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22 Tips to Obtain Better Sound in a High End Audio System - PART III
17. PS Audio Power Plant; Principally I avoid giving specific brands in my non commercial web site. But PS Audio Power Plant is such a special product that similar components do not comparable with. It is a kind of power regenerator powered by electricity. P300 actually regenerates new AC for the audio gear. This regenerated AC is of much better quality than filtered AC because of the stabile voltage and near perfect AC waveform. It also removes 70 dB of EMI and RFI noise from the AC line!
Not all friends are agreed with me but according to me, it is very special equipment that lifts up the entire system to a higher level.
What would you expect from it is much relaxed sound, more layered deep and wide soundstage, crystalline treble and more inner details. Improvements are immediately apparent. Take care to use with power hungry amplifiers. (I am not sure about this currently Note: 2005)
18. CD Surface Treatments; There is several kinds of CD surface treatments in the market. They shine the surface of CD, thus laser picks up more information. What can be expected from a surface treatment is the high frequencies are cleaner and more extended. The easiest and the cheapest method of CD surface treatment is the one that used by pipe lovers .That is the human oil on the skin of face.
I apologize for that ugly tweak but our systems are personal and private anyway don't they. Human oil has the perfect thin viscosity and can be absorbed by CD surface very easily and effectively. Listen your CD first, smear the CD throughout your forehead and spread the oil with your finger and listen it again.
Don't forget to spread the oil by your finger every time prior to listen that CD.
19. Objective of the Third Dimension ; The objective of a stereo system is to achieve 3.rd dimension via two channels. All the hi-end or hi-fi equipments have own character, timbre and tonality. For instance a titanium tweeter will have different tonality then a silk dome tweeter. Two different brands of loudspeakers will have different tonalities as if they use the same drive units. The tonality of high end equipment mostly depends on the listening preferences of the designer. We will most probably not like if hear different tonalities from our own equipments even though the other system sounds much better. This case is so often faced; most of the audiophiles don't like the sound of somebody else’s system despite it is a better system. This case is also evident when buying or testing new equipment at homes. We sometimes test better equipment at home but feel something is still missing compared to our own equipment.
I remember very well, when Sony introduced the first 20 Bits CD player, most of the people found the sound harsh, edgy and coloured. People used to listen dark sounding CD players up to that time and hearing more inner details disturbed them.
I also remember very well that when I modified my old B&W 801 Matrix II monitor speakers and cancelled their protection units, the new sound had disturbed me a lot. I was such unhappy by the new sound and could not have listened at my system for several days. At that time, the manufacturer expressed that "the protection units were needed due to the speakers were designed mainly for recording studios". They also told to me that the new sound must be clearly better due to the crossover resistance that affects especially the lower mid and upper bass was lowered fairly. After several days of listening them, the sound became better and better. Eventually the sound was surprisingly perfect after few weeks. Actually the sound was the same but perception was changing. (My brain reference was changing)
If this is the often case, how do we distinguish the better unit by listening! There are several ways of it but for me the main method is third dimension capability. This is not the only case for sure but generally speaking, if two units are compared, the better one is the one delivers bigger soundstage, more dept and more height.
This is also the theory of Peter Quodrup from Audio Note UK and I am hundred percent agreed with him.
20. The Least Powerful Ring of a Chain; Hi-Fi is a kind of chain. Strength of a chain depends on the least powerful ring. Assume a water hose consists of variety of wideness. Derived water capacity will be in accordance with the thinner part.
A system should consist of similar level of equipments. If you add the best CD transport to a standard level of system, there will be some changes but not as expected. Also a poor digital cable will compress the entire sound quality of a very good system.
A long term plan should be prepared before setting up a system and the pieces should be purchased in time. Hurried purchases may come as replacement expense within one or two years.
21. Don't Immediately Judge a Unit, Give a Chance; Every system can sound well in time. System synergy is a kind of time dependent factor that sometimes takes months, even years. Sometimes we make quick decisions and quick prejudices for good products and immediately make unfair observations. According to me, the main element of the hi-end chain is the loudspeaker. If tonality and characteristics of the speaker is generally fine, or if the overall tonality of the entire system is generally fine, the system can be carried up for several further steps by playing with cables, tweaks, locations, tubes etc.
22. Critical Adjustments Should be Done by Listening Symphonic Music or Chorus Music; Once we decided about the main components of our system, we play with cables, tubes, tweaks and other accessories till finding the desired tonality. Adjusting the tonal balance of a system by listening single instruments or jazz trios may mislead us.
Upper mid and the treble bands of a sound is easily disappeared if somebody is far away from the original signal. This is the case, if we listen at a live concert or listen at a hi-end system. If this is the case, such instruments like saxophone, guitar, violin, even a human voice are darker and distant if we listen at a very good live record. Whenever we increase mid/treble band of the system by tweaks, such instruments became more open, detailed and dynamic. But one thing should be in mind that we may add a subtle amount of coloration to sound unconsciously. If a system is trimmed by listening small trios or single instruments, singe voices, this risk is really big. Such a system may not play a classical music performed by a big orchestra. If such symphonic music is listened, the system may reveal harshness and brightness.
It is often said that somebody's system plays well in classics but sounds quite dark in jazz, or somebody else's system is quite revealing in jazz but very bright and glazing at classical music. I believe this is the main reason of those phenomena
Hi-End is such a passion that so many opportunist firms and persons are added every year in spite hi-end community is not growing enough. Prices are multiplied by 3, 5, 10s every year. Every producer pretends to be one of the best in the world or at least within particular price level. Manufacturers issue review reports prepared by some ones!
No testing equipments in today's technology can prove that their claims are correct or no testing equipments can invalidate that their claims are wrong. In no way equipment can compare two units each other and prove that one is better sounding then the other. Pretended best in the world equipments/cables often suck in blind testing. If this is the case, it is easy to claim to be the best in the world due to nobody can prove the opposite.
The price of valuable equipment can fall down to 1/3 of the purchasing price within few years by the additions of MK-II's, MK-III's, Special Editions, and Signature Versions
While the best speaker in the world was sold by 7.000 ? Twenty years ago, the best speaker nowadays is more then 200.000? A poor line stage which is used to lower the volume is sold out by 40.000.?
Hi-End technology does not grow up for years. Most of the hi-end producers are very small family entrepreneurs that targeting very rich few niche people. They don't have proper research and development laboratories. Design and esthetical properties are the priorities.
I have the strong impression that Hi-End is digging its own grave with that pricing policy. We will see what will happen to hi-end after 30 years.
It is a deep less hole. My humble recommendations for the just starters is that go with second hand market products and go by reasonable priced equipments to minimize the losses of years. Never look for the perfect sound which is not exist in any money. Keep in mind that a 300.000? Worth amplifier may be % 2-3 better then a 5.000? Worth of his small brother.
Best regards with lots of music..
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Travel Part B