, if ya got it, flaunt it. What's more irrational, paying $25 for a used 3-cent stamp to add to your beautiful stamp collection, or paying $450 for a cable to add to your stereo? Or buying your wife a pair of $10,000 clear stones to hang off her ear?

    Yes, you can build a perfectly useful stereo with a 40 year old Pioneer and some 50 year old speakers, and a hank of zip cord! YIPEEE! I think everyone understands that - everyone recognizes that. But that's just not a fun hobby for many people. The car buff with tons of disposable money just isn't that that satisfied by pounding the dents out of a 1980 pinto and spray painting it.

    Fully agree, Mark. If I had anything over 10 million in assets, my system would have all the voodoo stuff as well. Why not? Even if I couldn't hear it my audiophile guests might, and that's just part of being rich...being able to spoil your friends!

    I am talking about those of us (and I've been guilty) who are in debt, barely making ends meet and stuff away a few dollars here and a few dollars there to get that MC transformer that is going to make life beautiful again. Know what I mean?

    Audiophilia is not a passion but a mania to many of us and rational thinking is saved for just how far to lie to the IRS about the value of the old Pioneer receiver and Yamaha speakers you donated to the church choir room so you could hear the awful playback even better.


    And yet I have the strange feeling that I would gain far less joy from this hobby if money truely were no object. It is not the sums spent in $ terms that counts for me - it is the endless (unpaid) hours fussing over the system and making minute tweeks the effect of which no-one but me hears.

    I may have spent less $ directly on my system than some of my friends - but if we add in all that labour - well - its probably a really scarey number - even at minimum wage.....this is really my wife's problem with the whole thing. I could have been doing something much more useful !!

    Sometimes, just ocasionally, I make a change she understands and then appreciates in application. I made one recently to my TT (I'll explain it in another thread sometime - although it won't really be of interest to anyone who has not owned a passive linear tracking arm). Suffice to say for now- it made a huge difference.

  3. I bought - at some point - some pure silver Synergistic cables to connect my main speakers. These were expensive - can't recall the exact price now - thankfully. I remember being terrible impressed with them at the time as I thought they stomped all over my Monster cables.

    A few years later a guy comes round with a set of Van Den Hull D103 hybrids. These were about 1/10th of the cost of the Synergistics and to my ears sounded way better on my system. I have had these in place ever since. The Synergistics are in a cupboard. (Offers anyone?)

    Hi MAX-


    And what words would you use to describe the difference?

    Hi Mark,


    Anyway - differences (Bearing in mind I am recalling events that took place a good 4 or 5 years ago):

    Biggest difference was in the base. There was just more of it, fuller and more credible. Not enough to make me switch the sub off or anything - but enough to allow me to lower the X-over point it comes in at by 10 Hz (this was with the REL sub I had at the time).

    With the improvement in the base everything else appeared to lift - again not as dramatically as it might appear from the description here - but enough to make it a clear choice for me at the time.

    I recall that on one ocasion I did re-visit the older cables and the results were similar - even commented upon by a non-audiophile friend.

  4. 18 pages on cables? I am guessing - I only perused the last couple.

    FWIW my take is this.

    Yes - cables make a difference and no I cannot explain it. The effect can be quite dramatic at times but usually one suspects a fault somewhere when it is.

    I rarely find, however, that cables are a wise investment in terms of improvement of sound for your $. In most but the most ideally matched and setup systems component changes, room treatments, experiments with speaker positioning and so on can make a far greater improvement for the same or lesser investment.

    I recently listened to a system with a $5000 CD player connected via Nordost Valhalla cables to the pre-amp. The Nordosts are about $3500 over here - maybe slightly more.

    One wonders - does the above provide a better result than, say, a $8300 CD player and $200 cables - for example?

    I would be kind of surprised if it did.

    Obviously if you have maxed out your system equipment wise then cables are certainly one of the tweaks you might look at. The funny thing is that I have often found I prefer the sound of less expensive cables over more expensive ones - so playing with cables does not necessarily mean increasing the investment in the system.

    Just to quote an example from my own experience (not one I am wildly keen to share mind you):

    I bought - at some point - some pure silver Synergistic cables to connect my main speakers. These were expensive - can't recall the exact price now - thankfully. I remember being terrible impressed with them at the time as I thought they stomped all over my Monster cables.

    A few years later a guy comes round with a set of Van Den Hull D103 hybrids. These were about 1/10th of the cost of the Synergistics and to my ears sounded way better on my system. I have had these in place ever since. The Synergistics are in a cupboard. (Offers anyone?)

  5. Well thanks all for the support. I guess this is genetic or simply age - my mother has quite dramatic hearing loss and I guess I will go the same way.

    The irony is that I have always been very careful with my hearing and didn't do the loud concert thing once I got out of my teens.

    There are indeed drug treatments for Tinnitus - I will investigate these with my ENT specialist.

    In the meantime my hearing loss is currently managable.

    Playing an 8000 Hz test tone over the stax headphones I can readily hear it in my right ear but not my left till I get to about 50 dB. Thereafter - very quickly - I get to hear in balance. In other words the sound appears to be equally strong in both ears. Whether this is real - or merely my brain compensating I do not know but it does mean that listening to my stereo system (which is never less than about 75 dB) appears to be relatively unaffected.

    As it happen my hearing test was only up to 8000 Hz - from testing at home with a signal generator on the computer over the headphones I can hear quite high still - say 16 KHz or thereabouts as long as the volume is sufficient.

    I expect this will steadily worsen as I get older.

    In the meantime both my wife and daughter go beyond the limits of the software - 20 KHz.

    Oh the bitter irony - at least I can still hear the music - just not going to pretend to be an audiophile anymore - and no that does not mean I will resort to little silver disks a while yet.

  6. OK - so I knew I had to get my ears cleaned - and we successfully removed enough to keep a small church lit for about a month.

    But - I had hoped it was the was that was causing the Tinitus - and it isn't. I have what appears to be a 10,000 Khz test tone added to everything I hear - and its in both ears.

    Actually it comes and goes - and it is worse in my right ear - but right now, for example, its coming on strong in both.

    Ocasionally it fades in and out rapidly so it sounds rather like a cicada.

    All joy - but there is more.

    I got my hearing tested at the same time.

    50% hearing loss in my left ear over 8 KHz.

    I think its time to start looking into those nice little Bose cubes....

  7. I am lucky enough to have a room that allows me to play with the sweet spot a fair amount merely by adjusting the toe-in of the speakers. The wider the stance the wider the sweet spot.

    I do have the additional flexibility of actually moving the speakers closer or further apart but I rarely if ever use this.

    I should add that I do not usually adjust the toe-in to expand the sweet spot but rather to adjust the listening experience based upon what I am listening to at the time. As the toe-in is reduced the soundstage width increases but the apparent depth decreases. Large orchestral works on good recordings allow me to listen with the speakers all but face on but I have to rely on the depth information in the recording to get away with it.

    With the speakers facing the listening position the sweet spot allows for very little head movement. With them fully toed-out the sweet spot is about 2.5 seats wide (depending on the size of your bottom).

  8. Larry's system is certainly cool but it wouldn't work for me as I rarely recall which label a given pressing is on. I do however, have a commonality with Larry in that my record collection is primarily classical.

    My organisation is as follows:

    Generic classical:

    Arranged by Composer Surname - side A (where there are 2 composers on a single pressing), and then by work type (piano concertos, violin concertos, symphonies etc. - again by side A where 2 different types are present on a single record).

    Separated out are the box recordings which are similarly arranged to the above.

    Where an album contains the work of many composers and an individual highlight performer (be it the conductor, singer or W.H.Y.) the record is filled under that performer's name.

    Where an album is of works of a particular period or type not specifically from an individual performer these are stored together under "V" for various. As there are only about 20 of these in my collection this is not a problem.

    All of the above is held on an excel spreadsheet which resides both on my PC and on my mobile phone (saves repeat purchasing of records I already have and have forgotten about). The excel spreadsheet holds full details for the records in the classical collection and I update either way (phone to computer or vice versa).

    The order within the spreadsheet matches the physical order of the records on the shelves.

    The non-classical part of the collection is separate again and divided into 2 parts. Part one - the stuff I actualy listen to from time to time is arranged by recording artist or by album title for collections. Jazz, rock, pop, reggae etc. are all grouped together. These are not computerized. Part 2 - the stuff I wonder why I bought - is a generic dump.

  9. 9. With high sensitivity speakers you can get away with as few as 3 watts - but you cant get bass extension without a sub

    Unless you want to rock the world with earth noise, I just can't buy into that one.......I mean how much bass extension are we talking about here? 60Hz and down? 40Hz and down?

    I would think if the mains can struggle to manage 40Hz at the 6 decibel roll-off point, and considering the fact that a 3 watt amplifier isn't going to fill any sort of large room with large sound.......Then you gotta figure it's probably someone who listens to a 3 watt amp in a small abode with oversized speakers, at low listening levels.

    Now if the high sensitivity speakers can pull off 40Hz with a 3 watt amplifier at low listening levels, (75dB and below for example) why would the user need a subwoofer?

    Unless the music one listens to requires the frequency extension from 40Hz and below, like recordings of earthquakes or some such, I couldn't see the use of a subwoofer for these sort of listening conditions. Granted, I do have music that has low extension below 40Hz, and does sound better with subwoofers. But this is when I've moved on from the 3 watt amp and want to crank things up, and mill about and do other things.

    OK - so for 75 dB or less in a small room.......otherwise.....

  10. I probably don't count as a newbie but it has been a while since I last posted in 2 channel:


    1. Radio - get a good one and if you are lucky enough to have decent stations in transmitting range you will be amazed.
    2. Digital is always improving and that is exactly why I have stopped buying it.
    3. The Denon 103 is the best bargain in audio.
    4. No pivoted arm on a TT can touch a linear tracking arm that is setup correctly.
    5. Some of the best vinyl to be had costs $1.
    6. Audiophile records sometimes sound better and sometimes not. They always cost about 30 times as much however.
    7. A tube pre-amp is more important to your sound than a tube power amp.
    8. A good phono stage (for MC certainly) is actually amplifying to a far greater extent than your amp. No amp on earth does 65 dB gain (or more).
    9. With high sensitivity speakers you can get away with as few as 3 watts - but you cant get bass extension without a sub.
    10. A good listening room with a less expensive system beats a bad one with an expensive system.
    11. Sometimes an equalizer can improve a poor recording but it will always make a good one worse if it is in the chain.
    12. Expensive cables CAN make a difference but rarely represent a decent sonic improvement for your money.
    13. A constant reliable power supply is vital to get the best out of your equipment sonically. This is especially true for any item that uses the frequency of the mains as a timing signal.


    1. Tube watts are greater than SS watts.
    2. Its easy to setup a TT.
    3. An audiophile changes his equipment often
    4. An inexpensive system might be good but it can't ever be great.
    5. You can convey how good or otherwise your system sounds in an on-line forum.
    6. The back end of a system (speakers) is more important that the source.

    Oh - that will do for now I guess.

  11. "This is ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ in surround, in high resolution, in a manner you’ve never heard it before. As a basis for comparison, I had on hand the venerable Mobile Fidelity Gold Disc CD, which has long been praised as an outstanding incarnation of Red Book CD"

    I own the MF CD too - not great - no wonder the reviewer was so easily impressed.

    However - I do have an even newer version on MP3 @ 128 KB/s - that's the newest I know of - so it must be the best - right??

  12. Well after all the talk I had to turn the volume off of the game and put in DSOTM. WOW! I haven't listened to this on my system in it's current state. It is truly awesome. I cannot believe the the bass.

    What frequency is the bass at the beginning of "Breathe"? I could hardly hear it but everything in the room was vibrating like crazy.


    The lowest sound on the album is the heartbeat at the beginning of the first track. It goes down to 27 Hz. It was one of the things I noticed improved continuously as I improved the bass on my own system.

    I have had more copies of this album than I care to recall. On CD and on Vinyl. I heard the SACD (in 2 channel) too. The best is the Greek vinyl pressing for various production reasons I have mentioned on here before. The UK one is better than the US one - the japanese audiophile version is not all that great. Forget french and italian versions but the German is good.

  13. Good one Gregg.

    Actually there was a big debate at some time in the club as to how far a motor actually should be from the TT as I remember. The problem is that as the belts get longer you get stretching of the belt - and/or slippage as a bigger and bigger issue. This is why Chritos runs, I think, 5 between the motor and the platter (via the flywheel of course).

  14. OT,

    Remember that much of the numbers quoting and so on is done for dramatic effect. We have members with sytems ranging from about 7 to 500 thousand euros - notice the ones that did not get mentioned. The sight of a Rega or a Project is not what the filmmaker was looking for.

  15. This is a 20 minute clip from the DVD - which is just over an hour all in I think.

    The DVD does contain footage from other places (not just aca) with loonies talking about magic cables and special woods and the like. It has to be said I also have a larger role in the main thing - I think these can be ordered from Ken himself but I am not sure - mine was a complementary copy.

    AS mentioned above - this was done some time ago - and covered on this forum and just about every other audio forum on the planet. Its had a lot of hits - as I recall when we had it on the ACA servers it brought the whole thing to its knees and we had to move it.

    I am now putting on my dark glasses and heavy disguise to go out - I will sign autographs if I have to - and I am available for weddings and Barmitzvahs...

  16. What can I say guys - it was fun for a while but it got real old real quick. There are a number of us that joined and tried it out for a while only to do a runner later.

    I think this forum is unique (for me anyway) as I have now been posting on it for what - 8 years or so? Although it has been at a lower frequency recently...

  17. Hi Leo,

    Wow - lots of questions. OK - first off I tested the Hypex a couple of years ago - so this is all from memory My main amp is a 200 wpc SS amp driving my 91 dB speakers (own design). I wanted to see how a Hypex implementation (30 wpc? Can't recall - maybe 45) would fare. It couldn't drive the bass properly - the soundstage was reduced and depth reduced.

    It was run with a tube pre-amp (The Decware ZTPRE). I do recall it having its own volume control and 2 input selectors and I am fairly sure that I would have tried it in that way too. If memory serves it was better with the tube pre than without.

    I think I now see why we have different experiences with the unit however, You are looking at the performance at very low output levels and I am listening to it in what are, for me, real world conditions.

    Just to explain that my speakers are 91 db - I sit about 2.5 - 3 meters back and my prefered listening level is around 85 dB RMS at the listening position (rising to 95 to 100 on ocasion). In other words - I probably almost never pull less than a watt from the amps - and sometimes a LOT more.

    Further - one of the most important things for me when listening is the ability of the amp to cope with dynamic range - as one might find in a decent orchestral performance and recording. I have many records with a dynamic range in the order of 40 dB (20 up, 20 down). These present dramatic and sudden shifts in power requirements from the amp. I have found that for me any amp with less than 50 wc just cant hack it - and really 70 wpc is a minimum I would now consider.

  18. Hi Leo,

    I did built a Hypex implementation a couple of years ago - but it was a much less expensive implementation than you are refering to and that might well have been the reason for the disappointing sound.

    Right now - over here - these RingRex units appear to be all the rage - http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/kingrex/t20.html - I have heard a few of them - including a side by side with a decent 300B implementation and reckon they might be one of the best value for money options out there right now (assuming reasonably sensitive speakers - which should be a safe assumption on here- right?).

    Hae you had a chance to listen to these? Be interested in your opinion.

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