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Equipment placement and cable differences

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mentorron

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I use very inexpensive interconnects and lower-end equipment to drive my Original Aerius's. On another forum which I subscribed to because of using older equipment, I happened to mention two of my current experiences and was criticised by a Moderator there for posting what he thought were ridiculous experiences/conclusions. I would like to know if it IS possible to experience what I did or if it is just a placebo effect: i.e. am I imagining things. Your experiences in similar situations would be appreciated.
What I reported:
#1. I replaced my 18 year old interconnects with more modern ones, although very inexpensive ($7 a pair). To be exact, Acoustic Research APO31's. I found the sound to be cleaner than with the older cables (which were oxygen-free with gold plated contacts), and cost about $10 (on clearance) back then. I believe they are not defective in any way, as I tested them with an ohmmeter for both continuity and shorts.
#2. I re-stacked my components which were (top-to-bottom): CD player, Preamp, Tuner, to be: Tuner, CD Player, Preamp and found the sound to again improve (which I had not expected). I then put them back in their original positions and the sound quality reverted to what it had been before. So the effect was repeatable, not just a one time off thing.
Note that these were not GREAT changes in quality, but enough to be quickly noticeable and consistent enough to remain so for the last few days, to the point where I would not consider reversing either of these changes, even if it IS a placebo effect.
Just for sanity's sake though, I would appreciate knowing if changes like these have any basis in scientific theory, which apparently that Moderator felt was unlikely.
 

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RichTeer

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#1. I replaced my 18 year old interconnects with more modern ones, although very inexpensive ($7 a pair). To be exact, Acoustic Research APO31's. I found the sound to be cleaner than with the older cables (which were oxygen-free with gold plated contacts), and cost about $10 (on clearance) back then. I believe they are not defective in any way, as I tested them with an ohmmeter for both continuity and shorts.
#2. I re-stacked my components which were (top-to-bottom): CD player, Preamp, Tuner, to be: Tuner, CD Player, Preamp and found the sound to again improve (which I had not expected). I then put them back in their original positions and the sound quality reverted to what it had been before. So the effect was repeatable, not just a one time off thing.
Note that these were not GREAT changes in quality, but enough to be quickly noticeable and consistent enough to remain so for the last few days, to the point where I would not consider reversing either of these changes, even if it IS a placebo effect.
Just for sanity's sake though, I would appreciate knowing if changes like these have any basis in scientific theory, which apparently that Moderator felt was unlikely.
Your experiences are the same as mine, many years ago. Ignore the closed minded people on other forums (what was it, the Flat Earth society?).

And how can something be a placebo effect when you're not expecting any differences, and the results are repeatable?
 

Bernard

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A transformer in one component can have a detrimental effect on circuits in another component stacked above or below it, so what you report does have a scientific basis.

On one occasion a friend of mine had a receiver stacked on top of a cassette deck, and he had a hell of a hum through the speakers. Unstacking them solved the problem.

The moderator on the other forum is obviously an ignoranus.
 

amey01

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First, bear in mind that hearing an "difference" [my word] is not the same as hearing an "improvement" [your implied word].

Secondly, "basis in scientific theory" has to be understood to be only what we know - that is, 2010 science. If you hear a difference then it may have a basis in scientific theory, even though we may not be aware of what that is at this point in time!

2020 or 2030 sicence may well explain what we don't understand today. If you hear a difference (and you like it), accept it and don't sweat it.
 

Gordon Gray

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A question and a couple of thoughts.

Prior to switching out your old IC's, when was the last time you disconnected / cleaned the RCA's and the inputs on your gear? If the answer is "it's been a long time", pulling and reinserting the RCA's will impact the sound.

The new IC's may be better but the effect you heard may be a result of not cleaning the older IC's.

Stacking your gear the way you have creates a clear path for EMI and RFI induced artifacts. Perhaps, the new arrangement decreased the potential for this effect.

If you want to do something that's pretty cheap and will definitely improve the sound, get rid of the stack and put some inexpensive vibration attenuation devices, such as Vibrapods, under each piece of gear.

GG
 

TomD

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My first thoughts are stated in the above posts, currents creating interference and switching out the old for the new resulting in cleaner connections.

What sort of Moderator would criticize such a reasonable post:confused:

I'm glad you found this group.
 

twich54

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The new IC's may be better but the effect you heard may be a result of not cleaning the older IC's.

Stacking your gear the way you have creates a clear path for EMI and RFI induced artifacts. Perhaps, the new arrangement decreased the potential for this effect.

If you want to do something that's pretty cheap and will definitely improve the sound, get rid of the stack and put some inexpensive vibration attenuation devices, such as Vibrapods, under each piece of gear.

GG

x2.........
 

Rich

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It certainly is possible that restacking the components can have an effect on sound based on differing vibrational characteristics or due to the electromatic radiation fields of a transformer affecting a nearby component. And different interconnects can sound different (albeit, not necessarily "better"), even inexpensive ones, depending on their electrical characteristics. And, as Gordon said, just pulling off and replacing interconnects can have a cleaning effect on the contacts and result in better sound, in and of itself.

But I have to say this, and with all due respect, but with the components you are using, I have doubts as to the ability of your system to resolve the kinds of minor differences in sound that we are talking about. If you have never tried your Aerius speakers with higher end components than what you show in your picture, I don't think you really have any idea of how good they are capable of sounding. I'm not trying to be a jerk and criticize you. But the types of differences in sound from varying cables and vibrational control, etc., are pretty subtle differences. And without equipment capable of distinguishing those kinds of minor variations, it may be impossible to hear those minor differences in sound. So I guess what I am saying is that it is scientifically possible that you heard a difference, but my guess is that the placebo effect is probably just as possible if not more so.
 

RichTeer

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But I have to say this, and with all due respect, but with the components you are using, I have doubts as to the ability of your system to resolve the kinds of minor differences in sound that we are talking about. If you have never tried your Aerius speakers with higher end components than what you show in your picture, I don't think you really have any idea of how good they are capable of sounding. I'm not trying to be a jerk and criticize you. But the types of differences in sound from varying cables and vibrational control, etc., are pretty subtle differences. And without equipment capable of distinguishing those kinds of minor variations, it may be impossible to hear those minor differences in sound. So I guess what I am saying is that it is scientifically possible that you heard a difference, but my guess is that the placebo effect is probably just as possible if not more so.
Normally, I'd be inclined to agree with this, but own experience is to the contrary. When I first started playing with isolation and cables many years ago, my system was VERY humble: a Marantz CD-71 CD player (yes, even I had a brief flirtation with the Dark Side!), a Pye receiver, and a pair of Tannoy Mercury Mk 2s.

I was astonished to hear an improvement in sound quality when I placed a Mission Isoplat under my CD player (and yes, I could duplicate the effects). Ditto with my bi-wiring experiments. In both cases I wasn't expecting to hear a change: I was--and remain to this day--an open-minded sceptic. But I can't deny what I heard with my own ears!
 
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