I recently put the extreme SST on all my connections including power cords and tube pins. The effect for me was immediately noticable with more solid images, quieter background and increased dynamics. I have spent much more on things in the past that did not get me near the sound improvement I hear with this stuff.
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I have used both the Walker SST (not Extreme) and CAIG Pro Gold, and I have not found any appreciable difference between the sonic benefits offered by both products. The CAIG Pro Gold increased clarity and focus. The Walker SST did the same, but for considerably more money. Also, I found the Walker SST dried and flaked, which raised some concerns about applying it to tube pins...I didn't want to muck up the tube sockets with flaked silver compound.
I've used both regular SST and then Extreme SST. Both make a substantial improvement in clarity and resolution, and both are far superior to any other contact enhancer I've every tried. You may also experience a few db of increased volume/efficiency in your system depending on where you've applied the SST.
I previously posted on Audiogon about my experience with Extreme SST after having used the original. Listed at the end of my earlier post are links to recent comments and awards from various online audio magazines that you might look at.
You have nothing to lose except shipping costs to try it in your system. Walker Audio offers a 30-day money back guarantee if it doesn't work for you.
Just remember that it takes a while to break-in, so give your system some playing time before you try to critically evaluate the results: about an hour for tube pins and power cords, about 5 hours for line level interconnects and speaker cables, and about 20 hours for phono cartridge pins and phono cables. And, follow the instructions for applying it! You only need to paint on a very thin coating, it should not be applied like a paste.
Suttlaw, I've used Kontak in the past, and liked it, but it doesn't come close to delivering what the Walker Audio SST provides in terms of improved system resolution and clarity. And I'd been using Caig Gold just before I tried the original SST: the SST is simply superior, and the Extreme SST is even better.
None taken, Tvad. We're all just sharing our experiences here and learning from each other, and our experiences certainly can differ.
But help me, please: (1) are you saying that you've compared SST and Caig Pro Gold and don't find SST superior? or (2) that SST is more expensive than any difference would be worth to you?
If (2), that is certainly a fair position to take and a judgement each of us needs to make for ourselves.
If (1)..., well, we'll just have to agree to disagree. :-)
Rushton, I observed SST to be incrementally better than Pro Gold...let's
say 5% better. To me, a 5% improvement in sonics as a result of contact
enhancer is not equivalent to a 5% improvement in sonics from a better
source, amplifier or speakers simply because the benefits of contact
enhancer are so small to begin with. In my view, the miniscule
improvement using SST does not warrant the additional expense. That
said, some audiophiles find a 5% improvement worthy of thousands of
additional dollars spent to achieve the increase in performance. Also,
the tendency for the SST to flake...and yes, I did apply just a very thin
layer using the supplied applicator...is something I find personally
worrisome, especially where tube sockets are concerned.
For what it is worth I used Craig Pro Gold prior to using extreme SST and in my system there was really no comparison. I have not used the standard SST and cannot comment on that comparison. I am sure results will vary depending on the system but in my system the results are well worth the $150 investment.
While I'm not sure which silver contact enhancer caused the problem, this is a must read for anyone considering using it on their tube sockets.
Follow the posts all the way down. It's just fair warning, that is all.
Interesting comments,and I'm sure accurate.However how would you guys respond to the OVER THE TOP rave reviews on the SST stuff that positive feedback online magazine gave.Also Arthur Salvatoe of High End Audio Online who is a real sceptic,just gave a preliminary Rave as well.I have not tried this myself,but,have been very interestd in the feedback,and reviews.So,looking at the results,so far,although the feedback in this thread has been reasonably positive,the reviews from the press have been WAY MORE POSITIVE,on a product that most likely has a mark-up way higher than what an illegal drug dealer probably makes.Sort of makes me think alot less of the mainstream press(who I've come increasingly less tolerant of lately anway).Thanks for any further comments.
Sirspeedy, I've posted numerous times here about SST because I have the same "over the top" reaction to it as these "over the top" rave reviews of which you're skeptical. In my system, Walker Audio Extreme SST makes a clearly and significantly positive sonic improvement. The same is true for two other members of our local audio group who have experimented with it, and we have several more who now have it to try so perhaps they will chime in at some point since they also post on Audiogon. In my opinion, the only question is whether the improvement is worth the cost "to you." For me, it makes such a material difference that it is WELL worth the cost.
Jes45, the caution about how one uses SST or any contact enhancer is well taken. And, I've been using it on all of my tube pins with no mishaps, just like Arthur Salvatore, just like Srajan Ebaen, just like David Robinson, just like Bill Gaw, just like Lloyd Walker in his personal system. And I've talked with Lloyd Walker who says (as of three weeks ago, prior to CES) that he's received zero reports of any users having a negative experience using it on their tube pins. Still, it is important to follow the instructions and use it SPARINGLY.
That may very well be, Rushton. I'm just sharing what one amp manufacturer warned me about. It seems that he has had several pairs of amps and pre-amps returned lately for repairs because silver conductive paste leaked down and shorted between the tube pins on the underside of the tube socket. Your list of names is impressive, however, it does not change the fact that the repairs were required because of the tube pin terminals had shorted out with the silver conductive paste, does it? These guys still had to ship their amps or pre-amps back for repairs ...
I understand your point of view, you haven't had any issues ... yet. It is not my desire to be-rate any of the numerous silver conductive products, I'd used it for years in the military, it is nothing new. I only wish to share the warning of a manufacturer who has seen several units fail because of use (or perhaps mis-use) of a product.
In regard to Lloyd not recieving any complaints, I will repeat what I had over at Tweakers Asylum; How many guys are going to call someone up and admit that they were foolish enough screwed up their amps? (And worse, to be without music while the unit is repaired!) It's human nature to keep our faults to ourselves and our victories well known. It's known that you and Lloyd are very good friends, so if you made a mistake or had a problem, it is probable that you'd report it to your friend, Lloyd. (Most folks don't have the friendships with manufacturers that you do).
As I'd stated earlier, I have no interest in damaging the reputation of any of the numerous silver conductive pastes sold in the audiophile market today. I DO feel it is my responsibility to share the info given to me by a man that deals with improper or mis-use of the product, as I'm sure that you can understand.
This said, I will not use silver conductive paste on my tube pins.
The Quicksilver enhancer appears to be nearly identical to Walker SST. It looks the same, costs the same, and its instructions for use are exactly the same (I downloaded and read the PDF instruction sheet).
I'm not exactly sure what the advantage would be of Quicksilver over Walker SST. Considering they cost the same...$70...why would someone choose the contender over the undisputed champion? Curious to say the least.
I found it interesting that Arthur Salvatore positively mentioned CAIG Pro Gold in his preliminary review of Walker SST. Yes, he said that the Walker SST was better, but it's still nice to see that Pro Gold gets some love, too!
Jes45, can you comment on your experiences with using the paste on other areas of your system (i.e. IC's, PC's, etc.). Is your warning (which is well taken) only against use on tube pins, or are there more global concerns. Do you find that it provides performance enhancement to the degree that it is worth considering?
Rushton,I respect your opinions,as I've read quite a few of your posts,and you seem to be quite reliable.I will have an opportunity to hear within 2 weeks the results on EBM's set-up as he is a friend,and I know his system well.Don't get me wrong I don't consider myself a contrarian and hope I come away from that listening session with my hand on my wallet.I just wish that the mark-ups on some(most)of the products in this hobby would seem reasonable to me,and the SST looks like it is rediculously overpriced.However,what do I know,I just bought my wife a 300.00 COACH(FREAKIN')pocketbook!!So who am I to pass judgement.Anyway,thanks for the feedback,and I'll post my own observation,on a system that I'm intimately familiar with,in the future.
Jes45, this is good robust conversation, presented fairly and courteously. Thank you. I value your contributions to this dialog and our Audiogon community; your cautions about tube pins are appropriate to consider seriously.
Tvad, I agree: Caig Pro Gold is a good product that works very well. I've used it and liked it very much.
Sirspeedy, please do share your observations once you've listened to EBM's system. I'll be interested to read them.
Regards to all,