Have you ever hated the sound of your system one day, and loved it the next?


Last night I went to bed thinking my system was going down the tubes. This morning I loved it.
 Last night it sounded painfully bright and unbalanced.  This morning, on the same CDs, it sounded full and rich.
Now, I ask you, is it the system or me???
  I understand changes in electrical currents from the wall can play a part, but I have an expensive power conditioner.
 I was just wondering if this is a typical bugaboo among audiophiles.
7c67ab18 c2ce 4b45 9523 fc4a71684ce0rvpiano
The flaw in the logic here is the expensive power conditioner.  They can definitely improve some things, but cannot eliminate all the variations provided by your local friendly (?) utilities company.  Beyond changes in your own metabolism/mood, this is definitely what you're picking up.
Most systems always sound best in the morning and late evening. Especially Sunday morning. Less RF interference. Most systems also sound best on nice sunny days and worst on rainy low pressure days.
I've noticed same things as geoffkait.  Moved here to Phoenix area 8 months ago from Detroit area.  Used to have "good" and "bad" days with my system in Detroit.  Great sounding one night, bad the next day.  Haven't had any changes like that here, though.  Fingers crossed, I think we have a great electric system!

Yup, I have noticed the same.
I’m glad for these posts.  I see it’s a common phenomenon.
 The difference is LITERALLY night and day!
Funny! Promote that man!
I've heard the very same differences, all the time, up until now. I think it's that my system is finally dialed into where I like it all the time. The only caveat is that there is a touch more fullness (for lack of a better word) at prime listening times (early and late day times) but everything else is there.

All the best,
Nonoise
Yes.  Can sound amazing one day and (infrequently) irritating the next; way more good days than bad, fortunately.  
Two variables I attribute this to are:
- weather conditions, esp. humidity (I haven't kept a log but suspect rain and or/higher humidity HELP with sound from my gear);
- how well-rested I am.  
There may be other causes though I do not associate performance differences with a specific time of day or day of the week - possibly because we live in a fairly low population area.
Timely tip. Keep a log. 
It's you.

(By far the most reasonable explanation).

I don't have quite the swings of "love it/hate it" but my system DOES strike me sometimes as starting to be unsatisfying in one way or another, and if I just stop listening for a little while (few days, whatever), bam it blows me away again.

(Or just tweaking the speaker position).

Most claims of "break in" are people getting used to the sound of their speakers, IMO.
Absolutely not!  My system just doesn't sound terrible on some days.  On some days I get less involved when listening to music, but on some days food doesn't satisfy as well as on others.  I agree with what Prof said above, it's you.  Stress, sleep patterns, diet, sex life, noise exposure, bowel movements, drugs (both legal and others) and biological rhythms can all have a serious effect upon your ability to enjoy the sound of music.
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No, not ever. Not enthusiastic at times but never hate.

I’ve identified the problem. It’s a tube in the preamp that was going bad.
it was intermittently causing distortion and reeking havoc with the sound, from one day to another.  After replacing the tube, the set sounds better than ever (or so it seems after the nightmare.)

I believe attitude/frame of mind has a lot to do with it. If my mind is on other things, I do not get into as much as just  " chillin' and crankin' some tunes." However, like gillatgh, never hate it.
I had similar experiences regarding perceived SQ at different listening times...until I got serious about the setup and room treatment in my dedicated listening room. Made all the difference in the world.
The room will dictate half of what you hear.
This is normal. What you hear is subjective and will be heavily influenced by your mood and whether you have a cold, slept well or not etc.

Also much boutique equipment is finicky and very unreliable (like tubes).

This is probably the single biggest reason audiofools hear amazing things from fuses or ordinary bits of wire. The mood and expectation is extremely powerful in all humans. Foreplay is a good example. A finicky system that is on the fritz is yet another,

The trick is to recognize what is real from what is subjective and to restrict audio component purchases to reliable rather than boutique brands. Also avoid used gear that may have been damaged by misuse and non-qualified repairs. Those unable to do so are destined to keep buying new cables and performing countless new tweaks. The mind trick of the tweak creates the predisposition to feel more positive about the sound.

shadorne
"
The mood and expectation is extremely powerful in all humans. Foreplay is a good example.The trick is to recognize what is real from what is subjective."

Tell us more about your tricks shadorne.
@clearthink

A simple trick is to buy the same gear that is used by professionalslike Sting, Pink Floyd, Diana Krall and Mark Knopfler. Folks who make a very successful living from making music tend to demand good quality as well as good reliability. Just be careful of endorsements like Dr Dre and his headphones. Musicians that receive commissions or benefits for endorsements may not be giving their unbiased preference. For example, Daniel Craig 007 wears Omega when he goes out at a public function (sponsored) but privately he wears Rolex.
I have never felt there were changes from one moment to the next. I have had first Quad els57s and later Quad 2805 speakers, and they have always sounded the same from one day to the next. The 2805s were an improvement, but in the same family. After a while with the 2805s I decided I needed a more powerful amplifier than the Quad 303, so I acquired a refurbished Quad 606-2, and that was indeed better, but every single day, and not varying from one day to the next.
I do agree with Shadorne that buying gear that professionals also use is a good way to proceed. Tony Faulkner, the famous classical sound engineer, also uses Quad stats for his recordings. My small system uses Harbeth P3ESRs. The British Library’s sound archive uses Harbeth speakers for their recording and transcription work. Neither of them go for audiophile tweaks. They know better.
@shadorne , I don't think those are the tricks @clearthink was asking about...
This is probably the single biggest reason audiofools hear amazing things from fuses or ordinary bits of wire.

+1

However, an even bigger reason audiofools hear amazing things from fuses or ordinary bits of wire is that they wind up "reversing" them.
shadorne "A simple trick is to buy the same gear that is used by professionals"
Yes every hobby has amateurs who do this they think "if only I had the same set of clubs as Tiger Woods" or "if only I had the same piano as Vladamir Horowitz" but of course it doesn't work that way and in the case of audio and Music Reproduction Systems I prefer not to let others' do they're thinking for me.

Much of what many have said here is true. To go to extremes, whether love or hate, is to miss the glorious middle of true enjoyment. 

Mea culpa!
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rvpiano
which power conditioner do you own?
Happy Listening!
Isotek Orion Power line Conditioner with Isotek Elite 5 foot Power cord
shadorne covered what I was going to say, but I'll add my experience with my playback system.

Often what I hear is beautiful music that sounds full range, clear, present, and it's easy to imagine I"m hearing what sounds like live, natural sound. *

But at times what comes across sounds obviously artificial, with lack of substance, treble that verges on graininess, and a confined sound stage. Hard to imagine anything natural about the sound.

I've come to the conclusion that the difference is not equipment, or power quality type issues. It's my perception of what I am hearing that changes.

One of the clues that this is the case, is that I can many times change perception at will. If I concentrate on listening to the musicians, vocalist, and recording environment, I can often be amazed at how "real" life like the sound is. But I can then conscientiously shift my focus to the short comings of the recording/playback process, of which there are many, and the sound loses much of its beauty, sounding like the miserable excuse for live music that it is. haha.

It's hard to describe exactly, partly because my shifting perception is mostly unconscience. This is also the basis of why I don't bother with tweaks.

* Bad recordings always sound bad

Notwithstanding tube problems, I think what denydog says is absolutely true.
When I listen just for the “sound” of my system  I hear all kinds of abnormalities, but when I’m listening to the MUSIC instead of my SYSTEM everything seems to sound natural.  It’s like the “suspension of disbelief” you adapt when reading a book or seeing a movie.  I don’t think we can ever really match the sound of real instruments on our sets, so if we listen just for that we’re going to be very disappointed. However when we listen for the music itself, we’re not so much concentrating on the physical sound, but the musical message being expressed. So if we “suspend” the belief we’re listening to live instruments we can get into the music much more easily and the instruments sound just fine.
clearthink has unmitigated gall.

First he states the impossible.

Then he is presented with a genuine and no obligation challenge to demonstrate the impossible.

Then he tentatively accepts challenge.

Then he attempts to dictate the terms of the challenge.

Then he is asked to act privately, and with the inclusion of legal council.

Then he refuses.

Then he cry’s fraud.

Then he repeats himself.
gdhal has all the appearances of a Nigeream scammer he has promoted a phony $25,000 USD scam fraud on these forums. 

An advance-fee scam is a form of fraud and one of the most common types of confidence trick. The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money, in return for a small up-front payment, which the fraudster requires in order to obtain the large sum. If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim or simply disappears. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), "An advance fee scheme occurs when the victim pays money to someone in anticipation of receiving something of greater value—such as a loan, contract, investment, or gift—and then receives little or nothing in return." [1]

There are many variations of this type of scam, including the 419 scam, the Spanish Prisoner scam, the black money scam, Fifo's Fraud and the Detroit-Buffalo scam.[2] The scam has been used with fax and traditional mail, and is now prevalent in online communications like emails.

While Nigeria is most often the nation referred to in these scams, they originate in other nations as well. In 2006, 61% of internet criminals were traced to locations in the United States,

gdhal has all the appearances of a Nigeream scammer he has promoted a phony $25,000 USD scam fraud on these forums.

Appearances can be deceiving. Never judge a book by its cover. Nothing was promoted. You gladly accepted a genuine challenge that you're unable and/or unwilling to participate in. And why? Because *YOU CANNOT* audibly hear a difference if ordinary speaker wire is reversed. So what we have here in fact isn't about anything fraudulent on my part but the exposure of you as a liar. 
This is going well. Just as I predicted. I must have ESP. 😳
gdhal"Appearances can be deceiving. Never judge a book by its cover. Nothing was promoted."

You promoted a phony $25,000 USD listening challenge that was revealed to be extortion and a fraud and you then sought my personal information like the famous Nigerean scam. 

An advance-fee scam is a form of fraud and one of the most common types of confidence trick. The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money, in return for a small up-front payment, which the fraudster requires in order to obtain the large sum. If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim or simply disappears. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), "An advance fee scheme occurs when the victim pays money to someone in anticipation of receiving something of greater value—such as a loan, contract, investment, or gift—and then receives little or nothing in return." [1]

There are many variations of this type of scam, including the 419 scam, the Spanish Prisoner scam, the black money scam, Fifo's Fraud and the Detroit-Buffalo scam.[2] The scam has been used with fax and traditional mail, and is now prevalent in online communications like emails.

While Nigeria is most often the nation referred to in these scams, they originate in other nations as well. In 2006, 61% of internet criminals were traced to locations in the United States,

What has this got to do with the topic of this thread?
Find a back alley somewhere, and settle it!
What has this got to do with the topic of this thread?
Find a back alley somewhere, and settle it!

@rvpiano

My sincere apologies. I think it safe to write you and I are kewl. It's just that we have a liar among the fray. Someone who doesn't think clearly. I have no objection if you and/or others flag any of my posts. Sometimes alley ways are interconnecting. Again, my sincere apologies.

To show my good faith, I'd like to extend an offer to you as I've done with so many other members of the forum who recognize my kindness and overall gratitude where/if appropriate. Feel free to PM me, where I can offer you some music (completely free and made available via download).
Yeah, just click on the link...................................
Thank you, @willemj
I actually don’t think gdhal was perpetrating a fraud or hoax. He really believes he’s the knight in shining armor come to slay the dragon. Bad dragon! Bad! 
Hmmm. Well, getting back to the subject at hand, I'm glad to see this discussion, as I always thought it was just me. My system never sounds actually "bad," but sometimes I've noticed that it seems to be in especially fine voice. Always chalked that up to my own mood, ears, and brain. Would be interesting for some very enterprising audio specialist to figure out a way to test this empirically.
I actually don’t think gdhal was perpetrating a fraud or hoax. He really believes he’s the knight in shining armor come to slay the dragon. Bad dragon! Bad!

Thank you, Geoff. I consider this yet another offering on your part of the proverbial carrot, and I’ll accept it.

But I shall not extend my offer of free music download to you, as I have done with rvpiano. :)

EDIT:

And I’d like to chime out of this thread if I may by stating - on topic - that to my ears the sound of my system does not vary. I "love it unconditionally". I find it difficult to "hate".
So, please don’t tell me I’m the only one whose system sounds especially sweet today and yesterday? 🙄
Geoffkait: We are a member of the silent majority. If my system sounds sub-par, I go away for a couple of days. It seems to fix itself!
Last evening the world outside my home was silent with 12” of freshly fallen heavy snow. It was so quiet 🤫 I could hear my breath freezing.
The evening was audio magic so I stayed up until 3:00AM listening to recordings that never sounded so good. Watching the snow falling outside definitely added to the audio magic. Was the power quality that much better or maybe just the quiet vibes?  Who cares?
Never waste an opportunity to enjoy good music when the conditions are that perfect.
Thank you. Let’s say it was the snow.
Yes, it happens to me. I’ve concluded its a human factor—fatigue or some of the other suggestions above. If I stay concerned more than a day, I play the two demo recordings I’ve used for 20 years when shopping or dialing in: Steely Dan’s Aja and Joe Henderson’s Lush Life. It never fails that I find everything’s still fine. Sweet relief. 
No, this is real, it happens to most of us and I have concluded there are two main contributing factors. 1. Source, quality varies from one media to another. 2. Finally all systems sound different depending on how long they have been left on. I have heard some systems sound better from a cold start where others sound much better the longer they are left on.
I think it’s you man...
Certain recordings have huge differences, but you mention same recordings.
I changed preamp tubes & noticed a huge difference...