file Knee deep in Snake Oil, or not?

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WayneWilmeth Posted 3 years 10 months ago
Last edit: 3 years 10 months ago by WayneWilmeth. Reason: more info_outline
#18309
Hey Guys, I really enjoy the commonality of thought on this forum, the lively discussions but still where we mostly agree, our speakers are the best and everybody else's speaker suck.
Ha ha, sorry.
I don't really like to get into arguments, especially pointless ones where we are all talking subjectively and nothing can really be proven.
System warm-up:
I mean, Look, I turned on my system and put on music immediately (usually I go away and wait) and had to leave the room for it to have time to warm up. Sounded like crap compared to what it sounded like a half hour or so later. BUT some would stay in the room and happily listen. To each his own.
Clean yer contacts:
I know I started the thing about detoxIT, but drat it, clean and no corrosion and better connectivity means a better sound, or at least no hindrance to maximizing the sound from your system, right? That is science in my books.
Aftermarket A/C cords:
Several of my trusted friends on here swear by their Anticables, and I reckon most of us have some form of aftermarket power cords in use. I did not jump on this bandwagon really, but sorta have always done something that makes sense to me and not too expensive and with what seems like the least amount of snake oil in the equation. Ha ha
Power conditioners:
Well, I have one, I guess a lot of us do, unless you are into the power cables that must bypass a conditioner, see above. Seems to make moderate scientific sense to me, but I don't go overboard on this one either. Sorta go along in a cost-effective way.
Better quality (more expensive) ICs and speaker cables:
LOTS of argument here, I mean, serious talk and science along with LOTS of snake oil. So, I again, go along somewhat, in a more or less cost-effective way, I have a LOT of silver interconnects and speaker wires in my system. That silver is a better conductor than copper and nearly everything else is a given, and when it oxidizes it is still a great conductor. I heard the difference in demonstration and bought some pretty expensive MIT speaker cables and matching ICs, but honestly I have them relegated to my living room system that enjoys them but hardly ever gets played, I prefer the silver, but reasonably cheap ones. I am saying, I can hear the difference, but not worth fighting over.
Speaker cable risers:
Anybody go for this one? I did not, have not.
So, when I bought my custom in ear monitors, I found them lacking in treble balance, "air" and refinement. I blamed it on the cheap cables that came with them. I ordered a custom made pair of the brand new Whiplash Audio TWag V4 Litz silver ciem cable.
www.whiplashaudio.com/index.php?route=pr...=1191&search=TWag+V4
These are only 4 ft. and made of cryogenically treated silver litz wire with a special custom nylon center core.
Man, now I am in snake oil over my knees!!!!!
Wait a min. it gets worse!!!
I waited forever to get them, when I finally did, I had a good listen with the old cables first, then exchanged them. Put on the same music and to match volume I had to turn my volume on my DAP WAY up, these played so quietly!!!! But after only 30 mins of break-in (more snake oil) the volume came up quite a bit, and after almost 2 hours of playing I had to keep turning down the volume until now after several more hours they play LOUDER THAN MY OLD CABLES!!!! BREAK-IN??? BURN-IN???? So many people don't believe in that, but you should have heard it. And the sound from my ciems is now totally changed, for the better, treble treble, air, balanced frequencies now the bass, mids and treble are all the same volumes. SNAKE OIL up to my eyeballs now!!!!
Man I hate it when life intrudes on common sense!
Actually I am well happy it did, I paid $400 plus shipping for that cable because I was almost sure it would bring out the best in my monitors, and my bet paid off. But I did not know the break-in would be so dramatic. And it may not be over yet, still listening.
For the sake of science(?) I offer this, I can now hear the difference between whether brushes are being played or a Cabasa. And you can see from the pics that the silver cable seems beefier, more conductor area. My highs were muted before and now they sparkle and shimmer. There is a sense of space and air around the recording that was totally missing before.
OK, I throw this out for comment.
And for fun. Yes, I might be crazy, but I am happy!!!!
God Bless,
Wayne
God bless the child that's got his own.
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rjohn79395 Posted 3 years 10 months ago
#18310
I'm with you on this whole topic, Wayne!

I started out with good ol' "lamp cord" type speaker cables, stock power cords, Best Buy/Radio Shack type interconnects, and stepped SLOWLY and gingerly into better cables, cords, interconnects, "ear testing" as I went. Increased clarity and naturalness came along with the changes. And more expensive wasn't always better.

It IS an area of decreasing marginal returns, full of fancy terms for expensive items. My audio dealer told of one person he knew who spent something like $100,000 on just the speaker cables for his HT system. Wow. My ears aren't THAT fussy!

Never have gone for speaker cable risers. I guess my modest efforts have been toward calming the bulk of the electrical noise generated in or coming to the system, and using interconnects and cables that do a pretty good job of carrying the signals without distortion from one component to the other. Keeping contacts clean falls in the category of carrying signals without distortion also. I'll save/spend the bulk of my HT budget on the gear itself, and speakers in particular. I think we all keep that in mind. Can't see running $5,000 speaker cables to $200 speakers. :laugh:

Maybe we're all just "hearing things" when we do our hopefully cost effective upgrades to signal carrying etc. :P Personally, I don't think so. And the equation is different for everyone. Lots of folks are perfectly happy listening on a Jawbone/boombox, or with garden variety headphones/iems. Whatever works for the listener!!!

Happy listening!

Rick
5.4.4 HT speakers: T Ref fronts/LFE 1, SuperCenter Ref, T1 surrounds/LFE 2, HTR 7000 top fronts, Invisa 525 top rears
Zone 2 speakers; 2 Invisa 525's
AVR: Marantz SR 7010
Amps: AT525NC 5 channel, Parasound 275 v.2 stereo
Cable/TiVo, OPPO BDP 105D, Bluesound Node 2i
47" Panasonic 3D smart tv
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WayneWilmeth Posted 3 years 10 months ago
#18313
Thanks Moderator Dude to put this thread in the right place for me.
What about you, do you have any ringing bells in the room?
Any snake oil stories?
God Bless,
Wayne
God bless the child that's got his own.
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rjohn79395 Posted 3 years 10 months ago
Last edit: 3 years 10 months ago by rjohn79395. info_outline
#18314
Talk about heading into "Snake Oil Territory"....

In Jim Smith's book, "Get Better Sound", there's lots of practical tips on speaker and component placement, etc., and some less "provable" tips like warming up a system before critical listening. Here's one even he says he can't provide a coherent reason for why it works.. Tip no. 106 is to tune up your system with a disc called "Irrational But Efficacious!" and is called a "System Enhancement Disc". It's made by Ayre Acoustics, which is not exactly any fly by night company! In fact, their gear consistently gets high marks in magazines like Stereophile. The disc is listed on their web site under "Accessories", and "exercises" your system by slowly gliding from 5 HZ to 20kHZ, to be played at lower than normal SL's. Even on the disc it says "While we don't have a conclusive proof of the mechanism involved, we suspect that it functions by demagnetizing residual fields that build up in your system over time".

I guess I can see some logic in "exercising" all components in a system now and then, from speaker drivers to crossovers to DAC's to amp transistors, etc., through the whole frequency range. But no one, including the manufacturer, can explain definitively why this particular disc should improve sound. Well, out of pure CURIOSITY, I got this disc, tried it once, couldn't really hear anything different after playing it. Though to be completely fair, I didn't do what I usually do when testing, of playing a test piece first, then making the change and playing it again at exactly the same sound volume. YMMV. Will probably try it again at some point, and do the before and after thing.

Put this one in the "maybe you can hear a difference, maybe you can't" category. Maybe it's system/gear dependent, or the total time a component has been run.... who knows. I sure respect Ayre Acoustics' expertise re SQ. No lack of theories around on what can improve/change SQ! All I can say is I didn't notice a difference the casual way I tried it. Anyone else had any experience using this disc?

Happy listening, Snake Oil or not! :laugh:

Rick
5.4.4 HT speakers: T Ref fronts/LFE 1, SuperCenter Ref, T1 surrounds/LFE 2, HTR 7000 top fronts, Invisa 525 top rears
Zone 2 speakers; 2 Invisa 525's
AVR: Marantz SR 7010
Amps: AT525NC 5 channel, Parasound 275 v.2 stereo
Cable/TiVo, OPPO BDP 105D, Bluesound Node 2i
47" Panasonic 3D smart tv
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Timecop Posted 3 years 10 months ago
Last edit: 3 years 10 months ago by Timecop. info_outline
#18317
I'm going with "not" in regards to pursuing the long tail of improvements. I'm very pragmatic, and prefer to spend my $$$ (and time) on things that will have measurable and large performance improvements. Many of the products mentioned above won't survive blind A/B tests.

Good speakers. High quality recordings. Articulate DAC. Clean power (amplifier). That's about it for me.
Triton Two front L/R
SuperSat 50c center
Triton Seven surround L/R
SuperSat 50 surround rear L/R
AVR Marantz sr6005
Amp Marantz mm7025
DAC Fostex HP-A8C
Velodyne optimum 10” sealed, back left corner
Velodyne 8” sealed, front right corner
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Moderator Posted 3 years 10 months ago
#18318

WayneWilmeth wrote: Thanks Moderator Dude to put this thread in the right place for me.
What about you, do you have any ringing bells in the room?
Any snake oil stories?
God Bless,
Wayne


Tons of snake oil stories, I think I've seen it all. One of my favorites was the little wood blocks (Shun Mook I believe) you'd set in specific places on the components. Very Zen. Very absurd.

As I've said before, my feelings are that all the little stuff adds up. If you find something that makes even the slightest improvement (like contact cleaning), when added to the other ten things you've done that made a little difference, the results can be pretty significant. When someone "uninitiated" hears my system and says, "wow, great speakers", I am always quick to point out it's a lot more than just the speakers. And I'm certainly not talking about expensive tweaks either, and upgrade in cable or power cord is an upgrade even if it is just replacing a $10 OEM with a $50 branded, the incremental improvement will still be there.
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