Lowering the noise floor

I am coming to the conclusion that success in home audio reproduction is largely about lowering the noise floor. There are so many different types of “noise”, from so many different sources, that we only really “hear” by their absence.

Those components, cables, accessories and tweaks that SUCCEED at lowering the noise floor, can, and do, dramatically increase sound quality. Sometimes the type of “noise” dealt with is controversial, or not (yet) widely recognized as being a problem. Sometimes the explanation of how a product works is dubious. Sometimes the way it is marketed reeks of “snake oil”. Sometimes the reviews singing its praises go over the top. While these things will certainly put off some prospective purchasers, they do not negate the audible results that are there for anyone open to hearing them.
Sure but if for whatever reason the noise floor in your room is high, it will mask any noise from your electronics. Given the noise levels involved, this is not just a theoretical problem.
@willemj Yes, very good point.  Your environmental noise can easily mask any system noise you may have.  That is my case indeed.
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Well - I’ve lowered the "noise floor" on my system and that translated into more clarity and details, larger image with 3D like sound, better bass control and faster dynamic performance - all of which is discernible - even with the "environmental" noise.

I use single ended RCA IC’s - because I (and a friend) observed they outperformed some pricey XLR IC’s by a significant amount.on a $50k system - Strange? but true!

I now use my own DIY cables that took me over 4 years of R&D - not elegant perhaps - but extremely effective

The use of these cables in a system also resulted in less heat being generated by solid state components.

But if you want store bought cables - checkout
I’ve auditioned/reviewed most of their product line and they are superb!

Their RCA’s may not look like anything special, but they are now one of the most used RCA’s by many companies that recognize their superiority over conventional RCA designs.

Their Bananas are also amazing - I’ve just installed them and my observations are posted here...

Even their lower end products will outperform many other products on the market.

And one last thing - Room Treatments!

Eliminating reflected sound makes a huge difference and one of the few things that actually masked the sound quality of my system by severely impacting clarity.

My most effective room treatments are related to the upper region  the room...
  • the introduction of a vinyl roller blind behind the listening position that dropped down about 15" from the ceiling (close to the wall). I also great success with this approach in a friends apartment with a 12 ft ceiling and concrete walls. You may need more than one curtain for complex rooms.
  • Some dampening material on top of a book case - again, strange but true.
So I agree entirely - eliminating the "noise floor" in imperative to improving sound quality - it does not matter how you get there - as long as you are aware of the issues, so you can do something to fix them

Regards - Steve