What was your first big eye opener with regard to audio?

Hello friends,

what was the most fascinating thing you did with the compilation or optimization of your system in terms of SQ or performance, that really got your attention in either a good or bad way?

what was it that actually impressed or surprized you once it was in place?

or what DIY project was it that once done really gave your audio system a big shot in the arm SQ-wise?

maybe it was simply finding out just how much some items could cost

something always seems to take place that changes our philosophies or understandings and maybe even our approach to arranging a fine audio system.

what was your’s?


Perhaps it was buying a quality rack, platform, or maybe a pr. of amp stands?

rolling tubes? adding iso footers?

biting the bullet and bringing in a decidedly  more expensive or merely a different electronic component? DAC? Line stage? Mono blocks? Speakers?

what amazing things could be done with as little as 8wpc?

for example, my ‘eye opening’ events came two  fold. adding power line conditioning and using upscale wires/cables, or power cords.

which of these came first I’m not sure but all of them  came with a huge amount of prejudice on my part as to them doing anything positive to the quality of the sound, but indeed they did!

other things came along with nearly the impact or mind altering impact but those were the initial items that paved the way for me to keep an open mind with respect to building an audio system and preserving its synergy.

what was or has been your epiphany? your most surprising  ‘move’ in audio land?

Great post! It makes me reflect upon my purchase decisions. My top #3 would be

1. Loaner Cardas speakercables. Suddenly my speakers and amp sounded just right. Beforehand I tried for months to get the sound right but was never successful. Sold the speakers right after, because I had dreams for something better mmmm.... Still think about that system.

2. Wadia 9 classic dac. This dac is simply possessed. It does everything, and I mean everything right and then some. Huge difference with my previous dacs. It cost too much actually. But I can't let it go.

3. Proton D1200 monoblock version 2x with Alón II.  This combination is magic. It has the top end sparkle that eludes me at the moment. And that sparkle is special!  But are also the fastest amps I own. With good recordings it has gravitas and a organic seamlessness which are difficult too beat, with all kind of music. Why in the hell did I sold those speakers?


I was shocked the first time i heard an all tube system. I knew then that was the ticket for me if not solely but as an additional rig in house.

Its sound still haunts me.
Thanks much.

I dig both sides of that coin, cost and performance.

the right mix is in fact revelatory. thanks.


yes indeed. Top performing DACs are THE key to digital musical enjoymnent. thank you.

This is a no-brainer. It was building my F5. Design-wise, it's an almost ideal amp for my speakers. But to say the amp was a revelation doesn't make the point. The design of the amp lets you decided what kind of distortion you want. I messed with that thing for a while

interesting. if there's something I miss about electronics its the ability to dig deeper into the build/design and tweaking it, or making your own unit.

Sadly, for me that ship sailed long ago.
thanks much.


cables, or perhaps the right mix of them does seem to introduce magic where it was not previously.

for me it was power cords first, and it remains that way when wires are getting arranged into a rig.

plus 1 foor DACs.

matching amp & speaker is as key as any other portion of the mix IMO.
thank you
That a good quality pre-amp is really important and that phase is very important to me. I hear phase issues in bass as well as high frequencies as well as phase consistency across the entire spectrum: I can’t enjoy MQA for this reason - too much phase distortion. It may be why I like active speakers with correct phase response across the crossover. Many people don’t seem to be bothered by phase accuracy at all....so I guess we all focus on different aspects. Phase distortion immediately sounds artificial to my ears - MQA is a really contrived sound to my ears for this very reason. 
My first eye opener in audio was actually as a teenage guitar player when I fell in love with the sound of a vintage Fender Twin over the 2-dimensional SS amps they were cranking out in the 80s.  The wonderful sound of tubes still forms the backbone of my audio system today but the seed was planted in my musical soul back in high school.
Going to a friend’s house back in ’79 and listening to his system: Quad 57’s/Futterman H3aa’s/Marantz 7 tube preamp/ Thorens 125TT/Rabco SL8 arm/Panasonic Strain Gauge cartridge. Afterwards at home, my 4 speakers/4 SS amps/active x - over no longer sounded as good! So I resolved to get a system like my friend's. And now I have!