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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:28 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:57 pm
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Location: Homestead, PA, US
This is obviously a forum of what looks like fairly high end audio users. I did a post asking if you were building a $2000 system what new/used equipment would you look for. Unlike my other posts, not much in the way of response. For $2,000 you could assemble components that originally cost $5,000. Systems at that price point must be below the interest level of most users on here, which as I said seems to be more high end than that. Stereophile & The Absolute Sound have done reader surveys and have been able to determine the average price range of their average readers system. I don't know if Audio Mart has ever done that. Anyway, there are still plenty of users who due to financial factors, have systems that are borderline or less than "high end." They can't afford to buy equipment that does everything right, but with wise matching and cable selection, accessories etc.they may be able to balance things out, so that their overall sound does do everything pretty much right, but perhaps not to quite the same degree as the more expensive stuff.
So if you in the past had to use equipment or accessories as a sort of "band aid" to get your system to sound right, what were they? Taming brightness and adding some sparkle are probably the 2 most common aims, but for those not well to do, there are also higher difficulty issues like bringing down an annoying peak in the frequency response.
When I hear a peak in the frequency response, which can stand out and can decrease the sweetness or even sound downright stingy, the first thing I try, is to bring down distortion. A lot of peaks are a combination of non linearity & traces of distortion combined. Finding an interconnect or piece of equipment that has a suppression just at the same frequency it sounds like you have a peak is hard. So distortion lowering is my first step. Its good to know how to mod inside the equipment, but for most people that means actually trying something externally.
I have an old Purist Audio interconnect which has fluid damping of the conductor which throughout the years has always in every case, been able to warm up and dim the brightness of a bright combo of components. I no longer use the cable, but still have it. Slight dulling is often an effective way toward bringing down midrange and treble peaks. Sumiko TWEEK was a product good for that also.I have a few fluid bottlwayof this early contact enhacer still lying around, the original version was hard to apply a thin layer and could gunk up your terminals. It decreases distortion and can bring down peaks in the upper midrange and highs. Its "apparent" frequency response alteration to my ears sounds similar to using LAST record preservative on your lps, which I use on some of my jazz & classical lps, and it also reduces distortion and often tames peaks in the areas mentioned above. Gluing felt around my tweeters also sometimes has done wonders; even improving imaging by decreasing and absorbing early reflections from the cabinet.
Increasing energy to a suppressed, too laid back midrange without making the highs sound like they are over the top is probably the hardest; without knowing how to internally mod. There are some pretty high quality vintage big transformer Denon integrated amps which have a midrange level control.A great thing & interesting thing to experiment with.
Ways of adding sparkle and decreasing murkiness? Cables are the first thing that comes to mind. Nordost is a common recommendation. Tributaries series 8 interconnect has worked well for me in some situations where there is too much warmth and it needed lessening. This cable is not well known but very effective in the right system. Also there have been affordable power strips that have brightened the sound without adding anything bad.Make no mistake certain power strip/conditioners can improve your sound immensely as opposed to plugging into the wall. If your system is neutral and can use a little more bass heft, finding an old JPS Labs multi outlet dock could be a good find. What are some thing you have used as band aids that you have lying around and no longer use?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:35 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:07 am
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Location: Highland Village, TX, US
I still have a CD Stop Light green pen and Ionoclast (to "neutralize" static on CD's), both purchased from Mapleshade (they also have some GOOD products by the way...) I believe the pen must be long-dry by now...

Yep, it's dry (and now in the trash!)


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:28 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:57 pm
Posts: 194
Location: Homestead, PA, US
I use a green paint pen marker from Michael's to green the edge of my CD's. For those that have convinced themselves that painting discs doesn't't do anything; go out & buy 2 identical CD pressings of the same title. Green the edges of one and let the other alone. Alternate listening to the same track on each and concentrate on the edginess of the instruments sound. Always more edgy on the untreated disc, distortion, glare & other things cause edginess. Edginess can give the impression of falsely enhanced clarity. Truth requires doing things the scientific way.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 2:06 pm
Posts: 91
Location: Montreal, QC, CA
I used to find a Black Hole antivibration donut, from Herbie's Audio Labs, made almost all my CD players sound smoother. The exception was the VRDS transport, which refused the extra layer on the CD.

Still have the Black Hole but nowhere to use it.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:16 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:00 pm
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Location: Rio Rancho, NM, US
Toby wrote:
I used to find a Black Hole antivibration donut, from Herbie's Audio Labs, made almost all my CD players sound smoother. The exception was the VRDS transport, which refused the extra layer on the CD.

Still have the Black Hole but nowhere to use it.


I bought a Black Hole from Herbie's a few months ago at the recommendation of a fellow audiophool here in Abq. He claimed it was one of the few tweaks that he'd experimented with that actually did what it was supposed to do. Unfortunately I couldn't hear much improvement, if any. However I just upgraded my CDP so I will have to try the BH on the new playa.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 4:21 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:38 pm
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Location: Madison, NJ, US
I bought an Amonite collar for the Jelco SA-250 on my turntable. It took forever to arrive from England and in the mean time I upgraded to a Sumiko MMT so I could roll cartridges. Turns out the MMT and the 250, both made by Jelco, have different post diameters.

By the way, I started out building a $2,000 second system in my basement with a target cost of less than $1,000 with used bargains and some speakers I was not using in my primary system any longer. Despite my limited means, in 3 years I've spent about $7,000 (didn't seem like that much, dear) for a system that would list for about $17,000 including older Stax headphones.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:07 am 
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Joined: Sat May 12, 2018 7:10 am
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Location: Niskayuna, NY, US
I have a long list .

1. Vibration reduction panels that were supposed to reduce cabinet vibrations when i had entry level equipment ( Either Music Direct or Audio Advisor product)
2. RF blockers for audio cables. Quite a few pairs.
3. Various coupling and decoupling feet for components.

Too many to list. A small fortune spent on this stuff. Would anybody be interested in a grab bag of this stuff?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:58 pm 
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Location: Rio Rancho, NM, US
upstateaudio wrote:
Would anybody be interested in a grab bag of this stuff?


You'll never know until you ask. I'd recommend posting separate ads for each of those tweaks in the USAM classifieds. Those ads are of course free. That's the beauty of USAM. :)

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 5:33 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:35 am
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Location: White Plains, NY, US
Intona USB isolator I bought as a band-aid to fix a ground loop from an old PC I was using as a digital streamer. Shortly afterwards I moved to a Sony Hap-Z1es


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