36 responses Add your response
I usually clean once a year, and beyond I/C’s and speaker cables, include power cords and the AC outlet itself. I use Deoxit applied with a pipe cleaner or business card followed with alcohol to remove any Deoxit residue. Deoxit does a great job cleaning, but its residue leads to a very fatiguing, irritating sound if not removed. I really like Kontak as a cleaner, as it cleans as well as Deoxit and doesn't require a "rinse." It's just too darn expensive for my tastes.
bcowen, nope, not trolling. Here is some background for you to understand my posts. randy-11and I have an ongoing debate in regards to how to set up systems. He insists that people who recommend aftermarket cables should do ABX testing because he thinks their conclusions are tainted by confirmation bias. I believe he also suspects the motives of reviewers such as myself. I am asking whether he applies his own methods to himself.
I think it would be inconsistent if a person recommended a treatment like Deoxit or construction such as gold terminations based on their listening impressions or received wisdom, not having conducted ABX testing, yet ridiculed others for not doing ABX testing when they offer their listening impressions/conclusions with cables.
BTW, I picked up some contact cleaner, sorry not Deoxit - so I hope the efficacy of cleaning contacts is not reduced to Deoxit brand only - and I will try it. That is the opposite of a troll. I'm showing by my actions that I will not condemn a treatment or method (within reason, of course; I don't want to spent time on sea shells or plastic clocks placed on gear), though I have done many over the years and almost universally the inexpensive tweaks are truly a waste of time and money. At the moment the only cheap tweak I still use consistently is placement of hockey pucks under speakers and subwoofers occasionally. If the contact cleaner is efficacious I will admit it.
I didn't learn how much difference cables make by sitting on my ass and laughing at those who use them. That's what I call trolling. I am showing by example how a person deals with recommendations, even ones which seem laughable; you get off your ass and try it. Imo, the biggest thing stopping half the audiophile community is their death grip on their wallet.
@douglas_schroeder "...the only cheap tweak I still use consistently is placement of hockey pucks under speakers and subwoofers..."
My understanding is that particular tweak is effective only with music from Canadian artists. However, there are so many good to excellent musicians and singers from Canada, it's probably worth it.
@ randy-11 "Golden Retriever slobber will work wonders..."
It would seem, from that comment, that you have little to no experience with Golden Retrievers. I say that for two key reasons:
* Goldens do not tend to "slobber"
* Goldens are friendly to all
Please correct me if I'm wrong. Do you have a Golden Retriever? And if so, do you let him or her near your audio system?
Dave, who says his dogs know not to go near the equipment
Hello Doug, The efficacy of contact cleaners is proved quite simply: by the evidence of crud and oxidation on the Q-tip after cleaning. This is one area of the hobby that doesn't require blind testing. I only wish that reviewers of cables would ensure before commenting that all terminations have been cleaned. Ditto fuses.
dgarretson, imo the efficacy of contact cleaners would be in the purported sonic change, not the amount of oxidation removed. I suspect that it might not pass my Law of Efficacy. But, rather than simply prejudge I will conduct a comparison between two identical sets of speaker cables, one with cleaned terminations and the other uncleaned.
To the community: How many of you who disdain comparisons of cables have done an A/B test between two sets of identical cables, i.e. one treated with contact cleaner and the other not? If you have not done so, if all you have done is clean the ends and put them back in, I don’t think you have all that much to declare about contact cleaners. Obviously, your impressions could be due to confirmation bias.
I plan on doing that very comparison. I have a temperature controlled, low humidity environment for listening, so would anticipate very little to be lifted from the terminations. We will see... BTW, my cables are in pretty consistent use, so there is no obvious build up or crud on them. But, I am still willing to try the contact cleaner to see what will transpire. I have asked others to believe that there can be a difference in Ethernet cables, so I should not condemn the use of contact cleaners without trying it. :)
Doug, I suggest that you also clean the amp & speaker binding posts as part of your comparison. I will be amazed if you don’t hear an meaningful improvement. Then work through the entire chain of ICs, fuses, tube pins and sockets, AC prongs and receptacles. I didn’t mean to suggest that dirt or tarnish on a Q-tip is a substitute for close listening or ABX testing. But its evidence will correlate to improvements that you will hear. If I understand your remarks so far, I am frankly surprised to find a pro reviewer who dismisses basic cable hygiene and maintains that the mechanical action of frequent equipment and cable swaps is an adequate alternative. Dirty connections can be the weakest link in a system and can skew an equipment or cable review as one chases equipment to compensate for the lifelessness, creeping malaise, and loss of transparency that accompany oxidation and crud.
Doug, discolored oxidation on unplated silver and unplated copper is often visible, but contaminants on gold plate that appear transparent on the connector(or hidden inside RCA and XLR panel plugs) become obvious with transfer to a swab. Whatever contact cleaner or tarnish remover you try, make multiple applications until a swab comes out clean. When you’re done you’ll have a pile of surprisingly dirty swabs.
BTW anyone who doesn't periodically clean unplated tube sockets and the fifty year old pins on vintage tubes should switch to SS gear.
That’s everything I know or care to know about it.
randy-11, I could spend more time probing what I see as weaknesses in your latest answer. But, I am not interested in carrying on this indefinitely.
How about we have a gentleman's agreement; you stop mocking (me and others who have a different perspective) in your posts and I'll stop needling you about what I see as inconsistencies. :)
Someone should start a professional cable termination, component socket and tube pin cleaning service. Perhaps a franchise to cover as much territory as possible. So you send a van a guy or women in a jumpsuit with logos, fully armed with the best cleaning stuff there is, to perform this service at your residence. ? crowd source?
Should you clean the pins of tubes in your tube collection if currently idle? I do roll them in once in a while, never know which will strike me as the next to employ.
Hi I think the cleaning of cabels, and all other pfysical contacts by removing oxidations, depends on the invioment they are placed in and the metal the contacts are made of.
The best i have tried so far is defnatly the Swiss Audiotop set. But its expensive. After removing and cleaning the oxidation in 2 processes a third liquid is doing some kind of preservation.
After this it actually takes about a week before the system is up running full again, so it has to be burned in somehow.
Every time i do, i am amased how well it works. I live on the country side with almost no poluting industries near by but some poulution of ammonia in the air. I try to do it once a year but the tubesoclets and fuses only gets a treatmen every second or third year. Its a huge job but i am very well rewarded and it gives me a good feeling when i maintaine the system to a higher level.
A lasy friend of mine had never done it and when finaly did it, the result was fantastic. Some of his silver plugs were almost black.