It’s all a matter of degree

It may be stating the obvious, but each A’goner will have his own idea of how far he must go to satisfy his addiction.  To one member, enjoyment can be obtained with just a setup and no tweaks. Another will add a few or several and be satisfied.  Then there are those who must go on an all out quest for nirvana which may never be sated.

Which camp are you in?

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For me it's doing things within reason based on the room I'm in. In other words I'm not going to spend $X on cables when I don't have equal reflection points, but I do believe in cables). You can put unlimited resources into a system but if your room isn't set up great you will never get the performance in full. LMMV but I don't think very much from the room rule. 

Some people simply crave the obsession of doing something, anything as the experimentation is half the joy and that's totally fine obviously.  Do whatever you enjoy.  The "project" is much of the joy for folks on this board, regardless of the outcome.  I'm probably somewhere in the middle of the "Matter of Degree" bell curve.  

I try different things in different systems and in different rooms all at the same time. You might call me a hi fi bigamist. I like all kinds of sound but some better than others.

I'm in the camp that throws in a pair of Bose 901's when the sickness gets to be too much.

I read all the magazines, scour every post on this blamed website, and contemplate what I might do next to improve my system. Then I turn on my stereo and just enjoy the damned thing.

I like simple systems so just quality basics for me but I'll work hard at getting everything right. 

"tweaks" are secondary addition to a system which is supposed to give to the naive consumers his optimal working without ever being optimally embedded...

"tweaks" are most of the times costly ready made products sold to passive consumers as partal solutions at best...


We need a basic method to embed any system mechanically, electrically and especially acoustically...

Knowing that the question of the OP become now meaningless because between those who plug their system in the wall and dont ask for anything more, and those who use some "tweaks" only , and those who go for more "tweaks" chasing their tails, the same ignorance is partaked by them ...

We need a basic method not the buying of upgrades or of costly "tweaks"...

A method is not a sum of "tweaks"....

Acoustic especially is the audio sleeping princess...

I don't really go in for tweaks.  I do use 2 Magic Bricks, one on each Shunyata Hydra 4, but it is just to keep them on the shelf as the power cables tend to pull it back.  As for cables, I bought mostly used and my rule is no more than $400-$500 for a cable.   I spent a lot of time in 2018 dialing in my system and I am a "set and forget" kind of guy, just like the late Ron Popeil.

I can long periods with no changes in my system.  Sometimes a component fails and I need an alternative for a period of time. Then the merry-go-round starts and I read everything that I can to make a considered choice. I typically buy quality used gear to stretch my $.

sometimes a "wishlist" component shows up and I buy it to try it out. Over time, I end up changing just about everything but my speakers (too large and heavy to bother with changing out.)


A method is not a sum of "tweaks"....

Very succinct and spot on! Some here espouse adding a tweak to get to level 1, and then continually piling on tweak upon tweak to elevate your system even further. A more holistic approach makes infinitely more sense to me. 

I may not be in this camp that much longer as I have increasing hearing loss. So for me, the goal keeps moving for the last 5 years. I listened tonight and shook my head. No magic. I have gone so far as to have a parametric eq on the way. Last ditch effort. It isn't tweaking as I would normally do, but just to stay in the game a bit longer.

 In the past, I have tried all kinds of equipment, music, etc. I will never regret it, that's for sure.

 Photography. Yah, maybe that will be the new inspiration for the future.

After 40 years of building audio systems I have decided to build my music catalogue. My latest tweak is to always play great music that is recorded exceptionally well. Expanding my musical tastes was all it took.

Since I have retired I have ditched the speakers and gone whole into headphones primarily because my dear friend and neighbour next door to me contracted Motor Neurone disease and I wanted to make the time he had left to him as peaceful as I possibly could. After he passed I just didn’t want to go back to the whole speakers thing so I built up my headphone system to a superb sounding one. I have a bespoke audio computer that I built myself and my files from ssd drives and streams from Qobuz and Idagio are either streamed straight through to my PS Audio DAC and into my Luxman headphone amp or I record them onto a hard drive on the computer clean them up and then store them onto a SSD in .dsf form and I play them through my J Play player because both Qobuz and Idagio drop files from their sites without any notice. At least this way I still have the files to play.

My tweaks nowadays centre on RFI and EMF distortion suppression and the ubiquitous Fuse replacements and they all seem to be very successful according to my listening tests. I probably have lots more to keep me going into the future. Watch this space !!

I’ve been on an life long slow upgrade path with my main system. Periods of satisfaction, followed by periods of upgrade. All this is budget driven of course. But during Covid I got into piecing together two other smaller systems build around tubes. So what I have now is three different systems that I continue to work on and enjoy separately.  I guess I’m deeper involved now that I thought I’d ever be. It’s now taking on a life of its own! I’m still enjoying thought. I hope I’ve answered the question. 

I've always had a simple rule - change only one thing at a time and spend plenty of time evaluating the change. Beyond vibration control, I don't go for tweaks*. I've seen too many people destroy both their systems and their musical enjoyment going down that rabbit hole. *I don't mean things like a proper mains installation or quality cables.

@yoyoyaya  Refreshing post.  There was actually a poster who several months ago asserted that he derived 90% of his sonic gains and listening pleasure from tweaks.  Apparently to some, a wonderfully designed circuit or amazing speaker design just can't compare to a magical piece of wire or a spring. 

@three_easy_payments I know, next time i am at the symphony, i plan to look for an empty seat in front of me to place the Shakti stick, bowls, Helmholtz this and that… hopefully nobody will mind…..

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@stereo5 The Pocket Fisherman.  Ronco was such a great company.


"set and forget" kind of guy, just like the late Ron Popeil.

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As for me, I’ve been in all three camps at one time or other but fervently hope to now stay in camp one.

I’d say I’m in the first camp.  My idea is to balance the quality of components within the budget I set.  To me, it makes less sense to go all-out on one piece of equipment and then play it through the rest of the system that is much more compromised.  I see others here take the same route as me, wanting to upgrade the weak link in their system rather than an entire overhaul.  

I figure I have a lot of room to grow, given the imperfect listening room, indecision on what room treatments would help, not having dedicated lines to power my equipment (I need to clear out a lot of junk, including another’s stuff, before the electrician could access the panel).  I haven’t tried special fuses or stones, or springs— I figure those things are a lesser priority to the things I already mentioned.  

I find there are times when I most enjoy low-level, mellow listening sessions and fewer times when I play at 80 db, or even 70 db.  I only listen loud in my car, where I look to rock out rather than mellow out. 

A method is not a sum of "tweaks"....

precisely - which is why the novice is best advised to purchase a set of about four or five top quality fuses as their system’s core, and then build carefully from this solid foundation, being careful to ensure that all subsequent purchases are rated accordingly.

Am I reading this correctly - Build a system around 4 or 5 fuses as your system's core? This takes precedence over matching speakers with amplification?  Maybe that's not what you meant.

The tweak is final ingredient added to recipe, just a pinch of whatever spice.

I’m quite happy with my system right now and haven’t made any changes in some time.I’ve done my share of tweaking over the years but found that most are short-lived and of little value. The things that have worked are based on solid engineering principles,

You know the job is done when you listen to the music instead of the equipment.

The tweaking process is the absolute heart of being an audiophile.  To me tweaking is paying attention to the details of your system and room setup.  If you adjust your loudspeaker/listener distance to the fraction of an inch, then you are tweaking.  Setting up a phono cartridge is tweaking.  Tweaking does not require purchasing products, but it does take time and effort.  If you don't tweak you ain't audiophilling.

A method is not a "sum" of "tweaks means,

That you must do listening experiments to increase mechanical controls of the gear, decrease the noise floor level of the house not only of the room, and ESPECIALLY listen to the room acoustic treatments and if possible create acoustic mechanical control...

What i call a method include these 3 working embeddings dimensions for ANY audio system..

And the more important aspect of the method is not "tweaks" but acoustical principles over anything else ... YES mechanical and electrical principles are important but MOST of the POSSIBLE S. Q. at the end will come from acoustic mastery not from the well  choosen synergy of the gear parts...

 FOR EXAMNPLE i used 2 different  type of ionizers and 12  tuned Schuman resonatrs but even if these "tweaks" are important they are anyway  SECONDARY additions to the PRIMORDIAL  acoustic passive material treatment and the Helmholtz acoustical mechanical control...

A method suppose listening experiments to fine tune the room...

Then to be an audiophile is not about upgrading nor about "tweaking" like some says, it is about the three dimensional  embeddings working controls and their  three integrated methods....


The only luxury in audio has never been the price tag of the gear AT ALL, but a dedicated room... Anything else is self delusion...Or consumers MASS conditioning...

Mass conditioning explain most of audiophiles thread chasing of the tail and even the world crisis... 😁😊



@jerryg123 ,


I forgot about the Pocket Fisherman.  With that being said, my wife and I are on our third Showtime Rotisserie Oven.  Put a Perdue Oven Stuffer Roaster in it and 2 hours later, the juiciest and most delicious chicken you ever had. 

Hey I had 901s and loved them.but it must be 20 years ago since I heard them....

I love music and I love my equipment, but my reality is that I am on a fixed income since my unforeseen retirement. That hasn't prevented me from completely overhauling my setup during Covid, but it does limit my options to mostly used equipment.  This isn't a problem, as there are more than enough people out there that swap equipment like I change my underwear.

An added benefit of buying used is that my resale price is often the same, or more than what I paid. Buying audio equipment new is the same as buying a new car. You lose 30% just driving it off the lot.

Ridicuslously misguided....

Any system AT ANY PRICE must be controlled mechanically, electrically and acoustically...

An audio system is not a lamborghini, ready to use and plug with a key....

Educate yourself instead of mocking people who try to improve their own...

Study acoustic it will be a beginning...Before posting...

Or go on with the mass market conditioning of gear in audio magazine...


Tweaking is what you do with inferior systems.

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Through time i think i have learned that a nice lisining expirience has 4 fundamental  pillars. The gear, the room, the software and the brains capebility to be sensitive.

If there is “problems” anywhere in one of the pillars, it sets the max enjoy level for the lisining session.

Some of the “problems” are static and some dynamic.

eg your mood can shift within seconds and you cannot absorb any Music at all.

I can follow mahgister very much as i also beleave in finding the week link in any of the pillars. Some are low hanging fruits, others can be extreme difficult to find and expensive to solve If you have High expectations.

Having some trusted buddies helping with defining what happends with the SQ when tuning/tweaking has helhed me a lot.

In ouer little group we love to find new soulutions on “problems” we didnt know we had until we heard the differance.

One significant change for all of was getting a dedicated lisining room so we were “alloved” to do more extreme things with High negative WAF as well as working on the AC supply to the gear.

I think perfektion is infinity so there will theoretical never an end. Its the proces in learning and enjoying the fruit when some thing is moving your mood dramastic upon lisining, that gives me the energy to be an Audiophile.

Sometimes it can be small things, eg the reisue of a old record from the Tone poet or MFSL One step serie, really done by heart. Finding good music “the software” in every aspekt is also challinging.

The expirience, often like some transcendial movement, when your lisining session moves you and the massage of the artists creates hugge refleactions, its a match in heaven. 

The High refferance is like the ocation where you were in love, you invited the person to a nice meal and went to a concert where you got the best seats and the concert place was acoustical perfect and your favorite band had a fantastic feeling and played their best, thats a mood we want to try again when we arrange ouerself in front of the speakers, i guess.

Being a Auduiphile is for me a dynamic proces, where i and the Music events are changing all the time within the 4 pillars but the goal is to have the level climbing up  with the energy, funds or intellectuel, that a can spare for this nice hobby.

A lot to control. Happy lisining.