Any new tweaks out there?


I know we've had threads dealing with this topic but newer members may have experiences not presented thus far. For instance, I'm sure many of us have noticed the the skimpy 12-14awg leads on the power supply of our amps. Has anyone tried replacing them with say, 8awg just to see what happens? Or changing out main caps? Or changing to pure silver signal wire? Or using the solder provision instead of the hold-down nuts on binding posts on the amp-side? Or going from E-I to toroid, etc.....? It would be great to hear about something new.
csontos
I stay out of the upgrade electronics internals..
But tweaks on the cheap yeah.
Crystals, antistatic foam, power conditioners, powercords..
footers.. pigtails
Main thing is many of the expensive aftermaarket $$$ tweaks are based on dirt cheap ordinary item tweaks (which IMO work just as well as the fancy versions)
Yep, I just found one for my speakers. I was looking to change the spiked w/disks footers. I figured out to thread, went to Lowes and Menards and got elevator bolts. At Menards, they had furniture floor protectors that were self-stick (to the bolts) with piece of (brown) plastic and an "O" ring on the bottom. I've used, and continue to use Herbie's isolation under many of my components. I used his Big Fat Dots under my previous speakers on my hardwood floors with success. This really cheap tweak works better than the dots under my Abbys. Clarity, depth and soundstage width abound.
Try hockey pucks under speakers and power amps. They are the real deal and only$1.00 each
Alan
I love hearing success stories. But have I no peers? I've only destroyed one amp and one pair of speakers and that was over thirty years ago. I still have them tucked away in a closet . Everything I've tried since then has been with success albeit to greater or lesser degrees. Are there no brave pioneers out there? You know, boldly going where...
New tweaks? How about something from Coconut Audio?
Jmcgrogan2 beat me to it. The tweaks and ads from Coconut Audio are the only ones coming to my mind.

I have enjoyed some the tweaks that Elizabeth has mentioned. I did a combination of them. It was speaker wire with ferrite cores and a 6 volt lantern battery with a 1000u cap across the top. Ugly but the results sounded pretty nice in one system I had them in.
Yeah right. Coconuts make me think of monkeys. By the looks of those photos, I think Darwin may have been right about the missing link. I remember that thread about Elizabeth's tweak. But I'm not really interested in relatively insignificant tweaks. If you want to meet someone who would do anything to improve his gear, you just did. So I'm past all the gimicky debatable stuff. I'm into the kinds of things I mentioned initially. Stuff a capable non-tech can accomplish with limited technical knowledge, or even higher level tasks with direction by someone in the know. This is not after all, rocket science. As an example, If you do endeavor to upgrade your amp's power supply wiring to at least 8awg consisting of around 500 strands of copper, your going to experience a very pleasant surprise. Why manufacturers insist on building a bottleneck into the amp, I don't know. If you do this, It will sound like it just became a much more expensive amp.
I have used a combination of a memory foam pillow with a board on top to allow for ventilation and leveling. It is an incredible good at dampening any vibration my preamp is ezposed to. It can be bought in sheet form from some fabric/sewing shops. BTW it is also called visco-elastic foam.
06-19-12: Mechans
I have used a combination of a memory foam pillow with a board on top to allow for ventilation and leveling.
That is clever, Mechans.
06-17-12: Csontos
For instance, I'm sure many of us have noticed the the skimpy 12-14awg leads on the power supply of our amps. Has anyone tried replacing them with say, 8awg just to see what happens? Or changing out main caps? Or changing to pure silver signal wire?
Yes to all of the above, more or less. I recently changed the wire connecting the IEC to the power supply in my preamp. I replaced the generic small gauge wire with silver plated wire from DH Labs. It was a nice little improvement, and easy enough if you can solder. My preamp also has upgraded caps and solid silver wire at key points.

I'm a compulsive tweaker. You can see a list of the tweaks I've tried here. I'm happy to discuss which were the most audible in my system, if you're interested.

Bryon
Nice thread, heh, here are some of the tweaks I use, in no particular order. Herbies Halo tube dampers, Shakti Stone, Skyline diffuser, Shun Mook Original Cable Jacket, Shun Mook Mpingo discs, pens of various colors for colorizing CDs, Xtreme AV Quicksilver Gold Contact Enhancer, various CD treatments such as Jena Labs and Nanotec 8500, Ionoclast destat device from Mapleshade, Walker Audio Talisman demag device, suspending all cables and cords via fishing line (low WAF alert), one- and two-stage vibration isolation, bluestone slabs from Home Despot, Dots, Golden Sound NASA grade ceramic Super cones, cones under heavy funriture, cream electret and Pen X Coordinate Pen from PWB, Monster Cable CD Rings (CD stabilizer), obtaining absolute level of the CD transport, speaker set-up track on XLO Test CD. Some things I avoid: Lead, Sonex, Brass, Sorbothene

Geoff Kait at Machina Dynamica
Bryon, there's a thread revival going on about IEC's right now. My response to this, and I did watch the video, is why not just eliminate the IEC and go directly to the board and thus eliminate all the other issues associated with this imo, stupid idea in the first place? The video itself shows this. Eliminating ground could be beneficial depending on the circumstances so Marantz could have better served their clientele by providing an IEC for this purpose and instead hardwired the power cord. Convenience is usually not progressive and benefits only the manufacturer. When common sense prevails, you usually get improvement. So I would love to hear about some effective internal shielding. This is something I have not tried but have seriously considered.
My goodness Geoff. What does your gear retail for in comparison to the articles you just noted?
06-19-12: Csontos
...why not just eliminate the IEC and go directly to the board and thus eliminate all the other issues associated with this imo, stupid idea in the first place? The video itself shows this.
Sounds interesting. Can you post a link to the video?
So I would love to hear about some effective internal shielding. This is something I have not tried but have seriously considered.
I've experimented a lot with internal shielding in my preamp. My first experiment was with ERS cloth. I liked it at first, but after much more experimentation, I decided it was harming things more than it was helping.

The shielding I ultimately went with was a homemade sandwich comprised of 16 gauge copper, 16 gauge steel, and TI shield. I had about 20 pieces of copper and steel cut to custom sizes by a an online retailer. Then I screwed them together with the TI shield and installed them in strategic locations in the preamp (e.g. all around the power supply). I made sure each of the shields was grounded effectively to the chassis. By the time I was done, I had added over 10 pounds of weight to the preamp.

I installed the various shields incrementally, so I got to hear the effects of the shielding at least 3 or 4 times. Each time, it was the same thing: a little lower noise floor, a little better resolution, slightly better harmonic accuracy. After all the shielding was in, the preamp sounded significantly better.

It was a remarkably effective tweak. It was also fun. And cheap.

Bryon
Has anyone else tried the Combak Harmonix MIC ENACOMs? I just got a pair from Japan and find them quite outstanding. They are not new but are very hard to find.
Try the walker audio eliminator A
Geoff. Why don't you like brass?
Why don’t I like brass? I have ranked cone materials according to their relative Sound vs. Hardness. Generally speaking, the *harder* the material the better the sound. But it’s a little more complex since cone shape also affects the sound. Brass is actually a relatively *soft* material, relative to steel or ceramics, for example, which I think is why brass, generally speaking, doesn’t sound as good in terms of openness and tone and dynamics as high carbon steel and NASA grade ceramics. The same logic applies to carbon fiber cones.
Umm, @csontos, putting 8awg power cord on an amplifier that’s being fed from a 15 amp circuit with 14awg Romex or a 20 amp circuit fed with 12awg Romex will do you no good at all. Look up Ohm’s Law, and you will see that the weakest link in electrical power delivery to your amplifier limits everything else. 
I replaced the short 4" 12awg leads to the 2 main caps in an Ampzilla. Bottom end was faster with more impact. Those big caps need a hi way. Hence the large thick buss bars you usually see them hooked up with.
Brass AC plugs add noise to the sound I can hear..
After i switched to all Furutech Duplex (all pure copper) and all my powercords have plating. Anyway, I tried a Wattgate brass plug powercord and immediately noticed a mist like grunge in the upper midrange. Remove brass, gone, in there, remove gone.
So unplated brass in the AC adds grunge to the music in a system with none in the duplex.
Just bought a 2ml vial of graphine based contact enhancer from Mad Scientist Audio after I was searching for info on either a power conditioner or cord on Bing (not a Google fan) and it directed me to one of the audio forums where someone mentioned a graphine based contact enhancer (so I had to search who made it since it wasn't mentioned). I looked it up and the price was right to at least try the smallest bottle (I have become more adventurous since some other odd tweaks actually worked), and I'm running out of De-Oxit Gold 100% and my Stabilant 22 gel concentrate is newly empty (Furutech Nano Liquid has been gone for a few months) so I needed a contact enhancer since I'm putting my main system back together piece by piece. It's (the graphine enhancer) honestly the dollar for dollar the best a/v buy I've made in a long time, maybe ever.
It shipped from New Zealand to the Northeastern U.S. in less than a week, which is pretty crazy since that's almost the exact opposite place on the face of the Earth to my location (it would actually be off the west coast of Australia in the Indian Ocean, actually looked that up the other day funnily enough). It was pretty darn cheap too for a 2ml bottle (looks like one of those bottles used for cologne or perfume samplers), I think it was around $40 with air mail shipping ($25 sans shipping). Mind you Furutech Nano Liquid comes in a 2 ml bottle as well, but both the graphine contact enhancer and the Nano Liquid are thinner than De-Oxit Regular or Gold 100% or Stabilant 22 gel concentrate so they can last longer than you'd think given the small bottle size since they can be painted on much thinner.

Since my main setup is going through some changes right now I tested it on the HDMI going from my desktop PC to my Darbee then the second HDMI cable from the Darbee to the tv, as well as the HDMI to and from my Nintendo Switch and the cables in my headphone setup on that PC. I used the minuscule little brushes I received when I bought Stabilant 22 gel concentrate some time ago since they can get into little nooks and crannies like the slot in hdmi cables where the conductor contacts are.
To me using the graphine enhancer feels like the boost you get when upgrading cables and power equipment together (I know since I just did that). I popped in a few blu-rays (new Criterion Princess Bride disk from a 4K scan and new Night of the Demons disk from a 4K scan as I haven't put it away since Halloween), disks that I was just scanning through two days prior as I was testing out a new video driver, and the movies looked considerably better, much more three dimensional like there was more natural air in the image if that makes sense. Played a few games of Overwatch, again looked a lot better and sounded a lot better as well (had the volume low for the movie testing as my headphones weren't on and it was late at night). Tested some music both through the tv and my headphones (made sure to test several genres including music with higher dynamic range readings) better instrument separation is the big thing and more three dimensional sound field. Tested out Breath of the Wild on Switch, it was like playing the game for the first time again considering how much the image changed for the better, looked significantly better; tested Mario Odyssey and noticed much better sound separation there too (what can I say videogames help me to relax).
Now I've used De-Oxit Gold 100% solution (love it great bang for your buck as well), Stabilant 22 gel concentrate (about 4x as expensive as the 100% Gold, but that little bottle LASTS, works great as well), and Furutech Nano-Liquid (the best of the three, but also twice as expensive as the Stabilant 22 concentrate which is already about $80). I even came up with a method for combining all three in different layers which worked better than any of them alone. Honestly the graphine contact enhancer works a lot better than each of the other enhancers alone or combined. I've never tried the silver "paste" type enhancers that Mapleshade and Walker Audio and others sell due to hearing mixed things about them as well as them being a pain to remove if the sound starts to degrade after some time, and I have no idea about the one that Perfect Path Technologies advertises here (too expensive for me to try on a whim), so I cannot compare the graphine contact enhancer to them

I also received two free samples of these little Reece's Cups looking disk tweaks that I put on the HDMI cable base on the PC output and the HDMI cable base of the tv input to test them out and they work similarly excellent; reminds me of the Bybee QSE in effect but in compact form (I have no idea as to the differences between the QSE and smaller iQSE's that can actually be strapped to cables, save for the size difference, why the larger one is cheaper I'm not sure). I Immediately noticed the picture was brighter on the tv (was reading black text on a white background, so the brighter whites were pretty striking) after installing the disks. I checked out Mad Scientist's website afterwards and the mini sample disks are only $10 a pair so I ordered some more (they have more sizes as well, plus a crystalline-mineral mixture in a tube that reminds me that Bybee's QSE's supposedly use crystal and mineral mixtures, the same with Audiophile Rocks/Coconut Audio's tweaks). I mean the disks work for me so it couldn't hurt to grab a few more at that price (I'm not a well off man, so a bargain is a steal for me). Smart to include those samples since they had confidence in them working.

I'm continually surprised by tweaks in this hobby that read like things I'd be very skeptical of beforehand, things that would normally set off one's bs meter, but you surprise me once and I'm more apt to at least test out something (whether or not it works or works well that's a different story). Went from analog video cables, to audio cables, PC audio cards, to contact enhancers, tube amps, vacuum tubes, then on to things that "weren't supposed to" work like power conditioners and isolators, hdmi cable upgrades, power cables, "quantum tweaks" and the like, and I think the graphine contact enhancer can be separated a bit from other contact enhancers due to just how unique it is and by virtue of the concept being one where shady type salesmen could get their hands into and sell some bunk- so the concept of buying it was a risk, just one that ended up paying off tremendously thankfully.
Sorry for the wordy post, but I just tested everything out last night and am genuinely happy that it worked (also had a cup of coffee which I rarely have).
Ive got one. The time of day you listen can have an impact on your enjoyment. Let me explain. This will not work for a lot of people her but for those on shift work they will understand. When I get up in the morning I'm just not in the mood for music. My hearing should have been rested and more sensitive. Just can't get motivated. Now When I come off of night shift I will listen to a couple of songs but not as enjoyable because I'm tired. No when I wake up in the afternoon I'm a different person. Music is one of my first endeavors of the day. I have been close to being late because I was so into the music and it sounded really good. I did actually lay out one day. I'm a night person so this works for me. Oh I love late night listening as well as it is 11 here in the NC country cranking up Captain Beyond with it echoing through the Uhwarrie mountains twisting down the valley. Maybe a curious swatch will venture close. Hey I'm not high. A little crazy but not high. The pain pills I took this summer did however and did enhance the frisson.