Variations in how your system sounds?


Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere.
My system sounds consistently good to my ears for the majority of listening sessions but every now and again (say 1 in 20) it sounds slightly 'off' -- not its usual self. It is a very small difference but i do hear it. I would describe it as a slight lack of focus and dynamics. This has happened through many changes of all components.
Is it my mood, or hearing variation? Do i need to filter my power? Do you have similar experiences?
mike60
Mine does the same, whenever it happens I use a demagnitizer disc and its cured.
I used to have this problem. After much frustration & tweaking,
I think that power regeneration & fairly regular demagnetising (demag via power supply) solved this.
You might consider that your hearing changes day to day, and throughout the day. It is likely not your equipment at all, but you. Humidity levels, exposure to other noise, barometric pressure all affect your hearing.

Dirty power could also be the culprit, although you would likely hear differences more frequently, or at different times of the day if that were the case.
10-13-11: Meiwan
You might consider that your hearing changes day to day, and throughout the day. It is likely not your equipment at all, but you. Humidity levels, exposure to other noise, barometric pressure all affect your hearing.

Dirty power could also be the culprit, although you would likely hear differences more frequently, or at different times of the day if that were the case.
Great post Meiwan, I agree 100%.
I always attributed it to psychology, or physiology (ie my hearing). Also, have you ever noticed how if you leave on vacation for a while, how sweet your system sounds on return?
this has come up before with no final resolution agreed upon.

fwiw I have experienced the same thing and can not pin point it to anything specific wheather it be humidity, my mood, power quality, time of day (except after 11 PM).

The only obvious difference for me is after about 11 PM the sound is better and I am sure that is because my neighbors are using less power but that is not what this post is about.
Glad to know I am not the only one with this problem! I agree about any number of objective or subjective variables above that can affect our overall listening experience. Goes to show there are no absolutes in this hobby which keeps it interesting.
Its 'lights out' at 11:00 for the audio gremlins.
They need their sleep too.
i had similar issue's before upgrading my power supply. dedicated lines and good outlets took care of it for me. as always... your mileage may vary.
We are not machines so we certainly do not perform equally well at anything every day, including focus and hearing.

Consistency of source power and operation of any of our devices together day to day is always suspect but its hard to take the human factors out of the equation with things like this so I would look there first.

Look for patterns regarding what might be different on a consistent basis when these things happen and be sure to take your own mood and status into account.
Allergies respiratory issues infections etc all effect hearing.
I recently bought a Hi-Fi Choice magazine with a free System Set-Up disc. It's pretty entertaining, especially the soundstage tests...and it has a burn-in track with demagnetisation which I DO NOT understand...how can playing a digital track on a system demagnetize it? This will be added to the 12,416 things I don't understand, unless somebody can explain it to me.
10-13-11: Bdgregory
... Also, have you ever noticed how if you leave on vacation for a while, how sweet your system sounds on return?
This one I can certainly relate to and seem to experience every vacation. Good to know I'm not alone...
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, no doubt! :-)
I have wondered if the eardrums can be affected by the hot water of a recent shower. Can components of the ear soften or change characteristic and take time to recover to optimum? It would seem possible, if humidity has a proven effect. Thanks for the interesting feedback so far.
I've used that ear wax removal stuff (ear drops then you douche with water) for years (musician) and it is kinda amazing, and for me completely necessary.
If one cleans their records one would hope that one would also clean ones ears in order to hear better as well as for hygiene reasons, right? It can and does make a difference.

Now to start the marketing campaign for "Earcleaners for Audiophiles"...... :-)
'I DO NOT understand...how can playing a digital track on a system demagnetize it? This will be added to the 12,416 things I don't understand, unless somebody can explain it to me.'

Does the term 'MONEY' ring a bell? Actually the disc works on the same principle as 'hospital grade' outlets.
Rok2id: The disc was free, so along with your inability to explain how a disc can demagnetize my system you rendered your entire response irrellevant.

I replaced the cheap $1 outlet for my system with a PS Audio Power Port. That's something I DO understand.
'Wolf_garcia: The disc was free'

And just how was I supposed to know that? :)
"I would describe it as a slight lack of focus and dynamics.* This has happened through many changes of all components."

I've had similar issue in the past. Check your incoming ac voltage, usually a drop would result as such*. Whereas, an increase could have it sounding too controlled and pinched. Get a power conditioner incorporating stabilizer, or, if separately, a good stabilizer along with your conditioner. I've learnt it's not so much about ac quality in this case, but more likely the irregularities of it being the culprit.
You didn't mention if the problem shows up with all sources , that may tell you allot . I used to have an issue with music sounding better in the evening , I upgraded to a high end conditioner and that problem was solved .
If I am extremely stressed or fatigued, my system just doesn't sound right - as you describe unfocused with flat dynamics. Over several years, I'd experienced this with frustrating irregularity. Then I discovered that when I ingest a B-complex multivitamin the night before, my system always sound oh so right, glorious, the following evening. I have reproduced this phenomenon enough times that I cam convinced of the causality. From a medical standpoint (I am a physician) a logical explanation can be made, having to do with neurotransmitter depletion and general neuronal fatigue. As an aside,I have completely foresworn any alcohol in my diet for 5 years now; for me, alcohol consistently smears and thoroughly ruins the critical listening experience, even in small doses.
'for me, alcohol consistently smears and thoroughly ruins the critical listening experience, even in small doses.'

I have found the opposite to be true in my case. A couple of shots of I.W. Harper, and my speakers sound like the Wilson Maxx.
Rok2id...from earlier in the thread: "I recently bought a Hi-Fi Choice magazine with a free System Set-Up disc." That's how. I'm here to help.

I have to warn the doctor that by "foreswearing alcohol" the girls will not get prettier at closing time, and telling 'em you're into B vitamins...well...that just never works.
An interesting subject and I'm sure it is a true observation. I am not convinced it is physiological, I'm a physician too. Some days, you turn the system on and it just is'nt firing on all cylinders and yes, I do give it time to warm up. I am not one of the leave it on all the time, believers.
I am not ware it is connected to how I feel, tiredness, anxiety levels. I have a pretty good power supply, with a Pure power regenerator. So I can not explain it, but I agree with Mike60's observation.
Stereo system is not a "robot", it is a "living thing" too. That's the explanation, very simple.
Emotion, ear wax, humidity, lack of humidity, lack of emotion and ear wax...if things were experienced in a state of static sameness we'd all go insane from boredom. We experience the differences between things like light/dark/loud/soft/feel good/feel bad and if it were up to "big pharma" it would all be one large bowl of bland soup. I play guitar much better on some days...I don't think it's the guitar's fault.