The next best Tweak ???

There have been several postings at AA about a new tweak from the mind of a gent named unclestu that I would like to share with Audiogon members.

I really don’t know why it works or how it works.
This tweak will cost you about $10 bucks but hold on to your hats...

unclestu discovered that the Ground Control (that was designed by Bud Purvine and sold by AudioPrism)design could be improved on.

You will need to make two sets for your speakers.

What unclestu came up with is to take a 6V Lantern Battery, add a 1000uf Electrolytic capacitor across the top springs (+ to + and - to -) connect a wire to the negative side of the battery and then attach the other wire end to the negative post on your speaker.

I have also made a couple that I plug in to my Preamp and Amp. Those were made with RCA’s ground on the wire end and I used 9V batteries utilizing 9V battery clips.

I've got to say, big improvement across the board, Soundstage, bass, mids, treble. But the most dramatic change is in the dynamics.
I have used the ordinary (non battery)tweak And i maay try this tweak.
The pigtail tweak worked well for me. So this may be worth trying for me.
Some folks have success with these tweaks,some not.
But it certainly is cheap enough to try.
(Its' those $1,000 tweaks that scare me off...LOL)
This tweak definitely reminded me of Elizabeth's tweak with the pigtail wire and ferrite core. I've had good results with that tweak. I might give this one a shot as well as it requires no soldering. Any specific brand of wire or capacitor to use? Wire wise I only have some old extensions cords readily available that I can use. I got rid of my excess speaker wire some time ago.
I tried first the battery without the caps and it did not seem to do much. Then someone suggested that for solid state equipment to add the cap. The cap really did the trick.

By the way, it seems the higher the battery voltage the more it tilts the sound upwards. The 6V lantern battery is the most neutral.

I bought the Capacitors from Radio Shack, they were $1.79 each. I used the thinnest wire I could find, though I am not sure why I did.
This is really going to show my naïveté so I hope I'm shown mercy from the membership here but the 1000uf capacitors I found at various e-tailers and retailers have varying voltages. I've seen 1000µF 6.3V caps all the way to 1000uF 50V caps. Does the voltage of the capacitor matter in this tweak? I realize caps are cheap and I should probably just try different caps but I really want to minimize the trial and error. The Radio Shack one is 35V so I may give that a try first but the other caps would have to be ordered and the shipping rates I'm being charged is taking the fun out of this tweak. Thanks
The 1000uf 35V Cap from Radio Shack is what I used.
HI Ozzy,

Can you be more specific on what you did for the pre? Thanks a lot.
Voltage in caps you just need it to be higher than the voltage you plan on using.
So the 35V is fine. Anythng higher would be overkill, but if you had then laying around, you certainly COULD use them.
Dtsag, I used a 9V battery snap on clip that you can buy at Radio Shack part #270-0325 package of 5 for $2.99.
Solder the 1000uf Electrolytic capacitor to the ends (red to + and black to-).
I then soldered another wire from the black wire to the ground on an RCA. It makes a nice compact unit that you can try on various pieces of equipment. It seems to take a few hours to charge up.
Thanks Ozzy and Elizabeth for sharing. I went to Radioshack today because it is right near my office. They did have 1000uf 50V caps for $2.79 but I decided to just opt for the 35V 1000uf caps along with the 6V alkaline lantern batteries. I couldn't tell which end of the caps was positive or negative because they weren't marked. I just saw arrows pointing from left to right on the Nichicon caps so I put the arrow tip on the positive terminal and the rear on the negative terminal. I did manage to find some 16 AWG speaker wire to use.

When I was about to hook up the Unclestu/Ozzy tweak up to my speakers I saw I had Elizabeth's copper wire and ferrite core pigtail tweak still in place. I then decided to merge the 2 tweaks. So I've got the battery and cap on 1 end of a 16 AWG speaker wire. On the other side of that wire I have the 10AWG wire with ferrite cores on the bottom. It is quite the site.

Now regarding sound improvements I don't know if this tweak did anything. I'm not sure if I heard a difference. I was employing this tweak in my HT/multi channel music set-up. I think with certain recordings I heard a little more treble and even a bit more brightness but with movies I think I heard more clarity in dialogue and sound fx. I'm going to spend more time with this tweak in place to hear if I can pick up any more improvements in sound. If not I have 2 spare batteries for my emergency flashlights. My HT set-up is solid state gear from Oppo, Outlaw Audio and Emotiva.

Ozzy. With the 6V battery/capacitor tweak did you have to have it charge up like the IC tweak you did? If so how long did it need to charge up?

Jedinite24 , I am at work right now, but I think the arrow is pointing to the negative side on the Cap. After installation the first few moments there was an improvement in the mids and treble, the bass quality took a bit longer to flesh out.
Hi Ozzy

It turns out I did misread the capacitor ends. (I feel like a dumbarse for getting it wrong.) When I was done listening to music with the battery tweak in place I removed the whole tweak and hooked them up to the negative terminals on a small Class D amp. I think it is supposed to put out 15 watts/channel max. I thought the set-up needed to be charged up from reading your posts so I ended up feeding as much power as the little amp could to the battery/capacitors. I left it on for the whole night and day and when I got home I found the caps had leaked all over the batteries. Oh well. The batteries are still good though.

I went back to Radioshack and got the 50V rated 1000uf caps because they had no more 35V rated caps. I re-did everything properly this time and will try to evaluate if this tweak will make a difference in my mostly solid state systems.

Thanks again
Well, at least you learned how to destroy a capacitor...LOL
I hope your replacement try gives you an improvement.
Jedinite24, How did it go?
Well, Has anyone tried this tweak?
If there are no + or - indicators on the cap the longer lead is the positive lead and the shorter lead is the negative lead.
Hi Ozzy

I got the polarity correct this time and didn't blow up the caps. I'm still evaluating the tweak though. I need to do more listening with it in place and haven't been able to carve out the time.

Hi Pixelphoto

I learned what you stated the hard way after I had blown the original caps I had purchased. When I got the new 50V rated caps I took a look at the leads and saw the differences in length. Then I recognized the arrow pointing to the negative side. I feel dumb about what happened but hopefully this will help any novice.
Hay Jedinite
I had the same problem with not knowing which lead was which but slbenze over at Tweakers' Asylum clued me in. I just bought two more caps at Fry's and these have even length leads but do have arrows. I just attached them to the 6V batteries at my speakers and the main result is more dynamics.
Happy listening!
Pixelphoto. Glad the tweak works for you. The Capacitors real are something.
I've noticed that too many of them in the chain adds depth but loses the 3D effect.
So far, at the Speakers with a 6V Latern battery is a real plus!
At the Amp and Preamp with 9V battery and a RCA plug another plus!
Adding one to my Cd player seemed too be too much of a good thing.

Also, putting one on my LCD and Cable Box was positive in improved picture quality. But on my LED TV I could not tell if there was an improvement.

Really interesting the way some items improve.
I have been advised that a 10K Cap works even better. So I bought a package of 10 including shipping for $15 on Ebay to try.
Finally I'm able to give an update. Over the long weekend I spent time listening to a system that had the capacitor battery tweak in place on the speakers. I too found an improvement in dynamics. On 1 of my favorite concert Blu Rays I was able to turn up the volume a couple of notches and not get any listener fatigue. Everything was loud and clear. I got a small improvement in bass.

On another system where I installed this tweak on the speaker end I believe I got the same performance as an Enacom Harmonix speaker filter. I'm contemplating now if I should just part with the Enacoms. I'll do more comparisons before I sell the Enacoms.

I may now try this capacitor battery tweak on the amplifier side and put Elizabeth's pigtail wire tweak on the speaker end.
So, I just soldered in the 10K Caps...
It seems these are better than the 1K caps. There is a tighter center image with a wide left to right soundstage.
Seems to work great with my CD Player/Dac, Squeezebox Touch and Preamp. On my Amp, it didnt sound like an improvement so I did not use one there.
Also, different voltages change the sound somewhat. A 9V battery brings the image up a liitle higher with a little more upper midrange. The 6V Lantern batteries have more of a neutral sound.
I have found most of the front end equipment sounds best using 9V batteries.
However, my speakers sound best with the 6V lantern batterty.
I sure hope that some of you have given this tweak a try. It really is quite impressive.
Costs about $10 bucks.
Deep, wide soundstage with a center image to die for.
If any of you do try it, go with the 10K Capacitors
Well it's been two weeks since I've installed this fantastic tweak. The best way for me to express the effects of it is to yell YOWEE! For just about $35. I've installed 4 6V lantern batteries with 1000uf 50V electrolytic caps. One at each speaker, one each at the AVR and CDP via RCA plugs. The result is more dynamic sound across the frequency range (at least the freqs I can hear). The sound is cleaner/clearer, more detailed, decay is more extended and natural. I can now better hear instruments such as the triangle and brushes on cymbals. Staging is wider and more upfront. Instruments are more defined with more space round them, especially from my jazz cd's.

My system may be lo-fi but I'm grateful for it. With the thoughtful implementation of about 12 tweaks I've been able to squeeze out more good sound with each one. The 2 most dramatic tweaks have been the use of crystals and this battery-cap tweak. Give it a try; it just may breath new life into you system.
I'm getting very good dynamics along with clean/clear details with the 6V battery/capacitor tweak on the amp side and Elizabeth's ferrite core wire tweak on the speaker side in my secondary system. This was a fun and inexpensive tweak to put in place. I may try the 10K caps at a later date.
Glad you guys tried the tweak and have had a positive improvement.
I wonder why more Audiogonners have not posted?
Anyway, do try using the 10K caps it will improve still further.
Ozzy - I read your post with interest. Trying cheap tweaks is definitely a fun part of this hobby. I'd like to try your cap/battery tweak on my speakers but want to be sure I understand how to implement it. Do I have this right?
1) Install the cap across the battery terminals (- to -; + to +).
2) From the negative battery terminal, run a single wire to the negative terminal of the speaker.
3) This set up is duplicated at the other speaker.

If I have it straight, seems like something even I can do.

Thanks in advance for your reply.

Ghosthouse, Yes you have it right!
You can also use it on your CD Player, Preamp etc. just by connecting the wire to the ground side only on a RCA.
Give it a try, and post your results.
Thanks, Ozzy. It'll take a little time to collect the parts but I'll report what I hear.
Just ordered 10 ea 10K caps from eBay for $15.09 total. Seller is local so should receive them by midweek. I wonder if these will bring me to the point of diminishing returns on my system? Maybe an alarm system or motorcycle battery next!
Just thinking, if I were to come into big bucks and could buy any so called hi-end system I wanted would I still have as much fun as I'm having tweaking my present system?
I think those are the same ones I bought, made by Rubycon ?
I think once a tweaker always a tweaker, it would'nt matter the price of the system. The tweakin is a hobby within the Audio hobby.
Yea, I'm a born tweaker. Been tweaking since I was building die cut balsa wood model airplanes many crash landings ago. The caps I ordered are radial type, light brown with DON imprinted on them; 10KuF 25V 85" 20x35mm electrolytic. More fun enroute!
I get how to hook up the speaker and amp part of the tweak, but I'm confused on how the systems for the RCA, Balanced, and digital connectios are made. Do you just construct the same apparatus using the appropriate connector and plug this into an unused input on your preamp or DAC or are you building this circuit into an existing interconnect? Also is this tweak accomplishing the same type of system Synergistic Reseaerch and Audioquest use on their cables except this is allowing it to be done with cables of your choice?
Sgr, Yes, instead of hooking the wire from the negative side to the negative terminal on your speakers. Take that wire from the battery and solder it to an RCA on the ground side only. Then just plug it into any open RCA on your unit.

I think the Synergstic and the Audioquest are applying small voltages to the ground. In this tweak we are just using the negative electrons as storage.
Read up on the Audioprism Ground Control, that will explain the concept better than I can.
Hi Folks -
Was shopping on Parts Express for some caps. Saw some 10000uF but from the pix, not obvious how to tell poles. Submitted a question that got the following answer. Thought it might be helpful to post. Apparently not all caps are "polarized". From the little reading I did, a cap intended for use in an AC circuit can't be. At any rate hope the below is helpful. (it does confirm some of the info previously posted in this thread)

From Russ at Parts Express -
"If a capacitor is, indeed, polarized, then there are a few different indicators you can look for. If one lead is longer than the other, the longer lead will be positive, the shorter will be negative. You can also look at the end caps, the positive end cap will generally be black plastic, rubber, or some other insular material, while the negative will typically be aluminum. Many are also marked clearly, with plus and minus, or an arrow pointing from positive to negative, or a stripe on the negative side. The capacitor in question here is an electrolytic capacitor, non-polarized."
Ghosthouse , Yes, Electrolytic Caps seem to be all polarized. That is the type of Cap used in this tweak.
I am now using a 10K 50V Electrolytic Cap on my speakers. Parts Express has limited selection. Digi-Key is a good source.
Ozzy - In the last line, it seemed to me Parts Express was saying all electrolytic caps are NOT necessarily polar.

Either way, non-polar or polar and properly connected - does it matter?
The tweak is using only the negative side of the battery because of the electron flow.
But, I really dont know if it matters because all I have used is the polarized caps.
Thanks Ozzy for your help. I have implemented this on my system. I have the 6 volt system on my Legacy Helix speakers and had to make a special rig since the speaker is quad amped. It took a while to figure how to do all thee speaker terminals for each speaker but I got the job done. I also made the rig with the nine volt batteries one for my Perfect Wave DAC and one for Ref 3. The tweaks make a subtle but worthwhile improvement. I believe it lowers the noise floor which lets little subtle details escape from the background. Voices seem silkier and more natural.
Soundstage seems to be wider and deeper. It is funny that one can hear the system improve as the caps charge up. I'll bet there is a break in period as well.
For those who have made the devices for the speaker terminals on your amps, did you use 6 volt or 9 volt? Does one find the same improvements? I wonder is this tweak could be implemented on my server and power conditioners as well? Any ideas?
For the small amount of change and investment in time this tweak pays off handsomely.
A friend with a very high Rez system did the tweak for his speakers with great results similar to what we've found, but it did not work well with his Gryphon preamp or Theta Gen 5 DAC. The tweak shut down the soundstage and the system sounded constricted. So this tweak may not be for everyone.
Again thanks for all the ideas and descriptions of this tweaks virtues.
Sgr - Thanks for your post. Appreciated your comments about sonic improvements on what looks to be a very impressive system.

A question for you and Ozzy - My speakers are bi-wired. I'm thinking to use a short jumper between the negative terminals of a given speaker and attach the lead from the neg. pole of the battery to the middle of that jumper. Seem like an OK approach?

Thanks in advance.
Ghosthouse, I think it would be ok. You can always make two units for each biwire connection.

I am using a 10k 50V Cap on my speakers and I think the 6V lantern battery works the best on my speakers.

I just added another set (of 10K 50V Cap attached to a 6V Lantern Battery) to the negative side of my speaker spades via alligator clips at the Amp end. Adds even more snap with the units attached to both ends of the speaker cable.

I also have been trying this tweak on my HD Cables boxes. To these boxes it seems the higher the voltage the better. Right now I am using a 14 V battery to a 10K 16V Cap via RCA's.
Sgr, I have noticed that the tweak works best on the speaker cable. The RCA hook ups are more hit and miss. Meaning on some components the soundstage improves ,and other equipment it doesn't.
I'm getting some strange pops through my system when I turn the amps on so I had to disconnect for now. I'll show an electrical friend what I've done and see what I might have done wrong. It maybe because I have no crossover in the speakers. Last night I hooked it up after I turned the amp on. Any ideas? It doesn't seem to happen when I just use the ones hooked to the pre and DAC.
I received my 10K 25V caps yesterday. Removed the 1K caps from the speaker ends and installed these and let them set over night. I just finished listening to "Memories of a Geisha" and I love it even more now. The sound stage is deeper, instruments clearer and the bass is mo solid. I'm now going to replace the 1K caps at the AVR and CDP.

Last week I install a 9V battery to the plasma and was rewarded with a positive visual enhancement. All this for just a few dollars.
Sgro, What type of cap are you using ?
Just a thought.. Perhaps you are using Caps that are too low for your Amp/speaker.
I am using 10K 50 Volt.
Anyone have a idea as to how long it takes for a 10k cap to charge when connected to a 6v lantern battery?
Pixelphoto, Mine seemed to sound pretty good right away.
However it seems to get beeter in the bass after a few hours.
Ozzy, the same here (hear). I recently bought a NAD C 326BEE intergrated amp.; burned it in for 4 days nonstop. Played some Diana Krall and noticed that most of the sibilance I always heard was almost gone. I attached a 6v battery with 10k cap to the amp and that eliminated the remaining sibilance. All gone, banished. There is much more to be said about this tweak but I'll end with, I'm really happy I found out about this tweak.
Has anyone run dual Lantern batteries at the speaker end for bi wire cables? Input would be helpful, but I'm going to try it later this week anyway.
I just converted my home made Speaker cabkes to bi-wire. They now consist of one run of 14 ga and a run of 18 ga 5N Soft Solid Silver wire.
Well I now have a bi-wire speaker cables and I have just connected up 2 sets of 6V Lantern Batteries with 10K Caps at the speaker ends.
Wow! What a satisfied sound. The best I can describe it is, the music sounds relaxed and natural.

Now, I know I have raved about this tweak for some time. And there appears to be 2160 views on this topic thread. I hope I have encouraged some of you Audiogon tweakers to give it a try.
Hi Ozzy

To recap. You've got 2 sets of 6V Lantern Batteries with 10K Caps at the negative speaker ends of your bi-wireable speakers. You also have 6V Lantern Batteries with 10K Caps on your amp end. Then you have the 9V batteries and 10K caps on your ICs from source to preamp and preamp to amp?

I'm just trying to get a sense of how much is needed to get the results you have. So far I just have 6V Lantern Batteries with 1000uf 50V caps on my amp side. On the speaker end I have wire and ferrite choke cores. My results have been good to my ears. I may try more of the 6 Volt batteries with higher value caps later.
Jedinite24, That's correct.
The 9 voltage batteries are more convenient to place and I think they perform better than the 6 Volt Lanterns on source equipment. With the 9 Volt battery I am using 10K 16 Volt Caps.
At the speakers and Amp the 6 Volt Lanterns sound best but they also need Caps designed for higher voltage like the 10K 60 volt you have.