Yes, as far as the speaker cables go, it has made a noticeable improvement in my system which has 17' speaker cable runs. I hang my cables from the bottom of standard book shelves with silk ribbon ties and run them across the bottom of a doorway by running them through a channel box (mounted in the floor under the rug) that I constructed from pine and brass screws. In general the sound became much more defined and open. Also keeping the right and left channel cables separated (by 6" or so where possible) improves the sound as well. Don't have a clue as to why it specifically makes such a difference (though it must be removing some type of interactive interference of sorts) but it does in my set up. Pierre at Mapleshade was the first to tell me about this concept and I have since read about it on the web in the chat rooms. Try it, it's cheap.
There have been quite a few threads involving this tweak but they would take some digging. It may be a good time to bring it around again. I am a believer in the idea, and have all my wires in air and not touching any others. The background will become quieter, the treble will smooth and for me the base tightened and was more defined. The theory I think is the same as for all wiring, that air is the best insulator. I know for me, and others who have said so here on Audiogon that if a power cord of interconnect ends up shifting against the wall of floor, the sound is less apealing. It's one of the first things I look at if my system sounds off. As far as how, there are as many ideas as people. I've often heard of paper and plastic cups used. I've heard of people use eggcrate, fish line, wood blocks..... Of course you can spend money on different products that are used for this. I personally have tried alot of ideas, I'm using cable ties to hang the wires when it's possible hang easiely. I use the old ceramic insulators from "Knob and Tube" (architectural salvage) wiring where I can screw it to something, and I'm using the old glass insulators from telephone poles (antique stores) for floor applications. Use your imagination, have fun, it's a simple cheep tweak that really works!
Hello again Detlof! I've been using the Suspendors made by Rite Way, the guys who bring you the Top Hats for tubes. Essentially the ceramic insulators Jadem6 refers to in his post, they remind my non-audiophile friends of little telephone pole insulators. Their theory is that you need a totally non-conductive (electrical) platform for your cables, and their product is that, even down to the glaze they use. In my system the effect is pretty subtle; because of the difficulty getting them where I have interconnects, which are pretty much suspended anyway, I only use them on my speaker cables, which are well shielded. I really only noticed it when I took them out--more of a quiet background, a little more ease to the presentation. Probably couldn't tell in a blind test, to be honest. Part of this is likely that I have a 40 foot run of interconnect between my preamp and active crossovers, so I'm sure I lose some low level detail from that; others with more resolving systems may notice the effect more. While I like the Suspendors, as noted in the other posts there are cheaper ways to do this tweak that I'd suggest you try. Good listening to you!
Thanks a ton for these enlightening posts, gentlemen! Lots of enspiring ideas..I'll start experimenting. Happy listening to you all.
Has any one tried simple bubble wrap or foam squares for this?
Hm, sounds interesting, Alexc,the material is not conductive, though I believe some foams are, should isolate.....its worth trying.
Alexc: I use a toilet paper roll to protect the ends of my Mapleshade digital IC's (they are very close to a wall thermostat that sees much activity) and they don't sound like crap:-) Never thought of using bubble wrap though.
I have tried this tweak very carefully evaluating it, and I hear no noticable improvement or change in sound. I at first
thought this worth doing and an engineer friend of mine came
over and shook his head when he saw the elevated cables, he chuckled and insisted I prove to him that this improved the sound. After several tracks with and without I had to admit I heard no difference in sound when cables were elevated.
I place two inch sections of romex wire, bent into a semi circle, under my speaker cable and interconnects where they would come in contact with the carpet. The effect is subtle, and most noticeable with ICs. I found that images have better focus and more air around them.
I like to use the "styrofoam" coffee cups for suspending the speaker cables. I have also used and "anti-static" spray on the carpeting. The spray does not seem to do much, but then maybe I just expect too much. Doug
I just "cleared" a few cables last night that had gone off track and were touching walls and the improvement in clarity was very noticeable as a CD was playing during this process. I wonder if it also has something to do with the length and make of the speaker cables? I am using Kimber 4VS in very long 17' runs. The Kimber has tons of fine strands in its makeup (8 enclosed wires per cable and each wire itself is multi stranded). This design is supposed to be good for longer runs, but is it also more inclined to be effected by interference as well? I do not own a pair of golden ears and yet the change in sound is not subtle.
OK, I'm going to have to give this a try. Due to necessary equipment placement, things aren;t as tidy as they should be and the look has always bothered me.
What I'm thinking of is getting a 2x4, cutting in a groove on the top length, then slicing it into individual pieces. Any opinions relative to the effectiveness of my construction project? I'm planning on painting them, but maybe there is some kind of more inert, spray on material.
Thoughts? Thanks in advance.
Jim: I am just guessing, but soft wood vibrates a lot. Other than clearing my cables from the carpet fiber I also find that the sound gets muted when they touch the walls as well and assume that they must be picking up vibration received and then sent by the wall to the cable. One specialty product for this purpose is made out of ceramic which is very dense. However just keeping the cable off of the carpet fiber does improve the sound in my system. Curiously enough two small sections that come into brief contact with a 100% cotten rug seem to make no difference that I can hear. The opposite is true of the carpet which is made of manmade fibers. Probably not the best material (soft wood), but it should still improve the sound I would think. There are a lot of things that I could still do to improve the sound of my system, but I am not willing to totally screw up my living room (for other uses) to achieve these improvement and am usually happy with any gain that I get.
Makes sense, Dekay. I wonder if a can get a stip of acrylic in a 2x4 shape and do the same thing. I just happen to have a source for acrylic fabrication here in L.A. that I'll drop by -- haven't been there in quite a while. I would think that this will do the trick. Or, maybe "dip" and coat the wood blocks in acrylic. Another option with the wood "slices" might be giving it a several of coats of "whatever" and lining the groove where the cable sits with a strip of sorbothane or similar (but cheaper) material. An engineer I am not. This is an area where my ideas can get scary, or at least my more techincally oriented friends tell me so.
A totally weird idea that I dropped on general principal was to take those funky looking, third world napkin rings -- the ones in the shapes of birds, fish and animals (picked up a bunch on Bali), run the speaker calels through them and insulate the cables (since the holes are bigger than my cables) with rubber bushings (can get these in any size from auto suppliers) or super dense foam. Just too weird, even by my liberal standards. I did think it would be a unique look and maybe have a better WAF, though.
I like the napkin ring idea myself. I wonder if you could find a cheap heavy coordinating base to glue to the bottom of each one (like little blocks or flat rounds of trophy marble or ceramic) and skip lining the ring itself as they should be elevated enough off the floor by the base. I live in LA as well and used to order (in the 70's and early 80's) from a place called Bemak Plasics. They used to be on Santa Monica Blvd. but either moved or went under. I think that are wifes must know each other. I mentioned placing architecheral balls in the uppermost corners of the living room and dining area (to diffuse low frequencies) and my wife has been bugging me to complete the project ever since. She wants to paint them different colors. She has always wanted crown molding, which I refuse to put up with a cottage cheese ceiling and feels that the balls would trim the room in a way. I have not gotten around to researching what material they should be made of, which is the holdup.
Dekay, the place I go to is on Colorado Blvd in the mostly industrial part of Santa Monica (times, they are a changin' ever since Sony moved in, though). Can't remember the name, just know how to get there.
Maybe we're on to something. The napkin rings with a solid base as you've suggested and an acrylic ring lining the hole. I'm calling my patent attorney now ;-)
Sounds like we've had similar interior design experiences with our better halves. I found a cane store that went out of business (now that's a winning business concept) and wanted to buy all of the wooden canes they had left, paint them in bright colors and mount them on painted canvases. Good visually, (well,interesting anyway), and nice acoustic treatments to boot. Shot down on that one.
Jim: Well we can't win them all or any sometimes. It must be a CA thing, we made drapes out of souviner table cloths for the spare bedroom (anything goes). I searched the Audio Asylum site Cable Forum using "cable and floor" and "cable and carpet" and came up with quite a few hits. Probably should have tried the Tweaker's Asylum as well but the screens were giving me a headache. One comment said that polystyrene foam was a good material to use and that wood was not (there are claims that wood floors are worse than carpets. I will have to try lining a wooden cable channel box that I placed under the rug at a doorway with polystyrene and see if it opens up the sound even more. I need to pull it out anyway to chisel out another half inch of the subfloor in order to make it flush. Anyway, check out AA for more info than we have mustered here so far.
glad to hear a couple of left coasters amit that this whole thread is yet another example of californication. why not just buy the audio purist connections, drain the liquid and fill with helium? hyrogen-filled weather ballons might also work to haul your cables off the floor, tho there might be an associated acoustic problem, not to mention your inability to find your listening chair or, worse, the so-called "graf zeppelin potential."
Dekay,what are architecheral balls? I'll skip a bad joke for now.
HEY! I just had a brainstorm! This hasnt been mentioned.Plays the IC's or cables om a Vibrapod thats on top of a painted half brick.Or you cold wrap the brick in a thin rubber material or even sorbothane with a pod on top.
We carried out some prototype trials using 2" uPVC pipe with cables suspended in the center. The results were quite interesting. The project was aimed at a commercial application but we are not going to "run" with it so it would suit those who have the time to make something similar at home. If anyone would like details please feel free to email me at email@example.com
PVC pipe is a static electricity generator, just run your hands along a length and you can pick up a charge. When used in a sawdust collection system, it has to be grounded along its entire length to prevent sparking as the dust moves along and the subsequent explosions of the dust that can ruin your whole day. While short pieces are undoubtedly safe, if you buy into this suspension thing which, if true, must depend upon the interaction of sub-atomic particles at the quantum level, any potential static field could ruin the effect. Comments? Mr. Heisenberg? .... Anybody?
As Kitch29 states PVC is very susceptible to static charge and if you use uPVC pipe it is very important to ensure a good ground plane is incorporated. This is what we did with our own project. Not ensuring good grounding just defeats the whole idea. Part of the purpose of suspending cables in the first place involves the reduction of static charges anyway and this is why a lot of people notice a difference once they move their cables away from potential static generators such as carpets manufactured from synthetic fibers. Jack Bybee is the guy you want to ask about sub-atomic particles and their interaction. Regards, Richard.
David: "Arch" balls meaning used in the same manner as crown molding in a room (for example I installed plaster cherubs in the uppermost corners of the main bedroom in this application). I just don't know if they should be reflective (plastic or plaster) or if they should absord the sound energy (styrofoam, or if painted would probably have both qualities). Styrofoam balls are easy to obtain at any art store or god forbid craft shop (seeing middle aged women running around in sweaters/sweatshirts with 3D "bears" on the front drives me a little nuts, my mother has one as well).
I got a cheap one for all of you.
Go get water pipe insulation tubes. Its cheap and looks good plus keeps them up off the floor & seperated.
Interesting stuff; I'm auditioning some cables that a guy out in OR is making. He uses cotton as insulation. He's a science guru, and he says that the problem with laying cables on the floor stems from the fact that the cable insulation (teflon etc.) is synthetic. The carpet in many (most) homes is also synthetic, which is where he says the problems stem. His proof of this is that if I'm wearing cotton, and slide myself across the synthetic carpet, I won't produce static electricity. Therefore, he claims that his cables can safely lay on the floor. It sounds like a lot of people are using plastic or some other synthetic product to elevate their cables. Does what he's saying make sense? I'm not a science guru, so I'm at the mercy of others. My system rests on a large wool rug, so by his theory I could lay synthetically insulated cables on it also. It seems to me, that if cotton is such great insulator, why isn't anyone else using it?