It's the incoming power which contains all sorts of nasties.
Power conditioners, dedicated lines, fancy outlets, etc., all make an improvement. Also, the time of day, your mood, humidity, you name it, all have effect of how we preceive things. Right now, you're stressed out over this. Relax a little. Also, changing IC's, components around has a detrimental effect on one's system. Takes awhile for things to settle down and start sounding good again. Mark, you need to concentrate on other matters in the bedroom! Hope things work out for the better. Bill
Can you provide a clearer idea of what is going on? (you yourself may know but aren't describing it). Do you mean that you take the same track at the same volume and get all this variability in its playback from hour to hour? Do you live in the center of a city where you are subject to a lot of vibration from traffic? Have you charted your line voltage to see how stable it is over a 24 hour period. Is there a time of day when the sound is consistently best (e.g. late at night) Do you live in an old apartment building with substandard a/c. High RFI area? Sounds silly to say, but are the door and windows always open/closed? Room acoustics are big factors in imaging, and hallways have major effects.
By the way, have you also checked your ic's, sc's and pc's?
With untreated a/c, the standard issues are smearing, coloration, and poor resolution, but not the sort of large scale variability you are describing. If it were my situation and I believed it to be a/c related, I'd do basic measurements on my a/c (check the amperage of current loops and what else is on each of them, what appliances share the same phase as your audio, grounding quality, voltage variability over the day, line integrity). This is good info anyway, but if nothing checks out obviously badly, then I'd borrow a good line filter for the front end and preamp and investigate whether it stabilizes your sound problems.
I agree with Bill. The fact that your soundstage can be perfect, though sporadic, leads me to believe you have some electrical stuff going on. I'm a firm believer in quality power conditioning, dedicated lines, and good power cables. I am a big Audio Magic fan. Have gone from the Stealth, to the Matrix, and now, the Eclipse. Dedicated lines are a good start, but garbage in is garbage out. I've seen used Stealth Minis on the 'gon as well as Matrixes at great prices. Give one a listen. I love mine. Keep us posted. Happy listening....peace warren
P.S. what kind of power cords are you using?
This kind of stuff happens to me too and when it does i use cognac.Images will solidify right away,the instruments will have lots of air around them and you'll be able to hear singers amd musicians lick their chops and smack their lips as if asking you to pour some.Cheers.
Thanks for the responses.
I live in a house on a slab in the west part of the city. My a/c is coming from the bottom breaker on the right. The heater, living room, kitchen, garage are all above it. So I am getting the worst of the a/c I suppose. The listening is with the same music and volume. It can change within the cd that is playing. I do use stock power cords. I did not want to change the cords until I could get the system to be consistent so I could actually see what the cord can do. I will check into power conditioners. Has anyone had this sort of problem and a power conditioner fix it? Also, I am trying to relax a little. This hobby can be very frustrating.
It sounds like it could be an intermittent connection. See if you are getting sound from both tweeters when the problem occurs. A lack of highs can cause the soundstage to drop to the floor. Also, check your speaker cable connections.
Make sure nothing on AC cirrcuit as stereo is turning on/off/ emitting alot of RFI. Maybe something budget friendly like AudioPrism Quietlines, Enacom AC Filters, power conditioner or power regenerator like PS Audio 300 ( kinda pricey) will do the trick.
You also might want to check out acoustic panels made by ASC, Echo Busters, etc. Or construct DIY acoustic panels as mfrd. panels can get expensive real fast.
I agree with Nighthawk - it sounds much more like a system problem (including line, breaker, cable and connection integrity) than a line conditioning issue.
Judging by what you've swapped out already, I'd go systematically through cables and power cords next. Also check outlets on a different current loop if you're able (by using a heavy duty extension cord and forget the additional noise). I know you've done a good deal of troubleshooting already but have you tested simple things like (a) the continuity of your outlets and power cords with a line continuity tester and (b) checked for really corroded connections anywhere along the power/cable routes? I've found stock power cords that tested as having an open neutral(!) yet still conducted (some) current this way.
In my area, the city power regularly cycles on a daily basis from 120 volts to below 114 V, and a few towns away, people report city voltage above 130V. Just more issues to look at when you're on a gremlin-chasing spree.
The surest way to rest your mind at ease, if its possible/practical, would be to have a couple of dedicated lines installed. If that's not possible, I would check out what outlets are on the circuit you are using. Many times these outlets are daisey-chained from one to another. If the outlet you're using is at the end of the chain, this is not optimal. Every outlet needs to be replaced (w/high quality ones-no push in wire types)leading up to the outlet you're using for your stereo. Also, ask the electrician if it's possible to pigtail a wire of the splice to power the outlet. Many times the cheapest outlets are used and the easiest way to continue the run from one outlet to another is to simply push wires in the back of the outlets. Dedicated circuits are the way to go. However, if the feed going into your service box is not up to date, i.e., old/undersized, get a new hobby or move! You'll could end up spending a fortune and not getting the results you want. Unfortunarely, the AC power is so polluted nowadays and that computer in the house isn't helping one bit. You're right, this is one fustrating hobby. Acceptance is virtue. Good Luck, Bill
As Nighthawk suggests, I would investigate whether an internal connection in one of your loudspeakers, maybe at a driver or in a crossover, is somehow intermittant.
Why don't you list your equipment so everyone has a better idea what they are dealing with.
My speakers are fine. I checked to make sure the tweeters are working. It does this with 2 different speakers. All connections are good also.
I am having an electrician come over today to look at what I want done and hopefully get this installed next week. I will post my results.
Just wanted to update my results after having dedicated lines and porter ports installed one week ago. I have four dedicated lines and will have to say it makes a huge difference. The soundstage is stable and the sound gets better every day as the lines break in. I am told it takes about 3 weeks before everything starts to settle in.
I do want to thank all responses from this post.