9 hi-fi tricks you might not believe affect sound quality (but they do)

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Deluded from Chester

Active member
Jan 22, 2020
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So, why would the "cable risers" have any less vibration than the floor? They are solid non-absorbant objects placed on the floor. And, what about all the wiring and electronic components inside the speakers? Seems to me that they are getting more vibrations than anything else.

I'm sorry What Hi-Fi, publishing this nonsense has severely hurt your reputation.
Because in between the risers the cables are hanging free from the ground, hence the coupling of the cables to the ground is negligible compared to full contact without the risers. Also - outboard crossovers are indeed a thing...
 

Deluded from Chester

Active member
Jan 22, 2020
4
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Utter nonsense. We're not in the age of valves and analogue synthesizers.
What next... Directional copper cables? Audiophile Ethernet cables for a superior sound stage?Audiophile grade capacitors, for a warmer, more 'chocolatey' experience? £50k kettle leads?
All electrolytic capacitors need to be “formed” electrically and it occurs in the first use... if they are new, then run-in or burn-in will occur before the circuit can function as designed. Audio grade capacitors tend to have no magnetic materials used, and low inductance shape, low dielectric loss etc. Any cable shielded at one end only is by definition directional and could potentially couple or decouple noise depending on orientation. You really could do to read up more before posting
 
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Jroot

Active member
Jan 22, 2020
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Utter nonsense. We're not in the age of valves and analogue synthesizers.
What next... Directional copper cables? Audiophile Ethernet cables for a superior sound stage?Audiophile grade capacitors, for a warmer, more 'chocolatey' experience? £50k kettle leads?
 

Jroot

Active member
Jan 22, 2020
12
5
25
O.k. I was referring to more vintage equipment which was much more sensitive than newer equipment. Even sunlight and room temperature had to be accounted for during calibration. However, in newer equipment capacitors, transistors and transformers still have changes in output charactistics during the first few minutes of a "power on" condition when assembled together. They get to "know" each other.
 

Jroot

Active member
Jan 22, 2020
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Utter nonsense. We're not in the age of valves and analogue synthesizers.
What next... Directional copper cables? Audiophile Ethernet cables for a superior sound stage?Audiophile grade capacitors, for a warmer, more 'chocolatey' experience? £50k kettle leads?
Discreet components such as transistors and capacitors will not preform the same when "cold" as they will when warmed up. This condition may only last a second or two on equipment that has been used for some time and probably not noticed, but is easily captured with the proper test equipment. When brand new equipment is powered-up the first time it is still at the factory for QA purposes. During this procedure the "run-in" or "burn-in" time varies between equipment type and manufacturer.
On new and old equipment there is a delay from the time you push the "on" button and anything happens. This is the time stuff is warming up.
Here's a question for the believers...
You know those £50k kettle leads that need breaking in but make your soundstage so much more transparent because they're made from special Woo-Wire... What about the cheap and nasty twin and earth that's running from the consumer unit to the electrical outlets? wouldn't that need replacing with approximately £3 Million of Woo-Wire, too? And what about the nasty cabling inside your amp? I've never seen an amp with Woo-Wire inside. Surely the cheap and nasty wires inside your amp would need replacing, too, or the transparent soundstage that the Woo-Wire carries to your amp would become muddied. Or is Woo-Wire so wootastic that it magically transforms all of that nasty copper in the walls of your house into audiophile quality copper, then wootastically bypasses the nasty copper wires in your amp and passes audiophile quality electricity directly to the transformer, which you obviously had rewound with Woo-Wire, as we all know that normal copper wire isn't suitable for Audiophile quality music, right?
I'm from the states and have no idea what Woo-Wire or "kettle leads" are, but your reply sounds both perfectly logical and hilarious at the same time.
 
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Jroot

Active member
Jan 22, 2020
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Mostly typical “audiophile” nonsense.
I missed the link to the double blind tests and science behind it. Cables not on the floor, lol. Better to have a couple of leprechauns holding the cables.
The only problem I've had with cables on the floor is when the cat ate them. How much do leprechauns charge these days?
 
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scene

Moderator
Sep 25, 2008
784
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19,070
The only problem I've had with cables on the floor is when the cat ate them. How much do leprechauns charge these days?
Same here, except it was my niece's escaped gerbil that did the damage.

Not sure about how much leprechauns charge, but you you should probably buy occult-proof cables to ensure you don't get any thaumaturgical interference.
 
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audiodiplomat

Well-known member
Mar 20, 2015
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I don’t suppose anyone here will be rushing to place an order with Russ Andrews then? Indeed, it would be interesting to know what prompted them to do so, and justify not returning the item within the approval period. I know it’s been covered before, but all these Belt-type discussions are endlessly more interesting than normal reviews.
 
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dkinric

Active member
Jan 23, 2020
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Always listen in the dark? Never re-start a CD that's been paused? Put a squash ball under your amp? We explain the tall tales of hi-fi which actually work.

9 hi-fi tricks you might not believe affect sound quality (but they do) : Read more
I have been an audio enthusiast for 40 years and I am absolutely appalled that these "tricks" are being touted as legitimate by this website.
The majority of these are longstanding audio myths that I would think an organization such as What HiFi would aim to disprove rather than propagate and encourage.

Playing a CD from the start sounds better than pausing/unpausing? Who made that up? And the scientific basis given is "because trust us, it does"?
The majority of these are unproven and highly questionable at best, just downright insulting at worst.

I would think an organization with such a history in this business would have some type of editorial review before propagating such nonsense. Seriously, you do a disservice to not only yourself and your reputation, but to the numerous enthusiasts looking to you for guidance. You should be ashamed, and your editorial review process needs an overhaul.

Please, take this ridiculous nonsense down before it does even more damage. You embarrass yourself by keeping these fallacies viewable.
I have lost tremendous respect for WhatHiFi due to this and will be reconsidering where I spend my clicks.
 

markaharris

Member
Jan 25, 2020
1
0
20
I don't consider myself an audiophile but I have been a hi-fi enthusiast for almost 50 years and have found the following "tweaks" beneficial:-

1) Rigid stands/equipment racks - at one point I lived in a bungalow with a suspended wooden floor and the best thing I ever did was screw flooring-grade tongue-and-groove chipboard panels to the floor-boards and then place the speaker stands on concrete paving slabs (the big two-foot square, two-inch thick ones) - didn't look pretty but made a big difference to the sound.

2) Dedicated mains supply - I fed three separate mains supply lines directly from the consumer unit - one for the source units and pre-amp at one end of the room and two for the power-amps, which were next to the speakers at the other end of the room (easy to do in a bungalow) - definite improvement in the sound.

3) Cables - I made my own interconnects using UR67 low-capacitance cable and gold-plated phonos with multi-strand OFC speaker cables - thin for the treble units and thicker for the bass units - all from Maplin. I tried various combinations of all sorts of cables and found these to work the best - no need to spend a fortune.

4) Running in/warming up - to my ears there is definitely an improvement in the sound once components have been in use for a while, whether from new or from cold.

5) Late-night/listening in the dark - I do all my "serious" listening late at night with the lights down low. I find it helps me to concentrate on individual instruments or vocalists, and just sounds "better" - to me anyway.

My advice - don't knock it till you've tried it.
 

tonyE

Active member
Jan 25, 2020
6
2
25
I've been an electronic engineer since '78, and what you refer to as "run in" is standard procedure for delicate equipment. Some of the more touchy stuff required at least 48 hrs. to stabilize.
Try over 400 hours for the telfon caps in my CJ preamp.

And vacuum tubes also need time.

I've noticed that my Linn LP12 with Lingo sounds better after one hour of going around in circles. I figure this is partly due to the main bearing warming up.

Remember than in metrology labs we always find equipment that has "ovens" to keep some components, like oscillators, always powered up. If you power the whole thing down it may take days to bring it up to calibration.
 

tonyE

Active member
Jan 25, 2020
6
2
25
Utter nonsense. We're not in the age of valves and analogue synthesizers.
What next... Directional copper cables? Audiophile Ethernet cables for a superior sound stage?Audiophile grade capacitors, for a warmer, more 'chocolatey' experience? £50k kettle leads?
Vacuum tubes, VFETs, Class A FETs all sound very good, better than a traditional solid state Class AB. Ncore does sound very good too, but they are a completely different animal.

Directional cables make sense because they prevent a ground loop. They ground the shield at the source, not the destination. So, yes, they can make a difference ( most of my interconnects are directional).

Ethernet audiophile cables, I agree with you. They're up there with the Tice Clock, but they sure look pretty. My solution is to get good Cat6 cables and dress the with a pretty cover. Red silk looks very nice. My favorite is the audiophile Ethernet switch. Now that's brilliant... a brilliant way to take money from audiophiles. What next? An Ethernet router optimized for HDMI-4?

Audiophile grade caps.... look, I put those teflon caps in my CJ preamp. My wife says that now we listen to music, not a "stereo". So listen before you criticize.

I'm surprised though that you failed to critizice my latest discovery: mercury troughs for speaker cables. Sure, vertical elevation is a challenge... but the sound is so much more liquid than before. Flip side is that we have to use respirators around the house, so that might contribute to how everything sounds different now ( "Hey, what? What did you say? I can't hear you.." ;-) )
 

tonyE

Active member
Jan 25, 2020
6
2
25
I've had multiple double blind tests with drunk listening, and my stereo always plays louder in this state.
In my experience, one drink is worth 5000 bucks of audio equipment.

However, after five drinks it all turns to mono because by then I'm flat on the couch and one of my ears is buried into the pillows.
 
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Mathijs Kok

Member
Jan 27, 2020
1
0
20
Holy crap.... what are you smoking at the what hifi office? I seriously valued the advice given and have bought hardware based on the site. But after this (partial) load of nonsense I will be very careful to do do again.

Lift your cables off the ground on wooden blocks to avoid interference? Is that magic wood?
 

Mike Kitt

Member
Jan 28, 2020
1
0
20
Always listen in the dark? Never re-start a CD that's been paused? Put a squash ball under your amp? We explain the tall tales of hi-fi which actually work.

9 hi-fi tricks you might not believe affect sound quality (but they do) : Read more
One thing not mentioned here which does make a difference to the sound quality is the quality of your supply earth. many new properties have what used to be called PME or TNCS where the supply company does not provide a dedicated earth but utilises the Zero potential of the Neutral conductor at the Cutout. this tends to give the best earth return measured in Ohms (some times as low as 0.1 ) conversely an older property will more than likely have an older paper/lead cable which although an earth is provided by way of the cable sheath this will be higher in the order of 0.8. the unfortunate one are the ones who live in very rural ares and they have a stake as an earth resulting in an earth of many Ohms if not hundreds of Ohms.
It has been found that because your amplifier works on a degree of earth potential the lower you can make it the clearer the sound. It is not beyond a competent dIY er to run a larger earth from their mains position to their amplifier even on a temporary basis to check out the effect , if its an improvement you may have to call an electrician to advise on a more permanent solution. Yes I am an electrician and I worked for SSE for 46 years and have always done this in my properties.
 

Mike Hunt

Well-known member
Jan 22, 2020
165
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One thing not mentioned here which does make a difference to the sound quality is the quality of your supply earth. many new properties have what used to be called PME or TNCS where the supply company does not provide a dedicated earth but utilises the Zero potential of the Neutral conductor at the Cutout. this tends to give the best earth return measured in Ohms (some times as low as 0.1 ) conversely an older property will more than likely have an older paper/lead cable which although an earth is provided by way of the cable sheath this will be higher in the order of 0.8. the unfortunate one are the ones who live in very rural ares and they have a stake as an earth resulting in an earth of many Ohms if not hundreds of Ohms.
It has been found that because your amplifier works on a degree of earth potential the lower you can make it the clearer the sound. It is not beyond a competent dIY er to run a larger earth from their mains position to their amplifier even on a temporary basis to check out the effect , if its an improvement you may have to call an electrician to advise on a more permanent solution. Yes I am an electrician and I worked for SSE for 46 years and have always done this in my properties.
Although I'm sure it's well intentioned, I'm not sure that 'competent DIYers' should be advised to run a separate earth from anywhere. That's a job for qualified electricians. Too many people think they're competent, and many of them will be so competent that they 'know' that the nearest radiator will surely make an excellent earth.
 
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MeanandGreen

Well-known member
Dec 26, 2012
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Here's a question for the believers...
You know those £50k kettle leads that need breaking in but make your soundstage so much more transparent because they're made from special Woo-Wire... What about the cheap and nasty twin and earth that's running from the consumer unit to the electrical outlets? wouldn't that need replacing with approximately £3 Million of Woo-Wire, too? And what about the nasty cabling inside your amp? I've never seen an amp with Woo-Wire inside. Surely the cheap and nasty wires inside your amp would need replacing, too, or the transparent soundstage that the Woo-Wire carries to your amp would become muddied. Or is Woo-Wire so wootastic that it magically transforms all of that nasty copper in the walls of your house into audiophile quality copper, then wootastically bypasses the nasty copper wires in your amp and passes audiophile quality electricity directly to the transformer, which you obviously had rewound with Woo-Wire, as we all know that normal copper wire isn't suitable for Audiophile quality music, right?
Ha - ha! Loved this :LOL:
 
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