January 16, 2011

Best Tweaks & Accesories 2010.

Regular readers will know that we are not naturally big on tweaks. We've always found tweaks to solve some problems, yet will always leave their signature imprint on to the sound of a system. It's as if we will always get a one step forward, two steps back sort of results. The best tweaks are those that work as advertised, but leave the minimal of it's own sonic imprint on the system's sound quality. However, some tweaks mean more to us than others. Here's two so far in 2010!
The best tweak ever, not just 2010, but any other year too! Tweak your knowledge, not your hifi!

I won't call this a hifi tweak at all, but rather a mind set and knowledge tweak! In my opinion, the weakest link in any system is very certainly the owner. However, how many times have we heard audiophile A blame equipment XYZ for being poor or "equipment PQR not my cuppa tea" kinda statement? I believe other wise, a system can only sound as good as the owner's knowledge and effort to implement the know how. Why is it that we audiophiles never blame our selves for our system's failure to sound good?

Fret not, before we sink further in to the deep abyss of hifi guilt conscience, there's always a book called "Get Better Sound" by Jim Smith. Jim guarantee's that if any one takes the time to read the book in it's entirety, then implement just 5 of his tips, one should already get better sound without the need to spend a single cent! From my experience, I wholly agree to Jim's guarantee. By the way, I've always believed that if all one need is money to solve a problem, than it's not really a problem. Real problems can't be solved by money!!!

I also believe many people can solve my problems, I just need some more cash! Ha! Ha!
The Cardas and Telos RCA & XLR caps are a love it or hate it affairs, no two ways about them!

The RCA and XLR caps are highly controversial, any way one looks at them! However, if one finds that it makes a difference or a perceived improvement to the sound, then why not? We tried 2 brands, Telos and Cardas, both are high quality designs with similar levels of fit and finishing. I find the Cardas to be more yin and the Telos ones to be more yang sounding, even if they seemed subtle. But that's what this tweak is all about, a last mile tweak that can mean so much to some, yet mean so little for all the rest!

I certainly preferred to mix and match between the Cardas and Telos to get a balanced sound result. I also have one final thing to say about this tweak, it's either go all the way and cover all those holes or just ignore it and do nothing about it. Both Odiosleuth and I started experimenting with the caps on various locations, but eventually, Odiosleuth left all his RCA & XLR inputs and out puts wide open and I ended up covering every single little hole for input or output on the system!

Final instalment of Best of 2010 next.


GCK said...

Hi Big E, best to improve system one can remove all the tweaks. Tweaks are like crutches. One can depend on them too much and not realize it. My system now is free of tweaks . What a liberation to the sound. I invite you to experience it my friend.

Big E said...


You've gone from one extreme to another! Ha!Ha!

However, I am sure your discovery is all for the better sonically. Will arrange to visit you after the CNY holidays.

GCK said...

You are right. One end with all the tweaks to the other without any tweaks. Only isolation devices. Anyone interested to get the kable jacket and ASI resonators?