Great point - I have noticed this too. There is research being done on that very topic by the French and German governments. One of the main researchers (Pierre Johannet) has made claims that heavy ions in the air modify the resonant frequencies of the surface dislocations in wires of a stereo system - and that it is audible. He has calculated all this analytically and experiementally proven it by modification of the resonant frequencies with means of a passive filtering box as well as through modification of the air's ions by misting water in the room or using a dehumidifier. His double-blind testing has revealed an 85% correlation rate in both cases which, for researchers at least, is plenty to make his concept valid. The work is still ongoing and I read every paper they publish about it. There are also some great editorials about it in French and German hi-fi magazines. So, you are not alone in noticing this phenomenon.
Arthur, so if I move my rig in my bathroom next to the shower stall, this will enchance my listening experience?
So I guess the reason I enjoy my set up so much is because my rig is just outside my bathroom! Enhanced listening pleasure offset by hastened corrosion.
"The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy."
Maybe so, that's why my basement system sounded better : )
It might be the opposite for the electrostatic speakers.
It also has to do with psico-accoustics, since on a rainy day, or night time, human senses become more "active" and "alert" than under normal conditions where some distractions take effect.
my .002 cents
Humidity and temp will cause all sorts of things to happen to Turntable arms and Tubes and the like. If you take a electric guitar and put it where it can get a cooler draft of air you will find that it will more than likely go out of tune. Tune it when the guitar is cold and when it gets warm it will also go out of tune. All components that are not totally digital will do the same. Paper drivers on the speakers for instance. Wire on the speaker transducer will expand and contract and change the potential speed of the overall design. The paper will collect moisture and change the sound of that component. The wood that the speaker box is made out of will dry and change the way the wood resonates with the drivers. The air becomes heavy with moisture and transmits the sound in a different manner. The walls of your house reflect the sound differently because of the moisture content.
The easiest experiment is to take a hunk of wood and rap on it with your knuckles when its dry. Wet the wood using water or even a chemical and rap on it again to hear the change in sound.
I thouhgt it was straightforward:
higher humidity = denser air = better sound transmission
Or am I missing some fundamental physical laws here?
I have a sprinkler system set up in my listening room:)
Papertrail, have you considered a fountain, or are you constrained by room dimensions?
I loved the Blade Runner reference ;)
"If you could see what I have seen through these eyes...."
Hmmm, another factor could possibly be how a rainy day effect your mood.
Hold on a sec' .... isn't this posting 10 days too late?
Humidity does go up when it rains... as for why it sounds better:
As the humidity increases, speed of sound increases and sound power attenuation (by absorption) decreases. All because air density decreases as the relative humidity increases. This is a possible explanation; but I tend to favor the one that says sitting in your cozy listening room on a grey rainy day is one of the best places to pass the time watchin' the ions dislocate some surfaces - and the music just sounds better :)
Yeah Slipknot, that's a great movie. I guess a four year life span for high end audio equipment would be as unacceptable to us as it was for Roy, Leon, Zhora and Pris.
A new tweak...automatic speaker misters, like those which are used outdoors here in Arizona!
Jgiacalo - You are dead right, and all this has been known for years, I dont know what the french researcher is on about (about from absconding some funding). Ive been observing humidity behaviour for some time and it has some unintuitive behaviour - water vapour actually permeates air like a gas and that the air doesnt need to mix via wind for the humidity to spread. That is you can have two rooms of different humidity air joined by a small crack, and with no major air movement between the two volumes, the humidity (water vapour) can spread within seconds.