"Tweaks" vs. Audiophiles

Back in 1985 Ed Metiner accused me of being an audiophile rather than a tweak. He was right, the more bizarre stories I heard of folks doing the strangest damn things to improve their sound, the more I was convinced the "tweaks" were outta their minds. Pouring concrete pillar to to use as a turntable stand, freezing wires, supposedly hearing differences in power cords, placing quarters on our speakers, spraying stuff on CD's, all kinds of strange behaviour. I had a good system, and figured fooling around with set up, wires, etc was plainly a waste of time and money, I enjoyed listening to the system, if it ain't broke...
Fast forward to today, where I'm tweaking and trying various things to see what kind of effect it has on my system. No, I haven't poured a pillar yet or froze anything, but tweaking is cheap and it's fun. Recently I built an amp stand out of 4X4 lumber, and put some new electrical outlets in. Having just built my first set of balanced interconnect, then carefully drilling holes through the joists in my basement to run them over to my amp, I got thinking. To be in this hobby requires a certain amount of tools and ability/willingness to use 'em. So, have I crossed over to the dark side and become a tweak? Ed would be proud...Jeff
It doesn't sound like you've really gone over the deep end yet--if you stay in this hobby long enough you probably will--the disease manifests itself slowly in some subjects. I'm sure you will get some responses that have gone complete bizerko in tweaking. I started tweaking when my system resolution was very high, and I had no more money to spend on upgrading components. Tweaks are cheap (most of them--then Shun Mook came along) and are fun--and when you are trying to get that last 1% out of your system it really does help. But once you've gone to tweakdome--you don't go back. Now all of my speakers--even my cheap bookshelf speakers hooked up to a lousy receiver for an office system have to be on spikes (they're cheap spikes mind you). I never would have even considered this until I got into high end gear. My manifestation has including changing the incoming power to dedicated 220v stepped down to 110v with balanced poles, amp stands on marbles, granite floating turntable shelf, corian shelfs in a simi isolated rack, cable jackets (more for cosmetics than sound), room treatment (including a built into the wall bass trap), active bass eq, sound absorbers on windows, and dedicated EMI and RF filters for all source equipment. Like I said--I can't wait to hear what the REAL tweakers have to offer.
Well, I've been in this hobby for 26 years now, and I'm finally recognizing that there's no sense fighting it. Logic has always ruled my decisions, but it's quite apparent that science doesn't always have all the answers. Yeah, I have marble under my turntable and BrightStar sand boxes under my source components, clamped ferrites on my IC's and PC's, hospital grade plugs, spikes under speakers, etc. I work with engineers, they think I'm more than a little bizarre and see no logic in many of the things we tweaks feel make a difference (e.g. upgrading wire). Chacunes sons gouts..Jeff
The most effective tweak I've yet found is also the cheapest. Close your eyes, breath deep, relax and enjoy. I've played with other toys with varying degrees of success, but man, when I turn the lights off, take a deep breath and close my eyes..... Whew! That's what it's all about. Relax..... and enjoy the music.
I agree,, turning off the lights and breath deep, well yeild the greatest results for the least amount of cash, actually your saving cash.
Hi Jeff; not exactly a sonic tweak, but my heavy Syn, Res. Master Couplers could use some support at the wall end(s), so I screwed a nicely stained 1" X 4" X 5ft. long board to the wall just above three duplex dedicated outlets, and then screwed 3 "hanging light" hooks into the board just above each outlet.

I used long, black wire ties wrapped around the PCs end and through the hook. Well, it works great, but now I worry that wall vibrations may be getting into the PCs-- geez. However, sonics do not seem to have suffered and my PCs are more relaxed with the supports ;>) Cheers. Craig
When I began this hobby, I was a avid specification reader. I allowed my amplifier and speaker decisions to be biased by the manufacturer's performance data. Confusion came when the numbers seemed to be out of line with what sounded good. Now I am to the point of looking only at an amplifiers rated power and speakers efficiency level as useful data. Often finding too, that those numbers do not describe real life listening experiences either.

The same is true with tweaks, some that should have no effect, are not only audible, but vital to the systems performance. The sonic differences between a soft foot, a spike and a roller device is a specific example. No doubt each is a unique design, but that in no way begins to describe the vast differences in performance each brings to a piece of equipment.

The best advice I can give is to treat the entire experience as you would life itself. Many things we planned as children never came to pass. Many things we assumed were impossible, came true. Remember to treat your music system the same way. Don't close your mind to experimentation, or the joy of learning. If your experiment does not work out, at least you have the satisfaction of knowing the results, and got another chance to hear great music. In the end, like life and love, you receive just about what you put in.
Albert, your response was exquisitely eloquent and thought-provoking. Thank you very much.
Jeff, the best thing about this hobby is that you have nobody to answer to, but you. Whatever floats your boat!
If you feel that doing a headstand while blowing your nose exactly 3 feet in front of your left speaker is the closest thing to audio nirvana, go for it and god bless ya. This ain't a team sport! If you feel you are a tweek now, I guess you are a tweek. Just enjoy it and God bless.....
you're nearly there, jeff, but not quite. drills and spanners, soldering irons and blow torches are obvious necessities. it's only when you appreciate the need to rent a ditch witch for 48 hours that marks you as a tweaker's tweaker. or so i've heard. -kelly