Perfect Path Solutions Total Contact Mega Review


Spoiler Alert: Total Contact is, for the right person, the greatest bargain in audio tweaks ever. Nothing else comes even close. If- and this is a big if- you are the right sort of person.

This stuff is so good I keep wanting to put it more places and listen to it rather than write about the amazing results. My only real regret so far is not having tried it sooner. Yes I did read all the positive comments. Which I found hard to believe. It is after all “just another contact enhancer”. So let me clear that one up first, in order that others not fall for that one.

Everyone knows, or should know, the importance of cleaning contacts. If you don’t, you can prove it to yourself in like 5 minutes with a little alcohol and a clean cloth. If you don’t notice improved detail and extension stop reading, you need another hobby. That’s what I learned, back around 1990. Then over the next 30 years I must have done this with a dozen to maybe 20 different cleaners and conditioners. All this experience taught me they are all pretty much the same. Which they are. TC however is NOT. So the first part of “for the right person” is being open to the fact technology advances and occasionally really new and transformational technology does come along.

The next thing that kept me skeptical was the combination of cost and quantity. $300 is a lot for just 1.5ml. Yet I just called TC the greatest bargain tweak ever. Something to keep in mind while reading this review: everything mentioned here has been done with only 0.6ml. Less than half, and already enough impact to qualify as the all time greatest tweak. Easily.

Not that this was readily apparent. Not by any means. Like most, my first impression was applying Total Contact to speaker cable spades, RCAs, and power cords. Following directions only a very thin layer was applied, to only the male parts, and to only the areas contact is made. The last 1/3 of the RCA tip, for example. Eager to hear if TC was really as good as everyone says it wasn’t even applied everywhere. Just speakers, RCAs, and power cords. Even so, the improvement from just this minimal amount was greater than any contact enhancer I’ve tried, and by a large margin.

I’m used to these things improving detail and extension, removing a layer of grain or glare, and revealing a bit of inner detail. Some of them like Quicksilver also seem to improve dynamics a bit, although it may just be the noise floor dropping makes it seem that way. Whatever, its not a big improvement. Not like this. TC is deeper, more dimensional, and with an improvement that seems to go beyond the normal meaning of things like detail and dynamics.

But I don’t want to get ahead of myself. This is just the easy low hanging fruit. What most people will do. It gets better.
There’s a double meaning there. It gets better with time- and it also gets better with more.

Next were all the tube pins, including inside my Herron phono stage. Koetsu cartridge pins, and turntable motor controller. Fuse holders. This second stage application basically covered every system connection accessible to normal users willing to remove a cover. Before doing this second stage it was easily noticeable that the sound had improved in the few days since the first initial application. The sound by the time this second stage was done was far, far beyond anything else like this ever.

It was at this point I finally looked close to see how much was left: 1.5 ml! Obviously this was not all done with zero. It must have been filled to 1.51ml or something and I just wasn’t paying enough attention. I sure would from now on!

But this raises another interesting point about TC. It comes with little plastic mixing cups. But the stuff goes so far I couldn’t imagine ever using them. What I do, carefully squeeze until just the tiniest little dome of TC forms at the end of the syringe. Only a smidge of this goes on the brush. This speck gets dabbed around wherever its going. Finally the dabs get brushed out nice and uniformly thin. TC is highly conductive. Do NOT get it where you don’t want it. Do not leave globs anywhere. A headlamp comes in real handy for getting it nice and smooth and thin. Also an artists brush. I bought a natural hair 1/8” shader.

Next up: the panel. This was done, similar to the system, in stages. Stage 3 involved partially pulling the main breaker enough to coat the copper bus bars. Then: all the breaker/bus bar contact points, ends of all wires going into breakers, ends of all wires going into ground, ends of all wires going into neutral, and the ground and neutral bus bars were coated with TC providing a thin continuous coating across all connections on these bus bars. This used about 0.2ml.

My system runs 220v to a Swiss Audio Consulting silver step down transformer just below the room, leaving only a short 5 ft at 110v to the room. This transformer is a roughly 7” cube. It lives in a 2” thick MDF box in the crawl space under the house. Between the box and the 4 ga wire and being under the house its been,…. 20 years at least since I had a look in there. Its a hassle, okay? But by now I know for sure this will be worth the trouble.

The transformer comes out and into the shop. The bolts holding the plates come out and get treated. The plates get a thin coat all around the outside. The terminals and wires all get cleaned and coated. The whole thing goes back together. The wire connecting it to the dedicated ground gets treated. The ground rod gets cleaned and treated.
Back in the listening room my Frankenstein Medusa power conditioner gets opened up. The Tesla MPC power transformers get treated. All the wires connecting to the various audiophile outlets. Now finally we are up to where I am now, with still 0.6ml left to go!

How does it sound? Freaking insane. My Teaser post the other day was written after a couple amazing tracks. We can however do a whole lot better than that. Not all audiophiles will be able to afford this measurement tool. But for those who can it can be highly revealing. You may not always care for the readings it generates. They must however at all times be respected! I am of course referring to The Wife.

The Wife does not spend much time listening to music. The Wife would rather watch movies. Preferably while surrounded with numerous plates and cups to snack and sip from in a near constant display of kinetic motion aka nervous energy. The Wife readings are highly variable, ranging from, “what did you get now?” And “how much?” to “it sounds completely different” which happens a lot and requires visual confirmation- with smile good, frown bad. In other words The Wife readings are often nonverbal. When The Wife stops eating, leans forward, and just sits there in rapt attention, ice cream melting in her lap, that’s when you know The Wife meter is pegged.
 
Which actually happened a few nights ago. BEFORE Panel Stage 3. BEFORE the transformers. BEFORE all this stuff even has had time to mature. Which matters because yes it does indeed improve with time.

What’s it like right now? Glad you asked.

Where to start? Presentation of the characteristic tone and harmonic structure of individual instruments is remarkable. Many of the tracks on Paul Simon’s Rhythm of the Saints are an aural tapestry of many different unusual percussion instruments. With lesser systems it can all sound like one. With mine before TC I could hear quite a few. Now with TC not only is each individual instrument clear, its easy to hear its not just a percussion there’s also a tone with real body along with it, and its in its own acoustical space, and it doesn’t even sound the same each time. I mean you can tell when its hit a little harder or differently. Amazing.

Dynamics. Its possible to go quite a while thinking everything is pretty normal. Until some solo explodes out of nowhere and you have to keep telling yourself its the same 50 watt amp, it only sounds like 500. Some things like a soaring Santana guitar note have such crystalline clarity its almost searing, except for the edge that would be there with anything else so high energy. How this happens- the combination of extreme hard edge without the hard edge part- is beyond me.

Presence. You know how you instinctively know the difference between something in your room vibrating vs something like cymbals on the recording making the same sound? TC, you got me. I actually thought it was something in my room. It wasn’t. Damn.

Resolution. Many recordings sound really good and clear, until it gets loud and more and more voices and instruments come in and it reaches a point where it all sort of congeals. Its like, you can tell they’re all there, just not as individually distinct as when they were playing one by one. Well, now it is almost comical how easy it is to follow anything and everything all the time no matter how many or how loud. Used to think this was recording quality. In part it is. My Hot Stampers stand out impressive as ever. The real surprise is how many totally average records now sound crazy good.

Can’t stress this enough. There’s plenty of stuff out there that people will say provides greater detail and resolution. Almost always the next thing after that is how they know this because the edgy ear graters really grate the ears, or its liquid but not so liquid the screechy bad isn’t still grating, or whatever. With TC I have yet to find the record that doesn’t just plain sound way better. Bruce Springsteen, Exhibit A in the Museum of Great Music Badly Recorded, the Ghost of Tom Joad is now an incredibly compelling experience. Unbelievable.

I could go on. And on. Words. Don’t do it justice.
  
Bear in mind, Total Contact is by all accounts one of those things that gets quite a bit better over the first month or two. Word is, significantly. This right now is at most three weeks since the first little bit applied to part of my system, to less than three days since the most recent application to transformers.
  
Still, this stuff is so good I just didn’t want to wait. Even as it stands right now, having used only about half the tube and most of that with less than a week to burn in, the improvement from application of Total Contact is roughly comparable to the improvements I’ve gotten from going to a Herron phono stage, Synergistic CTS speaker cable, Atmosphere interconnect, or Koetsu cartridge. Those were all multi-thousand dollar upgrades. This is with half a $300 tube of TC.
  
Those things however are all simply bought and connected. TC is quite a bit more hands-on labor intensive. A lot of people simply will not be comfortable using this where it will do the most good. Or may not be creative enough to think of all the places it can be used. Or have the initiative and desire to try and see. Which is why the long review. Its not a question of is this a great tweak. It is an awesome tweak! Its a question of are you the right sort of person to appreciate and use and get the most out of it?
  
If you are, then Total Contact is the greatest bargain in audio tweaks, ever.
millercarbon
Thanks for the review Miller. I'm going do some more reading up on this. Now that I just did all my contacts with Silclear. HaHa! Now you want me to change it. This hobby is going to bankrupt me.
You're close enough to come by for a fix. Just the little bit left on the brush will be enough to do your speaker terminals and maybe an RCA or two. Just about enough to give you some idea. Although if you do come over, within a few minutes you will know. If it even takes that long. 
I second @millercarbon's enthusiam for TC.  Transformative product, incredible bargain.
One day I may just take you up on that. Boy that stuff costs almost as much as printer ink! It better be good for that price. How about those Omega E Mats or "The Gate"? I already have an AC re-generator that powers my whole system so won’t be getting a "The Gate" anytime soon. They are certainly priced like products marketed to audiophiles.
When you can consistantly discern the difference between older drum sets using animal skins and modern drum sets using acrylic, you can be assured that Total Contact is somewhere in the system.

Frank
You guys are making it hard to resist!
Omega E Mats were reviewed earlier. Very effective. The beauty of the E Mats is you just slap one on the outside of the breaker box, and by the time you walk back and cue up a side the sound is amazing. Roughly the same as applying Total Contact to your whole system, only in a fraction of the time, and you can remove or move it a whole lot easier. Whereas the beauty of Total Contact, it is so concentrated just a tiny amount does your whole system. I'm talking just the easy to get at connections. That right there is roughly equivalent to one E Mat. But there's so much left! Well look at what I've done, and that's only about half the tube!

That's what makes TC such a bargain. I'm serious, by the way. If you came over I would just give you the little brush that comes with the TC. If that's all you do is get what's left on there onto your speaker terminals, and however much more you can spread (its more a matter of time and patience than material, it spreads out real thin!) just that little bit right there will be enough I bet you notice. 

One time listening after painting TC everywhere I got the bright idea to paint my Koetsu. Without adding anything to the brush, just the little bit left on there, I put the thinnest coating possible on my Koetsu. Yeah. It used to be a Koetsu Black Goldline. Now its a Koetsu Gray Goldline. Not gonna say it was jaw-dropping but such a trace amount on such a small low-voltage part, amazing it can be heard at all.

The Gate I am told repeatedly is like a whole stack of E Mats and TC. Frank (aka oregonpapa) and a few others are nothing but gushing about it. The main difference being The Gate is designed to be installed and actually wired directly into the breaker panel.

Something a lot are understandably reluctant to do themselves. Pretty sure everyone so far has hired an electrician. Not me! I wired my house. I've installed a whole panel, added a sub panel, added circuits, its just not a problem. But my stereo with the step-down transformer is 220v. All The Gate currently are 110v. Now we have been talking about this, and Krissy says she can make one for 220v.

Anyway, main thing is everything so far works so well you can hardly believe it, but they are very, very different in terms of how easy they are to use. That's why I cover a lot of these details. Tweaks like these are what its all about.

Here's an idea. Take a day, head over here, stop by Definitive Audio in Seattle (or Bellevue, which is even closer to me and easier to get to) listen to their flagship million (yes, million) dollar Wilson/AT/D'Agostino system. Then come by my place. Listen to my system, less than the Washington Sales Tax you'd pay for theirs. Let people know what you think.

Shout out to mahgister for promoting the importance of tweaks... and Krissy for making this stuff! TC Rules! 
Nice review, MC.  When you ask someone if they are right sort of person to use TC, I like to say that everyone is the right person to use TC in its most direct use and purpose, which is to enhance the signal that travels through the temporary connections we must all make to connect up our amps, speakers, front ends, etc. to each other and then to sources of power.   
I used to believe I had all the right connections; over-sized spades, custom pins, high-end XLR terminations---all big areas of contact plated with gold and rhodium, fitting snugly into their receptacles---nothing better.....as it turned out, I wasn't even close in my assumptions. No contacting surface, whether it be a blade, a sheath, a pin, a shaft, a flat clamping surface is so perfectly smooth, round, square, perfectly plated, etc that it mates perfectly.
One of Tim Mrock's areas of study was the micro-arcing that occurs between these imperfect interfaces. TC is a graphene-based 'paste' that fills in these voids and cures over weeks into what is a highly-conductive polymer that is a soft solder joint that also prevents all oxidation. It is not a scalene oil, a solvent cleaner or a suspension containing gold particles, etc. that comprise what have been called the finest contact treatments out there. Total Contact works beyond all of the better-known products, some quite expensive.     
Frank:
When you can consistantly discern the difference between older drum sets using animal skins and modern drum sets using acrylic, you can be assured that Total Contact is somewhere in the system. 

Exactly. Or like I said the other day, the rain at the beginning of Taproot Manuscript are individual rain drops, and its clear some are falling on the ground, some on a tarp- and its a canvas tarp not plastic!
Millercarbon ...

To continue the speaker crossover discussion in the duplicate thread:

Like your speakers, the crossover access on the Legacy Signature IIIs is readily available. Four screws on the cover plate and Walla! there it is.

I liberally pasted just about everything I could reach in the crossovers with TC and obtained a very nice SQ improvement as a result. Highly recommended.

When I treated the crossovers, I hadn't thoroughly understood the effectiveness of pasting surfaces with TC. Therefore, one project ahead of me is the removal of the crossover covers and pasting the inside surface of the covers. The pasting of the inside of the covers for the wall duplexes were a nice improvement, so I'm expecting the same from the covers to the crossovers.

By the way, check to see if you have a corrugated pipe leading from your electric meter to the house. Mine leaves the underside of the meter, then disappears under the house. This pipe houses the wires leading from the meter. At Tim's suggestion, I pasted as much of that "pipe" as I could reach. Another significant improvement to be had there.

Frank
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mapman ...

Or, depending upon one’s perspective, we could title your last post as "Another Round of Cheap Shots By The Peanut Gallery."

:-)

Frank
Mapman - There are new fanatical users now . Grannyring , Ozzy , Millercarbon . I must say I am getting pushed over the edge of the cliff as more exposed users here start chiming in . Money back guarantee ? I will be trying some soon !
Do these products expire , run out of gas , ? Will we ever know why and how they work ? That Ted Demmy might have claimed this stuff is a copy of one of his product ?
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Maple Grove, according to the founder, PPT products will last a long time. As for how they work, we do know how to make them work.




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One of the first of many new things I encountered getting into high end audio many years ago was the number of really tiny little companies I'd never heard of before. Can't recall any names now but definitely still do recall how dismissive I was. Only many years later did it begin to sink in the extent to which I had been conditioned by big ad campaigns to feel this way. Its hard to overestimate the extent to which they are able to manipulate a person this way. Think of it however you like. The fact is they don't spend billions and billions year after year for no good reason. Think about it. 
Small niche firms like Perfect Path Solutions are in a tough spot. They can make the best most magic audio goop in the world, but how in the world is anyone gonna find out? Advertising is expensive. Especially to reach a tiny niche market.

What I've done so far is really only about what I did around a year ago when I was excited about my new Koetsu, and for sure when I got blown away by the Herron VTPH2A phono stage. Not one person back then attacked me for being a shill, or fanatical, for writing almost exactly the same level of accolades. Go read the Herron review. It even has the same Wife reaction in it. Yet for some reason not one person was moved to accuse me or any of the Herron users who agreed of being a shill or fanatic.

These reviews are not shills. I am not fanatical. Words have consequences.
Keith Herron is getting up there in years. Not old old, but thinking about retirement old. The economic realities of manufacture are you don't just build one at a time. Oh you might assemble one at a time. But the chassis is the most expensive part and you have to tie up a lot of money in inventory to have lots of them made at one time. Keith was just about done and ready to sell me what would then be just about his last 2A, and I am not making this up but he told me reading my review he talked to his wife and decided to order another batch. So I am not gonna take credit for the VTPH2A continuing to be made, but it was a factor and that is straight from the man himself.
DJ Casser was a commodities trader who developed Black Diamond Racing out of a love of audio. I was a fanatical shill I guess you would say for BDR back in the 90's long before many of you even heard of it. The reason its hardly around any more, DJ passed away.
Now, Total Contact. It happens to have been invented and developed by a genius named Tim Mrock who like DJ passed long before his time, which in Tim's case was also quite suddenly and recently. His wife Krissy is trying to run the company, and its not like she wasn't involved before but come on, do I have to state the obvious? Go look at the site. Seriously. Go and look! https://perfectpathtechnologies.com/product/total-contact Thought it was weird when I went to buy and there was no way to buy on-line, you have to call. And this is long enough already I'm not going into the whole story except to say every time I think I know just how low law and government can go something like this comes along and moves the bar even lower.
So it really doesn't bother me all that much if some people want to call me names. I can live with myself just fine.




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Yes. Well we already know the days when people had sense enough to feel shame have long since passed. You don't need to keep reminding us.
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Guys, if you haven't already done so, take your TC beyond your audio system and start pasting major appliance plugs. Refrigerator, stove, washed and dryer, t.v., etc...Next time I clean the dryer vent I'm going to open the back of the dryer and start pasting connections in there. Also, power strips/surge protectors. It's really something how much one syringe can cover.
“without PPT mats and Total Contact, your system cannot sound as good as it is capable of“.
@jafreeman,

I am happy to hear you’re enjoying fruits of PPT tweaks. But to make statement like above shows a poor taste and bit of arrogance. Maybe you got carried away..... I am not discounting the effectiveness of PPT products but they are not the only available tweaks (thank goodness) that can elevate your system performance.

What would you say, if I tell you without Nordost QRT components your system cannot sound as good as it is capable of?
Latik I think you are a bit too hard ...

I know myself that most people ( I said most because they are exceptions) dont know the true potential S.Q inherently linked to a right embedding of any system at any price they already own or even owned in the past...

These embeddings are mandatory to know and to live the potential that any audio system is capable of, modulo some controls, treatment and various tweaks...I lived this experience myself, with no PPT products at all...If I lived this experience myself, with other homemade methods, this means that one of the most ingrained illusion in audio is that buying electronic components
(dac, conditioner, amp, speakers, headphones) is only by itself the principal way to upgrade an audio system...

This is false generally and the greatest audio illusion; the best way to upgrade an audio system is keeping it first, and then addressing the problems linked to the 4 principals embeddings: the electrical grid of the house and room, the acoustical field of the room, the vibratory-resonance embeddings methods, and the various necessary tweaks to decrease the noise floor... PPT products precisely address some of that, then I am absolutely not surprised by positive reactions of people who bought these products at all...No they are not the only remedies, but a product way much professional and efficient than any homemade solutions even mine ... In my case no change in electronical components rivals the 4 remedies I tweak with homemade solutions for these 4 problems, no upgrade at all... Then it must be the case way more with serious products like T.C. or other PPT products   ... Am I arrogant? if yes I apologize, but truth is truth...My best to all...
Has anyone compared TC with Stabilant 22?
mahgister,

Take it easy, I sense no arrogance in your post. While I agree with you on the 4 principals, all I am saying is PPT tweaks are not the only game in town. There are no absolutes in audio. Each of us (including you) has taken a different approach to address these very basic principals to enhance our listening experience regardless of the choice of electronics.
Ok Latik, we agree each other that they exist many paths, and many different problems, then we can understand the enthusiasm of those who discovered suddenly how to address some of these...I gives you truly  all my best...
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testpilot
Has anyone compared TC with Stabilant 22?

>>>>Yes, I’ve also compared it, not one to one comparisons for obvious reasons, with Cramolin, Contact, Silclear, Quicksilver, Quicksilver Gold, PWB Sol Electret. Here’s one for you - have you ever tried painting electrical contacts violet with a magic marker?
It is one of the better things I have done to my system for such a reasonable price. So I am happy someone (oreganpapa, millercarbon, and all the others) have come on and let us know how much they like this stuff in their systems. Thank you guys. Keep bringing the good news when you got it.
Mahgister, mining pure gold:
one of the most ingrained illusion in audio is that buying electronic components (dac, conditioner, amp, speakers, headphones) is only by itself the principal way to upgrade an audio system... 


So true. Music to my ears.

the best way to upgrade an audio system is keeping it first, and then addressing the problems linked to the 4 principals embeddings: the electrical grid of the house and room, the acoustical field of the room, the vibratory-resonance embeddings methods, and the various necessary tweaks to decrease the noise floor.


Beautiful. 

1. Grail Components are an illusion
2. Keep what you have
3. Improve electric flow and fields
4. Address acoustic fields in your room
5. Control vibrations
6. Lower the noise floor

Anyone in the Seattle area is welcome to come by and hear for themselves the power of these rules. First stop by Definitive Audio and listen to $1.3M of Grail Components with almost no tweaks. Then come to my place and hear what all these rules can do for a system with no Grail Components.
Mahgister has the right mindset. I bet his stuff sounds great tweaked to the max for very little cost. 
Good points on other tweaks out there--great advise on working with what you have, spending less.  Let me qualify my claim regarding PPT products: They are the most effective benefit/cost audio accessories ever introduced. I don’t include cables as accessories or tweaks. Powered or passive boxes, blocks, dots, aftermarket receptacles and fuses, risers, pads, points, pucks, bases, transducers, are fair comparisons to PPT products.

Spend a little on some dots or transducers or a receptacle, and you will get some benefit. Spend the same on PPT Total Contact, and you will get a great improvement across the spectrum, audio and visual. Spend $2250 on an SR Tranquility Base, and you will get a good improvement to a component that will benefit a system. The same on four PPT E+ mats and one supply of Total Contact will upgrade your entire system to the equivalent of 2-3 components you may want but don’t yet have. That’s how good these accessories are.

Anyone willing to make some comparisons of products, prices, benefits in you systems?




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My audio system being modest, I cannot say that it sound great ( except for me) especially when I look some virtual magnificent systems here, but I can say that I only look now for my past and new music files, without bothering myself by my solely dreamed (but not affordable for me, 15,000 dollars) audio system...


Past some threshold, music is the only world we live in, and we forget about dreamed audio system (I will buy it anyway if I can for sure! :) ) or about the actual upgrading materials or tweaks... It is my case with a very modest cost system... The more difficult quality to be gained were : natural timbre of voices and instruments, and immersing encompassing holographic 3-d imaging in nearfield listening and in regular field listening with disappearance of the speakers when music fills my little room...


Tweaks are now just that, a little experimental playing, not a life or death question for me, like in the past days when I does not like really the exact same audio system I am in love with now... Thanks to all and my best to you...



If we speak about cost, all my homemade tweaks cost me half the price of my audio system, 500 hundred dollars ( I dont count the 6 years of trials and errors with new electronic components and experiments) and the final results are for me staggeringly surprising...

By the way the truth is Total Contact is made with the carbon based skin of some audiophiles that has spoken too much and I am the first to be afraid indeed... I vouch now for silence... :)

Lets speak the products ….


Thanks to all and my best to you...
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Humbly submitted for your consideration. How not (rpt not) to be able to tell what a system sounds like,

1. What the owner says about it.

2. What someone else says about it.

3. What the system looks like in a photo.

4. The brand names of the system, including cables.

5. Lack of tweaks in the system. (Gotcha! That’s actually a clue to the system’s sound - bad!)
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jafreeman

Thanks for your interest in my tweaks... But I think that they will not compare to the impact of all the PPT products in a system... They have great impact for me and a price/ quality ratio out of the roof tough...So I am addressing to people who begins and are short of money ...


The rules that I discovered by accident and experiment about the 4 embeddings applied to all tough, nevermind the price of a system...

If you are curious, you will see my modest room in the "virtual system" section... I will not transform this thread about PPT products in mine and I also have a thread....

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/miracles-in-audio-by-luck-by-good-choices-by-design-or-by-twe...


I wish you the best from my heart...

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"...all I am saying is PPT tweaks are not the only game in town."
They may not be the game at all.
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The thinking crowd. That’s funny! 😳 😳 😳 😳 Thinking where’s my next paycheck coming from, no doubt. Let’s call them the unemployables and worry warts. They also serve who only sit and grow moss on their backs.

"Thinking crowd" was removed for some reason.

Still, I will repeat the question. Does PPT provide samples of TC? The way many reputable companies show prospective customers how good their products are?

Even the smallest manufacturer with minimal advertising budget would let you audition their, let’s say, amplifier before buying it. In fact, I bet they would be proud of it.