Reevaluation can be a good thing

Every now and again, I like to revisit a tweak or change I’ve made to ensure that it’s doing what I thought it did in the first place. As I’ve discovered with experience, the first blush of a change to a system is usually the sweetest and strongest—and it can color our perceptions. Sometimes a little time and distance, and a reevaluation, is needed to put things into their proper perspective.

For a while now, I’ve plugged my Coda S12.5 amp (along with the rest of my very simple system) into a PurePower AC regenerator. I’ve gone back and forth a couple of times, and thought that the regenerator was having a beneficial impact on the amp. These weren’t extended comparisons, mind you, just quick-and-dirty A/Bs. My initial thought was that backgrounds were a little blacker and that the presentation “popped” a bit more with the amp plugged into the PP.

Now, I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about amps—particularly decent-sized SS units--being plugged into regenerators, and that regenerators frequently limit dynamics, but I didn’t think I really heard that effect, so I just kept the amp plugged into the PurePower and was happy as a little clam.

Fast forward to about two weeks ago, and I again had the urge to reevaluate things. This time, I decided to do a more extended listen, over the course of a number of days and many hours, with the amp both into the wall and into my Jena Labs line conditioner. I used a lot of my most familiar recordings.

To make a long story short, I’ve definitely come to prefer the amp OUT of the regenerator (but into the conditioner rather than the wall). The music has a freer and looser feel now, with better overall dynamics and a still-very-black background. The PurePower is great for my source components—there, it makes a pronounced difference—but, thanks to my decision to revisit things, I’ve discovered that in my system, this particular amp doesn’t like being plugged into my regenerator.

So, anyway, the moral of this tale is, it’s sometimes a good idea to reevaluate a system change after some time has passed. What you thought was a beneficial change six months before might not strike you the same way now. Of course, one doesn’t want to get paranoid about it and second-guess themselves into the nut house, but you get the idea. Who knows, maybe I’ll plug the amp back into the PP after six months or a year, and see if THIS change I’m making was as beneficial as I think it is now. But after doing some truly extended listening, I think it will be.

I have gotten rid of all my tweaks over time. Now I just use standard pro audio components for everything.
Needing to evaluate any change in a kit over an extended period of time just seems like a more mature approach. I tend to be very careful anymore of "first blush" impressions. As infatuation often doesn’t stand the test of time in a romance, be it with a lady or Hi-Fi gear, in my experience. I don’t want to take the mystery or exhilaration out of either if they are fresh or new, but both can be very exhausting and expensive if we don’t see, over time, how reliably and nicely each plays. I really believe time sorts it all out and shows you where real value exists. Hi-Fi gear is tweaky, and our ears are finicky, everything counts in the mix, often it’s the little things (cumulatively) that matter. So I would agree, take time to make decisive choices.

happy Listening!

You're right, Rob. Not that I or my decisions have ever been mistaken for "mature," but as my level of experience has grown, so too (I think) has my ability to discern first-blush changes from long-term, more satisfying ones. 

The PurePower has taken longer than usual for me to suss out what it does and doesn't do, though. Maybe that's a good thing; maybe because it HAS taken longer, it's forced me to be a little more discriminating in my decision-making. I dunno. 

Anyway, thanks for the reply!

Oh geez, didn’t mean to impose maturity on anyone. Heck, I’m 58 and still refuse to grow up! Let’s agree to a more "experienced" decision making... About those decisions that won’t kill or maim us, it’s health to approach them with an open mind and innocently explore, have a little fun with them. Who knows what one might find? Perhaps it’s important that I juxtapose my previous comments with a bit of levity. Because this is audio reproduction, not nuclear war, after all! Perhaps one should say in certain situations such as these, what would Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, or John Cleese do??? :)

That said, mains supply for me has been a very tricky deal. It is so important to get it just right because it is the "other" source, and source is first in my book. But like most of this hobby, different things work in different situations. And it’s a bit of a fools errand to believe that just because it works for me in my kit, it will be best for you in yours. And lots of folks just don’t get that.

Happy Listening!
Power (among many other things) varies sooooo greatly that, yes, it's impossible to prescribe a uniform solution for everyone. I know a couple of people who've had great success with amps plugged into regenerators--but, alas, it just didn't work to my satisfaction in MY case. That doesn't mean the experiment shouldn't be conducted.