What is your approach to system fine tuning with cables and cords ?

Everything already sounds quite good, no obvious weak links. 
"Everything already sounds quite good, no obvious weak links."

That's when I'm done.
n80, you never sound like an audiophile, and as such this thread cannot possibly concern you. You simply don't get it.
Yeah, n80 doesn’t sound at all like your typical insecure neurotic hypochondriac!

Um, room tuning first, talk to GIK Acoustics and Michael Green.

Next, move any wall wart / AC adapters out of your power conditioner's clean outputs.

Evaluate your image. Are instruments able to smoothly go from left to right, or is there a L, R and maybe a center? Is there a sense of height?

I use the rack mount version of this inexpensive strip for the wall warts:




They filter noise down to 3 kHz, and have great surge suppression. If you use them for the little noisy adapters they add one more filter between your main power conditioner and your analog gear and DAC.

Inna it is great to be at that point. I am now, but it took about three years after I replaced some very old stuff, and one thing leads to replacing another and so on. Now at about a year with magic dialed in my system. I think is is great fun to try different cables and cords and other tweeks. To me it is like me upgrading my guitar when my guitar already sounds fantastic. So I don't feel any compulsion to do so but I do enjoy doing it at times. I have no system other than trying to figure out what is the weakest link in my system. Many times it is the oldest piece I have that wasn't picked specifically for this system, but my previous one. 


What is your approach to system fine tuning with cables and cords ?

Everything already sounds quite good, no obvious weak links.

>>>>>My approach was to get rid of them. No more speaker cables, no more interconnects, no more power cords. Not only no weak links, but no links period. 😛

No more pencils,
no more books,
no more teacher’s dirty looks.

If thy eye offend thee pluck it out.
Started making my own power cords and speaker cables.
Time to have a crack at interconnect next.
Did make up a new TT 5 pin din to 2 rca cable for my Denon, seemed to work out ok.
Then I only have myself to blame if it sounds like crap...... 
If you haven't spent the better part of a weekend moving your speakers a quarter inch here a quarter inch there while toeing in a degree or two at a time, then you haven't even met your weak link.
Nice start, except Erik, he is like a broken record.

"n80, you never sound like an audiophile"

Thank you.

"You simply don’t get it."

I am certain you are correct.

"and as such this thread cannot possibly concern you."

No, it can in a morbid curiosity sort of way. And if it takes the turn that was probably intended it will be like watching a slow-mo train wreck. It is hard to look away.

And then there is the repartee. Who can resist that?

if everything sounds great its time to sell it off and build another system.


if there is a roll of dough burning a hole in your pocket, its time to learn firs hand   just how much real snake oil, if any,  is out there and begin buying different wires.

before you begin, ensure you are using the exact same playlist for all of your appraisals.

speaker wires should be the first area for initiating the destabilization of one’s mind.

experiment accordingly.

Power cords next.

start at the source and work right straight thru to the amp and or spkrs if they too are active.

you should by now know every note on every tune compiled in your playlists.

Main ICs next if separates or various sources are on hand.

if you are on schedule its been about a year so you will know you are making progress if by now your cuing up playlist begins to nauseate you before you are finished listening to it.

next, begin appraising source ICs 

by now  sheer exhaustion  should have set in from  all the ‘cabling’ auditions you’ve  endured in those late night sessions.

being a  committed, or perhaps soon to be committed, audio nut,  to overcome any lack of sleep, you’ve laid in an abundant supply of Expresso and duct taped the  remote control to your hand to prevent it from further damage by hitting the floor.. 

next, its time to revisit those speaker cables.

the earmark of studius progress  will likely be projecdtile vomitiing during or before the playlist begins.

to know when  you are completely done use a mirror and examine your image. it should appear harrowed and thin with  dark circles under the eyes. hair should either be gone or greying and unkempt.  

for final confirmation,  open your banking app and examine your   account, it should look similar.



I didn't say great, I said "quite good". If it sounds great then you are right - time to build a new system.
Nor did I exactly ask for an advice, I asked about other people's ideas and experience.
Power cords might be first, by the way, especially on the preamp and amp. 
In any case, I am only interested in analog source system.


the approach I listed above is EXACTLY the process I’ve used since I found out wires do matter. naturally, I keep this all within reason and within available means, of course.

the colorful asides were some what exaggerated, but only slightly. any way you slice it, listening to the exact same tunes, and taking notes all the while,  over and over again,  wears on a person. 

extend this effort over the expanse of months and it gets to be a real chore and soon is only pursued by the most compulsive and obsessive sorts. 

once very good which usually gets escalated to ‘great’ once satisfaction sets in, is attained, the process ends.

without direct or immediate comparisons a subjective account,  over time,  tends to get inflated if there is an element of satisfactory performance routinely being demonstrated.

how many in this past time have said they love the sound  of their rig, yet have done nothing, or haven’t mentioned they have,  with room acoustical treatments. or have not addressed the bass bumps inherent in every room?  

the one item I did not express is ‘retrying’ a previous contender cord or IC after it was discarded as the latest asemblage is then in place. perhaps now, it could be the Rosetta stone that brings everything together revealing still better performance. 

I try to not  be too pedantic with my  verbage at times.

as for a purely analog sourced arrangement, the same process applies. get a base line somehow, and usually that starts with PCs. then ICs. However I get the impression with tTs some factors not overtly apparent if at all elsewhere, reside in that arena. cartridgesalignment. tracking. tone arms. . MM/MC. isolation. Phono pre matching, etc.

then of course there’s the record selection process too. which version? re-issued? which pressing? its quite involved IMO.

TT lovers have their work cut out for them.

BTW, immense satisfaction, and that’s what this is all about, can be had outside the vinyl world when things are addressed  appropriately.

Seriously I suggest you have a go at building your own power cords if that is the cabling you wish to start at.
There are lots of threads on this subject and LOTS of information on the web as to how best to approach it.

Now there maybe some really expensive boutique power cords that best my home made items but as I am in for about $80 max on each power cord I cannot say as I am too interested in exploring that avenue.

And truthfully my home made cords were a decent improvement on the mix of Nordost and Wireworld ones I was using so I sold all of those then moved onto speaker cables.

If your system’s not broken, why are you continuing to try and fix it?

And how are you going to know when it’s fixed and you’re done?

Listening to good music via a high fidelity home audio system is meant to be a very emotionally satisfying experience that is relaxing, soothing and rejuvenates your mental and emotional health.

Being obsessive and compulsive about the performance of one’s high fidelity home audio system is actually medically recognized as a disease.
Constantly being concerned with fine tuning one’s audio system performance with alternate cables and cords for marginal sonic improvements is the epitome of obsessive and compulsive and is definitely not relaxing, soothing and rejuvenating to your mental and emotional well being.

Why make perfect the enemy of the very good?

Remember, music soothes the savage beast, not fine tuning.

Are you hearing me? You are a friggin’ savage beast, not a quivering blob of audio insecurities curled up in a fetal position crying in the corner for his fine tuning mommy!

You are a savage beast, soldier! Break free of your audio cable and cord chains and get yourself musically soothed!

There is no joy in OCD so set yourself FREE. See?

Just my 2 cents,

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Elizabeth, that's certainly tuning, though not what I would call fine tuning. First, you pursue clarity more than anything and this might make it one track tuning. I think, all elements of sonic presentation should be equally addressed, starting with lowest distortion possible and quietest background. Then, you give preference to high frequencies, when in fact one should not differentiate, not to mention that as you know most of the music is in the midrange.
Also, the power cords you were experimenting with are entry level and your speaker cables are about the same or even lower. That's not good enough, you don't hear what your speakers are capable of, in certain areas probably not even close. In other words, it's premature for fine tuning, the system is not ready for that yet.
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Ha , I just love these people who judge sound by the name of the equipment used . A long time , experienced diyer could put together a system with no badges of names on anything and some guys would assume it is not to their standards , Small minded . Come out of the cave man !
Elizabeth, I am glad that you get the message.
I will add only this, just in case that I might be right, at least to a degree. Speakers, any speakers, should sing not scream.
Elizabeth stated:
 "One reason it was easy to for me to hear differences.. My drive for clarity brought the sound to the edge of lean over and over.. keeping it warm enough with the clarity uppermost was the challenge. So the sound has been on this edge for years.. Finding ways to make it warm up a bit and still keep the clarity. So I am really used to hearing this and able to make adjustments to bring it back to warm enough to make me happy, while still having amazing clarity."
    Hello Elizabeth,
     I think I understand your desire to balance clarity/leanness and warmth in your system's overall sound quality.  You enjoy the clarity because it not only enables you to hear fine details in the music but it also allows you to discern whether or not alternate power cords and Ics, Furutech duplexes,  AC noise removal gizmos and other smaller changes are actually creating marginal improvements in your system's performance.
     However,  you find yourself constantly guarding against your system's overall sound becoming too lean because you also enjoy a warm quality to be present in your system.  
     This all makes sense to me and seems familiar because I have the same inclinations in my preferred overall system sound.  
     I previously thought I achieved this by pairing a VTL 2.5 preamp with NOS Mullard tubes and various decent quality class AB ss amps (McCormack, Aragon, etc.) to drive my older pair of Magnepan 2.7QR speakers.
     A few years ago, however, I swapped out my good quality class AB  stereo amp for a pair of good quality class D mono blocks.  These new amps were a revelation to me in terms of clarity.  In retrospect, I thought my former amps provided clarity but these new amps caused me to redefine what system clarity, neutrality, transparency and detail actually was.
     I thought improved pcs, ics, speaker cables, isolation platforms and dedicated AC lines resulted in better overall performance of my system but now think it may have just been a placebo effect.  With the class D monos in my system, all of these types of small changes,comparisons and marginal improvements are clearly audible and obvious. 
     Anyway, back to the subject.  Just like you, I also enjoy some warmth in my system sound.  But, after some experimentation, I believe I've achieved this warmth in an alternative approach that you may find interesting, counterintuitive and informative.
     As an experiment, I reconfigured my system with optimum clarity as the goal.  I replaced my tube preamp with a good quality very neutral ss unit and setup a hi-res computer audio system as a source with a 2 TB NAS.  I ripped my entire cd collection to the NAS's hard drive and also downloaded numerous hi-res 24bit/96Khz FLAC music files recorded direct to digital from Sound Liaison.com in Europe. 
     The results to my system's overall sound was amazing and counterintuitive.  The sound was very detailed and transparent with the quality of the recording and mastering clearly varying depending on the cd file played but the hi-res direct to digital 24/96 FLAC files were significantly and consistently superior in recording and mastering quality with resultant improved detail, sound staging and especially improved dynamics that sounded more realistic like the dynamics present on live music.
     But the truly amazing discovery was that I still perceived the bloom and warmth on both cd and hi-res files.  Yes, it varied in intensity by file and music played but my main point is that it wasn't missing and too lean.
     So, I've come to the conclusion that we should probably add the music played as another method of imparting bloom and warmth to a system's overall sound.
We can go in all directions. One of them is how you musically match cartridge and speakers. After all, it is the beginning and the end of the signal. Tuning and fine tuning the listening room is a big subject, of course.
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good is always the enemy of the best, as I understand it.

despite what or where one feels the need to experiment with what they deem already quite good, or very nice, it just seems purdent to develop a methodology for direction, a base line from which to eveolve, and a destination that can be reached within the confines of the gear on hand.

FYI... perhaps some plants on that window sill could aid in defraction. ficus and spider plants go a long ways to diffusing sound or ameliorating reflections.

Elizabeth's path included a speaker upgrade and some efforts comparing outlets and powewr cords. among other things.

Inna says begin with the cartridge. fine. start there.

it seems prudent to say 'attack that which is blatantly wrong first.

thereafter, a consideration is that once any part of the whole is altered, it becomes the fulcrum all else is hinged to. once an accepatable level of higher performance is extracted, it must be revisited. IMHO.

EXP has shown me trying out PCs on the source, and powewr train, with power amp (s) being flung into the fire first is my baseline I'll let all else balance on.

I would not think to begin shuffeling wires, footers, platforms, etc., unless I felt the outfit was under achieving.

IOW, a 5K to 10K retail priced rig is only gonna yield so much regardless the tweaks, though these tweaks may very well satisfy its owner.

with a rig running 30K to 40K MSRP it might need some experimentation to bring out its best, and that might mean replacing one or more of the electronics for better synergy, and not merely fiddling with wires and the aforementioned bits.

the crucible is always gonna be the ear and mind set of the beholder as to thier perception of what needs to be chased, and for how long.

how many here are component junkies? wire mavens? acoustical treatment obsessive? Power conditioner experts? or rife for taming bass?

the gear itself is IMHO the main limiting factor.

in short, there is no etched in stone tablets plan for attacking and extracting the best from one's system in reality.

just get in where you fit in, or not at all if for you, good is good enough. there is no law against it.
Hello blindjim,

     You are a wise man, with many pearls of wisdom that suggest a good action plan to follow such as:

 "It seems prudent to say 'attack that which is blatantly wrong first."

Very good advice that I know better as 'low hanging fruit'.  

     I agree that there are no set in stone rules in this hobby,  
     I would advise newcomers to read and learn as much as you can but also listen to as wide a variety of music, formats and systems as you can,  You'll not only be gaining valuable personal audio experience but you'll also be discovering what music, formats, components and system qualities you like and dislike. 
      All of this will become important once you assemble or upgrade your own systems.  I think your advice to 'follow your ears' is a good way to keep in mind what's most important and increase the chances of building a system that will really be enjoyed.

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Yeah, tuning the room with normal or almost normal items can be rewarding. Unfortunately, there is not much I can do, it is a living room. But I am lucky, acoustics is acceptable, and I mostly listen near field so it’s not a major thing. Putting Purist Dominus on the integrated amp and Purist Aquila on regenerator was. When I reversed it it was still good but much worse. Phono stage doesn’t react that much to different power cords, provided they are all very good. Still does , though, but I am temporarily out of cable funds.


re low fruit



thinking back on the instances I've seen Maggies on display or Stats for that matter I don't recall seeing much of anything placed between them and the front wall like I so often see with more conventional box speakers.

the idea of diffusion behind the speakers and or at first reflection points was info Albert Von S told me about a long time ago.

Albert treated a performing arts center in my area and he discussed his approach in so doing and how that outline works in numerous situations and applications with only the scale changing.

it was an enlightening talk, though Albert did almost all of the talking. a rule of thumb he left me with was shoot for a 50/50 room treatment, absorption and diffusion as needed. .

albertt said you could kill two birds with one stone by hanging 'carpet or rug runners' using standoffs from walls or dropping them from the ceiling and spacing them evenly or to suit along the side walls. kind of like skinny tapestries in what ever color or scheme imaginable. these would act as both diffusion and absorption being quite effecvtive.

I've since found I like to have the area surrounding the main speakers more lively and will use only diffusion around them. from the first point of reflection to the wall behind the LP when or where needed or desired,
as ˆ'm sure you know, all sorts of materials attack or address various parts of the bandwidth. its easy to find out which things affect what with little trouble.

In my room I ran floor to ceiling drapes a few inches off the front wall. these are fairly lightweight material and on the wall behind my LP a similar run of draperies yet these are far more heavy guage cloth.

initially I wanted Bonsai trees, ficus or similar plants strewn across the area and in the corners, but couldn't find appropriate types or sizes which seemed right so I went with materials instead.

even lattice work covered with color matched cloths could help keep the air and life in the presentation without killing the highs or mids much if at all.

naturally any and all of these notions depend on what and or how much gets used in this pspot or that place.

one can make wire frames from coat hangers in this shape or some other and adorn it with ????, then move it about to address ????.

making 'mobiles' and hanging them from the ceiling here or there might just do the trick at times.

it cost so little. only time and imagination seem to be the bar for DIY acoustical remedies.


do the tiny wires connecting the cartridge to the outputs influence the sound much?

then its either attack isolation methods or deal with the only variables left on the TT. ICs, and or Carts.

are Stylus' interchangable?

some free ideas that I use on any number of devices is different kinds of woods as footers.

a fella sent me several sorts a long time ago. mahogany, Teak, Co Co bola, Zebra wood, Ebony, etc. all in the same sizes. an inch and a half or so in overall dimensions.

each one of these 'flavors' or types has its own contribution to the tennor of the audio's voice.

local hobby shops usually have discards of various wood types you caan get for free, then just slice em up to suit, arriving at the same overall dimensions.

Myrtle and Apple have long since been used under components, so should other sorts of wood as they all seem to have their own peculiar contributions.

the only rule of thumb I've realized is the denser the wood, the harder is the leadign edges of the notes. it tends to draw attention to what seems to be an increase in dynamics.

i think it has more to do with the inherent frequencies or resonances of the wood than anything else. its an interesting dynamic to explore and costs virtually nothing to do so.