I'm sure I’m like a lot of us crazed audiophiles excited about new equipment but it can get very expensive to find that elusive system that satisfies our ears. Obviously we all want the best bang for the buck but in a lot of cases money needs to be spent and at times larger amounts do yield great sonic improvements. In the quest for my best system to date I have come to realize that some little things that are not all that costly can have a dramatic effect.
The first thing I experimented with is a proper earth ground. This was less than $100 including the wire and 8' copper ground rod. I found a proper ground to blacken the background within tracks be it vocals, instrumental or bands. What was recorded just seemed to burst out of the darkness something that I have not heard previously. Once installed you just hear what was intended probably better explained as lifting off the veil within the music. I encourage those who have not tried this to do so and see for yourselves – the cost is small but the benefit is huge. Just for clarification I have a Nordost QB8 which has a central ground lug that I connect too. I’m not grounding individual pieces of equipment. For those that are on a second floor or don't have access to install a ground rod check out Entreq boxes as a solution. In fact I found to do both ground rod and Entreq box leads to an even darker background.
The second thing is room treatments which again are quite inexpensive compared to audio equipment. It took a while to get started but I came to realize their importance after a seminar at Axpona that I should take them more seriously. In a way for those of you that have the new ML speakers or the subs using PBK in a way this is a sonic treatment for your room. I have found this process to vastly improve my subs performance as I do not have the luxury to place the subs in an ideal place but to place them where I have room. The results comparing the new 212's to the Descent i's with both being great subs but with PBK the 212's just integrate better in my room. Beyond that adding in my case treatments behind my CLX's and also at first reflection points did a lot for the soundstage. My latest adventure has to do with the back wall. I needed to move my music room around a bit and in doing so the room at certain frequencies would resonate. I had a small absorbing panel that I put in the back and I noticed an improvement immediately with certain tracks. Since then Shawn had some 2'x4' that were 2" thick that I tried two along the back wall and that really made a big impact not only with the resonance but with the soundstage. So for now I’m stopping with the back wall but who knows in the future the ceiling will be next ……..