" .... I think my system sounding best when no tweak is applied".
Then you are blessed and will grow to be much richer than most other audiophiles. :-)
Then you are blessed and will grow to be much richer than most other audiophiles. :-)
If an accessory, such as a vibration control device, actually eliminates the problem (as opposed to merely changing the resonant frequency of the component or altering how the resonances are being distributed in a component) the result should bring the system closer to faithfully reproducing the signal that has been captured in the recording. The key is to assess the theory behind and the construction of the accessory to determine if it actually has the ability to do what is claimed. Just plopping the accessory into a system and listening may sometimes yield erroneous conclusions.
Disclaimer: I am a manufacturer of vibration control products.
A tweak is no different that swapping components. Sometimes it's better, sometimes it's worse. It depends on the tweak and it depends on the system.
If you have a Sony am/fm bathroom radio, no tweak in the world is worth implementing.
But is a line-conditioner a tweak or a necessary piece of equipment? That depends. If you are not using electricity to power your equipment, then a line conditioner is pretty useless.
If you choose a poorly engineered line conditioner, then it's worse than useless.
Are vibration control devices a tweak or another necessary part of the puzzle? This depends on whether or not your system is susceptable to vibration. If your equipment is in the same room as your speakers, you can bet dollars to doughnuts that whatever vibrations your sternum is capturing, that your equipment is also capturing those same vibrations and more because of their sensitivity. Not to mention the resonances generated within each component.
But again, there are several methodologies and many devices from which to select. Some believe that placing their components on the sands of the seashore is the best methodology to obtaining sonic bliss. Poorly chosen methodologies and devices will render the sonics rather lifeless and/or indifferent.
And the same arguments can be made for general electrical (dedicated lines, cryo-treated connectors, cables, wires, etc)and acoustic tweaks as well.
Although I've never met an electrical tweak yet that I did not like.
Now when you say that your system sounds best when no tweak is applied, that can mean one of several things.
1. Your system's sonic presentation is not properly weighted across the spectrum and the tweak seems to tip the scales even more off balance.
2. You currently reside in ceslestial places where AC noise does not exist and vibrations bounce off the protective deflector shield surrounding your components.
3. Your wonderful stereo system is only a figment of your imagination. You only think it exists and that you are listening to music.
Everybody has issues with AC noise and vibrations. And for those who use cd players, they also have the problem of inducing digital noise back into the AC (because it's bi-directional) and into the other components and is even known to go back to the service panel (for those with dedicated lines) and then contaminate the other circuits from there.
But then again, I could be wrong.
Just as components, including all cables, are system dependant, so are tweaks.
Some of the tweaks I've found to be helpful and have heard immediate improvements were one-piece SS cones for my spkrs and isolation devices between the spkr. modules. Other tweaks are subtler but a combination of them all helps with the overall presentation. The only way to tell for yourself is actually try them and you can go the DIY route for a quick & relatively inexpensive attempt.
Even with all the tweaks available, if your room isn't maximized, you won't get nearly as much benefit & the very first tweak I'd suggest is spkr. positioning. I spent 4 months optimizing my spkr. placement, just to let you know it takes more than 15 minutes to do this, although I could've done it in less time.
Driver, it took me 8 months to find the ideal local for my speakers. As as you probably know, it's only ideal until I find an even better spot.
But I will say this, for best sonics, I'll take an average system tweaked to the max over any system at any price with no tweaks associated.
For the well-planned and carefully chosen tweaks are far more than just a great equalizer.
looks like you beat me to this thread Slappy...
Every tweak...well...both tweaks...I have tried (spikes under speaker stands & audioprism CD stoplight)worked for me...the way I see it...if it isn't expensive, you don't have much to lose...now when it comes to high $$$ tweaks...I would assume that high $$$ gear warrants them better than low $ gear.
but what do I know
I have tried several tweaks, namely IC, Speaker wire, power conditioners (I live in Florida, and power here stinks! Finally own a house, so dedicated lines are coming soon ..) and some isolation devices. Here are my thoughts..
In my opinion speakers NEED to be on spikes! The difference between speakers on spikes and casters or just on the floor or carpet are HUGE, at least they have always been for me with my <100lb speakers. I find the bass to be tighter and smoother on spikes, and the sound just seems cleaner and less distorted, all of these attributes Ive found seem to be magnified at high volumes. I suspect if you own speakers in the several hundred pound range, the benefits will be less, as the speaker will be more stable on its own, but likely still be there as any speaker weighing that much likely does really low bass and/or high volume. I also find imaging to be better on spikes and I suspect this is due to subtle variances in the baseline point of the speaker/cabinet (sorry, Im sure there is a term for this, I dont know it).
For me, living in coastal Florida, lets just say power is horrible, and surges and brown outs are regular occurrences, so I do try to have some power conditioning on my system to cover them ..well, hopefully cover them. When I lived in my apartment, the first power conditioner I added was a Chang CLS 6400 and WOW! The noise in my system (which prior to the PC was barely noticeable unless listening at very high volumes) suddenly was gone and when I tried the system without the PC .. it was suddenly the center of my attention. I still have several Changs in my systems Dedicated lines soon to come as I do find better sound from the system when I dont use the power conditioners, but living in the lightning capital of the world, I am a little apprehensive about going bare
One other tweak Ive gotten significant mileage out of has been isolation feet for the CD player. I have sorbothane feet (~2 tall) that can go under the feet of your CDP. I got them for like $20 so I figured I should try them and see. Well, again as I seemed to find for the speaker spikes, bass seemed to tighten up and so did the imaging! The problem I had is they are way to tall to comfortably keep under my current universal player so they are in the closet.
Interconnects interesting topic. I have tried some (I would say many, but I know you guys on this site have had countless in your systems, so Ill tried ~20) and have found definite changes in sound, which is influenced by where in the system they are. Do these improve sound?? Well, depends on your system. I personally didnt think video cables should matter much until I changed out my Monster M100SV for a Nordost Optix S. WOW was I wrong! The picture, even on my 32 Proscan (then) was markedly better, sharper and clearer. Well, sound changes with them as well .
OK on to the real question of the post ..
I think you are right, the unit will still have the same sonic characteristics .but some tweaks I think will just let it present these more easily, like spikes on speakers preventing/lessening the slight movement/oscillation of the speaker. Power conditioners, for me here seem to be a necessity until I have the dedicated lines installed. Cables definitely do change sound, but is it an improvement or not?? That is your call, if your system sounds best without any tweak ..keep it that way and be happy!!! Some of us are maybe more critical, or just addicts to the hobby and looking for nirvana, and theres room for all of us. As long as you enjoy your system, dont worry about it. Try to listen regularly, buy as much software as you want/need (for me I try to buy all the new high-res (DVD-A and SACD) stuff as much as I can to keep the formats going) and just enjoy it!!!! Or
If YOU like it, keep it, if not, resell it and move on!!! Isnt that what Audiogon is all about??
Some do, most don't. Listen before buying, if no money back
warranty is offered forget it. One last advise, the ones that do work stay on the market for quite some time, the other ones are "fly by night". Just try to look around for
cd stabilizer mats & cd's edge markers, maybee one or two manufactures do have them in their lines.
Repends on the capabilities and deficiencies of your system. I had one of the great ears in audio come to my home from New Jersey this weekend . My friend Dave said my system lacked one critical component. It just happens to be from a company that posted above. He said his friend Barry from Bright Star Audio makes incredible and affordable isolation devices that will breathe life into my system. Disclaimer : I am NOT a dealer but I Am going to buy a product or two from them asap. This hobby and especially this site is too damn much fun . Tweaks... and do they work?.... What do you think ?
not all people have ac issues or problems and it is impossible to say everybody needs a line conditioner. you will not be able to turn the sound of a $100 sony amp into the sound of a $30,000 sounding amp by hooking up a line conditioner. a good line conditioner will allow good equipment to sound their best, not make them better than their best!
if we are talking about ac issues, IMO, balanced power devices are the trick. these are not line conditioners that filter the line, but rather a total different approach of how the power is presented to the equipment, using inverse phasing. I have seen demos of this equipment and it made a big difference in the sound. i am going to use balanced power in my next house for my audio and video rooms.
as for tweaks, maybe DAZZDAX doesn't need them. he doesn't specify his equipment, but he could have an audio stand that is made out of steel that weighs hundreds of pounds (like the rick racks stand at HE2003 in the pipedream room). maybe his speakers already have spikes. maybe his equipment has the isolation needed to reduce vibrations. I saw many turntable setups that came with some elaborate stands, in which i don't think a few $100 cones would improve the sound for these pieces.
maybe he is just happy with listening to the music and not judging his equipment! what a novel concept.
I absolutely agree with Barry - I don't get anything until I eventually get a clue how it supposed to do what it claims. For me understading adds fun, this is not about money at all. So far I couldn't find clear enough explanation how vibration may affect well designed SS devices... so no isolation platforms nor coupling devices have found their place in my shelfs yet. Cables, spikes under speakers are quite obvious... Power conditioners - the funny thing is that the better designed the power supply of the component, the less effect AC tweaks produce. For some reason I haven't heard about so well designed components yet...
However, all this is not about savings, it's about fun, so I don't see a reason why not to buy and try even if it doesn't work? If it makes fun, consider it working!
Yes they do work to a very minor degree in most cases,HOWEVER,what people are trying to do with them is to fix what are room tune problems. To do that properly, unfortunately, you need a pro with experience and the proper equipment to do it right. All the tweaks are just shots in the dark. Sometimes you can hit a few targets in the dark, but you can't really kill the beast. Go to www.bobhodas.com and then click on publications. Read all of the articles and you will see what is involved in properly tuning a room.
Most tweaks (Cables are not tweaks, since the system will not work without them) are designed to do one thing: reduce vibrations. Without getting into a big discussion about physics, vibrations prevent audio gear from functioning at their highest level.
The more these vibrations can be reduced or (not likely) eliminated, the better the equipment is able to sound. Vibrations come from the ground, and from the air, each of them have a detrimental effect on the sound. The battle for the last twenty, or so, years has been to minimize them. All kinds of items have been used with varying degrees of success. In overly simplistic terms vibrations are absorbed with items like Sorbothane or vibrapods, or dissipated with items like cones, and stands. Some work in certain environments, while others work better in different environments. The buyer needs to know what he is trying to accomplish when buying the different types of products.
Just like, not everyone will need an AC line conditioner, not everyone will need every type of vibration treatment.
Hospitals, observatories, and science labs have been the main source of understanding the effects of vibration. These places require accurate measurements to do their research, and small vibrations will have large effects on micro measurements in science. Again I hope I am not being overly simplistic in my discription, I'm trying to make it as understandable as possible, but everyone here is above average, so it should not be an issue.
I agree with above cables whether they are IC's or speakers cannot be classified as a tweak. My experience is that a good cable like wine, cheese,cigars, or even cars is going to perform better. However power cords and conditioners may not improve your system(many engineers don't think so). I have first hand experience with vibration control and can attest to the merit of reducing / eliminating if possible vibration. I think we can all learn from the manufactors, many furnish spikes/cones like B&W and Wadia which I own with there equipment. Most companies make there power cords removable which tells me they expect real or imagined that the customer will want/need to upgrade. The fact that spikes, cones, and power cords have survived in a competitive environment indicates that the majority of audiophiles recognizes there usefulness. To me a real tweak is the cd marker(which I've tried), cd edge treatment, or cd mats these seem to help on low end equipment but will not show much improvement on high end gear. Like everyone else (I hope) I rely on third or independant opions on all tweaks that I have tried. My amp and pre have fixed cords so I couldn't upgrade, out of desperation I tried the AC power wraps which is to be used when you can't swap to a real PC and in my opion and the wifes it gave our system a sonic improvement. It appeared to make the system quieter or darker as some say.
To wrap this up I would say that all components of a system are subjective, that's why Audigon is THE place to audition equipment, and some tweaks just mask poorly designed or built equipment. If your system needs a lot of tweaks your listening taste has matured and you may want to move up to higher end gear because you realize that you are not hearing all the music. Once you experience how good recorded music can sound in your own home it's hard to comprimise. Unless of course you are happy with the sound of an alarm clock radio, then this thread wil be irrelavant.
Happy Listening: to tweak or not to tweak the freedom all audiophiles enjoy.
I think the level of improvement is proportional to the quality of the room the system is in. If it is an excellent room acoustically then the tweaks are not only apparent but necessary to make the system sound its best. So the answer is yes and sometimes little tweaks can make the biggest difference.
Brainwater thank you for your kind comments.
Dmttrydr Some of the most likely prevailing theories suggest that eddy currents and hysteresis distortion are created when vibration is present within an electronic component. Both of these conditions can affect the flow of electrons through a conductor and theoretically alter the signal flowing through the component.
In addition, vibration can affect a component that utilizes a digital optical disc. The laser reading a spinning disc can have a more difficult time focusing on the information spiral if vibration is present. When this occurs, the servo sled must utilize corrective motors which will tax the power supply. If the vibration is severe, some digital information may be unreadable by the laser and interpolation can be brought into effect. Interpolation is when the processor makes up the information that should probably be in the unreadable section by comparing what came before the unreadable section and what comes after the unreadable section. It might guess correctly but it also may not. In any case, the power supply will work harder than necessary during this occurrence. Also, digital components are based on master and sub-clocks (oscillating crystals) and extra vibration can interfere with their accuracy. Unwanted vibration can cause timing errors (corrupted settling time) of the bits which can increase jitter.
Vacuum tubes can become microphonic and turntables exhibiting excess vibration can cause unwanted motion of the stylus within the groove which will add unwanted artifacts to the signal.
Makersmark I certainly agree that taking an accessory or a tweak that intended to address a particular problem and using it (unwittingly) to compensate for the symptom of a different problem in a system should be strongly avoided. As an example: if a system exhibits the typical symptom of certain types of vibration by having a forward midrange and glare or edginess to the lower treble region, a person should not compensate by adjusting speaker position or adding room treatments. Eliminating the CAUSE of the symptom should be addressed.
Addressing basic acoustic issues in a room is a high priority to allow a system to faithfully reproduce what is in the recording. Making sure the AC feeding the system is free of problems is also a high priority. Of course, addressing the three main sources of vibration is also critical to allow a system to faithfully reproduce what is in the recording. They are:
1) Vibration that is directly-coupled from the loudspeaker, and transfers through the floor and up through the component stand into the feet of the component. A properly designed vibration control support for a speaker will address this issue and eliminate the vibration.
2) Air-borne vibration sent directly from the loudspeaker drivers through the air towards the chassis of the component.
3) Self-generated vibration that is created within the chassis of the component by spinning motors, humming transformers and cooling fans.
The other significant sources of vibration are heating and air conditioning systems, exterior traffic (trucks, subways, trains, airplanes, cars, etc) as well as geological seismic activity.
Nrchy I also agree with many of your points. I would like to state that a hospital, observatory or laboratory is a fundamentally different environment than a listening room for audio or home theater. In addition, the equipment in the hospital, observatory or lab has different vibration control needs than the equipment in an audio or home theater.
The hospital, observatory or laboratory is a relatively quiet environment. The listening room at home is not - it is being filled with high SPLs of music. The component is being bombarded with large amounts of acoustic energy that is being absorbed into the chassis. In addition, the audio or video component is creating its own unwanted vibration internally (spinning motors, humming transformers, cooling fans, etc.). The laboratory device usually does not. We want to restrict as much acoustic energy and as much internally generated vibration as possible from contaminating the signal flowing through the component.
Walkelin Your points are well taken and the personal experience of listening to music is, of course, subjective. I would comment, however, that ALL components/systems are in need of properly designed and implemented vibration control. Every component manufactured is subject to at least one of the forms of destructive vibration that I have listed above and will require vibration control to achieve its optimum performance capabilities.
Definition of a "TWEEK"?
Some call FREE or 'nearly free' adjustments "Tweeks".
Others include mind-boggling expensive items as "Tweeks".
Some say better cables are not "Tweeks"..
I am going to clear this confusion.
Basics (NOT tweeks) components as manufactured, including all the usual components or axillary components:
Thus better cables are NOT tweeks, but cable 'risers' or cable 'wraps' are a tweek.
Power conditioners are NOT a tweek,
RF stoppers on cords ARE a tweek
Using a juice to improve the connectivity of your cables IS a tweek.
Buying different tubes is not a tweek, it is "tube rolling".
Adding Shakti stones is a tweek, but adding real acoustical managment is NOT a tweek.
A sub is not a tweek.
cleaning your LPs IS a tweek IF you use expensive fluids to do so. Other wise, cleaning LPs is not a tweek.
Many, many more, but I am lazy... so:
I would like to hear from others about what DOES, OR DOES NOT constitute a tweek.
You are quite right that hospitals, labs and observatories are trying to place their equipment in the best surroundings to perform their specific tasks. My point is that the devices in the lab are different by their nature as is the environment in which those devices are situated as compared to audio/video components and listening rooms. A stand or mount designed for hospital, lab and observatory equipment does not address all of the sources of vibration that affect audio/video components. Vibration control products that are designed correctly from the outset to address all of the sources of vibration within an audio/video system will be more comprehensive and effective than supports that are "borrowed" from other fields.
Disclaimer: I am a manufacturer of vibration control products.
A "tweak" is usually considered an accessory device or a set up procedure that allows a component or system to achieve a higher degree of performance.
The basic components of a system that are required for operation are not considered tweaks. There may be some gray area along the continuum, however. For example: is an outboard D/A converter or outboard phono section a tweak if the main component already has them built in - even though the built in sections may not perform as well as the outboard units?. Most people would probably say that they are not tweaks but are upgrades to the main components of a system.
The cost involved with a tweak is not the issue. The distinction is probably that a person has to go beyond the basic connecting of the components to one another to qualify the additional set up procedure or the addition of an accessory as a "tweak".
"Tweak" is a common term in many other industries which describes small adjustments made along the way that yield improvements.
Barry, it definitely makes sense, but when we're talking about *solid state* amps, for example, I'm not clear what level of distortion vibration may really cause, taking into account the real in-room resonance frequencies.
As for optical discs, you're right, but mainly due to the fact that CDP design doesn't employ error handling schemes implemented in computers, in simple words re-read instead of interpolate. Average CD-ROM vibrates like crazy, but eventually does read the data error-free, while that vibration perhaps affects a data transfer rate. (I do realize that digital audio is more complicated to read and to transfer then data due to addition of another component: timing).
Barry, I'm sure we agree more than one might be led to believe. The point I tried to make is that as long as the vibrations are absorbed or dissipated it doesn't really matter from what source it has originated.
Hospitals, labs, and others seek to neutralize ground borne and air borne vibrations, just like you and me.
BTW I do have a set of your products in my system, and I am very happy with them.
Please do not get the impression that I am trying to argue with you - I am not. My comments are directed more towards all of the readers of this thread, not only the people that post. Some may not be aware that a platform that only is designed to address floor-borne vibration for lab, hospital or observatory equipment does not specifically address the other sources of vibration that affect audio/video equipment and would therefore not provide comprehensive vibration control.
I also thank you very much for your purchase of my products. I am pleased that you are enjoying them.