Discussion in 'Home Audio (Stereo Systems)' started by twinrider1, Jul 24, 2017.
Agreed. My system is HiFi, but at mid-Fi prices. It takes some research and some listening, but in the end it's certainly more satisfying!! At least IMO.
There definitely is a lot of BS products marketed to audiophiles by unscrupulous conmen, who unfortunately are often aided by articles in magazines that review stereo components and accessories. The sad thing about this is that it taints the correct information some of these magazines manage to provide.
The most bang-for-the-buck upgrade that I ever made to my stereo came from having two electrical outlets installed, each with its own dedicated line to my breaker box (i.e., each of these two new lines to the breaker box had only the one outlet and nothing else on it). This did not cost much to have done, but it significantly improved the sound of my stereo. Something about running my stereo on a line that did not also have lights and appliances on it improved the sound, though I must leave it to an EE to explain why.
IMO the vast majority of these people are pursing unobtanium -
and it appears that most have severe cases of OCD.
Buyers of these kind of gadgets are long past the diminishing
returns state. Of the couple of obsessive audiophiles I've been friends
with - both friends systems produce amazing jaw dropping audio.
As it happens both of them are also high order engineers. The acoustic and electrical
principles they use in their listening room are rock solid.
Sadly they are little more than audio addicts - pursuing sounds - and very
little music. For example Friend #1 has collected Telarc Discs - all gorgeous
and immersive works of classical music. You want to guess what he listens
for? The Violinist chair creaking - the slight squeak of a bow on string -
barely perceptible even when listening for it. Both derive an extreme amount
of pleasure being able to hear these kinds of sounds. I'm mystified by their
I have a third friend who is a mastering engineer. His system - which rivals
the other systems for price and defined clarity - is also incredible to listen
to. He is first and foremost a music fan - a kid in a musical candy shop as
it were. When he masters - he listens to the music first - and the noise second.
I've sat in on his work - he hears the ghost in the machines.Then he fixes them.
There is a palpable joy listening to music with him - the other two...not so much.
Like the old saying, there's an ass for every seat, or sumptin like that.
I'm amazed at what people buy into, but whatever. If you love it I guess that's cool. If logic can't convince you, I can't save ya either.
Some people go to the extreme of hooking their systems up to battery power and bypassing mains power all altogether. Personally I don't get it - because if the power supply on the amp and other components is up to the task then it's difficult to imagine the need. Moreover, if the power supply on the amp and components is not up to the task then it's probably going to nullify any advantages from using batteries anyway.
We have definitely become a species of turd polishers that's for sure - myself included. We are always looking for new ways to increase our consumption and stock of goods - then try to justify it.
Audio is like almost any pursuit. You have to decide what’s of value and how far you’re willing to go. Since music and sound is subjective, it’s up to the listener to make these decisions. To me, if someone thinks it’s good music or some equipment makes a positive improvement, well so be it.
And then there's snake oil and pseudo-scientific claims. And gullibility. And down-right ignorance. Which can be blissful, of course.
Perfectly logical to me. There are 2 types of audio folks: those that would be satisfied with a noisy Voodoo Laps pedal power, and those who desire a little less noise in the power supply.
One of the high points in my life up North was the almost nightly free Eastman School concerts/recitals. Hot young musicians playing pieces that hot young musicians would choose, in a very nice hall.
Now that I live in Hooterville, my hi-fi replaces that experience, as well as it can. I don't just run it. When it's on, I'm listening. I don't dress up, though, and maybe I should.
I'm an EE, this following post by @Alan Dunn is exactly right. And I'm sorry to say, you bought into the audiophile power BS, which changed your subjective experience of listening.
Unless you have some very vintage tube equipment or something (even then, you should upgrade your equipment rather than mess with power), modern power designs are more than capable of getting rid of whatever noise or voltage fluctuation you minutely improved by isolating your electrical outlets.
Good morning. I'm an EE as well (THE Ohio State University...) and respectfully disagree with you regarding a dedicated circuit. There is less hiss with my Mesa Boogies on my 20 amp dedicated circuit than the shared one in my music room. Proof enough for me that it's better. For me, I believe my ears first, then would confirm it with numbers/testing, not the other way around like most of the engineers I know. And just to be upfront about it, while I'm admittedly an audiophile, I have bought cables that were pretty expensive, and have found out they sounded WORSE than my less expensive cables. I also use my friends, some of which are NOT audiophiles (but musicians none the less) and we listen together and compare what we hear.
My 2 cents.....
Another EE here too. Notice the qualifier "because if the power supply on the amp and other components is up to the task". I've heard differences in a guitar amp on a noisy AC line vs. dedicated AC also. Dimmers, florescent lights etc. will contaminate the line with noise. And a guitar amp, especially a high gain tube amp, is going to respond to that noise. But you have to compare the power supply in a guitar amp (either a full wave silicone diode bridge rectifier or tube rectifier followed by what...maybe a maximum of 500uF of filter caps) to that of stereo equipment which have beautifully designed and filtered power supplies. I'm generalizing a bit here but I hope you get the point. So while I can see the usefulness of filtering the AC line in the case of guitar amps, the audiophile world has gone a bit overboard with its accessory power supplies. In 99% of the cases you just don't need it.
However, a lot of people are convinced that certain tweaks will "unveil" their system's sound. Cable risers, $3000 AC cords, I've seen speaker wire for over $10,000! If you've got the money and it makes you happy, go for it. Otherwise, there are much more economical and effective solutions to problems that in my opinion, generally do not exist.
These thoughts are just my opinion as a 65 year old retired EE that's been into great audio systems since the late 1960s, so take it or leave it. Roger Russell can explain it way better than I can, so here's a great read if you are interested. Mr. Russell was a lifelong engineer at MacIntosh Labs, and it's interesting stuff: http://roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm
Good morning! Well said. I agree pretty much with everything you list, and will review Mr. Russell's article tonight in the hotel room. (with an adult beverage as well). BTW - I'm only a few years behind you, and hope to retire in a few years.
I remember when the Tice Power Supplies came out. Was around 1990 or so if memory serves. The Power Block was a true isolation supply....big, heavy 1:1 transformer. Weighed a ton. Got RAVE reviews from the audio press. I got to listen to one, and as an EE figured I'd hear nothing. I was surprised, as I did hear some improvements to the soundstage (in my mind improvements - maybe I should say differences?). So I got to take it home to try; Conrad Johnson pre, Threshold power, VMPS speakers. And I heard the same difference at home - BUT - to my ears was not worth the $2400 (at the time) price of admission. Was not dramatic. Over the years power supplies have indeed gotten better on midfi and higher end stuff. So I'm on the fence about buying a power line conditioner for my Hi-Fi (now a Rogue pre, same Threshold, Sonus Faber speakers). I might spring for a Furman unit for the guitar amps (all tube) and see if I hear a difference. Maybe then if I do try it on my system. We'll see.
I am convinced any change and upgrade can have an effect on the system, but whether it is an improvement - or even discernible! - all depends. I sure have the impression that a lot of people have their priorities wrong. The last thing I heard was a guy with a 500 dollar amp who wanted to upgrade his system with a 300 dollar power cord. Better put that money towards better speakers.
When people have a dedicated listening room which is acoustically treated, have achieved optimum speaker placement, and have a system where the components work well together, is dynamic and resolves well, then I see point of - or at least fun in - experimenting with interconnects, power cords, vibration damping, etc.
Good morning back at you!
Yes, an isolation transformer can be very helpful in reducing harmonics if they are present. You want to avoid AC lines that have inductive devices powered by the same line, like AC units, refrigerators, compressors etc. I think you'll enjoy the article, it's long but it is a good read. My guitar amps are mostly all tube, Dr. Z stuff, and I figure that if I were recording it might be one thing, but the studio is probably going to have clean power anyway. For gigs, I'll never hear the difference and I really doubt if the audience will! They usually can't tell the difference between a Tele and a Les Paul...without looking that is.
All the more reason to have an Adult beverage handy!
@2016aug29 point is spot on as well. For me, the 2 most important aspects of HiFi are the room and the synergy of the system. My wife thinks I'm crazy for the sound absorption and system placement. We have a housekeeper who comes in once per month for the heavy cleaning (my wife is older than me, so it helps), and at first she was not allowed in my music room for fear the vacuum will disturb the speakers. She understood my fear, and now does a great job of making sure my system is not disturbed. Anal, yes, but it's my room.
And the hobby certainly can be fun. Sometimes it's a "fight" with myself when my wife is gone for the evening; play my guitar, or listen to music. 60% of the time listening wins....
Ha-ha, yeah, people who are not into "audio" think we are crazy. In my living/listeng room, I have no way of achieving perfect speaker placement. Wife, kids, space. It is what it is. I sometimes pull them out and place them right when I want a "serious" listening session. What I've found works really well for "semi-serious" and casual listening is to use extreme toe-in, i.e. so the sweet spot is about three feet in front of you if you and the speakers make up an equilateral triangle. That eliminates the room to a larger degree and the sweet spot becomes larger so that more people can enjoy "good sound".
Come on man, you can't compare your Mesa Boogie to a well designed stereo equipment, and with all due respect, the fact that you made the comparison is ridiculous. I've already said, "unless you have some very vintage tube equipment or something," which a guitar tube amp basically is. Dedicated power line does very little to "help out" a good modern stereo equipment -- its own power circuitry would be the bottleneck in the clean power it can produce, not the AC line. It's akin to sifting through flour with a tennis racket, when the flour will be sifted through an actual sifter. @PremiumPlus is right in his response to you.
If we're posting as EE, let's not support the notion that things like this objectively opens up the sound, gives more clarity, etc. If it gives you a subjectively better listening experience -- because that's what listening is, a subjective experience -- fine, share your subjective experience. But don't make engineering claims as EE that it makes any measurable, objective sonic differences, because it doesn't. No quantifiable data has been given, try as they might.
You have a nice day....