I've always liked them better in place than out. I forget the benefit exactly. In general terms I'd say they make the presentation sound more natural. Sorry I'm unable to be more specific. It's been awhile since I've played with them.
Glad to hear about you decision to join the ranks of the tweaker. This is where things get fun, because this is where you'll find your ultimate satisfaction IME.
The man who designed my speakers was over one day and noticed the Walkers on my speakers and asked what they were for. When explained, he brought out his spectrum analyzer and we measured some white noise (I was only using them on the tweeters) through the speakers. The treble was noticeably smoother on the analyzer with the links in place, which might explain why I felt they seemed to slightly lessen the high frequency "hash" you sometimes hear in a system. A tweak that works, though it certainly was not the equivalent of a component upgrade. Pricey, though.
As mentioned above, the Walker Audio HDLs
definitely do work. Several members of our local audio group have tried them in their systems, and not one has been willing to take them out again. The benefits can be system dependent, but Lloyd's money back return policy makes this an easy thing to try for yourself.
The new Mark IIIs are an improvement, too. In listening to Lloyd's own system, the new Mark III HDLs made a very positive difference with his Kharmas that the earlier Reference HDLs did not demonstrate on the same speaker (just an example of system dependency).
I have the Reference HDLs on my Magnepans. They act to filter RFI, with the result being the elimination of "hash" in the upper frequencies. Treble information is more natural sounding, soundstage width and depth seems greater. I didn't realize before that I had "hash", but it sure does sound better without it/with the HDLs in.
Rcprince, that is an interesting anecdote, and it is nice to see measurable proof to corroborate what many of us have heard. I have used these in my system as well, and noticed a subtle, but definite effect of making the overall sound less fatigueing. A smoother treble response makes sense and correlates with what I heard.
I would second what has been posted here. I just got the Reference HDL's to try on my Dynaudio Temptations. Lloyd told me to give them 3-5 days of burn in before doing an A/B comparison...so I did. They definitely work as advertised in my system / in my room. Upper frequencies are more natural with less glare and I have yet to detect any negative impacts of using them. Bottom line, they are staying. His new Ultra Vivid for CD's and DVD's also works as advertised. If you listen to CD's I would recommend trying the Furutech demagnetizer. It also definitely works as advertised and at $340 is a good value.
I have just installed a 2nd hand pair of HDL Ultimate links and they clearly produced an improvement, particularly in the treble. I noticed the greatest improvement in imaging and soundstage, you seem to hear deeper into the recording. I am not sure how they work, but work they do in my system.
In the interest of full disclosure, let me first say that I'm a dealer for Walker Audio. Of course, I chose to take on his line because I believe in him and his work. He is so fanatical that you can virtually expect his stuff to be the best, most evolved, most tweeked out product in whatever arena he enters.
One significant thing I wanted to add to this thread is that the HDLs do not only effect the high frequencies. In my experience, as well as that of many others, they clean up the entire range. The bass gets tighter, the midrange more palpable and, of course, the highs smoother and more delicately revealing. The reason for this appears to be that the ultra sonic hash that is removed seems to interact adversely with the amplifier causing problems in the entire output. The HDLs can even dramatically improve subwoofer performance.
Also, re: the Furutech, Lloyd has just come out with a demagnetizer for LPS, CDs and DVDs called the Talisman which is purported to outperform the Furuech at much less money. Although I haven't personally compared it to the Furutech, I can definitely vouch for it's effectiveness, again cleaning up the entire range.
Just installed ref. HDL's on my Infinity RS1b's [needed two sets] and must say they are one of the most dramatic improvements in quite some time [up there with component upgrade!!] Overall sound quality improved [clearer, stage deeper,detail resolution VASTLY improved, Bass FAR MORE articulate and deeper with improved resolution] and Lloyd says they have not yet fully broken in. This is another of those pricey tweeks that REALLY IS WORTH IT!!! With the money back guarantee you can't go wrong [I'll bet you don't send them back!]
Just a thought, as mentioned before, I use the HDL's and find them very effective, but can someone answer why all the effective tweaks are so expensive? I mean its a tiny wooden box with a couple of wires out of it, how come it costs so much. It's the same with CD disc stabilisers, the only one I have found that works, is the most expensive Marigo stealth signature. Even 2nd hand, the way I buy most of my kit, they are still too expensive for what they are.
I just needed to get that off my chest, I feel better now. I will just take one of my Valium and I will be just fine.
There are a few issues that generally IME contribute to this situation.
First, usually the retail price has to bear a cut for distribution and retailers. Even when the product is sold direct, if the product is also sold through dealers then the price must accomodate this. Most sales are time consuming on the part of the salesman and require overhead for the context under which the sale is made. In this business the volume of sales is often small.
Second, we live in a culture that is inundated with products that are manufactured by the millions in countries where the hourly wage is often minus a zero or two from ours. The product(s) that we're talking about here are painstakingly hand made in quantities of 10 or so at a time.
In Lloyd's case he uses premium parts that are sometimes not generally available and are very expensive compared to the average commercial product. An example of this would be using nude Vishay S102 resistors at about $15 a piece give or take depending on the value as opposed to the usual "good" resisors that may cost 20 cents.
The R&D that goes into discovering what makes a valuable subjective difference and then refining that product to where it makes the most difference in its application is extremely time consuming. The only way those hours can begin to get paid for in the quantities we're talking about is by charging seeemingly high prices.
The other factor that can come into it is valuing the product in relation to other similar products and in relation to the value of the effect it has on the sound. Percieved value is often related to the price put on it. Often the premium models in a line are priced to try to make back some of the above expense whereas the cheaper models are priced more competitively.
Some companies underprice their products in order to be competitive and their businesses flounder in the end. Some manufacturers demand a more respectable living from their endeavors.
There is a fine line between fair and opportunism. That line is purely subjective.
Hopefully this will allow for a reduction in your meds.
I've had them on my Silverlines and would never think of taking them off. Most of the responders here have pretty much summed them up when they describe them as opening up a more unforced character to the music ... the sound simply becomes subtly more natural and relaxed but with no negatives attached (at least in my scenario). With the detail your Virgos already render it might be an interesting combo to see how much of it should remain intact yet emerge with an extra dollop of richness... If i'm not mistaken, your Rogue 150 monos are a lot like my VTL MB-125's and also offer a tetrode/triode switch? I find the tetrode setting to be perfect with the HDL's but feel the only sacrifice might be just a bit too much "warmness" when I switch to triode unless I'm really playing a selection that prefers it (or if I'm listening late at night and we're setting an altogether different mood...). But then again, with my speakers this is what I'd expect. I use to own AP Tempo 3's and absolutely loved them for many good reasons (the imaging, the detail, the soundstage, ) all the things AP is known for ("No loss of fine detail"). The HDL's might work well for you therefore with the Virgos, in both amp modes. For the potential improvement they are not an expensive tweak and I'd almost go so far as to say that for many owners of them (at least for myself) if forced to step - back or downgrade something for some reason, we would rather swap out an I/C here or a P/C there than to relinquish that last sense of naturalness our systems seems to acquire with the HDL's in place. Just my 2 cents... Good luck and happy lissnin.
I would just reitterate in light of lissner's reponse that IME the HDLs are a bout cleaner which translates to every part of the spectrum including bass, such that although the highs being more sweetly transparant can leave the sound "warmer", at least in my system and theothers I've heard them in the bass was significantly cleaned up leavingit more textured, not made warmer.
Yeah these tweaks are expensive, but you probably will only buy one for life...
In short: major improvement for my Kharma 3.2s. (About as significant a change as a major cable upgrade). Removes just about all brittleness; much more natural vocals (no more buzziness). Tighter, clearer, bass, too (although not any deeper or more pronounced).
Overall, for lack of a better term, deWilsonizes the sound.
Has anyone compared the Mark III HDLs with the Reference HDLs? And had anyone compared HDLs with any of Jack Bybee's devices?
Has anyone compared the Walker Mark lll HDL's with the Reference HDL's ?
Ozzy, the Reference links are just that next step more transparent. Over time, I've moved from MkIII to Reference to the current Reference Plus high-definition links on my Eidolons. Each iteration was a step more resolving, more transparent, smoother and more extended.
Rushton, Thanks for the comments