Cheap tweaks...What would YOU reccomend?

Hey everyone, I am looking for some cheap tweaks, i just got done putting in a inner tube under my componets as an isolation device, and it works great. What else would you reccomend?..i am also thinking of an inner tube under the spkrs, with some sort of device to keep them stable. What do you think of Rf blockers..etc Please leave comments on your tweaks and how they turned out. i am looking forward to trying some. Thanks all
If some of your components are 2 prong instead of three, experiment with reversing them in the AC wall socket or the conditioner socket. Usually one way will sound better than the other.

I don't do it, but some people will actually experiment with a cheater plug on a three prong plug and then cut off the third ground plug if it sounds better reversed. Better check that AC grounding is not important to that component before trying this last one.

This may sound weird, but if you wear your hair long, pulling it back away from the ears will actually improve the sound! (Thick hair is a VERY effective sonic damper!)
Hi, Haoleb. Tweaks are tricky. They all do something to the sound in your room. Listen to the effect after doing each one and decide which way it sounds best "to you". One of the cheapest tweaks I know is lifting all cables, cords, wires and power supplies off the floor. Mine lay on thick pieces of stryfoam. I actually have the preamp sitting on a 2"inch stryfoam because it works in my system. Now the turntable likes to be on three marbles riding in spoons glued to vibrapods which sit on stryofoam on a granite tile. Sounds silly but the end result is analogue glory, [to my ears and others who have heard the system]...I use large marbles riding in small bottletops on three granite tiles under the speakers. Why? Well the bass articulation and speed are greatly enhanced. But this may not work for you. Remember, the spirit of tweaking is fun and learning about your system....take your time with the tweaks and you will be, [like with the inner tubes], surprised. I've tried the tubes and yes, they work...cheers, bluenose
I like the homemade room lenses and rollerblocks a lot.
My best tweek in antistatic spray on my whole system. Interconnects, speaker cables, power cables, plc, ics inside the components, wires inside the components etc. The improvements include a bigger soundstage, crisper dynamics, and reduced glare/brightness.
You could get a copy of Robert Harley's book, "The Complete Guide To High-End Audio". Lots of good information in there.
If you haven't replaced your receptacles at the wall (or in your line conditioner if you have one), I'd strongly recommend the Arrow Hart 8200 (available for about $8 U.S.) If you have two or 3 receptacles that your system is drawing from, this will make a very worthwhile improvement to sound quality. I also like the vibrapods (bear in mind that I have a relatively modest system and we are talking about "cheap" tweaks) and use them under both electronics and speakers (floorstanders). If you have a budget CD player, you might want to experiment with damping the interior of the casing (commercial industrial floor tile attached with double sided heavy duty carpet tape works well); I've had good results doing this. All of these are sub $20-$25 tweaks ( a little more if you start piling on the vibrapods), which I figure is pretty cheap.
Do you have any particular brand preference for the antistatic spray?Thks
The best and cheapest tweak you can do is speaker placement. Experiment with moving your speakers away from the back and side wall. Aiming them to face in front of you or behind you. If you have floor standing speakers lifting them off the floor a few inches can make a considerable difference.
Mod Squad "Soft Shoes" under my DVD/CD player. For less than $50 I got what sounds like a component upgrade.
I accidentally found this on my decent preamp, I was trying to use 2 "Y" connectors from my CD player to connect 1 set of interconnects to preamp "TAPE", second set to a HT receiver, but instead I hooked it into preamp "AUX1".
(I was in the process of doing it and got interrupted with something else for couple days).

When turn on preamp with BOTH "TAPE" AND "AUX1" on, the sound is .. drasmatically changed, with unbelievable detail, image, even loudness.

Just about to post as question if this is a mistake, but I enjoy it so much that I decide to keep it this way, maybe until something ... explode !
I've been very impressed with those ultralight Neuance shelves under my CDPs (made a HUGE difference under the Rotel, and a more subtle improvement in coherence with my 44lb EMC-1 MkII). Far greater bass articulation and PRAT than inner tubes.
Also, the LAST thing you want to put under your speakers is an air cushion! Spikes, rollerblocks, THIN sorbo between
satellite/base sections are all great, but the object is to optimize the coupling to the floor...not isolate it (as you would do with other components...especially front end ones).
Have fun! Ern
I just push those spikes firmly, straight into my wood floor, finish be damned. Sounds good to me.
Forgot to mention this "cheap tweak". I have had a problem with the noise from a nearby restaurant, so I bought two $40 sheets of soundproofing foam. I tacked it into my window and it helped a bit. Well I had a 5' X 3' piece left over, and wasn't sure if I should get rid of it or not, so I leaned it against a console table, right where my first reflections are, and Voila! every word became easily intelligible. I bet you can all guess what came next. I went back to the store, bought another piece, and now things are much improved. Vocals and movie dialogue are much easier to decipher. Looks ugly though, so I guess I'll buy some audiophile grade fabric to cover it and give it a makeover. Anybody know where to get some?
The Bedini cd demagnetizer / clarifier. For less than 100.00 bucks and 20 second spin on your faroritre cd, it sounds like a 3,000 system upgrade, no kidding.
Sol322: a good inexpensive antistat spray is Endust for Electronics for $7/can. Nordost ECO3 runs $40 by comparison.
Well, i must say that i didnt expect the topic to e this hot, and also ive got a list to try the anti static spray sound interesting. Also we are building a new house and i already have my request for a dedicated pwr line. anything else that would be a great thing to do while i've got the chance?.
-make sure components are well ventilated and separated
-seperate spkr., ic., and pwr. cables
-basic acoustic treatment (judicious placement of furniture)
-Foam rings around tweeters (if applicable or benefits)
-dig around on older threads
Alot of good tweaks and advice have already been mentioned. So I'll just keep mine short. Try the Mapleshade vibration control devices ( ). They sell brass cones and weights and Iso-Blocks ( cork/rubber feet ). I've found them to be quite effective in my system. Though, as others have mentioned, YMMV.
My sidewalls are windowed (L), or a fireplace (R), with stuffed furniture. A more WAF-acceptable trick is to simply grab one of the large square throw-pillows we have and prop it up
onto the back of said sofa or stuffed chair, thereby quashing most of the first reflection at tweeter level. If I forget to plop 'em back down an occasional visitor thinks they're there as headrests! Works like a charm.
vansevers and tweakaudio has tons of tweaks on their web
the high end boutique in San Luis Obispo turned me on to this in 1991. 20 bucks and yes...there actually is a difference
Speaker drivers sometimes work themselves loose. Make sure the screws around the drivers are tight. I've even received new speakers that have loose screws, but it's more common with used speakers I've purchased.

Save the innertube for the lake.
I have a posting pending that details my experience with the little rubber wonders.

Amazing results for minor bucks!

Good Luck

In Stereophile a LONG while ago, the guy from Holland was talking about using "antistatic foam" (from like RadioShack used to protect chips from static damage) inside the boxes of D/A and transport stuff. The idea is to capture the stray EMF and ground it. I have used the stuff in my Adcom DA600 and DA700 with success. It does give a quieter background and a cleaner upper frequency range. I would cover the foam with a thin cardboard (Pepsi/Coke cardboard 12pack stuff) and slide the stuff under the circuit boards and over the chipsets on the boards. Also between the different sections of the circuitry.
If you wear glasses,take them off when seriously listening in the sweetspot.Maybe it's psychological...i also suggest the auric illuminator cd treatment.With some cd's,the difference is not unlike upgrading a component.
The cheapest I can think of is to close your eyes. You can focus better on the music. Secondly, people walking around the house degrades the experience. (That breathing, it's so repetitve ... ha, ha, ha!) Many things have aleady been mentioned, so I won't repeat.

Hmm, I clean my connections. I havent' perceived a difference, but I believe it makes a difference. I put in new speaker wire and interconnect wire. That made a very perceptible change in the system. (It was still a cheap tweak, believe it or not.)

Tweeks I haven't had the nerve to try yet. Greg Weaver of recommends freezing your CD's. Heck, I'll try it someday, but I'm stillll skeptical.
I've done two cheap tweaks that dramatically improved my system lately.

1) elevating my amp by placing a phone book beneath it.
-There is a night and day difference in bass extension. The bass is flat before the presence of the phone book. After, the bass is more deeper, controlled and permeates the room in an almost waves like manner.

2) spent $40 bucks purchasing 2 sheets of Dynamat Extreme from and tacked it on the bottom of my shelves. This transformed my shelves from a "scat scat" to a "thonk thonk" when knocking on it. The aural improvement is equivalent to swapping to slightly higher end power cords in the digital front ends.
-The highs and "digital" harshness is tamed a few degrees. Before, the highs hurt my ears if I played over the "55" setting on my digital preamp for over ten minutes. After, I can play up to "65" without ear fatigue.
any suggestions or feedback on upgrading speaker jumpers?
Any brands better than others?
Recommend a good set of cones along with some pods. I bought some from this website (can find them anywhere else) ....... These cones really work as isolation devices and they are fairly inexpensive (improves bass defination, detail, and resolution on a component).
Speaker tweak: If your speaker is under 7-8k and for many more expensive. Upgrade the caps in the tweeter signal path. If you are really ambitious measure your woofer specs and retune your cabinet to it for max performance with flattest response.

Sincerely, I remain
Connect the 4 outputs with one channel split of my cd player and connect it to the external 5 channel in on my receiver. Sounds much better than the 5 channel stereo DSP.
Tweaks to try:
1. Replace your power cords whatever they may be with in-line power conditioners for each component. Drastic improvements found here.

2. Install PS Audio Power Port outlets, or FIM, or even Home Depot's best 20 amp electrical wall outlets.

3. Float or remove the ground from all audio component lines. Grounding has a way of inserting nasty ac noise into the lines.

4. Install dedicated circuits/lines from the service panel with no breaks in the lines(the amplifier should be on a 20 amp circuit).

5. Install the best 10 gauge 99.95% OFC romex you can find for each run.

6. Install all audio circuits at the service panel so that all audio components are operating from same phase of 115 volts at service panel.

Maintain your mains: Simple free tweak. Find the ring which your system is attached to, switch off mains and Deoxit the mains wiring connections and check they are clean. tighten the connection with a screwdriver. Do the same with the wall plug. Then check that your grounds are also clean and working well. Well worth the effort.
If you're using a power conditioner with a fixed power cord, try the Higwire Power Wrap at $24.99 from It make my monster 2000[sitting on bricks,] drop the noise threshold and increased ease of musical flow...very good tweak for so little money. In my system it was better than a cable upgrade. Also, for those trying vibrapods under components try a dr scholls' foot rub placed between the vibrapod and the bottom of the compnent....very good effect on my cd player and tt.
Once you hear the AudioPoints you will not go back to the non scientific stuff you are using.These work and are based on a law of physics so you will keep them and use them as you change and upgrade all the components that are improved by sitting on them.Its a very big improvement in resolution.I have thru the years used all the rubber and the weights and the clampers and the dampers and they all change stuff and they all were all non musical.
Bluenose are you using stock AC cords connecting to the components, or is this tweak still effective when using upgrade AC cords?
Looking at their site they show two models, a .37 & a .56 (are these the inner diameters of the spiral?).
I think they also had this or something like it on AudioAdvisor. Music Direct doesn't have a Highwire photo on the website; I'm gonna try the hardcopy catalog.
Hi, Bob. I use them on just the fixed power cords but I saw somewheres[maybe on AA] someone used one on the absolute power cord and liked it. The funny thing is you can litterally slide the wrap a couple of inches and darn if you don't hear the's definatedly doing something. I believe this is the inside diameter of the coil but music direct could confirm that....I bought mine 4 years ago before they had the interconnect versions. I actually forget what the size is. I know it is loose on the monster cord[not tight] and still seems to work....if you try it let me know what you hear. I find this a big improvement in my system[all solid state] regards, Lloyd
Hi Lloyd I'll re-phrse my question. You have the line conditioner with a stock cord & now a Hiwire wrap on it. Now what sort of cords are you using to connect the components to the line conditioner's outlets, stock AC cords or upgrade models?
I have a Chang Lightspeed line conditioner which has a captive AC cord. I use upgrade cords from the Chang to my components. I'm just wondering if this reported reduction of the noise floor would be further enhanced with a Highwire? (the noise already dropped by using upgrade cords). Can you report based upon your experience? thanks!
Hi, Bob. Sorry I didn't quite answer your question. Stock cords on everthing except the amp which is directly plugged into the wall...I have an absolute cable on the sim amp soon to be replaced by a virtual dynamics audience cord. So I don't really know how much more effect you could experience. It could still be noticable as the power wrap is really meant to be used on fixed cords but it is possible it would work to different degrees on different "fixed" cords on different power conditioners...perhaps I should mention the premp has no on off switch and is plugged into a panamax which is plugged into the monster. So everything but the amp is linked to the power wraped cord. I know when I put the wrap on the monster the presentation had such a relaxed feeling[without loss of whallop or speed] I'm listening to everything new again. The notes are fuller, rounder, more real...I wish I could describe it better...I can't believe this is solid state I'm listening too.
This is TRUE! I went to my doctor a couple of years ago and complained about a small pain in my was bothering me. He gave me an, that was most uncomfortable, but only took a couple of minutes. And the stuff that was in the cup was gross looking...substantial matter had come out.

The sound of my rig after that was fabulous!

Cheap upgrade especially since it was paid for by OHIP. Time to go again! I liken it to a tube going down.
what was in the cup?
Get it done and you will see! Gross, man!
Bluenose, I got my Wirewrap and it works! Very nice upgrade for so little money...thanks.

I placed it in the power cord of my Panamax Coax Four. My Tice A/V Solo, Power Var isolation transformer and power amp are plugged to it. Excellent.
Great to hear, Psychicanimal. It kinda shocked me when I put it on the monster 2000. It was a no-brainer once I did it but it was just on a whim.....after living with it to get a real grip on the improvements, I e-mailed JC at sterophile because it is so cheap...and works.....I've been burning a virtual dynamics Audition power cord on the amp....well. Now I'm starting to understand the buzz on these...everything is sounding sooo good it's hard to get work done....cheers and good listening, Lloyd
The sound keeps getting better--this device *does* break in, as the instructions state! Smoother, with a big and forward moving soundstage. Totally decent...

I am really starting to enjoy digital sound for the first time! Like a Virgin...
It's things like this that keep the fun going.....I agree with your observations....Like a Virgin, ha, ha....I keep thinking or weird Al amd his video...."like a Surgeon"
spend some time adjusting your room (i.e. listening and speaker position) It has a dramatic effect on bass extension and high harshness. This may have to do with constructive and destructive interference of sound waves of different frequencies. The time will pay off and won't cost you..........definitely try it!!
Address your room acoustic problems.

Jon Risch DIY room accoustic products - the wall panels and bass traps. Best bang for the buck bar none.
ASC Tube Traps
There is no better time for listening to music than late at night, with the lights off.

Same theory as closing your eyes (see dancarne's recommendation), but more dramatic / effective.

AC line voltage is cleaner late at night (reduced RFI/EMI), since fewer people are using noise-producing devices.

Typical ambient noise is less - - quieter background.

Try it - - you'll love it - - it's great!
Yeah, No kidding!.. I always have my serious listening sessions at night. Its just alot better, less distractions, Not as hot as during the day. ( because i need to close my windows so the neighbors dont complain ).. even if they arent real close. They dont exactly put up with And on another subject, has anyone though of sonic differences while listing at different elevations?? Everyone here knows how sound is created i hope, well what do you think it would be like at sea level compared to up high where the air is thinner? Been kina boggling my mind about this lol.