How often is your system "good"?

In a recent article in Stereophile, the author wrote, "When my system is good, it forces me to appreciate artists and songs I'd never noticed before."

My presumption is that the author meant that his system sounds better some days than it does others.   I think this is an accepted fact.  I believe my system does better early in the morning and late at night due to power constraints.  I have a voltage meter on one of my outlets and I feel better about the sound when the voltage isn't sagging.  

My question for readers here is how often is your system good?   And to what do you attribute the goodness of your system from one day to the next? 
I guess I'd ask the question another way "how often is your system 'off' "

My answer to that is more often than I'd like, maybe 10% of the time, but the reason for being off is usually that something has been upset in the setup -- more often than not something in the record player (such as the unipivot being off its point for example, or the VTF drifting from spec). It can also happen with digital, such as inadvertently switching a filter setting, or even with the cables such as forgetting to replace a cable riser

A key ability every audiophile needs is the ability to quickly spot if something is off and to then zero in on the issue and correct it. I never hold with those that seem to think their system needs many hours to warm up or only sounds good at certain times of day - frankly if that's the case why bother, don't we really want to just be able to turn it on and immerse ourselves in the music straight away -- and if it sounds even better once warmed up that's a bonus?
M. Ward?  Mike Ward?  

My system sounds better some days, and I'm ready to admit it's entirely due to my mindset before I sit down to listen.  Except for that one time, when I'd accidentally pressed the phase button on the preamp remote.  :-)
Hi cymbop, not me sorry.   I agree with what you're saying about mindset though, and I also believe there are human physical variables that make some days better than others.  The human ears play a big part in a good listening session.   Some days I think I can hear better than others, just like some days I think my eyes can see better than others. 
No doubt the quality of the power we receive from the local utility company varies.  I do not find that the quality of my sound varies anymore.  For me, the magic bullet is the power regenerator that all of my components receive juice from save my power amplifier which receives filtered power.  I know the regenerator/conditioner issue is a controversial one.  I only relate my experience including right now as my sound is great.  Prior to the regenerator, I experienced what many other audiophiles relate...that their sound is best late at night.  The implication being that fewer devices are in use on the utility line and hence there is less distortion feeding the system.

As long as things stay as they are here, I won't change a thing.  If performance changes at some point, then I'll need to adapt and work to find a solution.  Life is too short for compromised sound due to the quality of the electricity we feed our systems.

I work outside and when the weather and pressure changes so does my hearing acuity.  I wear earplugs often and that affects my high freq perception by making things seem bright.  
Power supply is definitely my biggest factor.   Turning off ceiling fans and other power suckers in the house makes for the best listening experience.
My system in always good. Sometimes I'm not. If I have a cold, the system doesn't sound so good. When I had a kidney stone it sounded terrible. When I was recovering fro open heart surgery, and I was on pain meds, it sounded great. My point is I've come to appreciate I am the greatest variable in how my system sounds
System sounds great when the wife is out. 

Simply put I can crank it to realistic concert levels or the sound of real instruments and that to me is where a high end system shines most - loud, dynamic and yet absolutely crystal clear effortless sound.
Just like you should never buy a car that was built on a Monday or a Friday, my system always acts like a lemon on these two days.  Rest of the week, its just fine.
Mine sounds best when I listen to the music and forget the equipment.  Sometimes it takes a beer.
Interesting comments paraneer and wlutke, for me my system sounds great on Friday evening when my wife and daughter are out and with a beer (or two). I suppose after the bustle of the week and no opportunity to listen, Friday's seem magical.

much will depend on one's location. Most of these reviewer types resides in our major U.S. cities. For those of us who do not live in those environments, our systems should be (at the least) good to excellent daily.

I listen during the hours of midnight to 0600 for best effect.
75% of the Nation is sleeping during these hours and not consuming so much energy thus allowing this kind of musical experience.
My guess is that reviewer would have had a whole different outlook if the Yggdrasil was encased in audio jewelry with a five-figure price tag. The price tag always puts a bias in one's head and a $2300 DAC automatically discounts it from being compared to the "state of the art" competition.

I have the Yggy. It replaced my four thousand dollar (1996 dollars) Theta Gen Va and it sounds better. The Theta was a contender back then and still holds its own today. 
After I've changed something it always sounds better. Then, mysteriously, it declines and declines and declines.

I'm constantly recovering from the last "improvement". But, over time, the system actually does get better, each high point being a little higher than the last. Except when it doesn't, and I have to go back to where it was the day before.

The one constant is that electronics need an hour of warmup. Before that, the system is harsh and uninviting.

In addition to mere "it's in your head" there's some tiny bit of evidence for actual psychosomatic effects. That is, the mind influencing your body to act differently.

It's been a very long time since I took Neurology but there are some muscles around the ear drum. If you have ever been in a situation where you were scared and MUST hear better, you may have heard them activate.

It is possible, but completely unstudied, that when audiophiles change something, they activate these muscles, improving their low volume hearing until their ears get tired and revert to normal.

Of course, you are free to disbelieve, but at least it's one plausible reason.


My system always sounds good, it is more of a matter of degree, or, good, better, best. That dgree is determined by my mood, choice of recording, time of day and ambient noise and distractions.
Like raymonda, my system always sounds good, but source material quality has a huge impact on the sound, as I think it should.  That said, there are some nights when I am just not feeling it, and some nights when I can't stand to stop listening.  I guess there are many variables, but the other day I had Norah Jones' "Cold Cold Heart" playing from my server, and I had a stupid grin on my face, as I wondered how it could possibly be any better.  I am sure it could.  But, in the moment, that seemed to be nearly impossible.  And I did this with a much smaller investment than most audiophiles make in their systems.
  My system sounds best after an hour or so of music.  When I first turn it on it can sound a little thin and brittle but after that it sounds great.
My system sounds best:

Early Saturday mornings.
After 20 mins of warm-up.
Playing a class A sound quality album.
With no one else in the room.
Even with a dedicated line, still sounds better with no washer/dryer/dishwasher/timers/fluorescent lights/blow-dryer/oven on.
After a glass of wine. And then another...

I'll be honest, unfortunately my system hasn't reached the point yet of being able to notice a big difference when the quality of my supplied electricity varies...working on it though. As others have said, I really enjoy music when I'm alone and can really just melt into the couch with nothing to distract me. When I can sit back with a nice beer or bourbon and maybe a puff or two and can totally forget about everything but the music, that is when I find I most enjoy my system.
My system is absolutely rocking tonight. Right now listening to hi Rez kind of blue. I think it's the only think I have in LP, CD and hi Rez.