Best tweak/acessory you have ever purchased or DIY?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott Oliver, May 7, 2002.

  1. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

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    I don't want to hear about power conditioners, remotes, cables or that type stuff. I am interested in hearing about isolation devices, Cd treatment stuff, cones, EMI/RFI frequency absorbers, etc.

    Back in Oct 99 Home Theater magazine did a shoot-off about these type of Voodoo products. Some they found effective, some junk. Personally, I have had the same type of experience. But I would like to hear opinions of those who have tried various stuff to expand my future listening adventures. So what have you all tried or bought that made a difference?
     
  2. Manuel Delaflor

    Manuel Delaflor Supporting Actor

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    In my opinion, the greatest improvement come from a well designed methodology to locate the speakers, this is specially true for the lower frequencies.

    Most people still don't realice that around 50% of the quality of the sound that a set of speakers is able to reach depends on their surroundings, on the room. Not in the speakers themselfs.

    Other than that. I believe that the best possible tweak is to manipulate the signals, with the knowledge we have in Psychoacoustics, before they reach the amplifier. This is done by a dedicated DSP processor. For example, a Behringer DualFex Pro, or even the little Wow Thing from SRS Labs.

    So far this technology will work only with certain recordings, improving the soundstage and the "acoustical realism" to new levels.

    I don't believe in trying to hear, at all costs, what the engineer wanted (guys that use this argument are, in reality, supporting an authority argument). No matter what some guys believe, some recordings are just awful! (and Im being very polite).

    I want as much control as I can regarding the sound I will hear.
     
  3. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

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    Acoustical treatments for the listening room --- bass traps, first reflection wall panels, corner tunes/traps, diffusors, room lenses, ...etc .... IMHO (and personal experience) are the MOST effective and dramatic improvement you can invest in (either DIY or through retail offerings)to improve your playback.

    It's the room mostly, and how you can improve on it's sonic properties. Many chase after this amp, those speakers, this tweak, the continuous upgrade treadmill. It can never end, even though upgrades are good ;^) if the objective is a true sonic bump.

    But, IMO, treating the room is the shortest path to good sound.

    my .02

    BOK
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I'd have to go along with BrianOK's position. To that I also suggest the importance of methodical record keeping after one performs various modifications and enhancements to their listening environment. Record what you do and what if anything you measure after each adjustment. To my mind, the benefits for those who use software to analyze and record the result of their modifications come to better understand their listening experience. While not so much a tweak per se, I think its important that individuals strive to understand just what it is that they enjoy along the ways of an overall frequency response and not get hung up in religiously insisting that all controls must be set at their default (neutral) positions. For those who enjoy the low end, well just kick it up a notch.

    Also I advocate the practice for those that can do so to indeed audition speakers in their homes. How many threads have appeared in this and other forums where someone has purchased say a Paradigm or Norh only to find themselves in a position where they can't return the speakers and they're just unhappy. They wind up now searching for wires or an amp (some would consider those tweaks, but often its a holy grail crusade that still at the end leaves them feeling empty) that they think will improve upon what is in fact a poor purchasing decision.

    Pay attention to your contacts. Make sure they're clean and for those who have rotary knobs, rotate them periodically. Kind of like running your car's a/c in the winter to circulate the lubricant.

    Save your receipts. Bought something with a lifetime warranty and it fails. Don't get pissed off at the manufacturer because they now won't replace it on account of you threw your receipt away.

    Finally, as another nomination for a tweak, I suggest that those who have homeowners/renters insurance to understand just what is covered in the way of you HT systems. Talk to someone and ask them to explain by drawing upon analogies. Often one finds that they 'think' they're covered fully but that in reality, that $1,700 amp, if hit by lightning, will be replaced by a cash payment of $300. Ouch! Understand how it is that you want to be covered in these situations and if your present company can't provide the coverage you want, find someone who will. This is a tweak that provides a long lasting sense of security and that's bound to increase your long term listening enjoyment.
     
  5. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  6. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    Caig Pro Gold

    Sand + Zip Locks
     
  7. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Mark,
    I second the ProGold, especially when used with pipe cleaners to get into the nitty gritty areas.
    [​IMG]
    Lee
     
  8. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Best tweak? A DIY sub! Beats the pants off the commercially available stuff out there! [​IMG]
    Brian
     
  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Lee: so you're saying that its irrelevant or perhaps unneccessary to audition speakers in one's own environment and that the potential for disatisfaction, seeing as how they now can't be brought back, can be corrected for by wires? What gauge is that Golden Reference? I'm sure we can find some ubiquitous copper to compare it against. Of course it won't have numerology going for it but it'll probably have some ASTM guidelines that it adheres to. As for your last statement, yes you're quite correct, that's been my experience...can't tell the good stuff apart from regular old copper of the same length and gauge under blind or dbt with matched levels. But I tell you, I'd get more mileage out of being able to do it and then to boot have it replicated by others.
     
  10. Doug_H

    Doug_H Supporting Actor

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    My best and probably least expensive addition was bass shakers. They add to both music and theater and are very easy to set up.

    Second would have to be my Pronto remote.
     
  11. Frank_S

    Frank_S Supporting Actor

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    Lee,
     
  12. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

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    I haven't tried the Pro Gold stuff, but I mentioned it to my dealer and he said "Oh you don't need to buy a whole bottle just use some of mine" I like him, good dealer. But this stuff would make sense to me considering all the times my grubby hands have been on the connectors, plus dust and any chemical residue from the productio factory.
    Since not too many tweaks have been thrown out of the type I am more intersted in hearing about, I'll throw in some of my own.
    Walker Audio Valid Points
    I bought these they were expensive and way overpriced, but I do think they helped my system alot. I have tried them on three components, amp, transport, and DAC. For me they had the greatest impact under my DAC. It really tightened up the sound, gave better soundstaging and air, more detail but not at all making the system fatiguing. The reason I like these compared to some other isolation devices is that the come with weights to put on top of the component as well as the suff underneath. The added weight on top can really help some lighter components, whereas my Meridian Transport which is really solid and dense did not benefit to the same degree as my DAC.
    Any other isolation devices that you have found to be effective. Symposium Rollerblocks, MIB Aurios, Bright Star racing Cones, etc.
    I have tried some other stuff, but I will probably stir enough controversy with the above.[​IMG]
     
  13. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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  14. Mike OConnell

    Mike OConnell Second Unit

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    Rubber door stops to put under the back of my center speaker so that it was properly aimed towards the sweet spot!
     
  15. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    for me, two tweaks stand out.

    1. upgrading my cables from the skinny supplied stuff (i know...i know) to some decent rat-shack/AR cabling. higher cabling than that yielded no noticeable differences for me

    2. speaker stands. they got my speakers off the floor which really seemed to improve the sound
     
  16. Robert_Dufresne

    Robert_Dufresne Stunt Coordinator

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    BLUE TACK is the ultimate tweak [​IMG]
     
  17. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  18. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Lee: Well that's because you quoted me out of context and as far as the Cardas' cables or any other for that matter, all one need do is determine the overall surface area of each conductor by summing and then it can be cross-referenced. Just curious, does sex count as a tweak? Things seem to sound better afterwards. I'd do a DBT, but its just not my style [​IMG]
     
  19. Dave E H

    Dave E H Supporting Actor

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    If we're talking video, I'd say a biad light behind my TV - i think that really does make it less stressful on the eyes.
     
  20. Stacey

    Stacey Stunt Coordinator

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    Custom building speaker stands for my Paradigm 5se Speakers. The speakers are towers and do have the metal "feet" but digging through some audifile mags alerted me to a "reccomended" height the speakers would sound best at and constructed the stands myself to place the speakers at the "best" height. Total cost: $15 , Sound Improvement: Priceless [​IMG]
     

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