The Pangea is a good one, and now the SE series starts at $50 and is a major upgrade in performance.
The tweak that transformed my system is the Synergistic Reseearch Red fuse. I haven't tried the Black fuse yet since I'm so pleased with the current results.
Placing a wood board under my preamp to decouple it from the rack was a cheap tweak that provided much improved sonics.
I epoxied a little brass plate/shim to my Denon DL103 MC Cartridge
The fastening nuts now tighten down on the brass plate and not the plastic body
Take a look at My System for a photo
- far more clarity
- deeper bass with better control and precision
- improved 3D imaging.
- much faster dynamics
I also applied the same technique to my Soundsmith modified version of the Denon DL103 with even better, more noticeable results
Definitely the best $12 I've ever spent in this hobby
The following are free, and are probably the most important things you can ever do.
- check the set-up of your speakers, and correct it if they are off even by a little bit
- try putting some natural room treatments at the obvious spots and see if it helps with either diffusion or absorption
- clean your contacts, all of them
These others are relatively cheap.
- have an alcoholic beverage of your choice, in moderation
- do something to improve the power delivery to your components, be it a conditioner or replacing stock power cords
Speaking of cleaning contacts one should clean contacts of ALL wall outlets, even those not audio related. Even contacts of wall outlets in other rooms, refrigerator, TV, computer, air purifier, etc. These oxidized or dirty contacts are a source of micro arcing, the noise of which migrates to the audio circuit.
ptmconsulting, is it not true that many of the makers of audiophile electronics (amplifiers in particular) recommend not utilizing power conditioners and going straight to an outlet? I have tried quite a few power conditioners (some expensive, like the Synergistic one) before on sources and on amps and ended up with none anywhere.
Besides replacing AC outlets with Maestro and now Furutech GTX-D R, High Fidelity MC-0.5 and SR BLACK fuses, I find covering unused RCA and XLR connectors yields a nice improvement. Most noticeable is reduce HF glare and harshness ... quieter overall.
I use both Cardas and AQ caps. AQ is less expensive and I don't hear a difference.
Dramatic changes playing with resonance control, on the motor pulley and especially on the tonearm (Trans-Fi air bearing). The Koetsu changes character from mellow to aggressive, depending on the application of small fragments of sticky jelly pad, which is sold to tune the sound of drums. Seems that suppressing odd harmonics is the key to clarity plus listenability, while suppressing even harmonics leads to shrill. Anyway, less than a gram required.
Moongel is the name of the product, price $10.
I have found that the quality of the power supply voltage significantly affects your sound quality. With all the talk of power cords, outlets and everything here. I would say the biggest inexpensive element I have found are Isoclean fuses. These are the cheapest fuses ($49 retail) and they have improved things in every piece of equipment I have put them in. I have tried other fuses, including Hi-Fi Tuning, SR 20, SR RED, Furutech. Each of them had good points and bad points. Each introduces a character to the sound. Some of these may be good in your system depending on system synergy. However, I feel the Isoclean made the best and most neutral improvement overall. It provides a very natural and full sound and fixes a lot of brightness problems with stock fuses. Other fuses may compensate for different problems. The SR RED can improve a system that is too bright (it's actually the most non-intrusive fuse, but it reduces the resolution of the sound). The SR 20 can improve a slow system, such as tube, but it's too bright and bass lean for most solid state. Hi-Fi Tuning put a metallic edge on the sound that I didn't like.
The last couple of dedicated listening rooms I've put together I've focused a lot more on acoustic treatments. Different kinds of inexpensive treatments such as thick drapes, diffusers, Auralex foam wedges, Acoustimac panels, ASC tube traps etc.. Usually all purchase used. Trial and error for best performance.
The ASC tube traps have made the biggest difference in my system and were a paradigm shift in performance in my room. Very impressed.
Mu metal foil shielding around phono step up ferment about 35 bucks.
Auralex subdude isolation platforms under Ohm Walsh speakers about $100.
Isoacoustics stands under various small monitors also about $100.
The simple Monster power strip my preamp and source devices are plugged into cleaned up the sound for about $70.
Auralex 24x24 inch acoustic panels at prime side wall reflection points about $35 each.
I've bought gear on audiogon but not tweaks in that the cost for basic things that work like these are extortionist mostly here.
The short answer to your post is "yes". When you finally obtain experience and knowledge (unfortunately, that doesn’t come cheap), then the rest comes relatively cheap, cause at that point you stop wasting money on so-called "hi-end" market B.S. and start buying and building the real things for real earth-market price. Then you calculate how much you’ve spent on various “hi-end” market B.S., during the years, which besides the ridiculous price tag makes funny and annoying sounds (which, at some point of your life, you thought you like) and think to yourself, how could I have been that stupid to buy all that crap?!!! )))), and then you hate all dealers who ever sold you anything that later turned to be complete 110% B.S. in terms of price to sound quality ratio.))))
Re: WILLIEWONKA: By a real coincidence I just this week modified my Music Hall 5.le (Pro-Ject) tonearm by adding a 3 gram weight to the head for my Denon 103 cartridge. It did more than tighten bass. It removed almost all of the edginess on the highs as well. The weight apparently reduced vibration feedback of this lower compliance cartridge. If I find a larger counterweight, I will try the additional 3 gram tab. A real audible difference for anyone with the DL103 on a lighter arm. $15 at Amazon - see link.
Using advice from Star Sound Technology, I replaced the rubber gasket that was under the transformer of my Edge amp with 3 Star Sound flat point (.5) Audio Points. The point goes on the chassis side and the flat part against the trans. Spread the 3 points out equadistantly, replace and tighten the bolt through the trans. It made my Edge amp sound like I spent 50% more on it. THIS IS A $15 UPGRADE. Takes about 10-15 minutes to do--most of that is unscrewing and rescrewing the chassis screws. It changed the sound by giving more of everything. I should add that I have all my equipment on Sistrum platforms designed to drain vibrations to the ground quickly. This can be done with any trans in a component. I will be doing this with my Modwright 5400 power supply of the cd player. Dan Wright already said he thought this would improve the sound when talking with him.
The Synergistic Research PHT's that you stick on the cartridge make an easy and phenominal change to ANY cartridge. It's like doubling the cost of the cartridge. And you can change one to another in about 2 minutes and get a different sound from your cartridge that again is like you spent double on the cartridge. 2 of these for $200 and you have basically spent little to upgrade your cartridge significantly. Now you can switch a type of sound to a different one very quickly. Their room tune products are awesome also--you have to spend much more on those, however. SR's demonstration at Axpona was pretty darn cool--putting in various treatments one at a time and playing various tracks so you can hear what each does in increments. I'm a believer. Much cheaper than reconstructing your room and hoping you'll get some success in the new sound.
One good audio 'enhancement' that's been around awhile is one that's inhaled vs. imbibed. Been rather popular, although only available through 'alternative sources' unless you live in or near Colorado or other 'progressive' states....
Like most things, it has it's advantages and it's drawbacks.
Ask your kids, or grandkids if you're closing in on my age group. I was asked the other day "How's it going, old timer?"
"Just fine, until you called me that..."
I let him live.
When I just applied for a drivers license in my new state, the clerk looked at my ID asked "So, you’re elderly?". Well! It’s a very progressive state with medically licensed use, and man is it big business. Dispensaries everywhere. And gee, I had no idea there were so many young people with health issues requiring "medicine" ;-).
knghifi , foster_9, and others who've replaced their outlets ... before switching out your old one did you first clean their contact areas and plug blades too and then listen? And only then replace with a different brand to compare? I sometimes wonder how many cable/wire/IC/outlet swappers are comparing old dirty/oxidized contacts with new clean contacts vs. finding a better sounding piece.
rockadanny936 posts05-04-2016 2:54pmknghifi , foster_9, and others who've replaced their outlets ... before switching out your old one did you first clean their contact areas and plug blades too and then listen? And only then replace with a different brand to compare? I sometimes wonder how many cable/wire/IC/outlet swappers are comparing old dirty/oxidized contacts with new clean contacts vs. finding a better sounding piece.
No I didn't clean ... My house is new construction and builder grade outlets are in housings so clean and has not oxidized.
bdp24...I trust you had some not so kind words for that clerk...or, shall we be kind and say 'cluck'?
When I read that, if in your shoes, that gov't. drone would still be picking his/her/it's mental shards off the wall behind him/her/it. Whatta rude SOB!
My knee-jerk reaction would have been (after taking a deep breath)...
"Not so elderly as to recognize a mental midget when I meet one."
Comments like that deserve all the 'tactful vitriol' you can pack into English without resorting to 4 letter expletives. I'm still in admiration of the wordsmiths of the past, who could verbally drag an idiot through a mental keyhole and back again without resorting to merely crude epithets or single finger gestures as is too typical these days...
But, I digress...*sigh* It happens a lot of late... ;)
If I was where you is, I'd go get some script and enjoy. Tell the MD you're allergic to civilization....that's my malady. *G*
Last time I was in CA, I read a reporter's story of acquiring the appropo credentials...his prepared story of symptoms, blah blah, etc. The doc blinked and said:
"I'm a gynecologist. Here's your prescription."
You can thank me @ your convenience. *S* ;)