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Tweaking Tips.

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Pulsar, Mar 2, 2003.

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  1. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Hello everyone.

    I have only recently (2 months ago) upgraded my hi-fi and been thoroughly impressed. I have a Rotel RCD-02, RA-01, Monitor Audio S2's on Soundstyle stands with a Cable talk interconnect and silver anniversary speaker cable.

    I love the sound I get from this system, but wonder if there is more performance waiting to be discovered. The only tweaks I have done so far are as follows. I have sand filled my speaker stands, which has made them quite heavy. I have my kit on a glass shelved rack branded 'something solid' which was purchased from my local hi-fi store. (Cost £100)

    Should I put anything between the base of my speakers, and the top of my speaker stands? (ie blu-tac) The top of the speaker stand has 4 small spikes that have scratched the wood on the bottom of my speakers.:mad:

    Would my system benefit from a upgrade in mains cables (homemade or otherwise)? I have read a few threads on this and other forums, but still can't decide.

    This one will be a bit controvertial, but should I bi-wire? (Not Bi-amp, the speakers are capable) If not bi-wire, has anyone got any experience with speaker cable made from network cable? (saw this on the TNT site)

    Would an isolation platform help? If so, under what piece of kit?

    I don't have megabucks to spend at the moment, so please take this into consideration.

    All replies greatly appreciated.

    Rob
     
  2. sounddog

    sounddog
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    How about buying our RA-1060 :devil:
     
  3. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    You bugger:zonked: Would love to, just don't have that sort of cash spare at the moment. Swap you for a mint RA-01????;)

    Serious replies please:laugh:

    Rob
     
  4. buns

    buns
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    blue tack is a nice trick, or halved squash balls if the speakers are weighty enough.

    Cable wise, i think that your existing cables are pretty good, i am no longer terribly convinced that a cable makes much difference, or improvement i should say. If you fancy fiddling with cables, the tnt ones arent bad..... but i dont notice much beyond the old cable talk..... i made the piano interconnects which are good in that they seem to be very well shielded.

    mains...... well im heading that way myself so i cant say!

    only other thing, fiddle with your toeing in angles, speaker separation and distance from listening position....... ive found a significant increase in my enjoyment simply by getting myself right in the sweet spot.

    good luck!

    ad
     
  5. deckard

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    Pulsar

    I'd definitely recommend blu-tack on top of your stands - my old standmounters were much better for it.

    I also get good results from upgraded mains cabling - I have Russ Andrews Yello/Powercord/Reference Powercord leads in my system.

    His oak cone feet are also surprising - I use them under my DVD player and they open up the sound.
     
  6. sounddog

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    Sorry for my facicious first answer ...

    First ... cables - I'm of the opinion that once you have decent interconnects and speaker cable, then there's not much to be gained from spending more and more on them. I have been told that if you are listening at low levels, that it can be worth buying attenuated cables that will allow you to turn the volume of your amp up further.

    Power cables ... might be worth investigating Russ Andrews for Kimber cables, they do a trial and return policy on all their cables.

    Isolation ... I'm yet to be convinced of the worth of using isolation feet or similar on amps, but can see the benifit of reducing vibrations on CD players ... but don't spend a fortune. Blue tack is good for speakers ... both to reduce isolation and reduces risk of knocking them off the stands. The half squash ball trick can also be used to isolate your CD player from vibrations.

    Vikki
     
  7. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    buns, deckard, sounddog,

    Thanks for the replies, I am off to buy some blu-tac and squash balls.:)

    I will look further into the mains lead issue.

    Thanks again.

    Rob.
     
  8. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Pulsar, tweaks hhhmmmm you are on the edge of a precapice here my friend, if these tweaks work for you then you are embarking on a road that will eventually lead to you selling your soul for audio nirvana and thousands of pounds later you ”May” be happy.

    Anyway here is a couple that wont cost you much at all.

    Get them speakers as wide apart as possible then toe them in to cross in front of your listening position.

    Glass shelves : Ikea/BQ chopping boards under your CDP, MDF sandwich with Bicylce Inner tube inflated, Squash balls (Some like them & others hate them as deadens dynamics). Cut MDF shelves out to cover the glass one on your stands (B+Q will do this for pennies) Glass shelving unrestrained is regarded as the worst “resonator” in hifi supports. Main components to work with on isolation are always CD & TT, this is due to the fact they both transmit (to/from) mechanical energy that effects perfromance.

    Add mass to your CDPs casework in the shape of a sandbag or brick to stop vibtrational effects as above.

    Add ferrite rings to your power cables, £2 a pop from Maplins.

    Get thyself to Wickes or any other DIY store and purchase 6 solid marble floortiles, use 3 per speaker and place under your speakers stands. This will further enhance terble & bass performance. Looks fantastic too.

    Cable elevators : get a load of styrofoam cups and place on the floor, now sit your speaker cables atop these cups, this will keep cables off the floor and hinder the effects of static charge from your carpet, you can buy Ceramic cable elevators in high end mags for £180 for 6, try the styrofoam cup idea first to see if this £180 would be well spent : Note that my cables go under my floorboards.


    If your speaker terminals have biwire terminals then you should use all 4 connectors as the speakers crossover etc has been designed as such, you should NOT IMHO use full length biwire, this is a complete joke IMHO, as the treble load in a speaker cable is very insignificant, it can be fed directly from the bass feed, so for example if you have a budget of £20 metre, a dealer will inevitably try to get you to buy 2 runs of cable one for treble + one for bass duties, this is full length biwire (FLB) the dealer gains in the respect that most believe will that FLB is a benefit and he will sell more cable in the long run, if your budget is say £10 a metre, don’t but 2 runs of £5 cable get a £10 cable and make jumper cable from the bass feed to the treble with the same cable like this :

    [​IMG] Edit

    Voila your main cable is then a better version of what you would have FLBd with. (IMHO)

    How is that for a set of tweaks, Im not condoning any one of these above by the way but all of these have been tried (well I don’t know anyone who likes the elevators TBH) and you wanted some tweaks so tweak and conquer Pulsar !!!

    Hmmm Buns Ive seen a few dudes change QED SA and like the results and this is with a much cheaper cable that costs 1/10th of the price :

    http://forum.hifichoice.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=998
    http://forum.hifichoice.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=2811 (Read the last reply)

    Pulsar : Ive heard many speaker cables and a DIY cable like the FFRC is a no brainer to try out, even if you own a more expensive cable at present, who is to say that it cant compete with cables costing 10/20 times the amount here is another thread you may like to read that may be of interest that shows why DIY cabling gets a bad deal purely on the level of its cost of materials, ie how on earth can a cable costing £1.15 per/metre possibly sound better than a £10 p/m cable :

    http://forum.hifichoice.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=4127&start=15

    Once you start making your won cabling you will never purchase a dealer bought IC/Spekaer cable again : well thats my experience.

    Regards
     
  9. mattheu

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    Surley what you're done is nor biwire at all , but conventionally conect the speaker and replace the jumper with cable. What are you on about the tweeter not presenting a load, what is that to do with theory ( whether its works or not ) of biwiring.
    I can't botherd to explain, as I'm sure I've missunderstood somthing here?
     
  10. WhyAyeMan

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    Hi Pulsar, glad your enjoying your Rotel gear, it is certainly good stuff.

    Now, I use the CJ recommended CAT5 speaker cable with my RA-01, to single wire to my Mission M51's, feeding straight to the HF terminals (feeding to the LF terminals made the bass boomy) and then OEM jumper replacements using short bits of CAT5, and the sound offered is excellent. It cost just £10 for the cable, and £30 for the banana plugs (bearing in mind i probably paid over the top for banana plugs).

    CJ recommends having the speakers toed in so the sound crosses in front of the listener, but in my room and with my speakers, that made the bass boomy and slow, so I actually have the toe in so the sound crosses behind the listening position - it has the effect of enveloping you with sound.

    I've tried the isolation route - currently, I have Vibrapods under my DVD transport, and CD-STR5+ feet (aka Trampoline feet) under my DAC. I cant say I noticed much difference to be honest with you, and my components seem fairly suseptible to vibration, but it did very little for me.

    Power cable wise, I have just bought an Audusa Eupen CSA power cable, which will cost you the princely sum of £48. I havent received it yet, so I cant comment on whether it makes much difference, but I'll let you know.

    I personally believe interconnects are a good way to fine tune the sound between your components, you need to try a few out, and see which one pleases you most. Alternatively, make your own, such as the Great White Shark DIY interconnect. This apparently rivals £100 interconnects, but for about half the cost. Or get a decent £100 IC, such as a Sonic Link Violet, for half price, on the second hand market.
     
  11. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Well for starters it was not me that’s a friends speakers your looking at, I use single terminalled speakers FYI. The point Im trying to get across is that full length biwiring with 2 exact cables the exact same configuration over the length of cable is overkill, hence biwiring with cable jumpers (this is still biwiring to me Maffew) is not much different to combining the biwire cables at the amplifier binding posts is it? the difference being that you are running the treble feed cable the full length of your cabling (a total waste of cable IMHO). Look at it this way the treble cable in a 5m biwire set is basically a 5m jumper cable can you argue any different ?

    Well I never once said the treble does not represent a load, I actually wrote was :

    Well the “theory” we are talking about here is whether it takes 2 identical cables which both carry 2 very differing electrical loads, the treble current drawn as I mentioned earlier is nowhere near as heavy as the bass load, so can you explain to me why it requires the exact same cable to do this electrical task ? It’s a bit like feeding one TV in a room its normal power cable, and one in another room a 300KV overhead power cable, the load does not require that cross section of copper. For example you save your money up to buy a set of speaker cables why should you half the quality in cost terms of the cable to feed purely to justify feeding the treble with the same cable when it’s the bass feed that does all the legwork ? eg. say QED SA Biwire, why not buy a single run at the same cost of the QED SA and make jumpers as shown above, better quality cable doing the job where required.

    You said it in one dude.

    Paul : you raise a good point that tweaks that work for some people don’t for everyone else, for example the toe in I apply is quite severe but for me it makes a room filling sound that is excellent, not everyone is after this. The ferrite clamps I noted above are another good one, I cant say I noticed one iota of difference with then in place for example others do though.

    Edited for quotes acting up !!
     
  12. WhyAyeMan

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    Following up on this, I've now received my cable, and have been using it for an hour. There is a difference, but I feel its pretty subtle, ie not huge - there seems to be a little more background detail, and the bass has more drive. Is it worth the £54 paid for it? Difficult to say, it depends what price you put on improvements, however, the difference is probably the equivalent of going from a £10 interconnect to a £50 interconnect I feel - noticable and positive difference, but whether its worth it only you can decide.
     
  13. nocturnel

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    CJROSS,


    This shortcut way of biwiring doesn't allow the full benefits that full length biwiring offers. The key to biwiring is that, although the same full range signal goes into both treble and bass (as your suggestion allows), in the return path to the amp, the bass fequencies have been filtered from the treble (by the treble part of the crossover), thus a pure "unswamped" treble signal is sent back to the amp. Since your suggestion has common return paths for bass and treble, the benefits of FLB are not enjoyed. Moreover, if the owner decides to biamp in the future, he has no way of seperating treble and bass without buying another run, thus your idea is a false economy.



    Nocturnel
     
  14. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    I must say that I greatly appreiate all of the detailed information that I have received. I will have a fiddle, and let you know how I get on.

    Rob
     
  15. sounddog

    sounddog
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    To be honest ... most bi-wire cable is twice the price of it's single wire equivilent, so it's not really false economy to buy single wire with the posibility that you MAY want to bi-amp in the future. THe short piece that you need to make the link is hardly going to break the bank on even the most expensive cable either.

    Vikki
     
  16. buns

    buns
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    Oh we are heading towards another biwiring discussion! Please lets not!

    have fun with those tweaks!

    ad
     
  17. sounddog

    sounddog
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    Sorry ... wasn't meant to be a bi-wire / single-wire argument kinda comment ... was just saying if you buy single-wire cable ... you've not lost anything (money) if you buy single-wire and then when you want to bi-amp you buy another run of cable.

    Vikki
     
  18. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Well Nocturnel I think we should agree to disagree on this one, did you see my comment about a 5m biwire set basically being a jumper set as well, if the treble feed is combined with the bass feed at amp before the binding post what is any different ? surely this "swamped" treble is going to be a problem at the amp binding posts, there is no filtering whatsoever when the biwire feeds are combined to create a set single + & - breakouts ie one set of bananas at amp end do you follow ?.

    Another query to ponder then is when does the length (ie actual distance in mm) of a "swamped" treble signal going back to the amp become apparent ? if we use a 2m cable with 200mm cable jumper ie the treble terminal is 2.2m away form the amp then how does this effect the treble return signal from Xover compared to being combined 2.2m further down the cable at the amp BP connection?. Can this 2.2mm length of wire can dramtically change a cables electrical ability?, when the only difference is that the point of combining varies : its still a jumper lead AFAICT would you not agree ?.

    Edit : So to simplify my opinion : Your assetion that a pure "unswamped" treble signal does not tally to me, I would say once the 4 cables are combined to produce 2 breakouts before amp binding posts, then the treble return signal is “swamped” anyway , exactly the same as Single Wire with jumpers. Another thing you mention above is the treble + bass feeds have common return paths, whats the problem with this as long as they are kept in their respective polarity ie neg/pos, after the crossover ie in the cable, then all that is required is a neg/pos signal for the current requirement to feed the drivers have I missed something, I cant see how this all becomes “muddled” as its simply positive and negative for treble and bass load requirements.

    BTW I have no problem with you believing your opinions above but why does it take an identical cable to carry a vastly different electrical load over the same distance as the bass feed what on earth is the point of that ? makes no sense at all to me see TV cable v 300KV ohead line what are they feeding ?, as for your quote on biamping, assuming a similar biamp set up ie one feed to treble then the exact same power amp to bass, well I have never been a great believer in that, again the load of the treble being insignificant in comparison to the bass, a whole power amp to itself again (IMHO) seems like overkill in the greater scheme of things.

    You are arguing above Noc that FLB should be encouraged in case biamping is ever employed in future, well again see my comment about an identical cable being required for treble duties, no need ie differing load for bass a cheaper small cross sectional cable could be used, so I would rule that out personally. If you must FLB need it be an identical cable that halfs your bass feed ?

    FLB to me in the real world seems like a waste or halving of your cabling budget, just my opinion of course and one not everyone would share but a free world, BTW Im more of an integrated man than a pre/power, more of a single terminaller than a biwirer, so thats just me personally.

    Dudes

    Edited to correct a dodgy length equation above and to include this link, quite handy to see what a speaker actually does in simple laymans terms (even I can understand what he is saying), what types of signal it uses, basic easy to understand info on AC, Crossovers etc etc. HTHs

    http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/speaker1.htm
     
  19. mattheu

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    CJCROSS

    I didn't misunderstand anything then.
    If you feel that the link is a form of biwire, well thats up to you and if you think that 'true' biwire is a waste of either money or time, as 'IMHO' its makes no difference, thats also up to you.

    The simple theory is that , unlike in biamping where the HF and LF are powerwed by individual amps 9 and some feel this is benificial), in biwire ( and ignoring your constant going on about the treble this and treble that ) the HF and LF frequecies are 'drawn' down separate cable runs by the drive unit, To some, this is thought to have benifical properties.
    If you feel it does then, thats what yo do.
    I feel biwiring offers little, but biamping does.
    The link wire system would have no benifit, other than be the only way to link a single terminal amp to a biwirable/ biamp'able pair of speakers, and not using the metal link bars. ( some feel the bars have a detrimental effect.
    Sorry if my reply seems arsey, but you guys get so carried away, with either to little, or to much technical knowledge, and either follow like sheep or feel as if you have to have a different opinion for the sake of it.
    Why not accept simple technical reasons for what to use, then decide by listening, not saying I wouldn't do that, I do this , and with my knowledge I think its right.
    My god I've rambled, like you have;-)
     
  20. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Nice addition to the "debate" there Maffew keep up the sterling work.

    Well thats open to debate :

    Well I never once said the treble does not represent a load, I actually wrote was :

    No more rambling from me towards you, promise.

    :lesson: :smashin:
     
  21. mattheu

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    Are you just a pedant?
    I would draw from the comment 'very insignificant' as none.
    You may call it biwire.
    It is not.
    Therefore you do not understand the principle.
    If you wish to continue to show your ingnorance then carry on.
    Your repy is smug. ('maffew , and 'thats open to debate')
    If you wish to continue as a sensible PM, please feel free.
    I'm sure with these type of conversations, that the intenation is lost, and some comments may be taken the wrong way.
    Having said that I feel I have a clear inpression of your attitude.
     
  22. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Hi

    I think that Mattheu is right to suggest this conversation/arguement continues via PM, as you guys have successfuly taken my thread off topic. :mad:

    If a moderator reads this then please close the thread.

    Thanks for the replies I did get.

    Rob:(
     
  23. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    What on earth are you going on about ? The last time I checked feeding BW terminals with 4 separate plugs+cables classified as biwiring, you seem to have a HO for biamping and anything that is not Biamped is not biwired, how the point a treble biwire cable feeding the treble terminals on a speaker is connected with/to the bass cable at binding post ie Full length BW can affect the actual amount the treble driver needs to operate is beyond me. I will say again that connecting a FLB treble cable at amp binding post is exactly the same a connecting downwind of the speaker terminals with a 200mm jumper cable :

    BTW I do have a good enough what biwire means in case there is any confusion in your mind :

    http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~www_pa/Scots_Guide/audio/biwire/Page1.html

    Yeah yeah whatever. Oh enlightened one, I don’t see you explaining your “theory” very well.

    Ignorance aw dearry me, this is a thread about tweaks and hifi components, cabling is one such item, I think suggesting to use double the quality of cabling for bass feed is a tweak many users have tried and believe in :

    http://www.groovehandle.org/showthread.php3?threadid=765

    http://forum.hifichoice.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=4336

    I have not seen one comment from yourself about a suggestion in the positive in this thread ie about the subject matter, yet you can just dismiss my opinion because you dont agree with it. It’s a discussion forum, but I feel we have nothing to discuss.

    As I had of your from your first reply.

    Last post from me Pulsar no need to worry, wont take one of your topics off subject again promise. Single wire + jumper cables is a tweak AFAICT.
     
  24. mattheu

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    One comment.
    The biwire priciple ( which as I've said I think, makes little or no difference ) is , as is shown in your link, from the amp connections .
    Not a set of jumpers at the speaker terminals.
    And as we have gone off the subject.

    Yep, I'd close it.

    Feel free to PM 'dude'
     
  25. buns

    buns
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    Guys..... this isnt on! I did specifically ask that this conversation ceased!

    In future please take better note and lets not have anymore ruining of threads.

    Apologies to Pulsar, i'll close this for you but feel free to open another thread which will be free from hassle!

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